“Luck,” says Jackie Summers, “must be courted.”
It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it. – Gracian.
Omar began playing drums when he was five years old. The son of Duke Ellington’s trombone player, he grew up in a modest neighborhood in St. Albans, NY. His passion for music drove him to hone his craft, learning from such master technicians as Elvin Jones and Art Blakely.
Natural curiosity and fierce dedication to his talents attracted the attention of both jazz and rock musicians alike. Omar had already garnered significant national credits when, in 1984, he was invited to dinner with Sting, who’d just decided to pursue a solo career. Over the course of the evening, Sting–who was assembling musicians with a jazz background for his premiere effort–casually mentioned that he was still seeking a drummer. Omar spoke up: “I play drums”. Unacquainted with him or his immense skill, Sting handed him a fork and spoon, and simply replied “play for me”.
Omar Hakim auditioned for Sting with the silverware handed to him, on the plates and glasses set before him. Dream of the Blue Turtles was critically received and a commercial success. Omar’s work on it–and subsequent albums and tours–is widely regarded as some of the finest drum work of the era.
There are some circumstances that are forever beyond your control: where you’re born, the family you’re born into, how you’re parented. Success–and the role luck plays in success–cares little for these things. Anyone with the vision to see a goal and the tenacity to pursue it relentlessly, can succeed. Intelligence and talent count, for sure, but not nearly as much as luck. More than persistence, more than intellect, nothing lends itself to success quite like luck. The ability and desire to work hard is entirely within the grasp of any individual, as is the ability to continually refine one’s gifts.
Luck, must be courted.
Four thousand years ago, Roman philosopher Seneca said “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. It might seem impossible to engineer the specific circumstances you require in order to move your vision forward, but luck seeks out those who demonstrate indefatigable enthusiasm. Do everything that is within your power, and if someone at a dinner party hands you silverware, be ready to give the drum solo of your life.
Opportunity rarely presents herself a second time to the unprepared.
photo: AP / Omer Hakim / wn.com
© JFB 2012