I grew up in a house jammed with music. Drums, anyway. My dad was a drummer, so a kit was part of the living room furniture and a part of my childhood.

In fourth grade, it was finally time to join the school band. My classmates and I lined up to select our weapons of choice.

“But you have long arms—perfect for playing the trombone!”

This was the best sales pitch the music teacher could compose, after informing me that too many kids had already signed up to play the drums. Understandable.

The system couldn’t please every one of my classmates. Somebody had to play the trombone, right?

Somebody, but not me.

I’m still a pretty laid-back person, so resisting all the sweet-talk was not the norm. (Although “trombone arms” was definitely not on my wish-list of manly attributes.)

The standoff was intense.

After some repetitive pencil-tapping exercises, my insistence paid off. I grabbed those giant wooden drumsticks and ran out the door before they changed their minds!

For me, it was the only outcome imaginable.

But this kind of “no alternative” resolve has not always guided my decisions. I’ve often fiddled for years on “important” projects, and juggled assorted career-instruments so others would not be disappointed in me.

But let’s be honest, it’s scary to commit to the one thing you dream of doing.

My resolve to play drums greatly impacted my life, relationships, and passport stamps. Years later, I toured with a band all over the United States, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe.

We all must stop for a beat … and realize how we make choices every day—surrounded by high-pressure needs, questionable motivations, and our own voices of doubt.

When necessary, resist.

Someone else will play the trombone.

Do you feel overwhelmed by past choices and frustrated by the lack of attention to your own heart?

Say “NO” to something right now. Consider it practice.

Despite the “grown up” world we live in, it’s crucial to listen to the wise voice of that stubborn inner nine-year-old and insist on following your heart.

You’ll be glad you did.

And you’ll help a lot of people by your bold example.

Life isn’t binary, but is shaped by our yes‘s and no‘s.

What will you say NO to today?

What will you fight for?

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