“I would have ended my life – it was only my art that held me back.”
— Ludwig Van Beethoven
Ludwig Van Beethoven was a well-known performer and composer when he reached his 20s. But around that same time, he began experiencing symptoms of hearing loss. As the tinnitus (a high-pitched ringing in the ears) grew, he had to retire from his performance career as a pianist—he could no longer hear himself or the other instruments on stage.
Beethoven justifiably went into crisis mode when this happened. He withdrew from social functions and became a much more private person, only allowing close friends and associates to come into his home. His only form of communication was written notes, and he fell into a depression.
The only way Beethoven knew how to deal with the stress was to immerse himself in composing. He didn’t need to hear other musicians to write music; it was all in his head.
Using specialty-made pianos that intensified the vibrations of struck notes, Beethoven lost himself in creating what many consider the greatest masterpieces of his career, including his 9th Symphony.
Would Beethoven have created such amazing music had he not gone deaf? No one knows, but it can’t be denied that his music took on a much broader range of emotions once he completely lost his hearing. He had to dive deep to find the music that adequately expressed what he felt now that he had lost his most precious tool…his hearing.
Instead of focusing on his loss of hearing, he focused on his art, and as time passed and he sharpened his composing skills, he created what would be his most rewarding work.
Making the best of a tough situation can be brutal, but with the passage of time, we can see how these moments are turning points in our lives, and without them, we’d never step out of our comfort zones, think outside the box, adapt, and overcome.
The next time you’re navigating troubled waters, sometimes all you need is to hold tight and stay the course. Bad times will pass, and you’ll look back to see what amazing fruits your hardship bore.
This Week’s Image
This Week’s Riddle
During the day, they stand tall in a line. At night, they are lost, never to shine. They are not stars, and they are not trees. But they vanish and appear with a great ease. What are they?
This Week’s Journaling Prompt
Think back to a specific challenge you faced in the last year. How did you adapt to it? Did you develop a new skill or perspective as a direct result? List down 3 positive outcomes or lessons you took from it. If there wasn’t an apparent “lesson,” describe how you felt during and after the challenge.
This Week’s Challenge
Identify a current challenge or discomfort in your life. Each day, take one deliberate action that pushes you out of your comfort zone or requires a different approach to the situation, embracing it as a potential turning point.
Riddle Answer: Shadows