Transcending the 8-Hour Workday and Embracing the Hu$tle

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Good Things Come to Those

Ever wonder why people come to our country from foreign lands and make out better than we do? It’s because, by comparison from whence many of them have come, America’s street’s truly are paved with gold. The difference is their point of view. They see the opportunity of being able create several streams of income, whereas we make excuses with empty pockets.

In the United States, most of us experience challenges unique to the First World (I wrote about this in a previous blog post called Zero World Problems). To the average person surviving in the upper middle class, the WiFi connection going down is a major game changer. Typically, within a few blocks or miles of our comfortable homes, some people are sorting through trashcans and living in boxes.

Regardless of who takes the Presidency or which two teams are going to the Super Bowl, I believe that most of us can transcend our existences and actually LIVE, provided we see things outside our traditional jobs. You see, a job (which to some is an acronym for “just over broke”) is there to take care of basic necessities: food; shelter; clothing; modes of transportation. However, I think when the work day ends, the hu$tle should begin.

Here’s the typical day for the average American:

  • Get up in the morning to go to a job we can’t stand
  • Sit around at said job bitching, complaining, and wishing we were somewhere else
  • Return home to gripe some more about what went on at work
  • Eat dinner, usually in front of the TV; still murmering about the job during commercial breaks
  • Go to bed only to start the cycle all over again
  • Pray for the weekends which tend to pass too quickly

However, by slightly changing our point of view, this is how it goes:

  • Get up in the morning to fulfill our work day
  • Because we’re grateful to be working, we do our jobs while imagining the day our side gigs will allow us the opportunity to choose to how we go about making our money
  • Return home ready to start investing in one or more hu$tles
  • Sometimes, dinner is on the run or doesn’t happen at all because we’re grinding
  • Go to bed, sometimes a little late; dream about the future we’re forging for ourselves
  • See our weekends as an opportunity to get more things done

Let’s face it: America is the new Rome. Our empire is the dominant super-power and we’ve become lazy. We allow ourselves to be spoon-fed heaping helpings of processed foods and hours of mind-numbing TV, while imagining more ways to waste our money on the latest technological upgrades. We sleep too much, eat too much, and complain too damn much. We’re more concerned with building someone else’s dream instead of defining and realizing our own.

Ask yourself: If I carve two hours out of my day to build my own business and invest in my family’s future, where will I end up 5 years from now? 10 years? 25 years? Is my legacy one of excuses and gripes or of freedom from unnecessary debt and financial security? What do I want to pass on to my kids, nieces, nephews, and godchildren?

I am writing this on a glorified three-day holiday weekend. While everyone else is scrambling over what to bring to the barbecue and which teams will be playing, I’m moving my figurative chess pieces forward. Not knocking sports or good food, but I have a dream to build and a destiny to fulfill. You should be doing the same.

The dream is free. The hu$tle is sold separately.

Get hu$tlin’.

PURSUING A DREAM FULFILLED

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MMA fighter Kimbo Slice died. Not that he was anywhere on the level of the likes of Ali, Bowie, Prince, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey, or Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, but he’s gone. Celebrities are deep-sixing their asses up outta here and the common folk–our loved ones, friends, relatives–are doing the same in record numbers. Death is taking no holiday; life should not, either! I truly feel that we need to carpe fuckin’ diem and not mess around doing anything that does not line up with pursuing and building our dreams.

Dream to Action

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Chris

I’m no mathematician, but here’s a simple equation for you:

Dream + (Determination x Doing) = Dominance

I went to a concert last night that was sponsored by the Jazz Legacy Foundation. Some heavy hitters represented: El Debarge proved that, though he has aged and has lived a hard life, he has lost nothing in his amazing voice and Gerald Albright raised the roof. However, the last performance was from Brian Culbertson and his band. They. Cut. A. FOOL!!!

Okay, okay, so I am a bit biased, because my brother, Chris Miskel, is the music coordinator and drummer for the group. But that gives me some insight. It wasn’t my first time seeing the animated Culbertson work the stage with several instruments, playing the keys upside down at points, and blessing the audience with his unique amalgamation of Smooth Jazz and Funk. AWESOME show.

Whenever my brother plays and I am in a nearby city, I go see him do his thing. What’s cool is that Chris has been drumming out beats since he could pick up sticks. When we were little, it was typically a pair of pencils or chopsticks, and he was banging on pots, pans, oatmeal boxes, and the oven door–whatever he could get his sticks on. So, before he was able to form a proper sentence, he was defining who he was to be.

Lesson #1: If you dare to dream it, you can be it.

Before they hit the stage, a friend of mine and I ran into my brother in the lobby. He was holding court, sharing some laughs with fellow musicians. When my buddy asked Chris how it felt to be touring and playing for a living, he remarked, “I love it. I don’t know anything else!”

When we were coming up in church, many folks doubted Chris could ever play. There was an unofficial heirarchy, at which my older godbrother, Reggie, sat at the apex. Years later, Reggie would play sideman to famous artists who blew through town. Everybody marveled at his talent and the line formed to the left with young boys who wanted to learn to play. Chris was the youngest and smallest of them, and was therefore underestimated. However, he was patient. He sat next to Reggie on the drum kit every church service (and believe me, there was a lot of services!), mimicking his movements. Reggie saw in Chris a young protege and mentored him. Eventually, Chris would outlast the other hangers-on and became a lead drummer at several churches.

When Chris came to adulthood, he continued to lend his talents to various choirs, churches, and groups. He gigged at bars and clubs, playing everything from R&B to Jazz to Hard Rock. There was nothing he couldn’t do behind a drum kit. Though he had to work a dead-end job to pay his bills, he invested in continuing to hone his craft and build his reputation. He constantly said he was going to play for a living. He eventually did.

Lesson #2: Dogged determination is not just in the conceptualizing, but in the doing. Make your dream a priority and give feet to your faith.

Chris’s words came true. He lives a life of which many could only dream: he tours, exercising his passion. He is lauded as one of the best in his field. He is respected by his fellow drummers.

Lesson #3: Once you have had the audacity to dream it, then put your dreams to work, dominance in your chosen field is sure to follow. Be caught honing your craft while the other guy sleeps.

Chris Miskel is sponsored by and exclusively uses Vic Firth sticks and Pearl drums.