Episode 95:  Leaders Need Mozart Time with Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta

Hello everybody and welcome to the AskShivani podcast, I really excited to talk to you about something quite different today. It's a concept that when I was at a learning day came through where we had one of the consultants that was working with our speaking about what it's called as Mozart Time. And I wanted to tell you a little bit about for those of you that are not musical like myself, I mean, Wolfgang Mozart, was born in 1756. And by 1791, he had already passed away. So, we're talking quite a long time ago here. And I just wanted to tell you a little bit about him, and then talk about this thing called Mozart time and what that means and how you might be able to apply it into your life.

And so, in 1781, after several years of searching, and he had been searching in vain for finding and post with European ability, he decided to settle in Vienna as a freelancer. And he was a freelancer composer and a performer. And there were lots of opportunities there at the time in a city for a musician because his talents were pretty well known. And, he also wanted to stay solvent. So, one of the things that he would do is he knew that he needed to get piano lessons, he needed to do concert performances, he knew that he had to do social visits with the city's wealthy patrons so that he could stay afloat. But at the same time, he was also courting his future wife – Constanze. And Constanze’ Mum was not very happy about the two of them getting together. And this left him a few hours a day between all of this hustle bustle and a very busy diary to compose the new work that he actually also needed to write, which took a lot of energy. And sometimes he would be working for hours and days on end, to find that that wasn't what he wanted to create. And he would then restart that process.

In 1782, there was a letter that was found that was written to her sister, which he gave some very detailed events of his day in Vienna, and I want to read this letter to you. It's just really amazing. And this is what he wrote to his sister. “My hair is always done by six o'clock in the morning. And by 7am, I'm fully dressed. I compose until nine, and from nine to one I give lessons, then I lunch, unless I'm invited to some house, where they lunch at two or even three o'clock. For example, today, I encounter Z cheese, and counters thorns house, I can never work before five or six o'clock in the evening. And even then, I'm often prevented by a concert that I have to play out. If I'm not prevented, I will compose into a nine, he writes with enthusiasm. And then I go to my dear Constance, through the joy of seeing each other, is always spoiled by her mother's little bit of remarks. At half past 10, or 11, I come home, it depends what happens. And then I cannot rely on being able to compose in the evening, owing to the concerts which are taking place, and the uncertainty to whether where and how I might be summoned. Now, and then it is my customs, especially when I get home early to compose a little before I go to bed. And I often go on writing to 1am in the morning, and yet again, the next day, I repeat, the same ritual and pattern.”

I found this fascinating after we were speaking about this thing that was called Mozart time. And then a Mozart time for him. And the way that it was explained to me was the part that you are most creative. It is the part when you are creating something from the depths of your soul that you believe will shift the way that things are done. Not that he knew that. But here we are hundreds of years later. And Mozart is still conducted by so many. My young son is learning the violin, and his teachers in music often talk about Mozart. So here we are talking about that because he took time to do what we now call as Mozart time.

So, the reflection here is this. What is your life like? And for most leaders, for most people who are pretty busy, their life looks a little bit like Mozart, there is family to attend to for him. It was his future wife. There is work to attend to things that make you a living thing that pay the bills, things that pay the mortgage, pay for school fees and etc. And this is when he was conducting his music, his concerts, and also his one-on-one tuition that he was giving. This might be you as the leader that you were doing this for your team members. You're also doing this with your family, but you might have boards to report to which was him going to wealthy pay utterance, there may be a CEO that you report to depending on where you sit in the organizational structure. So, you've got all of these things that you are doing, but are you creating and finding that special space and time to be able to create the future, to be able to leave a legacy to be able to innovate and work on the things that you believe will really matter in the future?

When I came across this particular thought, and I started to read into Mozart, it really inspired me, it really inspired me to go, okay, maybe I don't want to be able to one or 2am, I definitely don't, and be up at 6am the next morning, but I have a partner, husband, I have children, I have businesses, I have my health, I have my friendships, I have my own learning and my colleagues that I want to be able to do to so all these different compartments that Mozart had, how do I find the time to be really creative, and what really feeds my creativity. I'm not writing music, but what really feeds my creativity. And one of the things I started to think about that really feeds my creativity, for me, is the art of journaling is the art of meditating is the art of reading those three things. And I've spoken about this on a previous podcast, when I do my 10-10-10, by 10 minutes of reading my 10 minutes of meditation, and my 10 minutes of journaling, I start to become very creative. In fact, journaling is usually the last thing that I do out of those 30 minutes. And I'm amazed at how many ideas start to flow, how many actions start to flow. And I have a little post-it note next to my bed where I do my 10-10-10 when I wake up. And one of the things I do is on my post it note I will actually write down going ring that person, email that thing, or update that thing on your website or whatever, I get lots of ideas that come out by doing that 10-10-10 For him, he was wanting to leave a legacy.

My question to you is what are you doing? Now I'm not again suggesting that you start one or two I am, we now know the importance of sleep, and all the research around sleep that has come to from that's come to fruition that perhaps Mozart wasn't aware of in 1781. But we know that we need more than three and a half four hours of sleep for our well-being for our longevity. So, knowing that you've got the things, where could you find 30 minutes a day that might become 60 minutes a day to maybe 90 minutes a day?

When I'm mentoring people and leaders, one of the things that I get is Shivani. I just don't get any time for strategic thinking. And so, we call that you're not getting any time for Mozart time. And how do we create Mozart time? Well, one of the things I say is, let's find, let's find is it easier for you to find three lots of 30 minutes in your diary to do your strategic thinking to do your bigger picture to do your Mozart time to do your legacy piece. Or is it easier for you to find one lot of 90 minutes. And usually, I will suggest to them that we start with one lot of 90 minutes. And then beyond that, what we will do is we will then continue to build up that practice of 30 minutes times three sessions or one lot of 90. And we ideally, ideally want to build it up to about 90 minutes a day. So that we are doing what Mozart did, which was conducting the pieces that will be done there 300 years later. Now I'm not suggesting to you that you need to create a legacy that people are going to be doing 300 years later. But you might be working on a really important thing which requires deep thinking where you need some uninterrupted time, uninterrupted time from your family, from your colleagues from people that work for you from the boards, where you've got time to think you might just have a piece of paper and a pen. That's what I usually suggest to people. And you might start writing down what you want to create. It might be in your organizational structure; it might be a new problem that you're working on. But just some Mozart time to think. The answers won't come straightaway as they didn't from outside and they certainly don't for me, but it might just give you and point you in a little bit of the right direction. And it starts to set you up on your journey to create more strategic time to be able to create and do things that will matter the longer term, rather than doing things for doing sake.

I hope you look up Mozart, I hope you perhaps start off with a 10-10-10 that I've suggested to you on our previous podcasts. Or perhaps you just start off with 1-30 minute block with a piece of paper and a pen and nothing else and start to dream and visualise about things that will matter. A week from now, a month from now, a year from now, perhaps even 100 years from now. Thanks for listening.