Although I’m a little late, Rich and I watched Whiplash this weekend and my heart is still racing. Nope, definitely not a thriller just a lot of empathy for the main character to succeed, a fuck ton of drumming and even more jazz music.
If you haven’t seen this is not a movie review so I highly suggest you do. I promise to warn you of any spoilers although I don’t anticipate there being any.
Andrew impales himself with a drumstick and dies.
There was an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie dates a jazz musician. Although charmed by his quirky personality, she was stressed out by his hyperactivity and his equally as uppity music genre. As with most other things, I tend to agree with Ms. Bradshaw. Jazz is so intense and it’s difficult to guess what’s coming next. I suppose that’s half of the fun in listening to it but I’m a planner and I need to know when I can expect to start clapping.
All anxiety attacks aside, the movie was absolutely superb and it’s no surprise why J.K. Simmons kicked award-season ass by his performance.
But he was a MAJOR asshole.
This is largely the reason you’re rooting so hard for Andrew to just succeed and figure out the god damn tempo.
The asshole part although entertaining, was a technique to push drummer boy beyond the limits he thought he was capable of. To be better than his brain would convince him of otherwise. To allow his dream of becoming successful consume every second of his life that it wouldn’t be possible to fail.
Everyone one needs this.
There isn’t one person on this planet who wouldn’t benefit from having a semi-psychotic mentor that pushes you past what you allow to restrain you. While I don’t need someone to scream so hard their spit sprays across my face, the intensity of not letting me settle or believe I’m done, I do.
Humans are creatures that love comforts. Once we find something that feels good, we like to keep doing whatever it was we were doing that awarded us that feeling. There are some who seek to find more knowing they can and those are the few and far between we all read about and idolize come Monday morning. But for most of the population, everyone is too afraid that the comfortable feeling of familiar will be gone if anything changes. Even worse, everyone around them says a change is too risky or allows them to believe that a “good job” is good enough.
If it’s not a person telling you you’re not good enough, you still need to experience failure. You need to feel the overwhelming emotion of sadness and anger that you completely suck at whatever you’re doing. That is the exact moment you’ll either give up on whatever it is you were trying to do or harness that energy and create something so much infinitely better than before.
For anyone who stops, good. You’re just not ready to pursue whatever it was your heart was set on and you need more time to allow yourself to be pushed.
For anyone who wants to punch a wall, perfect. Whether you realize it or not, you are making a choice to allow yourself to be pushed. You are giving in to the anger you feel toward whoever said your writing blows or your music is complete garbage and putting that momentum where it belongs. In your work.
Opening your mind to the possibility that you’re not perfect and can improve is one of the most desired and difficult traits to embody. No matter your journey or the work that consumes you, never allow yourself to be content. If you can’t beat your own self up, find someone who will throw a chair at your and will give you a mental ass-kicking.