Meet Michal Zagon-Rogel, a passionate poet and children books author, enthusiastic music & health researcher and a body & mind lecturer. Armed with a Masters degree in political science and 15 years of experience as a Government Affairs Manager, she’s finally pursuing her true passion. Michal lives in Israel where she researches and teaches the impact of classical music on our health and well-being.
Michal, who did you want to be when you were a child? How did you discover your creative path?
As a child, I played piano and listened to classical music. I felt that music empowers me, comforts me, and sharpens my abilities. I was certain though that the influence of music was solely mine. Only today, I deeply understand that music’s impact on health is common and multicultural.
Music is the ultimate non-pharmacological solution to reduce pain, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It helps improve our concentration and memory as well as increases our creativity. It’s the best and most accessible mood changer tool at our disposal.
When I had to choose an occupation, I knew it’ll be politics. I was always drawn to politics; I wanted to influence and change the world. I knew that I had the inner-strength to do so. I studied and worked in government affairs, regulations and communications. Throughout the years of working, I felt intrigued to go one level deeper and learn more about what drives human behavior. Does our work really reflect who we are? Why do we tend to mask our emotions and act in a certain way?
Six years ago, in parallel to my day job, I began to learn about the association between body & mind. I understood how our perceptions and interpretations of reality shape our mood and affect our health.
I found myself maintaining a secret identity. During daytime I was writing legislation bills, participating in parliament’s committees whereas during the nights, I was plunging into the depths of medical research, biology, chemistry and physics.
A few years ago, I was called to give a lecture about the impact of brain, neurons and glial cells on our mood. That experience made me understand my true purpose. Today I give lectures, workshops, and take part in a designated medical research on the impact of music on stress reduction.
“Music is the ultimate non-pharmacological solution to reduce pain, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It’s the best and most accessible mood changer tool at our disposal.” – Michal Zagon-Rogel
What’s your best advice for somebody who wants to pursue a similar path to yours?
When you have an idea, a burning passion within you, don’t turn it off, because that means turning yourself off.
When you feel the need to do or to accomplish something – go and concur that mountain. If there is an area that interests you, if there is a subject that brings a sparkle to your eyes – this is your place.
True, there are many reality considerations such as the need for decent salary, a measure of stability etc. On the other hand, in order to live a full life, we must also know how to break through societal frameworks and learn to embrace uncertainty. The secret is to listen to your heart and follow it.
What tool, object or ritual you couldn’t live without in your daily life?
Appreciation of people and what we have in our lives play a huge role in our overall happiness. That’s why for me, a small intimate conversation with myself to cherish all the good things in my life is how I start my day. Happiness is an internal decision, a state of mind rather than a physical attribute of a specific activity or location. I usually do this while listening to classical music.
I think that technology destroys intimacy with ourselves. We have almost no free time to think or simply daydream, that’s where creativity and ideas come from. Mobile phones stormed to fill in all these small vacant time intervals. For most people their phone is the first thing they look at when they open their eyes in the morning and the last thing they see before they go to sleep.
Music, just like our brain is comprised of resonances and spaces. And that’s where the entire secret lays: Create some Spaces in your life, it’s an essential habit to relax, invent, and download your vision. Live your life in the same manner you would compose a music piece, with a change of pace and time intervals.
What does success mean to you?
Success for me is self-fulfillment. Success is our ability to use our talents and capabilities to express who we’re and not necessarily the monetary compensation we gain.
Success means that you use your talent to positively influence. First and foremost influence yourself and just as important – influence the world. Everything I do is aimed at creating change. My poems, my books, my lectures – I wish to touch hearts and motivate people to step away from their comfort zone, to actively go, seek and find their fulfillment zone.
Michal, what quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?
Being involved in government affairs for many years, I very much like this quote from Shimon Peres:
“You are great as the cause you serve and you are young as your dreams.”
I believe that a sense of meaning in life is an important variable for human well-being. No matter what job title you hold, what’s your physical condition, or where you come from – when you have a sense of meaning and it blends with your vision, your dreams and your passion – you have everything.
What do you think the world needs more of?
Compassion. First and foremost towards ourselves, because we’re our own worst critics, and then towards others. Once we achieve the first, the latter will come naturally to us.
“When you have an idea, a burning passion within you, don’t turn it off, because that means turning yourself off. “- Michal Zagon Rogel
“Live your life in the same manner you would compose a music piece, with a change of pace and time for intervals.” – Michal Zagon-Rogel