2019 / June

‘Cause I started out with nothing and I’ve still got most of it left.

Started out with Nothing by Seasick Steve

Photo by Danijel Durkovic on Unsplash

What are the things which concern you most in life? In a society where we have much, much of our energy and time is spent maintaining what we have. Yet the lyrics of this week’s song suggest a very different approach. This week we will be considering the lyrics of I Started out with Nothin’ from Seasick Steve’s album I Started out with Nothin’ and I Still got most of it Left.

The song is a reminder that life itself is not dependent on our possessions or positions. The chorus provides an easily remembered moto ‘cause I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left. We are born in to the world with nothing and will depart with nothing. Whatever possessions we have in between are transitory. The song expounds this ideology.

First; I can’t lose what I never had. You can’t take what I ain’t got. When our focus shifts on to our real and most valuable possession not being a material possession we begin to realise this is something that can’t be taken by others and can’t be mistakenly lost. We will always be ourselves, although there are times when we might forget this, and just how valuable being ourselves is.

In our society we tend to spend a lot of time, money and effort on protecting our possessions. It’s not that this is wholly wrong but it’s just that our material possessions are not the most important thing we possess, and when we do become focused on this, much of the focus of our life becomes misplaced.

This leads to a significant conclusion in the song: When I’m happy, you won’t make me sad. Depending on you all, well I’m not. Our wellbeing is not only not dependent on our material possessions, it’s also not dependent on other people. We can learn to become sufficient in validating ourselves knowing we are uniquely ourselves, not dependent on the praise of others or the valuing of self through material wealth:

When I’m down I just get up. When I’m down well I stand up. Been down many times well you know it’s true. Haven’t had a red dime between me and you.

Yet it’s not that this perspective will mean we will never face challenges again. It’s simply that a perspective which focuses on the real value of human life isn’t dependent on external motivators to help us be resilient: And if all fell apart today, I could just walk, get on down the street.

The reality in most situations we face is perfectly presented in Seasick Steve’s attitude that; I ain’t worried where I’m going to sleep. I can always find some food to eat. Rather than worrying, grasping and protecting, it is an attitude which speaks of hope, adventure and welcoming the uncertainty of the future with a security that we will always find provision for our most essential of needs.

Don’t feel like you have still got most of it left? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood of Realign Coaching via Keia.


Exploring and co-creating #wellbeing4all and community theology with individuals, businesses and communities. For the many, not the few.