Last night, I was sitting in my bedroom with my wife who was watching "So You Think You Can Dance?" (One of the many reality competition shows I loathe) when I said a derogatory comment about the female judges face. My wife turned to me in disgust and said "Why do you always have to so negative?". I didn't say a word. The reason I remained quiet was because we've had this discussion a million times before and it always deteriorates rapidly into an argument. But it did get me to thinking.
Everyday on Twitter we see random quotes from celebrities and wannabes from Diddy to the random rapper who is harassing everybody to download his music to "Believe in Yourself" and "Focus + Drive = Success" or some bulltwit like that. I'm not knocking positive thinking, I encourage positivity in my kids daily. But the problem is when too much positivity makes you blind to everything that's going on in the real world. This thinking is especially prevalent in today's Hip-Hop generation. Of course its easy for Diddy or Russell Simmons to spread a positive message, it worked for them in accomplishing their dreams and the money's already been made. But what about that young kid who wants to be like them but is currently living in a climate where its getting more and more impossible for him to reach their level of success?
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book "The Outliers" (this is not a direct quote from his book, just my interpretation of it) that every human being on this planet has a basic level of talent. It is those that work extremely hard, and sacrifice everything else in life that makes them successful. We as Americans though feel like success is inevitable, that its only an opportunity away, that we will be rewarded on talent alone. We have been bought and sold on "The American Dream" and that each and everyone of us has success as a right. Since the advent of new media, you don't have to have that much talent to be successful, you just merely need to bullsh*t your way through the interview process, or have a decent sales pitch, and you will have us eating out of the palm of your hand. But just like in your office or at your job you quickly come to realize how completely incompetent and untalented that person is and you feel played for believing them.
THIS is why America and Hip-Hop is in the mess its in now. Too many people trying to be Tony Robbins and are being told to reach for heights above their talents or means if they remain positive about it. "You can afford that house, You can sing, You can rap just be positive, you can achieve anything." But next to nobody wants to put in the hard work to achieve it.
Another problem is no one wants to be the bearer of bad news because its not "politically correct" or "you are just being mean" or "you are just being a hater". One of the reasons I stopped rhyming was because I realized that I wasn't as skilled (despite the fact that I and others that have heard me knew that I'm better than the majority) as some of the people that are doing it but they aren't feeding their kids off it or being successful enough to sustain a living off what they love to do. In realizing that reality was passing me by, if I remained stuck in my "positive thinking" mode, I'm neglecting my kids future and placing myself behind the curve.
I created this blog (despite that there's 10 million other ones) as my way to contribute to the culture. I'm not necessarily looking to get rich and famous from it but if it comes so be it. You have to be realistic in your plans to achieve your goals and dreams. Then when your goals are realized "you will be met with a success unexpected in common hours" (Thoreau).
As my wife went back to watching her show, I leaned over, gave her kiss and told her "I love you". Then I said I'm not negative. I'm positively realistic.