Are You Driven by Love or Fear?


“You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future but all there will ever be is what’s happening here and the decisions we make which are based in either love or fear”.

That’s just a tiny part of Jim Carrey’s recent commencement address that he gave at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. He explained that his father could have been a comedian but instead decided to take a “safe” job as an accountant. When Jim was twelve years old, his father was let go from that safe job and his family had to do what ever they could to survive.

I came across the Jim Carrey speech while listening to Larry Gifford’s excellent podcast, “Radio Stuff” This week’s episode also featured a tribute the the broadcasting legend Casey Kasem and included some hilarious out-takes of Casey getting frustrated with badly written copy he’d been asked to voice by management.

I’m not sure if Larry made the connection but a light went on in my brain. I suddenly realised why the very best on-air talent on radio stations all over the world have a hard time getting on with management. It’s because creative people are motivated by love. They love being on the air, love creating new things and love their audience. Managers on the other hand live in fear and make all of their decisions based on it. The really bad ones are scared of what the talent might say on the air, scared of anything new and scared of a negative reaction from the audience or any of their peers.

Presenters don’t lose sleep the night before the ratings are published, Program Directors do. I’ve worked for PDs who go through a weird pre-ratings PMS in the week running up to the numbers coming out. Bad PDs don’t understand that for talent to perform at their best, they have to be having fun. They’ll spend a lot of their time with the talent trying to make them as fearful as THEY are, sucking the fun out of the thing the talent loves most. Ask any jock who’s quit an on-air job out of frustration with the way they’re managed and they’ll tell you that they did their best work while they were working their notice period because they were totally fearless.

At a Morning Show Boot Camp many years ago in Atlanta, I met a jock called Jeff Wicker. He told me that he’d worked as a morning show host at a station where he wasn’t getting on with his PD. The PD hated the way he did everything on the air, there was no pleasing him. His relationship with his boss was so bad that he was sure he was going to get fired soon. He decided that if he was going to get the sack anyway, he wouldn’t worry about it and would just have fun on the air. A week later the PD bust into the studio and said, “I don’t know what’s happened to you but keep it, you sound great!”

Jim Carrey finished his commencement speech for the class of 2014 with these words, “I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love”.

Craic on!

Here’s some highlights from Jim Carrey’s speech;


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