A Composer's Inspirational Story, Learning and White Noise, Lizard Brains, and More
Bring Ambition Newsletter - March 10, 2022
Hi folks and a warm welcome to new subscribers!
The Bring Ambition Newsletter is like having a personal executive coach in your inbox every other Thursday. You’ll receive 3-5 quick bulletpoints (~3 min. read) related to professional development, peak performance psychology, leadership, learning, productivity, and much more.
As always, if you enjoy the newsletter please share with a friend!
1.) Enhancing Learning with White Noise
I came across a 2014 study demonstrating that white noise (”stochastic resonance”) improves learning and memory. My assumption would have been that the mechanism of action was simply blocking out distractions, but the researchers found that the frequencies induce stronger connectivity in the midbrain - so it actually, for lack of a better word, “hacks” your brain and neurons into modulating attention and stimulating learning / memory.
Anecdotally I’ve found white noise substantially helps with focus and sleep but I’ve never thought to intentionally use it to stimulate learning. I’ll be experimenting with this, and if you choose to as well please be conservative about volume levels - this OSHA/noise exposure chart might help.
2.) The Ambition-Igniting Story of Antonín Dvořák
Over the weekend I saw a concerto by Antonín Dvořák performed by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra — booming, beautiful, triumphant music played by musicians with deeply inspiring precision.
I also learned that Dvořák himself was quite an inspirational character. He faced poverty, a series of bitter rejections, and unfathomable heartbreak, but overcame every setback and doggedly pursued his ambitions until earning his place as one of history’s most lauded composers. I’ve just published a broader article about the famed composer’s ambition-igniting story, but here are some quick highlights:
His father, a butcher by trade, was skeptical of his son’s creative ambitions. But after being dragged by cattle into a lake, Dvořák eschewed the family business nonetheless and dedicated himself to music.
Dvořák was no stranger to adversity. Not only was he dreadfully poor for much of his life, but he was consistently rejected by potential employers, audiences, prize commissions, women, and even musicians tasked with performing his compositions.
Following the heartbreaking deaths of 3 of his children, Dvořák’s compensated by immersing himself in his work, beginning one of his most fruitful creative periods. Eventually his reputation grew, and by repeatedly winning stipends for struggling musicians, was able to support his family as a composer.
Eventually, Dvořák realized his musical ambitions, living and composing all around the world. At one point he assumed directorship of New York’s National Conservatory of Music with a staggering salary of $15,000 (~$450,000 adjusted for inflation).
To learn more about the mastery and misadventures of this eminent composer, read the full blog post here.
3.) Quote of the Week:
“Your lizard brain is no match for infinite scroll.”
You might find this relatable if you’ve ever scrolled for too long on a social media feed, or opened your phone only to impulsively click your social app of choice.
Our brains are no match for social media algorithms, so instead of willpower and discipline the better risk mitigation strategy is to fight fire with fire (i.e. technology against technology) and implement systems that work for you.
For example: Setting app time limits, blocking specific time for social media, setting your phone to black and white mode, turning off your phone entirely at specific times, deleting certain apps, etc.
(Quote paraphrased from this post)
That’s it for this week! I’d love to hear your feedback — What did you enjoy? What stunk and needs to be fixed ASAP? Have other questions or comments? Reply here or reach me via the links below.
Have a great weekend!
P.S. - Tell your friends about this newsletter! Click below: