A soundtrack for hustle
Reflection: Think about what music means to you. What are some songs that make you feel like a bawse, like you can accomplish anything? What are some songs that make you feel good no matter what, that life is immaculately beautiful? What are some songs that motivate you, put you in the zone, and allow creative energy to flow?
- Ima Boss – Meek Mill. Yes indeed, it makes me feel like a bawse.
- Wake Me Up – Avicii. Wake up and live a wonderful life 🙂
- Theme – Rudy. Put your head down and give it your all. You’ll make it.
I love music. From the first CD I ever bought (Eiffel 65: Europop, in 2000, which means my parents actually were the ones who bought it), to learning to play music myself, to continuing to gain energy and enjoyment from the music I like, it has all made my life better. I know some people who don’t really like music. They don’t listen to it very often and it doesn’t bring them much joy. I wish I could understand what makes those people feel that way and open them up to what they’re missing out on. I wouldn’t trade the summer car rides filled with the steel-guitar of country songs, beach house chillin’ to the all-time greatest classic rock, and nights out dancing to the best hip-hop can offer us, for anything. Absolutely nothing beats those moments. There’s no substitute for music.
When I hear particular songs, the sound immediately takes me back to the moment when the song first made an emotional impact on me. Every person has some songs that take on extra meaning for them. It’s weird and magnificent how the songs can make you feel the past while simultaneously bringing you good vibes in the present. The following three songs pull on me in precisely that way:
- Ima Boss – Meek Mill ft. Rick Ross
- I was first introduced to the music of Meek Mill during the summer after my freshman year at college. I distinctly remember my buddies banging songs from Dreamchasers 2 in the car before our American Legion baseball games. I was hooked on the intensity of Meek’s delivery. The fire in his flow. The, I went to the Meek Mill concert on August 24th, 2012 at the Fillmore. Wale and Drake showed up too. Unbelievable. One of the best nights of my life. The message shared by Meek through his music inspired me like almost nothing else before. I rolled into the concert expecting to jam out to bangers. I left the venue a completely different person. I became a dreamchaser.
- Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony
- One of the theme songs during my time in Granada. Despite frequently hearing it out in the discotecas, which were epic nights, the moment the song brings me back to is a particular workout sesh in Parque Carlos Cano. The radio was playing over at a nearby café and I was going through my usual speed, agility, and quickness training (SAQ) workout. Vivir Mi Vida came on and something clicked. I found presence. The workout became fun. The song gave me an extra boost to go harder, to tap into the infinite energy inside of me I was forgetting about. Vivir Mi Vida makes me feel joy no matter how mundane a moment seems to be. A workout in an empty nondescript park turns out to be an essential step on the journey towards your personal legend.
- Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
- On my first weekend at college, I participated in one of the best traditions of our baseball program. The infamous ‘Freshman BBQ’. It’s the evening during which the new freshman have the chance to meet all the other players on the team and start the bonding process that develops into the team’s unique comradery. At the beginning of the BBQ, I knew a couple of other freshman ballplayers I had met during orientation, a handful of players I met during my overnight visit a year before, and the three senior team captains. I felt out of place, shy, and wondered how I would fit into my new team. Those feelings quickly evaporated as the night went on. Right before the event opened up into an all-out party, Wagon Wheel came on and I sang my heart out with at least a dozen other guys who were complete strangers merely a couple hours beforehand. Whenever I hear Wagon Wheel now, I instantly feel the budding connection with those former teammates of mine.
Individual songs are nice while they’re on, but a cohesively crafted playlist can set the desired tone for an entire event, for any length of time. I’ve been making playlists since I got my first iPod back in December 2007. I had a 24 track playlist for every summer between 2008 and 2015. I lost that device in November 2015. It was sad when it happened, though, I learned a true lesson in being unattached. There were thousands of songs on it and the back had a special engraving: L0ve Music. I used specific playlists to give me energy everywhere, from intense workouts in the weight room to concentrated studying in the library. Pro tip: the Lord of the Rings soundtrack makes the essay you’re cranking out seem like a dragon you’re slaying :). Over the last month, I’ve been using a special playlist when I want to bear down and get some quality work in. It’s called HUSTLE. I put it on when I want to get into a creative zone, an inspired flow-state. In Tim Ferriss’ new book ‘Tools of Titans’, he mentions how many of the successful people he’s interviewed listen to a song on repeat in order to focus. My HUSTLE playlist isn’t quite the same as that, however, it makes me more productive nonetheless. Here’s it is:
- Medley – Angels in the Outfield – Randy Edelman
- For the Love of a Princess – Braveheart – James Horner
- Freedom – Braveheart – James Horner
- The Legend Spreads – Braveheart – James Horner
- Outlawed Tunes on Outlawed Pipes – Braveheart – James Horner
- Theme – Braveheart – James Horner
- Ending Theme – The Dark Knight – Hans Zimmer
- Theme – The Dark Knight Rises – Hans Zimmer
- Theme – For the Love of the Game – Basil Poledouris
- The Departure – Gattaca – Michael Nyman
- Medley – Gladiator – Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
- Time/Inception + The Great Dictator Speech – Charlie Chaplin + Hans Zimmer
- Theme – Halo – Martin O’Donnell & Michael Salvatori
- Theme – Indiana Jones – John Williams
- Theme – Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
- Where We’re Going – Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
- Medley – Jurassic Park – John Williams
- King of Pride Rock – Lion King – Hans Zimmer
- Aniron – Lord of the Rings – Enya
- The Breaking of the Fellowship – Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
- Concerning Hobbits – The Lord of the Rings – Howard Shoe
- Evenstar – Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
- May it Be – Lord of the Rings – Enya
- The Return of the King – Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
- Themes of the Rohirrim – Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
- Samwise the Brave – Lord of the Rings – Howard Shore
- End Title – The Natural – Randy Newman
- He’s a Pirate – Pirates of the Caribbean – Hans Zimmer
- Titans Spirit – Remember the Titans – Trevor Rabin
- The Final Game – Rudy – Jerry Goldsmith
- Theme – Rudy – Jerry Goldsmith
- Tryouts – Rudy – Jerry Goldsmith
- Medley – Shawshank Redemption – Thomas Newman
- Hymn to the Sea – Titanic – James Horner
- Rose’s Theme – Titanic – James Horner
- Teldrassil – World of Warcraft – Russell Brower