There’s a red thread of commonality weaved throughout the 15 songs listed in this years Top 10 list – feel something that inspires. I had to add 5 songs because the recommendations were too good to limit the list to 10.
The songs included range from rock, pop, Christian rock, reggae, and even rap. Quite the span of optimistic music! As you read about each song and watch the video, I ask that you keep an open mind. Listen to the message.
This year I set out to list the top songs about optimism and hope. I measured all your suggested songs (and mine) against this predetermined list of associated beliefs and outcomes relevant to optimism and hope:
- Feel something that inspires
- Better tomorrow
- Give support to others
- Call to action for something better
- Connect with people to make a difference
- Grow outside own comfort levels
- Help others or self
After using my super-secret algorithm, I present to you The Top 15 Songs about Optimism and Hope. Enjoy!
Bob sings simply about just believing that tomorrow will be better. Plus you can’t go wrong with Bob Marley, right!?
Not an obvious choice. What put this song over the top was the beautiful humanity Dunn sings about. “Turn the anger into water; let it slip through our hands; We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way.”
Forgiveness about the past is essential to move forward.
With lies of politicians, greedy executives we need a battle cry to balance out these tedious realities. “And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start to mold a new reality closer to the heart…”
Eminem gets real about facing your fears and overcoming their repression. He raps us through what the thrill is when we rise above our fears and feel the rush of no longer needing to look back.
Okay, really, does this need any explanation? Crank up the volume and get ready for the goose bumps. While you’re at it, light that Zippo lighter and hold it up high.
A lesser-known song that takes a simple approach like Bob Marley. Crow croons about a better tomorrow can be accomplished when we “get out of our heads and into our hearts.” Bit touchey-feely? Perhaps. But too much logic kills optimism. It defies logic. It takes belief. That’s what this song is about.
Optimism calls forward the best parts of our leadership and our humanity to rise above our circumstances. To get up off the floor and dare to make a move: “Welcome to the resistance, the tension is here, between who you are and who you could be; between how it is and how it should be.”
If you need a song to remind you to defy devastation like the tornadoes in the south, the flooding in the mid-West, then this is your song. “This world’s gone crazy; It’s hard to believe; That tomorrow will be better than today; Believe it anyway.”
Remember one of the items in my list included better tomorrow, support, and connect with people. This song is all about being there for someone and helping her through the dark times. “Sometimes we jump into the great unknown, Sorrows, we all will have to walk alone, but waiting there in the end is a heart that call you a friend, that’s me clapping the loudest, welcoming you home.” [Insert tear stains hear.]
I turn to this song to remind me to ignore the criticizing voices that tempt me to abandon my dreams, my purpose, my passions. The cost of listening to such voices is a life of going through the motions: “I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions.”
Also in last years Top 10 songs about change. Beddingfield reminds us of an important belief underlying optimism and hope: “We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way.” Indeed to create optimism, leaders must be willing to let us explore and fall down.
Optimism calls forward bold actions to inspire others to contribute. This song reminds us that our time here is short. Make what you contribute matter.
This is a deeply spiritual song. The song reminds us to help one another using the lighting of a candle as a metaphor. Is this not what leadership is about? “So carry your candle, run to the darkness; seek out the lonely, the tired and worn.” For optimism to return to our workplaces, we need more bold leaders willing to run first and ask questions next to dismantle the bleak work environments dominating companies around the globe.
I’ll just quote my favorite line from the song. It’s says so much about optimism and hope: “This one’s about anyone who does it differently; this one’s about the one who cusses and spits; this ain’t about our livin’ in a fantasy; this ain’t about givin’ up or givin’ in.” Amen, brothers and sisters!
This is the epitome of optimism. This song asks us all to put aside our differences and find ways to make this world better. “Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way…”
This list is dedicated to all of you who won’t settle for how things are. To all of you willing to find new ways, tried-and-true ways to lead us to achieve something bigger than what we thought possible. And you do this by spreading optimism through your crazy, brilliant, beautiful leadership ability.
Main photo courtesy of Alraunie