Jay Z, also known as Shawn Corey Carter, is one of the most successful rappers in the game. His story is incredibly inspirational -- from rags to riches, he used hip-hop to escape the poverty he was born into.
From humble beginnings on the streets of Brooklyn, this man is now considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. In 2014, Forbes ranked him as one of the five wealthiest artists in hip-hop, with an estimated worth of $520 million.
Jay Z got to where he is for several reasons. Firstly, he's incredibly talented. Moreover, he's also extremely intelligent, makes good investments and understands the fundamentals of business. He has founded his own record label, entertainment company and clothing line.
As a man who initially made his money off words, Jay Z has a lot of wisdom to give. We could all learn a lot from his example.
He is a testament to the fact that no matter where you come from, you can use your gifts and intelligence to catapult yourself to the top. Each quote below offers a glimpse into the mindset that led him to where he is today.
1. “Jealousy’s a weak emotion."
Don't ever let other people's success define you, and don't use it as an excuse for inaction. What other people are doing in life is not a reflection of your worth in the universe. Jealousy will only slow you down, make you feel insecure and blind you from your own unique path in life.
Everyone moves at his or her own pace, and some of us make it before others. Keep your eye on the prize, stay hungry and don't get discouraged. Envy is a useless emotion, it will only drag you down and make you a negative presence in the lives of those around you.
Fundamentally, jealousy is a product of insecurity. Don't let this kind of self-doubt invade your spirit. Remember, most of us are powerless to change the world around us, but we can change how we respond to it.
2. “I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man!”
Success in business is all about building your own brand and constantly diversifying. Don't ever box yourself in. Sometimes, people carve out such a niche for themselves that they ultimately become obsolete.
The only constant in this world is change, and you have to evolve with it. Stay vigilant and observant, notice trends and network constantly. Be good to those who are good to you -- what goes around comes around.
Be your own business, but don't isolate yourself. This world is built on connections. Establish yourself, plant your roots and then branch out constantly.
3. “I'm a hustler, baby; I sell water to a well!”
Confidence is everything in business. Whatever you are trying to sell, you better believe in it. People can smell doubt from a mile away.
Likewise, remember that sometimes you are the product. In a job interview, you are selling yourself and your skills. When you go into an interview, don't be humble when it's unnecessary -- speak to your strengths and accomplishments. Make your potential buyers feel as though your product is indispensable, even if they don't need it whatsoever. Enthusiasm is everything.
Finally, confidence alone will not lead you to success. You have to want it and be willing to fight for it when necessary. Whether you are hustling on the street or starting your first business venture, you have to stay on the grind. Nothing that's good in life comes easily -- it takes pain, patience, perseverance and willpower.
4. “Identity is a prison you can never escape, but the way to redeem your past is not to run from it, but to try to understand it, and use it as a foundation to grow.”
Self-awareness is one of the most important qualities you can have. It helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, which is the key to personal growth. When people become fully aware of their weaknesses, they will have no blind spots. Accordingly, in business, self-awareness is necessary for self-preservation.
In order to understand yourself, it's necessary to take an honest look at your past. Be aware that where you came from, your family, experiences and education have all molded you in ways that you might not be cognizant of.
Some of us come from easier backgrounds than others, but don't let that define you. People might judge you for these things, but pay them no mind. Our futures are not defined by our pasts, but by how we conduct ourselves in the present. Learn from your mistakes, and use this knowledge as a weapon as you strive forward in life.
5. “I'm not afraid of dying, I'm afraid of not trying.”
Don't be afraid to take risks. If you always play it safe, you will never get anywhere. Life has so much to offer -- indulge it and see where it leads you. Likewise, Winston Churchill once said, "The first quality that is needed is audacity." Simply put: Be bold, my friends.
In the end, you will not regret the times you failed, but you will regret never trying. Failure provides us with the wisdom to succeed in the future. The most successful people in the world failed time and time again, but refused to be discouraged.
Be brave, audacious and tenacious. Place yourself in challenging situations. Seize every opportunity that comes your way, both large and small. Don't live a predetermined life, embrace spontaneity. Life can literally take you anywhere if you allow it to.