My 3 Weeks Listening To Only 1 Song & What I Learned About Focus
In the name of personal development and health, I've always been someone who has enjoyed challenging myself and trying new things. And while you think that I would have logically taken at least a bit of a break after recently going 400+ days without candy (read about that HERE), I opted to instead jump immediately into my next adventure.
This time I challenged myself, an avid lover of music, to only being able to listen to one song of my choosing for what turned out to be three straight weeks.
While the idea behind this may sound crazy to many of you, I'm not the first one to do it. In fact, my inspiration stemmed from the best-selling book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by infamous life-hacker Tim Ferriss. In one of the many sections that the book is broken into, Tim reveals that a number of prominent individuals have purposely chosen to listen to just one song or soundtrack on repeat while working on a given project.
Free solo climbing phenom Alex Honnold, the lead developer of WordPress Matt Mullenweg, and female obstacle course racer Amelia Boone are just 3 of the many examples that the book outlines.
Currently having a lot on my creative plate, in addition to running my company, I decided to try it out. The song I chose was 'Time' by Hans Zimmer, a song most infamously known for its place on the Inception Soundtrack.
Now, I will fully admit that this was not the only song that I heard over the course of these three weeks, since I opted to: A) not shut myself out from the rest of the world to ensure this was possible, B) not be the person who approached the employees of every public venue I went to requesting that they change their current playlist for a classical song on repeat. But aside from those times, it was all that I heard.
I listened to it while working, driving, working out, cooking and more. Here are some of my key takeaways:
The Song Never Got Old
The most surprising takeaway for me from this entire experience was that I can honestly say that I never got tired of listening to the song I chose. According to my iTunes, as of the moment I am writing this sentence, the song has been played a whopping 473 times and to be honest I wouldn't mind hearing it right now.
It Becomes A Form Of Musical Meditation
In my experience, having the same song play on repeat allowed it to become a form of musical meditation. My mind always knew what to expect and it was able to coast on autopilot to that expectation while focusing on whatever primary activity I was engaging in at the time.
As someone whose musical taste is typically quite eclectic to say the least, having a level playing field was honestly a pleasant experience. Not to mention I didn't waste any time or lose focus by frequently searching for or skipping songs as I normally would.
Song Choice Is Critical
As much as I love 'Time' by Hans Zimmer, no part of me would have listed it as my favorite song of all-time prior to this experience (and for the record it still isn't). But that being said, for these purposes it was exactly what I needed.
I'm not suggesting that we should all listen to the same song that I did, but to instead make our selection based on what we know is most likely to work with us. In my case I knew that only something in the classical realm with no lyrics stood a chance at being the only song played for more than 24 hours.
Ultimately if you have something to focus on, I highly suggest trying this out. I personally enjoyed it so much that not only did the initial challenge evolve from what was supposed to be one week into three, but I am also still listening to it whenever I need to focus on a specific task at hand (such as writing my book). I allow myself to listen to the other music I love whenever I find myself doing things that don't require so much of my attention, but when it comes to locking in, Hans Zimmer's Time is my anthem!
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