Several years ago my daughter made a CD mix for my birthday of many of my favorite movie soundtracks. I keep that in my car’s CD player for times when I am bored with news or music on the radio or when I need an uplift to my day. I was playing it today and got the surge of energy I was looking for. (The theme from Conan the Barbarian is always good for that.) As I listened to the music I thought about the power of music to evoke an emotion. That thought was tempered by the realization that the characters in The Magnificent Seven did not hear Leonard Bernstein’s theme as the rode in the hot sun. But then how much better would they have felt if they could have heard that music as they rode? I thought it is really too bad that we cannot have our own soundtrack to our lives. Then I asked why not? What keeps me from having a soundtrack for my life? So I ask you what is your soundtrack?
Music and your brain
My wandering thoughts are not so farfetched as they may seems. It turns out there is a lot of research on the power of music and what it does to our brains. Music is a very primal event for humans. Writer Oliver Sacks, in The Power of Music, says “We turn to music, we need it, because of its ability to move us, to induce feelings and moods, states of mind.” It has both good sides and bad sides, with some people being prone to excesses or hallucinations when listening to music. Some of this is tied brain disorders, but some of it is just the emotive power of music. Sacks says “…we have, as yet, scarcely touched the question of why music, for better or worse, has so much power. It is a question that goes to the heart of being human.
Capture the power
If music is so powerful why not try to use that power? Try to establish a personal soundtrack for your life that if you cannot actually play it during the day perhaps you can “listen” to it in your head. Pick a soundtrack that lifts you up, or makes your bold and decisive or makes you more agreeable. As a matter-of-fact there is a t-shirt that will actually play your personal soundtrack as you wear it.
You are probably wondering where the tie to HR is in all this, well here it is. First, if music is so powerful do you let your employees play their personal soundtracks at work? I listen to music as I work. In fact I have Mozart for the Mind playing in the background. Secondly, if it works for individuals why won’t it work for companies? Have you ever thought of a soundtrack for your office? What would you play to get people to concentrate? What would you play to inspire people? What would you play to make people more agreeable?
Let me know what works for you?