I fear I was my violin teacher’s worst nightmare: a scratchy, screechy, stinky teenager who never picked up his instrument between Tuesdays.

“Did you practice this week?” she would ask.

“Yes,” I would say.

But we both knew the truth.

It’s not that I didn’t like the violin. Indeed, I was something of a classical music nerd in my early years, knowing Beethoven’s Fifth better than I knew Madness.

It’s just that I didn’t want to practice.

Maybe I resented being told to – by my teacher, my parents, the world – or maybe I felt that I, alone among every other musician, could create beauty on 30 minutes a week in my teacher’s front room.

Just as I thought that I – alone among 4 billion people – would never die.

Such is the blindness of youth.

One of the lessons maturity brought me is realizing that nothing comes without practice. If you want results, you have to put in the time. You can’t build a business in 4 hours on the beach, just as you cannot play Symphony Hall without practicing scales.

Perhaps real success comes only when you take off the gauzy glasses and see things as they are.

Some things are hard. Many things fail. And we’re all going to die.

My violin teacher knew best.

And maybe now I know that too.