How To Turn Depressing Into Amazing

How To Turn Depressing Into Amazing

Mar. 15 2019

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The other day I was listening to the radio and an old Plain White T’s song came on.

Hey there, Delilah…

It reminded me of summertime in Chicago, and I was happy to keep listening.

But then I got kind of sad. Have you ever listened closely to the lyrics?

How about this part?

Hey there, Delilah
I know times are gettin’ hard
But just believe me, girl
Someday I’ll pay the bills with this guitar
We’ll have it good
We’ll have the life we knew we would
My word is good.

What’s interesting is that, on paper, it seems like a hopeful, positive message.

Someday I’ll make it big! We’ll have it good! We’ll have the life we knew we would!

And yet it feels totally opposite.

The whole song has a melancholy vibe to it. You feel the singer’s heartache.

Positive words but a feeling of sadness.


Now compare that to this famous Steve Jobs quote:

An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator… these are NOT three separate devices! And we are calling it iPhone! Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone. And here it is.

Just reading that gives me chills.

A revolution started with those words. Everyone’s life changed almost as soon as he said it. His optimism inspired millions.

But why are Jobs’ words life-altering while Hey There Delilah is tear-inducing?

Is Jobs’ quote really any better than the Plain White T’s lyric?

In the song, the writer is promising to become a rags-to-riches star and give the love of his life everything she ever wanted. In the Jobs quote, he’s merely promising a new device.

So, again, why is one depressing and the other inspiring?

The answer? Action.

Hey There Delilah is palpably sad because he’s not going to make it in music and he’s not going to be able to give her a good life and he’s not going to see her again.

The singer has resigned himself to failure. Delilah is gone. The die has been cast. Nothing will change that.

Steve Jobs, on the other hand, is a hurricane of action. He’s going to change your life and he’s not going to stop until he does. He’s going to work and problem-solve and create until the world is a different place.

The action, the force, behind his words jump through the screen. You know he’s going to do it (is there any doubt?)–and that’s exciting.

What a huge difference.

Depression can be changed to exhilaration just by adding one simple thing.


Say or think something optimistic, and then do something about it. Do it today.

And do it again tomorrow.

Get on a plane and go see her.

Get out to the local clubs and book gigs.

Challenge your engineers to make something brand new until it’s actually in your hands.

If we act, depression doesn’t exist.

There’s only constant forward momentum, leading us closer and closer to the finish line.

As long as we don’t stay still, depression doesn’t stand a chance.


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.