The late, great Earl Nightingale’s classic recording, “The Strangest Secret” — that we become what we think about — is the inspiration for my musings here. Most of us have some type of daily commute for our career, and what we choose to listen to during this time will naturally influence our thoughts, usually without our awareness.
If you haven’t yet acquired the habit of turning your commute into a “Drive-Time University” with educational/motivational/inspirational audio offerings, you’re cheating yourself out of an amazingly convenient way to add to your knowledge base. This will add value in the marketplace, and ultimately enhance your bottom line.
Let me first run down the typical choices you might be making each morning on your car radio:
Rock As a baby boomer, I grew up on rock ‘n roll. My favorite song when I was an adolescent was “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” — and believe me, I didn’t. Rock music’s appeal is its angry, frustrated, rebellious demeanor — perhaps not the best mental programming to take into the office, unless you’re giving notice …
Rap Even angrier and edgier than rock stripped down to a driving beat, rap embodies a “Baaad Attitude.” While great for a dance party, this not the recommended mental approach toward your customers or the boss.
Country From Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” on, country songs often have a twinge of bittersweet heartbreak running throughout — I don’t think this leads to a morning “smiley face.”
Talk radio I don’t want to “Rush” to judgment on this, but let me be perfectly “Frank-en” — you already AGREE with the right-wing or left-wing personality you’re tuned to. So what are you really learning?
Shock jocks I gotta be “Stern” if you make this selection regularly — the latest titillating sophomoric humor may be hazardous to a serious professional business attitude.
Sports rap OK — I confess … I’m a die-hard Cubs fan. So once in a while I need a little fix of the latest rant on why they, or Da Bears or Da Bulls blew their last game. But is listening all day going to change yesterday’s score?
The news Yeah, sure — you want to be informed. But have you ever noticed the morning’s headlines don’t change that much throughout the day? How many times do you have to re-listen to the same negative stories to realize there isn’t really that much “new” in the news?
Am I generalizing here? Of course. My point is not that you should NEVER listen to these forms of entertainment or information if you enjoy them — “all frock and no rock” will make you a dull person indeed. My question is — and I want you to think about it for a second — how much money has any of this “audio-indulgence” put into your pocket? Lemme guess — $0.00 … right? Conversely, it’s put A LOT of money into the pockets of the people you’ve been listening to — and all the radio personalities, sponsors, music publishers and recording artists LOVE YOU FOR THAT.
So my recommendation, at least on the weekday morning and evening commute, is that you break from this “cotton candy for the mind” (as Brian Tracy calls it) and sink your mental teeth into a meaty personal development audio programs, non-fiction audio books or business podcasts. If you really want to do it right, listen to these programs over and over … after all, you didn’t learn the lyrics to your favorite songs by hearing them just one time. That’s how you’ll turn your commute into a “Drive-Time University,” which will allow you to learn more, and ultimately earn more. To paraphrase Earl Nightingale, you’ll become what you listen to.