Lessons About Getting The Very Best From Yourself
This weekend I sat down to catch up some of the latest movies.
One of which I had been hearing a lot of praise about, Whiplash, because it won an Oscar for best supporting role.
The story centres on a talented, young drummer, who has aspirations to be the next Buddy Rich (one of the very best drummers of all time. A drummers drummer if you will).
Anyway…this talented kid is at THE top music school in New York and competition is fierce to get on the best school band.
If he can get a position as a “first” in the band and keep it, it will unlock the full potential of the rest of his career and life.
The major challenge is keeping the conductor of the band happy enough for you to keep your position.
Simple enough…except this guy is the Hitler of the music world.
Any slight deviation from his EXACT expectations and you’re open to a tirade of abuse and losing your hard fought position in the band. (I had a boss like that once…he actually worked himself to death. A story for another time.)
When our young hero first joins the band he almost loses his head to a chair thrown across the room for “rushing” (playing ahead of the scripted tempo).
As the story progresses, our hero pushes himself harder and harder – more often than not literally bleeding from his fingers due to the intensity of his practice.
Ultimately this culminates in him being involved in a car accident on the way to one of the band’s competitions.
He pulls himself clear of the twisted metal and broken glass and proceeds to continue (all be it with a limp) on foot to join the band.
He manages to get on stage just in time, with blood pouring from his head and face.
Unfortunately for him, he now has a broken arm – so trying play anything, let alone a fast tempo, complicated piece of music is beyond him.
Seemingly defeated he sits behind the drum kit with blood and sweat dripping from his body. He has given EVERYTHING he has.
I won’t ruin the rest of the story…as this point only takes you halfway through the film.
The lesson I learnt…
The lesson I learnt is that we are far more capable than we allow ourselves to be.
To be able reach our potential we sometimes need an outside force to say “Bullshit! You can do better.”
…Or maybe just throw a chair at our heads if we really fuck up.
It’s in our nature to be comfortable, to avoid hard work, to escape the situations that challenge us.
But to get the very best out of ourselves, we need to be pushed through them.