How To Be Number One

Robert Strand

You know you have really made in the world when an "Adidas" ™ sneaker has been named after you! However, you need to know this is not named after a professional athlete...he's 27-year-old Chinese-born pianist Lang Lang (pronounced Long, Long). The argument can be made that he is the most successful classical pianist of our generation with more than a million CDs and DVDs sold as well as hundreds of sold-out concerts all over the world.

     pianokeys    Super-stardom in classical music didn't come easily. He left his home, at age 9, in rural China in the town of Shenyang to have access to the best teachers. He went with his father to a Beijing slum where they lived without heat. Nights were especially miserable. His father forced him to practice for most of his waking hours in an obsessive attempt to make Lang number ONE and he admits he feels he lost part of his childhood while honing his craft.

         Lang has come a long way since those many years of privation and endless practice. Today...his passion is to show young people the fun he finds in classical music. "Adidas Originals" designed a gold-and-black piano-themed sneaker, with Lang Lang's name written in Chinese and a silhouette of the piano star in action. He says, "When you think of classical music's image, it's very serious and elite. I'm trying to interest young people in classical music, so it was really a good fit."

         He's easy to spot with his spiked hair and tone on tone sleek suits. He's also proved that classical music doesn't have to be stuffy. But more importantly...he's proven that the journey to becoming number one begins with a single step! (Adapted from SUCCESS, April 2010)

         So...together, let's take that first step!

         "How long will you lie there...? When will you get up from your sleep?" (Proverbs 6:9).