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Business + Life Lessons From Jay Z

There are only a few whose names are synonymous with success, but Jay Z, Mr. “I just signed a new deal”, is one of those whose name should go alongside Webster’s definition of the term. Since his entry into the rap in 1994, his success has been unparalleled. From being considered one of the G.O.A.T’s, to inspiring artists, businessmen and fans a like -Shawn Carter has become the definition of success for many. With business ventures like Roc Nation and Tidal under his belt, an amazing wife, Beyonce’, by his side and an equally successful bevvy of friends in his circle, Jay Z has become one of the most respected men in the world. His success, though others may offer conflicting points of view, is not by coincidence.

One listen to his songs and you will learn so much about life, relationships, and how to hustle. So, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most memorable quotes from Jay, along with our interpretation so you, too, can follow Jay Z’s blueprint to success.

Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section below and play along.

The Lessons:

1. “…just remind yourself, nobody built like you, you designed yourself” –

Our interpretation: At the end of the day, there is no one on this earth like you. The decisions you make influence the life you have – good, bad, or indifferent – your fate is in your hands. This is not only good news for life, it’s GREAT news for business. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur or artist.

2. “…I can’t help the poor if I’m one of them” –

Our interpretation: It’s cool to have your ideals and dreams, but you have to be willing to implement them, and once you reach a certain level, it’s your responsibility to help those less fortunate than you, but you can’t do that if you’re poor yourself. Build wealth, focus on your goals, reach a certain level, and then, look to give back. Jay expounded on this belief in depth on 4:44's Legacy.

3.“Love me or leave me alone” —

Our interpretation: Either respect what I’m doing, where I’m going and who I am, or leave me alone. It’s simple, really. If you can’t get on his level, then just leave him alone. We’re sure a lot of entrepreneurs and artists have come to that point at one time or another. The lesson here is to stand firm in your intent to move forward without those who don’t approve of your process. Sometimes, elevation requires isolation.

4. “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business…man” –

Our interpretation: You’re a brand. Anyone can be a business man, but you have to build a business, man. Brand yourself, brand your business, create the plan and get out there.

5. “Everybody can tell you how to do it, but they never did it” –

Our interpretation: In life, there are always going to be those people who offer unsolicited advice. You’ll recognize these people by their “I would never…” judgments on your decisions – but until a person has walked in your shoes, or is attempting to attain the things you are attempting to attain, who are they to speak in your life? This goes for your career, relationships and business.

6. “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.” –

Our interpretation: Life is short, indulge.

7. “I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of not trying” –

Our interpretation: There are a lot of things that are certain in life, but none as certain as – One day, you’re going to die. Morbid, we know, but absolutely true. Would you rather live a life afraid to take risks, or one in which you tried most of the things you conceived?

8. “I will not lose, for even in defeat, there’s a valuable lesson learned so that evens it up for me” –

Our interpretation: Failure is essential for success. To succeed at a dream, you must fail at it, learn from the failure, and grow. The best lessons are the ones that are discovered through a difficult loss. Success is guaranteed if you can bounce back from failure and learn from it. Fail forward and do it fast.

9. “Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week” -

Our interpretation: Nothing is impossible. Why put limitations on what can be done? The concept of “impossible” is destroyed on a daily basis. They put a man on the moon, explored Mars, found out there may be life in other planets and you think your dream is impossible? The only thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve is the belief it cannot happen.

10. “Far from a Harvard student, just had the balls to do it” –

Our interpretation: You don’t have to be a genius to obtain the life you want. The people who “make it” in this world are the ones who make it happen. Don’t worry if you don’t know everything. The answers will present themselves through the work. There is no such thing as a perfect moment. Start now. It is the only option if you want to reach your dream.

11. “Tried to teach people how to be Kings and all they ever wanted to be was soldiers. So the love is gone until blood is drawn because we no longer wear the same uniform…And truth be told, after all is said, I still have love for you” –

Our interpretation: There will come a point, in business or relationships, where the parties involved will have to part ways – you can’t be afraid to make difficult decisions or part ways with people when your visions no longer mesh. In doing so, understand, there are no easy roads to success – it may mean losing friends and relationships that you’ve cultivated for years. The departure may be forever, or it may be temporary to move into your new season. One thing is certain – successful people learn to make the difficult decisions when it matters most.

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