Just Good Enough

This is a story about a 14-year-old girl that had heaps of potential for becoming a concert violinist. She had a good ear, natural talent, and the keen gift of sight-reading just about any piece of music. Unfortunately, what she did not have was the desire and dedication. She would excel as far as she could with music. In her final years of performing, she would always be near the front, but would never become concertmistress or the section leader. She was ‘just good enough.’

As you may have guessed by now I was the 14-year-old girl in this story. I grew up playing the violin and though I enjoyed it, the height of my enthusiasm never surmounted my passion for pool. In middle school, our parents had to sign off on our practice reports indicating that we played at least 30 minutes a day. At that age, I discovered that my knack for sight-reading allowed me to get away with hardly practicing at all. At 12, I rationalized that I didn’t need to practice since I could read the music anyway. Because of this ability, I got away with doing the bare minimum to succeed. I was ‘just good enough.’

Later, in my high school years, I did excel and perform in several advanced orchestras. When we had difficult pieces, I did practice. The difference is, in hindsight, I never felt I ‘mastered’ any of it. When I practiced a particular piece, it was just until I was able to get it without faking it in concert. (That’s the worst, when you have to move your bow along with the rest of the orchestra until they get to the part that you know.) I practiced just enough of what I needed to be ‘just good enough.’

As this all relates to pool, never becoming a section leader or concertmistress is equivalent to never winning a tournament or even making it into the finals. Had I been as interested in the violin as I am about pool, I would have pursued private lessons at a much younger age, found some more music that interested me, practiced more with my friends, and most importantly, practiced more on my own, working to improve my weaknesses. 

Excelling at pool is no different. We can choose to be a B player by playing nothing but league and casual games with our friends, but to surpass your peers, it takes desire. Be realistic with what you want and the road to getting there. It may not be in your future to pursue pool anymore than you do. That’s okay. Enjoy being the best pool player that you can and know your limits.

The moral of my story: It’s easy to be ordinary. It’s a little more work to good. But if you want to be truly exceptional at something, it can only happen if you want it. Having potential and opportunities mean nothing if you don’t have the desire. The choice is up to you if you want to be in the third violin harmony section or if you want to be the concertmaster.