Take The Shot


I almost threw it away…my shot, that is. What am I talking about? Hamilton, one of the most popular shows on Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant musical, and specifically the second song of the show called “My Shot.” I have always loved going to the theater with my wife, Valerie. We’ve seen the Tony® Award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, on Broadway; Dreamgirls with Jennifer Holiday in Los Angeles, and a host of other shows on both coasts. So why did I almost throw away my shot?


For reasons that are not germane to this blog, I decided I was not going to see this seminal musical that has taken Broadway by storm.

My good friend and actor, Rick Segall, was not of that thought. In fact, he was so impacted by the cast recording of Hamilton he even had the show’s logo tattooed on his leg. Rick is in the same caliber of Lin-Manuel Miranda when it comes to writing plays and acting. His one man play, Barbarian, is destined to be a phenomenon once it makes its way to Broadway. (I’ve seen it eight times)! So when my daughter, Emily, told me about the Hamilton app and how you could enter a lottery to buy $300 tickets for $10.00, I thought I would enter with the idea to give them to Rick and his wife, Andrea, if I happened to win.


Well, lo and behold, I won two house seats on a Saturday and had to pay the $20.00 for the Sunday matinee. I was so jazzed to tell Rick I was sending them to the play, I even had someone ready to video Rick’s response when I told him the good news. Except…we didn’t get the response we were expecting. I thought Rick would be doing cartwheels and speaking in tongues he would be so deliriously happy when I told him his dream was coming true. You remember this man had the Hamilton logo tattooed on his leg without having seen the show. But Andrea was out of town and unbeknownst to me, the Segalls had purchased tickets to go as a family later in the year and Rick wanted to see it for the first time with his wife and three children. So I completely understood but what was I going to do? Ultimately, I decided I would go see Hamilton after all and take a friend of mine from college since Valerie was out of town.


We were excited to learn we had second row seats. One man sitting on the end of the row next to Herman had paid $300 for his ticket. But even more exciting was the musical itself. The second show-stopping song, “My Shot,” gave me an adrenaline punch in the gut with its lyric and hip hop delivery. Young 19 year old Alexander Hamilton sings:


I’m a diamond in the rough

A shiny piece of coal

Tryin’ to reach my goal

My power of speech: unimpeachable

Only nineteen but my mind is older

These New York City streets get colder

I shoulder


The plan is to fan this spark into a flame

But damn, it’s getting dark

So let me spell out the name

I am the


We are—meant to be…


I am not throwing away my shot

I am not throwing away my shot

Hey yo, I’m just like my country

I’m young, scrappy, and hungry

And I’m not throwing away my shot


But I almost did throw away my shot to see this brilliant musical. What would I have missed had I not gone? A history lesson told in the modern vernacular. But even more important, Hamilton inspired me to continue to pursue my dreams by reminding me of a sign I saw in front of a church:

Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire


(insert photo)


For those of you who forgot this part of American history, Alexander Hamilton did “expire” at the hands of Aaron Burr who killed him in a duel. But Hamilton’s written words were like the root words of “aspire,” “inspire,” and “expire” which all come from the Latin meaning “to breathe upon,” “to pant after,” “to breathe into,” and “to breathe out.” Our founding fathers were racing to breathe life into a revolution, panting after a new world not dictated by a monarchy intent on taxing them into oblivion but breathing out hope, idealism, and the concept of a Republic controlled of, by and for the people.


Friend, our world is racing forward with accelerating speed again. Even though I’m considered middle-age by some, I feel like Hamilton: “Just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry and I’m not throwing away my shot.” I want to aspire to breathe life into those reading this blog. My TRINSPIRATION® phrases are not a marketing gimmick to sell books and merchandise. Most importantly, they are a tool by which you can pant after the things that are important to you and inspire you to take your shot.


I recently spoke to a group and walked the audience members through an exercise of using their imagination to see how much they are loved. A man came up to me with tears in his eyes and said for the first time in his life he felt loved by his heavenly father even though his earthly father had never expressed affection for him. I didn’t see him for a month and a half but when I did he related how he had continued the exercise and was growing daily in realizing how loved he is by God. He was breathing life into old dead beliefs that he was unlovable.


“The plan is to fan this spark into a flame

But damn, it’s getting dark

So let me spell out the name”



Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire

Breathe new life

Speak unimpeachable words

Live the Dream,

Spark the Flame,

Take the Shot


Aspire to Inspire


Taking My Shot,


Rodney Johnson

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