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What's Your Theme Song?

How Music Boosts Confidence and Energy

Could you use a little more confidence, a little more energy?  Is there anyone who couldn’t?  Harness the power of music to get you there.

You may have seen the movie Inglourious Basterds.  It’s a Quentin Tarantino revenge fantasy about retribution for the Nazis.  The lead character is Shoshanna, a cinema owner in war-torn Paris who is concealing her Jewish identity from the Nazis who murdered her family.  In my favourite scene, Shoshanna is getting ready to host a Nazi film premiere at her cinema.  She prepares for the premiere by applying her makeup like war paint, staring at the mirror, while David Bowie’s Putting out fire (Gasoline) plays in the background.   Then she strolls out to greet her guests and exact her revenge.  I love that scene. 

How does this relate to increasing your confidence and energy levels?  I am telling you about that scene, with that song, because of what it does for me.  I think of it whenever I have to do something that makes me nervous.  Years ago, I took a course on Communications at Rotman School of Management taught by Professor Mark Weber.  Professor Weber explained that he has a song he always plays before he gives a presentation.  He has figured out that that particular song pumps him up; makes him feel good, and happy and confident.  And it has a positive impact on his performance. 

His song – the theme from Superman.  I suspect that choice is not unique among men of a certain vintage.  He also told us that women baby boomers often choose Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT or Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive as their song.  No doubt Gen-X’ers like me, Gen-Ys and Millennials will have their own songs.  Listen to Katy Perry’s Roar and think about it.   

The concept is simple but it’s brilliant.  Music gives you energy and makes you feel good.  The power of music is well-established and I firmly believe in it. Jamie loves Midnight Train to Georgia, by Gladys Knight and the Pips.  Unusual, yes, but it makes him so happy to hear it.   I love to listen to music when I exercise – it makes it more like fun and less like work.  It takes my mind off the pain and the sweat.  I range from the Beatles and Motown to the Talking Heads, to Usher and Drake.  It’s all good. 

But the concept works outside of the gym and I encourage you to use it.  Think of stepping onto a stage, or coming up to a podium, or walking into a courtroom.  Think of the times that you need an extra boost of energy or confidence.  That song is my go-to image, but the possibilities are endless.  Everyone has a song like that; if you don’t, think about what would work for you. 


Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, fitness enthusiast and healthy cook. It is a mystery why she wasn’t writing for Tonic earlier.