Few artists have sustained a more successful rock & roll career over four decades than Bruce Springsteen. And maybe no other artist is still performing concerts that last more than four hours at 67 as he did a few weeks ago, breaking the record for the longest concert in the United States. Bruce’s creativity, passion and longevity are both amazing and inspiring.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the song “Badlands” and the line “It ain’t a sin to be glad to be alive.” Those ten words became a rallying cry for me as I was embarking on my professional career to find what I loved so I could love what I do. As a business leader today, I am still inspired by the Boss and his lyrics. And there are plenty of lessons to be learned from them. Here are my top three:
1) Keep things Real
Well now I’m no hero
All the redemption I can offer girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
Bruce is all about honest, hard work, understatement and knowing where you come from. For him, it is not about being a celebrity or having fancy show effects. When he performs live with the E-Street band, he is just a man with a guitar. He could play shorter concerts, and rely on an elaborate production. But he has none of it. Rather, he pours his soul and heart into every performance, feeding of the audience’s energy and vice versa. He is authentic and raw.
The lesson: True success is driven by passion, heart and grit – not titles or money. Know who you are, and earn it every day.
2) Never Lose Sight of Your Dreams
Everybody’s got a hunger, a hunger they can’t resist
There’s so much more that you want, you deserve much more than this,
But if dreams came true, oh wouldn’t that be nice,
But this ain’t no dream we’re living through tonight,
Girl you want it, you take it, you pay the price
(Prove it All Night)
Bruce is a storyteller. His songs are about the everyday struggle. They paint the picture of Marys, Johnnys and Killer Joes who aspire to bigger things, but get lost in the daily grind. But they are also full of hope and dreams. Bruce sings about the fire and hunger that drive his characters. He celebrates those who go for it and live in the moment and reminds us that those who don’t will be relegated to thinking only of a better past.
The lesson: Life is full of setbacks and time passing. But you can’t let it stop you. Never lose sight of your dreams and pursue them with a passion and “hunger”.
3) Enjoy the Ride
Someday girl I don’t know when we’re gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and we’ll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us baby we were born to run
(Born to Run)
We are all on a journey. And as the saying goes, “getting there is half the fun.” When Bruce and the E-Street Band play Born to Run, they play it with the same zeal and passion they did four decades ago. The hunger and fire hasn’t stopped. There is no place they would rather be than on that stage.
The Lesson: Find your passion and surround yourselves with people who share it. You’ll be inspired and inspire others to achieve their potential and do great things – perhaps without even knowing it.
Just like the real Boss…