The Same Old Song

I write the same old song with a few new lines
And everybody wants to cheer it
Pete Townshend

Our scene is your local music club. The house band is the same week after week. They play covers of very popular songs. Their set is very singable. The audience knows the words, the riffs, the rhythms and beats. The band plays 10 songs for their set. They play it the same way each night. Not faster, not slower, not louder, not softer. The audiences loves the band. Their music is predictable, it is familiar, and it feels right.

One day the house band gets a new guitarist. He does not play the songs the same way as the old guitarist did. He takes some musical risks with the songs. He in fact plays the songs differently. He is much more unpredictable in his playing. You never know how the song will sound. In fact, in backstage meetings with the band, he wants to change the set list. He wants to play different songs. He challenges his band mates to play some different music. The band is afraid that the people won’t like their new style. They are afraid the people won’t sing along. Their worst fear is that people will stop coming to the show and they will lose their regular “gig”.

Change is possible is not just a marketing slogan, it’s a fact of life. Everything changes. The seasons change, the clocks change, technology changes, we change. We change for the better and at times we change for the worst. Paul Watzlawick in his landmark family therapy book entitled Change . says that “change is inevitable”. If it’s so inevitable, then why do we stand in our own way and prevent change from occurring? Why do we sing the “same old songs”

Most people who come to see me are your predictable house band. They do what they do. Not faster, not slower, not better, not worse. The same. Sure they have pain, but it’s predictable. Sure they feel crappy, but they know the crappiness. Sure the pain causes problems and consequences in their daily life, but to change is incredibly scary. When people have addictive behaviors you can set your watch by their schedule of self-destructiveness. It doesn’t matter if it’s a drink, a drug, a bet, a buy, or a relationship. Their weapons of self-destruction are masterfully predictable. Their song remains the same.

Other types of problems fit the same pattern. The solutions to anxiety and depression are fairly simple—do the opposite of what you usually do and feel better. To do these things however requires me to change the “set list”. I know these songs, I play them well. To change what’s known to the unknown is way too scary! What will happen if I give up my old ways? Will I know what to do? Will others like the changes? Will I like the changes? Can I conceive of new music that sounds radically different than the old set list? Is it ok to even have this thought?

In order to make change, I need to utilize a very powerful five letter word, trust. Trust is defined by Webster as “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc” If I trust myself, I believe at my core, that I am a good person. This goodness can lead me to make change because I want to feel better. However, many people cannot see their own positives. They can only see their own negatives. They may need to supplement this trust in self by using positive affirmations. When people utilize this ongoing self-talk dialogue, they begin to change negatives to positives. (for specific directions on how to use affirmations go here) .

One other tool that many people use for change is to develop faith in a higher power. Higher power is defined as being a power greater than self. By believing in a higher power, people begin to give up control. They then can use this higher power to have trust and another great five letter word, faith. With faith and trust on board, change is possible and inevitable. The music can change. We can play different songs instead of the same old ones. We can challenge the fears of change and hear new music. We might even go to a different club and hear a different band. We can get away from the old destructive patterns and find new healthy ones. We can find new happiness and have a rewarding life. Let’s change the music.

Change is possible.

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One thought on “The Same Old Song

  1. Hey Jeff,

    Love this! I like the two “five letter” words you use rather than the “four letter” self discriminating ones I usually use. As always, your timing is impeccable.

    Thanks!

    Kim

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