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6 Life Lessons As Seen Through Bob Marley Lyrics

Updated on September 4, 2013

Few people in music stand out more in terms of thought provoking and philanthropic lyrics than Bob Marley. The story of Jamaican-born Robert Nesta Marley is no secret to the world. His music and lyrics live on today as a number of artists, fans and ordinary people draw motivation from his life’s work. True music with a purpose, you will find golden nuggets of lyrics that will move and inspire you nestled in the heart of his songs.

These are just a few of our favorite words and philosophies of Bob Marley as captured in his song lyrics. Do enjoy!

1. Redemption Song

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds

While the mood of the song is quiet, gentle and deceptively light; it is heavy and weighty in philosophical meaning. Marley speak/sings in a poetic and clear voice, beseeching people to help him sing these songs of freedom. ‘Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds,’ he sings repeatedly.

Why we love this:

When life gets to be a bit too much, this really is a statement we would do well to remember. At the end of the day, we truly are the ones that can move ourselves from mental enslavement by the freedom of being able to choose and decide. The greater question remains: why do we put ourselves through so much of stress, angst and trauma over little things in our lives that can be easily resolved by our own set of thoughts deeds and actions?

Marley’s lyrics go directly to the source; before we even take action in our lives there is the process of thought, which is in fact more profound, as it informs our actions. If we can address our lives and liberate our minds from a level of thought, we are able to ease mental pressure, be decisive and act well in our daily lives.

The lyrics of this song serve as a firm yet gentle nudge in our consciousness to remember that none but us, yes that means you and me, can get up and take control of our own lives and circumstances. So, what are you waiting for?

2. Get Up, Stand Up

‘Get up, stand up’

What could be a greater call to action for you to take control of your life and to command your rights than this song?

Why we love this:

It is said that Bob Marley wrote the song in response to the poverty and greater political atrocities in Jamaica unfolding around him. He was touring Haiti at the time, and it was usually the last song he performed in order to create the most profound impact.

Fast forward to present times and whilst the message may seem like a time capsule of sorts, there is a clear and distinct evergreen value one can still take from the song.

There are many times in our lives when we allow ourselves to be trampled in work, in business dealings, relationships, you name it. The question is, why? At what point does a push become a shove? If nothing else, Marley gets us thinking about the rights we should uphold and hold dear in our lives. If we are able to understand what our rights are to begin with, we would be able to defend and uphold them in our daily lives.

Use your voice to ‘Get up, Stand up’ for your rights.

3. Trench Town Rock

‘One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain…’

Art, music and other likes and interests of ours have the power to invoke serious emotions within us. Music has a way of encapsulating a period of time, triggering important memories and, if we harness it correctly, we can use its power to elevate our emotions and moods.

Why we love this:

The talents, abilities and passions that come naturally to you in life, truly are the things that are worth gravitating toward. Some of the greatest resources available to us are our talents and abilities which we can use to craft things of beauty, created in love.

Like Bob Marley used his music to promote messages of love, unity and consciousness, so too can we use our skills and abilities to create magic in our lives.

Of all of the things that exist out there in the world – weapons, barriers, harsh laws and punishments; it is good to know that there are still some forces that can be used with maximum impact for good and for change. ‘One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain’.

4. One Love

‘One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel alright’

Peace and brotherhood of humanity, people uniting against all odds and perceived differences. Instead of focusing on the divisions and things that separate us, how about looking at what we all have in common?

Why we love this:

Bob certainly seems as if he was onto the right idea here. We need only take a look around the world right now to see news rife with conflict and unrest in too many countries in order to truly appreciate the unifying spirit in this song.

5. Wake Up and Live!

‘Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you’re riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind…’

Earth to you, the person behind the screen reading this article right now! Hello out there! Where have you been? You need to wake up live! So says Bob Marley.

Why we love this:

This song has a series of hypnotic lyrics that make you ask some very thought-provoking questions. How often in life do we complicate our lives with too many negative feelings instead of gravitating toward that which is positive and beneficial?

Too many times in life we find ourselves living inside our heads instead of getting up, taking responsibility for our actions and living the lives of our dreams.

Over-thinking anything has the power to kill your drive to do anything. Maybe life really is as simple as waking up, taking decisions, living and acting. So perhaps it is time for us to ‘wake up and live’.

6. Three Little Birds

'Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.'

The naysayers would be quick to dismiss this one as a piece of purely sweet candy floss. While it may in fact be quite a glib, blanket statement, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Think of all the times you have worried and stressed about a matter. Now think about the outcome. Ask yourself – how does being worried serve you in the greater picture?

Why we love this:

There is another old saying that goes something to the tune of – life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. Tests, exams, financial problems, relationship woes…. If you think about it, all of them would benefit from a decided course of action more so than by worrying.

Argued with someone and feel consumed with guilt and remorse? Pick up the phone and communicate. Prepared as best you can for a test and not sure if you performed well? Let go and use the waiting period to catch up on something fun instead. There really isn’t anything to be gained in life by sitting around moping, angry, scared, anxious and worried. Worry less, do more and, in the words of Bob Marley, ‘don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright’.

Which of these Bob Marley songs is your anthem?

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