Why I Listen To Justin Bieber?
I am writing to you today to make a confession. This news may shock and appall you but I can no longer keep it a secret. My name is Toku habit coach, mindfulness expert, and personal trainer; and I listen to Justin Bieber.
I know what you’re thinking. How could I listen to the drab poppy drivel that only tweens think pass for music? Don’t I feel shallow, small, and maybe even immature? Don’t I have any taste or even a sense of musical decency?
Well to answer you yes I have those things and yet I still like Justin Bieber’s music. Well at least some of it.
The Way To Cool
You see growing up in Nashville I developed this hip taste in music. I liked obscure bands and odd time signatures. And I decried top 40 country and pop music stars that drained the pockets of the American public.
Being a music snob made me feel good. I made me feel like I was better, smarter, and more refined than the masses. It inflated my ego and allowed me to scoff with disdain at music that was below my pure and refined ears.
But then one day a few years back I was sitting in a car listening to the radio. And as I did, a Katy Perry song came on. You may know it. The song is called firework and the lyrics are pretty cheesy.
At first, I felt resistance and that same scoff coming to my lips. But then something else started to happen. I started to like it a little bit. My foot started tapping and my head started bobbing. I was jamming and even though that inner music snob objected, I stayed with it. And as I did it grew on me.
Pretty soon I found myself tuning the radio to the top 40 station more often. And appreciating the wares of Ms. Perry, Mr. Bieber, and even Ms. Kei$ha. And while I knew that their work didn’t hold a candle to great bands like Radiohead or Led Zeppelin and classical masters like Beethoven or Rachmaninoff. I still liked them just the same.
Like What You Like
What changed was that I stopped worrying about what I should like and instead embraced what I did like. I realized that by limiting myself to the erudite and the refined I was missing out on a huge part of life.
I realized that life is too short to limit what you like. The older we get, the pickier we become. We decide we like this and not that. And while it’s important to know what you enjoy, it’s just as important to challenge that definition as often as possible.
We think that by knowing what we like or by refining our tastes that we will be happier and better people. But in reality our preferences just limit our opportunities for enjoyment. If instead we expand what we like and make space for new kinds of satisfaction. We can learn to find happiness almost anywhere.
Take the Bieber Challenge
I challenge you to go to YouTube right now and watch this Justin Bieber video, without judgment or preconceived notions.
See if you can find the part of yourself that likes this music. It may be hard at first but give it time. And if you still don’t like it, that’s ok, just be open to the experience.
And I don’t want you to stop there. I want you to do this whenever you can. When you find yourself talking to someone at a party you think is shallow or boring, see if you can find a way to like them and be interested in what they have to say.
When you approach life, as an opportunity to find happiness as opposed to a battle to maintain your standards it’s much easier to find the bright simple joy that mindful living is all about.