The Estonian composer Eduard Tubin (1905 to 1982) had a lot to thank his family for: not least their decision to swap a cow for a piano!
When Eduard was a child, he showed a strong talent for music. Luckily, his parents were music lovers who were keen to help him develop his gift.
They did not have much money with which to help Eduard, but they did have cows; when a piano became available within the village, they swapped one of their herd for it. This was not an easy decision to make: the cow helped sustain the family's everyday existence.
Eduard loved his piano and was soon giving performances to the local villagers. Over the next few years, his musical abilities grew and his reputation spread. At the age of 15, he won a place at music college. This was the beginning of a long musical career that brought forth ten symphonies and many other significant works. Eduard's parents must have been very pleased with the return on their investment, which had far exceeded the immediate benefits of cow ownership.
Often, to achieve our potential (or the potential of our ideas) we must swap something of obvious and immediate value for something that is not: something that is an investment in a possible future we would like to see become reality. This requires us to take a leap of faith that may expose us to ridicule; many of the Tubin family's neighbours probably thought it at best ill-advised and at worst stupid to lose the prize asset of a family cow.
What is valuable to you now and are you willing to swap it for something that will help you attain the future you desire? Do you have the courage to make the imaginative, risky and future-orientated decision?
Are you willing to stand apart from the herd and endure some bellows of ridicule in return for possible future benefits?