Today is either my birthday or the one year memorial of my death. I’m not certain what to call it as yet. You see, I literally left the planet on the sudden cardiac death express a year ago today. Luckily for me, my friends and medical personnel weren’t cool with my departure and decided to delay my ascension to the pearly gates by way of CPR, defibrillators and induced comas. So what’s life been like since 4/21 (never forget)? Well here are a few highlights from the last 365 days in the first year of my second life.
- I have since been laid off from my place of employment (rhymes with Smorgan Spanley) as a result of “corporate restructuring.” The best part is I only took a month off to recuperate from death and returned to work because in my mind (and against all advisement from friends and medical personnel) I needed to be back to work to secure my position. It would seem coming back from the dead doesn’t even grant you job security in today’s market place. Ah well. The timing of my layoff literally couldn’t have been any better because it occurred the day after the bullet point below.
- I finished writing and editing my first book after years of threatening to do so. Not only has it been well received but for the first time in my second life, I paid my rent with income generated from doing something I love. The significance of that is non quantifiable to anyone who has ever wanted to a) write a book and b) survive on their artist’s income. No one can predict how long that will be sustained so consider this paragraph my victory dance. You don’t really have time to dance when you’re slangin’ books like Jay Z in the early eighties however so…”Grand opening / grand closing.”
The most important lesson the last year has taught me is I am still here to learn lessons. The highs and lows of life clearly remain and I used to be deathly afraid of death but now that I’ve actually tried it (I don’t recommend it by the way), I can definitively say there is nothing to be afraid of. Most ignore death but that ignorance actually decreases your quality of life in that it takes away the urgency of time and the subsequent actions that follow (like finishing a book for instance). Consider life a party that had no end time listed on the flyer but you know it’s gonna end. May I suggest you eat the mac and cheese and get a few drinks when you walk in the door because this party could end at anytime.
I was recently asked hypothetically that if I knew the exact date of my death how would that effect how I lived? I struggled with that hypothetical question because I do know the date, it’s 4/21. Seriously and more importantly, it wouldn’t affect the way I lived. Most certainly don’t know the exact date of their demise but we all know there is an exact date and today could be that day. A year ago, it was for me. That’s a completely morbid notion but the exact converse and duality of that sentiment is if you renew your perspective, any day could also be your first day, including today. A year ago, it was for me.
Most of you will never have the luxury of dying and coming back so take it from me (my friends hate it when I play the “death card”), get to learning life, get to living life and get to loving life!
Sidebar: Happy birthday to me!!!! Happy to be here!! Sidebar complete.
Realigning Your Moral Compass / Don’t Be Humble
Remember when “keeping it on the low” was a high-valued asset in the lunchrooms of yesterdays past? It was a glorious and magical time where your ability to not divulge information or “brag” would lend you the trust and respect of all… except maybe the person who wanted said info. Conversely, being known as conceited or loose lipped oft resulted in social suicide. Once you understood and practiced the basic tenets of social operation, you were free to roam about the country. Then along came this thing called life and what was once generally accepted social order now requires constant questioning. Oh to be young again!
These days, you may find yourself at a moral crossroads where keeping information “on the low” could result in literal career suicide and stagnation of financial growth. I’ve seen coworkers get promoted because they would inform the entire world of every menial task accomplished like closing the fridge door in the pantry. I’ve also seen coworkers not be given any credit and as far as to be laid off because no one was aware of their value or responsibilities. Who knew life was gonna be so complicated (besides every single adult?) Of course, “keeping it on the low” a.k.a humility is just one of many self-inflicted moral codes we use to navigate for a majority of our lives. There are many others (selfish, greedy, manipulative, etc…) Now what if you hadn’t assigned a negative or positive value to these sentiments from the outset? Would you still be so hesitant to engage in their practices?
For the sake of proving my point, What if these “negative” moral codes were simply tools that could not be judged but simply used? Is it manipulative to convince someone to put a gun down and not shoot up a room full of people? Was Winston Churchill being manipulative in his efforts to convince the U.S to join WWII? Is it greedy to understand how much financial assets are required to provide the lifestyle you deem worthy for you and your family then pursue accordingly? Is it selfish to know when to tune the world out to achieve a goal that will be to the worlds eventual betterment?
The world is grander than whatever lunchroom your adolescent moral GPS was manufactured in and navigated you through. Once you graduate to encounter those larger moral obstacles, you rapidly realize that what got your through it before may not get you past it now if you cannot realign your moral code. It seems once one masters a particular set of skills, they immediately become obsolete as life advances everyone to the next level. What’s more likely is a majority of our decision making tools (like morals) are choice and should be treated as such and continuously revisited. Good Luck.
Sidebar; To the aspiring entrepreneurs keeping their amazing ideas “on the low” until they blow up, you are delaying your own successes. To those who find the pursuit of money / capitalism as greedy /evil, you are delaying your own gratitude. Sidebar complete.
How to Tell If You’re Motivated by Negativity
We hold in high regard the tactics that allow us to succeed while disregarding that those same tactics stop us from succeeding correctly. When you and everything around you is results oriented, how those results are obtained isn’t scrutinized when they probably should be. Seeing as how we can’t drug test for positive or negative motivators and no one really cares how you succeed as long as you are successful, why should you even care?
Well aside from your eventual therapist and the people who used to love you but have since left due to your unknowingly toxic behavior, your eventual cardiologist and pharmacist who will have to treat you for stress related illnesses, you should probably care also. If you are paying attention and observing the trail of emotional destruction left when using certain motivators, particularly fear and negativity, you would care much much sooner.
With that said, here are some hopefully helpful tips so you can identify and begin to correct.
1. When someone asks you what you want, you typically respond with what you don’t want. “What do you want for dinner?” “Well we had pizza yesterday so I don’t want that and I had Chinese for lunch so that’s out…” Process of elimination is time consuming and quite frankly, if you want pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you should have it. We’ll deal with health choices later. Right now, let’s focus on HOW you make choices in the first place.
2. The first thought that enters your mind after you say you want something are the reasons why it can’t be obtained. “I want to workout but I have no time. I want to pursue my interests but I don’t have the money.” Everything you currently have, you made the time and money for. It is possible for future aspirations as well.
3. The motivator is not the desired result, but the ails that might occur if that result is not obtained. “You better get an education or your friends will leave you behind.” “If I don’t catch the early train, my commute is gonna suck!” Or none of that may occur and you day could progress perfectly fine. Since you can’t recoup emotional capital already extended, better not to expend it at all.
4. You feel you need more in order to begin any task. You just really need to accept that you are enough.
5. You focus on any time frame other than the present. Speculating on future failures only brings you current stress. Speculating on past failures only brings you current stress. Now speculating on past or future successes may seem beneficial but the fact is, if you are speculating at all, you are probably not present and that is the main ingredient required for success anyway. So don’t speculate!!!
The root of all negativity is fear and when fear is your motivation, you will constantly need to be afraid in order to progress. When confidence is your motivation, all you ever need to progress is to remain present.
I wish you all success in everything you hope to accomplish.
Sidebar: Michal Jordan once stated that fear of failure motivated him to accomplish 6 NBA championships. My question to him would’ve been “How much more rings would you have had if confidence was your motivator and not fear?” Sidebar Complete.
Hip Hop Now
Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.
Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”
From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”
Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”
Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”
Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”