You Set the Beat - The Power of Positivity

by Mike R

You aren’t required to have a positive attitude to get things done; there are grumpy, downbeat people who reach their goals. But if you want to inspire others to help you, displaying a consistently positive attitude can go a long way.

Music to Our Ears

Stewart Copeland is a composer who gained fame as the drummer for the band The Police. Copeland often talks about the difference between “musicians of the eye” and “musicians of the ear.” In his view, orchestral players are musicians of the eye; their mission is to faithfully obey the sheet music. As a group, their artistry comes from playing their parts as written. But rock musicians, like Copeland, are musicians of the ear. They use improvisation to make great music without a formal score.

To keep a consistent tempo and to keep everyone playing together, a conductor uses a baton to keep musicians of the eye in sync. The drummer in a band performs this important function for musicians of the ear. In making the music of life, we are either the conductor of our orchestra or the drummer for our band. Our friends, colleagues, coaches and mentors are the other musicians who help us make great music. Since we don’t follow a musical score for everyday life, the drummer’s persona is a better fit for the role we play in keeping our band in sync.

You Set the Beat

The drummer has two functions — timekeeping, or setting the tempo, and solo playing. When we pursue our goals, we have our individual responsibilities — our solo efforts — but we are also responsible for setting the tempo for others. When our tempo — our attitude — is upbeat and positive, people want to play along. When our tempo is erratic or downbeat, people tend to shy away. We want to maximize the involvement of others in helping us reach our goals. Making the music, and the journey, more enjoyable with an upbeat attitude will inspire others.

Encourage Accelerated Behaviors

To get the best performance from others, we can take the same actions we take when encouraging ourselves to remain accelerated. We want our helpers to remain interested in helping us. By keeping a positive attitude, we reward the other members of our band. If our attitude is negative, we might move those helpers to a tired state, that place where they can help us, but don’t want to do so.

We rarely pursue and achieve our goals on our own; we need others to assist. We need bandmates to help us make great music. When we inspire our band, we reach more of our goals with less solo effort, and that is music to our ears.


1.     Think about people in your life who are consistently positive.

a.     Do you enjoy helping them?

b.     Are they people you find yourself drawn to when you need help?

c.     Do they inspire you to do your best?

2.     Think about others who are erratic or consistently negative.

a.     How excited are you about helping them when they call?

b.     Are they people you would reach out to when you need help?

c.     Do they seem like they might be tired in pursuit of their own goals?

d.     Does spending time with them make you feel accelerated or tired?

You can learn more about positivity and your other seven success superpowers in the book Whiteboard Wisdom, available on Amazon. 

Mike R
Mike R