As I was driving in my mom’s car the other day I realized that my music options were limited to the local radio stations preset on her car stereo. Of the six options, there were three commercials playing, two awful songs, and one tolerable tune playing. It was something I would never seek out to listen to deliberately, but I chose to stick with Bob Seger given my limited options.
As “Nightmoves” played on, I realized that while driving around my musical goal had been to find something that is somewhat tolerable and keep it there. Going through the other 5 preset stations, or delving into the abyss of the “seek” function had only lead me back to Seger, but with less time to listen to the song I “chose” to listen to. So I learned that if the Scorpions come on, just leave it there. And if the DJ plays Steve Miller Band, you’re set for a good 3 minutes.
I think it was when I heard the 3rd Stevie Ray Vaughn song that it occurred to me that this is what most of us do with our lives.
We accept the 6 preset classic rock stations that life presents to us, and we hope to find one that’s tolerable and stay with it.
In looking for something better, we’ve been burned by the “seek/search” button one too many times to realize that the time spent pushing buttons rarely pays off. Sure, you may catch a good Zeppelin tune, but it ends soon after, and then you find yourself listening to a local plumber commercial to kick off a 10 minute commercial break.
With music, we don’t accept this. For years, we’ve demanded other music options in cars–8-track, cassette, cd, MP3, and satellite–so that we can listen to any and all music that we want to.
But with life, we often settle for the choices presented to us–viewing our life options as those 6 buttons, each associated with a radio station ranging from shitty to tolerable.
Go to college, get a job (and if you’re lucky, your job will be tolerable), get married, buy a house, incur a mountain of debt, and then work at the job you hate because you feel you have to in order to maintain your lifestyle. All of the stations on my “car stereo” had a slight variation on that tired theme.
The reality is that like music, life has an infinite library of options. And when we’re willing to leave the presets of the one medium we know, we find the stuff we really love.
Technology and tools such as Pandora and Spotify have given us easy access to endless amazing options for music. And along with music, has also given us endless amazing options for life. It has also given us the ability to connect, share, and explore in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
We can break out of our job/industry/lifestyle presets and connect with amazing people doing awesome things around the world. We can open our minds and our hearts and our soul to the limitless options of life.
So if you’re stuck in a world with too many Kansas tunes and car dealer commercials, it’s time to think outside the presets and find the stuff you love.