• How To Get Something From Nothing

    in Motivational Minutes,Self-Improvement

    Today’s post isn’t directly about music but anything you aspire to achieve in life.

    In most pursuits, you’ll probably start with nothing. Heck, if you’re like me, you’ll start with less than nothing.

    Well no, I actually take that back because we ALL START WITH SOMETHING… so, I admit, the title of this post is a little misleading.

    On the surface, it’s easy to see “nothing.” But there’s always something there.

    For me, growing up in the inner city of Long Beach, CA, most would say I started with nothing (and I’ve been guilty of this) but as I ponder it, I had MORE than enough.

    I had a loving mother and grandma who sheltered me from the mean streets. I had a church community that loved and supported me. I had a gift to learn fast, which included teaching myself piano at 7 years old. And I had a knack for talking. I was always the one picked to represent the group in class.

    It’s not surprising that what I do today encompasses all those strengths. Purposefully or not, I found something that harnessed everything I was good at.

    I think a lot of people find themselves in situations, careers, and endeavors that don’t complement what they’re already good at.

    I subscribe to the “fix your weaknesses” ideology to some extent, but I’d far rather build up my strengths and team up with or have people around me who are strong where I am weak. That way, you get exponentially better at what you do great… and you let those around you get great at what they like doing.

    When you have passion (what I call “The P Factor”) for something, you’ll never go wrong. (With that said, the endeavor has to be worthwhile but assuming it is, passion will keep you there trying and trying again until SOMETHING HAPPENS).

    So when people ask me for advice, I always try to pinpoint what they are already good at and more so passionate about because where there is passion, everything else will fall in line.

    But passion can’t exist without ACTION. And if you’re truly passionate about something, you’ll take action to learn everything you can about it… to do everything in your power to get better at it… to strive for excellence… to live it, breathe it, daydream about it, envision yourself doing it at your best.

    On another note, imagine if someone gave you $1,440.00 everyday. You don’t have to ask for it. In many cases, you don’t deserve it but it keeps coming anyway… everyday, none stop — $1,440.00 (…a lot of money right?)

    The only kicker: You have to spend it because it won’t “rollover” to the next day. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

    Would you find a way to spend it… give it away to someone who needs it… put it to [good] use?

    Well, we do get 1,440 minutes a day but most squander it. And unfortunately, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

    Yet if time were money (like many people say it is), why don’t we treat it the same way?

    When it comes to your dreams, goals, aspirations in relation to others, TIME is the common denominator. We all have the same amount — no more, no less. So if “they” can do it with the time they have, you can too!

    So if you truly want to get “something” from “nothing,” assessing your strengths, being passionate, taking action, and being cognizant of time is where it all starts.

    Gotta go!


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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 85 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 younas

    article good article. Inspiring too


    2 Dwight

    Excellent article Jermaine, thanks!


    3 Fiifi

    Very inspirational, Jermaine. I like the part you say, “But passion can’t exist without ACTION”. I’ve seen enough talented people who are passionate about their dreams, yet just dont take action to bring them into fruition. Too often, because it is said one’s talent comes easy a person, we tend to just jump from one thing to another at the slightest difficulty hoping we’ll stumble on something we can do without any stress. I know a famous jazz pianist in my country who told me how he struggled to improve his pitch(he couldn’t even hum in the right key or tell if a song has been modulated) with ear-training softwares, because he knew he had the dexterity and the passion, so he just had to work hard to be a complete musician. According to him, today, when he starts to play, even some of those who used to ridicule him say “this has to be talent” and he just smiles to himself. Thanks for encouraging us not only to do what we’re passionate about, and what comes easy to us, but to take action.


    4 Humberto Cruz

    Passion plus action is a powerful combination.
    Thank you for this excellent article.


    5 Bruce

    You know my brother, it is sometimes hard to think of you and JP as younger brothers (at least younger than myself) you both possess wisdom beyond your years. I thank GOD for you both and encourage you to continue is what GOD has called you both to do. You are an inspiration and a motivation. Thank you


    6 StarLion

    Very inspiring article! Thank you


    7 Ivy

    Hello Mr. Griggs
    I am a new compassionate music endevor learner I enjoyed reading your last newsletter on getting something from nothing. I am trying with all that is within me to make a joyful noise unto to the Lord with my fingertips on the keyboard. My husband is so supportive of my long hours of efforts. I hope in your future newletter maybe you also can give me some helpful hints on chord progressions. I hear the chord changes in c f g so far hopefully I can make these chords sound fuller and prettier. Thank you Ivy


    8 Faye Williams

    Keep allowing the Lord to use you. Some may think it’s about the piano lessons but it is so much more. Wisdom is the principle thing but get understanding. Thank you for sharing.


    9 Jermaine Griggs

    Thank you Faye… And u keep up the great work.


    10 murvin

    Hi Jermaine

    I know all is well with your soul. My prayer everyday is that the Lord bless you, youre wife, kids and all the staff for the fact that you made me part of this huge music fam and sharing all these wonderful insights with us.
    Murvin – South Africa


    11 Brooklin Gerard

    We written. You have so easily put so much into words in such a short space. You are inspiring to me and are truly doing what you excel at. Thank you for your insight.



    12 Larry J.

    thanks for the passion and excitement that you have. Your wisdom and insight have not only kept me inspired, but continue to keep me hungry for new knowledge and skills. Spending time in practice has become a daily ritual for me and I am determined to make the minutes (1,440) each day count!


    13 kenneth ochuko

    tanks bro, am highly motivated by your words. GOD bless you.


    14 Demond

    Great article and good reminder that it’s not all in vain. Keep the knowledge coming.


    15 Denise A

    Very good article! I am a passionate music lover myself and play and sing by ear…and have been inspired to start a choir. God has given me a gift that I am not using to my fullest potential. If you can share the in and outs, the joys and sorrows, the successes and failures when embarking on something you’re passion about and need to get started, please I’m all ears. Fear plays a big factor but I’m ready to push pass all the negatives and go forward and make a move. Any advice for someone like me?


    16 Richard Blocher

    Bravo, Jermaine,

    You did it again, you hit the nail on its head.You get exactly back, what you are willing to put into it.This applies to any career we chose.God Bless, keep the Faith. God will Provide.Rick Blocher


    17 ruth

    So true, Jermaine. The best plans only remain daydreams until they are brought to life through action.


    18 Mark Brathwaite

    Hi Jermaine
    Good Evening. Very great article, you have just made my purpose become my passion. Thank you again for wisdom.
    kindest Regards

    Mark Brathwaite


    19 Thelma

    Hi Jermaine
    Thank you for sharing real life situations with us. They are the kind of things that we need to keep us in touch with reality. It is the kind of food that we need to get us going to accomplish what we need in orde to be successful. May GOD bless and keep you is my prayer.


    20 Velizar

    Really good comparison;


    21 val

    thanks bro.


    22 ORAFU Victor

    Quite inspirational. Thanks my brother.


    23 John Porter

    Hi Jermaine,
    You are a great source of inspiration to me. Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel, and you just pop into my life with something inspirational.Inspiration plus action great recipe for success,
    Thanks a million, you help me to achieve my goals.


    24 Raymond

    Well Jermaine, thanks for the investment towards my goal.


    25 Reginald Donel

    God Bless You Jermaine!!!

    Keep up your experience sharing for this is a great source of the power God has granted You to influence and educate others…I really will try to take what you’ve taught me here to heart…And like many of the other comments I’ve read, You really are wiser beyond your years…Thank God for You…


    26 Daniel

    Thanks for this influencetive and educative advice.I will really try to what you’ve taught
    me,to my heart and I hope that not long from you shall work in me.thanks and God bless
    Daniel from spain


    27 philip klein

    Hi jermaine great article so true,i am london cabbie telling every one about your websight.In fact your words of wisdom are so true i think we should get rid of all the M,Ps in parliament and vote you in .do you think you have the time.I am joking but you no the more i think about it what a great idia,Ha,Ha.very warm regards to you and family,and every one at hear and play.ps have a great xmas and happy and healthy new year.


    28 maria

    thank you Jermaine, for your inspiration. I felt like I had hit bottom; but I think that I am merely going through a transformation. I am being still and focusing on what comes to me. Your inspiring words were right on time !


    29 Gloria Wheeler

    Hello Jermaine, Passion and action, an excellent article. Determination! Something from Nothing! All great inspirational statements! Thanks for stirring me up! Maybe me now I will soon see and feel, Action! And,…. birthed that Passion stirring inside me.

    Keep on pushing us with your stirring words of encouragement.

    Have a very Blessed YEAR 2012!


    30 Tony

    Great article. No comment needed. Those words are so true that simply reading them hurts tremendously.



    31 Ann Marie Dewar

    Thank you for this inspiring article. The ‘P factor’ with action, and time as valuable as money . I’m on my way !!!


    32 Barbie

    Happy & blessed New Year to you & yours Jermaine & thanks for all you share with us.


    33 TenKeys

    Excellent. Thank you!


    34 Earnest Rodgers

    Hey Brother Griggs, great and inspired words of encouragement, I feel you brother, though, I am not discouraged, just have a lot on my plate, I realize that I have so much going on that it is very important for me to manage my time accordingly. My passion is helping others, but presently, I ma needing to set time up for myself, you know how you can hit that “Refresh” button and you get to start afresh. Well in the real world, God has equipped us with the ability to rest also, but when we fail to use those opportunities, consequently, our bodies pays for it, well, that’s sort of where I am today. slowing down, a little late, but we’re still benefited by it.
    So as an older man, I’ve learned that I am unable to save the world, but I can only do what God has given me the strength and ability to do without putting everything else in harms way, thanks for your comments. Pastor Earnest Rodgers


    35 freedom

    please i need a manual on how to play the piano


    36 iyke

    Thanks bro. I got it!!!!


    37 Tolu

    If I fail to say thank you, I will be an ingrate.. Thanks for the post..


    38 Simon

    Best encouragement ever and a real truth of success,thanks for the impowerment.May God had more wisdom to you and help us to drink from.Thanks.


    39 Tony

    How true!… But, I personally find I have to be careful about letting time become the guide. What I mean is, I get very stressed if I try to live by a schedule and can’t execute things as planned. It seems like its better for me to use my passion with a fitting goal when time permits… speaking toward fitting practice into a day with a 9-5 desk job and family. There are so many things to study that it sometimes hard to simply be able to have a clear specific goal in mind when I have that time, and I’d be much better off if I could tackle the setting up of a good step-by-step path!


    40 Costas

    You are very right I knew from the beginning I had to do with a wonderful man.I just opened my piano to play something.I will do a polka dance dedicated to you.
    Be good be nice be well.
    Thank you.
    Costas N.Papaspyrou


    41 Ingrid

    Thanks Jermaine. Great article


    42 Jacob

    This was a very inspiring article. Passion and determination best describe this artice. You wisedom


    43 Emerald Green

    This was a very good article. I often find myself with much passion for something but without taking action I am pretty much wasting my God given ability to love and enjoy doing something. Those 1,440 minutes of my day are going to be put to good use from now on.Thanks for such a good article !


    44 pat

    Mr. Griggs I saw you and your lovely family on TV when you were house hunting and I thought that the both of you were the nicest couple I had ever saw on the house hunting program. You both seemed so sincere that I looked up your site on the computer to perhaps start your lessons on learning to play piano by ear. Lets hope that 68 years old is not too old to take piano lessons.


    45 yvonne

    Hi Jermaine, Thanks for the inspiring lessons. I look forward to hearing from you. You would not believe that every day I turn on my computer I would look to see whether there is an email from you. Give my regards to JP I hear him in my sleep. I am truly enjoying the learning sessions. Thanks to you both.



    46 Michael

    Very inspirational… That just brings me in mind that I just don’t take the necessary action to achieve my dreams…This article really encourages and motivates me to do many things that either i haven’t tried to do,but i dreamed of,or things that I have tried a bit,but failed… Well done Jermaine!


    47 thomas

    i am so thankful for that piece of information, God bless you J.


    48 carol

    Just what I needed. It has been a press lately but this article really inspires me to keep on pressing, even if I have to start from scratch—so to speak. It brings back to mind when the Lord spoke to me and said this “follow through”. You helped bring this back to my remembrance—thanks. It is time to start all over again to “follow through”, because I know “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me”. Thanks again and keep sharing.


    49 Ramiro Rievra

    There is much truht in your words, thanks for helping me to remenber the need to manage the time.

    God bless you.

    Ramiro from Guadalajara in Mexico.


    50 Everna Lewis

    Words of wisdom.


    51 Vicki

    Dear Jermaine,
    Thank you for this excellent post. You are an inspiring example of someone with the awareness and initiative to follow God’s guidance on how best to use your talents. I can see that He has guided you through some difficult times and given you strength. Keep up the good work.
    God bless,


    52 charlie

    So challenging thanks Mr J


    53 deji

    This is spot on, thanks a million.


    54 Tommy

    Great Jermaine,I hope this note gets to you,Ive been trying to get started with lessons for a while but all I get is your great stories about your past and your experiences, please inform me about piano lessons for a senior beginner,I have bought a player grand for my enjoyment and I want to be able to play with it,so please send me a phone # so I can explain to someone what I want. thank you and GOD bless you too


    55 A.V.Laxmi

    Hi Jermaine Gregg,
    You expressed passion in a inspiring way… I too started now i.e my age is 57 , learning keyboard as a passion now turns into interesting and gave one program in a short time due to my master Kiran ‘s encouragement…
    How passion moves into interesting way given by you and comparing with ”Time management”…..is excellent…..Yes you are right …. Once the money cannot withdrawn from the Time Bank that will not carry forward……..You must utilise it the same day…….Thanq… , have a nice time


    56 vicky williams

    Thanks for posting I understand the theory and it is true
    Passion without action is dead and I come to understand that time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but time once it is gone thats it.

    Thanks be blessed.


    57 David

    Hi Jermaine,
    Thank you for sharing with us. Very inspiring!!


    58 Eddie

    Play ANY song with just four chords ? Try Smoke gets in your eyes or Laura, see how far you get with them.


    59 Jermaine Griggs

    Eddie – not sure where you ready “play any song with just four chords.” Maybe you took it wrong but if you know major, minor, diminished, and augmented, those basic chords form the foundation of 90% of the others. 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, altered chords, etc… if you know quick formulas. Learning each chord one by one is not necessary when you know the 4 foundational. I can mix a 1-major and 5-major (for example, C major and G major) and get a c major 9. I can mix the respective minor chords and get a C minor 9. At any rate, please take things in full context.



    60 Joshua

    Thanks You so much for this article. You are the boss.


    61 samson

    I am so short of words. you are God send to remind me of the value attached to Time


    62 Brian

    I simply subscribed to get piano lessons but trust me, it’s more than just piano. I don’t know where else i could have obtained such free inspiration and food for thought..
    I now value everything u send to my email. Thanx so much for the impact that you are giving to many.


    63 Augustus Burbach

    Its superb as your other posts : D, appreciate it for posting . “Talent does what it can genius does what it must.” by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.



    thank you Jermaine for not giving up on me yet I have filled out internet request for 4 free videos and I haven’t received them yet ,,,im not complaining im just trying to wake up my great desire so I can call it a gift yet im falling short and I know it even your magnificent robot idea seems good but when I looked at the turtle speed the severalnotes seemed grouped or compiled together but I must admit im not practicing cause im still lacking or maybe I need actual contact or more prayer for my understanding ,,,not to burden you at all just wanted to touch base because you care enough to keep me encouraged,THANKS


    65 Ephraim Silas

    Hi Jermaine. Tnx for your lessons and inspirational notes. I must confess that you have been a great, positive influence on me musically and otherwise. I have had a passion for music since I was a kid but have never learned to play any instrument except the drums. I started learning the piano just 3 years ago when I was 21. A lot of people told me I was too old to start learning then and that it would have been best if I had started learning and playing from childhood. It felt as if what they said was true because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t make a really good sound on the piano. I was on the verge of giving up when I met your site. You rekindled my passion and you are still doing it. Thanks a lot and God bless. Hope to learn more from you.


    66 Zalisile

    I’m motivated already.


    67 Tekena



    68 Neneth Hammond

    Very inspiring! Thank you.:)


    69 Abasiekeme Abia

    you are my legend sir… you are bless ..ur kids shall be talented than you… to help their generation Amen.. Abasi udiong


    70 lander

    Hi my teacher Jermaine it is very great, and very good and i thank you for your lessons.


    71 Hosea Kalyango

    Hi Grigs I great u in the name of our precious master the lord Jesus Christ I really apperecidoing foruns u
    Am askinuddyg kiuddyndly to show me how to play runs and fills on a piano coz my playing sounds my u saonodon boring.
    Hope to hear from


    72 Andre Springer

    Great article. Thanks bro.


    73 Nody Nvita

    Wonderful article and thank you Jermaine for sharing. you’re really a channel of blessings. keep on doing it and God will continue to bless you


    74 Braz

    Hi Germain

    Thank you for the advise, You are right it is like that.


    75 Yemi

    A great and inspiring article. Thanks for sharing and God bless. Shalom.


    76 oteng

    i just get comforted when i read post from this site. JG you are a blessing to my ministry. I pray grace locate you always and again keep on doing what you go best.


    77 Dolapo

    Thanks, Jermaine, for such wise and inspiring words. I wish you favour in all your endeavours.


    78 Dexter McDougal

    Great inspiring article . I needed that. Thanks.


    79 Efionayi Peter

    Great article it is,Inspiring one at such. Thanks for this


    80 STELLA

    SO LONG,


    81 Benjamin

    thank you for the inspiring word today. I appreciate your time and concern towards those of us who learn from your rich knowledge and skill. I must say I’m most grateful too…


    82 Jack

    Nice blog I enjoyed reading it my site


    83 Frederick Asare

    Thanks, Jermain for this wonderful post. It struck an answering chord in me.


    84 Bobby

    Greetings Jermaine,
    You have proven so many times that God’s wisdom is wonderful. He chose to give you the gift to express what so many need to hear. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the piano or about life. Thank you for sharing the gifts God has given you with me and others. You have inspired me to learn to play piano after wanting to for so many years. I may never be Liberace, but I will play well enough to suit me. Thank you again for your inspiration
    Be well & Be happy


    85 Carolyn

    Thanks Jermaine for the inspiring article. I always enjoy reading your stories, because they not only deal with the natural man but also the spiritual man. I have always been passionate about music and today it’s still existing. I go to bed thinking about music. Thanks for all your help and GMTC. You are a very inspirational person. I always look forward to hearing your stories. God bless you Man of God.


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