September 23, 2019 - Robert John Hadfield
The Power of Positivity
In 1983 I discovered a hard rock band that had a big impact on me. It was a three piece band from Canada. They were terrible dressers and didn’t really look like rock stars. They had a bass player with long dark hair, a blonde guitarist who was considered a prodigy by guitarists everywhere, and an amazing drummer. Their career started in the 70s and by the 80s they were superstars. They had a bit of a progressive approach coupled with catchy lyrics and great melodies. The singer was a tenor with a vocal range that reached into the stratosphere, almost unmatched in popular music.
People familiar with hard rock music from that era probably think I’m referring to RUSH, but I’m not. I’m talking about the band Triumph.
In about 1982 when bands like Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Def Leppard and AC/DC ruled the world of rock, and were on my turntable regularly, I heard a song on the radio called “Never Surrender.” The guitar work was unique, the vocals were soaring, the chorus was catchy, but above all it touched something in my early teen-age haze that made me feel strong.
I bought the album and discovered someone who became one of my heroes, Rik Emmett. Rik was the guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter for Triumph. To this day I still think he had one of the most remarkable voices in rock music.
It wasn’t long before I started buying their back catalog and discovered amazing songs like “Lay it on the Line,” “Hold On,” “Magic Power,” and of course “Fight the Good Fight.”
I haven’t thought about them in years, but for some reason one of their songs popped up in rotation on Youtube, and those feelings from an earlier time started flooding back.
I did some searches and listened to a few more songs and eventually stumbled upon an interview with one of the band members. He talked about how, throughout their career, they had tried to create positive and uplifting music. It had never occurred to me, but this was their niche. They were surrounded by heavy rock bands singing about sex, rebellion, partying, anti-social behavior and here they were singing songs intended to uplift and help you recognize your personal strength.
It was kind of amazing that Triumph shone through the way they did. With so many other bands playing into the hormone-driven angst of teen-age boys, Triumph reached us in a different way. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I heard him mention it in that interview, all those old songs started coming back and I could almost sense that inspiration again. And even though you may have never heard of them, they were the real deal. They managed to deliver 18 gold and 9 platinum albums in Canada and the United States and were featured in such iconic events as the US Festival in the early 80s.
Revisiting this music reminded me of a very simple principle we too often overlook. People love positivity. Although we are attracted to doom and gloom, and we seem to enjoy complaining, negativity eventually wears us out; especially if it’s coming from other people.
Consider the favorite people in your life. Think about the individuals you enjoy being around. Chances are they smile all the time. They probably seem genuinely happy. They probably take negative experiences in stride and keep negative emotions at bay. They likely have a positive outlook on most things. They probably talk about how good things are rather than how bad things are.
This is one of the most important strategies for building relationships in your personal life and in business. Be positive in all your interactions. Smile as much as you possibly can. Find the good in everything. Be uplifting to others. That simple and universal approach helped a hard rock trio from Canada become superstars.
"All your life you've been waiting for your chance
Where you'll fit into the plan
But you're the master of your own destiny
So give and take the best that you can
Fight the good fight every moment… "