Today, many of us have heard the sad news of the passing of legendary musician Kenny Rogers. The artist who passed on at the age of 81 has many prestigious accolades to his name, but I believe the most memorable will be the impact he made on individuals across the world through his music.
I was one of those who listened to Kenny Rogers' music growing up. Some of my favorite songs of his include Through The Years, Lucille, Coward Of The County, She Believes In Me… and at the top of the list, The Gambler, which still finds itself in my playlist to this day.
As a lover of music and a writer myself, when I listen to a song, one of the aspects I am attuned to are the lyrics of the song and the power of the writer to tell a story in their composition.
From the first time I heard The Gambler, I was fascinated by the story it told, the manner in which it was told and Kenny Roger's delivery of it. The life lessons and words of caution imbibed in the song are truly timeless… I believe that generations will find this song relevant. Shout-out to the songwriter Don Schlitz for penning an absolute classic for the ages.
So, as we remember the life of the great Kenny Rogers and extend heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones… here is The Gambler:
Pearls of Wisdom from The Gambler
Most of life is like a gamble or a hustle, especially for the person who truly dares to live. As leaders, go-getters and champions, we often venture through experiences doing the best we can to succeed, learning what works and does not work as we progress along.
Here are some life and success lessons to be drawn from the masterpiece:
- "He said, "Son, I've made a life Out of readin' people's faces; Knowin' what the cards were By the way they held their eyes; So if you don't mind me sayin', I can see you're out of aces; For a taste of your whiskey I'll give you some advice"
Give it up to the experts clap! clap
We all need some advice, don't we?
There will be people who can read us and even be willing to offer us helpful advice. These mentors will be deeply knowledgeable and skilled… imagine being able to tell the cards the person infront of you is holding just by the way they hold their eyes. This speaks of a high level of expertise and understanding of the game. When such a mentor who is willing to guide us shows up, all we have to do is let them in, and our success learning curve will be tremendously shortened.
On top of that, because of the pearls of wisdom that we ourselves gather through life as leaders, we will be able to "read" the people we work with and interact with, sensing their energy even when they don't know it. Because people don't always say what they mean, or show who they really are… being able to "read" them enables us to make certain decisions sensibly, curbing serious misfortunes that may have taken place had we not been able to discern wisely.
- "If you're gonna play the game boy, You gotta learn to play it right"
Yesss, this speaks to the importance of learning, of listening, and of absorbing information, skills and directions on our success journey that enable us to win.
Learn to play it right! Be coachable and teachable.
- "You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run…"
Hahaha… know when to run!! this line is super funny. But all jokes aside, there are certain situations that you gonna have to turn away from as if your life depends on it. So yeah, he was right.
Know when to hold or fold 'em. I believe another lesson here is, know what works and what doesn't; what to do and what not to do when you are playing the game and playing to win. Be ready to take the necessary steps that lead to the next level as the journey unfolds.
- "You never count your money; When you're sittin' at the table; There'll be time enough for countin' When the dealin's done…"
Not every body needs to know what's going on with you or with your business. Save certain activities for later on when you are away from the table, or out of the public eye. This is key in this day and time of social media for example, where individuals are prone to sharing so much information about themselves. Notice that most savvy leaders are careful about what they put out and don't need to reveal. There are certain dealings that are best left behind the scenes, or in other words, kept private.
- "Every gambler knows That the secret to survivin', Is knowin' what to throw away, And knowin' what to keep; 'Cause every hand's a winner, And every hand's a loser…"
Every hustler or risk-taker develops an innate understanding of their trade – knowing what to let go of and what to hold on to.
And when you take risks, you understand that you may come out on top, or may even lose. You playing on regardless. However, you play smartly because the Champion's goal is always to win (even if/when failure comes knocking at the door). What is life unless you go for it and give it your best! At the end of the day, you just want to make sure that you put your best foot forward.
As you can see, The Gambler (released in 1978) is a world-class lesson on street smarts for the leader.
Are you a Kenny Rogers fan? Which of his songs do you like most?