As you probably know, Taylor Hawkins, the 50-year-old drummer of the Foo Fighters, died suddenly last Friday. Despite the heartbreaking loss, the story of how Hawkins decided to leave a gig with chart-topper Alanis Morissette to play with the Foos in 1997 is both inspirational and instructive.
Here’s what Hawkins said:
I got hold of Dave and told him: ‘Yo, I heard you’re looking for a drummer.’ And he said: ‘Yeah, you know anybody?’ Cocksucker! He made me ask [for the job] … Actually, since Alanis was one of the biggest artists in the world at the time, and Foo Fighters were still just kinda starting out, he thought: ‘Why would you want to bail on someone who’s selling 30m records?’ But I wanted to play rock music, and I loved the Foo Fighters – they were my favorite band.
There’s a term for that kind of choice: inspired action. You can think of it as the flow-state version of decision-making. Inspired action is what happens when you instinctively take the middle path between Que será, será and believing if you want something, you have to make it happen.
Inspired action is a balance between passivity and blind commitment. It means you take action, but you do it in coherence with your desires.
Keep in mind that Hawkins asked for the job. His dream gig. It certainly wasn’t a slam-dunk — the band had just kicked out its last drummer for not living up to the expectations of Dave Grohl. And the former Nirvana drummer could (and did) easily take over on the drums at any time.
Some might call what Hawkins did manifestation. To me, that sounds too much like magical thinking, which is imagining that somehow your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or actions can affect the outcome of a situation without sharing a causal link.
And that’s the first step in inspired action: establish your goal. What do you want to change in your life? Go ahead and think big: inspired action is about having a more expansive view of what’s possible.
Once you have your goal in mind, the next step is to get in touch with your intentions. An essential aspect of inspired action is harnessing the power of your unconscious mind to fuel the process of moving forward.
As you focus your mind on accomplishing something, you’ll likely begin to see impulses, opportunities, and signals, born from your intuition.
Again, this may sound a bit woo-woo. But as Psychology Today points out, your “gut feelings” can be a powerful tool to positively influence the decision-making process.
Intuition is a form of knowledge that appears in consciousness without obvious deliberation. It is not magical but rather a faculty in which hunches are generated by the unconscious mind rapidly sifting through past experience and cumulative knowledge.
Science shows that we store emotional responses to experiences and use them as part of our internal guidance system. Note that it’s just a part; intuition is strongest on first impression and isn’t something you want to attach complete certainty to. However, allowing your instincts to help guide you can enable you to recognize an opportunity when you see it.
These first two steps pave the way to inspired action. As with taking any action, it’s natural for fear to crop up – after all, our brains are wired to keep us “safe.” But the difference between a regular action and an inspired one is the source of the impetus.
Most of the actions we take each day come from a mundane place: obligation, routine, necessity. The overriding sentiment is sacrifice.
On the other hand, inspired action comes from a place of flow. It’s enticing, exciting, and engaging.
When you act guided by inspiration, you feel capable, your dream overshadows your fear and there’s no sacrifice, just dedication.
Hawkins’ move to the Foo Fighters ended up being perfect — his work with the band over 25 years is legendary. But in making that choice, along with fame and fortune, he gained something invaluable, as Grohl said:
Taylor and I are like brothers. The two of us are best friends. You only find so many best friends in a lifetime. Taylor and I wound up being separated at birth.
Anyone can set and achieve goals. In times like these, when life throws a monkey wrench in your plans, slow down and listen to your intuition: this is a call. If you want your dreams to take flight, inspired action is how you learn to fly.
P.S. There’s still time to join us in Well + Wealthy for Todd Tressider’s presentation on Investment Planning In Uncertain Times. It’s happening today at 2pm Eastern / 11am Pacific.
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Let Micro Fitness Do Your Heavy Lifting
By Trudi Roth
We talk a lot about how you’ve got to move if you want to live a long, healthy life. Research shows even adding one minute of intense effort to a 10-minute workout can boost your well-being. And that’s just one study among thousands that cites exercise as a critical longevity factor.
And yet, research also shows less than a quarter of American adults get enough exercise. It’s possible that the landslide of articles and studies, meant to be informative, is just overwhelming. Ditto on numbers that may seem insurmountable, like the CDC’s recommended 150 minutes of rigorous physical activity weekly.
The antidote to information overwhelm and fitness inertia is twofold: start small and make movement a habit.
Put Fitness Under a Microscope
How do you quantify physical activity? Only workouts, or do you include activities like housework and chores, which research shows are good for your physical and mental health?
It’s helpful to distinguish between exercise and physical activity. The former is intentional activity to preserve fitness. And the latter, according to kinesiologist David Liira, is any movement that activates your musculoskeletal system and gets your heart pumping. Understanding that both contribute to your well-being and longevity is vital.
Fostering true healthy living comes when you move during all hours of the day, not just the time spent in the gym.
So, that means walking instead of taking the car, choosing stairs over an elevator, and using your lunch break to take a stroll. These are all good examples of “nutritious movement,” promoted by practitioner Katy Bowman, who advises making bite-sized changes to your environment and habits for a healthier lifestyle.
Move a Muscle
Considering that sedentary behavior is one of the primary contributing factors to heart disease and death in the US (especially during the pandemic), it’s time to stand up for your health. Liira has a couple of easy suggestions to build your micro-fitness habit:
- A 5-minute morning mobility practice: Counteract soreness and stiffness first thing each day with dynamic movements that promote pain-free range of motion, including lunges, cat-cow stretches, and knee wags.
- Limit sitting: Anytime you’re engaging in sedentary behavior (i.e., working, watching TV), set a timer for 30 minutes. When it goes off, stand up and move around for at least a minute. If you’re up for more, try a snackable workout: a 12-minute HIIT session (recommended by our Well + Wealthy faculty member, Krista Stryker) or a short power walk.
Or, you can take Katy Bowman’s advice and do things like moving your dishes to a lower level in the kitchen, so you have to squat to get them or making any high table your new standing desk. Your better health doesn’t require a massive lifestyle change – micro-movements will carry your well-being much further.
The Colour and the Shape, 1997
We woke up Saturday morning to the news that Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins had passed away much too soon at age 50. It was bittersweet to see My Hero — with its signature drum opening — trending alongside his name on Twitter. (YouTube)
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