It is 1966. A small eight-year-old boy is walking through southwest Chicago on a blazing hot summer's day. How long has he been walking? Hours?
His face runny with sweat, he finally finds his destination: an incredibly fancy music store with beautiful silver flutes under a glass case. The little boy, clutching his poor wooden flute, stares in awe.
It is an incredible store. What is he, a ragamuffin skinny kid, doing there?
Undeterred, he waits in line. When it's his turn, he asks for flute lessons. He has the vague sense he doesn't really belong there, but that's not going to stop him.
The counterwoman looks down on him with impatient contempt. "How many lessons? How many times a week? Who's going to pay for this, son? They're eight dollars an hour."
The small boy has scraped together enough spare change to almost have nine dollars. That's it.
He feels he can't breathe. The whole store is looking at him -- and laughing.
"Next in line, please."
The little boy running home in tears is Mike Flatley.
That was 54 years ago. Today, Mike has a castle. In Ireland. In that castle is a vast selection of flutes, including a rare nineteenth-century Rudall and Rose. He's completely self-taught on the flute, and he's played it live in stadiums to over 100,000 people.
To anyone out there who has a dream: you'll be laughed at. You'll be told you're not good enough. You'll be shouted at to stop dreaming. The universe tests you by throwing everything it can think of at you.
Stand tall. Fight back. Put in the work. And *win.*