Had he lived, Bob Marley would have turned 76 on February 6th.
Only 36 when he died, he bore the wisdom of someone much older. A kind of understanding which doesn’t start to dawn on many until middle age or later.
Thankfully he left a legacy through his music that keeps his memory alive and well to this day.
When I was in my thirties, Bob helped me to shift my own outlook. All my life, I was prone to worry, anxiety and pessimism. I decided to shift my view of the world and develop more optimistic tendencies.
This took a good deal of internal effort. I had to catch myself in a negative thought spiral and put the brakes on it. And my tactic was this simple – each time, I would sing to myself (cue earworm):
“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”
Honestly, it worked. Not overnight, but with consistent practice and singing (out of tune but undeterred), I gradually moved from pessimism as a default.
Maybe you’re fine on that score and have a naturally optimistic outlook. But I think Bob had plenty to teach all of us about what matters most in life.
Even outside of song, he uttered many wise words that can serve as important life lessons if we’re open to learning from them.
To mark his birthday, here are three of my favorite quotes:
“Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”
We are all imperfect beings. While we may never intend to hurt others, we can’t realistically expect never to do so. And the reverse is true – anyone who plays a meaningful role in our lives for a long enough period is bound to hurt us somewhere along the way, even if accidentally.
If they are worth it, we’ll find a way to overcome the hurt and forgive them. And they will forgive us too.
“The most beautiful things are not perfect; they are special.”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. From people to experiences, to the gifts of nature, everything is imperfect. What makes them truly beautiful is our own appreciation of them. We grant them that special quality.
If you don’t think there’s enough beauty in the world, start looking at what’s around you differently. Notice what is special to you and actively appreciate it. Then beauty will start unfolding all around you.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”
Life is a roller coaster. Some people seem to have won seats on the junior rides, with gentle ups and downs. In comparison, others may feel trapped on the hair-rising tours that feel like they'll never end.
Either way, we will have ups and downs. Tough times will test us, often unexpectedly. If we’ve been on a mostly easy ride, we may believe we couldn’t cope with high adrenaline tracks.
You have to be on it to know you can deal with it. Channel some Bob if you need a little comfort to get through.
Happy birthday Bob. Thank you for the music and for sharing your message of love.