Once upon a Tuesday, the Dean of Music at USC was standing in the local candy shop in his briefs, screaming at the top of his voice.
It was one of those Tuesdays.
The candy shop was stuffed with sugar in every shape imaginable: Tall skinny bottles bristling with Strawberry Laces; Shimmering bell jars hovering atop saucers of snow-white Gobstoppers; Deep, wide baskets brimming with Sticky Toffee Apples and Turkish Delight and Curly Wurlys and Sherbert Fountains; And buckets upon buckets of Love Hearts and Refreshers and M&Ms and Pop Rocks and Skittles and everything in-between.
The Dean, like any hyperglycaemic toddler, was hysterical. His father had caught him with his hand — quite literally — in the cookie jar.
The infant Dean’s excuse: “I was going to pay for them later.”
His father replied with words so powerful they still rang in the Dean’s ears five and a half decades later:
“Son, it would be better to simply take all you want and call yourself a thief every time.”
Fixable but unfixable bad performance is bad character. Making excuses for bad performances only creates more of them.
That’s why it’s better to be an honest thief than a dishonest judge.
Have you ever seen a human play dead?
Lots of animals do this to try and escape a toothy death.
Life moves. If it doesn’t move, it’s usually dead or a rock.
We call it ‘playing’ dead because staying alive is work.
To play dead, you just have to do nothing. Don’t even bother breathing.
Playing dead can work quite well if you’re an opossum or a frog or some other prey that can’t move very fast. So if you’re trapped by a hungry bear, playing dead could be a great shout.
Otherwise, work alive.
People think that to change your behaviour or reach your dreams, you have to change your mind. But that’s backwards.
Mindset plays an important part, but the truth is, when we change our actions first, our minds will follow.
That’s why even a tiny behavioural change — like drinking a glass of water in the morning — can make us healthier.
That one small action opens the door to dozens of other small but positive actions over the day. And over time, these all add up and move us closer to where we want to be, and who we want to be.
We can’t talk ourselves into change, but if we act as if it’s already happened, our minds will quickly catch up.
Words are great, but music is the best thing we’ve ever made.
It took me a long time to realize what a powerful tool it is.
We’re the only animal that responds to music at a physical level.
It’s so powerful that it can even relieve the symptoms of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Music fuses to our core. It entangles our emotions and weaves through our memories.
In many ways, the music you listen to is you.
I bet you even know what tracks would change your mood right now; to put a swagger in your step or a tear in your eye.
Or go back to a time in your life. Like time travel— our brains whisked through time hitched to a couple of bars of The Libertines or No Doubt or Bob Dylan.
Maybe people who “don’t listen to music” are a bit scared of its power, and they’re probably right to be. It’s light we can feel — and it’s powerful magic.
Careful how you use it!
Words are incredibly powerful.
These little sounds and symbols are programming for humans. Without them, our world falls apart.
Some words are so powerful they stick in our brains — ringing in our ears — and changing us forever. It becomes true.
The words we use to talk about ourselves are the most powerful because we listen to them all the time; they work a rut in our brain that’s hard to escape.
We never know when something we say will strike a chord and change behaviour — including our own.
That’s why we have to be so careful with what we think and say. And if we want to do something, we write it down.
Listen to the words ringing in your ears and ask if they’re in harmony with your goals.
If not, start to change their tune.