Love or hate him…there is still so much we can learn from him.
“My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater. That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone in the past that has done so much, and in your life you’re not even allowed to think that you can do as much. That’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.” — Ye
The Kanye West documentary has been a fascinating watch for me for a number of reasons.
First, there is the appropriateness of the name jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy and how it coincides with so many incidences of the series, as the viewer is taken back to the pre-celebrity days of Kanye West’s life in which he was creating amazing music at a very young age.
Next, there is the not surprising revelation that West was not happy with the film being released in its current form (shocker) because he wanted “final edit and approval,” so he could “be in charge of (his) own image.”
A little controversy always makes for an interesting watch.
However, the most fascinating and simultaneously inspiring thing about the Kanye West trilogy is the realization of Kanye’s authenticity from day one.
The person who was bold enough to tell the world George Bush didn’t care about black people on national television, ruin a moment for Taylor Swift to declare that Beyonce had the best video of all time (both SERIOUS a**hole moves BTW) and then create an album called Yeesuz with the comparison of who he thought he was apparent, has had this same level of rather unbelievable (and some would say irrational) confidence since the camera starting filming on the Coodie & Chike Netflix documentary.
While agreed, much of the stuff that Kanye West has pulled in the past is a bit on the edge and is hard to judge and talk about it without coupling it with a serious discussion about mental health, the one thing about Kanye West that I wholeheartedly agree that EVERYONE should look at, respect, and perhaps try to adopt is his unflappable faith and belief in himself.
I would argue that we all could use a sprinkle of such bravado in our cheerios each morning to get us going for a number of reasons.
Things will not fall easily in your favor
Throughout the first episode of the trilogy, the viewer is taken through the world of Kanye West back when he was 19 years old, as told through the eyes of Coodie, the man behind the documentary.
For me, I was instantly amazed at the braggadocious, “you can’t tell me nothing” Kanye who believed in himself despite the number of times things just didn’t work out in his favor.
As he worked hard to take himself from a young kid who was only producing beats for top artists to a well-respected rapper in the hip-hop industry, he was instantly looked at as not “that hot” and trying to hit “above his weight.”
Consistently he was told to stay in his lane and focus on making beats for everyone else.
For many people, this may have been the end, as many people allow the “experts” to dampen their dreams.
However, to increase one’s chances to be successful, it seems that one has to ignore the “Debbie- downers” of the world.
In fact, Kanye’s I-can-do-it-even-if-you-don’t-believe-in-me approach is exactly what many new researchers are saying is what it takes to be successful long term.
New research suggests that individuals who aspire to certain levels in life must act as if they have that confidence to increase their chances of getting to that level.
When he was working to get on with a rap label, he was turned down by numerous record executives who said they thought he was either not “street enough” or too street for their label.
When he finally got onto Rocafella and was seen as someone who had a chance to make some music of his own, he found himself still only looked over for his label mates and consistently asked to make beats to make everyone’s album sound great instead of making his own.
And when he finally got to a position in which he felt like he was getting ready to blow up and release his first album, he gets in the car wreck that could’ve set him back tremendously in regards to getting the name recognition that he felt he deserved.
All of these things may have deterred someone who thought the universe was conspiring against them or didn’t believe in themselves to overcome the odds, but Kanye was just too cocky to think otherwise.
In a world in which we might not get that promotion that we desire or that business deal may fall through because of something outside of our control, this is a great reminder that you need unwavering faith in your abilities to not be denied and give up when the going gets a bit tough.
Other people will not believe in you
How crazy is the story that so many people doubted Kanye?
Kanye, someone who has been nominated for 75 Grammys and won 22, was seen by so many people as someone who was JUST a producer.
He was told he didn’t have the rap skills to really stay with the big boys.
There is this one scene in the documentary in which Kanye gets offended because someone said he’s the best rapper-producer out there, and he said he feels like that is a back-handed compliment because he doesn’t want it to be qualified in any perspective.
He wants to be the best RAPPER…period…and he’s not going to let others’ views of what he can do take away from that desire.
As shared, while on Rocafella, he was getting pushed to the back and his project was put on hold while they decided to focus on more “mainstream” artists.
They saw Kanye as someone who could be a side addition to the label, not a main player and star similar to Jay-Z.
It even got so bad that Kanye decided to start working on his own album with his own money because the label would not release any funds because of their focus on other projects.
Dame Dash, the CEO of Rocafella at the time, even admitted he was surprised to see Kanye’s success and did not see it coming “in a billion years.”
In spite of all of this, he continued to believe that he would be successful and pressed on when so many people who were experienced and well-known leaders in the music industry did not see it.
Sometimes, we can lose faith if those who are supposed to be the experts in a certain arena don’t support our ways.
Where would Kanye West’s career be had he listened to them back then?
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
Lastly, this is the one that really takes the cake.
In a world in which we all just seem to be fighting to stay above the fray of everything going on, when blow after blow comes, if you don’t believe in yourself, then how can you be sure anyone else will?
The reality is that everyone is focused on themselves more than you, and if you are waiting for someone to pump you up and make you feel good about yourself, then unfortunately you may be waiting a very long time.
There’s this famous clip on YouTube from Mel Robbins in which she says,
“No one’s coming. No one’s coming to push you. No one’s going to tell you to turn the T.V. No one’s coming to tell you to get out the door and exercise…it’s up to you.”
When it comes to having confidence in one’s ability and believing that you can be successful in whatever it is that you are passionate about, it is imperative that you have an unwavering belief that you can do it.
Studies have shown that a person’s self-concept (sum of an individual’s beliefs and knowledge about their personal attributes and qualities) can be one of the most important things that will ultimately determine one’s success and mental health in life.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you might not ever doubt yourself from time to time. This can be only natural as you are a human and doubt is a natural part of evaluating if something is the right thing to do.
However, you can’t let that doubt last too long and have to believe in your ability to work hard to see the long-term success that you desire. Without this, you may find yourself always second-guessing if you’re on the right path or if you have what it takes.
If you second guess yourself all the time, it’s going to be challenging to fight off all the negative things that may come your way.
And while no one can promise that you will raise your net worth to the billions like Kanye West was able to AFTER being $53 million in debt with his clothing line, you’ll definitely be better off for it if you have the unwavering belief in yourself to do so.
So the next time you’re having a moment of doubt and are not sure about yourself, maybe take a minute and think WWYD (What Would Yeezus Do) and get back to work.