No Sleep

I never sleep cause sleep is the cousin of death

– Nas, “New York State Of Mind”

Nas has long been on of my favorite lyricists and I’ve always loved this line.

Alot of people brag about not sleeping.

Speaker Eric Thomas talks about how if you want success you have to want it as much as your next breath.  You have to be willing to work extremely hard, often meaning you can’t sleep.

I love Nas, and I’m a fan of Eric Thomas, but I completely disagree.

I think sleep is essential.

I think balance is essential.

There are times when I will have little sleep, I’ll power through a tough project or a busy time, but at the end I always end up recouping on my sleep.

If I didn’t I wouldn’t be effective.

I couldn’t always find time to sleep.  Back when we my son was born, and then my daughter,  I remember waking up at all hours of the night to change a diaper and then rock them back to sleep.  I’d wake up feeling like a zombie.

But that didn’t mean I didn’t sleep.

I’ve become a master of the power nap.  Give me twenty minutes and I can be out like light.  Wake up fully rested and recuperated.

I’ve learned the key is knowing and trusting your need for rest.

There is no point bragging about not sleeping when the result is that you become less efficient.

Take time to get the rest you need.

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Engagement

People are always caught up in numbers.  How many fans, followers, likes.

These are important stats, but I don’t think they are as important as one thing:

Engagement.

Are you people engaging with your music and what you post?

Are they commenting and sharing?

Sure 50,000 views for a video looks good.  You may glance at the stat and think Wow, this person is doing well, but stick around longer and notice that they only have a few comments and you start to wonder.

Likes and views can be purchased.

I’m not even saying that this is a necessarily a bad thing.

It’s human nature for us to look at stats and make a correlation.

But in this digital world where we can be manipulated by targeted ads and fake views, there is one thing that remains authentic – real world connections.  You can’t fake that funk.

Effective social media is a conversation.

When posting, we need to ask ourselves – is this engaging?  How can I make it engaging.

How do you do this?

Sometimes its by asking questions.

I posted a picture on Instagram of a pot of chili I was making.

I could have just posted the image and hashtagged #chili , instead I wrote:

“Who likes chili?”  By asking this question it prompted people to take a second to engage.

Getting a response to what you post is great, but that doesn’t mean that it was successful and that your job was done.

Make it a conversation by responding to your comments.

That’s the way to convert a passive follower into a dedicated fan.

 

 

 

If Time Flies…

If time flies… then chose to be the pilot.

We live hectic lives.  Sometimes we feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day.

But we all have the same amount.  It’s about how you choose to use them.

I like this saying because it shows how we can be in control.

Time flying by can be a good thing.  It means you are immersed in an activity.  You are in the zone.  You are working at your best.

But it can also mean you are spending hours on an activity that isn’t beneficial.  You could be playing video games for eight hours straight.  You could be binging the newest series on Netflix.  Sometimes its okay to chill, but not all the time.

When you are the pilot it means you are in control.

Find what you want to spend your time on and then lock in.

 

Jordan Played For The Wizards

Sometimes I have trouble believing it even though I know it happened –  Michael Jordan played for the Wizards.

He emerged out of retirement for the second time and instead of playing with the Bulls – the team he built his legacy with – he laced up for the Washington professional basketball team formally known as the Bullets.  A team that didn’t have a storied history, a team that wasn’t poised to win a championship, a team whose building block was Kwame Brown – drafted straight out of high school that would later turn out to be a bust.

Of course there was a reason.  He was president of basketball operations and minority owner.  He wanted to make money off of his investment.  But still… the Wizards?

Michael will always be known for the last second shot.  I can hear the Jay-Z lyric from N*ggas in Paris as I write this.

Jordan, Game Six.

The game clinching shot over a frustrated Byron Russell.  The perfect way to go out.  On top.  A  champion.

But that isn’t how the story ended.

It ended like it does for 99% of athletes – his skills eroded while playing on a poor team looking a shadow of his former dominant self.

Happened to Willie Mays.  Happened to Muhammad Ali.  Most recently it happened to Peyton Manning.  While he went out on a top with a championship, it was painful to watch him struggle throughout the season.

Enjoy your time in the game – it isn’t going to last.

We all want to go out on our own terms, but even the greatest don’t always get that chance.

 

 

Coolness of an entrepreneur

Gary Vee just came out with a shoe.  Used to be shoes were only for athlete’s.  It was that way through the 80’s and 90’s.  Then the 2000’s struck and Jay-Z came out with a shoe.  50 cent did the same.  They were hits, but the trend didn’t continue.  Recently Drake has helped collaborate on Air Jordan shoes.

But Gary Vee has changed the game.  He recently released a new shoe with K Swiss.  He sees it as a move that has a huge upside and limited downside.  If the shoe is successful he is the first entrepreneur to have a signature shoe.  If he fails, he will have a good story to tell his grand children and it will be something that his friends will tease him for – which he is cool with.

That’s something I like about Gary Vee – something I think that we all envy in successful people – the ability to laugh at yourself.  If you fail, don’t dwell on it, but laugh at yourself.

How can Gary Vee get a signature shoe?

Nowadays being an entrepreneur is a cool thing.

This is only a recent phenomenon.  Shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank and the rise of apps that have disrupted huge corporations such as Uber and Airbnb have changed the game.  Entrepreneurship is now a seen as something desirable and an option for high school and college kids.

I’m fortunate that they had an entrepreneurship class in highschool.  I took it in grade 12.  Its where I discovered people like Stephen Covey and his 7 habits of highly successful people.  I devoured success literature.  I started looking at music as a business.  It’s a big reason why I was able to carve out a path to success.

Entrepreneurship may look cool, but entrepreneurs know its about hard work.  Long hours.  Demanding work.  I think one of the hardest things is self discipline.  Being your own boss also means you don’t have someone telling you what to do.  You need to motivate yourself.

It’s easy when the product is selling and you are on regular hours like others.

It’s a lot more challenging when boring business work comes up when your partner wants you to go on a date, or be with the kids, or your friends invite you out to a party.

Cool or not, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Gone

I was working on a report when all of a sudden I the beachball wouldn’t stop spinning.

Mac owners know what I’m talking about.  The beachball means that the computer is thinking.  Mac owners love to brag about how much better their system is than a PC but there are still problems on a Mac – like the ones I experienced today when writing this business report.  I hoped it would snap out of it.  I hadn’t saved the document.  But after waiting a couple of minutes I came to the realization it wasn’t going to stop.  I had to shut the program down.  I was hoping it would start back up with the recovered file.  It did that for another file I had open.  But no.  Nothing.

I would have to start from scratch.

At first I was really frustrated.  Almost defeated.  I’d spent so long and now this!

But then I thought to myself – I’d really only spent 10 minutes.  I had some of the info from an email that I could import.  For me to start the report again would probably only mean losing five to ten minutes of time.

Then I also had a more powerful thought… I remembered how much this used to happen.

People who grew up using computers in the 80’s and 90’s know what I’m talking about.

Back then this would happen all the time.  Except it would be higher stakes.  You could work on a school project, a ten page paper, or major assignment and when you went to load it up the file wouldn’t work.  For some reason the floppy disk didn’t want to load.

This would happen in music too.  I would work on a song for a couple of hours and then the program would crash.

Or a whole hard drive would crash and you would lose months of info.

Now there is the cloud.  Its automatically saved.  Its so good that even if you delete something it keeps a copy.

I run multiple backups.  I have two cloud accounts, but then I also have a time capsule which automatically backs up my files.

Ain’t technology great.

 

 

 

Defense to Offense

In one of my old raps I say that D.O. stands for “Defense to Offense.”

This was before I came up with Defy the Odds standing for D.O.

It started from video games.  It’s what I would say when I’d steal the ball and go in for a dunk while playing NBA Live back in the day on Playstation.  A good defense can lead to scoring opportunities – not only in a basketball video game but life as well.

The problem is a lot of people only play defense.

They are cautious, on the fence, and even worse, they guard what they have because they are scared that someone will take it.

Gary Vee talks about this a lot on his daily podcasts.  They are all defense, I’m all offense he often says.

The point is – you need to be on the attack, you need to be trying, doing, and implementing.

When you are on offense you aren’t always going to score.  You will get blocked.  You will miss the shot.  You will fail.

But you have to keep shooting.

It reminds me of how Mike D’Antoni has changed the NBA.  In the late 90’s basketball scores were 80-68 – lowest they’d ever been.  Then he was hired as a coach and instructed his players to shoot every chance they had.  Don’t let the shot clock get to the last few seconds, put the shot up.  Players like Steve Nash thrived as he became a two time MVP.  Their team, the Phoenix Suns started putting up high scores every night.

But it won’t work in the playoffs naysayers said.

While the Suns never won a championship, the Warriors have won two of the last three and have continued to revolutionize basketball with their approach.

Basketball scoring has gone up across the league as teams look to duplicate the success the Warriors have had.

Fan interest has gone up as well.  People want to see offense.

Music wise its the same thing.  Some artists play defense and want to protect their music.

Don’t let it leak, I want it to roll it out when everything is in place.

Don’t let it leak, its not polished.

I want to release my album and that’s it I don’t want to do more releases.

That was the old way.  Work on an album for years, spend big bucks to get it mixed and mastered and push it for a few years.

Look at the new way.

I recently read about how an unexpected event led to Lil Uzi Vert’s popularity.

He was stage diving at a show.  He lost his phone.  It contained his new album.

If you played defense you’d think – how do I erase the phone or how do I pay the person off so that the music doesn’t leak.  You’d be in a panic.  The label would be especially worried.

But if you are on offense? You are proactive.  Lets get ahead of it.  Lets just put it out.  Lil Uzi Vert released the music on his Soundcloud.  It was rough.  It was unfinished.  But it connected.

XO Tour Life became one of the biggest songs of the year.

Offense.

Don’t worry about the L’s.  Keep attacking.