Life Lessons From Michael Jackson
Through his entertainment and the way he lived, Michael Jackson spread the message of peace of love, and taught the world many lessons applicable to our personal lives and careers.
Singer, songwriter, producer, dancer, and innovator, Michael Jackson became a pop cultural icon, and maintained the “King of Pop” title throughout and beyond his life. Many credit him with revolutionizing the music video, combining drama and dance to create a theater experience. Through his entertainment and the way he lived, Michael Jackson spread the message of peace of love, and taught the world many lessons applicable to our personal lives and careers.
Start with yourself
Man in the Mirror is introspective, and seems to tell of a personal experience Michael had, and encourages us to start with ourselves. It’s easy to look at the world and point out the injustices and deficiencies, but more challenging to sit down, soul search, and find ways to be better versions of ourselves.
Build community and collaborate
He took his social responsibility seriously, and used his platform to share messages of positivity and hope. Heal the World and We Are the World showed his willingness, even as a powerhouse in his own right - to work as a part of a team, and bring others together to envision and work toward a better world. The popularity of these songs and their use - from social campaigns to graduation ceremonies - prove the power of collaboration, and what we can achieve by pooling our resources and talent.
Build your brand
To be the king or queen of anything, you need a strong brand. Michael Jackson had a distinct style, signature moves, and an unchanging demeanor. His tricks were so unique to him that he could do them over and over again, and elicit the same response. Even performed by others, they were - and still are - easily and quickly recognized as his own. This allowed him to stand on a stage and make a 90 degree turn of the head in exchange for the cheers a last second 3-pointer from half court to tie the game would get in any basketball stadium. When your brand is strong, it becomes synonymous with you and cannot be stolen.
Perfection has its place
There are a variety of opinions on perfection. Is it realistic? Is it a fair bar? Michael Jackson always aimed for perfection, both from himself and from his team. Rather than burdening others with abstract ideas of perfection, he participated in every aspect of his performance and career, from choreography to lighting. Video footage of his rehearsals reveal his involvement in every area of production. He was determined to deliver beyond anyone’s expectation.
“Seeing the show does the talking. The show speaks for itself.”
Even in leadership, be gentle
Though his goals were high, he valued people. He engaged his team with kindness. In This Is It, he gave instructions during rehearsal without aggression and punctuated by “with love.” He showed understanding to fan who followed him, almost to the point of torment. He recognized that some things - including paparazzi - came along with his success, and did his best to preserve himself without harming anyone in the process.
Bring passion, and share it
Michael Jackson’s passion was evident in everything he did. His music videos show his creativity and dedication, and his live performances shared his energy with audiences. It was clear that he wasn’t following choreography or going through the motions. He felt the music, and it literally moved him. The energy he brought with him was infectious, and shows that when you believe and invest in something enough, sharing it the world means sharing that passion, using one candle to light many more.
Timing is everything
From record releases and tour dates to the turn of his head in sync with the clash of symbols, he understood the importance of timing. In This Is It, someone is heard off stage telling Michael that he missed a cue and should be moving on to the next step, but Michael tells him it’s not time yet. “We’re sizzling,” Michael said. He knew that, at that point in the show, he would take a moment. He had learned from decades of performing, and didn’t allow convention or scripts or stand in the way of what he knew to be right for him and his audience, even before they were in the room.
Michael Jackson knew his audience, but more importantly, he knew himself. He had a head start, but he found what he loved and was good at, and used it as a vehicle for sharing his passion - peace and love. He used his music to wake the social consciousness of his fans. Nothing he did was by chance, but was well-crafted and executed. He started with himself, built a team, treated them with kindness, and developed the brand that powered his message, and it lives on in his music and our memory of him.
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The idea of 'absolute time' is an illusion. Physics and subjective experience reveal why.
- Since Einstein posited his theory of general relativity, we've understood that gravity has the power to warp space and time.
- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
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