Where There’s a Why, There’s a Way

Many of us are familiar with the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” No one is really sure on where this phrase originated, but we know that it has been in use from at least the 1600’s. It’s a common phrase denoting that if one wants something bad enough, they are going to overcome anything, and if need be, anyone, to get it.

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Now I believe this. I really do. But I have found in both my experience, and the experience of others, that the will begins strong and then weakens over time. And I have often wondered “How? How does one go from having a fire of desire to do something, whatever it may be, to having dwindling patches of embers?” The goal didn’t change. The dream didn’t go away. So how did it happen?

Some may say, “They just got lazy.” Others may say, “They finally realized that the goal/dream was unattainable.” But I believe that there is something more. I believe that it was not a loss of will really, it was simply a loss of “why.”

Let me explain. Whatever we do, we do so with a motive. Whether the motive is relaxation, entertainment, or on deeper levels, fulfillment, sense of accomplishment, or wanting to belong, there is always a motive. We are emotional beings. Many of us act as we feel. It’s part of being human.

And so, the question becomes, “How can I keep this desire strong enough to keep me working to achieve my dream?” We can have all the methods in the world. We can have the most fabulous and accomplished coaches in the world. We may have read all the books, visited all the blogs, watched all the YouTube “How to” videos. But when it comes down to it, this is not what builds desire. It is finding our why.

When we find our “why,” we find our motivation. When we build our “why,” we build our motivation. And if someone’s “why” is weak, their will is weak. So our job is to find goals with strong “whys” behind them, and then to build that “why” every day of our lives.

Let me give you an example. I want to become the best person I can, and I want to do it because I believe that Jesus Christ wants us to be like Him someday. But unfortunately, I haven’t seen Jesus, nor have I had the chance to walk with Him as He walked the earth. And so in order to learn about Him, I need to read His words in the scriptures: I have a goal to study them for a minimum of one hour each day, paying special attention to how He instructs me to live.

To some, this may seem extreme, unnecessary even. But this is my goal that I feel I must keep in order to achieve my long-term goal of learning how He lives and through His help, becoming as He is. As you can imagine, some days, this goal feels very hard, demanding a lot of my time, and doing so for so long can seem daunting. And so sometimes my will is strong than others. But because of a well-established “why,” my will is there. And as I study His words, my “why” increases, thereby increasing my will as I am studying.

So for those of you who feel like you’re taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back on your goals, take a minute or two and find your “why.” Ask yourself, “Is it long-term enough? Is it meaningful enough? What do I need to strengthen my ‘why’?” Because when we figure this out, we will have the fortitude to do whatever is necessary to achieve our dreams.

“Whether You Think You Can, or You Think You Can’t — You’re Right”

Henry Ford, that’s a truth.

But just like all truth, it must be sought after and then held on to. In short, it requires a process of discovery. And for me, the process of discovery in regards to this principle has been one of the better part of two decades.

I was the soccer kid. I began playing when I was three years old. It was more than something I did, it was who I was. I had no reason to doubt that I couldn’t do what I wanted on the field because I had no reason to think that anyone could stop me.

I was the soccer kid after all.

And that was true up until I was 10 years old. Up until that time, my dad was my coach. I was playing in recreation leagues as the starting forward. Then I got word that my friend’s dad was having a tryout for a competitive team that summer, and I decided to try out. I got there, and was surprised at how many kids that were there. In my mind, I thought this was going to only be a selected handful of kids that he was just having come play to get to know him, we’d sign our names somewhere (or rather our parents would — we were a little young for that) and we’d be a team. So the sight of so many guys playing made me a little nervous.

It was the first time in my life that I was nervous with the ball at my feet.

Nevertheless, I had a pretty good tryout, and made the team. As anyone would be, I was ecstatic! We placed our orders for jersey size, received practice schedules, and were informed when our first tournament of the summer would be. Everything was looking good.

The weekend of the tournament came around. It was a blazing hot three days in July, with temperatures reaching triple digits each day. Prior to the tournament, as he had watched us practice, coach had selected a starting lineup, and I was on it. Right wing. I was pretty comfortable with that, I played there all growing up. It was all about making runs, taking the ball and finishing it in the back of the net.

So we arrived at the field to warm up and focus. After warm-ups, and after a quick word from coach, me and the remainder of the starting 11 stepped onto the field, waiting for the referee to call the starting whistle.

I watched him intently. He called out to the two keepers to make sure they were ready. Normal. They signaled they were. He grabbed his whistle. Moved it to his mouth, and with a quick, shrill blast we were off.

But then something went terribly wrong.

I froze.

I had never froze before in my life, but in that moment I did. I hardly moved through my time on the field, hardly playing, hardly making runs, hardly going at people. I was like a deer caught in the headlights, except this deer wasn’t in front of a car. This deer had just been rammed with a train named “Loss of Confidence.” And sadly, over the many years I played with that team, though I performed, and though I progressed and became a good soccer player, I never regained that confidence I had before.

So for all you who read this and whether you think you can or you can’t at something in your life: you are most certainly right. I wished someone had grabbed me by the shirt at the end of that game and said, “What was that!? That’s not the Adam I saw last week! Heck, that’s not even the Adam I saw yesterday with the ball in the backyard! You can do this! You are just as good, if not better, than those guys! You can play with those guys. So you act like it, you understand? C’mon, let’s go play.” And so I’m going to be that someone to you right now: You can do this. You have just as much capability and ability as the person on your right does, not to mention the person on your left. You have just as much potential. So get in there. You can play with these guys. So you act like it, you understand?

You never forget, your mindset in performance is everything. So never let anything persuade you you can’t. Because if you do, then they’re right. But if you don’t believe them, then you’re right. And in this circumstance, I would much rather have you be right. After all, your success depends on it.

Work Works

Those, in the end, who get what they want the most, often have to do now what they want the least. Whatever this may be, athletes, musicians, students, entrepreneurs, you name it, have had to live by this principle. They come to find in a very real sense that work works.

I was 12 years old when I picked up a saxophone for the first time. There was nothing phenomenal about the experience. Sparks didn’t fly, there was no ray of sunshine beaming down upon me as I made contact with my destiny. To be honest, I was flat out terrible. I didn’t even know how to put it together. But what I did know is that it felt good in my hands, and I wanted to improve.

And so even though I was terrible, the next day, I picked it up again, and after learning how to put it together the day before, managed to squeak some noise out of the thing (notice I didn’t say notes — they weren’t worthy to be called those yet). Then I put it away. Then guess what I did the next day? You guessed it. I whipped it out, put it together (it was faster than the day before) and then squawked out more noise, and then after about half an hour, put it away. And then I did this the next day, and the day after that. I continued pulling it out every day. Eventually I enrolled in music classes at my junior high school. I learned what the correct fingerings were in order to make the saxophone sound like an instrument and not a tool of torture. I learned how to form my mouth around the mouthpiece when I played in order to produce solid and more pure tone quality. I learned scales and practiced pieces learned in band class. Eventually I joined the jazz band, and learned of different genres of music, all the while becoming more familiar and comfortable with the saxophone in my hand.

I continued to play throughout high school, participating in both concert and jazz bands there (jazz band forcing me to get up at 5:30AM every day for three years), even taking private lessons from a professional. While all my training at school was necessary, and the guidance and coaching of a professional was invaluable, most of my progress as a musician came when I was alone. It came when I was at home, by myself, in my room, with sheets of scales and charts of jazz chord progressions. It came when I spent hours on technical exercises that ran up and down the fingerings of the saxophone. It came through playing the same song over and over again, slowly increasing the speed of the ticks of the metronome as I learned Charlie Parker’s Confirmation. It came through replaying Frank Sinatra singing My Funny Valentine so many times that I couldn’t forget the lyrics as I simultaneously improvised over the chord progressions.

In short, it only came as I worked. And each day, with each hour, I got better.

Then our annual band trip came along. I was a junior in high school. And not only were we scheduled to play in Disneyland, we were also to perform in a jazz festival where high schools from all over the nation would come to play and receive ratings and advice from musical professionals coming from top universities across the US. In anticipation for this, we had practiced hours and hours. And to add to my nerves, I had a solo.

To make a long story short, there were nearly 700 musicians that came to that festival. At this particular festival, there was an award given called the Maestro award. It was an award given by the judges to the seven best players at that festival. And no one in that room was more surprised than as I walked down the aisle to receive that award as they called my name out of 700 musicians.

This story is not shared to boast. It is not even shared to teach a lesson on how we are to be humble when made a public figure. This is simply a story to show how I learned a profound lesson that continues to teach every day: work works.

A Little About Me

Hey! My name’s Adam Dummer, thanks for coming to check out my website!

Let me tell you a little about myself! I’m a Utah native, born and raised on the Wasatch Front. I was born in Utah county, but have lived most of my life in Layton, UT with my mom and dad and my three younger sisters. That’s right, no brothers! Growing up, my mom and dad taught me to love sports and music. I’ve been playing soccer since I was 3 years old, as well as playing musical instruments since I was 6.

My family are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since I can remember, I have been taught to pray, read the scriptures, go to church, put God first, and to look out for others before myself. I am forever grateful for the belief in Jesus Christ that my saintly parents have engendered in me — it effects every day of my life.

After graduating from Layton High School in Layton, UT, I left to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Orlando, FL. While there, I helped people develop a greater relationship with God and Jesus Christ, and their families, by living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The things I learned and experienced there have changed me and have changed what I someday hope to become.

After returning from my two year service, I came to Brigham Young University (BYU) to further my education. I’m a sophomore hoping to get into the Communications Studies program, hoping that this will prepare me for my ideal career as a public speaker and corporate trainer.

Thanks for taking time to read just a little about me! May God bless you in all you do. See y’all real soon!