I was recently introduced to a song by Gil Scott-Heron “Angel Dust” via my father during a visit this past December. While I was familiar with some of Gil Scott Heron’s work, I had never heard this particular song. The 23 minute and 21-second song has since stayed in heavy rotation on my playlist. The combination of the horns, keyboards, drums, guitars, bass, and I am sure several other instruments is energizing, relaxing, and puts me into a laid back, smooth groove. While there are many things that I like about this song, the first 5 minutes of the song is what prompted me to write this particular blog post. In the first five minutes Gil Scott-Heron rhythmically tells you to Enjoy Yourself:
“Your principle responsibility since we are on the subject is to enjoy yourself. People always say enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, hope you enjoy yourself, did you enjoy yourself? I want you to enjoy yourself. Well, that’s what I want you to do. However, I want you to understand that it is your only responsibility. You may not enjoy nobody else in this motherfucker, but enjoy yourself, you need to enjoy yourself I mean how else could you enjoy someone else who is not enjoying themselves, they have to first enjoy themselves. People don’t say go out this evening and enjoy everybody, they say enjoy yourself because they know that is all you can really do. You cannot enjoy anyone else, you can hope that they enjoy themselves, but you cannot really enjoy them, you can enjoy yourself, do what you can, set goals that you can reach, make sure that you can reach what you are goaling for, or make sure that you can goal what you are reaching for, enjoy yourself is what I am trying to say. It is your only responsibility……” Gil Scott-Heron
This made me think about when I am truly enjoying myself, whether it be work, with friends, at an event, playing sports, whatever I am doing, the impact it has on me and other people. Then it made me wonder: How often do people truly enjoy themselves?
From conversations that I have had, I get the sense that people truly enjoy themselves in spurts that for some are few and far between. As I look back on some of the conversations, it is interesting to notice the energy, creativity, passion, and ease that those who enjoy themselves more often had. I asked a client recently “What does enjoying yourself look like?” after some silence, the client gave an answer that surprised me, not because of his response, but because his immediate next statement was, “I probably would be a lot better across the board if I did that more.” This brought up the number of times, I have heard athletes who turned a slump around, or finally achieved their goal say “I am just out there enjoying myself…” and there are many more examples I could reference in the business world, relationships, and life in general.
It leaves me with two questions that I am interested to hear responses on:
How do you ensure you enjoy yourself?
What is possible when you are enjoying yourself on a consistent basis?
If you would like to hear the full song check it out via iTunes, go find a copy of the cd or get the record. I couldn’t find a YouTube link for the full version and can’t post my copy on here due to copyright laws. However, you can use the below link to listen to the song via Spotify, if you have it
While “Angel Dust” commonly refers to the drug, and the song makes mention of it. I want to be clear that I am not referring to the drug, never tried it, never will.
How do you ensure you enjoy yourself? The “Key” is obliviously in the question. Its all about “you” (me). Before I can enjoy myself I have to enjoy being me and knowing me. I think people look for enjoyment in what they do. Rather they should be enjoying themselves. People get confused thinking a thing, a possession, a simulate or some outside factor is the reason or key to enjoyment. I submit that if you are enjoying the fact that you have short comings and or strengths the applications of those short comings and or strengths should be the path to ones enjoyment. To further clarify or confuse. In the case of my short comings. If I know can’t swim well, my enjoyment might come from the desire to learn to do so. And by accomplishing such I would find enjoyment. Equally, I would find great joy in just laying by the pool knowing that I would not experience the panic or fear of drowning because I know I can’t swim. There is a saying that has become popular of late that I hate but I think it applies here…”I’m just doin me”. If more people would honestly focus on knowing who they are and the basics that go with that they would find enjoyment in all they do.
Maurice, thanks for your comment. I like your statement “Before I can enjoy myself I have to enjoy being me and knowing me” I think this is critical to many aspects of life, and the knowing part is something that is always taking place because it is a part of learning through experiencing, or not experiencing as you highlighted in your swimming example. Thank you again for your comment.