Just a thought: Making the next time the best ever


The best time ever might be the next time. Maybe, just maybe, by giving it all that you have, the next time will be the best.

On July 5, 1969 a band who called themselves “The Rolling Stones” broke through onto the music scene when they performed a free concert in Hyde Park, England. More than 200,000 attended the event. The concert is widely acknowledged as one of the most significant moments in modern music history. It was the beginning of a band who, through their music, would impact and influence countless lives in the decades to come.

On July 6, 2013, 44 years and one day later, the band was back performing in Hyde Park. This time the tickets cost 200 British pounds ($300) each. They were limited to 65,000 and sold out in 3 minutes. The concert was called the Rolling Stones “50 and Counting” tour.

Three of the four band members performing were the same at the second concert as they were over four decades earlier. Mick Jagger was about to turn 70, drummer Charlie Watts was 72, and guitarist Keith Richards was 69.

Looking out at the mass of people, Mick Jagger asked, “Anybody here that was here in 1969?” There were a few responses and a shout, “Welcome back - it’s nice to see you again.”

As the sun dropped and night arrived, the Stones performed 19 songs that included “Start Me Up,” “It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It),” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” and then closed with an encore of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

The concert became a Showtime program titled “Sweet Summer Sun.” While flipping channels one evening I came upon the concert and had the opportunity to watch the concert. Although I don’t consider myself a Rolling Stones fan, I grew up with many of their songs and, recognizing the significance of the concert, I enjoyed watching them perform so many popular songs.

But what motivated me the most was the comments shared by the band members in the television special just before they broadcast their final song. Audio interviews of the band members were presented.

Keith Richards shared first, “The last song at the Stones show, I’m ready to put the icing on the cake. If you have done this as long as we have done it, it is only because you believe that you haven’t quite got it right yet and that tonight you are going to hit it in the right tempo and all of the sounds are going to be right. Everybody is going to be hearing everything that they want to hear and that you can just make it a little bit better than you have ever done it before. That’s what we go there.”

I was surprised to hear his comments. To think that after 50 years of performing, a band member would set a goal that tonight the band is going to perform a song better than it has ever been performed before. Wow, what a goal! It would seem that after performing a song thousands of times, another performance would be done on “auto pilot” and very routine and mechanical.

Why would a performer “self talk” himself into thinking this next time will be the best ever?

Next in the program was a message from Charlie Watts, “To be honest with you, at our age I think that all of it is special and this could be the last one. I don’t mean I’m going to keel over, God forbid, but I mean, it could be. I mean, I have always thought that.”

Mick Jagger then shared, “It’s really, as far as I am concerned, it’s all so about building the last show to a crescendo. That is what I am up for in the last number. I am not thinking about anything more than that. I think if you’re a trapeze artist, it must be the same...you can’t start thinking your breakfast when you are in the middle of the air, you just can’t. So I think it is the same, that is why it is the same for everyone. It’s very much living in the moment. It is living at each bar is in the moment. I think that is one of the attractions of it.”

Band member Ronnie Wood then shared, “What is going through my head on the last song is a new take on that song. It is like I want to present it better than it has ever been presented before. In other words, not just eyes down and make a blast of a noise in the air. I’ve got to be satisfied with what I have played on it.”

Keith Richards then contributed some more of his thoughts, “And I am feeling very warm towards them because they are feeling very warm towards me. And I’m just trying to give them the last drop of sweat.”

Years ago I remember seeing an interview of Michael Jackson by Barbara Walters. At the close of the interview she showed him a video of one of his recent performances. In the video Michael went from flat footed up onto his toes squatted with his knees bend, he held it, then he straightened back out and went back to being flat footed. It was a difficult move to do. To you or me it was very entertaining and looked like a perfectly performed move.

Michael winched when he watched it. Barbara picked up on this and said to Michael something like, “You are not happy with the way you did this move are you?” Michael, dejected, responded along the lines of, “No, I wanted to hold it longer.”

I have always remembered that interview because something that looked perfect to me was not so to the man who performed it, but I would not have known that if he had not said so.

I guess what I am getting at is that each of us choose the quality of the product we provide. We know if we are going through the motions or are truly giving it the best that we have. We have the freedom to choose to go through the motions or to give it our best. On the outside others may not know the difference, but on the inside we know. We know if it is just routine or if we are striving for excellence.

My challenge to you today is to give it all you got. Just try it for a while. That is the best any of us can do. But if something is worth doing, why not do it with quality? Why not give 100%? Why not do it better than it has ever been done before?

Even if it is a repetitive event in your life. Even if you have done the act 1000 times before. Maybe this next time it will be the best you have ever done it...just maybe.

And maybe if you give it all you have got, as the Rolling Stones might say, you CAN get some “Satisfaction.”

Live in the moment to make the next moment the best ever.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.