Thought Starters

How can music influence our drive and passion for work?

Everyone has music in their lives.

We all know the term “That’s music to my ears.“ It’s a great reply when someone says something you really wanted to hear or “You’ll have to face the music.” when something goes terribly wrong and we have to own up to our mistakes.

Why do we use these terms?

They are passionate reactions in the extreme. Something that is AWESOME like winning a proposal that you worked very, very hard on or on the flipside (no pun intended – oh, that’s for the old timers out there), if you’re like me and prefer to beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission, something that SUCKS such as explaining to your family, partner, colleagues, boss or whomever why things didn’t go as planned. You have to admit both have happened to all of us at one time or another. But we both know that’s not the music reference I am referring to, is it?

Do you listen to music regularly?

If you do, then you also know what I mean when I say that a great song brings out that momentary almost irrational passion from deep down in your gut. You bite your lower lip, you pump your fist and you don’t care, for a moment, what anyone thinks. It’s hot! You can FEEL it. It’s an extreme reaction. Just for a couple of minutes, even seconds.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could bring that passion to our art every day?

 So, what’s THAT all about? Well, let me give you this. When I was a younger man I used to go to a ton of concerts. Local grass roots bands mostly. Back then Toronto was an exciting place with a rich local music scene. It was the early nineties and the world was buzzing with guys like Kurt Cobain and David Lowery among the many influencing the sound of the day. The music was visceral. Real. I have been out of that game for a long time but from what I can see in the local Zines the scene is very much alive and as vibrant as ever. As it should be.

How does it feel to be part of the action?

If you’ve spent any amount of time going to club gigs you will certainly agree that there is such a rare feeling you get from watching a band cranking their hearts out in a small venue. The heat, the sweat, the urgency and the sheer passion is palpable. There it is again, passion. Totally invested. Leave it all on the floor and go home with nothing left. It was such a raw and exciting feeling for me and, hey, I was only ever in the audience.


Man, what it must feel like to be on that stage, giving your all, pouring your passion out to the audience.

I loved going to those gigs. I loved chatting with the people there. You’re like-minded brethren and in it together even for just a short period of time; moshing, sweating and grinning just because you have to. You can’t help it. The passion from the band and the audience always seemed to mix and work together in unison. That got me to thinking about my work ethic and drive; my passion. What interests me immensely is the nature of a working musician and where they have come from. What did it take them to get there at that particular moment, on the stage, in front of you?

Now, let’s give that some thought.

Think about the work; the practice, the gigging, building their network, getting their name out there. The passion and entrepreneurial mindset that exists in the music industry astounds me. What other profession has been hit as hard by the growth of technology that the music industry? Yet where it’s most obvious, at the grass roots level, the industry has embraced change and is thriving at a visceral level. I see musicians and bands innovating, creating their own space and hitting their niche despite the odds. As Seth Godin opines often enough why wait to be found? Create and ship.

My love for music taught me that hard work will always bring dividends. Over time, my career in the design profession has grown slowly and organically. Am I done? Not by a long shot. The world is changing and I understand the need to adapt with it. We all have to look for the opportunities to innovate, improve ourselves and recognize emerging trends in order to stay relevant.

It’s really simple. We have to work.

So, let me ask you. What are you doing to keep yourself relevant?

Are you reading? There are publications waiting for you. There are a ton of great books out there that will test you. Here are a few for you – click me. There are tons of fabulous blogs and websites in your niche. Go ahead and read them. Discover.

Are you asking for a critique of you work, your ideas, or your passion? You have colleagues, friends, mentors and family. Go talk to them about your work. It’s scary, I know. Just try it or come talk to me. I will listen to you.

Are you willing to share? You have the ability to give of yourself even if it’s a really small thing. Reach out to your industry, other industries or communities and connect. Share a smile, a smiley, give some feedback, ask questions or just stop and say hi. Share your thoughts. You may discover something that you have never known that could bring you ideas for your own work.

Are you taking action? Pick up that guitar, pencil, paintbrush, mouse, keyboard, whatever your instrument is and start working at it. Doing is as relevant as it gets. Get started as soon as you can. Doing will ignite a fire in your passion for your art.

I have said all this before but just as the Propeller Heads and Shirley Bassey put so eloquently “It bears repeating!” And it does.

So, here’s my game plan.

  • I will work my ass off. Always.
  • I will learn something from the awesome resources at my disposal.
  • I will share my goals, ideas and vision so I can hone it down to its essence.
  • I will accept that I am one guy in a big, big world and that my niche is important to me.
  • And I will do something to help my friends grow and to share my knowledge with my growing community.

I want you to hold me to it.

Test me.

Come after me but if you do you have to join me. We can grow, learn and evolve one day at a time, one gig at a time and one connection at a time.

I hope you’re ready because I am coming after you. If you want me to.


  • How does music influence you?
  • What do you listen to that brings that passion out of you?
  • Does music affect your creative output?

About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


16 thoughts on “How can music influence our drive and passion for work?

  1. I’m in! This is just the push I needed this morning. Thanks.
    I will hold you to it.

    Posted by jgrossmann | April 10, 2012, 10:43
  2. Well said! Music brings passion in us and plays with our emotions. It’s the art form that touches every single person on the planet I would say. I don’t know if people think enough of the effects that music has in our daily lives, but for me music is solution to everything. Music equals therapy.

    I’m going to a Metallica concert next month and the excitement grows every day. 🙂

    Keep up with your game plan and you have another one in the team!

    Posted by sophiesignin | April 10, 2012, 13:42
    • Thanks Sophiesignin. You left me two comments and I am now playing that game where I am trying to spot the difference (or the pigeon if you’re a Genesis fan – too obscure maybe). Thanks for both comments. I just love the comment “music = therapy” because it is SO TRUE! Damn, I wish I had thought of that. Enjoy Metallica. I respect them for their longevity and dedication to the metal scene but sadly I don’t get it. Too bad for me, huh?

      The game plan is solid so stop by anytime. Thanks again for your note. It is appreciated.

      Posted by rdopping | April 10, 2012, 18:34
  3. Well said! Music carries passion and plays with our emotions. It’s by far the ultimate form of art that touches every person on the planet I would say. I don’t know if people think of how music affects their daily lives often enough, but we all should. For me music equals therapy. The absence of it is always noticeable and brings void.

    By the way, I’m going to a Metallica concert next month and my excitement grows more and more every day.

    Keep up with your game plan and you have another one in the team!

    Posted by sophiesignin | April 10, 2012, 13:46
  4. Staying relevant, huh? Getting ‘all in’ with social was probably the biggest thing I have done as of late. It still overwhelms me at times, but baby, I’m all in…….

    I do read…..a lot actually. I’m willing to learn and I maintain a very youthful outlook. Yes, my wife wishes I would grow up, so maybe I’ll start thinking about it in 20 years or so; I’m in no hurry.

    My music; very diverse. My iPod is loaded from my 27 yr old’s music file. Fortunately he has a wide range, but it’s all on there and I’m ok with it. It does motivate me……….

    I will always work hard at being relevant; I don’t want to be known as ‘that guy’……………just sayin’………

    Posted by billdorman | April 10, 2012, 15:18
    • Listen Dorman, enough with the “that guy”…….;-) That guy is not the guy that we want that guy to be. Take that!

      I am glad you read, a lot. It’s kinda like “paying it forward” being an aspiring writer and all and there’s really no need to grow up. Just remember to be cool and you’re all good.

      So, what you’re telling me is that your adult son picks your music for you? Lazy so and so…..guess you have to take what you get, huh? Hope it’s to your liking….oh, wait. You don’t have a choice……

      You know that your relevance is revered. Thanks for dropping by and not being “that guy”. Good luck with the book and hopefully you take my sage advice and share the development with us all out here in the ether.

      Posted by rdopping | April 10, 2012, 18:42
  5. This post was awesome! And music is more than a motivator, it’s how we speak at a spiritual level.
    It’s all good, and it can all bring flavor, motivation and knowledge to our lives. Well, except for that opera crap…

    Posted by t | April 10, 2012, 18:59
    • t. Thank you so much! You are a dude. I love that “it’s how we speak at a spiritual level”. That is simply brilliant, man. Flavour, yes! Motivation, check! Knowledge, right on! Opera……..crickets……..thanks for stopping by.

      Posted by rdopping | April 10, 2012, 19:09
  6. Music has an incredible impact on so much of my life – the way I work, the way I approach work, how I start my days (today it was the Cars first album – “Let the good times roll…..”). And I DO listen by album, i can’t handle that shuffle nonsense. Albums were often created with a singular vision, feel, hangover, mood. To listen to one song alone brings back that frustration akin to top 40 radio, especially when they feel there is no need to let that closing face-melting guitar solo run it’s full course and trim it after the first few bars. “There oughta be law!” Would the Louvre give sneak peaks of Mona Lisa, Nike of Samothrace, etc.? Well they might but they shouldn’t and if they do it is in promo material to bring you in to see the real deal. If radio stations operated the same way, to be the link between recorded material and live performances then it would all be different. I guess I am shooting the messenger here. OK, I love the idea that when we present to our audience, be they peers, clients, bosses, w2e should think like musicians and pour our hearts out, give each and every presentation our all. BUT in the architecture/ design world we are subject to criticism as opposed to a rock band who doesn’t stop after each song for a critique of what just happened. Nonetheless, the verve, the passion, the energy must be present or it is a dead thing. And will be treated as such. Ozzy and Alice, don’t touch that thing over there on the wall!

    Posted by pbackewich | April 11, 2012, 09:43
    • Thanks Paul, I think you got the essence of where we were going with this post. It’s about growing, learning and working hard to get better at what you do despite the odds or the industry. Relevance, regardless of what you do, is critical to success as well. Yes, we all take criticism but isn’t that the best way to learn to get better? You’re right, bands don’t get critiqued during a show but it’s almost worse because they can get panned by the press for one bad moment. Good comments and thatnks for stopping by.

      Posted by rdopping | April 11, 2012, 13:07
  7. So awesome, Ralph! 100% agree. Big time!

    I ADORE music, and I’ve lost more songs than most people will ever have (83,000+ mp3s on 4 hard drives).

    I also keep “success playlists” on my smartphone and PC and leverage them to inspire me often, as well as reading the biographies of musicians and reading books and blogs such as Brand Like A Rockstar.

    Jay-Z is my main inspiration, across the board, period, and on my old blog (SpiritSentient) I wrote a massively in-depth series on how he’s a spiritual master.

    Posted by ryzeonline | April 12, 2012, 18:28
    • Deep dude. I will have to read that. That’s something I don’t do enough of. Center myself in my own spirituality (sounds weird but I don’t care). music teaches us so much about how to be cool, calm and collected. It provides us the drive and can reinvigorate our souls if we let it. Big props on the comments. Thanks so much and love the Steve Jones book too (enough to buy it) – full disclosure. It’s on my shelf and on my reading list. Cool guy. love his blog.

      Posted by rdopping | April 12, 2012, 18:45
      • It’s pretty tough to move through life and not understand that we have physical aspects, mental aspects, and spiritual aspects.

        Hell, taking a s*** is a spiritual experience for many 😉

        I totally agree, music can move us, and I leverage it.

        I’ve also written a guest post on how Rap Is The New Shakespeare ( )

        Haha, I bought Steve’s book too, and chatted with him on CopyBlogger, Twitter, and his blog lol. Awesome!

        Posted by ryzeonline | April 13, 2012, 00:26
  8. i use music A lot
    especially while working out
    the moment my ipod runs out of charge i find my performance decreasing!

    Posted by faroukradwan | April 24, 2012, 03:40
    • Hey Farouk, nice to finally see you back. I remember you commenting on a post back in January called The Best things in Life. Thank you for coming by again and we are glad you are also inspired by music. Music certainly does drive our passion indeed and it’s good that you also use music to inspire your workouts! Have a great day.

      Posted by rdopping | April 24, 2012, 07:12

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