Two Things Kanye West and His Grammy Appearance Taught Me About Success

The underlying thing about Kanye is no one believed in him. Every record label told him that his ideas were garbage… until the Jay-Z album The Blueprint. Even then, no one appreciated his other musical talents.

The majority of people in similar situations would have quit after the first or second “no.” They would have listened to their friends, cousins, significant others and gotten a real job. Kanye had to tell himself everyday that his ideas had value and as a result he had to do what the “self-development” arena calls “pumping your own state.”

Most highly successful people (in life and in business) are extremely confident, entitled, and potentially a-holes. There’s an extremely thin line between confidence and delusions of grandeur. The reality is if you want that level of success, you may have to flirt with that very same line.

The majority of people will never understand what that’s like — nor can they ever relate. Those people exist in all walks of life. Look around, they’re everywhere. Not just celebrities or athletes. If you listen to Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech, to the average person (who’s average thinking) it will sound petty — but if you dive deeper into his words, Jordan details the various examples of motivation that pushed him to extreme heights. These types of people are driven by their ambition/drive. The money and influence are byproducts, spoils of the struggle — which is why the average person says “if I had their money… I’d just quit and chill!” or “How much money is enough money!?” At some point, it’s not about the money; the money is merely yet another benchmark to measure their movements. This probably why the average person remains average — because that person may not be willing to push themselves beyond the limits of the average.

I can relate on a smaller scale. In my freshman year of high school, I remember being told by two upperclassmen (still remember their names and they are Facebook friends but I won’t put them on blast) that I wasn’t good enough to play high school basketball. Their words were my motivation. I got angry. I worked out harder, worked out longer, I became a grinder. I had one mission in life at that point. Everything that distracted from this goal was removed. I ended up being named All-TDCAA (All City of Toronto). I went through a similar experience while trying to get a book deal for Start Me Up! The No Business Plan, Business Plan! (300 no‘s from literary agents until I got a yes on the 301st).


I learned that getting what you want in life isn’t easy but the endeavor is worth it. Some myths you will hear are “this person is successful because he/she was lucky!”, “I can’t get what I want because (insert social class that’s ruining your chances here) is trying to keep me down.”

If you raise your level of awareness to a higher paradigm, you’ll realize a few things about these myths (and others like it):

  1. Limits and myths initially jail you but at some point, you become your own jailer!
  2. The failure myths take away your responsibility in your future/journey/path.

I’m not saying you have to be an asshole to be successful but I completely understand why some successful people are. I’m also not saying that Kanye’s behavior is acceptable but I understand. While people were getting jobs, Kanye was in his mom’s basement digging through crates of random records, creating a technique and sound that has changed the way production is done.

His records inspired people like Drake, and a host of others. Whether you like his music or not is irrelevant to me. What matters is understanding how difficult it is to climb any Mount Everest. More importantly, you have to burst through the negativity because your dreams matter.


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