Anxiety Fueled Achievement.

It may sound kind of funny, but it’s also kind of true. I’d like to say that I’m an early riser because of my radiant and hopeful disposition towards a day promising the glory of art for art’s sake, the joys of connecting eager minds with the means to guide themselves to the heights of aesthetically robust expression, and the potential of the sun setting on a day of good deeds well done.  But the main reason I can consistently drag myself out of bed in the early a.m. is because I know that if I don’t, something important is not going to get done and somebody is going to be pissed off, or disappointed, or let down, left hanging, or some combination of the above.

Now let me qualify, that person is most likely to be me, and that something important is probably going to be practicing my horn, but it rolls down hill from there.  This isn’t a bad thing, actually, it’s quite the contrary.  You have to take your motivation where you can get it, and my patented “Oh, shit.” method is a proven career jump-starter. Unromantic. Effective. What are the chances your tone will be perfect today anyway, or that you’ll play the great American solo, or that Lincoln Center will call with that gig you’ve been hoping for, or that the pretty girl in the next practice room will be moved to tears by the way you phrase that Bitsch etude, and coyly slide her number under the door in hopes you’ll call?

Chances are, today will be a day when you have to grind, working for an abstract goal that seems to have a nebulous chance of realization.  Or, you could get an emergency text saying “Can you play lead on the second half of “Wicked”?  lead player just blew out a blood vessel in his eye” (happened), or “Bootsy would like you to stop by his place and audition TOMORROW”, or one of a million uncomfortable, untimely, and inconvenient opportunities that don’t have the common courtesy to present themselves at a good time in your life.

So you might as well get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Getting up early is great training for that.  Tomorrow when that bed feels all warm and snuggly, just remember the two magic words.  If that doesn’t get you going, don’t worry, somebody else is already getting up and getting the jump on you.  Have you considered a career in retail? They say the hours are pretty good.

Author: sbelck

Trumpet player, teacher, jazz musician, and the illegitimate father of the modern lip slur.

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