"We're all given time. We choose how to divide it." - life lessons from a drummer
Drumming is like painting a picture with math.
Imagine having to maximize the efficiency of the left and right side of your brain at the same time. A good drummer has to pull double duty. He or she is responsible for steering the ship for the rest of the band while making the ship look really pretty at the same time. It comes as no surprise that drummers think a little differently than the rest of us.
I spent last week with a talented math painter (drummer) named Sam Green. I went with him to band practice Monday evening and watched in amazement as he played each measure in a song uniquely without messing up the rhythm.
Later that evening, Sam and I were talking about life, the future, the meaning of the universe , etc. Spoiler alert - Sam is the type of person who drops truth bombs on people without even knowing he's doing it.
In the middle of the conversation, he said, “We’re all given time. We choose how to divide it.”
That phrase made me re-route the way I view time.
Looking at time as a thing to be divided instead of a thing to obtain helps me refocus my energy. It helps me get over wanting to compare my journey to others and forces me see how the direction of my focus can either help or hinder the growth of the people around me. The drummer keeps the song’s pace. If his focus is misdirected and he gets off time, the song will fall apart. If I misdirect my focus, it harms more than just me.
Later that night, Sam talked about how it’s foolish for us to compare ourselves to others because each of us has our own timeline. Just as playing a metal breakdown in a James Taylor song would be ridiculous, comparing my journey to the success of others is pretty silly.
Ranking my success by another person’s accomplishments propagates the idea that there is only one definition of success, that success is only attainable in one timeline. Sometimes I wonder how many ideas I've short changed because I thought I had everything figured out after comparing my story to someone else’s, or how many ideas I've given up on before they had time to fully mature.
None of us will ever be able to buy more time, but each of us can choose to be faithful stewards of the time we’ve been given.
I’m thankful for people like Sam who think differently and aren't afraid to challenge others to do the same.
Have a great week, friends.
PS: Here are some portraits of Sam from last week.