It was a bit mad – a fancy-dress costume theme to a concert. Not many artists would have had the audacity to try pull it off. And yet that’s exactly what Florence and the Machine did in 2012.
The fancy dress theme created a carefree, let’s have fun vibe on the night. It was a cracking gig.
Florence and the Machine’s song Shake It Out is top of my playlist currently. Written in an hour, the song is about shaking off regrets in life. One particular line has me singing loudest:
It’s always darker before the dawn.
So much of my life experience can be summed up by this line. For example;
Sport: Many failed attempts (and associated pain) trying to make a County team (i.e. the highest level of playing in Gaelic Football) before finally getting there.
Professional Accountancy Exams: Spectacularly and excruciatingly painful failure (failing 3 out of 4 exams first-time) before finally getting there.
Now if you look at the lyric again, what would you say is the most important word in that lyric?
I would say dawn – which for me is a life metaphor for vision, goal, ambition or dream.
It is our dawn that lights the way to ultimate happiness. And whose brightness can dispel the deepest shade of dark.
I created my first dawn aged 7/8, where I imagined myself playing in Croke Park or the now Aviva Stadium. This dawn shined the way through every dark experience of hearing the words, ‘you’re not good enough/big enough/etc.’.
After scrambling through the repeats of those failed exams, I created a dawn in my mind for the next and final set of exams. This was the phrase, ‘no more exams – ever’. The dawn of each study day began with those words going up on the top of my page. The darker study moments, in the form of worry, distraction and boredom, were brightened by the sight of those words.
I have a different dawn for my life now than that at age 7/8 or during my early 20’s. Yet it’s inspiring and motivating me in the same way.
That’s unsurprising when you look at research. Psychologists such as Scott Barry Kaufman, E.P Torrance, Todd Thrash and George Elliot have all alluded to how having a dawn in life can bring benefits such as increased levels of inspiration – and consequently, increased motivation and ability to get things done.
Having a dawn in our life is key. Because let’s face it. There will always be dark. Psychologist and Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl wrote in the book Man’s Search for Meaning that life is suffering. An inevitable element of our existence.
Our dawns will always light the way through the dark. And that is how we experience true happiness.
What is your current dawn? And how do you connect into it this week practically to create the brightest week possible for you?
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