This is my world, this is my arena
The TV told me something different I didn’t believe it
I stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential
And I know that one day I’mma be him
Put the gloves on, sparring with my ego
Everyone’s greatest Escitaloden
Celebrate that achievement
Got some attachments, some baggage I’m actually working on leaving
See, I observed Escher
I love Basquiat
I watched Keith Harring
You see I study art
The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint
The greats were great cause they paint a lot
I will not be a statistic
Just let me be
No child left behind, that’s the american scheme
I make my living off of words
And do what I love for work
And got around 980 on my SATs
Take that system, what did you expect?
Generation of kids choosing love over a desk
Put those hours in and look at what you get
Nothing that you can hold, but everything that it is
~ Macklemore, Ten Thousand Hours (The Heist)
Ten thousand hours. The amount of hours it takes to master a craft, Malcolm Gladwell.
Repeat eighteen times. The amount of repetitions it takes to commit something to memory, ?uestlove.
Quality of person. This is what creates a superstar, Marsha Gray.
I, by no means am a superstar, but I do dedicate tireless hours to this writing craft and repetition is what creates perfection. I admit to not being a superstar, but I do consider myself the quality of person that doesn’t need to feel validated by anyone. I don’t need to be validated by a job. It takes patience and a certain type of psychology to succeed. In that downtime, you can begin to feel unaccomplished and if you focus on feeling unaccomplished, you will be unaccomplished.
I took a break writing this piece to play Bingo with my four-year old niece. She loves playing, but has some difficulty finding the numbers over fifteen. I stare into her eyes, while she concentrates on the numbers. She’s looking directly at B-25 with her marker, but cannot find it for the life of her. I patiently talk her through it. The fact she doesn’t get it, but tries her damnedest with total disregard for how long it’s taking is what makes me proudest of her. This is what I mean by being the quality of person who isn’t validated by others. Her mom comes home, she prepares to go bowling and tells me we’ll play again.
What quality of person are you? I’ve heard people say that talent can’t be taught and that may very well be true. More importantly than talent, drive cannot be taught. You can have all the talent in the world, but if it’s wasted. What’s the point? I watched a Robin Thicke interview from the Hour and he made an interesting point. He says, “when I was sixteen, I recorded this album and it wasn’t that good. It was like a B – album and I didn’t want to put it out. I said ‘gimme some time, let me work on it.’ Three or four years later, I’m just sitting on the couch and I’m writing songs for everyone else who’s on TV and I realized it was fear that was holding me back and that’s not a good enough reason to not take a chance.” (The Hour)
Drive is what makes an ordinary person extraordinary. When I read ‘How to win friends and Influence people’, I learned that Henry Ford was not the most talented man in his field. He wasn’t even in the top-tier, but he used drive and vision. He surrounded himself with people smarter than himself and listened humbly to their opinions. If I could have a round table meeting with all the people I consider great, talent wouldn’t matter either. Your drive is what propels you forward in the face of adversity.
When the Toronto Sun article highlighted my passion and life mission, I was beginning to think I had changed. I am serving. Money is great and once again, I thought I had been idling in that “comfortable parking spot”. There’s this quote I like to hang in my head, “the road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spots.”(Rogers). This is a cautionary tale, perhaps I did become too lax in my approach. Maybe I lost a step or two. Who knows? My trip to Montreal shone the high beams on the direction I need to travel. You know how they say, everything happens for a reason. Now, of all the times in my life, I feel like that statement is completely warranted (more on this in the coming months). By sifting through what I don’t like, I’ve discovered the nuggets that I do.
It’s been taking me a painstakingly long time to read ‘the 48 Laws of Power’ (Greene), mostly due to the fact that it reads like a text-book. I’m learning a lot about myself through the lessons presented in this book. When people inquire what it’s about, a description is difficult to articulate because it encompasses so much. I recommend this book to everyone, even if some of the principles don’t speak to you. Of particular interest for me thus far is,
Law 28: Enter action with boldness
If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honours the timid. (48 Laws of Power)
Law 29: Plan all the way to the end.
The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead. (48 Laws of Power)
The former law speaks directly to taking the initiative and learning through trial & error. ”If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done” (Bruce Lee). Patience is a balanced virtue with a little boldness. There’s a place for both, it’s on you to decide which situation speaks to which.
I cannot predict the future and if you’re not a fortune-teller (a profession I don’t subscribe to), you can’t either. Planning for contingencies is simply that, planning. “Fail to plan, you plan to fail” (Poppa Carpe Diem). I try to plan in advance, sometimes with cloudy to no direction. That’s the boldness in me. Careful strategic planning is sometimes necessary to foresee possible pitfalls. It speaks to my chess days, try to think as many moves ahead of your opponent as possible.
The quality of person you are is directly linked to everything I’ve spoken about here, drive, compassion, boldness, foresight and talent. Use a variation of each and you’ll be fine in any endeavour you chose to follow. We were meant to be bold, well, some of us were. If my message today didn’t cover everything, here’s a pep talk from someone in the know. Enjoy. Happy Media Week.
Carpe Diem Que