I’ve been reading a ton of good books lately, and to document this while also giving your brain some valuable tl;dr’s, I present my Top Two Book Takeaways series in which I will attempt to boil down the top two takeaways from the books I read.
I just read The 50th Law by Robert Greene (one of my favorite authors), who documents the meteoric rise of the famous rapper and business man 50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson. He’s a household name, and you’ve probably danced to his music or drank his Vitamin water while you were drunk or hungover. The fame and riches didn’t come without a price, which he paid in a dramatic way. With that, I present my top two takeaways of the book. Enjoy.
Bad Things Will Happen. Face, Embrace, Love them
Some people catch a common cold. Some people get laid off their job. Some people get cancer. Some people get shot by a gun 9 times, once in the head. Whatever it is, living through it is step one, but step two is turning it into extreme positive energy, which few do. First: accept, then embrace your condition; let yourself hit rock-bottom. From that place, you can only go up. Use it to propel yourself. Crawl out of the hole and start living like you’ve never lived before.
50 Cent was shot 9 times by an assassin days before the release his first album. Then, out of fear, the record label he was with dropped him because of the incident. With no record deal and lots of bullet wounds to recover from, you’d expect him to be broken, despite surviving. Quite the opposite. He led himself to believe he was now truly poised for his meteoric rise. He accepted that this was an opportunity; a sign that he could overcome anything, and yet at the same time had nothing to lose. He stayed out of the limelight for safety and quietly began to learn the music business inside out, working for the record label, learning on their dime. He hired a ‘gang’ of folks to promote his new street-distributed label on the streets. He worked tirelessly; he had nothing to lose except for the passing days of his life. All that mattered now was power, and making the most of it. He knew that signing with another big label would sap his power and wouldn’t give him the true creative space that spoke to his dark, gangster story. When he learned all the tricks of the trade and his music shattered the norm, he was then picked up by Eminem, and he rose to power.
If it weren’t for facing, embracing and loving the reality of his huge setback, he would have withered. The next time something bad happens to you, make the most of it. See it as an opportunity so you can use it as a slingshot to propel you forward. 50 argues that worse it is, the better it can propel you.
The Road is Boring. Teach Yourself to Love It
50 Cent wasn’t successful overnight. He had many setbacks, one of which you learned of above. He started out in life as a hustler on the streets, selling drugs because that’s all he knew. He then turned to music to get himself into a safer, more rewarding career, and then became a business man, aligning with brands such as Vitamin water. All of this took time and patience, not luck. A true hustler lets herself slow down and listen to the reality of becoming great. 50 became a good listener and realized that when he was paying his dues, whether it was apprenticing for a hustler on the streets or working late hours reviewing record deals at the very record label who dropped him, he was learning the business. While these hours didn’t pay him very well in money, they paid him dividends in skills, which he could then use to build his own empire.
When you’re choosing your next job or project, don’t look for short term gains or get-rich quick schemes. You’ll only shoot yourself in the foot. The bills will get paid, however if you want true freedom, you must choose on the basis of skills and people who can get you ahead in a leveraged way, so you can build your own empire. Build a strong foundation, so that when an earthquake comes, the scaffolding you’ve built will hold strong, while others’ fall. It won’t come quickly, and that’s why most fail; we live in a world of distractions and quick-fixes. We’re eluded. The ultimate successful man or woman understands this and teaches their mind patience and the exponential benefits that come with delayed gratification.
Did you like these top two takeaways? Have you used them already or do you plan to? Let me know what you think in the comments.