George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said “We might affirm that practically nothing great on the planet continues to be accomplished without passion.”
While I’m everything brass tacks of business, getting things done and all sorts of things practical often there is that section of me that truly appreciates all of that fluffy stuff….you realize cool stories about passion along with the impossible…dare I only say “heart-warming”!
Here’s a really cool story that fits into that bucket…it’s about passion, it’s about having blind faith, having this impossible as well as a great illustration of how are you affected in the absence of limiting beliefs.
Art Tatum was an incredible jazz pianist…one of the better on the planet…and his story is awesome.
Robert Cooper writes about Art in the sweet book The Other 90% and that is where I heard this tale.
In 1909 Art was given birth to partially blind. Being a young lad he went completely blind a single eye and could barely see out of the other…there is a rumour that was on account of an extreme beating…no matter what cause poor young Art was off to a rough start.
Music quickly became a passion for Art. He loved music and his absolute favourite was the piano.
With no money for lessons however with a burning should learn how to play the piano Art would find someone to walk him into a local bar…maybe they called them saloons in those days.
Amidst the smoke along with the booze our buddy Art would sit there on the player piano (among those self-playing pianos that have a roll of paper because of the key strokes imprinted about it).
Art would sit there all night on the keyboard moving his fingers along always keeping up and learn these piano tunes.
The keys moved so fast with among those old jazz tunes who’s seemed extremely hard but Art just went ahead and learned to play.
The cool part is Art couldn’t know that runners tunes were recorded using 2 pianists….that’s 4 hands folks! And in reality…Art only had 2 hands.
So our buddy Art became the first person ever to play 4 hand piano music with 2 hands that is quite cool.
Before Art made it possible any piano teacher might have “known” that playing 4 hand music with 2 hands was impossible. Of course, if Art procured formal piano lessons he’d have learned about where these limits were..the fact that was possible along with what was impossible for him.
Because Art had no idea it couldn’t be performed he just went and that fuelled by their own passion for the background music.
He didn’t just do the impossible he was a legend.
Fellow jazz legend Fats Waller summed up Art’s abilities to an audience one night having a simple phrase “tonight, God influences house.”
Clint Ussher, a Church in Christchurch Pastor at The Well wrote this to remind us that the limitations set upon us have been set by others, not by our own ability or passion to succeed. So next time you think you cant do something, just ask yourself this simple question. Said Who?