Advice That Rocks: Burning Down the House

I love the idea that anyone can be a force for change - even an ordinary guy. Especially an ordinary guy.*

I'm an ordinary guy,
Burning down the house.

In fact, our heroes are ordinary folks, made extraordinary by their determination and willingness to act.

Hold tight,
We’re in for nasty weather.
There has got to be a way,
Burning down the house.

They know the importance of bringing others along at the right moment.

Here’s your ticket pack your bags,
Time for jumping’ overboard,
The transportation is here.

And they aren't afraid to dismantle the status quo — nonviolently.

That’s right,
Don’t want to hurt nobody.
Some things sure can sweep me off my feet,
Burning down the house.

According to Tina Weymouth (founding member and Talking Heads bassist), the song’s signature line is based on a Parliament-Funkadelic crowd chant. It's a nod to that band’s smokin’ jams. Whether our heroes are musicians burning down the house with artistic energy, activists burning down the house with political change, or entrepreneurs burning down the house with economic disruption, this ballad is all about creative determination.

Those of us who aspire to positive impact would do well to internalize its energy and earnestness.


*By “guy," I mean (and I take the Talking Heads to mean) all people. Of course.