It's true, Momentum saved my life. I wouldn't be here sharing my personal journey with you today had I not built up so much momentum years earlier. One really amazing thing about angular momentum is that it creates torque in the direction of the rotating axis, which maintains stability. This is why spinning tops and gyroscopes seem to defy gravity like in the video below. (this video is 19 minutes long so you may want to skip to the end after the first minute)
Angular momentum is a metaphor for Life Momentum. By building up enough momentum in life, we can quickly recover from unforeseen setbacks that would otherwise render us defeated. If you were to push the Momentum spinning top with your finger, the high angular momentum will keep it upright. It does not fall over. The same can be true in life.
So what compels me to share my momentum story? Survival...perseverance...curiosity and the love of life.
Four years ago, at age 37, I suffered a major stroke that resulted in complete memory loss. This happened in my sleep. I woke up one morning confused and began wondering why I couldn't move my left arm. Then I realized I couldn't move my left leg. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't understand and I had no sense of alarm. I decided to drive myself to the hospital even though I couldn't walk.
The next day, I awoke in a hospital bed alone. My parents and sister lived 1000 miles away and my only friend who knew something was wrong was on vacation. When friends did come to visit, I didn't know their names or faces. I was without memories from the past. At the moment, the world was completely new and my best friend was my nurse, since she was the first person to speak to me. I didn't understand anything in life, but oddly enough I was extremely happy.
There is much more to this story, which I will publish in my upcoming book, "Life Momentum". And you can read more about this event (and many others) in my blog on the Harrelson Trumpets website. I encourage all fellow survivors of stroke and heart attack to leave a comment or connect with me personally to share your stories of courage and recovery. We need to raise awareness and share our collective will to gain momentum in this life!
What does Momentum, the spinning top, have to do with momentum in life? Well, everything. I would not be here today had I not driven myself to the hospital that morning. You see, I had suffered a heart attack the night before and I likely would have died in that bed. But I didn't. I am the kind of person who stands up to a fight and even in my weakened state of mind, I dragged my body to the front door of my shop (over 120 feet) and pulled myself into my truck. Then I somehow found my way to the hospital.
I had a lot of momentum in my life leading up to this moment. I was at the top of my career as a custom trumpet designer and builder. I had built my company from the ground up with a great team capable of building the world's most efficient trumpets on a daily basis. And the momentum I had gained was largely due to my friends, colleagues, family and fans coming together to support and create an entirely new approach to trumpet design.
The day I was released from the hospital, something amazing happened. I picked up a trumpet and sailed up to double high C. For you non-musicians, this is a challenging high note that requires a fair amount of skill. I didn't understand that this in itself was amazing at the time.
I couldn't play any songs as I couldn't read music. I didn't even know which buttons would create different pitches. I had to start all over learning trumpet. But get this... I learned all of my scales and arpeggios in one day. I started slow and painstakingly forced myself to re-learn trumpet. I thought, "If I'm considered one of the world's leading trumpet builders, I should learn how to play!" And day after day, I approached the instrument as an extension of my body. Within a few weeks, I could play by ear to pretty much any station on Pandora. Learning trumpet seemed to come very naturally to me even though in my previous life I had struggled for over a decade to achieve what I had accomplished in just one week. It was obvious to me that I had discovered something very important in life. I had discovered the secrets to Momentum.
I will continue to share my experiences discovering Momentum in future blog posts, but for now I want to leave you with these three principles...
1) Find your Balance
2) Reduce Drag
3) Gain Momentum