Be Like Bowie
The first time I saw David Bowie I was five-years-old. He was on television surrounded by puppets singing, “Dance Magic Dance.” I had no idea the magnitude of what I was witnessing or what had lead up to this cult classic. Everything David Bowie did was part of the masterpiece he called life. Most beautifully, he did things his own way without reservation. He intended to create music and art, but what he did was touch the world.
Dave Logan talks about starting a movement, being intentional and being passionate about your core values. Once you begin your forge into the world, you contribute to your tribe and get people excited about your vision, or noble cause. A noble cause is born from a collision of two worlds. The “light side” of leadership is about aspirations, values, and visions. The “dark side” of leadership is about inevitability, frustration, getting even, righting a wrong, and results in an explosion of energy. The light side is patient. The dark side is intolerant of the status quo. Put them together and you have a vision backed by nuclear power.
What does all this have to do with David Bowie? He expressed his core values through his light side and his dark side with every breath.
I think that Bowie’s only intention was to create. What followed was an answer to the social outcry of less conformity. He was unafraid, as you can see in a 1983 MTV interview where he called the channel out for not showcasing videos from black artists.
Bowie was not only an advocate for equality, but he was the master of change (See “Changes”). Through the years he was a part of many movements as well as creating a new way of looking at songwriting and fashion. When a musician becomes known and stays the same, the music dies. He created new ways to look at creating the song itself by using the Cut-Up method. You can see what I mean here.
Should we all be David Bowie? No, he was one of a kind. But in addition to listening to his great music, enjoying his movies and admiring his influence on fashion and art, we can learn from his leadership. His ability to integrate the light and dark and hold true to his core values. Be like Bowie and don’t be afraid to be who you are and fight for what you stand for. Go into the world and create, desire and spread the magic.