‘You can change a life in three minutes with the right song’
“You’re never going to be 100% ready and it’s never going to be just the right time, but that’s the point. It means that every moment is also the right moment.
If you want it, you just have to do it. “
So. Back on October 30th 2016 I saw a great article in The Guardian about Bruce Springsteen that made me think about a topic I discussed with a group of young people later that week that all moments matter <and we should admit it and accept it>. Then yesterday was Springsteen’s 70th birthday and I spent some time watching Zach Mercurio’s key note opening to a group of people where he said “moments that matter” and, well, I revisited this 2016 piece.
Let me get to my more controversial, debatable, statement: “all moments matter.” All moments matter mostly because you don’t know which ones are more important than others.
Yeah. Some moments pop up as “whoa, pay attention to this one, this is gonna matter”, but most truly important moments slip by seamlessly in the never ending inevitable moments of what we call Life and responsibility. Those moments either add up to a slow curving in direction <good & bad> or, in hindsight, you’ll reflect what was little was big.
This can be a tiring belief or understanding.
“I mean, what the hell, I gotta pay attention EVERY moment ??!!???”
Geez. That sucks.
But that is where Springsteen made me think.
“You can change a Life in 3 minutes.”
Uhm. He plays 2 ½ hour concerts. That is 50 3-minute opportunities to change a Life. What happens if he takes off the 3 minutes that someone is paying attention to? <by the way, having seen him 2 times in concert he does not take any 3 minutes off>.
And that is my point. Whether he accepts it or not he is thinking that all moments matter so “I gotta treat moments as if they matter”. Whether he consciously accepts it or not, he assumes some responsibility to put forth the energy to treat all moments as if they matter.
Now. That can seem like an incredible burden and incredible pressure on “self.”
But later in the article Springsteen says one thing in the article that just popped out to me that helps me explain this:
“I still have great pride in what I do. I still believe in its power.
I believe in my ability to transfer its power to you.”
Far too often we think about moments as “us” moments. Moments that steer our own Life. Moments that seal some moment in our destiny. Maybe we see this moment as incredibly important to us … and, inevitably, we focus on how these moments will affect us.
Springsteen suggests the opposite. In that if you pay attention to your own moment and do what you do, and do it to your best with the best intentions, then … well … you transfer the power of you to others <and the moment itself>. Well. I would point out that this is ‘meaning.’ Meaning is doing things, or something, from which others benefit. Their benefit gives meaning into whatever you do. That said.
Architect of fate?
Master of your own destiny?
Control the moment?
Living in the now <or the present>?
Shit. I don’t know and I don’t care what you attach to that thought … but … it is a good thought.
Now. Some people can certainly affect others more so. For example a Springsteen can certainly make things stop for a couple of minutes versus someone like me.
But. Yeah. You, me, anyone can change lives <your own as well as someone else’s>. And, yes, that demands a couple of attitudinal aspects in your own behalf.
One is that you need to embrace the ‘link’ in time.
“You meet the fans – only for 10 seconds, but you meet them one by one,” he says. “And they have an opportunity: what’s the one thing you always wanted to say over the 40 years of the relationship we’ve had?
I actually found it quite moving. Always enjoyed that part.”
Well. In order to believe you have power to transfer your best not only to the moment, but also to whomever you are interacting with, you have to be open to the engagement. I wont call it a ‘dialogue’ with someone … just an investment, an opening of yourself, to embrace whomever and whatever is within the moment. I imagine I am suggesting that you think you are not inserting yourself into the moment, but rather you are linking into the fabric of whatever exists in that moment. Maybe that sounds too philosophical but the Springsteen example makes it less so.
Attitudinally he sees that something as mundane when viewed simply as an “I” responsibility can be viewed as a way for him to not only energize someone he intersects with, but gets energized himself.
That is linking.
That is an attitude.
That is, well, meaning.
I would be remiss if I did not point out this is not choiceful, as in “today I will do this but tomorrow I may not”, but rather a 24/7 attitude to be brought to living Life.
Embrace the link.
One is a belief that you can ‘own’ the moment.
For example, when Springsteen is asked what he means when he says his covenant with his audience <which is his version of having a belief he can own the moment> depends on honesty, he replies without pause, without any errs or urrms, in a single perfect paragraph, that requires not one piece of tidying in the transcription:
“I guess we come out and deliver the straight dope to our crowd as best we can. It’s coming on stage with the idea: OK, well the stakes that are involved this evening are quite high. I don’t know exactly who’s in the crowd. But I know that my life was changed in an instant by something that people thought was purely junk – pop music records. And you can change someone’s life in three minutes with the right song. I still believe that to this day. You can bend the course of their development, what they think is important, of how vital and alive they feel. You can contextualise very, very difficult experiences. Songs are pretty good at that. So all these are the stakes that are laid out on the table when you come out at night. And I still take those stakes seriously after all that time, if not more so now, as the light grows slightly dimmer. I come out believing there’s no tomorrow night, there wasn’t last night, there’s just tonight.
And I have built up the skills to be able to provide, under the right conditions, a certain transcendent evening, hopefully an evening you’ll remember when you go home. Not that you’ll just remember it was a good concert, but you’ll remember the possibilities the evening laid out in front of you, as far as where you could take your life, or how you’re thinking about your friends, or your wife or your girlfriend, or your best pal, or your job, your work, what you want to do with your life.
These are all things, I believe, that music can accommodate and can provide service in. That’s what we try to deliver.”
Well. Imagine that is you and every day, every moment, every task you are doing, is simply your moment on your stage. Ponder that because many times most of us feel like we are at the mercy of our circumstances. And that in fewer instances we are masters of the circumstances.
I could argue this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I could argue that most of us just suck at recognizing which moments we are masters and which moments we are at the mercy of.
I could argue that we shouldn’t leave anything to chance and we would be better off if we simply assumed that we were never completely at the mercy of our circumstances and that we can always master at least a portion of every circumstance.
I imagine, in my mind, that this is more about the way you, attitudinally, live your life as much as anything. It is more about your overall philosophy <which kind of demands you actually have a philosophy I guess>. It is more about deciding to be decent, fair and … well … good.
I tend to believe that Springsteen always believed his music needed to be authentic in that it always needed to embody his philosophy toward Life.
I could argue that means his songs always carried a little bit of his inner meaning and not just his craft.
I could argue that means if you apply your own philosophy day in and day out, minute in and minute out, even in and event out … well … each moment will carry a little bit of your soul and not just the ‘craft of doing the moment.’
In other words. You are not just doing your best because it is required of you but rather you are doing your best because it is a part of who and what you are.
Yeah. It is a philosophy. It is a ‘code of living, I suppose’ <as Springsteen suggests>.
I think this attitude is what makes Springsteen more of an idea <or ideal> then simply a performer or a person. And I cannot imagine why it would be any different for an everyday schmuck like you & I if we were to embrace this attitude <don’t be blinded by the outcome magnitude comparison>.
Look. I imagine that part of managing moments well in Life is not just about getting older and more experienced, but also how you grow up and what you do with that experience.
Some of us learn the lessons fairly well and begin assuming more and more responsibility for more moments.
Some decide it is too much work and too disappointing <mostly because you don’t always see the fruits of that decision immediately> and therefore you focus solely on ‘the moments that matter.’
Some of us just decide that we are made up of some endless energy which means that no matter where we go, no matter the moment and context, we will always try and add value to the moments <and, inevitably, the lives of those around you>.
In growing up, Springsteen says, “you have to come face to face with a lot of your weaknesses and the things you do poorly, so that you’re able to assess the landscape and find out what are the righteous paths you can travel down, and what are the roads that are just going to lead you to a dead end.”
Some of us learn this better than others.