The kids (as you know) are home for the foreseeable future. One unexpected benefit of this (in addition to random, mid-day hugs) is that I get to hear the soundtrack to their current movie obsession over and over and over again. Lately, it’s bee “Hey Siri, play the My Little Pony: The Movie Soundtrack.” Mostly (to be honest), I just tune it out… but every now and then one of those songs will make its way into my brain and get lodged.
This time, it was “Time to be Awesome” by Rainbow Dash. She’s talking to a group of parrot pirates encouraging them to stop doing the bidding of the Storm King, and instead do their own AWESOME thing. It’s catchy, and worth a listen (click here).
(My favorite lyric is “Hey Scallywags, it’s time to be awesome!”
The song is simple, and the truth inside is important.
The Pirate Captain (who is a woman, by the way, so kudos on that, MLP) says:
Parrot Pirate Captain
You’ve no idea how hard it’s been
This dull routine we’ve been forced to do
Don’t let them rob you of who you are
Be awesome, it’s all up to you
Parrot Pirate Captain
I feel the light, stirring deep inside
It’s like a tale still yet to be told
And now it’s time
To break the shackles free
And start living like
The brave and the bold
On the very surface, this is a song worth hearing.
It’s so empowering!
But that isn’t the reason that it rose above the noise and caught my attention. It was, instead, the assumptions and expectations held by Rainbow Dash that did it.
The Parrot Pirate Captain is explicitly and persuasively naming “This dull routine we’ve been forced to do.” I get where she’s coming from: there’s a bad guy on the loose and he’s pressed her crew into his service.
But, on the other hand, he’s not here now. Why are you acting in this way, in this moment?
Rainbow Dash, for her part, isn’t buying it. She’s not saying “Gosh, it’s hard to feel afraid. I would be afraid, too. Let’s see if we can find a workaround where your fear gets to stay and we find some small way to sneak ahead a little bit, too.” Instead, she rejects the premise of the whole thing and cuts to the chase.
Indeed, Rainbow Dash. Indeed.
That Parrot Pirate Captain was convinced she had no choice. She was at the mercy of life’s expectations.
And like a true friend, Rainbow Dash says– in essence and to great effect– “Fuck that.” (Rainbow Dash can’t say that, because she’a a fictional talking pony in a children’s movie. I DO realize that.)
Let’s try out her strategy on a few of the stories that you might be telling yourself (except I’m going to use “choose awesome,” because I like it better than ‘be.”
If you hear yourself say I can’t, I must, I should, I shouldn’t, I’m not able, or it’s impossible, I want you to hear me in your head, giving the old Rainbow Dash battle cry:
Choose awesome. It’s all up to you.
Amanda Crowell, PhD is a cognitive psychologist obsessed with how people make change. She is best known for translating cutting edge research into practical strategies that can be used right away.