Perhaps the most important life lesson I’ve learned is that life is a perpetual lesson. What you notice in your outer world is heavily influenced by how your inner world operates.
Art is the perfect example. You and I can see the same painting, or listen to the same song, and have completely different reactions.
If my English degree taught me anything, it is to squeeze every ounce of meaning out of any art or media I consume.
I don’t consider myself a hip-hop expert by any means, but I love listening to the flows of highly talented lyricists who speak about real things. Big Sean is, in my opinion, one of those highly talented lyricists. His new album, I Decided , is filled with powerful messages. Here are seven life lessons that I parsed from Big Sean’s latest album.
“I spent my whole life tryin’ to find the light at the end of the tunnel ; should’ve realized it was inside ” – Light
Lesson 1: It’s so easy to let our happiness and fulfillment be dictated by “if-then” statements. “If I get this promotion, then I’ll be happy.” The reality that is fulfillment comes within. You don’t have to chase the light, you are the light.
“I realized countin’ money never feels as good as countin’ blessings; and a loaded mind is more dangerous than a loaded weapon”
Lesson 2: In our capitalist, materialistic society, we think of money when we think of success and happiness. This mindset makes it easy to forget to express gratitude by counting our blessings.
The second half of this couplet is a modernized version of the “pen is mightier than the sword” concept. In today’s age of information, knowledge truly is power.
“All I ever did was beat the odds ; because when you try to get even it just don’t even out” – No Favors
Lesson 3: How many times have you wished for Karma to catch up to someone you thought deserved to be taken down a peg? I know I’m guilty. This couplet is a reminder that this get-even mindset holds you back. Instead, convert any negative circumstances into fuel for beating the odds
“Yeah I got the force, but I don’t force nothin’. I do it for the love, I’m Forrest Gumpin”- Halfway off the Balcony
Lesson 4: Big Sean weaves together two cinematic analogies brilliantly in this couplet. In case you live under a rock, the references are to Star Wars and Forrest Gump respectively.
The lesson here is twofold. First, just understand how powerful you are. You are the force that makes everything in your life happen. With that being said, don’t force things to happen. Don’t force yourself into a career that doesn’t give you joy. Fulfillment is knowing when to use the Force like Luke, and when to simply enjoy the box of chocolates like Forrest.
“Been through the worst times to get the best back. Wishin’ for a time machine so I could jet back, to my all time low self and throw me a jetpack ” – Sunday Morning Jetpack
Lesson 5: This is a modern take on the “it’s always darkest before dawn” cliché, and one that really hits hard for me. There was a time in my life, however short it was, where I didn’t care if I died. Once I got out of that hole, life begin happening in ways I never thought possible.
I would love to go back and show my 21-year-old self what the future looked like so he could realized the last thing he wanted was to die.
“To get ahead, man you gotta make sacrifices.” – Sacrifices
Lesson 6: You simply cannot achieve success without sacrifice. The level of sacrifice is relative to the level of success you want. Massive success requires massive sacrifice.
“Focus on the inner me ; never on an enemy ” – Sacrifices
Lesson 7: There is nothing to gain from focusing your energy on other people. Focus on only what you can control and you’ll be a lot happier.
If there’s one overarching lesson to wrap up this article, it’s that life lessons can be found anywhere, if only you know where to look.
About the Author:
Brett Pucino is a multi-passionate millennial blogger who loves to write about entrepreneurship, career advice, branding, and personal development. He is a regular contributor for ChelseaKrost.com and JustHaves.com, and is in the process of becoming a career coach under the guidance of Jay R. Lang of BreakthroughJobCoach.com.