Tag Archives: music

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.


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”


Tomorrow

At a friend’s party not too long ago, I met the dude Jay Humble. We got to chatting and found that we were both huge hip-hop heads and beat junkies with similar styles and taste in music. I recommend you click on that name and give his music a listen.

While browsing on Facebook one day, I noticed Jay had posted a link to a mixtape by Mike Be called “..From DAT to This..” I got to listening and loved the vibe of the mixtape. Classic hip-hop, beats and chops. One track stood out for me called “Excuse Me.”

“I know today ain’t what it should be, but we can change what tomorrow will bring. Fast pace cause the waste is a horrible thing, excuse me while I follow my dreams.”

Think about that line. Everyone has their own dreams and goals. Unfortunately, everyone also has their own problems and has to face the reality that’s given to them. It takes understanding that you’re not alone when you face some hardship to get you through it. Everyone is going through the same struggle, and for most of us, we’re not totally happy with some aspect of our lives. The best way to deal with that is to focus on the things you can change and do something about it.

Today paints a picture of everything you’ve done in the past. If there are certain aspects of your life you’re not necessarily happy with, there may have been something different you could have done that would have made today a bit different. If you’re still at a job you’re not happy with, you could have worked a bit harder to move to a position you would like, or you could have put in some effort searching for a new job. If you’re not in an ideal physical or mental shape, you probably could have found some time to hit the gym or read a bit more to get you to that place you want to be.

Tomorrow paints a picture of where you want to be, a picture of those dreams and goals. “We can change what tomorrow will bring” so stay hungry and shift to “fast pace cause the waste is a horrible thing.” Follow your dreams and paint the picture that you will look back on and be proud of.

tomorrow


Honesty

I’ve found that one of the most important traits of highly successful people is honesty. Honesty in every facet of your life, whether it be personal relationships, work relationships or the relationship with yourself.

It all starts with the relationship you have with yourself. In order to find happiness in life, you have to be honest. Be honest about what makes you happy and who makes you happy. Never live your life according to what other people tell you because at the end of the day, you’re the one that has to deal with the situation. Try and weed out the things in your life that don’t truly make you happy. Once you can be honest with yourself, the rest will fall into place.

The boys at Jamla know what’s up…

Sean Boog – “One, Two, Three”

“I’m on my for real, like ’til I hold a mil, I don’t tell em what they wanna hear, I tell em what I feel.”


Back When

Alpha.

Genesis.

Beginning.

A clean slate.

Endless possibilities.

The start of something is always exciting. It could be anything from a new hobby to a new job to a new relationship. If you’re an artist, it may be a new song, new photograph or new painting. Any way you look at it, the start represents a whole new beginning. The past can be overlooked, the present is in focus and the future is bright.

Witnessing the creation of art or hearing the story of how a particular artist got their start is something I’ve always found motivating and inspiring. There’s something about hearing artists tell their story that makes me feel like I have the chance to do something important, regardless of where I am in my own life.

Look to different art forms as possibilities for you to start your own life, your own journey. Listen to a song and realize that an artist telling their story might as well represent you telling yours. Look to a photograph and see a sunrise as the sun rising on the next chapter of your life.

As it’s said in Nas’s “Back When,” “They love to hear the story how it all got started.” Tell the world your story.


Simplicity

Keep it simple.

It seems like something so obvious that it just can’t be right, but experience has shown me time and again that it’s true. Take a look at any part of your life and you’ll find some good examples of this advice coming into play.

Family.

When it comes to family, one of the worst things you can do is to complicate things by over-thinking meaningless problems. I’m sure you’ve seen many times when fights have somehow seemed to manifest themselves out of nowhere. Things can turn from nothing into something major pretty quickly. The next time you have a little squabble with a family member, or you see others you love squabbling over something silly, take a step back. Take a deep breathe and think about all the time and energy being wasted when there’s a good chance it means nothing in the whole scheme of things. Keep things simple and realize that at the end of the day, family is one of the most important parts of your life. They’re there to love and support you, so don’t waste that valuable asset on something meaningless.

Work.

Many careers require you to think deeply and spend a great deal of time preparing spreadsheets, presentations or documentation. I would never advise against any of this, but be sure to use your time wisely. Many times I’ve found myself wasting hours and hours thinking about a possible solution to a problem while the answer was staring right at me the whole time. It’s natural to think that some problems must have a complicated solution or else they would have been solved already, but I’ve learned that this usually isn’t the case. All it takes is some clear thinking to realize that the problem you’re dealing with isn’t as big as it seemed at first. Keep things simple, break down the problem at hand and apply some logic to resolve it. People will take notice and soon you’ll start to hear, “Oh that was easy, I should have thought of that!”

Creativity.

Different people are interested in different types of art. Some like the more complicated and really deep types of music, literature and photography. I’m sure a music theorist and fan of classical would argue with a fan of hip-hop all day about what constitutes music and how something more complex is simply just better than something more simple. It really comes down to taste with art and what people can feel a connection with. Personally, I’ve always gravitated to the simpler forms of art. I can appreciate all forms, but I can really understand and feel a simple kick and snare with a chopped sample. Too many synthesized noises or layers upon layers of instruments and I’m lost. Not to say there is anything wrong with more complex forms, but when it comes to art, I’d always use the same advice, keep it simple and people will be feeling it. If you hit a drought of creativity, keep it simple. Go back to your roots and you’ll always find that inspiration and creativity coming back when you need them most.

In his jam “Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice),” Kendrick Lamar puts it oh so eloquently…”Some rappers using big words to make their similes heard, my simplest shit be more pivotal.”


Equal and Opposite

Up. Down.

Left. Right.

Good. Bad.

Yin. Yang.

As Newton’s law of motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When discussing this law, it is usually in the realm of physics. It means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the force on the first object equals the size of the force on the second, but in an opposite direction. These forces always come in pairs – equal and opposite.

Try thinking about this law in your approach to life. There is always another way of looking at things, a yin to the yang. When you come across a problem tomorrow at work, think of it as a solution to another problem…you’ve been looking for a way to move forward in your job but can’t seem to get a leg up on the competition. There may be a few co-workers that are a bit more experienced but you really feel like you can handle that next step. Use tomorrow’s problem as a solution to this. This problem may be something difficult that will take a great amount of time and effort to figure out, but doing so will put you exactly where you want to be, in your eyes and your boss’s.

Take a step back. Look at things in a different light. How can something negative be taken as the opposite? Think long enough and you’ll find a positive out of every negative. It may seem like the whole world is going up in flames at times, but out of the hottest fire comes the strongest steel.


Time Signature Living

If I had to describe my lifestyle and overall approach to life in a time signature, it would be 4/4. For those that aren’t big on music theory, a time signature basically tells you how music is counted. The top 4 tells you how many beats to count and the bottom 4 tells you what kind of note to count, whether it’s a whole note, half note, quarter note, etc. In this case, 4 refers to a quarter note. Ok, boring, but what this boils down to is the simplest and most straightforward time signature.

I always find myself enjoying songs that have a relatively simple beat and fill the spaces in between with a little more flavor. Like 4/4, I’d say my life is pretty consistent, somewhat normal and has a general feeling of completeness to it. Some try to do too much and some do too little, but living a 4/4 lifestyle feels just right. It allows for a nice mix of family, friends, work, hobbies, relaxation and anything else you may be in to.

While I feel like this is a great general approach to living, too much of anything is never a good thing. In order to remain hungry in life, keep things interesting. Never let yourself fall into a pattern, any pattern. Get up, go to work, come home, relax…great. Tomorrow, do something different. Set goals at work. Plan a dinner with a loved one. Go to the gym…anything. Just remember to keep your life interesting no matter how simple your time signature may be.

“Modern Man” by Arcade Fire is a fantastic song that has a different feel to it because of a funky time signature. Like this song, keep your life interesting by changing your “time signature”. While 4/4 may be a great way to stay consistent and keep things on an even keel, consistency leads to boredom. Change with the times, always keep learning and apply that to your life.