ipod for survival

By special request (Terry M.), more about how I use my iPod to
survive. And before we even go there, let me point out that it doesn't
need to be an ipod. Or even an mp3 player. You can use a portable cd
player. They sell them pretty cheap even at some drugstores.

As I wrote about the other day,
it can be super hard, or impossible, for me to concentrate with the
wrong background noise.  The
ipod is my buffer. It protects me from bombardment. When I'm out in
public, or even in my house and there is noise from the neighbors, or
staying with family and I can hear them from the bedroom, i need my own
space. Noise when I am either trying to work, or trying to chill out,
or collect myself, or reboot, is like someone hurling sharp objects at
me. It hurts, physically. I can't filter it out (ADHD = lack of
filters). I can't just kind of integrate it into the background. It is
exhausting. And unlike what some people think about working, ie that
you should have a quiet environment to work "without distraction," I
need music to drown out distraction. That's important, since when I get distracted, it takes extra long for me to find my way back to focus.

At some point I gave up on listening to "good" music when I was listening for survival instead of artistic inspiration. Here's what I mean: I grew up in an
intellectual culture, and have had a lot of friends who are artistic,
musical, intellectual, and critical. I love having those people around
me, and I love seeing what people can achieve. I love being introduced
to new music and art and influences. But…when you assume that, for
example, pop music is "bad" or "selling out" or "not interesting
enough," you're limiting yourself in a different way. I had to
learn to pick the right music to accomplish the right goal: to give me
a buffer. To help me focus, or chill out, or regroup, or whatnot. If
it's too interesting, that might distract me from what I'm doing- or
might annoy me because there is too much to listen to. Awful as it
sounds, my ipod helps me survive by creating a bit of personal "muzak." Not that I actually listen to muzak, though I occassionally appreciate Brian Eno's ambient music projects; but I'm creating that affect for myself. Throw out what is "good" or "creative." As is my coaching motto, go for what works.