Iconic folk singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is known for his clever, catchy, beautiful and inspirational lyrics. Dylan has won numerous prestigious awards for his work, including an Oscar, Golden Globe, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize and multiple Grammys.
With a net worth in the hundreds of millions, he certainly doesn’t need to keep working, and yet, he’s been continually touring for decades, an effort many refer to as the “Never Ending Tour.”
His songs are often imbued with political, spiritual and social messages that resonate on a personal level, but what are his most powerful lyrics, quotes and sayings?
“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”
Dylan is a master of poetic, emotive language. This famous lyric is a perfect example of the power of his words. Consider that the answers to your problems, your dreams, your wishes, and your questions may already be right there… blowing in the wind around you.
Yes, they may be hard to pin down, hard to access and hard to hear, but they are there nonetheless. They may be slippery or drift away. They may circle back or whisper to you as they whip on by on their journey. But if you’re aware and looking and listening, you’ll find them.
“May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift…”
Full Quote: “May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift, may you have a strong foundation, when the winds of change shift.”
Life is an ever-changing wonder. Change and challenges are always on the horizon, but so are possibility, growth, creativity, love and opportunity. Being ready for what comes, opening yourself to new experiences, and embracing the always malleable world around you can help you keep going.
Keeping going, working hard and staying grounded are also key. So, keep yourself busy, keep yourself nimble and quick, and stay attuned to what matters most. That way you will be ready to face whatever it is that life throws at you, with an open heart, a clever mind and a tenacious spirit.
“Well, I try my best, to be just like I am.”
Full Quote: “Well, I try my best, to be just like I am, but everybody wants you, to be just like them.”
This quote reminds us not to blindly bow to peer pressure or the will of the group. Others may encourage you to sacrifice what is important or become just like them. Be true to yourself and your creative spirit instead.
Listen to your heart. Know that you don’t have to acclimate, especially if it means giving up on what matters to you. It’s just fine to be different and to explore what makes you… you. So, honor who you are inside and trust that it’s okay “to be just like I am.”
The people around you may not always understand; they may try to mold you in their image. But you, and only you, get to decide who it is that you really are. Live your truth to set yourself free.
“The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen.”
Full Quote: “The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen, but that’s just because he doesn’t want to turn into some machine.”
In this lyric, Dylan taps into the urge to hide and protect. Honor that feeling in yourself and listen to what it’s telling you. Consider if you need to be hiding or if you can find other solutions. Seek other ways to confront whatever it is that you are facing while also remaining true to yourself.
Not wanting to “turn into some machine” evokes the idea of losing your purpose, your individuality, spirit, and passion… and becoming just like everyone else. So, hide if you must, but better yet, rail against it, so that you can be both visible and free.
“When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”
This quote reminds us that trying is what counts. Taking chances and engaging with your creativity, even when we feel we have no skin in the game, can be powerful. If you don’t start, you can’t finish.
So, go for your dreams. If you want to write a book, run a mile (or a marathon), learn aikido, have a family, master Spanish, start a business, or find true love, stick your neck out and take the risk to begin. Often it is fear of failure that keeps us complacent and stuck.
But it is not starting or going for it that is the true failure; this approach offers the guarantee of nothing happening. When you try while you’ve got something to lose, you also give yourself the chance of success.
“Sign in the window says lonely, sign on the door said no company allowed.”
Often, we send mixed messages, both to others and ourselves. If you’re looking for love, work, creative pursuits, or work opportunities, you need to put yourself out there with an open heart and mind.
If you hide behind a “no” when you want to say “yes,” you’ll never get the outcome you desire. Yes, it’s hard to take risks. But only by letting ourselves become vulnerable can we find what we’re truly after, whether it’s love, a creative endeavor, a personal goal, or a professional aspiration.