27 March 2008


Alright, so I'm almost 2 days late for my day 10 entry. A first for 2008 but this time it was purely due to insane schedules and workloads on my part :\.

Today's entry is brought to you by the word "passion". Why passion because I've come to realize it's on par with the essence of all life -- water. Think about it, without passion, life would be as dry as a desert. How would you feel waking up everyday knowing you had nothing passionate about your life? Wouldn't you be thirsty for such a feeling?

I was talking to some band guys last night and it was so refreshing to see these group of people glow with a genuine passion for music and music only. They could see great fame and fortune as possibilities but no matter what, it was the music they wanted more than anything else. It was so encouraging to talk to people who had a passion like I do for many things I'm involved in. I'm not talking about people who dedicate their lives to what they love, I'm talking about people who love what they dedicate their lives to. There's a difference.

Let's say you love painting. To dedicate your life to painting means you sacrifice everything else and focus solely on painting. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but that means you specialize all your efforts towards this passion that is painting. To love what you dedicate your life to allows you the leeway of doing more than one thing. I personally love web design, I love my band, I love stand-up comedy, I love drumming, I love a lot of things and I couldn't ever say I want to dedicate my life to one of them, but during the time I dedicate myself to one of my passions, I put my heart in it. Sure sure, this sounds so grand and va va va va fancy but this is really what I do. Don't get me wrong, there's only so much "effort" you can dedicate in a day and that's probably why I find myself burnt out so often because I try my best to put 100% in something if I genuinely love it. Very often after band practice, I'm exhausted physically and mentally. Heck, after every work out I feel great but I can feel physically and mentally I'm a bit drained because I really focused hard for the hour I was in the gym doing my thing. I take it really seriously which is why you'll never, ever see me go to the gym "with someone". It's similar when I play my drums, as much as I tell myself "let me go relax and play a bit of drums", very often after an hour of intense drumming (playing + practicing), I come out more tired.

The funny thing is, each type of "activity" of mine tires me in a different way, which is also why it's like I have all these passions and as much as some people might feel I'd be distracted, I feel I'm quite focused when it comes to the things I love. Working out exhausts me in a different way than stand up comedy or drumming does. Like let's say I was playing drums, after 1 hour, I'd be too tired to properly focus and write a blog entry because the mental effort I spent is a type of concentration where I have to pull myself out of my body and let me limbs do their thing while I stand aside and make sure everything sounds good. At the gym, it's the reverse where I have to go into every limb itself and work it, like if I was doing a bench press, I'd go into my chest and arms and really squeeze every single muscle as hard as I could. So like I said, it's a different type of fatigue when I'm done. Another good example is that after I work on some design for an extended period of time I'd find I cannot go play drums and be creative, I won't be able to come up with new patterns for songs, however, tell me to go for a job (something I don't need to get creative with) and I'd have no problem really. So in many ways, mentally I have to following departments that I try to work out:
  • Concentration/focus - When I'm working out, I need a lot of this. When I'm practicing drums I need a lot of this at slower speeds.
  • Creativity - when I'm working out patterns for my band's songs, when I'm writing out stuff for my stand-up, when I'm doing my freelance work I use this.
  • Observation - when I'm playing at faster tempos on the drums, I need this because I need to take care everything is still staying clean. When I'm working out, I have to watch my form
Physically I have:
  • Coordination - when I'm drumming I have to use a lot of this
  • Muscle strength/endurance - Working out + some drumming
  • Muscle relaxation - very important during drumming!
Anyways, so as much as a lot of my departments are inter-linked, they have different levels of use for different things, so I try my best to find ways to balance my schedule so I put things that require different departments next to each other. This allows me to minimize my "feeling too tired to do it well" feeling and also I find I don't waste so much time "resting" on purpose (ie. doing nothing but resting everything department) Think about it, it's like working out. When you've just finished doing bench presses, you could either sit there for a minute or you could work on a muscle group that wasn't really involved (eg. do squats) during your rest time. I personally prefer to hit it and hit it hard without wasting time. However, I admit, there is one muscle that is always involved -- your heart. So it really comes down to listening to your body as well and knowing when you've hit a point of diminishing returns and stopping there. As much as diminishing returns still means you're getting returns, just less, sometimes it's not worth wasting your time doing that. Think of it as not reaching your maximum output in this field and so it may be better to shift your focus on something else that'd give you more returns instead. Like I could spend an extra 10 minutes at the gym working out but not getting as much of a result or I could leave with an extra 10 minutes to give me a headstart when I get back to begin my freelance work where I'd be getting maximum returns for my effort I put in there.

Confused yet?

Anyways, going back to passion, I just feel in today's world, passion has lost a lot of its value partly because a lot of people may not know what it is and therefore thinks they've got it when they may not have. For all I know, I may be one of those "misunderstood" people who thinks he has a passion about something when maybe I don't. But I will never forget when I first laid my eyes on the Roland TD-6 v-drums, woah, that feeling I got was very intense and it was like I just had to, had to, had to have it! The price tag, the space it required, the fact that I couldn't play drums was irrelevant. All I knew and wanted to know was that I needed to have that. I got it and till today I have never had 1 millisecond of doubt in my decision :). That, so far, is what I call passion and how I define it.

Going back to that group of guys I was talking to yesterday, I say they had passion because one of them said one key thing "I know I don't have much money, I know I have to work and I don't have a lot of freedom, but all I need is time and I'll get to where we all need me to be." This touched me when I heard it because that's how I feel with my drumming. I know my band would love if I was a much stronger drummer in general but it's not a matter of me not having the heart to reach that level. All I need is time. It's one of the hardest things I deal with in my life to be honest, when I know the target and the only thing in my way isn't even whether or not I'll put in the effort, but it's a matter of time. Like a wound, I can focus as hard as I want and have all the heart in the world, but the wound will still need time to heal no matter how hard I try.

But it's definitely a positive thing to know there still are people in this world who love what they do and do it for themselves and the good of helping this world grow in general. Creating good music shouldn't be about hitting it big, but more like creating something you want to share and let others enjoy. It should be about self-expression that is aimed at sharing your feelings and emotions with the world around you. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of reasons to create music, but for me, this is the direction I take. This is why my band's slogan is simply metalcore music from the heart because at the end of the day, our best gig is the one where we get a huge round of applause in the form of happy heart beats :)

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