I’m a hip-hop fan and one of my favorite artists is Kanye West. In his 2007 album Graduation, Kanye has a beautiful song “Everything I Am.” In fact, it’s playing in my headphones right now.
In the first verse, Kanye explains how he’s different:
“I’ll never be picture-perfect Beyonce
Be as light as Albi or as black as Chauncey
Remember him from Blackstreet
He was black as the street was
I’ll never be as laid back as this beat was”
“I never rock a mink coat in the wintertime like Killa Cam
Or rock some mink boots in the summertime like Will.I.Am
Let me know if you feel it, man
Cause everything I’m not made me everything I am”
That’s honesty. That’s authenticity. No, it’s self-awareness.
The type of self-awareness that comes only from time, from doing the deep work and really figuring out who you are.
The self-awareness that has allowed Kanye to ignore what the crowd is doing and continually be on the edge of innovation in music for nearly two decades.
I’ve been noticing myself coming to the same conclusions more frequently recently.
I’m not the guy that goes out to drink 12 beers anymore. I’m not the guy that floats by without giving a fuck. I’m not the guy that runs with a big crew.
But knowing this, as West puts it, “made me everything I am.”
It means I’ve learned to say no. It means I’ve taken a few leaps in life. It means I’m so hungry that I’m spending my Halloween night writing this newsletter for you.
Take a second to think about that this week.
Who do you choose not to be, so you can be… you?
Let’s make it a great week!
Here are the 6 things to check out this week:
- If I had a dollar for every person who claims they know the secret to success. That’s why I loved billionaire Charlie Munger’s advice on avoiding misery. I wrote about it this week.
- This isn’t new but it’s a great story of a former athlete that stopped a school shooting. This all came from his wise mother’s advice: “you are where you’re supposed to be.”
- Maria Popova puts out hands-down one of the best newsletters on the web, Brain Pickings, especially if you’re interested in arts and deep learning. It’s Brain Picking’s 13th birthday and she gave 13 life-lessons from the journey.
- Derek Sivers on how to get rich: It’s not how much you have. It’s the difference between what you have and what you spend.”
- Seth Godin reminds us that “The real question might not be ‘what do you want,’ it might be, ‘what do you care enough to compromise for?”
- This November, I’m trying a new challenge. Inspired by this list, I’m going to do 1 action each day this month to boost someone else. Join me and make this the best god damn month of the year.
Quote of the Week
“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”
– Herbert Bayard Swope