In 1933, a production of The Threepenny Opera opened at the Empire Theater on Broadway. It turned out to be one of the biggest flops in Broadway history, running an embarrassing 12 performances. However, in 1955 it was revived in an off-Broadway theater and ran a staggering 2,611 performances. Another odd fact about the revival is that Lotte Lenya, the widow of the show’s composer, Kurt Weill, won a Tony Award for her performance, even though it wasn’t technically a Broadway show.*
Sometimes you can have a great idea, a great plan, or even a great show, only to watch it fail because the timing isn’t right. I’ve seen this played out in my writing career. I tried and failed for 18 years to get published. I’m convinced that I just wasn’t ready. My dreams were running ahead of my ability. Thankfully, my talent caught up to my dreams and now here I sit with 10 books in print and another one on the way.
Sometimes ideas and plans fail because they’re just plain lousy, but not always. Some ideas are ahead of their time. Others have merit, but need to be honed or developed. And then, of course, some ideas are perfect from the get-go, but are crucified by jealous, small-minded, or self-serving people. In each of those cases, patience and the willingness to keep trying can mean the difference between failure and success.
Is there an idea or a dream you’re passionate about, but that nobody else seems to give a hoot for? Have you tried to move forward with it, only to run into a brick wall? If so, don’t you dare give up! Rethink it, yes. Refine and reshape it if necessary. But by all means, pray and plan for the day when you will relaunch it. I can’t help wondering how many wonderful ideas would have blessed mankind, but never got the chance because they were chucked after failing the first time.
Don’t let yours be added to the list.
For further reflection read Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3:11, Luke 11:9, Romans 5:3.
*Louis Botto, Backward Glances: Second Chances, (Playbill, January 4, 2007), 58