EQ Your Life: Give and Take

It goes without saying but everyone is busy. Some are busier than others but the truth is it really is all perspective. One person may look at someone else’s life and wonder how they survive the pace while another person may be jealous of the time they have.

Regardless of perspective and the reality of the situation, one thing every person wants is to be further along down the road from where they are. Sometimes it's a very specific goal of accomplishing more around the house or learning a new skill where others may want to work on being more present in their lives or just having more peace. It really always comes down to this important question — how can I get to where I want to be?

The Muddy Mess

Everyone has used an equalizer before. Whether in your car, home stereo, or TV, we have, “tweaked” the settings to get a little better sound out of the speakers. Some like a little more, “low end” and some thumping bass while others may want a little more, “highs” to provide a little more clarity. It is an art and science, something sound technicians and anyone in the music field have labored over. Anytime you turn on your favorite song, tv show, or movie you can bet there have been countless hours of multiple people tweaking the EQ to get the sound to it’s, “sweet spot”. It is the key to bringing out the real beauty in any song or sound.

So, take for example something you may have experienced. You put your favorite song in your car and you notice that the bass is a bit weak so you boost up the EQ a bit and get that nice bass sound. While that helped you notice you have lost a little bit of the clarity of the song so you turn the highs up just a bit to balance. So far so good except the vocals and guitars have been drowned out a bit and sound, “tinny” so you boost up your mid-range to balance it. Before you know it, after multiple different tweaks you have fallen into a trap that sound engineers call being, “over EQ’ed”. What that means is you have added so much across the equalizer that nothing really sounds right and you wind up having to start over.

EQing Your Life

What I have found both personally and by watching others is that we are prone to “over EQ” our lives. In our desire to grow as people we automatically think we need to add some more, “stuff” to get to where we want to be. Want to be healthier? Add some more days at the gym. Want to have deeper relationships too? Add some more nights out with some good friends. Want to do better in our jobs? Add some more time training and learning your craft. Want to be a better spouse/parent? Add some more time with that person(s) on top of it all. Sooner than later we have added so much more to our life that we are overwhelmed with the demands of our goals that our life doesn’t, “feel right” at best and at worst, is in complete chaos. While all of these things are good and we should pursue all of them we have fallen into the same trap we experienced with our favorite song; we have EQ’d our life into a muddy mess.

The Key To the Sweet Spot

Here is the key that most musicians and sound engineers know about mixing or EQing a song that we all can learn from. The trick to bringing out beauty is not just about adding but the taking away. Sometimes a song will need to add more bass but sometimes it may need some taken away. Sometimes a song, in order to get some clarity won’t need more, “highs” but will actually need to remove some of the mid-range frequencies. When this approach is applied, a sort of magic happens and a song can go from good to great or even beautiful. Finding the right balance between what to add and what to take away is the road to the sweet spot.

Our Unique Song

Our lives are very much the same way. To find beauty and peace in life, sometimes the key is not to add more of the good stuff but to learn what good stuff needs to be taken away. This could be for a short time or it could be for an extended period of time. Just like mixing and EQing a song is an art, so is EQing our lives to bring out the beauty among the muddy mess.

Likewise, just as every song requires a certain amount of tweaks and adjustments to find the sweet spot, our lives, unique and beautiful, require that same attention. To EQ a folk song one way and expect that same setting to work just as well for a dance song will only leave you with blown out speakers and ringing ears.

If you look at your life and some goals you have in front of you, start to think about it this way. What things do I need to add and what do I need to take away? What areas of my life will benefit from a little more attention for a time as I focus it somewhere else? It’s the key to finding the sweet spot of your unique and beautiful song.

Next post I hope to show how this important key applies to the life of a Christian and how it is the path to freedom and growth.