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Dayo F Osibamowo
37 min read

Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It

Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It

Charlamagne Tha God (2017)

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Location 63: One of my favorite songs at the time was Notorious B.I.G.'s Unbelievable, where he rapped, "If I said it, I meant it, bite my tongue for no one."

Location 65: Bite My Tongue For No One was the mantra I was going to live by. If I had something to say, I was going to say it. If someone wanted to know what I'd said about them, I'd tell them. To their face. What's the worst that could happen

Location 100: Every interview I do, or conversation I have, is rooted in honesty. Whether on the radio, on my podcast, or on TV, I'm always going to be honest. Honest about myself. Honest about my opinions. Honest with whomever I'm talking to.

Location 104: I've lived a great life thus far, and enjoyed every step of the process, the highs and the lows. I don't like to label those experiences good or bad, because they're all part of one lifelong process.

Location 110: My goal for this book is to pass along the valuable principles I've absorbed through living what I feel has been an eventful life. Some of the principles I've developed on my own. Others have been passed down to me by the wise elders I've been fortunate to meet (despite having a big-ass mouth, I pride myself on having big-ass ears too: I'm a great listener). Regardless of their origin, I'm hopeful no matter what your background or situation, you'll find value in all of these:

Location 114: Success isn't determined by the size of the town you're from, or what sort of home you grew up in.

Location 117: There's something special wherever you come from too: find it and use it to help it propel you toward your pursuit of greatness.

Location 119: In order to change your life for the better, first you must change your lifestyle. Which can't happen unless you change the people around you.

Location 123: Thankfully I woke up and realized I had to cut all the losers loose, even the blood relatives, if I was ever going to reach my potential. I hope this section will help you see that no one is a victim of circumstance in life. No matter how or where you were raised, you can make the choice to live a different life.

Location 125: Often the most valuable advice you can give someone is "fuck your dreams." Sounds like pretty depressing advice, but it comes with a qualifier: fuck your dreams when they aren't actually yours. For young African-Americans, relatable images of success are often limited to sports and entertainment. Too many times the dreams you think are yours are actually someone else's; you're only chasing them because you've seen them working for others.

Location 132: As someone who has been fired countless times, I can promise you there are no "losses" in life, only lessons.

Location 136: Learn how to trust what I call "divine misdirection."

Location 136: When you're starting off in your chosen field, just focus on "putting the weed in the bag". It speaks to the importance of embracing the process, instead of what may seem to be the results. Too many people, especially millennials, lack the vision to recognize opportunity when there's not a paycheck attached to it.

Location 140: Always live your truth. When you live your truth, can't nobody try to use that truth against you.

Location 144: Chances are there's something you're uptight or embarrassed about that you could actually turn into a positive by just embracing the truth about yourself.

Location 146: I walk through life assuming that I've got a lot to learn, and I happily soak up any knowledge that comes my way.

Location 147: Too many people take the opposite approach and decide they've got it all figured out by the time they're twenty five. That's a mind-set that is guaranteed to block your blessings. You must stay open to new ideas. To new kinds of people to work with. To new mentors who can coach you. Otherwise, you are always going to be stuck in place.

Location 150: Finally, embrace the concept that you are privileged. I believe in the power and privilege of God. And God created me exactly how he wanted me to be and who he wanted me to be.

Location 151: I believe I'm just as privileged - if not more, as any white person out there. I have to believe that. Otherwise, I'd never have transcended the circumstances I was born into.

Location 153: You must believe strongly that you've got Latino Privilege, Asian Privilege, Tall-Guy Privilege, Smart-Girl Privilege, whatever your particular situation may be.

Location 155: This book is only for those who believe that they can create their own opportunity.

Location 156: Because if you don't believe in your ability to create breaks for yourself, then this book can't do anything for you.

Location 161: Books are what provided me with a sense of escape when the tension between my parents made our home feel suffocating. Books helped give me the confidence to dream bigger than I was supposed to as a poor black boy growing up in the rural South.

Location 166: Some of the topics I touch on might make you uncomfortable. Especially realities that many in America would prefer to sweep under the rug. Realities that are inevitable when cycles of poverty and neglect are repeated year after year, generation after generation.

Location 169: If you're wondering how uplifting principles could come out of a potty mouth like mine, it's simple: I'm a firm believer in the concept of "ratchetness and righteousness." By that I mean embracing the full spectrum of the human experience includes both ignorant and inspiring moments. Far from being mutually exclusive, they're the ying-and-yang of a fully lived life. So enjoy the ratchet moments and get inspired by the righteous ones. Remember shit is the best fertilizer; it's what helps the flowers grow.

Location 179: I want to tell you how the spiritual legacy of the African slaves can still be felt in South Carolina four hundred years later.

Location 188: If you've ever wondered whether you can change your trajectory in life, I'm here to tell you that you can. While everyone's paths are different, have confidence that no matter your situation or your perceived stature in our society, your truth is more than enough to take you where you want to go.

Principle 1: It's Not the Size of the Pond but the Hustle in the Fish

Location 204: When you stop complaining about where you are physically and start focusing on where you are mentally, that's when you will start to transcend your circumstances.

Location 213: Public Enemy once rapped, "History shouldn't be a mystery / Our stories real history / Not his story."

Location 228: I've always found Denmark incredibly inspirational because he didn't have to help the other slaves around Charleston. He'd not only literally won the lottery, but he was also a skilled carpenter and could read, which was a rarity back then. It had to be tempting to say, "Peace, Charleston," and carve out a nice life for himself up north. But he didn't go that route. He was committed to his community and ultimately gave his life trying to liberate it.

Location 234: We need to celebrate heroes like Denmark Vesey whenever we get the chance, instead of letting them become a footnote to history.

Location 404: Looking back, I can see he was tough on me because he didn't want me to make the same mistakes that he had. So even though I wanted my pops to be one of the homies, he knew he wasn't here for that. He was here to be my father and that's exactly what I needed.

Location 412: The place where you were born, or the circumstances you were born into, don't have to define you. You can be born in a Moncks Corner, but have a New York City mind-set. You can grow up in a housing project in Chicago, or a trailer park in Louisiana, and still have the mentality of someone who was raised in LA. I'm speaking here to all the people, especially young ones, who feel trapped by their circumstances. Who feel they must move to an Atlanta, a New York, or a Los Angeles in order to prosper. Ultimately, you might have to make that move. I did. But before you do, you must focus on where your mentality is where you're at.

Location 432: Personally, I never, ever in my life thought that my journey was going to end in Moncks Corner. I might have been raised in a small pond, but I was convinced that my hustle and determination were going to make me a fish that was going to swim on to wider waters. Even when I was really fucking up, I always believed that there was something greater out there for me. And how did I know that? How was I sure of it? Because all the incredible books I was reading and inspirational music I was listening to told me so!!!

Location 436: If I've had any advantage in this life, it's that I was encouraged to read. From an early age, my mother always made sure she had a book in my face. One of the first ones I remember her giving me was from the Jehovah's Witnesses' The Watchtower publications called My Book of Bible Stories. I read those tales over and over again.

Location 439: Around the same time I started reading The Watchtower, my mother made another great move by enrolling me in the Book It! program at my school, Whitesville Elementary. The program was sponsored by Pizza Hut and the idea was every time you read four books, you would get a free personal-pan pizza. Recently, I read a study that claimed this program didn't actually increase or decrease a person's motivation for reading. I would like to take this opportunity to tell whoever wrote that study to please SHUT THE FUCK UP FOREVER.

Location 446: Another savvy thing my mother did was encourage me to read books about people I didn't seem to have anything in common with. She wanted books to help introduce me to worlds that might otherwise seem foreign.

Location 452: From an early age, he'd been exposing me to books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X, or Message to the Blackman in America by Elijah Muhammad. That made me believe that instead of being a fish stuck in a small pond, I was actually a god in control of my own universe. That force was hip-hop.

Location 462: The same way my father couldn't get enough James Brown, I developed a similar love affair with hip-hop. Like all true hip-hop junkies, I can still clearly remember the time I got my first hit.

Location 466: Then came a deep voice that was at once both harder and slicker than anything I'd ever heard before. Thinking of a master plan 'Cause ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand When I heard Rakim spit those opening lines, it was like a whole new world had opened up before me.

Location 473: In fact, the song was called "Paid in Full." He wasn't just going to get paid, he was going to get paid in full.

Location 494: Thanks to hip-hop, I started devouring books off my father's reading list, books like Message to the Blackman in America, which exposed systematic racism, and Akil's From Niggas to God, which expanded on the Five Percenter teachings I'd heard referenced in many songs. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav and The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene's classic that was quoted by so many rappers, also helped me become more strategic in my thinking.

Location 499: The combined effect of these books and music on my mentality was extremely powerful.

Location 515: I'd learned that from Malcolm X to Method Man, from Louis Farrakhan to the Notorious B.I.G., so many of my heroes had grown up in circumstances as bad, if not worse, than mine. If you let society tell it, none of them should have achieved what they did. But they had made it. They had become legends. Because someone had planted the seed in their minds that they were bigger than whatever environment could have easily held them down. Just like they had instilled that sense of confidence in me.

Location 522: In order to chase your dreams to their end, you must be very focused on getting inspiration where it's available. Make sure, however, that you continue to explore books that don't seem to directly connect with your experience.

Location 526: If you're into sports, read a book about science. Or if you mainly read self-help books, check out a historical novel. As I learned from my mother, there is incredible power in subjects that don't seem to pertain to you. One of the best books I read recently is Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, a guide to how to get your story across on social media.

Location 536: Exploring people and ideas outside your comfort zone is one area where hip-hop has been, unfortunately, very weak. As a culture, we don't allow ourselves a chance to grow. If something doesn't look like "us," or sound like "us," we have a tendency to dismiss it out of hand.

Location 546: Another mistake people with small pond mind-sets make is not being motivated by the success stories taking place right in front of them.

Location 560: If one person that looks like you made it, then you can too.  - Gary Vaynerchuk on The Brilliant Idiots

Location 581: When I read Sam Walton's story, I just figured, "If this guy from the middle of nowhere could make his dreams come true, why couldn't I?" I didn't care that Sam Walton was a white man. Or that he was passionate about retail, which has never been an area of interest to me. I just knew he had come from a small town and built something national. Something with a legacy. That was more than enough for me.

Location 594: No, when I'm stuck, I reconnect with my core. That means getting on a plane to Charleston and then heading straight to Moncks Corner. I will literally drive to my mom's house and go sleep in my old bedroom.

When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind. - African Proverb

Location 611: In order to get your equilibrium right, you must return to your core. If you can still physically go back, jump in the car or on a plane and get there ASAP. Lie in your old bed and reconnect with your old dreams. Sit on your front porch and remember how you felt as a young man or woman.

Principle 2: PYP (Pick Your Passion, Poison, or Procrastination)

Location 623: There are three primary "P's" to choose from in life:

  1. Passion, which leads to prosperity.
  2. Poison, which leads to pain.
  3. Procrastination, which doesn't lead anywhere at all, because you sit around waiting for things to just magically happen.

Please don't pick "P's" numbers 2 and 3. Instead of hoping you'll be successful, follow your passion and make conscious decisions that will help you realize your destiny.

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice.

Location 640: Real men protect and provide for their families by any legal means necessary. Did you catch that? By Any LEGAL Means Necessary.

Location 719: I once read that during the cultural revolution in China, wearing glasses often got people killed because they were a symbol of elitism.

Location 756: To their credit, a few of the teachers saw that I wasn't as stupid as my actions suggested and encouraged me to get my act together. "Larry, you're only choosing to play dumb," my seventh-grade math teacher, Mrs. Gibbs, told me. "It might be funny to you now, but it's going to hurt you in the long run." I knew she was right, especially the "choosing"part, but I still didn't listen.

Location 777: Just in case you have any doubt that the bad choices you make as a kid can mess you up forever, let me tell you what happened to Jamal. When we were teenagers he got busted with a concealed weapon. Then he caught a couple cocaine convictions. Finally, in 2007, he was arrested for strangling a woman to death with her pajama pants. They gave him a thirty-year bid, which he was serving until he killed himself in jail in 2014. I can't say for sure things would have turned out different for Jamal if we hadn't been getting wasted during eighth-grade recess, but I can say that lifestyle was setting me up to ruin my own life.

Location 851: Nothing gets through to a hardheaded teenage boy like manual labor. Words-be they threats or encouragement-go in one ear and out the other. Those ten days of shoveling dirt got my full attention.

Location 1087: Not this one. Nope, you couldn't tell me I wasn't a REAL nigga in them Moncks Corner streets. And I was . . . a REAL STUPID nigga. One who couldn't see that his choices were leading him further and further down a deadend path.

Location 1110: Here's the thing: my boy told that story as a testimony to God's power. In his twisted mind, God answered his prayer and made the cop drive past him. When he told me that, I looked him dead in his eye and said, "Man, if you don't shut your dumb ass up! God wasn't looking out for you, he was looking out for the cop!" My boy probably got confused because he thought he was communicating with God when he was really chopping it up with the devil. That's an easy mistake to make because the DEVIL is the one who makes the most noise. God doesn't make a big fuss - if anything, he damn near whispers. You either listen or you don't. Everything good that happens to you is because of God; everything bad that happens to you is on you because you made the choice not to recognize the power of God in you. It was your choice. That's why I hate when people say they "found God." Man, God was never lost. You were. There was never a missing person's report out for our creator.

Location 1123: If you're trying to get a point across to a knucklehead teenage boy, you've got to show and prove by actions and deeds. Your example is what gets through to a teenager. Not words.

Location 1157: My father probably didn't know William Jennings Bryan from will.i.am, but he sure as hell understood the concept of "destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice."

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice. - Wayne Dyer

Location 1165: Today, I've taken that concept and turned it into a maxim I call PYP: Pick Your Poison, Procrastination, or Passion. It reflects my belief that we have three basic choices in how we approach our lives.

Location 1167: We can pick our poison, which is doing the dumb shit that might make us a little bit of money or temporarily feel like a big shot, but in the long run will destroy our lives.

Location 1170: We can pick our procrastinations, which are those choices that aren't as obviously negative as our poisons but still don't take us where we need to go.

Location 1173: The danger of procrastination is that we can get stuck in it for our entire lives. Even after we start our careers, we can get caught up in a cycle of choices that don't poison our lives but don't propel them either.

Location 1177: A lot of people choose not to make those choices. They'd rather wait for the chance they'll fulfill their destiny than actually choose to grab it.

Location 1178: Our other choice is passion. One of the reasons I always refer to myself as a member of the "Pinkett-Smith-Winfrey-Knowles-Carter" family is because those are examples of five powerful black people who have always picked their passion in life. Individuals who never let the circumstances of their situations dictate how they were going to live their lives. They never settled. They always went for what mattered to them. Those are the people I strive to emulate.

Location 1181: When I was young, my passion was learning. I felt energized and fulfilled when I was reading a book, or addressing a class. Then I got disconnected from my passion.

Location 1183: It wouldn't be until I weaned myself off the poison that was drug dealing and street life once and for all that I would be able to recognize the passion that would refocus and transform my life: The radio.

Principle 3: Fuck Your Dreams

Location 1194: It doesn't benefit you or the person you're talking to when you sugarcoat your words. You have to tell people what they need to hear, as opposed to what they want to hear. And if you are the person getting that harsh dose of reality, then make sure you accept it.

Location 1337: It was all too much. I had people possibly lying to girls, using my name to sexually assault women. I had people possibly stealing dope from me. Not to mention forcing me to go on home invasions where God knows what might happen. CLEARLY I needed some new friends. "I'm done with this lifestyle," I told myself with finality. "I'm done with all this street shit. The lies, the drama, the danger, the death. I'm not going to make it if I try to keep one foot in the street. It's going to suck me in and I'm never going to get out." Yes, I'd said those words before. This time I meant them.

Location 1364: The theory is that the shame of being isolated will motivate you to correct whatever mistakes you've made, but I thought the whole concept was wack. If someone is going through a rough period, help them. Don't ostracize them and make them feel even worse about themselves.

Location 1377: I've taken valuable lessons from many organized groups - the Witnesses, the Nation of Islam, the Five Percenters, just to name a few. At the end of the day, however, I'm a spiritual person. Not a religious one. Having said that, I do believe that in order to be truly successful in this world, you need to have a close relationship with God.

I'm always shocked when I run into people who don't believe in God. I'll even ask them, "How can you not believe that there's a power greater than you who's engineering this whole system of things?" Usually they'll tell me something like, "Man, God is just some mythical fairy tale. God is no different than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy." I disagree wholeheartedly, but that mind-set is honestly one of the reasons I don't sell that junk about holiday headliners to my daughters. Maybe it's the Witness influence on me, but to this day I'm not a fan of holidays. I think it's a mistake to hype your kids on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy on one hand, and then try to sell them on God with the other. When they get older and realize Santa and the Easter Bunny aren't real, it becomes too easy for them to dismiss God as well. "So you were lying to me about everybody else, but this God character is real?" they'll say. "Yeah, right." And then they'll miss out on the affirmation, confidence, and faith that religion can provide when they're older and really need it.

Location 1462: Dr. Evans made us work out and watch what we ate. He was also a heavy reader and put me on to impactful books like The Art of War and taught me about historical figures I'd been sleeping on, like Denmark Vesey. He preached that in order to reach our full potential, both our bodies and our minds needed to be sharp. Being around his positive, focused energy had me looking at life in a different way. He was becoming an incredible mentor to me. One who was about to give me the most important career advice I'd ever receive.

Location 1512: Fuck Your Dream (If It's Not Really Yours) I'm incredibly grateful that in Dr. Evans I had a mentor who was honest enough to tell me "fuck your dream." It sounds strange, thanking someone for announcing "you suck," but it's the type of mentorship that's desperately needed. Especially in the African-American community.

Location 1520: You might have been born with a gene that makes you predisposed to be able to build a stem cell, or design a skyscraper, but you'll never realize that if you waste your time trying to spit rhymes like Jay Z or shoot threes like Steph. Jay himself said, "Remind yourself / Nobody built like you / You designed yourself!" That should be our collective mentality. Design yourself. Construct your own dream. We have to stop thinking that just because we see something working spectacularly for someone else, that's the only path available to us!

Location 1534: In response to this epidemic of "false dream" chasing in the African-American community, I try to use my voice and platform to be what I call a de-motivational speaker.

Location 1583: Sometimes you have the right dream but the wrong approach. If that's the case, then you still need a demotivational speech.

Location 1608: "Don't dream too big" is a very poisonous thought to put into the mind of a young person:

Location 1613: Someone who chose pursuing passion over procrastination. Those are the types of people you want to listen to.

Principle 4: There Are No Losses, Only Lessons

Location 1630: You should give zero fucks about any perceived losses in life as long as you learn something from them. Always look for the lesson in any situation you think didn't go your way. Understand that your plan isn't necessarily also God's plan for you.

Location 1652: When I'm moving full steam toward my goals and suddenly I get knocked off my path, I don't get flustered or despondent. I just have the confidence that I'm going to be redirected to the next opportunity. Which is why I like to call getting fired an act of "divine misdirection."I've learned that I can map out all the moves I want, but ultimately God's GPS is better than whatever navigation app I've downloaded.

I did learn one thing that day: no amount of classroom instruction can ever match the experience you'll get from actually performing a job. Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. - Oscar Wilde

Location 1725: As the saying goes, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Location 1772: "If I ever hear you say what you can't do again, I'll slap the shit outta you!" he said, before adding, "Listen to me, you son of a bitch: when there's an opportunity, you take it. You grab it now and we'll figure out how to be a PD later. Never tell me or another person what you can't do. How do you even know you can't do it?" When he explained it to me like that, I knew he was speaking pure gospel.

Location 1779: A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. - Winston Churchill

Location 1798: Remember, when God plants something in your spirit, embrace where that energy takes you. Don't make the mistake of fixating on what's not going to happen, think about all that will happen because you are following a plan laid out by the creator.

Location 1963: Landing the spot on Wendy's show is a perfect example of why you should never get caught up worrying about what people might perceive as a "loss."

Location 1966: It might have looked like I was taking losses, but I refused to adopt a loser's mentality. A true winner values their integrity no matter what the fallout.

Location 1969: If I had gone the "safe" route, I would have completely screwed up the route God had planned for me. That path might not have looked like a straight line to success. But like I said, God's always got the latest GPS update.

Location 2016:
Without my check from Wendy, that wasn't affordable any longer. I could have signed up for unemployment in NYC, but my pride just wouldn't let me do it. I was an able-bodied young man. The idea of taking a handout from the government just didn't sit right with me. Plus, I could only imagine what people would say if a picture leaked of me standing in line at the unemployment office. The jokes would never end. So I decided to keep my black ass home and watch our daughter while Mook Mook went to work every day for a blood lab in Manhattan. Now, for a lot of men, that situation would be the very definition of a loss. Going from a high-profile job to running a daddy day care while his woman goes out and brings home the turkey bacon. Not me. I consider those days to be one of the highlights of my life. The reason is simple: it helped me build a lasting bond with my daughter.

Location 2030: This period in my life is a prime example of the principle that returning to your core doesn't always have to entail taking a physical trip. Very few things will center you and recharge your spirit like caring for your child. The best thing that happened to me was that instead of rushing into another radio job, I was able to press reset through staying at home with my daughter and get my mind and spirit together. In retrospect, getting fired from Wendy's show was exactly the misdirection God wanted for my personal development.

Location 2097: "Because I'm always prepared for situations like this." That remains a tradition of mine - I don't keep any personal items in my office. Because you just never know.

There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. - Malcolm X

Location 2190: I didn't have to think hard about taking Swizz up on his offer. If someone offers me an opportunity, they're not going to have to tell me twice.

God Jewel: When someone offers to help you, tell them exactly what you want. Don't beat around the bush. If you're not crystal clear about what your ask is, chances are you won't get anything.

Location 2212: I've done this a hundred times, and trust me, once money gets involved people tend to flip. Whether they're your man or not."

Location 2243: Still, as with all my so-called losses, I took several lessons from the situation. The greatest was that you can never - even if the situation blows up in your face - hurt yourself by helping others. Swizz showed me that no matter how big you are, you can always help the next person. If they don't capitalize on your assistance, that's on them. But never let it affect your willingness to give of yourself.

Location 2252: Good givers are great getters. - Russell Simmons

Location 2253: In life there's no losses (even the ones that give you anxiety attacks), only lessons. That's because you live and you learn.

Principle 5: Put the Weed in the Bag!

Location 2261: Success is a process: there are no cheat codes, no life hacks, no shortcuts, and no half steps. Opportunity always comes before money, but sadly a lot of us don't recognize it unless there's a paycheck attached. Don't make that mistake. When you're just starting out, put yourself in the position to be a part of the process, and THEN get that money!!

Location 2267: If you want to see a person's true character, watch how they treat people who seemingly can't help them.

Location 2275: One night I decided to take a walk down the dirt road by my mom's house. As I breathed in the clean country air, I said a prayer, like I always do. Simply asking God for direction. After a few minutes, any worries or insecurities I had been experiencing faded from my thoughts. I felt completely at peace.

God Jewel: Always follow your instincts, because your instincts are God's voice telling you what to do. And you better listen closely, because God doesn't repeat himself and God isn't loud. Whenever you hear that faint whisper in your head telling you what direction to move in, that's where you want to go.

Location 2313: Too often we're given bad advice on what it takes to get from where we are to where we want to be. We're taught that the only accurate sign that we're moving toward success is making money. We get caught up sweating the results instead of embracing the process. Even though embracing the process is the only way you're ever going to get what you want out of life.

Location 2323: Whether you want to be a DJ, a lawyer, an engineer, a doctor, a musician, or an investment banker, there are no cheat codes, no life hacks or shortcuts to success. You have to embrace the process before you can reap the rewards. You're always going to have to put the weed in the bag first.

Location 2361: This is what many kids today fail to understand: you're supposed to be busting your ass for "nothing" when you're in your twenties. And sometimes even your thirties. That doesn't mean you're being exploited. It means you're building up the skills, connections, and reputation to eventually build a platform of your own.

Location 2407: As Robert Greene says in 48 Laws of Power, "Conceal your intentions." Your only value to them is the work you put in.

Location 2431: Are there going to be people who will take advantage of your willingness to value opportunity over money? Who might appear to be getting over on you? Absolutely.

Location 2487: "Because when I pray to God to take negativity out of my life, he's not swinging at spirits. He's swinging at people who are the living embodiment of negativity in my life."

Location 2494: That means the people you piss off at one stop are probably going to pop up at another one sooner or later. So treat people with respect where you are, or you might pay for it later.

Location 2503: At one point I asked Paul, "Tell me how people who've achieved fame manage to fall off?". "Their attitudes and managers," he replied. "Bad attitude speaks for itself. But you know, you get these managers that speak for you and they take a bunch of your money and they create drama where there is no need for it," he told me." The most dangerous thing they do is gas up the talent. They make you feel like you're bigger than the company, which you never are. I don't care how famous you are, or how much press you get, you're never bigger than the company. And if a manager makes you feel like you are, they're doing you a great disservice."

Location 2515: No matter how far you get in the game, there's always another level to reach. That's true for radio jocks, but it's also true for chefs, lawyers, rappers, accountants, and teachers. Measure your success by the opportunities you're presented with and the opportunities you're creating for others. Not the amount of zeros in your paycheck. When that's your sole measurement, you're going to come up short in the end.

Location 2542: It's true of any lane you want to be in. If you want to be a writer, start fucking writing! Again, it doesn't cost anything to post your thoughts on a blog, Facebook, Tumblr, or any social media site. If what you're writing is good, eventually someone with a larger platform will notice and give you an opportunity.

Location 2553: I believe one reason people are looking for shortcuts, instead of opportunities to do the work and be productive, is because social media has given them a false sense of value. They really believe that if they tweet something, or even just retweet it, and it gets a couple of likes, the next step is radio or television. So let me say this very clearly: being active on social media can amplify the work you're already doing, but it is not work unto itself.

Location 2646: One indicator I use to tell whether someone is built for success is their attitude toward time management. Time is something that you can't fight or try to escape. If it takes an hour to get somewhere, stop trying to get there in forty-five minutes.

Location 2654: Sleep is the one area you simply can't cut corners. I got gassed up too back in the day when I heard Nas rap, "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." I spent too much of my twenties thinking, "Damn, if I'm sleeping, I must be slacking," but now I know better. If anything, a lack of sleep is what's going to kill you. The truth is, unless you're an artist in a creative groove that you just don't want to break, there's not a lot of legit business being conducted at 4:00 a.m. Sorry. For everyone working nine-to-five hours, you need rest to be effective.

Location 2658: I was always told when you sleep God does maintenance on your soul, and when you get a good night's rest, it damn sure feels that way. You feel refreshed physically and spiritually. Another great thing about getting a good night's sleep is it helps you retain information. One of my favorite things to do before bed is to read something uplifting in a book. I try to end my day with positive information that can settle in my mind as I sleep and then really stick in my brain.

Location 2764: If you're trying to lose weight, it all comes down to diet. I've worked out for years, but no amount of bench press will offset working out and then going to Chick-fil-A after the gym. So now I eat vegetables or something green with every meal, whether it's spinach with an omelet, salad at lunch, or asparagus at dinner.

Principle 6: Live Your Truth

Location 2797: Always live your truth. That way no one can use your truth against you. Better to tell the truth and deal with the consequences right away.

Location 2817: When you are completely honest about yourself, there is very little people can say about you that's going to have a negative impact. It's hard for a person to slander you about something you've already revealed to the world. As I like to say, "No judgment or opinion formed against you shall prosper when you live your truth."

Location 2826: People are thirsty for the truth. Sate that thirst, and they should always appreciate you.

Location 2827: But before you can reap the benefits of being honest with other people, you have to learn to be honest with yourself first.

Location 2883: Nothing was off-limits. Nothing was sacred or inappropriate. Everything could be turned into a joke.

Location 2913: Whoever you are, you can have a "however." If it's already there, then let it shine. If it's not, get to work on developing it. Remember, Biggie didn't sit there in his mom's crib feeling sorry for himself because he was a fat dark-skinned kid with a lazy eye and an AWOL father. He hit those Brooklyn streets and developed a bunch of "howevers." Chances are, you don't have it any worse than Biggie did, so get to work on your "howevers," too.

Location 2931: You can never be embarrassed or discredited about something if you share it with the world first.

Location 2933: If you would not be laughed at, be the first to laugh at yourself.  - Benjamin Franklin

Location 2973: I don't respect anybody who can't poke fun at themselves if they also go at other people. To me, that's a sign of weakness. I pride myself on being strong.

Location 3000: If you're uptight about something, the best thing you can do is be completely candid about what's bothering you. Try it. Pick something that you've always been self-conscious or guarded about and start sharing it with the world. If it's physical, show it. If it's emotional, share it. I'm confident you'll see that, far from making jokes at your expense, people will be sympathetic, even supportive. And most important, you're taking all the power out of it. At the end of the day, everyone respects honesty. When you free yourself of all the insecurity and anxiety that's been weighing you down, you'll be shocked at how high you can soar.

God Jewel: Always be wary when someone over forty calls you "son" unless it's your own father.

God Jewel: For those that fly may fight again / Which he can never do that's slain."That's the British poet Samuel Butler explaining in the nineteenth century what's still true today: running away when outnumbered is always your best tactical choice. . . .

Location 3248: When all you've been getting is pre-approved validation, hearing the hard truth can mess your head up. I'm sure that's how Kanye felt. All the more reason he needed to hear it. If the people closest to you won't be real with you, how else can you improve? How else can you push yourself? How else will you know when you're playing yourself?

Location 3260: I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job. - Samuel Goldwyn

Location 3270: This is why it's so important to empower your inner circle. Get your ego in check and listen when they slander you. Instead of pushing an honest friend away, bring him or her even closer into your decision-making process. Sure, it hurts to be criticized at first, especially by people close to you. But you'll get over that little sting.

Location 3276: But the person you really need to be brutally honest with is your significant other.

Location 3350: In a romantic relationship, it's always better to deal with reality than fantasy. I'm not going to sell a dream to my wife - I would rather live the dream with her, and that only happens when the relationship is rooted in honesty.

Principle 7: Give People the Credit They Deserve for Being Stupid

Location 3383: Knowledge is infinite. That means there's no limit to what you can learn. So if you THINK you're the smartest person in the room, then you clearly have been in that room - and around the same people - for far too long. You must always stay open and receptive to new information via friends, family, coaches, elders, and experiences.

Location 3393: Do you know what does make someone stupid? Being unwilling to learn. Being closed off to absorbing new information.

Location 3408: You still don't ever want kids to lose their inquisitive instinct. Asking questions is what helps them evolve. It's what teaches them how to avoid danger. It's what helps them make sense of their place in the world. It's what inspires them to dream. Unfortunately, as we grow older we tend to lose that childlike curiosity. Instead of asking questions when we don't know something (which still happens every day), we keep our mouths shut. Instead of pestering our elders to explain the many things we don't understand, we try to act like we know as much as they do, if not more.

Location 3415: The answer is simple: if you're not evolving, then you're regressing. There's no middle ground. This is why it's no coincidence that every succesful adult I know has a thirst for knowledge that rivals my eight-year-old daughter's. They might not ask as many questions verbally, but they share the same energy.

Location 3431: It's important to remain open in your relationship with the world. They say that closed mouths don't get fed. Well, the same is true for minds. This is why you must stay open to making new friends. Open to who you work with. Open to criticism. Open to changing your mind. And open to changing your relationships. Because when you close off your mind to those opportunities, you are also closing the door on your ability to get the most out of life.

Location 3469: I'm not suggesting you get rid of all your Day Ones, or shouldn't go to them when you need someone to talk to. But in order for them to remain relevant in your life today, they need to be evolving at the same pace as you are. If not faster. Because if a person is stuck in the same place mentally where they were when you were kids, then that's not someone you should still look to for meaningful advice.

Location 3484: I want friends who can talk about those subjects but who can also recommend new books about spirituality, history, or success.

Location 3499: Muhammad Ali once said, "The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."

Location 3505: I am not the same man I was thirty-five years ago. And I hope that five years and ten years from now, I'll be a better man, a more mature man, a wiser man, a more humble man, and a more spirited man to serve the good of my people and the good of humanity.  - Louis Farrakhan

You can't come from a more unenlightened background than I did. Nineties hip-hop was great, but one of its failings was promoting a lot of casual misogyny and homophobia.

Location 3564: "It's not just gay men," he protested. "It's also liars, thieves, murderers - I don't kick it with anyone that the Bible says is sinning, I won't get too close to them. How does two people being attracted to each other even remotely equal murder?" I asked, before adding, "And to be clear, we've all sinned according to the Bible. I've had premarital sex. Eaten pork. Wore blended fabrics.I've ate shellfish. But you're ready to overlook those sins, aren't you?" The guy didn't really have an answer for that. How could he? I had to tell him "peace" and then get on my way because I've got very little time for people like that - those who only like to cite the Bible when it's convenient to their argument. Folks like that are a joke to me.

Location 3578: All you can do in this life is hope that the universe brings positive people into your life. Whether they're gay or straight is irrelevant.

Location 3600: Personally, I love working with and for women. I like to call them "the Original CEOs," since they've been getting men together since the beginning of time.

Location 3609: Collectively we've got to do more to support all women, not just our immediate family members. I've got two daughters, and I don't want them entering a workforce where they're going to have to do more just to earn less. My eldest isn't even nine years old yet and already she's very articulate about what she wants to accomplish in her life. To think that she'd have to overcome extra barriers to reach those goals is unacceptable to me. We don't accept that possibility for our sons. So why is it acceptable for our daughters?

Location 3613: One of the things I didn't like about the Five Percenters back when I used to study their lessons is they believed that all white people are the devil. I can't believe that any entire race or nation of people is inherently evil.

Location 3651: While I accept the reality of prejudice, I won't surrender to it. As soon as I start thinking about prejudice, I immediately tell myself to get over it. It's not that I'm in denial about racial realities. Just the opposite. I know that if I give them too much credence, they will become a crutch for me to lean on when times get tough.

Location 3693: "Manners will take you where money won't."

Location 3698: Energy is contagious. If you walk into a room acting grumpy and mean mugging, the room is going to get uptight. If you walk in with a hello and a smile, you automatically make the energy positive.

Location 3710: When you meet someone, not only do you not know who they are, just as important, you don't know who they're going to be.

Location 3748: Being upfront and honest with people to me is the ultimate sign of respect. It's how I treat people, and it's how I hope people will treat me.

Location 3749: No matter who you work with - black or white, men or women, gay or straight - to reach your full potential, you must remain open to good advice. I don't care how skilled you are, what sort of accolades you've received, or how big your check is. Your continued evolution depends on being able to accept criticism and advice from people who are more experienced than you. When you make the mistake of thinking you know it all, you're going to shut yourself off from so much wisdom. I see talented people fall into this trap all the time. They experience a little success and then think their talent is enough to carry them the rest of the way to the top. If they meet someone who doesn't seem as gifted, or skilled, as they are, they'll dismiss that person's advice out of hand. But here's a little secret: there are a lot of people out there whose main talent is their ability to coach.

Location 3766: When you can freely admit "I don't know everything," then you're always going to be open to more instruction.

Location 3777: Cadillac blessed me with so many gems during our time together, but probably the greatest was teaching me the "Law of Ten." It states that when a media personality puts an opinion or an idea out into the world, three people will like it unconditionally, three people will hate it unconditionally, and four people will be on the fence about it.

Location 3782: Cadillac knew better. "Just ignore the haters, because nothing you say is going to change their opinion," he told me. "They're not interested in your ideas. They just get off on attacking you." Instead of exhausting precious energy on the three people who already hate me, Cadillac coached me to focus on the four people who are undecided. "Those are the people who are worth your effort. The other ones are already a lost cause."

Location 3876: Before we left for a vacation on the beautiful island of Anguilla, I went to her father, said I was going to propose, and asked for his blessing, which he gave to me. (He should have, considering how much of my Rèmy he's drunk over the years.)

Location 3889: Once I was married, I realized expanding my radio career or locking down more TV deals wasn't true success. Only marriage gives me a feeling of contentedness. Raising a family the right way is the only thing that brings me pure peace.

Location 3903: Every single one of us has the ability to break out of our bad habits and realize our full potential. To go from a bum-ass boyfriend to a happy husband. To transition from struggling to get by to enjoying sustained success.

Location 3904: The key is to never feel like you're stuck in one place. Stay open. Be coachable. Don't rely on peers who aren't progressing, and make sure you do listen to your elders when they give you gems.

Location 3920: In case you thought you were going to heaven in a polyester suit, according to Leviticus 19:19: "Keep my decrees . . . Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."

Principle 8: Access Your Black Privilege

Location 3928: Regardless of any system meant to oppress me, God designed me to win. The only way I can lose is if as a Black Man I allow myself to believe America is structured to make me feel inferior. But I'll never do that. Instead, I'm confident in the knowledge that every man and every woman is equal in the eyes of God. We each have our own unique privileges. It's just up to us to unlock them . . .

Location 3965: The Five Percenters' philosophy might sound radical, but it really isn't. The importance of believing in yourself is a concept at the root of almost every philosophy and culture. It's a message that's been shared in so many different ways, words, and platforms over the centuries. One of my favorite quotes on the subject is from the metaphysical author Christian D. Larson, who wrote, "Believe in yourself and all that you are and know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle."

Location 3999: Nope, I'll never tell you racism isn't real, because it is. Just as white privilege is real too. Instead, what I'm encouraging you to do is stop letting them define you. You might say, "Well, it's a little hard to ignore it when no one ever replies to my resumé because it reads Shareka at the top. "Just as you might say, "It's a little hard to ignore it when I'm pulled over ten times a year simply for driving while black."

Location 4008: Blaming yourself for not being great might seem like an exercise in self-hate, but I promise it's actually one of the most optimistic outlooks you can have. When you hold yourself accountable, what you're really doing is freeing yourself from mental bondage. You're saying: "Try as it might, racism can't stop me. White Privilege can't stop me. If there's something out there that I haven't gotten, it's because I haven't taken it." Winston Churchill once said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Location 4012: When you blame yourself instead of the white man, then you're actually being optimistic.

Location 4034: I simply can't grasp the concept of someone being better than me because of the color of their skin, their position or status in life. I truly believe, as the subtitle of this book states, that opportunity comes to those who create it.

Location 4039: Black Privilege isn't about what someone else is doing; it's just about being aware of who and what you are and drawing strength from that.

Location 4043: I want everyone reading this book to reach their dreams just like I have. And I sincerely believe that embracing your own privilege, instead of being intimidated by someone else's, is the best way to do it.

Location 4046: I don't care what your economic condition is; I don't care where you were born. If you tap into the power of God in you, then you can make it out of any situation. Faith plus hard work can change any circumstance.

Location 4050: Your relationship with God works the same way. You can't just pray for him to bless you. No, you must pray and then go out there and put the work in. You must allow God to help you by helping yourself.

Location 4055: I say you must not believe in God like you claim you do, because if you did, you wouldn't question him ever. I pray for clarity; I pray that God speaks through me; I pray that he directs my steps and moves me the way he wants me to move. I pray for forgiveness every day, several times a day. And I pray that God is with me and everybody I love and care for throughout the day.

Location 4058: My own experience has taught me that believing in the privilege God has blessed you with can be the difference between winning and losing.

Location 4072: This philosophy of accessing your privilege - no matter what sort of privilege it is - is only for the winners, the dreamers, and the doers. Those of us who understand opportunity comes to those who take it! Who understand that privilege exists within us all because God gave it to us. Not America, not this system, the white man, or any man. They can put us in chains, steal our names, deny us our rights, throw us in jail, and even shoot us dead for the color of our skin, but they still can't keep us from what is divinely ours.