“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.”
– Vince Lombardi
On Monday night, I decided to tune in to The Arsenio Hall Show. I always try my best to find time to catch the talk show legend’s entry back onto the T.V. scene. I always learn so much about charisma, effective improv and how to engage a crowd whenever I tune in. But one part of The Arsenio Hall Show that stands out to me is the interviews that he does. He’ll have heart-to-heart conversations with superstars and celebrities and it won’t sound like a ten minute advertisement. It’s uncanny!
On this particular episode, he had a quick sit down with up-and-coming R&B singer August Alsina. Before Arsenio could even announce that he was coming up next, several younger females in the audience started breaking out in high pitched screams. August came out with a wide grin and the screams intensified. And my fellow brother deserved all the love and adulation that was sent his way.
Arsenio proceeded to talk to him about his life, the changes that becoming a rising star has made on his life, his struggles and his many triumphs. But one part of their conversation really struck something within me. Arsenio made note that he had “self-made” tattooed on both sides of his face with the words “self” and “made” opposite of each other.
“You know when I got these tattoos, I’ma tell you somethin’.” August shared with Arsenio, “For me what it was, to be honest, is I know for a fact that I can’t go get no job…..at a fast food restaurant nowhere with these tattoos on my face.”
Arsenio quickly made the connection, “You trapped yourself into a path of success.”
He spouted with a grin, “Exactly!”
I was amazed!
I notice that many people make success an option. Especially the people in my age range. When are we going to realize that success is not an option, it’s the only option? Becoming great isn’t something we guess will happen to us. You have to know it, live it, breathe it and feel it. Make chasing prosperity your life’s mission! And how can you do that?
Over these past few articles, I’ve quoted laws from Robert Greene’s classic piece of literature The 48 Laws of Power. Today, however, I’m going to pull out a strategy from another Robert Greene classic called The 33 Strategies of War. A modern day rendition of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, this is another book that should be a part of every entrepreneur, artist and dreamer’s personal library.
Strategy four of The 33 Strategies of Warstates: “You are your own worst enemy. You waste precious time dreaming of the future instead of engaging in the present. Cut your ties to the past; enter unknown territory. Place yourself on ‘death ground,’ where your back is against the wall and you have to fight like hell to get out alive”.
Imagine you are trapped in a burning house. The temperature is rising. The structure of the house is collapsing around you every minute. What would you do? Would you:
a) just sit down and accept your death or would you.
b) fight to find a way out that horrible situation.
If you chose A, I urge you head this message!
Struggle and failure aren’t signs of weakness. It’s a sign that you need to push harder and adjust to make it out of your situation. Why don’t you require better from yourself? August Alsina did!
He went from being homeless with crumbs in his pocket to an R&B hit maker with hundreds of thousands of fans around the nation, if not the world. If he continues on the path he’s on, the sky’s the limit for him. How’d he do it? Outside of talent, he made success a priority. He decided to chase prosperity by any means necessary.
Like Arsenio said, he trapped himself into success. Getting tatted up like that meant he wouldn’t get accepted into any job, even a minimum wage job such as a cashier at a fast food chain. Because of this, he found his second wind. He started making connections, putting things together and hustling hard. Now, he’s enjoying the fruits of his labor!
Imagine if you were in that burning house and you decided to find courage and fight your way out. You burst through the already weak walls and you find a staircase that hasn’t been fully decimated yet. You test it and it can take your weight. The smoke is filling your lungs and causing you to have a coughing fit. You need to do something or you’ll die from lack of oxygen!
What if you decided to hold your breath and muster up all the energy you have and run down those stairs? The front door has been completely knocked down. You run outside. You’re finally free!
The true question, for all the people that decided to sit up in the hypothetical house fire and die, is this: was it worth it to settle?
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