written by
Srinivas Rao

50 Cent’s 8 Guiding Principles for Sustained Success

10 min read

Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) is one of the most iconic and unmistakable creatives of our generation. He's transcended the limitations of his labels and achieved creative success across multiple art forms and industries. His body of work includes music, movies, companies like Vitamin Water and most recently a book, Hustle Harder, which is about his 8 guiding principles for success.

In order to be a true hustler, you have to chase the gratification that can only come from making things happen for yourself when you have a vision that no one else can identify with and pour everything you have into it. You find yourself in the valley after valley and can't ever quite catch a glimpse of the mountaintop. But you keep pushing forward, until that one day when you finally do make it to the peak. Man, that's going to be the best damn view you ever saw in your life. You're going to soak up every bit of that mountain air and enjoy every inch of the panorama spread out in front of you. - 50 Cent, Hustle Harder Hustle Smarter

If you're an intellectual snob, you might roll your eyes at the thought of 50 cent writing a book. But don't let your bias get in the way. He's a serious scholar with some invaluable wisdom that you can apply to your life.

1. Be Fearless

Pop of color
Photographer: Anton Repponen | Source: Unsplash
Fear dominates most people's lives. Fear of loss. Fear of the unknown. Fear of loneliness. - Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to making our most ambitious ideas happen is waiting until we are completely free of fear. But it's impossible to be free of fear without doing what scares you.

For surfers, one of the most terrifying moments is known as the drop. In Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best, I described the drop as that liminal moment between paddling for a wave and standing up. The drop is terrifying, but the joy of standing up far outweighs the fear you feel when you paddle for a wave. The moment you stand up, you want more.

When we step outside our comfort zone and do the thing that scares us, we open up pathways to possibility.

The girl we ask on a date says yes

Our creative project resonates with an audience

We conquer black diamond and bigger waves

Things could turn out better than we imagined. But when they turn out worse than we imagined, we can use it as fuel and turn adversity into an advantage.

2. Cultivate the Heart of a Hustler

Shot this during a photoshoot at the Innovation Centre in the Wheelhouse office in Kelowna, BC.
Photographer: Justin Veenema | Source: Unsplash
Hustling is a motor that's gotta be running inside of you each and every day. Its fuel is passion. If you can keep that motor running, it will take you everywhere you want to go in life. Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

The relentless promotion of positive thinking and other new age bullshit that's prevalent in the world of personal development has made people soft and given the idea of hustling a bad rap. "Manifesting" often becomes mental masturbation instead of honoring your commitments.

Having the heart of a hustler doesn't mean you have to work your fingers to the bone. It's about making sure you don't confuse attention with accomplishment and taking small consistent actions on the things that matter to you. You leverage the power of creative momentum to bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to be.

Do something today, tomorrow and every other day that you'll be glad you did 10 years from now.

3. Build a Strong Crew

Photographer: Duy Pham | Source: Unsplash
You must surround yourself with the people who can help support, grow, and articulate your vision. Pick the right people and you can build a team that will take you to the top. But pick the wrong people and it can derail your vision before it ever fully gets on track. - Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

Who you choose to associate with is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make in your life. That applies to both your friendships and your business ventures.

If you're surrounded by assholes, you're more likely to become one

If you're surrounded by idiots, then you're not going to become smarter

The beauty of the internet is that it lets you choose whom you want in your crew. But people aren't intentional about whom they're letting into their digital lives.

If someones takes a shit on your lawn, you're probably not going watch from the window while they do it. You'll find a way to make sure it doesn't happen again or that they never come back.

Yet, people tolerate insane amounts of bullshit from people who send them rude emails and leave obnoxious comments on their posts. The same energy you spend feeding trolls could be spent on serving your community and creating something new.

A zero-tolerance policy for idiots and assholes is the most effective one I've found. When people like that email me, they get spammed, blocked, etc. If you have a zero-tolerance policy for the bullshit that adds negative energy to your life, you'll be able to build a strong crew.

And if you need a creative crew to help you make ideas happen, check out our listener tribe.

4.Know your value

A collection of US Dollar bills make an interesting financial wallpaper.
Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash
One of the cornerstones of my sustained success is that I don't rush into deals. Even though I've become synonymous with "getting paid", I never chase money. I evaluate every venture based on its long term potential, not on what the first check I get is going to look like. - Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

When you look at any opportunity through the lens of immediate earnings over earning potential, you make a long-term sacrifice for a short-term gain.

When I started the Unmistakable Creative, the immediate earnings were zero dollars. But the time I spent on a project that was worth nothing had far greater ability to increase my earning potential than my job did. My creative project gave me an education that kicked the crap out of the one I got in school.

Eventually, my earning potential increased to the point where what I made in one month at a job, I made in one hour from a speaking gig. But it took 9 years to get there.

Look for opportunities that will allow you to build transferable skills. That way, if one venture doesn't work, you still have skills that can help you master your craft.

5. Evolve or Die/Shape Perception

Photographer: Bruno Nascimento | Source: Unsplash
You must find people who are going to inject new energy into your life. Because if you have keep having the same conversations with the same people, year after year, your energy is going to stagnate. Your ideas are going to get stale. Your momentum is going to get stuck. - Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

Complacency is the kiss of death to a creative career. If you're serious about building a lifelong career in the arts, it's never about some moment in the spotlight. You can't let one project or art form define you.

Your cumulative output matters more than any individual piece of work. People who evolve are prolific creators. When readers hate their books, moviegoers hate their films and fans hate their music, they make more art.

Even though people know me as the host of a podcast, I don't identify with the label "podcaster." I'm a storyteller who uses audio to tell SOME of my stories. By detaching yourself from a label, you transcend what you think is possible within the context of that label.

You must make sure your narrative always presets you as the person you want to be seen as, even if your reality tells a slightly different story. - Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

The way you present yourself to the world matters. It determines whether you'll stand out in a sea of noise or linger in obscurity. No matter how authentic, vulnerable and transparent we might want to be, there's a fine line between being genuine and being a trainwreck.

Certain parts of us are not appropriate for public consumption because they will shatter people's perceptions of us.

Sometime in season seven of Entourage, the press prints some horrible things about the main character, Ari Gold. Shortly after, all hell breaks loose. His wife goes nuts. Lawsuit and harassment complaints start rolling in. And his reputation takes a massive hit.

We all say things behind closed doors that would be a PR crisis in the making. Trust me, the version of me you get behind the microphone has much more tact than the one my friends get.

Shaping perception doesn't make you phony or inauthentic. It's an indicator that you value yourself.

6. Don't be afraid to compete

Girls racing on track
Photographer: Matt Lee | Source: Unsplash
I believe competition is healthy for all parties involved. Whether it's taking on established rappers or hit TV shows, I've always experienced my greatest success when I've taken my rivals head on without any hesitation - Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

In a world where everyone's life is on display, it's natural to feel envious of other people's work. Rather than get caught up in endless comparison and self-obsession, learn what they do well. Steal like an artist. Mix up other people's recipes and come up with your own ingredients.

The wider the variety of ideas you expose yourself to, the more you'll be able to develop a compelling point of view and stand out in a sea of noise.

7. Learn from your Ls:

I don't know an affluent rapper, mogul, or entrepreneur whose losses don't fair outweigh their wins. Curtis Jackson, Hustle Harder

It doesn't matter how successful you become. At some point in your life, you'll a venture that fails. When you pursue a creative or entrepreneurial goal, you do so knowing that nothing is guaranteed and anything is possible.

Every loss creates an opening in your life . It's up to you whether you fill that space with self-pity or learn from your loss and turn your next little bet into a big success. You can react with fear or respond with creativity.

8. Avoid the entitlement trap

You're never going to find lasting success until you take full responsibility for what happens in your life.

For people who become entitled, a fast rise is usually followed by a fast fall. There is no such thing as an 'I've made it' moment. You can't stop doing things that brought you to where you are.

I've seen people become entitled, bite the hand that feeds them, and turn on the people that put them on the map. They destroy all the goodwill they have built, lose their credibility, and take steps backward in their career. This often comes from short-term thinking and excessive self-interest.

Their sense of entitlement causes them to believe they are indispensable when they are not.

These kinds of people are toxic to a team, creative project, or company. They're often slow, antagonistic, lazy, and generate more excuses than results.

People who take responsibility for what happens are self-directed, can navigate ambiguity, and have a strong bias towards action.

If you're somebody who has creative or entrepreneurial aspirations, you'll learn a lot from reading Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter

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