“Life is a Mess!”

“Life is a mess!”

For many of us!

One way or another this is true. It is rare that everything goes according to plan or exactly as we would wish it.

This need not be a barrier to success.

Tim Hartford tells is the story of 17 year old Vera Brandes, perhaps the youngest music promoter ever, who persuaded Keith Jarrett, the jazz pianist to perform at the Cologne Opera House. Due to a mistake by the Opera House staff, a backstage a practice piano was the only piano available on the night of the performance and it was a mess. Notes were stuck together and the upper registers were tinny and out of tune.

Jarrett at first refused to play the piano. Vera, pleaded in the pouring rain with Jarrett, begging him not to cancel the concert.

Jarrett took pity on Vera and agreed to play the unplayable piano.

The music that he created is one of the most memorable performances that he ever produced and one of the best selling recordings ever. His skill allowed him to avoid the upper registers. He had to pound the lower registers so that the audience at the back of the Opera House could hear him play.

Jarrett produced a miracle out of a mess.

It is well known that certain difficulties can result in our best performances. Hartford tells us that students that had course documentation in difficult to read fonts did better in their exams because they had to read the material more slowly than those with easy to read papers. They took more time to read the material and absorb it.

Several other examples follow in his discourse. But the general message is never think that your life is in such a mess that you cannot do something about it.

The challenges you face may make you more productive and creative in your efforts and the solutions that you devise.

Perhaps the bigger the mess, the disarray, the confusion, they better the outcome.