Yesterday, I started a discussion on building your brand through longevity and expansion and used Jay Z, one of pop cultures biggest examples of both, in order to bring this huge concept to life. Today is [day two] of this TNN University Lecture Series and there’s much more to learn in these next three sections. Today’s lesson focuses on refocusing your view to look far, not just high. Check it out.
II. Think Miles Ahead, Not Miles High
Lesson: People have always gone back and forth about who the best rapper in the game is/was. Some go with Nas, others go with B.I.G., and some say Tupac. Regardless of who the winner really is, maybe we should look at things a little differently. Let’s look at Nas’ Illmatic album, which is frequently referenced as one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever. Few hardcore hip-hop fans would ever say that any of Jay Z’s albums compete with Illmatic, but look at the two artist’s track records. Jay Z has had eleven solo studio albums, each of which has gone platinum, while Nas has 8 platinums and, what many would call, a declining career. While Nas’ Illmatic shot to the top of the hip-hop rankings, Jay Z has pulled his weight and maintained his career over the years, only building more and more of a following as the years pass (see Exhibit 1 below). The reality is that there can only be [one] #1 spot. So what if it’s not yours, as long as you’re still at the head of your industry as one of the dominant “movers and shakers.”
Needless to say, the chart above is far from being perfectly accurate, but I think you get the idea. I’ve been reading a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, in which he discusses a variety of factors that lead to success and examines some of history’s most brilliant individuals. In a chapter discussing modern geniuses, he talks about how there’s a peak level where IQ starts to matter less and it simply comes down to personal ability. In other words if you have someone with an IQ of 180 and no creative ability and a person with an IQ of 150 and creative genius, studies suggest that there’s a good chance that the creative guy can achieve more than Mr. 180. It’s a great read and I think it speaks to my point.
Application: [Aiming] for second best is NEVER okay, but if that’s where you land, it’s not too bad. Focus on establishing a long-lasting position for yourself within your respective industry and developing yourself as a leading influencer. It’s so much better than being the current hype of the moment and then falling to obscurity the next day (no offense, Nas).
Sidebar: And if you’re not in that top spot, don’t stop reaching for it! Just respect your current place and learn what you need to do better. It can be yours if you work for it.
Class is halfway over. Two more lessons to go. Review your notes and be on time tomorrow.