For those of us who only know Michael Jackson the global legend, it may be surprising to learn that his musical genius was ever questioned. But even Mike had to weather ‘back up against the wall’ storms.

In 1978, an endearing scarecrow escapes the imprisonment of his pole and clumsily eases on down a yellow brick road to self-discovery. On screen, Michael Jackson’s iconic character would be accompanied by a motley crew of other soulful seekers in pursuit of Wiz-dom. Behind the scenes, the film’s musical maestro, Quincy Jones, decided that he was destined to help Michael complete a real life quest as well.

Michael was at a crossroads. Many doubted he’d be able to transition from the wild bubblegum success of the Jackson 5 to an adult career.

Michael felt the pressure – the skepticism had almost prevented his casting in the Wiz. But he would not be denied. His scarecrow performance would not only earn him critical acclaim and a cult following, but also confirmation that it was unwise to count him out.

Off the Wall was more than his anthem of evolution – it was a bold call-to-action for everyone listening.

The lyrics inspire us to focus on the present so that we can bridge the gap between it and our ideal reality. The next time you turn the volume up, consider them again using the following tips to Get Out of the Background and Into the Forefront of Your Life:

“When the World is on Your Shoulder, Gotta Straighten Up Your Act”

Stress destroys confidence – with precision. Managing our stressors requires a daily commitment. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to keep stress levels under control. In just two-minutes, a power pose – back straight, chin up, chest out with your hands on your hips – will induce hormonal changes that decrease stress and increase confidence.

Go ahead and strike a pose!

“Gotta Leave That 9 to 5 Up on the Shelf and Just Enjoy Yourself”

Unless you have strict boundaries, it can be difficult to shake off tensions of the daily grind. Most days can feel like a vicious circle of work, rush-hour traffic maneuvers, quick-fix dinners, sleep and, in the blink of an eye, work again.

Make the most of your evenings by learning to ‘take it down’. Adopt relaxation routines that focus on enjoying this special time of the day. Tune-out daytime unpleasantries and demands by making your evening a relaxing event to look forward to. The night time is the right time!

“You Can Shout Out All You Want to Cause There Ain’t No Sin in Folks All Getting Loud”

The tone, texture, and volume of our literal voice have a greater impact on listeners than anything we actually say. Passion, knowledge, presence, and high-energy improve our chances of making positive connections. Our confidence skyrockets when we’re perceived favorably.

Our figurative inner voice is often the loudest and most influential of the two.

Controlling how optimistic or pessimistic we are, it is imperative that we control the messages that fuel its power.   Positive inner conversations energize confident attitudes. Make sure you’re always talkin’ that good talk!

“If You Take the Chance and Do It, Then There Ain’t No One Who’s Gonna Put You Down”

Even if you’ve always held the record for best wallflower, it’s never too late to rewire your thinking. Confidence development is a free-will determination. When you decide to build it, it will come.

The capacity for confidence grows every time we take risks. As our confidence grows, the number of excursions we take out of comfort zones will also. Just do it! Again and again.

“Do What You Want to Do. There Ain’t No Rules, It’s Up to You”

Goal-setting is the equivalent of target practice.

Objectives provide undistracted direction. Once you determine desired achievements, you can take aim and conquer. A succession of bullseyes improves performance.

You are your only limit. Do it ‘til you’re satisfied!

“It’s Time to Come Alive”

Be here, right now! See the world with fresh eyes. Find something new to acknowledge in every experience – especially familiar ones. According to research, noticing is a habit that turns daily routines into adventures.

Open-mindedness and a belief in possibilities creates unique engagements with the world. Everyday has the potential to be a better day.

“Gotta Hide Your Inhibitions. Gotta Let That Fool Loose Deep Inside Your Soul”

“Self-fulfilling prophecy”

“Be the change you want to see”

“Fake it ‘til you make it.”

Yes, we’ve heard them all before, but they remain powerful affirmations. A prediction becomes a catalyst for new behaviors, attitudes, aptitudes, and prospects. The craziness and audacity of pretending breathes life into predictions. Make some come true today!

“Want to See an Exhibition Better Do It Now Before You Get Too Old”

Today will never happen again. Make it count!

Refuse to say ‘no’ to your enrichment. Taking even one step towards possibilities adds excitement to your daily routines. The quality of life you’ll experience as someone living confidently can only exist if you develop a plan and stick to it. Now.

“Life Ain’t So Bad at All If You Live It Off the Wall”

Sometimes, growth is the result of unlearning.

The journey is uncomfortable, but important enough to be worth coming undone. You belong front-and-center of your life. Everything you do to get there bulks up that courage muscle. Remember that you’ll lose it if you don’t continue to use it. No more playing small.

Don’t just stand back and watch your life become your life. Use your time on the wall to prepare for greatness. “Life ain’t so bad at all, if you live it off the wall.”

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