What a Beach Boys vs. Beatles Rivalry Teaches Us About Competition

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Chris "SparkGuy" Downie regularly writes blogs on his personal SparkPage and it's about time we start sharing them on the main SparkPeople blog! Chris really cares about helping people reach their goals, and his blogs are another way he stays connected to members. Within these blogs, you'll find highlights from Chris's day, his thoughts on various health and motivational topics, and announcements about new activities and lessons on his Small Goals Commitment Challenge. We hope you enjoy!
Hi everyone,
Here are some of my highlights from today:
  • Yesterday was day 138 of my 10+ fitness minutes streak
  • Today is day 82 in a row blogging for this challenge (more details below) 
Recently, I wrote a blog about making a list of motivational songs to use whenever needed, specifically when you're tempted to reach for bad foods.
As part of this simple challenge, I made a list of my own motivational songs. The list included songs by both the Beach Boys and the Beatles, which reminded me that those two bands had a friendly rivalry.
At SparkPeople, we're big fans of friendly competition because we know this can push people to reach their best. SparkPoints, for example, are a fun way to reach your goals one small step at a time and we've also had different types of leaderboard competitions through the years. Keeping behavioral psychology in mind, we know that some people are not motivated by this type of activity, but many others are motivated by friendly competition against themselves or others.  We have even done this on a larger scale with projects like the corporate steps challenge in Pittsburgh with many great partners, companies and individual participants.
To show you how friendly competition can inspire greatness, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at that rivalry between the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
First, the Beatles released an album called "Rubber Soul" in 1965. Here is an interesting quote from Wikipedia about the album:
"'Rubber Soul' was highly influential on the Beatles' peers, leading to a widespread focus away from singles and onto creating albums of consistently high-quality songs. Among its many appearances on critics' best-album lists, Rolling Stone ranked it fifth on the magazine's 2012 list 'The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
Below are three of the top songs from "Rubber Soul" if you'd like to listen—one listen and I can see why this album was rated so high!
"Baby You Can Drive My Car"
"Nowhere Man"
"In My Life"
When the Beach Boys genius songwriter Brian Wilson heard Rubber Soul, here was his response (apologies for the rock-and-roll language):
"'Rubber Soul' blew my mind," Brian Wilson once said. "When I heard 'Rubber Soul,' I said, 'That's it. That's all. That's all folks.' I said, 'I'm going to make an album that's really good, I mean really challenge me.' I mean, I love that ****ing album, I cherish that album."
In December of 1964, while on a flight to Houston to start yet another Beach Boys tour, Wilson had a panic attack, which led to him collapsing in the plane's aisle sobbing. He had to return to California, where he recovered and realized that he could tour no longer. He called a meeting with the rest of the band and said, "Listen, I'm going to have to quit the touring group. But it's going to be well worth it, because I'm going to write you some good songs."
That he did! From his panic attack and inspiration from "Rubber Soul" came "Pet Sounds," one of the band's most recognized albums.
"Sloop John B"
"God Only Knows"
"Wouldn't It Be Nice"
Thanks to inspiration from the Beatles, "Pet Sounds" was entirely different than prior Beach Boys music. 
Read these two passages from Wikipedia about "God Only Knows," which includes Paul McCartney calling the tune the best song ever:
"In its list of the 100 best singles of the last 50 years, Popdose ranked 'God Only Knows' at number 1, saying: 'It is simply one of the most beautifully composed and arranged songs in the history of not just pop music, but Western music. To place 'God Only Knows' in its proper context is to compare it not just to 1966 Paul McCartney, but 1836 Frederic Chopin. English broadcaster Dominic King deemed it the most 'perfectly constructed song in pop history.'"
"McCartney has called it his favorite song of all time. In an interview with David Leaf in 1990 he stated, 'I was asked recently to give my top 10 favorite songs for a Japanese radio station [...] I didn't think long and hard on it but I popped that ['God Only Knows'] on the top of my list. It's very deep. Very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one.' Speaking again in 2007, McCartney said: 'God Only Knows' is one of the few songs that reduces me to tears every time I hear it. It's really just a love song, but it's brilliantly done. It shows the genius of Brian. I've actually performed it with him and I'm afraid to say that during the sound check I broke down. It was just too much to stand there singing this song that does my head in and to stand there singing it with Brian.' Brian responded apprehensively to McCartney's admiration of the song in the 1970s: 'Like, if "God Only Knows" is the greatest song ever written, then I'll never write anything as good again! And if I never write anything as good, then I'm finished."
I'll stop here to end Part One of this case study. Come back and I'll share the rest of the story, including the Beatles reaction to "Pet Sounds." It's an incredible response!
What are your thoughts on this story so far? Does friendly competition motivate you to be better?
If you'd like to participate in my Small Goals Commitment Challenge, you can start check out the original announcement here.
Each time you press the button, the number of total presses will increase by one as a way to show that we're all part of something bigger—a community of people reaching goals together!
Here is the link to the SparkPeople Fuel for Improvement System Overview that lists all of the current lessons and activities, as well.
In addition to pressing the challenge button, if you like posting comments, feel free to make a comment in each blog. I love seeing all the comments on the first blog with people saying, "I commit to…"  Also, feel free to post and track any of those goals to the Community Goal Feed.
Come back and push the button as many times as you'd like throughout the day to re-affirm your commitment. All you need to do is refresh the page and the button will also refresh. 
I am committed to these goals right now:
  1. Continuing to build this challenge. I think this could be a lot of fun and a big way to help people, so I will work on this almost every day.
  2. I'm working to build the fitness level for my kids in various ways that I'll share more about on future blogs. 
  3. A commitment to keep my 10+ fitness minutes streak going.
SparkCheers and thanks for your support!

Chris "SparkGuy"

This is Part One of a two-part series. To read Part Two, click here