Dit artikel is in het Engels geschreven door de Deense (Kopenhagen) trainer/coach Jacob. Het bevat inspiratie over hoe je door 'anders zijn' meer bereikt dan 'normaal' te doen. Be. A. Rebel.
How playing drums taught me to be weird
The best short answer I ever got to the question ’how should I live my life?’ was ’Be someone you like’. Of course, the problem with this answer is that it leads you to a new question – a commonly shared trait of many good answers – which is: ’Who, or what, do I like?’. Again, this may lead you to some interesting answers, but once again you’ll probably end up with a new, and potentially dangerous, question that goes: ’can I be like this? Can I be like the person I like?’.
And this is where you have to be careful.
The body of Schwarzenegger
Because we usually admire amazing people, the answer to this question is probably going to be ‘No! No, you cannot be like the person you like’. At least, this is how my thought process goes.
Everyday I’m reminded of how my body is nowhere near Arnold Schwarzenegger’s and how my mental abilities are nowhere near Immanuel Kants. And so the question changes once again, to ‘how do we learn from these amazing guys without getting into a lifetime of self-loathing?‘.
'Just be yourself' is bullsh*t
Well, some people would say: ‘Just be yourself!’. But that is just the worst bullcrap advice you could possibly get, and no one really knows what that worn out phrase means. My answer would be this: Don’t try to be yourself and don’t try to be like others either.
Let me explain what I mean.
Copying results in a ‘not as good as’ mindset
Once I wanted to be a drummer. I wanted to be a drummer really bad, and I was completely determined to do whatever it would take. So what did I do? I looked for the best drummers and tried to copy them.
I did the things the Arnold Schwarzenegger's of drumming did. I was trying to figure out if I could be like the people I liked.
This copying-style worked out OK, but it created a ’not as good as’ mindset. And along with that, it created a lot of frustration, but the frustration took me some interesting ways. For instance, it made me think thoughts like ’This drummer is so much better than me! I have to do something extreme to keep up!´.
Tai-Chi lessons with 60 year old women
So what did I do? Well, I started doing some weird stuff to keep up with my idols. I started practicing drums in a different way, in order to figure out if I could be like the people I liked. Here are some of the weird stuff I started to incorporate in my drumming practice:
- Taking Tai-chi lessons with a bunch of ladies at 60+ years old
- Meditation everyday
- Becoming a street salesman
- Living on less than 15 euros a week
- Exchanging my drums for glass filled with water
- Completely stopped using my right hand
Kind of weird right? Not a typical drumming routine at least. All of these things had an idea behind them though.
Tai Chi lessons I did to better the flow of my movement, to always feel at ease when I played. The meditation I did to loosen the control of my Super Ego and to stop over-thinking my playing.
I became a street salesman to overcome my fear of judgement, so that I could go to more jam-sessions.
Because I was bad at playing soft on the drum kit, I started practicing on glass filled with water, trying not to make them spill.
I lived on less than 15 euros a week so I could spend my money on drum lessons instead.
Note van Bart: Elon Musk (Tesla / Paypal) leefde van 1 dollar per dag zodat hij zijn doelen en dromen waar kon maken.
Still not the body of Schwarzenegger…
The conclusion to this experiment was that I really couldn’t become like the people I liked. And when I gave it up, and tried to be like myself, I just ended up trying to copy my idols in different ways. In other words: I was getting a good austrian-american accent, but I simply wasn’t getting ripped.
It was getting weird, not better!
I like being weird
So, what’s point of sharing this story? Well, the good side of this seemingly sad story, is that I learned that I liked being weird. And if you feel good about being weird, it’s a pretty good deal.
I’d even say it’s a sign that you’ve come closer to figuring out who you really are. Trying to copy my idols and ending up being weird, actually taught me some valuable lessons, that I’d like to share with you.
Conclusion: My lessons
Firstly: There’s always a smarter way to get what you want.
One reason people don’t consider the quicker alternative, or don’t even see it, is because it’s just too weird.
For instance, becoming a street salesman was the smartest thing I ever did in terms of overcoming fear of judgement. It was the equivalent of going on a 100 dates a day.
Since then I’m never afraid of asking stupid questions in classrooms, stop by my professors offices or ask someone out for a date.
And this weird-thinking goes for having fun too: If you want a cool experience, just go to China for the weekend!
I did that once. I spend half of the time in the airport in Moscow, only saw a tiny bit of Beijing, and people thought it was just a big waste of money. But screw the social conventions! Friday morning I was in Denmark and Monday afternoon I had been to China! It was a great story to tell, and I had a great trip - and that’s the whole point of traveling, right?
Secondly: Food is important, but very overrated.
I once heard a story about a turkish musician, who would spend all his money on music lessons instead of food. He went to bed hungry, but he became better than everyone else. Again, I copied.
Copying this behavior thaught me that, as long as I only have to take care of myself, I can live with pretty much no disposable income. If you look for it, and make lists, you can get A LOT of food for shockingly low prices. And then you can spend your money on becoming awesome instead.
Note van Bart: Seneca, één van 's werelds bekendste filosofen, is ook voorstander van het eten van minder maaltijden per dag en bij tijd en wijle 'hongerig' te zijn. Voor meer inspiratie check wederom 'Elon Musk 1 dollar a day'.
Recently this lesson resulted in me taking two really cool volunteer jobs instead of just a regular no-brainer paid job, because I know that I can live with a little.
Thirdly: Other people matter a lot.
I learned how dependent I am on other people. It’s way easier to work hard when other people are doing it with you.
It’s way easier to do weird stuff with weird company. And it’s so much fun and so inspiring to be surrounded by people who do weird stuff.
To sum it up:
If you want to be someone you like, go be weird!
Thanks for reading
Belangrijke footnote: Rebels en durf hebben om anders te doen dan de rest, zoals in bovenstaand artikel beschreven, is dé nummer 1 succesfactor. Beeld je eens in wanneer deze groep 'Top Performers' allemaal de norm zouden volgen? Zouden ze dan net zo veel succes vergaren?
Vaak is het een kwestie van niet durven door irreële zelfgecreëerde angsten. Je hebt wilskracht, discipline en vooral zelfvertrouwen nodig om die stap te zetten. Mijn missie is goede mensen beter maken en goede mensen worden niet beter als ze niet gelukkig zijn.
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