Get Rhythm

Marshall Atkinson After Winter Run

I was running the other day and about halfway through my route when a song came on my playlist that lifted my spirits immensely.  “Get Rhythm” by Johnny Cash.  Sure, it’s an old song.  But sometimes I like to hear tunes that have a little grit and history.  Plus I’m a big fan of the Man in Black.  Not all singers have to shriek through a song like they have their testicles in a vice, right?

Listening to the lyrics of the song (below at the bottom of the article), it occurred to me then that not a lot of people that I encounter daily do things to make themselves feel good or change their position about something.  Why is everyone always in a sour mood these days?

Being happy, makes other people happy too.

This can be crucial to your success, especially if you are in a position of leadership or management.  Don’t think others notice that you are in a cranky mood?  Don’t delude yourself.

A crappy mood is like luggage that you are carrying around with you all day.  It is a unnecessary burden, and it affects everything you touch because unless you put down those bags, you aren’t going to handle things correctly.  Everyone you bark at, insult, or growl instructions to just thinks you are a jerk…or worse.

Want to change your outlook and find your happy place so you can interact with others well?  Here are a few ideas that could influence how you see things internally for the better:

Be Friendly

Seems simple enough.  I wonder how much nicer our work environments could be if everyone just was friendlier to each other?  Aren’t we all on the same team?

Imagine the effect that instead of launching into an attack on someone after what seems to be a mistake, you took a friendly position and sought to find out all the facts about it first and then spoke to the person about how the decision was made.  Could that have a bigger impact on the working relationship and help push more success in your workplace?  What if their decision that was made turns out to be the correct path?

I’ll bet that most of the time if you try to get the other side of the story, you’ll find a different perspective than what you originally thought.  Maybe before you go off into a rage about something, it might be wise to just take a breath and look into the situation further and not jump to conclusions.

Why is it necessary to keep score and to look for things that “might” be going wrong anyway?

Sometimes a professional conversation can avoid a lot of unnecessary hurt feelings, mistrust, and bad mojo.  Ask more questions, but do so from an inquisitive neutral standpoint.  “What happened and how can we make this better?”  Ask why a lot.  Especially before any finger pointing starts.

Friendly is also just good manners.  Does it cost you anything to smile and say “Good morning”?

When you work with people you are surrounded by their attitudes.  If you wait for them to have a good attitude about anything you’ll be waiting a long time.  You know that grump I’m talking about!

Try being friendly to them first!

A sincere smile and little joke can go a long way.  Engage with them.  It won’t hurt to say “Good Morning” to that Frowny McFrownyface, I promise.

Even if they don’t respond, you’ll know that you took the higher road.

Accentuate the Positive

Times might be tough, but if you focus on the good things around you then your viewpoint may be different.  Life happens.  Things don’t go as planned.  You get in an argument with your spouse, there could be money problems, health issues with a loved one, or any number of things…don’t let that get you down to the point that you start taking it out on others and snapping at people like a rabid junkyard dog.

Take stock in yourself.  There are wonderful things that you’ve forgotten about because of the overwhelming negativity that might be wacking you in face with a skillet.  Relax for a second.

You know that you are awesome.  The fact that someone else can’t see it shouldn’t be your problem.  It’s them.

There are great things in your life too.  I’ll bet you can name a few just off the top of your head.

Instead of thinking about all the things that can go wrong, start thinking about all the things that go right.  Practice positive mindfulness.  When you think positive thoughts, positive outcomes occur.  I know it sounds like a hat full of bullshit, but it has worked for me for years.


What are you passionate about?  This is the topic that you keep coming back to time after again as you love it deep down to your core.  Maybe you have close group of friends that share your passion.  It could be fun hobbies such as cooking, bike riding, art or travel.  Lots of folks are passionate about working with people and volunteer their time at hospitals, job training groups, or mentoring youth.

The success or failure of our favorite sports teams can drive our passion too.  Why else would grown men paint their faces to watch other grown men play a game?  That’s passion.  Or Jagerbombs in the parking lot.

For me, when things get a little stressful I like the quiet and precision of watercolor painting.  That’s my passion.  There is a lot of strategy involved, and when I’m painting I can lose hours at a time creating.  I like watercolor painting because it is harder.  You can’t just paint over a mistake like you can with oils or acrylics.  Plus, anything white is the white of the paper.  That’s an itch you can’t scratch the entire time you are working on something.  It’s just plain ol’ fun.

Thinking about your passion throughout the day, and trying to incorporate it somehow just might lift your spirits and get you though.


They say to be kind, and that everyone we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about.  That is so true.

I’ve always been interested in people, and love hearing their stories.  Where did they came from? How did they get into the position they are in at work?  What type of food do they cook?  What is their family like?  Where do they see themselves in five years?

Drawing out these stories makes people more relatable somehow.  Not just someone that you see at work.  Occasionally they share bigger and more challenging tidbits about their life.  Family struggles, cancer, trouble dealing with alcohol, rebellious children, and even more troubling and heartbreaking concerns too.

Sometimes they ask for advice, sometimes not.  What’s important is that I’m taking the time to listen.  When you hear everyone else’s stories you realize that whatever is on your mind looks trivial in comparison.

That’s an attitude adjustment.  Empathy brings us all closer.

Trust Your Gut

You know that inner voice that tells you something is wrong or you should choose a certain direction?  Intuition is usually based on experience, and when we listen to it good things can happen.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you think is true.  The more empowered you become, the stronger your actions can be, and you’ll act with more confidence.  This ultimately leads to happiness, as you are guiding your own destiny.

That gut feeling that tells you that you need to be doing something should be listened to more.  You know you are putting something off.  Probably right now.

Yeah, that thing.

What do you think would happen if you took action instead?  What if that thing you are worrying about is resolved now?  You could focus on other challenges and begin tackling those.  So what’s the one thing you need to do?

Start.  It’s that simple.

Your Team

You are who you surround yourself with.  Who is on your team?  We have several teams in our lives.  A workplace team.  A personal team.  A spiritual team.  A family team.

Are the actions of someone on one of these teams affecting you in some way that bothers you?  Try working with them to change that outcome, but if that doesn’t work out it is up to you to change that relationship dynamic.  Nobody is going to do it for you.

You don’t have to work at that job.  You can get another.

You don’t have to be in that relationship.  You can break up or get a divorce.

You don’t have to practice that religion or go to that particular church.  You can seek enlightenment and guidance in another way.

You don’t have to associate with that person in your family.  Just because they are related to you doesn’t give them power over you.

These choices are tough.  If you ever have this thought in your mind, “What am I doing here?”, then maybe it’s time to look for a fork in the road for you to start traveling down a different path.

I know this to be true, because all of the above are changes I’ve personally made.

Taking action to change your life in these areas is a very difficult decision, but ultimately can lead to a greater level of happiness than you’ve ever experienced.  You might even need some help.  If you do, it is ok to bring others in to assist with your change.  It isn’t a sign of weakness or defeat; it is a sign of strength and character that you recognize you need help and that you want to move to a positive direction.

Be the change you seek.

Be Silly

We don’t have enough silly in our lives.  Silly is fun.  Silly is spontaneous.

The only way you can be silly though is to not worry about what other people think about it.  This is it’s greatest power.  Once you stop worrying about what other people think, you can be empowered to do whatever you want.

Which can lead to a crazy silly giggle fit.  I love giggle fits.  I love hearing other people having giggle fits, as you start laughing too.

So start quacking like a duck, stick a green bean up your nose, pretend you are a mime, make that goofy face…whatever you do just have some fun.  Stop being so serious all the time.

Warning.  It can be contagious, and leads to high-volume laughter, the kind with milk squirting out of your nose.


Ah, I’ve saved the best for last.  If music can’t get you in a better mood, check your pulse because you are dead.  Personally, I listen to all sorts of stuff and have multiple playlists on Spotify.  (Click here to listen to some of my favorites)

We all have our favorite songs.  What are yours?  There are a few for me that really make me feel good, put some pep in my step and just make me want to do things faster or better.  That’s why it is such a crucial part of my exercise routine, and also around when I’m creating in my studio.  I like it loud too.  I think I’ve heard “Turn that crap down!”, my entire life.

I’ll do it grudgingly.  It might sneak back up though.

Get Rhythm

Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues

C’mon get rhythm, when you get the blues

Get a rock ‘n roll feeling in your bones

Put taps on your toes and get goin’

Get rhythm, when you get the blues.

Little shoeshine boy never get slowed down

But he’s got the dirtiest job in town

Bendin’ low at the peoples’ feet

On the windy corner of a dirty street

Well, I asked him while he shined my shoes

How’d he keep from gettin’ the blues

He grinned as he raised his little head

Popped a shoeshine rag and then he said.

Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues

C’mon get rhythm, when you get the blues

A jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine

It’ll shake all the troubles from your worried mind,

Get rhythm, when you get the blues.

Get rhythm, when you get the blues



Leave your comment

Talk to Marshall and get his help.
Learn More
View All Ebooks

Related Posts