Toby Keith Said it Best
Having grown up in the urban sprawl that is Southern California, the wide open country roads of the Midwest and South-East provide a wonderful sense of escapism for this reformed city boy. And though many of you may not agree, a warm spring night, with the windows down and 90’s country blaring from your stock speakers is just a few steps from the top of the stairway to heaven. Myself, I am partial to Brad Paisley, but the honky-tonk sound of Toby Keith always works in a pinch. Of late I have found myself thinking back to one particular Toby Keith song. It is one of those songs that come on the radio and somehow the windows are magically down and you are shouting the lyrics out at the corn stalks that are flying by your car (and/or truck, can’t forget the pick’em up trucks!) Toby sings it best, but go ahead and give it a try yourself.
“Let’s get on down to the main attraction; with a little less talk and a lot more action!”
If you are in an office, I hope you just sang it in your head. If people are looking at you with odd expressions on their faces, you probably only thought you were singing it in your head. Awkward.
For those of you not a connoisseur of Country and/or Western music, I invite you to take the time to listen to this gem of a song: Click for Toby Keith
Now the first thing you are going to think may just be, “Wait a minute, he is talking about hooking up.” Yes, the song does seem to be a glorification of a romantic transaction arising from an interaction in a barroom environment. But, ignoring the overt meaning, let’s boil the song down to its most basic message. When I hear this song it says two things to me:
- If you really want something, cut the crap and go for it.
Of course, this is a more figurative interpretation of the song lyrics, but too often we get bogged down in life. We have grand goals and resolutions and in the end we remain exactly as we were. It is that mental, physical, or emotional inertia that provides insurmountable friction and prevents substantive change.
The incident that really spurred this thought was a conversation I had with a local business owner. We were discussing the state of his business and he was very pleased with the direction of his company. He had great managers running his various locations but was rethinking his expectations of those managers. Recently he had paid for a consultant to provide some training classes for his managers. Not only did he provide the training at no cost to his employees, he paid for the corresponding certification tests as well. For both classes the pass rate on the certification was approximately 30%. Less than one-third of the top members of his organization succeeded. Every manager that attended the class told him that the training was a good idea and they were glad they had the opportunity, but the success rate was disappointing. His conclusion; the managers that really wanted the certification did what they had to do to succeed. The managers that liked the idea but did not really, in their hearts want the certification, did not succeed. So, take some time every day and look deep into your heart. Find what you want and go get it.
- We talk, way too much, without actually accomplishing much of anything.
Yes, I said we. I will include myself in this observation. Toby Keith, wise honky-tonk troubadour, complains of endless chatter in the earliest moments of his prolific hookup song. Our society is inundated with endless chatter. Politicians rant and rave from their podiums and institutions are overrun with two or three hour ‘synergy’ sessions. I would be remis if I failed to mention the “friend” you have on social media that posts the same New Year’s “resolution” every January the first. Buddies gather in bars and engage in alcohol induced brainstorms that are quickly forgotten the next morning. With all this energy being expended the same problems exist, both locally and globally. It is as if we get really bothered by something and by venting we are able to feel just good enough to continue living as we were the day prior. Do you want to know my hypothesis? (I suppose if you don’t you will just stop reading and go on with your day. Thanks for visiting if you are leaving.)
My hypothesis is that we are all scared. (For those of you that stuck around, thank you so very much for continuing to spend some of your valuable time with me.) Our “everyday” life is a known commodity. Yes we hate or boss or are slowly sinking into greater debt, but we at least know how that life works. We are comfortable and do not mind the safety of that comfort. By changing something, we risk a disruption of our carefully crafted reality. For many people, the though of a break in their carefully crafted order is terrifying. I don’t do this enough in my life, but I have twice and the results were worth the anxiety. When I was younger, I left college, and a good paying job, to pursue a dream. Two years after making the decision I stepped onto a baseball field and umpired my first professional baseball game. That five year run took me all over our great country and I met some great friends. The second time I stepped out of my self-imposed rut ended up a little more emotionally traumatic. I walked away from a stale long-term relationship, one in which I was deeply entrenched. You all know about those kinds of relationships. Because of that decision I am now married to the best woman I have ever had the pleasure to know and am a father of three wonderful children. Even though so much good came from the change, the anxiety of leaving the comfort of emotional inertia was very distressing.
Both times I took a blind step off the cliff ended in situations that were rewarding for me. Even though we will not always succeed when we change our course I really believe that there is truth to the poem by William F. O’Brien.
Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing,
Others say nothing gambled nothing gained,
Go all out for your dream.
Life can be lived either way, but for me,
I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.
Some say “Don’t ever fall in love,
Play the game of life wide open,
Burn your candle at both ends.”
But I say “No! It’s better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all, my friend.”
When many moons have gone by,
And you are alone with your dreams of yesteryear,
All your memories will bring you cheer.
You’ll be satisfied, succeed or fail, win or lose,
Knowing the right path you did choose.
Good old William has a great point. Babe Ruth did not hit all those home runs by being scared to strike out. You have to swing the bat. We are not promised a tomorrow, so why throw away your precious today. By whatever method works for you, get out there and, “get on down to the main attraction with a little less talk and a lot more action.”
Thanks for visiting. Please like and share with someone you think might need a little spark today. As always, your thoughts are welcome. Please take a second to leave a comment.