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Top Songs That Are Guaranteed to Inspire You and Move You to Tears

Top Songs That Are Guaranteed to Inspire You and Move You to Tears

Music is one of the great gifts of life. There is nothing like music to reach into our souls and pull out the emotion we have squashed down and wedged into a tiny corner. Sometimes it is so wedged that we don’t even know it is there. Sometimes it takes a really great song to bring it out and let it go. Music can also fill us with hope and give us solace when nothing else seems to be able to.

Below, I share with you my top favorite songs which give me strength, hope and make me feel that there are people out there who do understand what we are thinking and feeling on a daily basis, even if we are too afraid to tell anyone. Please listen to and love these songs knowing that there are great people out there who are really working to make life better for you and everyone around you.

What a Wonderful World: Bob Thiele and George David Weiss

Eva Cassidy
    “And I think to myself, What a Wonderful World.”

    Originally made famous by Louie Armstrong, this song carries such a  beautiful message and there is no one better to sing it than the immortal Eva Cassidy. No matter how down you are, you have to admit that there is some hope left in the world when you hear this song.

    Sonata Pathetique: Ludwig Van Beethoven

    Beethoven Sonata Pathetique
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      Ludwig Van Beethoven was one of the most interesting artists in history.Beethoven was raised by an alcoholic father who he kicked out of the house when he was 18 to raise his brothers and sisters. He suffered all his life from disabling stomach ailments and ultimately lost his hearing, which caused him such anguish that he shunned people and lived in solitude for fear his secret deafness would be discovered.

      After he died, in his belongings was found a document now called the Heilingenstad Testament , in which he details his thoughts and feelings at a crucial time in his life. In the document, he alludes to taking his own life but casts the idea aside knowing that he had too much music left in him to stop living. The document reveals a brilliant man tortured by the loss of the one sense that he needed the most and his efforts to hide it. This piece, part of a full Sonata (a piece of music written to be played rather than sung and following a specific form) is the Adagio Cantibile section, the part that is played slowly and in a singing manner. To my mind, it is the single most stunning piece of artistic mastery there is. Here it is played perfectly my Daniel Berenboim.

      Take On Me: Aha

      Aha
        But I’ll be stumbling, slowly learning that life is ok.”

        I don’t know why, but this song  had me from the very first time I heard it. There is something about the sweeping pitch changes in the chorus that never fail to tweak my heartstrings and somehow make me feel like things are all going to work out right. It is just a great song.

        Lyle Workman, Brent Bourgeois: I Don’t Mind at All

        I Don't Mind at All
          “Misery loves company but she will never foot the bill.”

          Back in the 80’s, I was fortunate enough to be part of the San Francisco Bay Area original music scene. At that time, I was privileged to hang out with one of the members of Bourgeois-Tagg, who wrote the music for this song. Lyle was always a brilliant genius and went on to score major films such as “Superbad“, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and numerous others. I will always remember this song. One great evening, my band opened for Bourgeois-Tagg and I was watching from the wings when they played it. I will never forget that evening. This is one of the most perfect songs I have ever heard, and to this day people still love it.

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          Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

          Hallelujah
            “Love is not a victory march, its a cold and its a broken Hallelujah.”

            I am sure you remember this song from “Shrek.” It is the perfect heartbreak song. This recording is done by Jon Bon Jovi. I love this version because it is simple and a song so perfect should be represented simply. Too much ornamentation distracts. It takes a great artist to recognize this fact. Jon Bon Jovi is a great artist.

            Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Ashford and Simpson

            Ain't no mountain high enough
              “No wind, no rain, will stop me baby.”

              You remember this song sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell and later by Diana Ross and the Supremes. What greater declaration of strength and loyalty than this beautiful song?

              I Will Always Love You: Dolly Parton

              Whitney
                “I will always love you.”

                Yes, this is the song made famous by the beautiful Whitney Houston, but it was written by Dolly Parton. Not only is this song perfectly written lyrically, the simple chorus allowed Ms. Houston to really flex her considerable vocal talents, which she did with impeccable taste. This video always brings tears to my eyes. We will always love you Whitney.

                Nessun Dorma: Giacomo Puccini

                Nessun Dorma
                  “On your mouth I will tell it when the sun shines.”

                  From the opera Turandot. This is the aria from the final act of this opera. The aria is sung by the character Calaf, who has fallen in love with the beautiful but, let’s face it, completely nuts Princess Turandot. The Princess, being Herman Goering in a body suit apparently, has set up three riddles for her perspective suitors to answer. If they cannot, they are beheaded; if one can, he can marry her.

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                  Calaf has answered all three but gives the Princess one more chance by telling her that if she can discover his name by morning, she can execute him. She then decrees that no one in the kingdom shall sleep and must find the answer by morning otherwise they will all be executed. This I find a little harsh, even for opera; however, the aria itself is amazingly beautiful and tenors all over the world have chosen to take a stab at it. It is fraught with danger just like the path of Calaf, in that there are some superb high notes at the end that are sustained. One flashbulb popping or cell phone going off while singing this and you are toast as a tenor.

                  Caruso: Lucio Dalla

                  Caruso
                    “When he saw the moon coming out from the cloud, even death seemed sweet to him.”

                    Ok, I know I am getting all verklempt and gushy about these songs but I am not even kidding, This one, written by Lucio Dalla in 1986, was not made famous until after his death at which point it jumped the charts to number 2.

                    The song is dedicated to Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and is said to describe what the composer pictured as the final scene of his life. It is achingly beautiful and when sung in Italian by Lara Fabian, it will definitely make your eyes wet.

                    Amazing Grace: John Newton

                    911
                      “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.”

                      This is a song of redemption and hope. The best version I have ever seen and heard is Renee Fleming singing it at the ceremony at the anniversary of Ground Zero in New York. Standing in front of all the people who had lost loved ones and confronting their grief was so difficult that she had to look up in an effort to hold it together. A performance like that takes so much strength and resolve. Filling an area, the scene of such horrific events, with beauty and compassion is the mark of a great artist and she will be remembered for her beauty and her grace far into future generations.

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                      Laudate Dominum: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

                      Laudate Dominum
                        “For his love is powerful, his faith, eternal.”

                        Also known as Psalm 117. This beautiful version is sung to perfection by the lovely Ceclilia Bartoli. Mozart was so gifted in writing stunningly beautiful melodies with perfect harmony to accompany them. His works are a gift to us centuries after he created them.

                        Mary: Sarah McLauchlan

                        Mary
                          “With trembling hands she reaches out, a stranger’s flesh is offered.”

                          This is a song about sacrifice and compassion despite being treated unkindly. The lyrics are so universal. It makes you stop and look at life and the people in it.

                          Then They Do: Trace Atkins

                          Trace Atkins
                            “You want all the dreams that they dreamed to come true, then they do.”

                            If you are a parent, this will hit you where you live. Sniff!

                            Vincent: Don McClean

                            Vincent
                              “They did not listen. they did not know how. Perhaps they’ll listen now.”

                              A beautifully crafted song by a consummate songwriter. I only wish Vincent could be here to hear how well he was understood, if not in his own time, in times that would be his future. I think it would have given him solace. He never knew what he meant to all of us.

                              Deja Vu: The Shrews

                              Shrews
                                “I remember all the things I should have said, But I always say the opposite instead.”

                                Ok, this may not make you cry but you will love it! The Shrews are a new group of fabulous musicians. What can I say? The songs are just catchy as hell! After all those tears, you have to get up and dance!

                                There are so many wonderfully inspirational songs out there. Enjoy these and then send me your picks! I might do another post!

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                                Chris Ellis

                                Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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                                Published on September 23, 2020

                                6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

                                6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

                                I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

                                If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

                                What is Negotiation?

                                First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

                                Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

                                In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

                                Places We Negotiate

                                I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

                                1. Work/Business

                                This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

                                When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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                                In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

                                Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

                                2. Personal

                                I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

                                I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

                                Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

                                3. Ourselves

                                You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

                                I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

                                Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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                                Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

                                Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

                                We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

                                My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

                                If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

                                As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

                                6 Negotiation Skills to Master

                                Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

                                Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

                                1. Preparation

                                Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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                                It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

                                For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

                                After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

                                2. Clear Communication

                                The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

                                If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

                                3. Active Listening

                                Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

                                If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

                                4. Teamwork and Collaboration

                                To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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                                If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

                                When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

                                5. Problem Solving

                                Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

                                Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

                                From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

                                There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

                                6. Decision-Making Ability

                                Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

                                Conclusion

                                There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

                                Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

                                More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

                                Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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