I started learning piano at around 19y old. I then stopped three years later when I moved to Switzerland. I can’t play at all these days, or even read musical notation. Most of what I played was just from muscle memory. I never learned how to play directly from reading a sheet - I am eternally envious of people that can. I vividly remember that I struggled with dynamic markings. Things like pianissimo, piano, mezzo-piano, forte, fortissimo. They hinted as to how loud a particular section should be played. In a classical instrument if you are already playing it loud and the sheet instructs you to play louder, you are physically limited. How much more can I hammer the damn instrument? I then learn to be conservative about what a normal volume is. This allowed me to give emphasis, when emphasis was needed. And quiet, when quiet was needed.

The same lesson applies to a lot of things in life. If someone is always stressed at work, when something truly stressful comes, there won’t be much difference in their demeanour. Others will just look at them and everything is as it should. The same for a person that is always pessimistic. This is true for things like priorities. If everything is high priority, then nothing is. But also when writing and talking. If a person is always tweeting in an outrageous tone, then when something truly scandalous happens, what are they supposed to do? It’s the same reason why the quietest person in the room has the most impact when they decide to talk. Even if the content is weak, the change in their behaviour is the contrast needed to snap everyone. Likewise, it’s why people disengage when the same person has been talking for a while. Even in sports, if we are constantly applying the same level of stress, either we will get an injury or forfeit any useful adaptations.