Hip-Hop, Failure Or How To Find Your True North

When I was 12 years old I went to fat camp because, well – I was fat. The funny thing about being 12 years old at fat camp, is that you have a lot of time on your hands, which you can use any way you please. For me, the best use of my time, was reading, listening to the Eminem Show which had just been released and writing my own rap songs. If you think this sounds super-dorky, you’re right.

There was no way around the fact however, that hip-hop was in my blood. 17 years on, and it is still the music I go back to again and again. When ‘Till I Collapse comes on, I will rap along to that motherfucker word for word. The same is true for Still D.R.E, Like Toy Soldiers, Changes, Ghetto Gospel, Rap Game and about every other major and minor hip-hop song released between 1998 and 2005. The point is, that this is a passion of mine, a pastime that I will forever cherish, and which will be with me forever.

Another passion of mine is football, soccer, O Jogo Bonito, the beautiful game. I always played, but never showed enough promise to have a decent shot at the pros.

So like many kids my age I had a passion for music – in my case hip hop, and a passion for sports. I tried my hand at both, and like most kids, I never managed to become a professional musician or a sports star.

For someone who was raised with the mantra “You can be anything you want to be” it hurts to find out you can’t. It hurts to find out, that you actually lack certain skills, and that you are more adept at learning in some areas relative to others.

It hurt to find out that I couldn’t become a rapper, and it hurt to find out that I couldn’t become a footballer, but you know what? That’s okay, because we’re all in the process of learning who we want to mold ourselves to be. We are all learning to be who we are destined to become, all the time.

The key take-away from this realization is that there is no right answer to the question who am I supposed to be? There is only the continual process of creating yourself the best way you know how. For some people that is through writing, for others it is through song, for yet others it is through creating a business. The approach that I’ve found helpful through the years is to try as many different avenues as possible.

In other words you must find out where you excel compared to others. To me, it’s always been in the domain of languages, writing, reading and understanding. I’ve had a fairly good ear for picking up words, turns of phrase, wordings and euphemisms. I love words, but I’m not sure they love me back. Sometimes they love me more than others. The point here is this:

When you find out what subject you have an easier time mastering than others, you will have found your true north. 

This might be more than one thing. It might come to you easily, or it might take some time. At any rate, you will be able to figure it out if you think deeply about it, and act on the things which makes sense, you will be able to figure it out.

It took me many tries, many dead ends and an almost endless amount of failures to figure out what interests me, and you might have to go through your fair amount of failures as well, but remember this:

The more often you get up to the plate, the better your odds of a homerun. 

Keep it real homie.


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