You need a fight song. I’m not going to soft-pedal this. Your industry is cutthroat. Your to-do list is infinite. Lawyers wear down. Burn out. Grind to a halt. Any leverage you find that keeps you jacked in is leverage you need.
You could try meditation. I mean, you definitely should try meditation. Running. Cycling. Yoga. All of them help you stay chill. But what about when it’s go time? What about that moment all this mindfulness and meditation is marching toward? At that moment, being super chilled is the last thing you need. On game day, you need a theme song.
Science Says You Need a Fight Song
Music is powerful. It gives you feels. It breaks hearts, changes lives, and makes you dance at weddings in front of people. There’s a ton of cognitive science about the positive effects of music on the mind.
So why not take advantage of music’s weird power to tune your professional performance?
Pregaming with music is a thing. Plenty of elite athletes have specific songs they listen to when they’re getting into a competitive headspace. And while the science is strong, athletes and performers of all stripes have been using music to get pumped since forever. It’s kind of a no-brainer. If a song gets you jacked and jumping around and sets your hair on fire, then listening to that song right before you perform for high stakes will probably give you confidence that will help you perform at a higher level.
But You Already Knew This
When you walked into the room to take the bar, you put “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat. You listen to “Lose Yourself” in the gym. But there’s more to picking a fight song than how good the song is. Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, but I’m not listening to that before I walk on stage to give a presentation. However, that’s me.
Your Fight Song Is Super Personal
Your competitive headspace is invisible. No one knows what’s going on in your dome when you’re throwing down in court. It’s impossible to explain to anyone who isn’t stuck inside your head with you. Most people go immediately to high-impact rap or rock for their fight song, but what if your competitive headspace is one of perfect serenity and calm? Any song from Music for Installations, by Brian Eno, will get you there.
Your fight is personal, too. No one knows what you’re struggling with. It’s easy to assume it’s the case, the closing argument drama, the pitch. But maybe it’s something buried in those moments. Maybe it’s roiling, lava-hot anxiety threatening to burn your career to a cinder. Whatever it is, no one else knows about it.
Which is beautiful. A great Scottish writer, Ian Maclaren, said, “Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That intense, epic struggle is part of what makes every lawyer unique. Your fight is your fight and your fight song is your fight song.
When you plug those earbuds in, whatever flows out of them into your mind is your own business. If it’s John Denver’s “Country Roads,” so be it. Play it loud and gear up. If it’s “Sussudio,” by Phil Collins, then … well, you’re probably gonna lose.
Still, We Are Talking About Fighting Here
Assuming your fight is going to be loud and intense, here is a list of songs that may get you into a warrior’s stance.
For that slow-burn rise into fist-pumping motivation:
- “Lose Yourself,” Eminem
- “Are We All We Are?” Pink
- “We Will Rock You,” Queen
For an immediate onslaught of unholy swagger:
- “Chicago,” Tom Waits
- “The Mob Goes Wild,” Clutch
- “Stitched up Heart,” Mixi Demner
For an impenetrable inflexible metallic rock ‘n roll shield:
- “When the Levee Breaks,” Led Zeppelin
- “Barracuda,” Heart
- “Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen
For hardcore rap battle chest-thumping:
- “Tupac Back,” Meek Mill, feat. Rick Ross
- “Greatest,” Eminem
- “Lose Control,” Missy Elliot
For that bouncy funky joyous dance battle:
- “High Hopes,” Panic at the Disco
- “Just a Girl,” No Doubt
- “Sorry, Not Sorry,” Demi Lovato
For old-school braggadocio and charm:
- “Fly Me to the Moon,” Frank Sinatra
- “Sing, Sang, Sung,” Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band
- “Pennies from Heaven,” Louis Prima
For pregame serenity, dignity, bliss and majestic power:
- “Symphony No. 3 Op. 31,” Henryk Gòrecki
- “Kazakhstan,” Brian Eno
- “Gnossienne No. 1,” Erik Satie
What’s your fight song?
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