Libra Scale

I’m a Libra.  I’m not completely into astrology but for me the idea of the libra scale – the concept of balance – is something that has always resonated with me.

I like when my life is in balance.  Sometimes you have your highs and sometimes you have your lows, but you work to find a common ground.

But this thinking was challenged when I was listening to a talk from Dan Martell and he was saying how Balance is BS.

My first response was to disagree.

I’m someone that believes balance is essential… especially as you get older and your responsibilities increase.

Maybe when I was in high school I would say that I didn’t need to balance my life, I didn’t have as many responsibilities.   But now things have changed.  I’m a self employed rapper and speaker, I’m a father, I’m a husbandm we are home owners – we have a lot on our plate.  Not to mention that with a full plate, and older age, health also becomes more important.  Oftentimes when I’m at the gym I find myself thinking…wow if I worked out like this when I was 20?  Man. 

Now I have to put in three times the work to get that same result.  Not to mention that I can’t do those late night runs out for fast food anymore.

But Dan’s message is also misleading.  He’s not saying that you shouldn’t have balance, but he is encouraging people to realize that you can’t do everything all the time.

In theory, being on your ‘A’ game everyday with business, family, and health sounds great.  In reality, its much more difficult.

Dan thinks you should focus on 2 out of the 3 each quarter.  Not to say that your family falls by the wayside, but there are times when you don’t take the family vacation.  Maybe its the time that the hours at work are a little longer.  But to get that balance back, when you are on your vacation you aren’t “balanced” by being on your laptop all day doing work.

As a touring musician, I’ve found this to be true when it comes to health.

When I’m at home it’s easy for me to stay on my routine of eating clean and training four to six times a week.  There will be three month stretches that I work myself into solid shape.

But there are also times when I’m on the road for a couple month stretch and find it difficult to get a workout in.  Where I find it tough to eat well.  That’s not to say I don’t do it, but I don’t do it at the extent that I was doing it when it was a priority.

I like Dan’s concept.  We tend to be hard on ourselves thinking that we aren’t working at our peak because a part of our life is off balance.  It doesn’t mean that its off balance, it can be a signal that it is something to work on soon.




Realistic.  It’s a word used by parents, by teachers, by some friends.

It’s a word despised by kids, by dreamers, by entrepreneurs.

We see it as limiting.

They will say “Why dream big?  You are not being realistic.”

Dreams aren’t supposed to be realistic.

I like to think of the saying – aim for the moon because even if you land on the clouds you will be okay.

If you only set your sights on the trees, you may not get hurt from falling from a branch to the ground, but you also won’t get the benefit of the chance that your dream can come true.

Of course there is also balance.

You can’t always have your head in the clouds.

I see rappers aspire to be the next Jay-Z, or the next Drake.

It’s great to have these aspirations.  But it can also set yourself up for failure when you don’t achieve their level of success.  Both of these artists are one in a million success stories.

What should you do?

I think the best thing to do is aspire to be the best you.

In the words of Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”



Four Magic Words

Over the last year, I’ve become a Gary Vee fan.

I’ve listened to his audio books and saw him speak in person.

But the one thing that stuck out is his recent appearance on a sports talk show.

He was a featured guest on the Jim Rome show.  One of my favorite shows.

It sounds like an odd pairing, Gary isn’t an athlete or involved in sports.

He’s an entrepreneur.

However, one of his lifetime goals is to own the New York Jets football team.

The host, Jim Rome, hadn’t met Gary before, but he had done his homework.  He asked great questions.

One of my favorite parts of the interview is when he said to Gary: “Can you tell the audience about the four words of advice that you gave to the woman in the crowd?”

Without pause, Gary responded:

“You’re going to die.”

Four powerful words.  Not the ones she was expecting.

But the impact of those words is immediate.

It forces one to stop thinking about the little things.

Oftentimes its the little things that prevent us from taking action on our big goals.

Being reminded that we only have one life creates urgency.

It makes us realize that we should spend less time worrying on what we can’t do, and more time focused on what we can.


Bad Ideas

I was doing the dishes while seeing my son struggle to do his homework.  He had to write a story in his journal and he didn’t know what to write about.  I watched him fumble with his pencil unable to start writing because he didn’t have a good idea of what he should write about.

I could empathize.  As a writer, and a rapper, I’ve stared at blank sheets of paper and struggled to start writing because I didn’t have a good idea.

Over the years I’ve learned to overcome writers block.

One way is through stream of consciousness writing.

I learned about it in highschool in my creative writing class.  It was our daily test.  The test wasn’t based on the quality of our writing, it was based on completing the exercise.  Each morning our teacher would have us write for ten minutes without editing or stopping.  If we stopped, we failed.  If we kept going for the ten minutes, we passed.

It’s the same exercise I give to elementary students when doing a writing workshop.

Initially, many students find it hard because they don’t know what to write about.  I enjoy doing the workshop because I can literally see the young writers change their posture and become engaged when they do tap into a good idea.

As a rapper, I do this when I freestyle.  My best freestyles aren’t at the beginning of the rap when I’m thinking about things, but rather half way thru the rap when I am in more in tune with my right creative side of the brain and less the left analytical part.

Seth Godin spoke about the importance of bad ideas at an Arch Angel summit that I attended in Toronto.

For Seth, success isn’t about having good ideas its more about not having enough bad ideas

 “You don’t have enough good ideas…no, you don’t have enough bad ideas.”

It’s counter intuitive.  Why are bad ideas important?

I think it comes down to the left and right parts of the brain.

The right part is creative.  It brainstorms.  It thinks of possibilities of why it will be successful.

The left part analyzes.  It criticizes.  It thinks of why it won’t work.

We need both parts, but in the creative process we need the right part the most.

We need to think of possibilities.  We can hone those possibilities in later.

As a songwriter it means acknowledging that you have to write bad songs to get to the good ones.

As a comedian it means working out bad jokes in order to find the ones that get the big laughs.

In either case its about generating ideas, not evaluating.  That step comes later.

But its not just generating ideas.  It’s about acting on them.  Its about accepting that you will make mistakes, and that these missteps are necessary on the way to success.

Only through the bad ideas do we find our very best ones.

I Get Paid To Practice

“I get paid to practice. I play the games for free.” – Junior Seau

Read this quote on Peter King’s Monday Morning Quaterback site.  Football player Rodney Harrison was sharing his fondest memories of his friend, former teammate and Hall of Fame inductee – the late great Junior Seau and this was one of them.

Football is a sport where practice time greatly exceeds playing time.  In baseball you play 162 games.  In basketball and hockey there are 82 games.  Football has only 16 games for a season.  It means that each one is crucial.   There is little room for a error or even a short slump.   Practice becomes essential.

But there is also another side to it.  When you are committed to practice you begin to trust the process. The hard work is done.  When it’s game time you can be in the moment and enjoy yourself.  You can get in the zone.  Playing the game becomes fun.

As a performer I can relate.

Practicing is rehearsing.  But practicing is also taking care of the business tasks that I don’t enjoy – the accounting, the show booking, the emails, the paperwork.

The show?  The time on stage?  The trips to another country? It’s fun.  It’s where I’m in my element.  I would do that for free.

For every athlete that believes in practice, there are some that don’t…
Who can forget this classic clip…


Stand Out

“Average performers work hard to fit in. UltraPerformers work really, really hard to stand out.”
Robin Sharma

I love this quote from Robin Sharma.

A lot of the time we work hard to be like others in our field.  We compare ourselves to our peers and measure our success in relation to others.

As a rapper and musician, I can relate to this statement.

Many artists mimic the current styles and trends.  They stop trying to sound like themselves in order to sound like others in attempt to chase success.  Sometimes it even works – but only in the short term.

One of my favorite Hip-Hop groups is Outkast.  Growing up I didn’t pay much attention to their clothing style, I just liked their music.  Looking back I can see how as their music evolved, so did their fashion.  It came full circle with their 2003 release Love Below/Speakerboxxx.  Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi showed off an eccentric style on the album cover.

Everything about “Hey Ya” – the first single from the album – stuck out.  It sounded nothing like the group had done before.  It wasn’t even a rap song.

Ten years later, and the song – and video – are considered a classic. recently called the song the best of the decade.

It’s easy to go along with the pack and not ruffle any feathers.

The challenge is to go beyond and strut your own style.

My man Famous is a great example of this.

His song “Ain’t No Use” talks about how when he tried to be like everyone else he kept coming up short.  He discovered the lesson that it is better to be a leader than a follower – especially since both his story and style were unique.

Others seemed to agree… the song was nominated for a Much Music Video Award!

Duane D.O. Gibson

Stay Driven!

Knowledge Reigns Supreme

KRS ONE has always been one of my favorite rappers and someone I believe should be included anytime someone is discussing who the G.O.A.T. is (Greatest of All Time).

One thing I liked about KRS, that is often lacking in todays music, is how he talked education in his lyrics.  Self-empowerment, reading, and knowledge of self were common themes.

As a teenager, KRS gave me a direction for fighting the system.   Especially on “Build and Destroy” where he raps:

“And when you’ve read them shits, read them shits again!”

Reading a book a second time?  I’d never thought of that.  Then I applied it.  Often times when I read a book it takes me a while to get into.  When I do, I soak in the information but I haven’t commited it to memory.  Reading a second time reinforces what I learned.  It becomes engrained.  The messages in the book sink in deeper.

The following line is equally as powerful:

“But watch what you’re repeatin’ If you don’t know the history of the author then you don’t know what you are reading!”

This was a game changer for me.  It made me realize the bias that goes into books.  I learned I couldn’t take anything at face value.  I’d learn more about this in University.  And now, in an era of “fake news” the line is more relevant than ever.

KRS ONE’s name is an acroynm for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody.

Knowledge is acquired when we read, and re-read, re-learn, and when we learn, and question, who is giving us this information.

When we do this, our knowledge has the potential to reign supreme.