At midnight on June 30,2017, superstar Jay Z changed the game, and pretty much most of the world rejoiced. Jay Z definitely had the best month ever, bringing his new set of twins into the world, then dropping his highly anticipated album “4:44”, an album that can easily be Album of the Year. It’s clear that Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has grown drastically from his early rapping days. His new album is saturated with words of wisdom, life lessons, apologies to his wife Beyoncé, and an obvious show of unconditional love and concern for his children. Because I can’t stop listening to the album, I figured I’d take a few of Jay’s lyrical gems and break down how you can apply them to your own life.
“They’ll never love you/ You’ll never be good enough, let’s just keep it real..”
When you live your life trying to impress and gain the approval of others, you set yourself up for unnecessary, long-term frustration and stress. The truth is you will never make and keep everyone happy. It’s just not possible. You’ll burn yourself out mentally, emotionally, and physically, even trying to. Opinions and preferences are always changing, and most people are always looking for the next best thing. So live your life on your own terms, so that you don’t have to exhaust yourself overworking to please others.
“And you know better n—-, I know you do/But you gotta do better, boy..you owe it to Blue.”
One of the biggest obstacles to personal growth is knowing what you’re doing is wrong and what you should do, yet still engaging in the behavior anyway. Why continue to do things that are more hazardous and reckless than helpful? Why continue to back slide voluntarily instead of progressing? This behavior is toxic to your personal growth, and only holds you back from activating your full potential. Use what you know to continue to grow. Also, be mindful of others that your decisions and actions may effect directly and indirectly, especially your children. Children are more inclined to watch how you move versus paying attention to the things you may say. And we all know that actions speak louder than words.
3. Get the chip off of your shoulder.
“I know people backstab you, I felt bad too/But this ‘f*** everybody’ attitude ain’t natural.”
While Jay Z was obviously referring to rapper Kanye West and his recent public tantrums, there are plenty of Kanye types walking around. You know the ones …mad at the world, blaming everyone but themselves, and holding major grudges towards people they feel treated them unfairly. When you continue to take on a victim role in your life, you relinquish a lot of your power, often handing that power and control over to others without even realizing it. Thinking the world is against you is very toxic, and distracts you from your personal goals.
People will treat you unfairly at times. Everyone will not have the same good intentions. However, you can’t let that dictate your character and cause you to take on a “me against the world” mentality. When you release grudges and focus on positives instead of dwelling on negatives, you reclaim power and control of your life.
4. There is always a lesson in the storm
“A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson/Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin”
Always remember that you are not your circumstances, and that there is something to learn in all that you go through. Life will throw you curve balls and you will experience disappointments and minor setbacks. Sometimes they may be major. However, no matter the size of the storm, what you learn from the circumstances and how you bounce back makes all the difference. Seek out the lesson in all that you go through instead of dwelling on the problem itself.
“I don’t post no threats on the internet/ I just pose a threat”
It’s no secret that when you’re doing well and happy you run a high risk of becoming a target of someone that’s envious of those things. The reality is that unhappy people that don’t feel like they’re winning in life don’t want to see anyone else doing so. Sometimes these people can even be your family members and friends. While it may be frustrating, be careful not to get caught up in the drama. The best road to take is always going to be the high one. Don’t waste time concerning yourself with people who don’t want to see you win. Let that remain their personal problem. Don’t make it yours. The solution! Continue to do you. Live your best life unconcerned with anyone’s opinion of you. Let negative , drama- filled people battle themselves, and remember..the best revenge of retaliation is unbothered, successful living.
Jay Z raps a lot about financial freedom throughout the album, and for good reason. It’s easy to get caught up in blowing money and trying to keep up with the Joneses in this social media era where everyone wants to outdo their peers ,create images of luxurious living, and gain popularity. While it seems that blowing money is the “thing” to do and the lifestyle highly influenced by entertainers, investing and financial responsibility falls by the wayside.
One of the best things you can ever do for yourself and your family is save and invest for future financial stability. Living in the moment is cool, but being able to live comfortably long term and have something to leave behind for your kids and loved ones is way more productive. Here is a great place to start being more financially responsible: for every time you spend, put away the same amount of money into savings. Matching yourself creates a great foundation, especially when you’re consistent with it.
Karlicia Lewis is a motivational coach and author of self help book “Stop Saying Yes to Mr. No Good”, a guide that helps individuals get out of toxic relationships.