In The Trenches

Inspiration From “The Professor”

Published on January 17, 2020 Back to blog
Neil Peart playing drums

There are some people who make a lasting impression and impact in our lives. Many of them we know well — family members, friends, teachers and colleagues. But others are part of our lives in a different way.  We may never meet them, but somehow we grow to know them well, respect them and constantly learn from them.  

There are several people in this category for me, but perhaps closest the top of that list is Neil Peart, the drummer for Rush. And, for that reason, his passing last week really hit home for me.  

As a young drummer growing up in the 80’s, I spent hours on end every day listening to and playing along with Neil Peart.  To this day, I can’t listen to a Rush song without air-drumming along. Of course, the greatest attraction was his incredible and proficient drumming. But, over time, I came to respect and admire him for much more.   

So, today, I share the wisdom and inspiration of one of my biggest teen idols, Neil Peart, through arguably his greatest talent of all: his words/lyrics (with links to the corresponding songs for the full experience):  

1. Pursue your dreams.
“All of us get lost in darkness,
dreamers learn to steer by the stars.”
(The Pass, Presto)  

2.  Make smart choices.
“If you chose not to decide,
you still have made a choice.”
(Freewill, Permanent Waves)  

3. Put your heart into everything you do.
“And the men who hold high places
must be the ones to start
to mold a new reality,
closer to the heart.”
(Closer to the Heart, Farewell to Kings)  

4.  Work on your relationships.
“Just between us, 
I think its time for us to realize
The spaces in between 
leave room for you and I to grow.”
(Entre Nous, Permanent Waves)

5.  Give unto others.
“The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect,  
The way you live, the gifts that you give.  
And the fullness of time is the only return that you expect.”  
(The Garden, Clockwork Angels)  

6. Be true to yourself.
“No his mind is not for rent
to any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent.
He knows changes aren’t permanent.
But change is.”
(Tom Sawyer, Moving Pictures)

After spending time this week reflecting on the music, lyrics and talent of Neil Peart, I now truly understand why he was affectionately referred to as “The Professor.” I hope that his words brings light into your day, warmth to your heart and kindness to your soul.  Thank you, Neil, for the infinite inspiration.    

As always, please share your thoughts with me.  For those Rush/Neil fans here, I’d love to hear your favorites.  And, feel free to pass this along to others you believe may enjoy it.  

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners