This Article Originally Published December 2001

by Michael Laskow

One of my daughters is turning eighteen tomorrow. I sat down last night and wrote her a long letter—the kind that a dad should write to his daughter as she makes the transition into adulthood. At least I hope she sees it that way.

Much of the letter focused on life, love, and family. As I drove to work today, I couldn't help but think about what I had written in that letter, and realized that I wished my father had written one to me. There was a recurring theme in the letter, and it's a lesson that everybody should learn as early as possible in their life.

That lesson is the value of making and keeping commitments.

I told my daughter how important commitment to family members is. I told her how important it is to make a commitment to her future (and as of yet unknown) spouse. And most importantly, I wanted her to understand how immensely important it is to make commitments to herself, and then keep them.

Of course, as adults, we all know how easy it is to make a commitment, but how difficult it can often be to honor that commitment. But, it's your life! And if you felt strongly enough about something to make a commitment, then why cheat yourself out of the reward that comes from honoring that commitment?

Those of you who have been TAXI members for a few years are probably predicting where I'm going with this, and you know what? You're right!

We're coming up on the end of 2001. That also means that we're staring hard into the face of 2002. And yes, I am asking each of you who is serious about wanting to succeed with your music to make a commitment to that goal for the upcoming year, and to stick with it.

You owe it to yourself. If you don't do it for yourself, then who will? It's not realistic to expect that a little fairy will land on your shoulder and say, "Hey Bob, I just love that song you wrote. I think I'll wave my magic wand and grant you a hit!"

Sounds silly doesn't it? But if you're not focusing on your goal, charting a path, and sticking with it, you are only depriving yourself of something you really want. That seems like a sad way to go through life.

Your life is your own. You own it. You have control over it. There may be obstacles placed before you, but they are just obstacles, not dead ends. Anything you want badly enough, you can achieve.

I know that all this may sound like a new-year pitch from a gym or weight-loss clinic, and in a sense it is. But, let's face it, if we really wanted to lose the weight, we could, and we would. Somehow, I have the feeling that working at your song craft or career development as an artist will be much more fun than doing bench presses or jogging until you feel like you're going to croak.

Going back to my daughter for a moment—the kid has wanted to be in one of her high school's plays for the last three years. She's never made the cut. But she didn't give up. She took drama. She read books on acting. She practiced in front of the mirror. She even did set construction on some of her school's productions, just so she could be around the people who did make the cut. She set her goal, worked toward it, and this year, she got a part. And, I'm proud to say, she did a great job.

No! She wasn't a tree!! She had a speaking part, and she did a great job with it, because she never flagged on her commitment. Maybe I'm flattering myself by saying this, but I hope that my unswerving commitment to TAXI and its members has set an example for her to follow.

TAXI would not be here today if I had given up the ghost in the face of any one of a hundred obstacles in the early years. It's been my experience that when the going gets tough, the tough really do get going. It's so easy to take the easy way out. But for me, it would have been much harder to face the fact that I had not given every ounce of my being to achieve something I wanted so badly.

Based on my experience, and the experiences of people I use as role models, there really isn't anything that you can't achieve if you want it badly enough.

The new year is just around the corner. You've demonstrated how much you want to succeed in the music business just by joining TAXI. Now you need to reaffirm your commitment to yourself, and follow through by reading every book you can get your hands on, writing every day, studying the work of successful artists and writers, and studying their career paths.

I promise that those of you who do the work will reap the rewards. Happy Holidays, and have a wonderful and productive 2002!