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John Legend’s Top 10 Rules For Success (@johnlegend)

John Legend’s Top 10 Rules For Success (@johnlegend)


– This idea that things are just fixed is proven not to be the case. You can get better at
things, you can grow. No matter what obstacles you face in life, if you approach it with
courage and conviction, you can find a way out of it. But the only way you’ll
reach any height in life and in love is by taking that
chance that you might fall. You have to give your all. – He’s an American singer,
songwriter, musician and actor. He’s won 10 Grammy Awards,
one Golden Globe Award, and one Academy Award. In 2007 he won the Hal
David Starlight Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. He’s John Legend, and here’s my take on his top 10 rules for success. Rule number one is my personal favorite and I’d love to know which
one you guys like the best. And as always, guys, if you hear something that really resonates
with you, please leave it down in the comments below,
put quotes around it as well so other people can be inspired. Also, when you write it
down, you’re much more likely to lock it in for yourself as well, enjoy. (bold, upbeat music) – The thing is, every
successful person you know has failed at what they love to do before. I’ve been unsuccessful in my career. You just didn’t know about it
because I wasn’t famous yet and I was trying to be famous. I was trying to get a
record deal for six years and I kept getting turned down. And any successful person you
know, even though it seems like everything just happened for them, it usually was preceded
by a bunch of failure, or at least a significant amount. But the great ones aren’t
the ones that don’t fail, they’re the ones that
learn from their failure and they keep going and they’re persistent and they’re tenacious. And for me, I was trying
to get a record deal from ’98 to 2004, and I got turned down by
every major record label, including the one I’m signed to now. For me, that means that
even when you hear no, you have go keep going
through all those nos until you get to yes. – A lot of people think they’re prepared, but you may think they’re not prepared, so what does prepared mean? – Prepared means, like I
said, you got to be great at whatever you’re doing,
even if you’re not known for it yet, you have to be developing into someone who can be great. If you read Malcolm
Gladwell, for instance, he believes you have to
practice 10,000 hours to be a genius at any particular field. I don’t know if the exact number’s right, but I’m sure directionally that’s correct. You need to spend a hell of
a lot of time doing something and practicing at it
and getting better at it for you to be great. And for a songwriter or a singer, that means writing, that means listening, that means performing,
that means practicing, that means all those things. And if you’re not doing that, you’re not going to become great at it. We’re always thinking about what it means to be authentic as an
artist and what it means to be authentic and to be successful and commercially viable. The goal is to not let the commercial invade your creative process too much. The goal is to just try
to write a great song, just try to make a great record, just try to make a great album, and then the commercial side
will take care of itself. But you know, you still have labels, A&R is in your ear, you
still have marketing people in your ear that want a certain thing out of your first single and
want a certain thing out of your first video, but
at the end of the day, your guiding light, your
North Star has to be, is this great, is this creatively something I can be proud of? Because if you don’t do that, then I don’t know what the point is. When I was younger, I didn’t really know that you could just get better at things, because I think we’re so used to the idea that you’re talented at something and it’s sort of fixed, you know? The idea that oh, he’s just a good singer, you know, and even with singing, I’ve gotten better at
singing as I’ve gotten older. I wasn’t singing in a
way that was sustainable and I wasn’t breathing right, I wasn’t doing a bunch
of things correctly. I realized that there was a ceiling that I couldn’t crack through
unless I actually studied and worked under a coach to get better. And this idea that things are just fixed is proven not to be the case. You can get better at
things, you can grow. And even people that are
innately talented still need to go beyond that basic talent that they have and cultivate it. I love what I do, I’m a musician. There’s an industry side of it, but at the core what I do is, I go in and write songs
and I get to perform them in front of thousands of
people who enjoy them. That is fun (laughing), that is great. There are challenges involved. You want to do well, you want
to keep the public’s interest and their excitement,
you want to sell tickets, you want to sell CDs, you want to continue to be successful in the industry. But, like I said before, I
don’t see a contradiction between doing all of that and having fun and making music you believe in. I don’t know, I hear people complaining about the music business, and
there are certainly things that you could complain about,
but I’m having a great time. I want to win, I want to
be successful at what I do. And so I’m committed to working hard. I’m committed to going to the studio and working on a song the
umpteenth version of it to make sure I get it exactly right. I’m committed to that, I’m
committed to rehearsing with my band til we get
the show exactly right. We want to do the best
show in the business. Part of it’s just my love for music. Part of it’s me being competitive. But all of that makes me want
to perform at a high level. – John, why this project,
why was it so important to be a part of it? – Well, they sent me the first script and I was just enthralled,
I was like excited to find out where it went. I thought it was an exciting story that hasn’t been told in this way before. And I thought it was
inspirational about breaking free, about having the courage to
do something against the odds. – So, congratulations on the baby girl! – Thank you very much. – If your daughter sees
this, what do you want her to take away from this? – I want her to be inspired, to know a bit about American history and know about where her father’s people came from. And also to be inspired that no matter what
obstacles you face in life, if you approach it with
courage and conviction, you can find a way out of it. I’m the kind of artist
that doesn’t fit so neatly into a radio format. And that presents a challenge. But I think it’s one that’s worth, it’s worth it for me to
be that kind of artist because I think it’s
authentic to who am I. And if you’re not being
authentic to who you are, then you won’t be
successful anyway usually. And I think that’s why
I’ve been successful, because my fans believe what I’m doing and they believe that I’m
coming from a real place. Also, most of my songs are in some way a co-write of some sort. I usually write most of
the lyric and melody, but a lot of times the
music and the back beat are contributed by someone else, or at least in collaboration
with someone else. And I’ve always been open
to that, and it helps me kind of stay creative and stay fresh. And I think I come into a collaboration with a spirit of openness
that not every artist has. Some people are more
guarded and more protective about their creative process, but I’m much more open and collaborative. And for me, that’s the best way to create. Everybody has a different sweet spot, and whatever makes them happy, whatever makes them most comfortable, but for me, I feel very comfortable in a collaborative environment. I treat it with humility in the sense that I’m not wed to my ideas. I’m willing to listen to someone else’s. I think I have a decent
sense of taste enough to be able to kind of appraise
whether or not something that someone else is
contribution is really quality and good, and I enjoy that back and forth. – Well, I think that, again,
speaks to great confidence. Because I’m a writer, and I
don’t show my work to anybody because I’m so scared. If they like it, I don’t trust them. If they don’t like it,
I really get hurt by it. – Yeah, you have to
open yourself up to it, and part of it is just
being a little bit fearless, you know, I don’t know if you
can be a little bit fearless. But, you know, you just
have to put it out there and not be afraid. Somehow they’ve scientifically determined that the public is only capable
of liking the same 10 songs at any given time, so they
simply play those songs over and over and over and over, until you’re finally
completely exasperated. Then they move on. Now, I’ve had a 10 year
career as a major label solo artist, and none of my songs has ever been one of those 10 songs
until this moment, and now, (crowd cheering and applauding) and now (singing) all of you, (crowd cheering and applauding) are so over me. (crowd laughing) You’re tired of hearing
that I went to Penn. Why’d they bring him back again? (crowd laughing) That was my humble brag way of saying I have the biggest song
in the country right now. (crowd cheering and applauding) The reason I’m here, the reason I’ve had such a wonderful journey so
far, is that I found love. Yes, love, we were all made to love, and I found that we live our best lives, we are at our most successful, not simply because we’re smarter, or because we hustle harder, not because we become
millionaires more quickly. The key to success,
the key to happiness is opening your mind and your heart to love, spending your time doing things you love and with people you love. Even though we’re made to love,
we’re often afraid to love. We’re afraid of being hurt deeply, afraid of feeling the pain I went through when my parents were divorced, but you’re never going
to really love something or someone unless you
put those fears aside. Don’t hold back, being in love means being ready to give freely and openly and being ready to risk something, risking pain and disappointment, conquering your fears and becoming anew. Alice Walker once said, “The more I wonder, the more I love.” Love calls you to open your eyes to seek, to search, to wonder. Love is all-consuming,
it infiltrates your body and allows you to experience bliss, joy and true friendship. You’ll be more disappointed
when something goes wrong. You might fall harder, but
the only way you’ll reach any height in life and in love is by taking that chance that you might fall. You have to give your all. Yes, I’ve been no so subtly
working in my song lyrics in my speech today. (crowd laughing) And some might think
it’s all a bit too much. Here I am this R&B singer
with an album called, Love in the Future, who’s recently married and wrote the biggest
love song of the year. And what did I choose to talk about? Love, it’s so corny, isn’t it? (crowd laughing) It’s much cooler to be
detached and apathetic, right? We all like a little snark
and cynicism and irony, especially from our favorite artists and comedians and writers. I get it, but that cool
detachment only gets you so far. Passion gets you a lot further. It makes you a better
entrepreneur, a better leader, a better philanthropist, a
better friend, a better lover. I want you to live the best life you can. You can be world changers. When you leave here today
you’re going to look for a lot of things, security, money, friendships, sex, all kinds of things. But the most important
thing you’ll find is love. So love yourself, love your work, love the people around
you, dare to love those who are different from you,
no matter where they’re from, what they look like and who they love. (crowd cheering and applauding) Pursue this life of love
with focus and passion, ambition and courage, give it your all, and that will be your
path to true success. – Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because
Funky Fun Me asked me to. So if there’s a famous
entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave
down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do. I’d also love to know, what
did you learn from this video from John that you’re going to
take some immediate action on in your life or in your
businesses somehow? What was your favorite clip and why? Leave it in the comments
and I’m going to join in the discussion. Finally, I wanted to
give a quick shout out to Rey Peterson, Rey
actually works on my team and he decided to pick
up a copy of my book, Your One Word, thank you for that Rey. And for taking the picture
and posting it online. I appreciate all the work you do, but also the support with the book. So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and
whatever your one word is, much love, I’ll see you soon. – Yeah, I worked for a company called the Boston Consulting Group,
we did management consulting. – [Interviewer] Was it
fun for you, was it nice? – It was interesting, I had fun sometimes and I was bored sometimes,
I was tired sometimes because at the same time I was trying to make a demo record and playing live and doing all these other
things for my music career. But during the day I would be at work. It was an interesting
time, but I learned a lot, actually, from being there. I needed to do it anyway because I needed to make money somehow. I mean, I could have gotten another job, but either way it was going
to take money and time to invest to do that. So, it worked out, I have
some friends from there that I’m still very good friends with. And I learned a lot there. – [Interviewer] What did you
learn, what did you learn? – It’s not a specific
fact, it’s just kind of how businesses run, how they think, how to do problem solving in a smart way. And I think those things and the instincts that I developed as a business person, they help as I’m running my business now. Because really all artists are
in some ways entrepreneurs. They run their own small business. – [Interviewer] So, is there one client that you worked for that you said, I had to solve one problem over there and now when I run my own
business I ran into it and I learned and I used the experience to solve my own problems? – It’s not that easy to draw a line between the experiences, but I think when you have a general knowledge and you develop general
instincts about certain things, it just helps your decision making. And I think more than
anything that’s what happened. Yeah, you just have to, it’s not easy to see beyond where you are, but you have to try to
see beyond where you are, set goals beyond where you are. Think about ways that you can break out and make a difference,
and that’s what I did. I had some great people
around me, my family, teachers, people that believed in me and encouraged me, sent me
off to an Ivy League school and I figured it out after that. A lot of people want to be
stars, so the labels are in a position where they
have to and should say no to most people that come into
their door, and they need to be really sure about
you before they sign you. So, they said no to me a
lot, they said no to me. Even the label I’m
signed to, Columbia/Sony, turned me down like a year
or so before I got signed. So it just shows you that
you have to be persistent. You have to keep trying to get better, learn from your criticisms and then just play to win. And that’s what I was doing.

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38 thoughts on “John Legend’s Top 10 Rules For Success (@johnlegend)

  1. Key Is Passion ,,) Being fearless regardless if your corniness ,or regardless ,And Do it for all the Reasons why you started it ) Thanks Evan ,Great one ,,Really much love

  2. Great advice, I especially liked Legend's advice on keep going, keep growing and be committed — practice and don't quit! All great tips and advice. 💫

  3. Love. Do it with love. Live life with love! I think being persistent and learning from your criticism was my biggest take away.

    Thx for making this video!

  4. this is so, so good! I'm a visual artist, and singer, and what Legend says here applies to anyone who is a creative entrepreneur. I've shared this with my dearest creative friends and I thank you so much, Evan, for compiling this! So much wisdom here.
    I love your videos!

  5. Hey Evans!Your channel has been an eye opening to me.Sm glad i stumbled on this channel.Can you please do top 10 rules of Barcelona cup and top 10rules of Messi☺☺

  6. I loved #8 be authentic. When one is authentic there is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to apologize for, and nothing to regret in the end. Life is a growing process and when we are authentic in the process we can genuinely help others.

  7. Hi Evan, this video was another great one from you! I would love to watch a Ray Lewis Top 10 Rules for Success video made by you and your team. I hope you could make this video in the future. Thank you for always producing great content!- Your Friend JP

  8. Man I loved th speech at the end. Open yourself to love, to hurt, to cry, to get hurt, to your friends. Just be more open often times we're hiding who we are even from people close to us. Also like one of the interviewers was talking about he's scared to show his book to his friends because of what his crimes mihr think and that's the only reason holding him back . This is what a lot of us are going through we're plain scared just because what othereople might think that why we can't write that book, release that song, move to a different school, try something different etc.fear is holding us back.

  9. "Be prepared and be open to the ideas of others" "collaboration" that stood out to me the most!

  10. "Keep going": you can get better at things, you can grow. Even people that are innately talented need still need to go beyond that basic talent that they have and cultivate it.
    "Be commited."
    "Collaborate.": "spending time doing thing you love and with people you love."
    #BTA16

  11. 1 keep going
    2 be prepared
    3 be proud of what you create
    4.keep growing
    5.love what you do
    6.be committed
    7. courageous
    8. be authentic
    9. collaborate
    10. open yourself to love
    Develop your instincts
    Set goals beyond where you are
    be persistent

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