Filed under: Comment
I don’t know whether it was because I was fascinated by rhythm and melody or whether I just liked music that had shit lyrics, but when I was younger, I never really gave a damn about the words of my favorite songs.
Hell, even when I was touring with my band – Bangkok Shakes – I still didn’t know the lyrics to songs and that includes the ones we wrote … whereas my wife, who is a lot younger than me [but then, who isn’t!?] can quote lyrics to pretty much any song, even the ones she doesn’t like.
Actually, what’s even more mental is that years later, I built a planning ‘process’ around song lyrics … of which my greatest moment was when I revealed to a bunch of young, hip, urban, NYC-based kids that the lyrics they’d chosen as best reflecting their feelings about life were by Twisted Sister – a band they’d never heard of and, when I showed them their picture and played them the song the lyrics came from [We’re Not Going To Take It], a band they never wanted to hear of again.
Anyway, maybe it’s because I’ve become more mature [doubtful] or that I recently interviewed my teen-nemesis Morrissey [also doubtful], but I’ve been noticing more and more how song lyrics capture insights better than a lot of researchers and – to a certain extent – planners.
OK, so not all song lyrics do this – in fact it’s probably the minority – but when they get it right, it’s pretty powerful stuff.
Am I telling you anything you didn’t know?
Of course not, this information has been obvious to everyone for fucking years … but fortunately this post isn’t about how slow I am to grasp concepts, it’s all a massive preamble to me talking about a Bob Marley quote.
Just recently, I came across this:
Maybe it’s because I’ve just come back from seeing my Mum – a woman that exemplifies this spirit – or maybe it’s just my long love affair with the whole notion of ‘triumph over adversity’ – but when I read that quote, it resonated with me on an incredibly deep level.
The reason I say my Mum exemplifies this attitude is that she has been thrown a number of curve balls in her life – curve balls that had the ability to literally undermine everything she believed, valued and cared for – and yet every time, she was able to overcome them, often by discovery a sense of strength, character and persistence that she didn’t know existed within her.
She is, quite honestly, an inspiration.
The reason I say this is because I recently met a planner who was completely – and absolutely – the opposite to this.
OK, I appreciate matching up to my Mum would be a tough act to follow – especially in the eyes of her adoring son – but this planner managed to make me angry almost within 5 minutes of meeting them.
Don’t get me wrong, they were perfectly nice, smart and charming … but that still didn’t hide the fact that for all their talk of being curious about life, everything they did – or didn’t do – was based on their desire to maintain the life and lifestyle they felt comfortable with.
What really set me off was when they said they were going to turn down a 2 month freelance gig in the Middle East because – “they didn’t want to be away from home for so long”, “didn’t speak the language” and – I shit you not - “it is too hot”.
Now, while I appreciate we all have different levels of comfort and acceptance, these excuses [and that is all they were] made me angry.
As I’ve said before, despite our repeated attempts to own the term, ‘curiosity’ is not something unique to planners.
In fact, it’s something that is unique to no one – it’s human nature – it’s just some use it more than others … and I’d argue planners feature pretty way down the pecking order compared to disciplines such as medicine, law and teaching to name but a few.
Now while I accept going to live in another country could be regarded as rather extreme [even if it’s just for just 2 months], going through life with the attitude of only wanting to engage with the things you’re comfortable with means you’re not only going to miss out on all the amazing things life is capable of giving you and showing you, but you’re also going to miss out discovering what you’re capable of achieving and being.
With that in mind, whenever you are faced with an opportunity – or a challenge – that makes you feel uncomfortable, I recommend you remember the above words of Bob Marley and go for it. And if they don’t inspire you, then I suggest you simply remember this awesome quote from Mae West:
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
35 Comments so far
Leave a comment