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Inspiring Yourself With Music (Or Something Else)

I can’t go to sleep. I spent my entire Memorial Day weekend either sacked out or in heavy interaction with other people. The ebb and flow of it all is incredibly interesting, I just wish I didn’t have to deal with or think about it at midnight before work the next day.

I went through this phase in my life where I was incredibly inspired by music. Sometimes all it took was a little guitar riff to let an emotion wash over me. Sometimes a lyric could tell my entire story. My personal journal was full of written down music lyrics that I thought defined the moment. I was consumed by music though. I could easily spend all day listening to CD’s (or later on, MP3’s).

Looking back on it now, it seems very artificial to be pining for the days when music meant a lot to me. It seems like a lot of people find their way through their formative years with the help of music. Whether it be through rebellion or inspiration or love. For the record, my first tape I hid from my parents was LL Cool J. My first CD, Green Day’s Dookie didn’t come out from a classical music CD case until my junior year in high school. For inspiration, I turned to a worn out Boyz II Men tape. My first girlfriend and I had a “song” by K-Ci and JoJo. I had to Google the name of that band too.

The funny part about it all is that I didn’t lose that love of music, it wasn’t a phase, and it doesn’t seem artificial. 10 years ago, I picked up a guitar for the first time. I didn’t become a superstar but I became good enough so that when I pick it up, I can actually enjoy it. Every time I play (which I do with a decent frequency), I feel more tightly connected with music. I don’t know if it has anything to do with feeling the frequency of the notes resonating through your fingers.

I think the biggest breakthrough for me came when I realized that music didn’t have to emote me. The revelation that music could be used to reveal emotions I was feeling or the mood I was going through was a big deal. The more practical application was that I could correct bad or ineffective moods very easily with music.

So to the practical part of this post: a couple of days ago, I was stressed out. When I drove to work, I put in my Coldplay album instead of listening to sports talk radio (which is really for the better with all of the baseball talk). Half an hour later, all is better. It is a clever manipulation, one that initially made me angry. “Nothing changed, stupid,” I said to myself coldly. True enough.

In the end, it didn’t matter because that clever manipulation helped me perform better and ultimately did make the real change happen (albeit not directly, not that it matters). You have to use your inspirations to help you out in real life. If that means using your inspiration to leverage career success or using it to just get through your work day, do it.

So my inspiration is music which I guess isn’t all that unique but it works. Do you have a particularly unique inspiration? How do you use it to become successful?

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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