My mornings usually start the same way; with me sleepily stepping into the gym. I turn on my music, put one foot in front of the other on the “dreadmill,” lift weights, get cleaned up and head to work. I’ve met a few people at the gym, but chat rarely. You can count on a “good morning” or “hello” and a warm smile as I rest during reps, while the headphones blare. I may be guilty of yelling my greetings due to the volume (don’t judge me). Today, though, I plopped down on a machine, started my exercise and a friend came and sat beside me, so I pulled the headphones off. After we exchanged pleasantries, I kept the music off. I noticed something. The sounds of people breathing, the weights clanging, more huffing, sighing and grunting from those people around me. The silence and the sounds between those seemingly random noises affected me.
You typically hear people talking about cutting through all the noise and getting clarity. I think sometimes it’s more than noise. It’s music. The music is made up of the things we love, things we’re passionate about, and activities that we enjoy. It’s not noise, it’s the music of our individual life and it may just sound awful to others, so they call it noise.
I think my experience impacted me this morning because I read an interview about Tachi Yamada, M.D., president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. The title was Talk to Me. I’ll Turn Off My Phone. I’m fantastically guilty of NOT doing that and I’m usually doing three things at once and leave people feeling less than special. And I’m sorry. I don’t want to be that guy anymore. Technology, connectedness and being in social situations is my music. It’s time to pause the music from time to time. I’ll fail, because I enjoy my music, and I’ll try to pause it again. I’m starting today.