Guest Blog: Chimaira Frontman Mark Hunter, “Drive”

Photo by Alex Morgan

Mark Hunter is the vocalist and founding member of Cleveland metal act Chimaira. For more than a decade, Chimaira has been imposing its gravity on the metal community by continually touring the globe and selling more than a million albums worldwide. Their brand of heavy music has evolved and transcended both itself and the trends while maintaining its persistent, bludgeoning force. The band released its new album, Crown of Phantoms, on July 30th. Watch the video for the new song “No Mercy” at the bottom of this post.

Drive |drīv|

“If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.”–B.C. Forbes

What motivates us? Most would assume money, but a study at M.I.T lead researchers to understand that high cash reward does not motivate people at all. Monetary reward actually stifled creativity in test subjects. While cash rules everything around us, outside of monotonous activity, we perform better when it’s out of the equation.

Science points to three alternative methods of motivation:

  • Autonomy – Self-Governing, we like to be in charge of our day.
  • Mastery – Our desire to improve.
  • Purpose – We want to feel as though we are doing something larger than our own lives.

Autonomy:

Nobody likes answering to the boss. When you’re at work performing a mundane task for “the man” a general thought, besides getting the hell out of there, is how much more money you could be earning for your time. Your creative side is nonexistent. You head home to watch TV or sit on the net, rinse, wash, repeat. A vicious cycle.

Then, one day your boss decides to put you in charge. Suddenly, your brain feels as though it’s exploding with ideas and a drive you haven’t felt since the last time you did something you actually wanted to do.

Why does this happen? It’s because you are in charge. You get to call the shots. You are king for a day, and that makes people feel good. It motivates us, puts a fire under our ass and reminds us that we’re alive.

When it comes to Chimaira, I feel it’s best we have complete autonomy. We write what we feel. We don’t answer to anyone. This power enables us to be who we need to be, and it motivates us to express the true nature of who we are. Money comes into play to enable the mechanics. Flights, gas, studio time, lodging, bills, there are a ton of things that need to be covered with cash. It’s understood we need X to pay for Y. A minor portion of our drive will be to increase X so we can have more fun with Y, but that’s the limit of money’s power when it comes to creativity.

The goal is to remove money by earning enough or adapting to remove it from the equation. Creativity is therefore able to increase.

Mastery:

There’s a reason our guitarist, Emil, is rarely seen without an axe in hand. He is mastering his craft and adopted a lifestyle that affords him the time to do so. If you work at a job you can’t stand, chances are the only time you can find motivation is when you’re doing the things you love. Perhaps you’re into fishing, hitting the gym or video games. You wish you had all the time in the world to work on your passion.

Doing something because it’s fun while improving is a powerful form of motivation. Look at Linux for example. The supercomputers that run the world thrive on open source technology. People all over the world will spend hours upon hours working for free just to feel a part of it all.

Why are they doing this? It’s challenging, fun and a contribution is being made. Bring mastery into the heavy metal world and what you find are musicians simply aiming to get better at what they do. Few flourish financially.

Purpose:

Chimaira have been touring in a bus for over a decade, but on this most recent run we decided to take a sprinter van. The drives were short, and it was a good way to increase profit. Sprinters are pretty cool. Inside they are like a tiny bus complete with bunks and satellite TV.

Driving through the Midwest was a great way to bond, meditate, and it gave me a deeper sense of purpose. I had more fun waking up and driving to the next venue, keeping our own schedule (autonomy), and accomplishing what we set out to do on a day-to-day basis. For me, it was highly motivating.

It would be nice if more employers would implement similar philosophies into their paradigm. Happier employees will increase profit. Win win. Everyone loves getting a big pile of money, but sometimes we want the satisfaction of accomplishment on our own terms. It’s an indescribable feeling that’s not easily replicated.

Sometimes I struggle with motivation. I can be pretty lazy, but I’m driven to improve. I’m finding ways to work laziness into my schedule instead of it come accidentally.

Life hack–fill up every hour of your day on your calendar. Take time management to the extreme.

What drives you? What do you wish you could spend more time on?

Thanks for reading!

 

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  • Brutal Brandy

    I fight with the urge to praise all your writings because i hate being “That” fan but you really write compelling blogs! I find that my respect for you as a human, and not just the frontman of my favorite band, has increased with each one i read.

    I thought about your question; what do i wish i could spend more time on? My daughter is all that comes to mind. Shes 11 and i feel like time is running out for me to make sure she contributes something more to the world than CO2. Being a single mom blows but only because my days are filled with work and my nights with chores and so little of that time being a mom. I know that one day she will look back (like i do at my single dad) and realize that i worked all those hours for her but i wish it didn’t have to be that way.

    Thanks for the chance to reflect on what’s important in life. Keep up the writings Mark. :)

  • Pure Hatred qchx

    Today I was singin aaall day the chorus in my head at my soul- sucking job “I hate!.. Everyone!’ *Mark tone*. I feel miserable, but with this article you hit the spot.. thank Mark… again! #somethinghavetochange