Do the best with what you have s


The following story appeared in The Houston Chronicle. Courtesy of the website actsweb.org, here is the story of a world-class musician. It may have been an urban legend and may not be valid. But as a parable, it has a message offering a precious lesson we may want to take with us should a similar situation happen.1

On November 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, performed a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Itzhak was stricken with polio as a child; he has braces on both legs and has to use two crutches to help him walk, so it is quite a chore for him to come onto any stage.

Barely had he started his concert when one of the strings on his violin broke. The snap was so loud there was no mistake among the audience as to what happened.

Instead of the arduous task of leaving the stage to change the broken string or get another violin, Itzhak “waited a moment, closed his eyes, and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion, power, and purity as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that playing a symphonic work with just three strings is impossible. I know that, and you know that, but Itzhak Perlman refused to know that night. You could see him modulating, changing, and recomposing the piece in his head…

“When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

The pandemic has removed many privileges away from us. As business people, we are all set to do resource reallocation because of the scarcity of it. Organizations may have to cut off a lot of activities and sometimes to the dismay of the people working there. Many sacrifices must be made, and we have to make do with what we have and do the best with it.

The pandemic has harmed many lives and businesses, leading to tremendous losses. The virus may pass, and it will, but the turbulence it brings will remain for a while. It is a temporary stage but crucial for bringing us to a better future once conditions are more favorable. We are in that stage wherein we have to make do with what we have to be resourceful and sacrificial. The future will always be better; the past has gone, but this current place in the middle is messy and challenging. But if we maintain this mindset of making the best of what we have, this can pull us through. It will not be easy, but it is necessary.

The master musician can make do with the string left because he has mastered his craft. He improvises, he devises and will never allow a temporary setback to keep him from shipping out his masterpiece. Many good businessmen have had the experience of going through difficult situations but, with tenacity, discovers new and brilliant ways to cut cost, streamline efficiency and achieve better results.

You and I will do the best with what we have for the moment, and when the situation improves, we will be disciplined enough to refuse the temptation to waste resources.

Charles F. Glassman says: “Making the best of what we do have, instead of begrudging what we don’t, has a way of creating all that we’ll ever need.” “Making the best of what we have is success.” And I fully agree.

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