Improve through friendly rivalry and encouragement of others
I always tell my students: ‘No risk, no glory.’ Without courage one cannot achieve anything. In life, if you do something you have to go for it. Pursue your dreams with eternal optimism.
The Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu once told me that music is like ‘swimming in an ocean that has no east or west’. It’s universal. It doesn’t matter where you come from.
Being involved in new things – premieres, commissions – is exciting. As the Japanese haiku poet Taneda Santoka said, it’s like taking your first steps in fresh snow. Enjoy the opportunities and have courage.
Approach and enjoy every occasion as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a special occasion.
I believe we should all follow this advice from an ancient Chinese poem: cultivate your mind by working hard, and improve through friendly rivalry and encouragement of others.