From time to time my husband likes to tell a story to his young music students. Usually he tells it before an upcoming performance. It consists of advice that was given to him by his college piano teacher before he gave his Master's recital. I have always thought it was great advice for musicians. More and more I am coming to see how it is great advice for life. The story goes something like this. (When my husband delivers it to his students he approximates the accent of his Russian piano teacher. You will just have to imagine that part.)
"Phillip, in this world you have friends and you have enemies. No matter what you do, your friends will love you and your enemies will hate you. So if you give bad recital, your friends will say, 'Oh, Phillip, it is not your fault! You are fine pianist! You just need better teacher!' whereas your enemies will say, 'That Phillip--he is no good. We knew he could not make recital, even with such an excellent teacher.' But if you give great recital, your friends will say, 'Phillip, we knew you could do it! You are great pianist!' whereas your enemies will say, 'Look at what that teacher did with Phillip! She is miracle worker. He was nothing and she made him something.'
"You understand, Phillip? No matter what you do, people will see you how they want to see you. Your friends will still love you, and your enemies will still hate you. So, don't worry, Phillip. Just PLAY!"
Great advice. Now if only I could follow it.