Phases of un-motivation and un-inspiration are human. Everybody has a time where they feel maybe a bit lost, and don't know how to get back to feeling motivated and inspired again. Recently I have had a period of this time from a few things I was doing wrong:
- The first being an unvarying practice routine over the course of weeks. I was going to practice for over four hours a day to the same room, on the same kit, practicing the same recital and exercise material. This naturally became dull and whenever I would veer off on improvisation I would feel I had to stop to go back to exercises.
- Secondly I had a setback on the 'year abroad' program that Newcastle University offer. I had a plan in mind that I set all store by, and it was to attend a non-eu institution with the options of Canada or Australia on the applications list. After being told I was unsuccessful I quickly felt that my plans were shattered, and instead of using logic to adapt and change options and see that I can deal with it in two ways, I made the choice to be stricken by it, and have a negative outlook, resulting in a stop in progression.
- I had stopped also looking for inspiration, and things to get me excited about going to practice, or writing, or wanting to progress.
- I had stopped doing things outside of practice using what I had learnt in practice with drums rewarding enough to push me to want to go back for more. I.e. Gig's, playing with other musicians, recording.
A combination of all these factors resulted in not wanting to do anything really but after one week of going to practice with no enthusiasm to do so, and a huge lack of drive outside of drums was enough for me to decide I was going to do something. Also I watched a drum lesson by Drumeo with Larnell Lewis who spoke about this very issue, and who himself took time away from the drums just listening to music for a while, and hanging out with people who had a different music taste before returning with greater enthusiasm and viewpoint to the kit.
So I stopped practice and reflected on what I felt was wrong, then decided what needs to change. This was very important for me and it is something I would advise to anyone going through the same. The solutions I came up with for the points above are as follows with some tips below:
In my case it will mean rotating through changing my practice room, routine and drum kit. This is a way of breaking the routine of monotony and preventing things getting stale. It is important to do this process as soon as you feel something is getting boring, or you start losing interest. The same can be said for anything: a change of place that you study, change of revision habits, change of workplace, change of job etc.
2. Adapt to Change
Rarely will any plan that you have go without a hitch, and although you might think you can gauge what's going to happen, some things you can't foresee. To quote the brilliant Stephen Hawking 'Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change'. Adapting to change can be hard, especially if you had put all of your eggs in one basket, but gaining the ability to adapt and learning that setting store in one plan sometimes backfires will prove extremely important when things change again and again. The more you learn to adapt the easier it becomes to do so in every situation. Overcome your adversities.
3. Seek Out Inspiration
Seeking out inspiration can come from anywhere and any source.
People. Seeking out people that inspire you can be hugely influential and beneficial in resurging your energy and idea levels. Contact the people you find inspiring, ask them questions you might have and form a relationship, hanging around with people that are motivated, and inspirational rubs off. If you can't make contact then study them, there are loads of resources available to look at what great inspirational people are doing. Certainly for me, coming away from a drum clinic watching some of the worlds best drummers leaves you awe inspired and shows you what you can achieve if you work hard enough. Soak in what these people do, and try to incorporate aspects of what they do in your life, and it will prove to be extremely rewarding.
Videos. Watching videos about people who inspire you can also be a useful tool in regaining some motivation back. Getting an insight to their workings and life and seeing that they are human will instill confidence that you can do as greater things as they can. This can also provide you with some tools to use in your own life.
Books. Reading up on inspiring events or acts can also be a really good tool. There are many books and millions of online articles to read. Just using a simple google search will give you access to a wealth of blogs, articles, pdf books and much more. Check out AdamLewis0 blogs for loads of great posts on the subject of personal development, strength, business and more. Follow the blogs and keep up to date with the writers. Leave them feedback and your comments as I'm sure they would love to hear them.
4. Get Creative
Try new things. Try new ways of doing something you already do and are maybe getting bored with. Do things that excite you. Do things to practice really hard for, and things that you are practicing for in the first place. Use what you have learned through the previous steps for real and see how they work, use them in a 'trial and error' style fashion. For musicians it might be practicing for upcoming gigs or jams. If you feel you have not got anything then start something. Do It.
5. Yoga, Meditation and Healthy Living
Numerous articles I have read and people I have spoken to have advised yoga and meditation to help with getting a clear mind and mental wellbeing. This is something I am going to try the next opportunity, but there are many blog posts about starting and how to start even for 10 minutes a day. The other is healthy living. It has been proven what you eat and the activities you do affects your mental state. Something also I am going to do a lot more of. Like the others there are many posts on this including Greatist.com who have posted the 60 must read 2015 healthy lifestyle blogging posts.
Most importantly believe in yourself always and don't look back with regret. Stick with the decisions you make and stand by them. One day you can inspire, if you aren't already doing so.
Thank you for reading! If this article resounds with you and you would like to add anything please leave your comments and feedback in the comments box below this post or in the Contact Me page. To visit my other blog posts please click here.
'Song of the Week'
'Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford - Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)'