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“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

This profound quote has often been attributed to either Mark Twain or Satchel Paige.

For those of us who dance, there is perhaps nothing more liberating than to dance our hearts out as if nobody was watching. The mirrors, the teachers, the fellow dancers/dance students and the audience—all these prying eyes could take away the spontaneity from the act of dancing. It is thus a refreshing feeling to be able to dance for the pure joy of it—regardless of the rules and aesthetics—just like a kid would.

I only recently realized that the origin of this quote is neither Mark Twain nor Satchel Paige. It is a song from the 80s called “Come from the Heart.” The lyrics were written by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh.

You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money
Love like you’ll never get hurt
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.

The true meaning behind these lyrics is that for our artistic work and love to flourish, we’ve got to live from an intuitive and inspired plane. Whatever we do, we’ll succeed if we do it from the heart and not for any extrinsic motives.

If you’d like to read more about how these lyrics evolved into today’s quote and how the original writers were forgotten, check out this article on Quote Investigator.

Here is the original song “Come from the Heart.” Enjoy!

(Originally published on my other blog: http://balletomanehk.com)