Perhaps reflecting the awareness that we must persevere in order to thrive, the most common Billboard Hot 100 song title is “Hold On”. In March 2013, Alabama Shakes provided the sixteenth entry of a song with that title into the Hot 100 list. “Hold On” was nominated for a Best Rock Performance Grammy Award. While the band didn’t win that Grammy, it did so three years later for “Don’t Wanna Fight”.
So, bless my heart,
Bless my mind,
I got so much to do,
I ain’t got much time
So, must be someone up above
Saying come on girl,
You got to get back up.
You got to hold on.
Yeah you got to hold on.
Brittany Howard explained the lyrics of “Hold On” as being about coming of age to Terry Gross on the NPR show Fresh Air. Howard said, “… it was more about, look, I’m grown up now. Look at me. I have to make all these decisions for myself. I have to be responsible for myself. … I never thought that my life would be like this.”
When we learn from our experiences, we better understand ourselves and our world. This self aware education improves our ability to facilitate transformation.
We manage change far better than we can enable transformation. Change requires us to monitor how activities produce results. Transformation, on the other hand, requires us to become leaders and develop initiatives that proceed as per a vision.
Since both change and transformation run the risk of failure, “Hold On”. Don’t fear failure.
A sudden increase in discord and hostility appears to be changing our world and not for the better. For it to become more equitable and prosperous, our world must be transformed. “Don’t Wanna Fight” has a prescient message.
My lines, your lines
Don’t cross them lines
What you like, what I like
Why can’t we both be right?
Until there’s nothing left worth winning
Your pride and my pride
Don’t waste my time
Of course, some things are right while others are definitely wrong, but I take message to be about improving harmony through transformation.
Some of you are entering university – as students, faculty or staff – while some are preparing to leave it. Others like me will stay on for a while. Whatever juncture you find yourself at, hold on to your dreams, try and lessen the strife and work to transform our world.
If you’re close by, welcome to another academic year at McMaster Engineering.