Excuses are like buttholes. Everyone has one and they’re usually full of crap.

My mother bought me an acoustic guitar when I was 16 for a seminar I was taking. I learned the three chords it takes to play the song “Wild Thing”, and I’ve taken it out every couple of years to see if I still knew the chords. Beyond that, it has collected dust in storage units and closet corners ever since.

I’ve made all sorts of excuses throughout the years as to why I hadn’t learned: my terrible finger coordination, my inability to develop calluses on my fingertips, the limitations of the guitar I was given, and the ultimate excuse: I don’t have time.

I realize now that I was just being plain lazy. Had I stuck with it, I’d be pretty good by now.

So I just bought a guitar.

I’m committed to learning it this time mostly because it will help me grow as a songwriter, producer and musician. It’s not a fancy one, but it does have a built-in pickup system so I can use it for recording and performing without needing to mic it… once I learn it.

I’m also committed because I bought it with my own money; there’s no motivation quite like the decrease of your bank account.

Why share this story?

I know I’m not the only one that has avoid pursuing something because of the lack of knowledge or experience with it. There are way too many resources out there for us to remain ignorant about any topic. Yet, like the old saying goes, you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

In the game of life, the difference between a player and a spectator is the motivation to learn what it takes to succeed and work toward that. We can talk all day about our plans and goals, but they are just fleeting ideas until we take action.

If you don’t have the time to spend hours a day on it, dedicating 10 minutes every other day is better than nothing. Even baby steps in the right direction is still progress.

What’d We Learn?

It’s a cliché, but it’s true: nothing in life worth having will come easy. The first track I wrote was pure trash. The first song I wrote was super corny. Had I given up back then, I would be floating through life unfulfilled. Sure, my career is nowhere near level of Quincy Jones or David Foster, but my idea of success is seeing minds and lives transformed by the music that God allows me to create. I will gladly accept the accolades and money when they come, but they are not my motivation.

I’ve always been motivated to create music; that’s why I’ve always done what I could to learn all about it. At the same time, I didn’t have the motivation to stick with the guitar back then, so I still don’t know how to play it. That changes now.

What is it that you’ve always wanted to do, and why? Are you actively pursuing it? If not, what’s stopping you from doing it? Sure, you may not be that good at it now. Frankly, you may suck terribly.

But just remember: you only fail at the things you’ve given up on.



Orondé Jenkins is a multidisciplinary artist and media consultant based in Nashville. No Average Journey was born out of his desire to help artists grow in their lives and careers.