What Does Your Whiteboard Say?

^ Note the whiteboard ^

When I used to work in Newtown & catch the train out from Parramatta to work each day, on the way through the back streets of Newtown, I noticed out the front of one particularly dirty looking town-house a ratty looking whiteboard with an interesting quotation on it. “Cool quote” I thought. The next day a different quote was on it & I was hooked. Each day I would go out of my way to pass by that house. I never met or saw it’s inhabitants but it was so refreshing to absorb a piece of wisdom/humour each day.

The point I am trying to get across to you guys is about the profound & far reaching effects our words, actions, thoughts & (initially) feelings have on the world around us. You may just be one person but no matter how little difference you feel you do or can make, EVERYTHING you do, say, think & feel DOES MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

Pay someone at work a quick compliment about how they look, *BOOM*, you may very well have boosted their mood exponentially. OR, Bitch at them about something minor because you are frustrated about something else & you just might irritate them enough that they end up bitching at someone else… & so on.

Laugh at that nerdy ‘loser’ kid at school when everyone else is & it just might be the last straw. He goes home & puts his head in the oven. OR, Tell him something that you genuinely admire about him (like his work ethic) & he just might pull through that tough day.

I’m sure you can think of a time when someone has made some minor act of kindness which has turned your day around completely… You can do it too.

I’ll try to be succinct here: As I have been planning to do for awhile now, I have a white-board that I take with me whenever I busk. Each day/night, before I start playing I put up a quote which I connect with & which others will hopefully  connect with too. More importantly, I put up something positive. For example:

  • The mind is everything, what you think, you become” – Buddha
  • Move, & the way will open” – Zen saying

The quotes themselves are not really the point. The point is that each of us has a responsibility in what we choose to put out there. Throw a grenade & you’re going to cause destruction, throw a bouquet of flowers & someone might be really happy. Each of us has this responsibility but songwriters especially have a responsibility with the message that their songs contain. This is even more relevant for highly popular bands/performers. Bob Dylan wrote:

“How many times must the cannon balls fly before they are forever banned?”

Rihanna sings:

“Come here, rude boy, boy; can you get it up? Come here rude boy, boy; is you big enough?”

Now, Rihanna isn’t the only one to praise here for this piece of  poetic & musical gold, it seems the song is credited to the following army of writers: Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Ester Dean, Makeba Riddick, Rob Swire, Robyn Fenty.

So there you have it, two hugely popular songs, two different choices of moral content, two (I’m sure) very different sets of results from their influence on the world at large.

I for one have been writing songs lately which contain messages of hope & positivity. I don’t do this as some kind of conscious decision, I just feel so passionately about the power of our thoughts & actions that it has seeped into my song-writing. I still write some songs which aren’t so happy, one the other day is about killing myself slowly with alcohol & failing to keep my promises to myself. But you know, on the whole, if I’m going to write a song which I will sing many times, I want it to be a positive message, one that makes me stronger & also, others who listen to it.

To conclude… Whether we choose to or not, we are all displaying a ‘whiteboard’ which sends a message to the rest of the world whenever we are in contact with others or putting something out there for others to experience. The good news is that we get to choose what is written on it. Next time you are displaying your whiteboard, write something good on it.

Got something to add? Drop me a comment!

I originally had these quotes in the middle of this post but it seemed that they distracted from the main point so I pasted them down here instead… Some quotes I love:

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein
  • The Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work” – Vince Lombardi
  • The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?” – Kahlil Gibran

The average passer-by, especially on weekends, tends to connect with humour  + wisdom rather than just wisdom, such as:

  • Girls are like pianos. When they’re not upright, they’re grand” – Benny Hill
  • When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized God doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness” – Emo Phillips
  • The drinking class has a working problem” – Unknown
  • If you don’t drink, then all of your stories suck and end with, “And then I got home”  – Jim Jefferies

Longer quotes seem to prove too daunting for most but there are some great ones

  • The music business is a cruel & shallow money trench, a long & plastic hallway where thieves & pimps run free & good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side” – Hunter S Thompson
  • Intelligent people know others, Enlightened people know themselves. You can conquer others with power, but it takes true strength to conquer yourself. Ambitious people force their will on others, but content people are already wealthy” – Lao tzu (Tao Te Ching)
I busked on ANZAC day just a few days ago (For those of you not from Down-under, ANZAC day is an Australian & New Zealand day of remembrance for many Soldiers who were killed at Gallipoli) Not only did I learn some moving Aussie classics in relation to the day (“I was only 19”, “& the band played waltzing matilda”, “Two little boys”) but I displayed a quote on my whiteboard:
  • There never was a good war or a bad peace” – Benjamin Franklin
I hope this blog acts as a whiteboard for you as you have now read it.
You can hear my music here – Stanmore

9 Responses to “What Does Your Whiteboard Say?”

  1. “Courage is not the absence of fear, rather the judgement that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all”


    Great post, Stanmore! Keep em coming!! =)

  2. It is not the things you did in life that you will regret. It is the things you didn’t do.” – Don’t know who its by.

    You can funny it up by adding:

    It is not the things you did in life that you will regret. It is the things you didn’t do.
    So throw a fiver in my hat. Or you might regret it!

  3. “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” -Fred Rogers

    I’ve got a whole list of quotes that I love!

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