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.

Show Must Go On

The show was going fine… great even.

Then I noticed more people were looking at the screen than at me.

I turned around and saw that the Powerpoint had crashed.  Now it was displaying my desktop wallpaper.  It was awkward to say the least.

Here I was, standing in front of five hundred students and twenty teachers.  All eyes on me.

So I tried to fix it. I opened up the presentation and breathed a sigh of relief… only to see it crash again moments later.

I tried rebooting the computer.  All while staying on beat with my story.

Computer rebooted and it still wouldn’t load.  So I turned it off and went on with the show.

It knocked me off my game.  I stumbled over my words for a moment.

But then I took a deep breath, smiled, and realized – I had to keep going.

So I did.

Without the powerpoint I grabbed the auxillery cord and connected it to my phone to play instrumental for the freestyle part of the show.

While fumbling with the cords, I asked the crowd for topics.  I got: banana, money and cookie monster.  Before I started I said, “Couldn’t have given me something easy? Today is already challenging day.”  The teachers laughed.

I apologized once for the technical difficulties, but I didn’t come back to it.  Didn’t dwell on it.  The show must go on.

I thought about it after – I know that teachers could empathize.  I’ve seen countless teachers get stuck trying to get their presentations working correctly.  The kids?  They didn’t care.

At least the music still worked.

And really that’s the thing, when something goes wrong people only notice when you notice it.  If you forget a line to a song most people don’t notice.  They don’t really care.  (That’s why freestyling is such a great gift).

Some (most) people have their head in the clouds.

I’ve had to battle technical difficulties countless times in my career.

That time where I had a show at a University basketball game and I stood on the court in front of a thousand people when I found out the the burned CD wouldn’t play – cue the impromptu freestyle until it was corrected.  Won the crowd over.

Or the time when I had a DJ but for some reason the songs were playing at quarter speed.  It was as if it was chopped and screwed – the Southern style of making a song excessively slow.  I played it off.  Joked about it.  Rapped over it slow.  Then performed acapella.  The manager of the headliner told me after the show told me, “Man, I’ve got so much respect for you after that.”

It’s time like these where I think of the great Maya Angelou quote…

At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.

When you keep going through adversity, people will remember that.