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10 Secrets of Jay-Z’s Successful Life

10 Secrets of Jay-Z’s Successful Life

Jay-Z is one of the highest earning artists in the music industry. Forbes estimates his net worth to be around $520 million in 2014. He is also married to another powerhouse in the music industry, Beyonce Knowles. Together, their combined 2014 net worth is around $900 million.

So what makes Jay-Z so successful? Rumor has it that he is part of the Illuminati (Satanic Music Industry). We don’t know the truth about that, but the list below is what we know for sure. These are the ten principles behind Jay-Z’s successful life:

1. Hustle

Jay-Z was born as Shawn Corey Carter in 1969. He grew up in Marcy, a housing project in Brooklyn, New York City. In 1982, Jay-Z’s father left, and his mother had to support her family alone. It was by following her example that Jay-Z got his unrelenting work ethic – his hustle.

“Without the work, the magic won’t come.” – Jay-Z, from “Decoded.”

Don’t be afraid to work really hard and hustle in the beginning. The future you will thank the present you for hustling hard now.

2. Don’t Wait Until You Have Everything You Need

“It just got to a point where it was, like, ‘Make this decision, because this is something you really love and you love to do. It’s time to really focus on and then get serious about it, give it your all.’ And once I did that, it was no looking back from there.” – Jay-Z, Interview with Forbes

Jay-Z didn’t have a drum kit or Pro Tools growing up, but that didn’t stop him from making beats to rap over (he used his fist and a kitchen table).

If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. Don’t let imperfect circumstances prevent you from executing your goals.

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3. Don’t Run Your Mouth

Jay-Z was still struggling to break through into the music business when his collaborator, Jaz, got a big record deal from EMI. Jaz was going to London to record and he wanted Jay-Z to come along.

When Jay-Z told his crew about it, their response was less than enthusiastic. They felt like they were being deserted and told him that rappers were just being used by the music industry.

Of course, Jay-Z ignored their negativity, but he also learned a valuable lesson: sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut about your aspirations. From then on, Jay-Z says he knew he wanted to get a record deal of his own, but that he “didn’t go around talking about it to even [his] closest friends.”

It’s tempting to share your dreams and goals with people, but be careful not to talk too much. Sometimes even your closest friends and family members won’t be able to see your vision and their responses may be discouraging. Actions speak louder than words.

4. Skills are Transferable

Jay-Z never went to business school. But that hasn’t stopped him from founding $100 million companies and serving as a co-brand director for Budweiser Select.

While others were out getting their MBA, Jay-Z was learning real-life business skills on the streets. He learned sales, management, and promotion on the streets, so it’s no surprise that he slipped comfortably into the many roles of an entrepreneur.

We all have a breadth of experience to draw from. Try to learn as many skills as possible. What might seem like a useless skill now, might prove to be very useful in the future. Also, always keep a look out for how your skills in one field can be used in another.

5. Know How to Handle Rejection

Jay-Z was turned down by every label in the industry. So did he give up on his dream of becoming a professional rapper? No. Instead, he started his own record label.

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Jay-Z was offered a weak endorsement deal from Iceberg Apparel, even though Jay’s shout-outs for the clothing company were boosting their sales through the roof. So did he accept their offer? No. He started a competing clothing line and sold it ten years later for $200 million.

Jay-Z has an amazing knack for bouncing back from rejection. We would all benefit from adopting this mindset.

We should learn that rejection is part of the journey to success. Do not give up easily when you are rejected by people. Instead, you should see this rejection as an opportunity to improve yourself.

6. Make a Plan

When Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem Burke founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1994, they drew up a business plan. Jay recalls, “We made short and long-term projections, we kept it realistic, but the key thing is that we wrote it down, which is as important as visualization in realizing success.”

Make sure that you write your plan down on paper. Sometimes we think we know how it’s all going to play out in our head, but there’s something powerful and clarifying about actually writing things out.

7. Don’t Take Your Eyes off the Prize

It’s a common story in the entertainment industry: an up-and-coming artist gets a little taste of success and then everything comes crashing down when they get caught up in the lifestyle (i.e. parties, drugs, and alcohol).

Jay-Z’s music and business career took off simultaneously, but he managed to keep a level head. Even though he rapped about champagne and margaritas, he was only a light drinker. Jay prefers to be sober so that he can, “stay focused on making money.”

It’s this ability to resist temptation that has allowed Jay-Z to turn his initial success into a business empire.

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The lesson that you can learn from this is to always stay focused. Do not let distractions keep you from the main prize (success).

8. Dream Enormous

As a poor kid growing up in a housing project, nobody ever told Jay-Z he could one day be worth $520 million or that he would pack Madison Square Garden.

But he did have a sixth-grade teacher named Miss Lowden who “must have seen something” in young Shawn Carter. That little show of support gave Jay-Z the confidence to imagine a life beyond the projects.

Accomplishing enormous goals starts with the ability to imagine them and the willingness to pursue them.

9. Demand Respect

In 1999, Jay-Z won his first Grammy award: Best Rap Album for “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life.”

But he was nowhere to be found at the ceremony that night. Jay-Z had boycotted the Grammys because he “didn’t think they gave the rightful respect to hip-hop.” So even though attending the event would have been good for Jay’s career, he passed it by.

Jay-Z clearly has zero tolerance for disrespect – and as a result he’s very rarely disrespected.

You should also know whether a situation is right for you to be firm and demand to be respected by your colleagues. It will make you more charismatic and people will start to respect you more.

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For example: you have been working really hard for many years, but your boss still treats you badly, and you are still being underpaid by the company. Your reaction to his behavior is the key here. If you keep accepting his bad attitude towards you, your colleagues will look at it and do the same to you. However, if you react by being clear and firm that you will not tolerate the disrespect, your boss will see this change in attitude and start to treat you better and show you respect.

10. Accept Help from Mentors

Entrepreneurs and artists tend to be strong-minded individuals. Jay-Z is both, but that hasn’t stopped him from seeking the guidance of a host of mentors through the years.

A good mentor has already been in your position. That means they can see what steps you need to take and what mistakes you must avoid – all while still giving you room to breathe and grow on your own.

Without the role models below, Jay-Z couldn’t have become the entrepreneur, rapper, and championship-caliber performer that he is today.

Some of Jay-Z’s mentors are:

  • Russell Simmons – Co-Founder of Def Jam Records
  • The Notorious B.I.G. – Rapper
  • Michael Jordan – Six-time NBA Champio

There are a lot of things that you can learn from these ten principles behind Jay-Z’s success.

I personally think the last principle is very important. You need to get mentors so that you can significantly improve many important areas in your life, such as your finances, health, relationships, and many more.

I personally have seen many people struggle with their health and body. They have tried to lose weight for a while but with no results. Finding and working with a mentor unlocks their abilities and they start to get results.

How about you? What do you think is the most important principle behind Jay-Z’s success? Share it in the comments section below.

Featured photo credit: Huffington Post via i.huffpost.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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