Don’t Miss Out: 6 Important Lessons for Life from David Bowie and Me (Twofer!)

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David Bowie bei Rock am Ring 1987/ at the Rock...
David Bowie bei Rock am Ring 1987/ at the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park music festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
David Bowie's star at Holywood.
David Bowie’s star at Holywood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cover of
Cover of Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture

I was never a giant David Bowie fan: liked some songs and respected him as an artist & showman, I guess, but never got really fired up about it.  Not surprisingly, when he recently announced his new album, I was inclined to ignore what I cynically saw as the now-cliched aging star dusting off the cobwebs for the “BIG!!!” comeback & make-quick-bucks-look-at-me-I-still-matter-and-I’m-not-dead-yet tour.

But I’m always a big fan of free: food, music, what have you, it makes anything so much better.  So when I saw the entire  album was available to check out for free, I went to I-tunes while messing on the internet (e.g. writing this post), engaged

the ol’ buds and tuned in.  What a surprise: I listened straight through, and now plan to buy the album ASAP.  I rarely buy albums: I’m a very happy pick and choose, single song buy guy, having lived through the dark ages when singles, albums, and radio were the only deals in town.  Seems to me, no expert clearly, that this album may be Bowie’s best to date. In any case, it’s good!

I must admit, as a long-standing motivation technique enthusiast. coach, and teacher, I find this ad campaign impressive, having been induced against my instincts to try a product I was not expecting to want, need, or buy.  We in health care, and our patients, stand to benefit greatly if we learn from others to find novel ways to succeed like this campaign does, sucking people in and convincing them to give a new treatment or whatever a fair try.

Anyway, here’s a link to those fine tunes, although it’s also easy to find on I-Tunes (hard to miss actually) :

David Bowie’s New Album is Already Online, For Free (Legally).

Also, here’s six lessons for those who want to become more effective and happy clinicians, based on extensive research and this example:

1) “Free” can be a powerful motivator, unless it cheapens the perceived value of the product.  Sometimes you attract far more interest with a “Sale” than a giveaway.

2) “Limited Time Offer” is a proven winner: people find it difficult to tolerate the idea of missing out forever.  In this case, the free album listening will end soon, on a set date.  Honest, no deception or coercion here, but it adds to perceived value, opportunity, and potential loss, all proven motivators.

3) Gifts work.  Bowie offers you a free listen, to the entire album, no strings, no signing in.  He will sell far more albums as a result, based on long solidly established social psychology.  If you haven’t learned about Reciprocity, one of the most powerful human instincts and drivers to action ever found, if you haven’t integrated it into every aspect of all your social interactions, then you are much less happy and effective in whatever you do.  This is a highly evidence-based statement, proven decades ago by lots of extremely successful people, yet no one I’m aware of, except me of course, offers this crucial information in health care education or training, a major reason treatment non-adherence remains pandemic and patients ignore our education.

Doubt it? The New England Journal of Medicine doesn’t.  Here’s a landmark review from 2005.

The authors estimate that full adherence would have the public health impact of completely curing an entire disease group, like diabetes.  Our failure as motivators is a public health tragedy, especially given we could easily do better without added work.  Interested yet?  Check this out:

4) You can find useful and entertaining learning and inspiration to improve your clinical practice, almost anywhere.  Look outside your little specialty box – outside your profession, your industry, your circle of friends and coworkers – and you’ll soon see if you practice a little.  The world is simply saturated with solutions to problems in health care, ripe to be plucked.  Waiting for us, right now…

5) Learning is fun!  If not, find new teachers.  No important achievements happen without lots of enthusiasm, and life is too short to waste it.

6) I don’t know who said it – I see many different attributions, ranging from Churchill to Confucius – but this truth is very important: if you find work you love, you’ll never have to work again. It will be fun! Not all the time, but more than you may think possible. Perhaps a bit of a tangent here (undervalued, those tangents), I ask you: do you love your work?  If not, what are you doing about it?  Your life will end before you know it, the options out there are infinite, yet most people slog along waiting to finally retire, someday perhaps, after decades of grinding bitter misery. I can’t promise you success – who could in all honesty? – but I can promise you that your life will only get better if you start doing something about it and persist.  I’m confident you’re worth it and I don’t even know who you are, reader: I’m not here with you now, just the ink stains I left for you, right?  Do YOU think you’re worth the effort? What are you going to do about it, today, and for the rest of your life?  Unless you act, the ideas won’t help you.  Only you can, with action, today and every day.  Why suffer?  Why miss out on life?

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