In 1975, I was a year out of law school and a pal asked if I wanted to drive up from L.A. to Santa Barbara to catch a Bruce Springsteen concert. I hadn’t heard of the guy. I went up on a “what the heck” ride. It remains the most rocking, outrageous concert experience of my life. What I remember now years later is that he had a band that was so tight, had practiced so much, that they acted as one instrument. The other thing I remember was the man’s energy. Jon Stewart once said that Springsteen empties the tank in his concerts and that is an apt description. When he was young, the guy would light up a city when he’d come through. He did 4 consecutive nights in L.A. in the late 70’s and everywhere you went for days afterward, people were in a daze – “Which night did you go?” “Did he play ‘It’s My Life’ (an old 60’s classic) at your concert?” “Can you believe it….3 encores!” Set aside his great melodies and poetic lyrics. The guy found the thing he knew he was 10+ on a scale of 10 and he did it. Every public pronouncement from him is admonition to us to do the same. Embrace the passion of being alive. It’s a hard road for so many of us and the only thing we can ever control is our belief in ourselves. Encouragement of that is one of therapy’s goals. Many of us learned who we were in this world through families that told us we weren’t much (or worse, were burdens and fundamentally bad). Perhaps more common was the encouragement of aspects of self that didn’t reflect what we somehow knew to be our essence. This would go hand-in-hand with discouragement or disregard for parts of our character that we knew were truly an expression of our true and best selves. One reason I think that Bruce Springsteen galvanized so many people to loyalty bordering on idolatry is that his work provided the constant message: “Life can be hard. You’ll be challenged – but you’re up to the task.” Seligman would add, “Learn and embrace your signature strengths (see my earlier post). They’re yours. Their expression in your life is where you’ll find meaning and happiness.” Right on, Marty! Right on, Bruce!