The Thursday Thesis - 19/1/2017
“What a Musician Really Listens to in the Car”
Until you’ve experienced it, you wouldn’t understand.
When you really, really don’t want to turn off the ignition and get out of the car.
When you just want to go for a drive.
When you just want to listen...
But that’s what it’s like, sometimes: when what you’re listening to is so gripping that you can’t wait for that long commute home from the office, or you decide to take the long way home – just to prolong the magic.
But I’m not talking about the magic of music: I’m talking about the magic of recorded books.
Even though I am a professional music teacher, musician and composer, I only listen to audiobooks in the car.
Not just any recorded books – I’m talking about non-fiction books covering whatever happens to interest me.
Get this: the average UK driver spends 960 hours every year in their car!!
Now, to my mind that’s a gigantic opportunity to spend FORTY whole 24-hour days with the world’s top thinkers and writers as I potter around in my tin box on wheels.
Just compare a brainy commute with the average student at a UK university, who spends 9 hours a week in lectures and tutorials - according to studentroom.com.
The academic year runs for between 32 and 36 weeks on campus: that’s a piddling 324 hours a year doing their degree with teaching staff – a little over a third of the time that the average UK driver spends just commuting to and from work.
Draw your own conclusions from that observation; mull it over.
As for me, I’ve commuted to work with Richard Dawkins, Naom Chomsky, and Steven Hawking...
Those guys gave me a very different outlook than if I spent my drivetime listening to depressing (and dubious) “News” programmes or the drivelling and asinine witterings of the average “radio personality”.
Imagine yourself driving those miles in the company of a Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, or Earl Nightingale – all hugely influential figures in the self-help and personal development fields.
How about Ann Lamott chatting to you about writing, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi advising you on creativity, or Felix Dennis and Richard Branson discussing business?
It’s all about exposure, repetition and recalibrating normality for you.
Let’s do the minimum-numbers maths:
Two commutes a day, five days a week, 48 weeks a year.
2 x 5 x 48 = 480
What might you learn this year during those 480 exposures to the best minds on the planet?
What insights might you receive from almost 500 audiences with the best coaches and mentors in the world?
How might that shape and mould your own thinking?
What about over five years – 2400 sessions with great minds?
A lifetime - over 25,000 exposures to your personally-chosen peer-group of genii?
How might that change your life?
What might you learn that you can you put to use in your own life that would move you forward to where you want to go?
Might it be more important and life-changing than the propaganda of mendacious governments or the minutiae of a celebrity’s love-life, do you think?
You bet it would!
Over the last twenty years and 400,000 miles I’ve listened to hundreds of audiobooks and lectures, on subjects as diverse as theoretical physics, linguistics, psychology, creative writing, business, fitness, history, biography, poetry, politics, philosophy, mythology and religion – to name just a few.
I’ve been in my 4-wheeled University almost every day of my life. It’s taught me more than I ever learnt at school. It has given countless “stop the bloody car!!!” insights and moments of clarity.
It even made getting a First at university a joyride, because I was in class every single day – even though I worked at least 70 hours a week at the time!
I want to give it up for the University on Wheels and the power of leveraging your time; for transforming a brain-dead drive to work into a skull-session with the best of the best.
© Neil Cowmeadow 2017
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