(by Silas Grant)
Several years ago, someone that I know sent me a video to watch. I enjoy comedy, especially angry rants that aren’t always meant to be humorous. As a note, my sense of humor can be strange. But anyway, the person sent this video to me and it was a rant video by rapper “50 Cent”. Initially, I was going to post the video but the language was a bit intense to say the least.
50 Cent was talking about his neighborhood and the jealousy that comes along with being famous and wealthy. He mentioned the animosity from former friends and the attached/clingy people who want to leach off of him. As a rebuttal to these types of people, he offers the thought that he and his former friends all came from the same place. To him, it’s obvious that they had the same chances as he did. Yet, there had to be something that he did that they did not do. Somewhere along the long the line, there was either a lack of ability or a lack of willingness. In his rant, he made the argument that the barrier seemed to be the latter of the two.
Although the video was meant to be funny, at the very end he made a comment that struck me and stuck with me. He said “My grandfather once told me: ‘You’ll only go as far as the people that you talk to for absolutely no reason’”. He went on to explain that his grandfather wanted him to know that if you casually talk to people all day who have no information to offer, then you won’t get anywhere. Needless to say, in the midst of this video that was sent to me for comedic reasons, I learned a valuable lesson.
I originally saw the video years ago. Over the past few weeks, I’ve informally kept track of who I’ve talked to via text, phone, email, in person and on social networks. I’ve ran back through those conversations to measure the general productivity of the people and the productivity of the conversations. I like to help people. But I’ve realized that at this point in time, I have to help myself. So I’m moving away from lengthy conversations with people who can’t help me. I love to give, but I have to charge myself up. And I want to be at a point where I can begin helping other people at a higher level. So, I’m dedicating the next few weeks to only engage with people who can be helpful. I couldn’t remember what was said in that 50 cent rant but I vaguely remembered it being about the information that you get from people in random conversations. So, I searched for it this weekend and saw it again. When I heard those words again, it reminded me of the company that I keep. And in random conversations about absolutely nothing, I am finding out a lot about new ideas and ways to get things done. I took a road trip with a good friend recently and we talked for 8 hours in the car each way. He shared thoughts and ideas as we “shot the breeze” on the highway. I dropped past another friend’s office at lunch recently. We talked for close to an hour and just by chance, a few ideas came up. I have another friend who calls me pretty much every day. In our informal convos, it seems that recently, more ideas have been coming out of those calls.
It’s taking this generation a lot longer to get off the ground and to get into what it is that we really want to spend our time working on. I’ve found that young aspiring people tend to have a problem. That problem is that we believe that ideas and advice will come when we set time aside to have “sit downs” with our authoritative figures. We think that somehow a formal request for a meeting will help us chew on good ideas. To some extent that is true, but if you watch the video of “Where Good Ideas Come From”, you’ll be reminded that “Chance favors the connected mind”. You won’t always get the chance to schedule that formal meeting to run an idea by someone. Maybe the meeting will be postponed. Anything can happen. So, you have to begin to run in circles with people who have good things going on for themselves at all times.
It’s interesting that a rapper’s words would be the context for this entry. Today’s urban music and television scene discourages the idea of meeting new people. It seems that entertainers are now preoccupied with pushing an agenda that discourages trust in others. This agenda seems to push us away from meeting new people and only trusting and relying on those that we played with in the sandbox as children. Unfortunately, if you grew up in a disadvantaged, under/uneducated, lower class socio-economic community, you may not have the opportunity to encounter a plethora of resource-filled people that you can utilize at your disposal.
You may have to meet some new people to accomplish the establishment of a friendship circle where friends offer good information and resources in the midst of conversations that are taking place for absolutely no reason. In order to do this, you have to change your value system when it comes to friends. Friends aren’t solely judged by if they pick you up when you’re stranded, or if you need to borrow money or if they will come to your rescue in a fight. While those are honorable reasons to consider someone a friend, friendship is about people giving you direction and guidance. Acts of support such as helping in a fight or picking someone up are acts that we judged friends on as children. As adults, we have to realize that sometimes you have to avoid fights and do everything you can to limit times when you’re stranded. And if you find yourself in those situations too many times, then maybe you aren’t the best friend that another person can have if you’re situations always put them in jeopardy as they come to save you again and again.
Who are the people that you talk to in your daily walk for absolutely no reason? It’s a good question to ponder on. Do they offer knowledge and resources that can assist in your development? Is there ever a “by the way” moment where they give you a good tip to run with?
I challenge everyone who reads this to take a week (7 days) and monitor who you talk to, the length of the conversation, and if the person gave you any useful information.
If someone is willing to share their observation week, I will let them use this webspace to recap their week.