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15 Life Lessons from The Lonely Island

15 Life Lessons from The Lonely Island

For those of you who many not know them by name, The Lonely Island is the parody rap group responsible for many of Saturday Night Live’s viral YouTube hits. Off set of SNL, the group has released three rap albums, all of which are equally satirical, witty and perfectly hilarious.

Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer are the musical and lyrical masterminds that make up the group, and–quite frankly–they have a lot of inspirational lifehacks to teach all of us.

Here are 15 life lessons I’ve learned from The Lonely Island:

1. You’re never too old for anything.

Anyone who knows the name Michael Bolton probably knows him for his world famous love songs back in the day. This is the man responsible for “When a Man Loves a Woman” and dozens upon dozens of other soulful love songs.  And, now in his early 60s, this same man is the featured singer of the hit Lonely Island song, “Jack Sparrow.”

If that isn’t proof that you can do and be anything you want to be no matter what age you are, then I just don’t know what is.

Watch “Jack Sparrow” here.

2. Being cool is all about confidence.

If you’ve seen the members of The Lonely Island, then you already know that their oddly attractive persona has very little to do with the way they dress. The hyper masculine attitude of The Dudes is all about confidence and self-respect, no matter what their clothes or behavior would otherwise indicate.

Wearing powder blue turtlenecks and skin tight white pants really isn’t in style these days, but somehow Andy, Jorm and Kiv just pull it off.

Listen to “Turtleneck & Chain” to get a better idea of what I mean.

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3. Throwing things on the ground is funny in almost every situation.

If you’ve read any of my other Lifehack posts, then you may have noticed that I’m a big fan of exercising your inner child and not taking your life too seriously. That’s just one of the many reasons that I’m such a huge Lonely Island fan. As their video and song for “Threw It On The Ground” shows, you can throw just about ANYTHING on the ground and it will be funny to someone.

I think throwing things on the ground is an important part of keeping your outer adult in check. Plus, it looks really funny in slow-mo.

Watch “Threw It On The Ground” here.

4. Nice girls can go hard too.

One of my first and all-time favorites is “Natalie’s Rap” because, much like myself, Natalie Portman comes across as a sweet and innocent goody-goody in many of her on-screen roles.

Any girl who’s ever felt stuck in the “nice girl” stereotype can appreciate Natalie’s willingness to go hard for a day and personify a gangster kingpin whose love of violence, drugs and sex comically contrasts with her normal acting roles.

Watch the uncensored version of “Natalie’s Rap” here.

http://vimeo.com/77383280

5. Work is more fun if you amp yourself up about it.

Even though early Lonely Island favorite, “Like A Boss,” is all about a guy whose job sucks, the upbeat and overly confident nature of the song kind of conveys mixed messages. So if you’re having a bad day at work, try thinking about your job as if it were a hyper-dramatized rap video and your day will likely be much more bearable.

Watch the video for “Like A Boss” here.

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6. Nobody cares that you’re having sex because everyone else is doing it too.

America is pretty well known for hush-hush feelings about airing your sex life in public, but this leads many of us to feel awkward or embarrassed about our sex lives and sexuality. In “I Just Had Sex,” The Lonely Island confronts this nationally awkward topic head-on by rapping about their (hopefully) fictional, embarrassing sex lives.

Watch the video for “I Just Had Sex” here.

7. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve all heard this saying before, but nothing puts this phrase into perspective quite like “Dreamgirl.” In a slower, R&B-style song, The Dudes list off the characteristics they like about their dream girl. With characteristics including, “skin like asphalt, nose so runny,” this description of a sexy woman is the exact opposite of what most people imagine. But beauty should not be defined by one ideal image, and The Lonely Island shows us just that.

Listen to “Dreamgirl” here.

8. Partying gets old after a while.

Our culture places such huge importance on the “coolness” and consumerism of partying that many of us fail to realize that partying 24/7 would get boring pretty quickly. The Lonely Island exaggerates the overrated expectations of party life by describing the mental breakdown of a huge party-goer in the song “After Party.”

I think this song is just a good reminder that, while partying can be fun sometimes, there are more important things in life that deserve a lot more of your attention.

Listen to “After Party” here.

9. You can be masculine and give hugs at the same time.

Again playing with our cultural ideals of masculinity and sex, The Lonely Island’s song “Hugs” is a heavy rap beat that is all about…hugging? Yep.

For me, this song says that you can be any kind of man (or woman) that you want to be, as long as you’re confident about yourself. It’s also a pretty clear satire of pop culture’s objectification of women and relationships in general.

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Listen to “Hugs” here.

10. Team effort makes everything better.

Everything is better when a group of people combine forces, and “We Are A Crowd” is definitely one of those things. It’s a song about people being in a crowd, and it would just suck if only one dude was singing it. Even things that sound meaningless on the surface can have genuine meaning if enough people believe in the message. So if you don’t get anything else from this Beastie Boys-esque track, there’s always that.

Listen to “We Are A Crowd” now to join in.

11. Grammar is important.

Being a writer, I can’t help but get a little irritated when people misuse punctuation, and The Lonely Island seem to feel the same. In their song “Semicolon,” The Dudes rap entirely in what they think are semicolon-separated phrases. Their grammar is a bit off, though, and it turns out the entire song should be punctuated with colons instead. But still, the message is there.

Click here to listen to “Semicolon.”

12. It’s the thought that counts.

Much like their “Dreamgirl” ideals, The Dudes’ ideas of the perfect gift are somewhat less than the norm. While you likely would be more shocked than grateful if your boyfriend did this, the song “D*ck in a Box” is a funny example of times when it’s really the thought that counts.

Watch the “D*ck in a Box” music video here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABrSYqiqvzc&feature=kp

13. Homophobic people are really just insecure about themselves.

In a surprisingly serious satire, The Lonely Island combats homophobia and masculine ideals in their 2-part song “No Homo.” This song goes from realistic bro-like expressions (i.e. “I like the way your shoulders fill out that shirt. No homo!”) to a plethora of sexual desires that are geared towards other guys.

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The song’s true message works for the group, though, because their core listeners are younger audiences who are much more open to the LGBT movement than previous generations.

Listen to “No Homo” here.

14. Perspective makes all the difference.

A change in perspective is often all you need to gain new insights and interpretations about the world around you. In the case of The Lonely Island, though, those insights are pretty scary when the guys interpret the phrase YOLO (You Only Live Once) to mean You Oughta Look Out.

While you shouldn’t look for negativity in things, you should try to be more open-minded and view things from a new perspective once in a while.

See what a difference perspective can make here.

15. Not staying true to yourself is the biggest mistake you can make.

Probably the most overtly critical message The Lonely Island has ever put out, “Go Kindergarten,” is very satirical. While it’s funny and entertaining, the message of the song is really strong: stay true to yourself and don’t let other people tell you who you get to be.

Watch “Go Kindergarten” here.

Featured photo credit: Turtleneck & Chain Desktop/The Lonely Island via thelonelyisland.com

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Kayla Matthews

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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