Living Life in Crescendo

by G. Rabalais - July 29, 2021
Living Life in Crescendo

In a recent podcast, David Novak Leadership: How Leaders Lead: Leading with Trust, Mr. Novak interviewed the son of the famous author Stephen Covey, author of the decades-long best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.In this interview, David asked Mr. Covey, “Is there one thing your father told you that you still remember and use today?” Without hesitation, Mr. Covey the son answered, 

“Live life in crescendo.”

Live Life in Crescendo

So, what does this mean? For the musicians reading, they may have a clue as to what is intended here. For the rest, a bit of background is in order. A crescendo is a musical term that identifies a marking on the music sheet to play increasingly louder over the measures above the crescendo mark (red lines in this illustration). 

Here the musician is directed to increase the playing volume of their instrument from mf (mezzo forte, half loud) to f (forte, loud) over the course of this short passage. Covey’s point was that your biggest impact was in front of you: you are getting louder as you go forward, no matter what you have accomplished (or not accomplished) already.

So why is this significant? As a musician, it really struck me that if I lived my life every day with the mindset that my biggest contribution (impact) was yet to come, there were benefits to be had. Some benefits of living life in crescendo include:

  • I would be unburdened by failures of the past
  • I would avoid the temptation to rest easy on accomplishments of the past
  • I would have to employ a growth mindset (Carol Dweck, Mindset, 2006)
  • I would be required to deliberately plan for the fact that my biggest impact was still in front of me

Just imagine what the HSC campus atmosphere be like if each and every one of us chose to live our lives in crescendo each and every day. What might be the impact on our teaching, research, and clinical care today and in the future?

Living life in crescendo is yet another way that we can make UofL a Great Place to Work, a Great Place to Learn, and a Great Place to Invest. Similarly, this idea of living life in crescendo would also be consistent with the driving force for the Office of Faculty Development, that we exist to help HSC faculty to Magnify Your Impact.

Go ahead. Adopt a growth mindset about your work. Why not give it a try to discover that your biggest impact is still in front of you? Live life in crescendo and see what happens.