What The Symphony Orchestra Can Teach You About High Performance and Health Optimization

Recently at the symphony on an artist date, I found myself falling into a trance for two reasons:

  1. There was a beautiful woman sitting diagonally from me with a group of girls (not the ideal opportunity to run some game).
  2. Watching the maestro direct the orchestra and witnessing each member seamlessly play and integrate to form a flawless cohesive performance.

Since there's not much to expand upon concerning reason one, let's further explore reason two.

Experiencing the symphony orchestra comes with strong atmospheric effects along with conjuring up strong emotional responses—both of which inspire lofty thoughts while boosting my mood.

Moving forward, I believe there are life lessons around every corner we look at. In fact, when I wrote my first book ‘Body Architect’, nearly every principle shared in that book came from a life principle I've either lived or observed.

Attending the symphony is littered with lessons. Especially, when it comes to high performance and health optimization.

During my walk back from the performance, I jotted down five high performance and health optimization lessons that you can learn from the symphony orchestra.

1.Pay attention to your grip

One of the first keys to a successful performance lies in the hands of the maestro. Specifically, the manner in which he holds the baton. There’s power, energy, and of course, specific instructions in the baton.

Safe to say, it’s all about the grip.

Something as minor as the conductor gripping the baton too tightly or even too loosely could affect the entire performance.

If he holds it too tightly, there’s a danger that the musical score will become rigid—devoid of energy and any sort of creativity (with boredom soon to follow).

However, hold it freely with no regard and you’ll have a sloppy musical score (with terrible reviews soon to follow).

With all of this said, the key is to find balance. Not too tight, but also, not too loose. Once you strike the perfect accord, the maestro and accompanying musicians are flowing seamlessly; thus leading to a masterful performance.

What does this have to do with high performance and health optimization?

Everything.

In today’s world, it’s easy to fall into an echo chamber and cling to your ideas, methods, philosophies, and become dogmatic in your ways.

Early on in my fitness days, I trained clients one specific way and thought it was best because it had worked for me. All other ideas, methods, and philosophies were wrong because I was clinging onto my baton too tightly,

Social media has keto circles, carnivore circles, vegan circles, Paleo circles, and numerous others.

When it comes to health optimization, each of us is 99.9 percent identical, but that 0.1 percent is huge and is ultimately the deciding factor on what makes us uniquely us.

Just as the maestro has to find the right balance with his baton for that night's performance, you must find the right balance with the 0.1 percent that makes you uniquely you.

The conductor knows the right grip has arrived when there's no friction and cohesion within the team and its sound. You'll know it's the right grip when there's little-to-no friction between your daily health habits and day-to-day life.

As you look to optimize and enhance your health, ask yourself this key question:

  • Where in life am I being too rigid?
  • Also, where in life am I being too sloppy?

2.Everything has a role, responsibility, and purpose to it

There are four main families of instruments: the strings, the woodwinds, the brass, and the percussion. Even the setup of an orchestra has a purpose too it.

Everything matters. You can’t create an unmistakable listening experience if a role isn’t filled or clearly defined. If the flutes were not existing or there wasn’t appropriate time given to the cellos, the performance could be flat.

In the optimal health spectrum, everything has a role, purpose, and responsibility to it. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, breathing, relationships, work, stress mitigation—all have a role.

And within these big categories are further components that can be broken down just as the string family is further broken down into the violin, the viola, the cello, and the double (string) bass.

When all systems are addressed and taken into account, optimal health can flourish. As you look to create a thriving and flourishing human system, ask yourself some key questions:

  • Do you have the right combination of roles, knowledge, skills, ability, and experience around to help you create a thriving human system?
  • Is each component of your human system addressed, playing, and operating to the best of its ability?

3.Precision is a necessity

From the layout of the orchestra to the precise information needed to perform each of their parts, precision is a necessity for a world-class performance.

Each specific instrument and member have its very own unique personal road map to focus on. Besides that, as I've learned, there are specific times as when to play (speak up), to be quiet (listen), to move quickly (allegro) and to slow down (largo).

Optimal health and living a limitless life isn’t something that happens through guesswork or by accident. Intentionality and careful consideration are necessary.

From the way you sleep to the way you speak, train, supplement and eat—precision is needed.

What inputs will you add to your life and body? Before that, what specifically does your body need to perform at its highest level?

Knowing what makes you uniquely you (i.e. your genetic code) is step one of the process.

As you look to bring more precision to your life and health, ask yourself this question:

  • Am I clear and in alignment with my health and life goals (aka am I being congruent on a day-to-day basis with what I say I want long term)?

4.Continuous learning and practicing is a must

Being apart of the orchestra requires sacrifice and commitment.

Weekly rehearsals as a team along with individual rehearsal times are part of the equation. There is no winging it or sight-reading your parts. Or slowing down after a few years of experience.

The best musicians and composers understand that mastery doesn't happen by accident nor has an end game. It’s simply a continuous progression to the next destination.

As I remind clients along our journey of working together, their health is a continuous progression with no endpoint in sight.

There's no “that's it” or “I'll just maintain what I have.” There's only “what's next” and “how good can I get.”

Continuously learning and practicing is a must because you're either moving forward or heading backward.

As you look to adopt this mentality, ask yourself:

  • What can I do to take my health and life to the next level?
  • Alternatively, what can I remove to take my health and life to the next level?
  • What’s working well and what’s not working so well right now?

5.Celebrate and give gratitude

After the last arrangement was completed, the conductor bowed. But not to hog the spotlight, he immediately turned and invited the rest of the orchestra to stand and share the spotlight. The team celebrated their accolades together along with giving thanks to each other.

Celebrating yourself and operating from a state of gratitude is a valuable tool for optimal mental, emotional, and physical health.

Regularly expressing gratitude can change the molecular structure of your brain, keep the gray matter functioning, and make you healthier and happier.

In 2008, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, scientists began to use fMRI to study gratitude. In the study, researchers measured the brain activity of participants experiencing different emotions. They found that gratitude causes synchronized activation in multiple brain regions along with lighting up parts of the brain’s reward pathways and hypothalamus.

In short, gratitude can boost the valuable neurotransmitter serotonin while activating the brain stem to produce dopamine.

In addition to that, gratitude helps with sleep, longevity, empathy, decision making, and resiliency.

To begin to incorporate this into your life, here are some suggestions:

  • Establish some key milestones and measures of success that you'll celebrate
  • Take some time in the day to identify two to five things good in your life.

A symphony orchestra might look to see if they’re playing in harmony or if they're slightly out of tune? While you most likely aren’t conducting a symphony, your everyday life and body is its own symphony.

Is your human ecosystem playing in harmony or is it slightly out of tune?

If it’s the latter and you’re looking to create a majestic and high performing cascade of music (or at least in this case—optimal health while living the good life)—let's talk.

Send an email to julian@theartoffitnessandlife.com for a free health optimization strategy session. I don't operate in shallow waters. Therefore, expect this to be an impactful session that can range from 45min to 2 hours.

Regardless of if we decide to work together, you'll leave this call with supreme clarity and a plan to becoming superhuman.