It’s 1984. Bruce Springsteen is about to be one of the biggest stars in the world – and he’s enraged.
After wrapping up his final recording session at The Hit Factory in New York city he meets with Jon Landau, his manager, to pick the final 14 songs for his upcoming album Born In The USA. Over two years in the making, they have at least 70 tracks to pick from, however, Landau tells Bruce there isn’t a single hit among them and the two of them get into an argument. Bruce is frustrated, not just by the argument, but also by the challenges of trying to finish this album. He channels his frustration into writing one more song for the album.
History will prove Landau wrong as there were already six Top 10 hits in that pile which made it onto Born In The USA, however the song Bruce wrote in his irked state ultimately became his biggest hit – Dancing in The Dark.
Dancing in The Dark was a huge success, and has been covered dozens, perhaps hundreds of times. One of my favorite covers is in the video below, by Tegan and Sara.
More than just a catchy song though, the lyrics provide life lessons as we get a glimpse of Bruce’s state of mind during that time: on the cusp of reaching his dreams, and yet frustrated that he was so close but still not finished.
Lesson One: You Can’t Start a Fire Without a Spark
No matter what you want in life, you’ve got to have a spark. You’ve got to have something, anything that can push you forth to action – and you’ve got to take that first step.
Regardless how much metawork we do or how much we talk about what we want to accomplish – in the end, it’s our actions that define whether we fail or succeed.
Take a step, even if it’s a small step.
You can’t start a fire without a spark
Lesson Two: You Can’t Start a Fire Sitting Around Crying Over a Broken Heart
Crying over a broken heart symbolizes getting caught up in and constantly thinking about past failure or negative experiences.
We can’t move forward on our goals while pitying ourselves, or blaming others for where we are. Doing so oftentimes leads to personal development roadblocks like blaming the situation, and focusing on our past mistakes instead of the people we are today.
Our past has brought us here today, but the negative experiences and heartbreak don’t define who we are – and most importantly, the only way it will define what the rest of our life holds is if we let it.
You can’t start a fire sitting around crying over a broken heart
Lesson Three: You Can’t Start a Fire Worrying About Your Little World Falling Apart
Don’t worry about what you have to lose. It has been documented over and over again in economics and psychology that we overvalue material possessions we own, and are more scared of losing than we are of potential gains.
The fact is when we are too afraid too risk what little we have, our inaction means we risk infinitely more – we risk losing all the possibilities that might be, because we don’t take action.
Stop waiting for a “someday.”
You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
What’s Your Fire?
So get out there. Make of the most of your dreams while you still have time. Live your life.
Start some fires
Well, not literally. You know what I mean.
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