Category Archives: Music

Trophies

“Society today won’t do anything unless there is an award involved or some kind of reward. They don’t want to make music unless they are going to get a million dollars or they are going to get a bunch of girls or gold chain or car…something that basically tells other people that they did something. People don’t just do it because they love it.”

– Apollo Brown via kevinnottingham.com

Live your life for you.

Not for others.

Trophies.

trophies

O.C. & Apollo Brown.

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Provoke Thought

Sometimes, your thoughts and emotions are going to flow naturally. If you’re a creative type, you’ll be able to write a story, take a picture or compose a song with little effort. Other times, it’s going to feel like it’s impossible and you’ll never be able to successfully create something full of emotion again. From what I’ve experienced, this unfortunately happens all too frequently.

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This is something that happens not only when you’re creating art but also in many other aspects of your life, whether it’s performing well at your job, maintaining your health or loving someone special. Some days are naturally going to be easier than others. You’ll wake up ready to go and everything will seem to go your way. On these days you’ll wonder why you ever struggle…and then it happens again.

On the tough days it’s important to remind yourself that struggling is a natural part of life. It’s those that are able to make a conscious decision to work through this struggle that are ultimately able to find success. If your spouse is just getting under your skin, start by taking a deep breath and realizing you’re in control. Realize how important this person is to you and make a conscious decision to love. Be open and honest about what may be bothering you and simply say “I love you.”

If you’re having a tough day at work, start by taking a deep breath and realizing you’re in control. You may not be in control of everything at work, in fact there may be very few things you are in control of. But most importantly, one thing you are in control of is yourself and your reactions to the things happening around. Don’t let something out of your control get under your skin. Focus on what you can control and do that the best you possibly can. Soon, you’ll find that the other things that were bothering you naturally fade away and improve due to your positive actions.

thought-leadership-crap

Whatever the case may be, you’re going to have good days and bad days. On the bad days, take a step back and find something that helps you provoke thought, regain control and right the ship. One thing that works in my life is music. Music can alter feelings and emotions almost immediately. A few beats below are some of my favorites to throw on to just get me thinking. Thinking about what’s going wrong, thinking about what’s going right…just thinking. Find what works for you and use that to gain control of your life and your happiness, especially on those tough days we all have.

J Dilla – “Feel The Beat”

DJ Premier – “B-Line”


Always a Way

It is never a question of whether you can do something or not. The real question is how bad do you want it?

There are countless stories of people from every walk of life beating the odds and accomplishing something that no one, probably even themselves at times, thought they could accomplish. From cancer survivors to successful entrepreneurs to professional athletes, there are qualities that remain consistent.

Drive.

Determination.

A willingness to sacrifice.

A willingness to work hard.

These, of course, are only a few. A quick study or observance of anyone whom you find to be successful in life will easily reveal what’s necessary to become successful. Watch the actions of someone at work. Listen to a parent. Talk to a friend. Lessons can come from anywhere. Use these lessons to help you realize that anything is possible.

Never grow accustomed to losing and remember that if you “want something bad enough [you’ll] always find a way to get through.” – The Stones

Also check out Tim Ferriss’s blog. I recently found Tim’s blog and podcast and discovered that his approach is similar to the thoughts presented in this post. In his book, Tools of Titans, he discusses the different traits that have led to success in a wide array of industries and professions.

Never stop looking for the next lesson and those that have found success in life are a great source for it.


Comfort Zone

 

Chess Life

One of the hardest things to do in life is to step outside your comfort zone. We all like to be around people that we know well and do things that we’re very comfortable with. Being comfortable is a great feeling and one that you should be sure to enjoy when you have it. If we never stray from always seeking comfort, however, our growth will stagnate and over time, you will be less likely to accept new challenges. You will find yourself being comfortable, but never reaching your true potential. For some that is OK…for others, that is not an easy truth to accept. I tend to fall in the latter group.

Take time to reflect on your life and what you’ve accomplished to this point. Is that enough for you? Do you think you can achieve more? If you think you can, then you can. One way to start down the path of continued growth is to find ways of taking yourself out of your comfort zone. Seek new challenges at work and in your personal life. Doing new things will surely bring about fear, anxiety and a general feeling of being uncomfortable. As you learn more about these new experiences, however ,you will find that there is nothing to be afraid of. Knowledge overcomes fear and will lead to strength. In time, you will look back and be grateful that you accepted new challenges. You will realize that stepping out of your comfort zone has made you a stronger person, one that has overcome fear and replaced it with an excitement for becoming a better person in life.

“By deliberately putting yourself in situations where you have to face fear, you familiarize yourself with it and your anxiety grows less acute. The sensation of overcoming a deep-rooted fear in turn gives you confidence and presence of mind. The more conflicts and difficult situations you put yourself through, the more battle-tested your mind will be.” (Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War)

Ain’t nobody been where I’ve been…

They’re at a standstill…

I know that I ain’t got much time here…

Nas – “Let There Be Light”

 


Between the Pages

At one time or another, we have all felt lost.

The origins of stress in this world are countless. Personal struggles, tough relationships, career paths, illness…these only begin the list. We sometimes feel that we have to take on the world alone. In a sense, this is true. With everyone in this world dealing with their own set of problems, it is on you to deal with yours. To do this, attempt to reflect on your own life. Identify and break down each of the origins of stress to gain a better understanding of them. Continue what has worked in the past and change what has not. There is a reason some things do not work out in your life and it’s important to accept them and move on with your life. 

You cannot remain dwelling on endless games.

As you begin to understand more, unanswered and sometimes daunting questions will soon be answered. The lesson will be learned and over time, the student will become the teacher. Stress will begin to wane as you discover the true meaning behind the happenings in your life. This sometimes takes looking at your life from another perspective. Ask questions. Look beyond the things you see everyday.

You can find the world written between the pages.

Soon, you will realize that all along it was you that was able to break down your life into manageable pieces, understand the origins of your stress, become hungry for more wisdom and live a positive life. 

Ryan Egan – “Between the Pages”


Break The Law

It’s so easy to get used to what we do everyday, to get used to a routine.

Wake up.

Get ready. Commute. Work. Commute. Eat. Relax.

Go to sleep.

Repeat.

Sometimes we need to push ourselves to do something out of the norm, something that’s out of our daily routine. After you wake up, go out for a run before you get ready for work. Write down some thoughts that come to you while you’re working out. What I’ve found is that this is usually when I do my best thinking. The mind is fresh and it hasn’t yet been polluted with the stresses of the day. It may lead you to thinking more about your life and the lives of the people you love.

Are you really treating yourself and others the way you want to? 

It’s doing different things, maybe things that are typically out of your comfort zone, that start to provoke thinking differently. Maybe the situation I mentioned above is something you do everyday anyway, maybe it’s something you never do. What you should really start to think about is how you approach life and the things you find yourself doing all the time. Growth comes from doing something new and different, and that can only start with you. Know that it’s OK to do something out of the norm and “break the law” every now and then. Not in a literal sense, of course, but you probably wouldn’t have kept reading this blog if you thought of everything in a literal sense anyway…

Mac Miller – “Break The Law”


Things Happen

As much as we’d like it to, life is never going to slow down. It seems as though life even tends to speed up the older we get. When we’re children, responsibilities are typically limited. Of course, this can be drastically different for some, but the only real worry for a lot of children is finding the next game to play and having fun. I can remember the school days and years moving by a bit slower then than they do now.

As we grow older, the responsibilities start to pile up. We go to school and take jobs to better ourselves and provide for our families. We enter new relationships and start families of our own. We exercise and have hobbies to express our creative side and help us relax. We have good days and bad. Sometimes the stress starts to creep in and an overwhelming feeling of pressure develops, affecting not only us but our loved ones around us. We regret things and tell ourselves we will change. Whether we actually do or not depends on how dedicated we are to really changing our lives and the ways we react to the things that happen to us.

At the end of the day, this is life. Life is made up of these “things,” with our reactions to these “things” determining how successful we will be. You’re not alone because plenty of people out there are going through something very similar, although that seems hard to imagine sometimes. Someone out there is going through something similar and is struggling with it, just as you may be. Someone out there is also going through something similar, but has accepted and made their peace with it, and is moving on with a positive attitude to the next “thing” in their life. It’s important to remember that the stress we feel every so often, or even everyday, is something that everyone else in the world is feeling as well. In order to succeed and live a happy life, being able to accept our “things” and find peace is essential.

Clearly, this blog is a vessel used to do just this. For you, it may be going for a walk with your dog. It may be reading or writing. It can be anything, but it must be something you find yourself. Thinking about the “things” going on in  your life and how you’ve dealt with them is step one on a long journey.

Dawes – “Things Happen”


Discipline

Life is filled with distractions and excuses.

Before going to bed at night, you tell yourself you’re going to get in a workout at the gym before going to work the following morning. When you wake up, the snooze button on your alarm looks so tempting and you tell yourself a few more minutes and then you’ll get up. After waking up to the second alarm, you remember the nightly news said it would be quite a chilly morning and to watch out for snow and ice. One more snooze couldn’t hurt. Finally, you realize you’ll be late for work if you don’t get up now and you mosey on to the shower…that whole workout idea just wasn’t meant to be…

Upon your arrival to work, the first thing you see is a stack of papers on your desk and the “to do” notes you left for yourself from a lazy Friday. Today is definitely the day you get yourself caught up, but rather than digging in, you decide to log into your personal email and have a quick chat session with some friends that happen to be online. After this, it’s off to the kitchen to brew up some coffee and make your breakfast. On your way to and from the kitchen, there of course is some small talk with your colleagues. Once you finish up your breakfast and realize your a few minutes late for your first meeting of the day. Next, it’s lunch time. Then running out for a quick errand. One more meeting for the day…getting to all you said you would just wasn’t meant to be…

With your day just about complete, it’s finally time for the hobby you’ve been telling yourself you’d get back into to keep your mind on point and attempt to earn some extra cash on the side. Right after dinner, of course. But wait, the newest episode of your favorite show is on tv tonight! You can’t miss it…getting back to that hobby just wasn’t meant to be…but tomorrow is the perfect day!

I do these same things all the time, but have tried to realize that without focus and discipline, nothing will ever get done. Discipline is essential for success and without it, you will not continue to grow and better your life and the lives of those around you. Train yourself.

People here’s something that you should be considerin’

Things could turn bitter when you don’t use discipline

You might wake up the next day upset and in fear

Buggin out, yappin’ bout “How the f!@# did I get here?”

Gang Starr – “Discipline”


Be Easy

Life is filled with ups and downs, better times and harder times, good and bad everything. No one has it easy all the time and it is those who decide not to let the struggle get to them that come out on top in the end. Of course, some are dealt a much harder hand than others, but the proper tools are available to guide you to where you want to be regardless of where you come from.

Sometimes what is needed may be found in a book of philosophy. I’m currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about character, acceptance, focus and control…Sometimes what is needed may be found in the success stories of others who have gone through a similar struggle. It’s always helpful when you can learn about and relate to someone and what they’ve overcome in their lives…and sometimes what is needed may be found in the lyrics or music of a song. As is evident by the posts on this page, I commonly find inspiration and lessons in various types on music and I suggest listening to music a bit deeper to see if there are any lessons you may be able to take for yourself and apply to your own life.

I heard a song called “Be Easy” by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings the other day and it got me thinking. First of all, I love Sharon Jones and the classic soul vibe her and her band provide so it’s just a good, relaxing listen. The title of this particular song made me think of how important it is in life to “be easy” and not let any one thing affect you and your livelihood too much. Face it, you are going to go through rough times and things are not always going to go your way. You will be stressed at work. You will fight with a loved one. You will do some things that you will immediately regret.

Fortunately, for all of us, these things are just part of life. The downs that come with the ups. They are not things that happen only to you because the world hates you. Once you realize life is going to happen regardless of what you do, it will be easier to accept the fact that you can’t control everything. Control what you can, what is inside of you, and accept the rest as it is. Be the best person you can be – hard working, loving, respectful – and let everything else go. If you can do this, you should start to find that happiness you’ve been looking for. Realize that life will happen as it should and all you can do is be easy

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – “Be Easy”


Respiration

As you grow older, priorities and responsibilities naturally grow as well. A natural progression leads to our priorities changing from things like what toy to ask for at Christmas time, to what school you want to attend, to whether or not to take your relationship to the next level, to worrying about making a deadline at work.

While all of this is going on, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in the day to day grind and forget to breathe. When things get a bit too hectic, take a step back and take a few minutes for yourself. A mid-day walk, moment of silence or throwing your headphones on to escape to your favorite song can help you find your focus again.

It’s easy to let the little things pile up to become something unmanageable but before that happens, remember to breathe. You can handle any situation thrown at you one step at a time.

Black Star ft. Common – “Respiration”