Back in 1969, a famous singer by the name of Peggy Lee came out with a song entitled, “Is That All There Is?” She sang about her lifetime experiences of having her house burn down, having attended and then realizing that she hated the circus, and then being dumped by her boyfriend. After each one of those experiences she would sing, “If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze and have a ball.”
This song could only be described as a “downbeat song of disillusionment.” It probably contributed to the creation of most of the new antidepressant drugs that we have today. Now that was a wonderful contribution to society that evolved that even Peggy could never have foreseen. So, for an optimist, one must dream that “from trials and tribulations good things may happen.” Or, if you’re the head of a pharmaceutical company, you might say, “from depressing songs we can make billions of dollars.” (It’s a joke …relax.)
Truthfully, we all spend time each day kicking away the many disappointments that come at us as we work our way through the myriad speed bumps that come up during our own personal journeys. This week was a week of observation for me. I spent time observing what is going right and what is going wrong at all levels: personal, business, national, and international for friends, fellow employees, relatives, other loved ones, companies, and politicians. During my periods of reflection it became clear to me once again that “change is inevitable.” In fact, change is life and life is change. Those who can embrace it, deal with it, and make the best of it seem to thrive.
The challenge for most of us seems to be that of being able to get ourselves into harmony with what we want. Some days we have good thoughts, then not-so-good thoughts, and then the next day good thoughts and so on. It has become clear to me that we need to reach a permanent state of believing without any doubt in exactly what we want to have happen. Then, not unlike those 10,000 hours that I practiced my trumpet, it a matter of sticking with it until you get better and better at creating your own destiny, designing your own future. Because as Leland Kaiser has said over and over again, “The Future is a Design Function.”
Dr. Denis Waitley, a positive mental attitude psychologist for the U.S. Olympic team, often speaks of positive self talk, but more importantly, he speaks of taking positive action. If you don’t like what is happening, work to change it, but first you need to dig deep down inside yourself and determine if it is because you are truly offended by what is happening or if it is just change itself that you resent or fear. Positive energy is not a “Jacobs in Wonderland” phenomena. Rather, it is the movement that brings good things to life.
So, embrace healthcare reform as you try to figure it out. Embrace nuclear arms reduction. Embrace the fact that you are stranded in Europe because of a volcanic cloud. It’s all good, or at least we can make it all good. As long as we have life, love, and a will to succeed, it’s all good. And, Peggy, the answer is, “No, that’s not all there is.”
There is nothing more fulfilling than living a purpose driven life, than contributing to the betterment of mankind in some meaningful way. As I work with the International Brain Research Foundation to help them find support to bring traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients out from what were previously believed to be deep, irreversible comas: as I work with the fine people in breast cancer research to spread their work internationally; as I work in Patient Advocacy, and in finding resources for hospitals and physicians to enable them to provide even more superior care, I can tell you that “That’s not all there is.” In fact, it’s just the beginning.