Forte is a musical term that means “strong”. This is an interesting tidbit because in most contexts and classrooms, musicians think it means “loud”. If the word forte appears on a sheet of music, especially for beginners, the performers tend to blast their part through their instrument. The word can serves as an excuse to play without reserve, without control. However, that’s contrary to the true meaning; strong means having great control.
When a person builds up muscle, they have to work at it. They have to get up every morning, six days a week, and put effort into physical exertion. When someone is a “strong player”, it means they’ve put effort and time into practicing their game. That player has the self control to not only work, but work hard and for years. When someone is mentally or emotionally strong, they are able to control themselves. They can put their own fears, apprehensions, doubts, and distracting thoughts to the side in order to do what they must. When we are strong, it’s because we’ve chosen to control ourselves again and again and again.
When we look at others, we see loud people and we see forte people. Loud people can put on a good show, can rely on talent and instinct, and can charm their way into and out of many things. People who are strong are separated by their substance. They’ve put in the work. They have a deep understanding of things they’ve dedicated themselves to; they have an amazing self-control that they’ve built up over time.
When we go about our day, it’s easy to give up. If A is boring, we pick up B. If B is too hard, we pick up C. If C is too easy, we pick up D and so on. At some point, however, we have to learn to cling. We can’t ever be strong if we never control ourselves. So be forte! Try harder and longer on your daily tasks! Deny the easy route so the road ends up somewhere great.