Inspired by Daniel Levinson’s “The Seasons of a Man’s Life”, I am working on a framework for male development with a complementing psychometric test I call “Suffering Sultans of Swing”. The beauty of the test is that the only material needed is headphones and access to the song “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits.
Before you read the rest of this post, take some minutes and test yourself by listening to the song here:
So all men out there…
Did you listen to the whole song?
Or did you turn it off before the end?
In any case, if you would tell me a) your age and b) at exactly what point you turned off the song, my “Suffering Sultans of Swing” test would reveal a lot to me about your life and its future.
The purpose of this research was to find out whether there is a correlation between a man’s happiness and his like of Dire Straits’ song “Sultans of Swing”.
In a study based on individual listening sessions in a state-of-the-art music studio in Frankfurt am Main (with a vintage German amplification system), I surveyed 300.000 men. These men, flown in from all over the world, had various cultural backgrounds and income levels, and were aged from three to 93.
The study clearly shows a correlation between male contentment and how long they managed to listen to Sultans of Swing without turning it off. I identified five phases or stages, which are clearly defined as seen in the graph below. The interesting observation is that the length a man can listen to the song changes dramatically depending on age. From the extreme 20-something who couldn’t bear the song for more than a couple of seconds, to the child, dad and deaf male, who listened to the whole song without reaching for the off-button.
Here are some comments from participants in each group, which nicely illustrates each stage.
1. HAPPY DANCING CHILD (Peak at 3 years)
2. CYNICAL 20-SOMETHING (Peak at 23 years)
“WTF! I’m outta here!”
3. DAD ROCK PHASE (Peak at 43 years)
“Genuinely one of my favourite songs..Mark is an absolute king when it comes to licks and riffs, and this song is just the epitome of coolness. The fact that he also did a version of this with Eric Clapton just blows my mind too, since they’re two of my absolute inspirations for playing/learning guitar..”
4. NOISE-HATING GRUMP (Peak at 63)
“TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF! WHAT IS THIS NOISE?“
5. DEAF AND HAPPY (Peak at 93)