Kanye West’s recent interview with The New York Times has garnered a lot of attention because of some of his more narcissistic statements: “I am the Michael Jordan of music” and “I understand culture. I am the nucleus.” It’s easy to just write West off as a pompous star, but his influence and success merits a closer look. Here are four ways we should all be more like Kanye West, based on his quotes from the recent interview.
1. Be Confident
“I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.”
We already know that confidence can have a great impact on success. West has enough confidence to share, so if you need a confidence boost, try one of West’s lines as your new mantra at work: “I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.” Just be sure to only say it quietly to yourself to avoid appearing too arrogant among your coworkers.
2. Acknowledge Your Weaknesses
“But I think the fact that I can’t sing that well is what makes [the album] “808s” so special…I love the fact that I’m bad at [things], you know what I’m saying?”
Admitting your weaknesses isn’t easy, but it also helps keep your confidence in check so you don’t become overconfident. Despite an abundance of confidence, West is also remarkably in touch with his weaknesses. In addition to his poor singing ability, West admitted in the interview that in the beginning of his career, he didn’t feel comfortable touring and doing it all by himself. As it turns out, having a little less confidence has benefits, too. So celebrate those weaknesses! Balance is key: be confident, but not too confident.
3. Realize You Have More to Learn and Room to Grow
“After working with [producer] Rick [Rubin], it humbled me to realize why I hadn’t won Album of the Year yet.”
Part of acknowledging your weaknesses is also realizing that there will always be more for you to learn. If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in your career, challenge yourself by working with people more successful than you and learn as much as you can from them. You can also take a class to learn a new skill. Sites like Coursera and Kahn Academy offer free online courses and large universities have continuing education programs. Challenging yourself in new situations and learning new skills will help you grow both personally and professionally.
4. Stand Up and Speak Out For What You Believe In
“Anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice.”
West may not always choose the most appropriate times to assert his beliefs, we can still find inspiration in his passion and willingness to stand against what is wrong. It takes courage, but it’s worth doing. These actions remind us to fight for what is right and what is fair, no matter the opposition we face. Have you noticed something going on at your workplace that is unfair? Say something! Just choose your time and method tactfully. (His infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards is a good example of bad timing and method.)
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, but it’s a good idea to pause every so often to reflect on what makes us successful in our professional and personal lives. Whether or not you like Kanye West’s music or public persona, there’s no denying that he’s achieved a great amount of success in his career. Look beyond the showy celebrity moments and you’ll see the more admirable characteristics that we can all strive toward.
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How can you be more like Kanye West? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Dell Inc./Flickr
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