It’s What You CAN Do That Counts

Yesterday, Arthel “Doc” Watson died at 89. That he was one of the giants of Bluegrass and Country music is not really the point of this post. The point is that he was that, having been blind from the age of 2 following an infection.

His father gave him a mouth organ when he was a child, and then a home-made banjo (using the skin of the deceased family cat). Lastly, there was a guitar on which he developed a distinctive “flatpicking” style which was to be hugely influential to both folk and pop musicians.

So should the man be judged on the fact that he could not paint a landscape? Or on his musicianship?

Be aware of your weaknesses certainly, and take steps to limit them. That applies to firms as well as individuals. But be very aware of your strengths, develop them and use them. You will be much more effective.

Telegraph obituary here, Alex Massie here (including videos), and further video here (By the Banks of the Ohio).

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