Inspired by “The greatest trick I know (Michael Malarkey)
Some days ago I had to go for a really tough sub-maximal run. Well my next 10k is calling and I have to get things done. No excuses, right? Listening to my favorite music I started my run. Somehow I was fast, happy and full of power. But after a while my headphones died and so did my feelings of happiness…My motivation literally collapsed. I was pissed and definitely wanted to break off. But the whole scenario also made me realize how exhausted I actually am and how dramatic music protected me from the physical struggle.
Basically I have no idea about how my passion for music developed. But when I think back…it possibly started with the baby-version of me, untiringly jumping and singing to Heino’s „Blau blüht der Enzian“ (Engl. blue grooms the gentian #shameonme). I do not know if it is rather inherent or if it has something to do with socialization. But ask me about the things I would take to a deserted island and I would definitely name music. I think I could not survive without it. At least I would find a way to “produce” some music or sing on my own. Music drives my behavior, my mood and enhances my performance.
Thanks but no thanks!
Nevertheless, I always felt confident to have a strong passion for sports, and that is basically why I studied exercise science. But years later – being more experienced – I noticed that I was totally wrong.
I am not passionate about sports, I just made the decision to study and do sports, because I have been good at it and because I have had lot of friends in professional sports. The access has been easy, I did not have and I also was not willing to work a lot for it. What I know so far is, that I basically hate sports and I always did. I think, that is why I was so lazy all the time and why I have put only the physical effort in, which was necessary to survive.
I think, that is also why I am still dealing with procrastination concerning my half-marathon schedule or why I am not excited about new fitness trends, getting a six-pack or following a super healthy lifestyle, despite working in this field. I simply hate physical effort and I especially hate all the circumstances of training. I mean it is exhausting and boring. If you train outside it is either dark or way too cold (mostly both) or it is way to hot and the humid air is killing you. Last but not least it takes away our precious leisure time… so thanks, but no thanks! Then I really prefer to do some creative stuff and truly practice my beloved danish coziness (hygge).
But then, I was so engaged and successful in dancing – for years! I spent three to four hours a day in the gym and put all my time into it. How is it possible? Was it just a great amount of willpower? Well, maybe the willpower-thing is true…but as my job always forces me to ask ‘why’, the question is more about “why” I am able to bring up the willpower towards an activity I basically hate? Why am I doing this? Why the hell am I torturing my body, for things I can’t stand? And the answer is simple…isn’t it?
“After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”
I started to observe my leisure time activities, not the obvious things, but the activities I was willing to do no matter how tired or uncomfortable I was. The things I was doing even when a bad flu knocked me down. So finally I found myself creating stuff. Although I would call myself impatient as hell, I have spent hours of my leisure time painting, sewing or designing whilst listening to music.
The hours were flying, as I spent precious time with my inner child. And although our favorite music steadily encompassed both of us, it felt like pure silence…intimate, magical, inspiring. Music has the power to distract me from the struggle in all areas of life. Or maybe it is more about protection. Listening to music simply feels like the silent, warm and cozy family-nest of my childhood.
So the answer to the question why we can torture ourselves for things we even detest, in the end is easy. As you can see in my case, motivation developed through a true passion. For me this passion is music. It surrounds my daily life… from the daily bike rides to my working place, through exhausting working blocks, to my running sessions or clubbing. Even the series I watch on TV usually catch my attention because of the soundtrack. Just try to watch a scene without any sound. I promise it is going to be a disaster!
Music for me is more like a playlist on Spotify. It is like the soundtrack of my very own life, delivering a track for each and every mood. And if I really wanted or had to cope with something, it was music helping me to forget all the struggle and to get things done. Although my tough workout sessions helped me to calm down and reduce high stress levels, in the end music lured me and led me through the exhausting sessions.
Music is and always has been the loyal, understanding companion, the closemouthed diary who taught me discipline, concentration, trust and emotion – but even more important – who helped me to grow up. And within this feeling of protection, my loyal companion somehow opened the doors to the silent areas of my volition and creativity, which seemed to be closed without music. So now it’s your turn! “Who” is your special friend?
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