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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    Originally made famous by Louie Armstrong, this song carries such a  beautiful message and there is no one better to sing it than the immortal Eva Cassidy.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.

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                              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 May 18, 2021

                                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                                We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                                The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                                Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                                Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                                Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                                There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                                Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                                Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                                We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                                Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                                A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                                The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                                Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                                Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                                Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                                Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                                While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                                Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                                These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                                Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                                Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                                Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                                Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                                Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                                Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                                Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                                As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                                This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                                Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                                Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                                These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                                Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                                Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                                Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                                Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

                                More Tips Improving Listening Skills

                                Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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