A few months ago, a college friend recommended the Hamilton soundtrack to me. Obviously I had heard of the breakthrough Broadway hit, but I hadn’t listened to the soundtrack yet. She told me it was a must-listen, especially for writers. I was instantly intrigued.
I enjoy listening to music while I’m working on more mundane projects. It helps jumpstart me and keep me interested in what I’m doing. So the next day, I gave the Hamilton soundtrack a try.
Flash forward — I’m now a Hamilton addict. While I don’t currently have large sums of money sitting around in order to actually buy tickets, I’m determined to go one day. Why?
Because I’ve been inspired. By words. By music. By narrative. By creativity. By genius. Let me tell you what I mean…
Before I go any further, however, I want to make things clear. You may have read the title to this post and thought, “Oh no, not another listicle.” Hopefully you then continued on to the sub-head, because this is not another listicle. While I have nothing against that type of writing or the writers who use it, I wanted this post to be different.
So in the words that follow, I’ll leave it to you to find the “6 things” yourself. Some of them will be easier to spot than others. You won’t find any bullets or numbered lists though. Oh, and all the quotes in this post are from “Hamilton: An American Musical.” With that, let’s get started…
The Past Isn’t a Cage
I’m only 23 years old, but I have gone through difficulties in life. There are some things that I wish I’d have done differently. We all have those things in our past. But you know what?
They don’t define us.
Hamilton tells the story of an orphan immigrant who didn’t let his past define him. In Hamilton’s early years, death and devastation were the norm. But that didn’t stop him.
“Then a hurricane came, and devastation reigned
Our man saw his future drip, dripping down the drain
Put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain
And he wrote his first refrain, a testament to his pain”
Thankfully, my parents are still alive. I’ve never seen a hurricane up close. And yet I still let the past bring me down at times. We can’t do anything about yesterday. We have today. What we do with it will change tomorrow.
Now my wife is becoming a Hamilton fan as well. She sings parts of “My Shot” from time to time, and a smile creeps onto my face. Do we like all of the same things? No. Her eyes glaze over when I bring up fantasy baseball, and I’m just not a big fan of Grey’s Anatomy (Sorry, not sorry). But when we find something that clicks for both of us — it’s almost magical.
Your Life’s Work
I’m not sure exactly what my life’s work will be just yet. But thanks to Hamilton, I’ve already learned something about it.
It takes hard work.
After fighting in the American Revolution and climbing all the way to the Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was faced with a massive obstacle. The new nation was in a financial crisis. Fixing it rested on his shoulders. He had an idea, but it wasn’t going to be easy.
“Winning was easy, young man. Governing’s harder”
There will be times on the journey when life is not easy at all. There’s no instruction manual, and the way ahead will be foggy at best. Life was never meant to be easy — no matter how much we wish it were so. But we’re tasked with giving our best to each situation we find ourselves in. Alexander Hamilton did just that and…well…the rest is history.
“Figure it out, Alexander. That’s an order from your commander”
Alexander Hamilton is now remembered for helping to create our National Bank. His life’s work left a massive mark on our nation’s history. None of it would have happened if he had cowered in face of pressure or hard work.
“There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait!”
Every flame starts with a spark. Alexander Hamilton didn’t achieve success in one day. Lin-Manuel Miranda started jotting down bars long before the money and fame that has come with his smash Broadway hit.
It all starts with a spark.
But the spark must be fanned. The notion must be cultivated. The idea must be nurtured by hard work and passion. There will be growing pains, but they will be worth it. You will rise up, fall down and rise up again. And one day, you will have what you’re looking for. You’ll have reached the pinnacle. You’ll have achieved your dreams.
And it all starts with a spark.
“These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder
Ev’ry burden, ev’ry disadvantage
I have learned to manage, I don’t have a gun to brandish
I walk these streets famished
The plan is to fan this spark into a flame”
Sometimes I’m consumed by what others think of me. And that’s just considering what the people in my daily life think of me. If I start to think about what others will think of me in the future? My head would spin.
“Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see”
I can’t control it. So why worry about it?
All we have is the time we are given. What will we do with it?
“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control:
Who tells your story?”