You are What [Who] You Listen to

Whether you believe me yet or not, you may be enslaved by the radio.

Stop! Take that colander off your head, I’m not talking about that kind of radio enslavement. (The government would shut me down for sure if I started talking about… Wait… Um… Nevermind.)

What I’m talking about is this:

If you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, what does that say for the person listening to country music all day?

Well, you’re likely broke, working a job you hate, for a boss you hate, and still can’t pay the bills. You’re fed up, only able to contain the frustration you feel inside with a (not so) healthy dose of self medication. You’ll spend what little money you do have at the liquor store or bar on the way home Friday night and you’ll extinguish the inevitable Saturday hangover with the hair of the dog. You’ll continue your weekend-long bender until the point where you drag yourself to that dead-end job for the boss you hate…

Rinse. Repeat.

You are a slave.

A slave to the thoughts and ideas in your head.

Who Do You Spend Time With?

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

In my experience, there is much truth to that Jim Rohn quote. We are the thoughts and ideas we allow into our heads, and much of the time those thoughts and ideas come from those around us — whether those around us are seen or merely heard.

I’ll admit, I used to spend a lot of time listening to music. I have eclectic tastes, but I tended to have periods where I would listen to a specific genre for weeks or months at a time — rock, metal, rap, new age, classic, jazz, and yes, even country. That is, until I realized the impact that music was having on my thoughts and actions.

It felt somewhat ironic that at times I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highways of Austin, driving to my suburban home from my white-collar job (that, by the way, was just across from the country club) on a Friday evening listening to Hank Williams, Jr. or David Allan Coe. Granted, I was, much of the time, in a 4×4 Chevy truck, so it wasn’t totally ironic, but still. I found that every screw-the-boss, let’s-get-rowdy song I listened to during the hour-long drive home made me not only less satisfied with my job, but also more likely that I would stop and pick up a 12 pack of beer and/or a bottle of whiskey on the way home.

Similarly, changing Pandora to the Metallica station generally led to increased risk taking — faster driving and/or an increased propensity for road rage. Not to mention much increased audio volume. In short, the angrier the music, the angrier the Clay.

In like fashion, I have found that by substituting high-quality audio like business podcasts and non-fiction books, my thoughts and ideas are much more constructive. In fact, if not for such positive thoughts, I would not be writing these words today. I would probably be drowning my sorrows, lamenting that in but a handful of hours I would have to return to my job — to The Man.

Maybe I’m a unique case. Maybe I’m the only one for whom this is true. Maybe filling your ears with negative thoughts (after all, you’re just listening to the beat) is not impacting your thoughts and actions.

Maybe you’ve just never thought about it like this before.

Are you a slave to the music you listen to? Or are your thoughts to be influenced by the people you surround yourself with?

Are you happy with the thoughts in your head? Are you pleased with the actions those thoughts produce?

If you are, that’s awesome! Keep doing what you’re doing.

If you’re not, you will need to change something in your life. To get what you’ve never had, you’ll have to do what you’ve never done.

Is It Time For A Change?

To change your life, you must change your mind.

Find people who think like you want to think — people who do what you want to do — and listen to them. Podcasts and audio books are great ways to consume the thoughts and ideas of others, music with the right message is another.

Try it for two or three weeks and see if your thoughts and ideas are not more on track with your hopes and dreams.

If you don’t like the results, simply turn on your favorite radio station and slave away.