Kanye West is many things; humble is not one of them. Kanye West is an inspiration to me and entrepreneurs everywhere because he took the fast-track to success. Kanye West hypnotized himself to believe he was a success long before it happened.
Success is a matter of belief. There are wildly successful people who are deeply troubled because all they have isn’t close to being enough. Some of the most well-known and respected entrepreneurs and startup founders wake up every morning afraid they haven’t earned enough money, achieved enough recognition or made a big enough impact.
This deep, and nagging uncertainty is one of the driving forces behind creativity and innovation, but it can just as easily drive you crazy.
Kanye West is my favorite example of someone who wrestles with his demons, and turns it into amazing art. You don’t even have to like Kanye to appreciate him as a rare creative force.
How Kanye West Hypnotized Himself to Succeed
Long before Kanye West was Yeezus, Yeezy or even Ye, he believed he was going to be huge. He knew it so deeply he hypnotized himself to see success before the world did. This is why I find his music so powerful, because in it he sowed the seeds of his eventual success well in advance of reality.
In 2003 I first saw Kanye West perform in a derelict basement nightclub in Seattle. The space had no windows, and to get to it you had to walk down a flight of steps under the city streets. The only reason the venue–then called Shongo Village–could operate legally, was because its permits had been grandfathered in. The Kanye West who had a fan thrown out of the Tacoma Dome for tossing a business card on stage wouldn’t be caught dead in this fire trap.
In 2003, while Kanye had racked up some pretty major hits with Jay-Z, Talib Kweli and Common, amongst others, he was not a household name as a solo artist. In fact, the promoters of the show were only able to pack the house with radio and print ads claiming Jay Z, Beanie Siegel and other Rocafella Recordings artists as “invited guests,” which was technically true, but very misleading. “Who is this guy with the weird name?” I thought. Of course who am I to talk about unusual names?
Kanye took the stage wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and backpack. And this unknown, but ambitious musician had the crowd in his pocket within moments. I was still skeptical. And it was still years before Kanye became a bona fide superstar, but that evening, and on nights like it across the country, Kanye inched forward on the path to legendary status.
“Through The Wire,” was Kanye’s first song as solo artist to get radio play, and it while it was becoming popular at the time, it wasn’t lighting up the charts either. While the song is crammed with the same braggadocio and bombast typical of rap as a genre, it accurately predicted what would follow:
Trying to be a millionaire, how I used two lifelines
In the same hospital where Biggie Smalls died
The doctor said I had blood clots, but I ain’t Jamaican, man
Story on MTV and I ain’t trying to make a band
I swear this right here, history in the making, man
Kanye’s car accident and near-death experience added a dramatic flourish (unintentionally) to a life he believed was bound for greatness. And he made it so. Kanye was so confident in his talents, and so convinced of his impending success he felt the world would be robbed of a great artist if he had died. And history has proven him right.
Today Kanye West is a genre-bending musician, fashion designer, film-maker and a new father. He made his own luck.
How You Can Hypnotize Yourself to Succeed Like Kanye West
What makes Kanye West great is that he struggles with his ego, lust, passion and self-doubt, and puts it on display for the world.
Entrepreneurial success is no different. If we didn’t believe we had something remarkable to do in this world–something destined to improve people’s lives–we would still be working for other people. Of course it’s not easy to get there. It’s a risk. You know this.
But the first and most important step is belief. You don’t need to be Kanye West, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer or Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi to make a difference. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have their cash piles, though. Ultimately you still have to make something valuable to other people, otherwise all the self-hypnosis in the world won’t make you a success.
Material wealth is one of the ways success is rewarded, but it’s not the only one that matters. There are those who are penniless, self-assured and satisfied because they feel their contribution the world matters. It’s all a matter of belief.
What unites all successful people is the belief that what they do is important. Successful people believe this long before their actions bear fruit.
The most successful people never rest on their accomplishments, and they are tireless in their pursuit of excellence. At the end of the day it’s all a state of mind. Start now.
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