10 Quotes from Iggy Pop That Will Transform Your Perspective on Life
Nuggets of wisdom from 74 crazy years of living authentically.
They call him the Godfather of Punk.
Iggy Pop, born James Newell Osterberg Jr., is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor.
He hails from just outside of Detroit, Michigan where he witnessed the 1967 race riots and survived heroin addiction all while creating the raw sound of proto-punk in the early years of his career.
Best known for his music with the band The Stooges as well as collaboration with David Bowie on two albums, he popularized the stage dive and other outrageous stage antics, including exposing himself to the crowd and smearing peanut butter all over his bare chest and body.
It’s all about the music and the show for Iggy. He’s rocked out for over 50 years and continues to write lyrics, create music, and play live as well as act.
“They say that death kills you, but death doesn’t kill you. Boredom and indifference kill you.”
Death is inevitable for all of us. But that just means our time is limited to an uncertain number of years. So we need to follow our passions, be actively creating whatever we desire, and care about what we say and do.
Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel believed indifference to be the epitome of evil and consequently more dangerous for humanity than hate.
It’s impossible to find joy if you’re resolved to feel indifferent about everything. Without caring about something, you’ll never find passion, adventure, or fun. Your journey is limited to an unknown number of days. Live fully and experience joy while you can.
“I’ll love you when my eyes are open, I’ll love you when my eyes are gone.”
Iggy was evidently in love when he said this. He reminds us how all-consuming love can be.
Whether Iggy is referring to old age and blindness or death itself, doesn’t really matter. True love for another human being lasts beyond both.
Love is something to hold on to. Finding a love that lasts forever may not be easy, but if you’re lucky enough to find it hold on fiercely.
“The more walking-around money I have, the less I walk around.”
Being middle-aged this quote made me grin. It’s interesting to think how not just our priorities change over time, but our wants and desires as well.
In my early twenties and thirties, I remember focusing much of my time chasing fun and sometimes experimenting with wild behaviors. But as I’ve aged the things that bring me joy now are very different. I enjoy my quiet mornings and no longer require sleeping through them due to being out so late the night before.
Age makes many of us wiser. And with wisdom comes contentment and joy for those things that money can’t buy — love, family, friends, joy, experience.
“Miami is nothing like me, and that’s why I need to be here — it’s the opposite. I’m practical, where this place is moody. I’m stolid in my interior, where this place has a certain flair. And I’m materialistic in a sense that this place is fundamentally spiritual — there’s a quicksilver quality about this place.”
The best way to understand ourselves is to be challenged in life. My reactions and responses speak volumes to others as well as myself. I’ve learned more about my own character, beliefs, and attitude when facing crisis or confrontation than the days when everything comes easy.
We need to learn who we are and strive to surround ourselves in a bit of the opposite environment. It’s a balance we need to achieve in order to get the best out of the one life we have.
When we live within balance we find the answers to questions we have as well as discover new ones to keep our curiosity piqued regarding our future. Only when we have balance do we find joy and contentment in our lives.
By exposing ourselves to different people, opinions, experiences, and environments we learn more about our own thoughts, desires, and feelings. This brings balance to our lives.
“I’m not ashamed to dress ‘like a woman’ because I don’t think it’s shameful to be a woman.”
This is the quote that started me on my quest to learning more about Iggy Pop. Being a cisgender woman raising a transgender son, I love the bold message Iggy was putting out there for the entire world to read.
I’ve struggled in the past to understand how to best support my son’s gender expression. I had a difficult time wrapping my head around why he’d want to wear dresses or other feminine clothing when he’s fought so hard to live as a transgender man. I’ve since learned the difference between gender identity and gender expression.
It’s obvious to me that Iggy believes women to be equally as strong and powerful as men. And although he originally stated this back in 2013, I certainly think it easily applies to today regarding all gender identities and expressions.
Clothing does not determine one’s ability, strength, intelligence, or worth in any way.
“Something I like to do a lot is just sit by water when there’s a current and just stare into the water. I don’t fish, I don’t hunt, I don’t scuba, I don’t spear, don’t boat, don’t play basketball or football — I excel at staring into space. I’m really good at that.”
We are bombarded every single day with messages, advertising, marketing, social media, news, you-name-it. Our lives are busy with productive and many unproductive things daily. It can get very overwhelming fast.
Meditative practices are a great way to unplug from the chaos of your day. Anything that gets you out of your own head and focused on simply being, is good for your mental health and well-being. Some people meditate or pray. Others go for a run or a hike, or stare into a stream.
It’s important we carve out time for ourselves — to think, to not think, to enjoy our own company.
“When I get up in the morning, I stay nude for three or four hours. If I really feel like getting formal, I’ll put on board shorts.”
Nudity is a part of life and one we shouldn’t be so quick to oppose. At least not for ourselves in our own homes.
It’s important and healthy to feel comfortable in our own skin. How many of us would walk around naked alone in our homes and feel 100% comfortable with ourselves?
Having a healthy body image of yourself isn’t always easy, especially when there’s more emphasis in the media on being thin than being healthy.
It’s much easier to feel fulfilled and happy when we’re comfortable in our own skin. I think Iggy has realized feeling content with his own nudity is a necessity of self-love.
In order to be comfortable in our lives, we need to first be comfortable in our own skin. Our personal happiness depends upon how much we love ourselves — including our naked bodies.
“Curious is a good thing to be, it seems to pay some unexpected dividends.”
Every possibility in life starts with curiosity. We can create our own opportunities as long as we’re curious about things, people, places, and experiences. We can forge our own path by deciding what excites and challenges us.
Creativity is born from curiosity. And with creativity, we can design any life we choose.
“As society has changed, what had formerly been unacceptable has become colorful.”
I think any time something comes out against the status quo, many people scoff at it or refuse to accept it as it is. Fortunately, though, time is on our side. As time passes the new becomes old and becomes more easily accepted.
This quote gives me hope for all those who suffer within marginalized groups across the globe. The more we speak up for those who need it, the sooner they will be accepted for who they are.
Sometimes time is all we need to help us understand that which we find confusing at first.
“Nihilism is best done by professionals.”
Iggy obviously believes himself to be a ‘professional’ nihilist because it comes so naturally to him. He has journeyed through life living in the moment. His creative performances and endeavors prove that his in-the-moment decisions have brought him much joy and contentment.
I don’t know that I’ll ever consider myself a true nihilist, but I do believe our futures are uncertain and because of this, we need to live life to the fullest.
If we spend our entire lives searching for meaning, we’ll be missing out on experiencing life.
Whether you’re a fan of his music or not, Iggy Pop has some interesting views on life that will make you consider your own perspective on the world. He’s an individual who has lived authentically with creativity, curiosity, and self-love.
We could all benefit from some Iggy wisdom.
- Boredom and indifference kill you: Find something that matters to you and put your passion and creativity behind it.
- I’ll love you when my eyes are gone: Appreciate, cherish, and nurture real love.
- The more walking-around money I have, the less walking around I do: Age and experience grant us the wisdom to realize what’s truly important to us.
- Miami is nothing like me, and that’s why I need to be here: True balance is found in life when we’re willing to experience new and different things.
- I’m not ashamed to dress ‘like a woman’: Neither gender nor gender expression determines an individual’s value.
- I excel at staring into space: Your mental and emotional well-being is up to you so make time for yourself.
- I stay nude for three or four hours: Feeling comfortable with your own nakedness fosters self-confidence when you’re around others — with or without clothing.
- Curious is a good thing to be: Living curiously can reveal opportunities.
- What had formerly been unacceptable has become colorful: If used wisely, time will help us accept and understand new things.
- Nihilism is best done by professionals: Stop searching for your life’s meaning and start creating it by living.