This Article Originally Published February 1998

by Michael Laskow

I once had a lady friend in New York who had a German Shepherd. She came home from work one snowy Friday night to find the dog dead as a door nail in the middle of her living room in her high-rise apartment. Of course, the poor woman was stricken with grief, but unfortunately, it was around Christmas time and she had a formal dinner party to go to that night.

Distraught, she called the ASPCA. They told her that they couldn't help her dispose of the dog until Monday morning. What was she to do? She couldn't leave the dog in the middle of her living room, yet no other solution presented itself.

Crying, she went in to her walk-in closet to pull out her evening gown. As she reached for it, she noticed her over-sized, red plaid suit case in the closet. Hmmm.

She took a shower, blew her hair dry, and slipped on her evening gown. She sheepishly walked into the living room to look at her lifeless dog one more time. By now, the dog was starting to smell a little funky, and it looked as though rigor mortis was starting to set in.

Utterly desperate, she gave up trying to come up with a better solution. She decided the only thing she could do was stuff her beloved "Schatzie" in the suitcase, and drag it to the dumpster. Not a very fitting end for an animal she had loved so much, but she was really desperate.

As you can imagine, it must have been quite a sight to see this poor woman all decked out in her sequined gown, bent over her 90 pound dog, trying her best to make it fit in the suitcase. Finally, she succeeded. And with one last tug, she got the zipper closed.

She composed herself, touched up her make-up, and opened her front door. She dragged the suitcase down the hall, pushed the button, and waited for the elevator—all the while, she was choking back tears.

Finally, the door opened, and she huffed and puffed her way in. She was thankful nobody else was in there to see this little drama unfold. The elevator reached the ground floor. The door opened and my friend began dragging the suitcase across the marble lobby. The doorman offered to help her, but she was too embarrassed to accept his kindness.

She went through the building's front door into the cold sleet of this pre-Christmas night. Diligently, she dragged her plaid suitcase down the rock salt covered sidewalk toward her destination—the dumpster at the end of the block. Her hair was a mess. Her makeup was running. She began to cry.

At that moment, a rather large man came up to her and said, "Lady, that suitcase looks awfully heavy. Can I offer you some assistance?" She accepted the stranger's kind offer. With that, he hoisted the suitcase up on his broad shoulders, took a couple of steps, then began running away with the suitcase. He rounded the corner, and was gone from sight. Welcome to New York! My friend screamed in vain, then sank to the ground and sobbed uncontrollably.

Just to show you what kind of sick sense of humor I have, all I could think about was the look on the thief's face when he darted into a dark alley and unzipped the suitcase. I'd bet dollars to donuts that he thought twice before he ripped somebody off again.

But, as with most of my little stories, there's a moral here: People give up way too easily!

Not just in their pursuit of success in music, but in most things. My friend in New York would have had a more desirable outcome to her dilemma if she hadn't given up so soon.

My friend Oliver started a custom screensaver business over a year ago. He and his wife were over for dinner, and during the course of the evening, he said that he was going to throw in the towel and get a "real" job. What a wussy!

Very few people succeed on the first try. Entrepreneurs who are successful get what they're after because they never give up. I'm one of them.

I balled Oliver out. I gave his wife a pep-talk and told her she needed to be more supportive, and extremely patient. Ollie hung in there; his wife did as well. The end result is that the business did about $200,000 this year. If Oliver had quit when he wanted to, he'd be in debt to the tune of $50,000, and would have to get a day job to pay it off. By toughing it out, he is beginning to realize his dreams.

TAXI member George Nelson called me at the end of his first year with us. He hadn't been forwarded very often, and was wondering whether it was worthwhile to renew for a second year. I told him to stick with it. He did. He got forwarded much more in his second year. He got some deals. Then, he quit his day job with the phone company (after 15 years) because he was making more money with his music.

Don't quit when the going gets tough. People frequently quit when they're only inches from the finish line. The problem is, they don't know that one more inch, one more day, or for that matter, one more song, may be all that's necessary to achieve your dreams.