I woke up feeling like absolute garbage the other day.
Fighting-off an infection, and running on little sleep, I made my way to a local coffee shop, downed a double espresso and waited for the magic to happen, but to my dismay… nothing happened. I was still tired, still agitated, still brain-dead.
I then proceeded to bust out my laptop and get to work. Well, that was the plan. But it was one of those days where everything seems to line up against you. I couldn’t focus or articulate my thoughts no matter how hard I tried. On the verge of frenzy, I plugged in my headphones and blasted some high energy music and…
– BOOM –
Within five minutes I felt awake, energized and unstoppable.
This wasn’t the first time music saved the day either. I’ve been using high energy music to destroy strength plateaus, be more creative, and get shit done for years. But I hadn’t learned how to strategically use music for my purposes, like I use coffee or other performance enhancing compounds.
Music Makes The World Go Round
Have you ever noticed how good ideas come to you while you’re in motion? Have you noticed how your mental clarity peaks during a brisk walk or run, and how your energy and mood hit rock-bottom after sitting at a desk for hours?
This “need for speed” is a survival mechanism encoded in our genes. For our ancestors, standing still meant possible death. Modern life, however, doesn’t really care about our ancestral past.
So what happens when you sit down to work on your computer? Desk work is monotonous (no matter what you’re doing) and won’t keep your brain interested for long. You zone out and look for distractions. You check your Facebook feed, watch YouTube or indulge in funny memes (in that case, you’re excused), and before you know it 2 hours went by.
This is where music comes in. Music stimulates the mind, giving you a sense of urgency and movement, even in times of complete standstill.
I do my best work while pumping high energy music. It gives me momentum and provides me with a sense of motion even when I’m strapped to my office chair. It gives my mind something to snack on while I concentrate on creating.
Get High Like The Birds in The Sky
Your brain relies on stimulation for peak performance.
That’s why coffee works so well for studying or doing mentally draining work (a strong cup of tea will do the trick as well). It raises dopamine levels in the brain, which increases motivation and drive. Music has a similar effect and when you combine the two good things happen.
What you listen to is of utmost importance, however.
Some of the gyms I occasionally go to are prime examples of subpar music selection and its devastating effect on the listener. They play low energy shit music (couldn’t think of a more fitting description), and unsurprisingly, most people there aren’t training purposefully. You couldn’t tell if they showed up to build muscle, work on their conditioning or share their expertise on pressing political matters.
Slow, sad songs or emotional ballads are the last thing you want to listen to during exercise or work. You need music that energizes you, motivates and inspires you. Music that gets you high like the birds in the sky.
When you’re going into your heaviest set of weighted pull-ups or sitting down to complete an assignment, you cannot afford distractions. You cannot afford to let your mind wander. You cannot afford to listen to slow and low music.
In contrast to low energy music, the right tunes will keep you locked in on the task at hand until it is completed or the day comes to an end.
Never Listen to The Radio
The stuff you hear on the radio is sad low energy music for sad low energy people. What you want is energy. What you need is energy, and you’ll get it by listening to high energy music.
Personally, I like house music or high energy hip-hop. I’m more productive when listening to high energy music. I have my best workouts blasting high energy music.
While you can still listen to your favorite music (whatever that may be), realize that it will affect your mood and mental state, so go with high energy tunes and save the teary-eyed love songs for your down time. You can’t afford energy sapping music during periods of high demand.
Do you want to be sad and depressed? Listen to the radio.
Do you want to feel alive and energetic? Listen to high energy music.
Get yourself a decent pair of headphones for added benefit. While you can still enjoy the effects of music without using them, headphones give you a much more intense experience.
Never underestimate the power of music. It will dictate how you feel, and how you feel will determine how you perform.
Thank you for reading