You ever give somebody advice and you thought it was good when you said it but then you realize days later “I fucked up telling them that” and you go contact them and and correct what you said?
I had a moment like that recently and I think I may have had it in a few of the articles I’ve written. It’s been on my mind heavily and it’s bothering me.
Hard work. It’s something that you hear throughout your school career. You mainly hear it the most during your school career because it fits school’s narrative. I got D’s and F’s in school. Why? I didn’t work hard nor did I ever try to work hard. If I worked hard in school I would’ve been a honor student. Hard work works in school because if you really put the time in you will pass everything. Study 2 hours a day 7 days a week and you’re good. All you need to do is remember shit. If you work hard on your memory then you’ll be okay in school. The dumbest mothafuckas got A’s and B’s. I’m talking people with no common sense. Just do the work and you were fine.
You take that same mentality out into the real world and you find out it’s bullshit. Complete bullshit really quickly. Our schools lied to us.
You can work in a company and truly work harder than every person in there including your bosses. I’m talking you’re the first one in and the last one out. Naturally you’re going to feel like you deserve a promotion. I mean you’ve earned it right? The way school worked you should be praised any minute right? A higher up tells you you’re doing a good job and that’s it. No promotion. maybe you get a raise but the raise isn’t what you thought it would be and you realize all that work was for nothing. You’re going to be crushed and pissed.
I’m saying this because there’s this false narrative told to artists that is the same that school systems used. Just work hard and you’ll get what you’ve worked hard for. I’m constantly seeing people telling artists in St.Louis and all over the world to just work hard and everything will be okay but that shit is just not true at all. If hard work on all fronts is all you needed then A LOT of artists would be in way better positions than they are. Patience is the game no doubt but there’s a huge factor that’s left out of the myth that’s hard work.
You're probably not good enough and have no value in what you’re pursuing.
Let’s say you’re a rapper. You go to all the events. You network with everyone. You’re a good person. You support everyone. You never complain. You work hard on your music. You’re working hard on the internet and outside the internet. If we use the logic that people equate with hard work and what they told you about it well that means you should be poppin all over St.Louis right?
Nah. They lied to you. It’s a fairytale.
Hard work don’t mean shit if the product you’re working on no one wants. THAT’S the key reality that so many people leave out of the equation. What you represent artistically has no value to the masses and that’s possibly more important than the hard work.
Hard work is key with tangible things. Like lets say you want to become a photographer and of course you’re terrible when you start but if you practice everyday for a year straight you will see improvements. Now how good you will be I can’t say but you will be a lot better than when you started but if you wanna be something like a graphic artist and you think all you have to do is work hard and you’ll be as good as McFlyy then you’re going to be in for a rude awakening.
Another thing that no one tells the truth about creative scenes is that all of it is really a popularity contest. It really is apart of the equation. No one will tell you that but it’s real. If you’re not in the “In-Crowd” you need to put your focus on how can you bring value to the people. I’m not a popular nigga. People only fuck with me because what I do has value. Before writing nobody fucked with me online or offline. It’s just real shit. So I knew I wasn’t a popular nigga in the city and I’m not a talkative in your face kinda guy so my only choice left was to just write and see what value that has for people. Now my emails or DM’s annoy the fuck outta me. It’s a blessing and I’m grateful but it’s something I have to get used to.
There are creatives right now who’ve gotten better and people are finally noticing what they’re doing and to them it feels like they’re at the cool table now. They feel like they belong. They’re apart of the clique. They're inside. There are people I’ve met more than once before writing. Had full conversations with them and they didn’t remember me. Fast forward to today it’s a different story. The popularity contest is real and it works that way everywhere and it’s the same story. It's either the cool table destroys an artist or the artist realizes “Damn this what I worked for? This is all this is? Fuck it somebody can have my seat.” J.Cole is a artist that comes to mind when I think of leaving the cool table.
Yes you have to work hard in anything you do but that’s not all. I just can’t keep giving creative people half of the story anymore. It won’t get you anywhere. You can work hard at being a standup comedian 12 hours a day 7 days a week but if you’re not funny you’re just not funny. You can’t hard work your way to being funny. It may not be your calling. Forcing hard work into the equation won’t do shit. It’s not going to fix anything because you could be working hard towards the wrong shit.
I know Malcolm Gladwell is a popular writer and he told you to put in your 10,000 hours to become a master at something but you could put 10,000 hours in playing basketball and still be trash. It’s just real. You either got it or you don’t. You have to factor in so many other variables besides just hard work. Some of those variables are out of your control too. Something as simple but complex as “coincidence" is out of your control.
People are selling creatives lies that hard work guarantees you something. Sometimes there is no pay off. Again I’m not saying hard work not important. Look at someone like Kobe Bryant. He didn’t sit on his talent he worked harder than everyone and that’s how he became a winner but remember he had an extraordinary gift to compliment his hard work. He wasn’t no regular guy. He scored 63 points in a game when he was 8 years old. He used hard work to take himself to a level further than his peers.
There’s just some shit you’re not gonna achieve whether you work hard or not. Just because you work hard doesn’t mean everything will change.
There’s someone pursuing a rap career out there. I’m sorry my nigga you may never make it to the charts or sell more than 1000 copies of anything.
To the painter. You may never get to a gallery ever in your life.
I loved baseball. I wanted to be Ken Griffey Jr. I didn’t make the baseball team in high school even though I outworked everyone. Hard work didn’t pay off. Why? BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS LIMITATIONS! The shit I’m telling you may sound negative as fuck but trust me this shit is truly positive because you’re gonna grow from it and you need it. Remember, as artist we’re all taking gambles. We could all be working hard for nothing in return.
You ever wonder why the hardest working person is not the most successful? Think about that. Really think about it.
I’ll say it again. Hard work is needed. I work hard on writing because I need to practice but it doesn’t guarantee me anything. Although I feel like I’m the best writer in the world I’m still taking a risk but going all in but that’s what makes it fun for me. The grind. The mystery. The failure. It’s a drug for me.
Hard work doesn’t guarantee you anything. I just want to let you know that my advice I gave you or anyone else gave you was only half of the truth.
Now go work hard.