You don’t have enough bad ideas…

Heard this from Seth Godin while attending the Arch Angel summit last year 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.

I’m glad that I learned this lesson in creative writing class in high school.  I learned the power of stream of consciousness writing.  Each morning our teacher would have us write for ten minutes without editing or stopping.  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.

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 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.

Sometimes you have to take an “L” to get to a “W”

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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 its Gametime 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 to that. Prior to going on tour or doing a big show, I will practice for hours. Knowing the lines is a given, I want to hone in on the small details.  But for me practicing doesn’t just mean rehearsing my live show. Performing is only a small part of the job of being a rapper.  I need to be on top of my accounting, I need to book shows, I need to stay on top of emails and paperwork.  For me, this is what I get “paid” for doing. Getting out on the stage and rocking the crowd – that’s “free” – that the fun.

I think the saying “make your vocation your vacation” is inspirational but it’s not completely accurate.  It’s great to enjoy yourself, but you have to be committed to the details which oftentimes aren’t fun.  As an athlete it can mean running laps or staying in the gym.  As a musician it can mean being in the studio, or taking care of the business tasks.  As a student, it means completing homework and studying extra hours.

The key is to keep the long term goal in site while working on the small tasks daily.

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

#staydriven

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.   Grantland.com 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!

My two favorite quotes about reading from KRS-ONE

“And when you’ve read them shits, READ them shits again!
But watch what you’re repeatin
If you don’t know the history of the author
you don’t know what you’re reading!”

– KRS ONE “Build In Destroy”

I can’t remember the last time I heard a lyric that talked about the power of reading and got me thinking like this KRS lyric.

Its what I’m thinking about this morning as I’m re-reading Russell Simmons book “Super Rich”.  I’d read it once and enjoyed it, but when you read a book again you pick up on things you missed the first time.  The things you learned now become engrained.  The messages in the book sink in deeper.

The second part of that KRS lyric is such a powerful line as well…

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

When I’m reading a Russell Simmons book I know exactly what I’m getting.  I know its coming from a guy that started out selling fake cocaine to running the most powerful hip-hop label ever to expanding into other successful businesses while continuing to give back to the community.

I’ve always liked autobiographies because its like you are having a conversation with the person.  It’s a one-way conversation, but if I were to meet Russell I would just sit back and listen and soak up as much game as I could.