How we can all learn from Jay-Z

4 min read

How we can all learn from Jay-Z

Sorry to go off on a tangent here, but I think this piece is important, especially for developing one’s self.

I watched the Jay-Z interview on Howard Stern today. It’s astonishing how in-sync Jay-Z is, on music, culture and family. He talked about his upbringing, reconciling with his father, his early days as a street hustler, claim to fame and his new life. Here’s a summary of what I think is valuable:

On family: “Extremely close to his roots”, would be great way to describe Jay-Z. He’s built a great support group within his family circle. Despite his fame and fortune, his family members treat his just the same, and are very protective. They act as his filters.

On culture: He lives and breathes his culture. When Howard asked “How do you stay connected to the community?”, he said “I don’t need to sit on a bench in Marcy projects”. He’s telling everyone stories of his upbringing, and of the community “like it happened yesterday”. Culture is so important in companies these days, that it can be the success or downfall. I’m taking a special note on this, and instilling some change very soon.

On education: Despite not going to college, he’s very comfortable being himself in a room full of executives with degrees. This is especially true in tech companies today, because anyone from any background can fill a job position. It’s important to be oneself, and let the group dynamics play out.

On equal opportunity: Howard and Jay-Z talked a lot about how opportunity matters today. To draw a parallel, Jay-Z said if given the right opportunity ( i.e access to computers at a young age), he could have been Bill Gates. Howard agreed, saying that Gates grew up in a family which could afford computer access at that point in time - Gates probably had the most computer time out of everyone else. I think equal opportunity matters a lot in building companies, and in hiring - everyone should be given a chance.

On Obama: He met Obama when Obama was still a Senator. He felt that Obama was genuine, and that they could connect on a lot of topics including music and culture. Contrary to some people’s opinions, Jay-Z thought Obama was one of the most humble people he’s met.

On hustling: Jay-Z defined a hustler, as a person who has the drive to get stuff done, every day. I think more organisations should strive on this model, from top to bottom.

Life Self-Development Focus

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