Advance Your Career With This Lesson
Before I get into today’s issue, I have a question for you. How and what do you think you can do to advance your career?
Humble The Poet is a Canadian author, rapper, and spoken-word artist, but he wasn’t always as successful and famous as he is now. In 2010 he left his job as an elementary school teacher to pursue poetry and music full-time.
Humble struggled through a lot from getting ripped off to losing all his money to even having to move back in with his parents. Humble’s journey forced him to really learn about who he was.
He started writing and blogging and this eventually turned into his two books, Unlearn – 101 Simple Truths For A Better Life and his latest Things No One Else Can Teach Us which shares raw and honest stories about how a change in mindset can radically alter one’s outlook. Today his videos have millions of views and he is touring the world.
Although Humble is still young, he has so many philosophical ideas that we can learn from, and I can’t wait to continue to watch his career take off.
Focus on Your Craft
Humble has so much great advice especially for other artists out there trying to launch their careers.
When Humble was living in Toronto, making music there was this idea that if you got really good at whatever you did then you would get discovered. He joked that people assumed if you were good enough, one day Drake would find you and throw a bag of money at you.
However, once Humble ventured out of Canada and began working in LA, he realized that as an artist, you have to create your own opportunities.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned in LA was ‘don’t be proactive when it comes to your creative career’ you have to be reactive.” What Humble means by this is that when you are constantly chasing agents, managers, or other talent, you are taking away your own leverage and making yourself replaceable.
What you should focus on instead is honing your own craft. If you can do this, “the people that need you will find you.”
Humble learned these lessons through personal experiences which he shared with me. He had developed a relationship with a big music manager who asked Humble to come out to LA for a meeting.
Humble jumped on the opportunity, thinking it would be the chance to solidify the relationship. He immediately bought a ticket to LA, got a car and hotel and was ready for the meeting when he got a rude awakening – in LA, meetings are flaky and ‘yes’ means maybe or no.
A few hours before the meeting the manager canceled and asked to try again in a few weeks.
Humble was incredibly upset, having flown to LA specifically for the meeting.
He called a friend and fellow artist to commiserate over the experience. However, his friend gave him another rude awakening – as long as you’re replaceable meetings can and will get canceled on you. Instead of spending your time networking, spend your time focusing on your craft, do what you do until you’re better than everyone else.
When you can reach that point, no one will be canceling meetings on you; they won’t be able to.
This advice completely changed Humble’s perspective and he began approaching his career like an athlete. He now realized he had to work every single day to be the best, because if you stick with something; eventually, the pool of talent that can match you becomes smaller and smaller.
You have to realize that the first day you dedicate to really working on your talent, you’re going to be down at the bottom with everyone else, but with persistence comes excellence. You will rise to the top if you continue to work hard at your skill.
The Importance of Diversity
Growing up in Toronto was incredibly important to Humble’s development as an artist. He still maintains that it is the “greatest city in the world.” Toronto is a big city with the nickname “The Six” because it covers six different municipalities.
Because of this, Humble says, “it’s the most multicultural place in the world.” It’s such an incredible place because there’s so many people like Humble living there. These are the people who maybe don’t look like they were born in Canada because they are the children of immigrants; the first in their families to be born in Canada.
There is an incredible amount of ethnic diversity and economic diversity. In high school, Humble recalls he had friends who were so rich they got to choose which car they wanted to drive to school and other friends who had to work to help contribute to the mortgage on their family’s home.
This huge spread of both wealth and diversity had a huge impact on Humble growing up and allowed him to really appreciate where he fell in the spectrum.
Humble thinks, “Toronto is the future of what a multicultural society looks like.” He thinks of the city more as a “salad box than a melting pot” because people are able to maintain their own cultural and ehtnic identity while mixing with people from a multitude of different backgrounds.
He believes that when you allow people to truly be who they are, you can actually see the commonalities between people more easily.
Whether your family immigrated from Jamaica or India, there’s always room to find similarities between humans.
This growth of Toronto’s diversity reminds me of London, with almost half of the cities population identifying as Asian, Black, mixed, or other ethnic group.
I loved getting into this conversation with Humble and I can’t wait to dive in even deeper as we begin to talk about his poetry and the importance of spoken word. So stay tuned for even more of this incredible interview.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored