RUSSELL SIMMONS: Branding lessons from Rush

One of the biggest things Russell has done with his life through his career is this: building and proving a case for black creative professionals in the Hip Hop space to realise there is more to their art than being rappers. And from that, demonstrated how the people who pioneer and propel the culture can eat off it.

Among many others, I’ve learnt four powerful things from Uncle Rush.

And here they are…

  • Give until they can’t live without you!

The biggest mistake we often make is waiting for the situation to favour our wishes so we can be happy, be indispensable and add value. This can take the form of thinking the world needs to give us something first before we display our brilliance.

Instead of figuring out: how I do give of myself until people cannot live without me? This thinking forces you to control the outcome of the interactions in which you participate and gets you to consider how to master your trade. And not merely do it in its simplest (lamest) form.

Most crucially, this mindset makes you realise that giving is nothing more than receiving inside out; that it’s the way to attract and get great things.

  • Love hard work

Hard work, Russell speaks of it, to be something every single person alive ought to preoccupy themselves with.

He talks about how becoming the best street sweeper or dish washer in a restaurant there is (because you work hard at it) will eventually attract attention your way. And when this happens, opportunities to grow beyond your current circumstances shoot up dramatically.

In case you have not woken up to it: Whatever they choose to preoccupy themselves with, we are enchanted by people who are remarkable at what they do!

  • Breathe and smile in every pose 

This is drawn from his life as a yogi. I find it amazing.

Instead of working yourself up about matters you cannot control, why not try to breathe, accept and smile about things?

This is what’s compelling for me: when you live in a state of abundance — and not be needy in how you approach situations — you radiate energy  that allows you to attract far more than you expect to get.

Easier said than done, but it is worth the practice, smile and breathe in every posture.

  • Be authentic!

Speak your truth and never sway from it because of what’s hot right now. Don’t change your voice because you feel yours isn’t what the world needs to hear.

Is it just not interesting, though? That the very perspective you bring and the uncomfortable truth you speak — if not changed or dumbed down due to societal pressure — is what will make you valuable in the long run.

As easily phrased as possible: DO YOU!

And remember this…

Every little thing you do, the way you do it, eventually becomes what you represent.