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THURSDAY THOUGHTS - What Kanye West Can Teach Us About Persistence and Self Belief
Bonus Episode3rd March 2022 • Unpolished MBA • Unpolished MBA
00:00:00 00:10:41

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In this episode of Thursday Thoughts, Monique shares her opinions on the new three-part Netflix documentary chronicling the meteoric rise of Kanye West from small-time Chicago music producer to global icon. 

Monique uses Kanye’s musical journey to illustrate the importance of persistence and resilience in the face of constant rejection and ridicule. By examining Kanye’s life we can see that even the most talented visionaries face immense roadblocks, humiliation, and doubt on their path to success. 

Oftentimes new innovators and founders believe that their sheer talent or breakthrough ideas will automatically open doors to wealth and prestige. Kanye’s story just serves to remind us that immense talent is nothing without persistent work ethic and unstoppable self-belief. Only when we truly believe in our ideas and ideals in the face of heartbreak or rejection will we truly be able to transform industries!

Topics Include:

  • Never Taking No For An Answer
  • Manifesting Your Own Destiny
  • How Persistence Produces Performance
  • Resilience In The Face Of Rejection
  • Transforming The Norms Of An Industry 

Website: 

https://unpolishedmba.com/

Transcripts

Monique:

Let's take a moment to connect the dots.

Monique:

Every Thursday in under 10 minutes, I'm going to share with you real

Monique:

life, everyday situations to help you as an entrepreneur, a leader,

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an innovator, or just a person who's venturing out to try something new.

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These stories will help you make sense of situations you may find yourself in

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and also provide encouragement to keep you moving forward in your journey.

Monique:

One thing that I know for sure is that when somebody is determined

Monique:

to do something, they are going to do it no matter what.

Monique:

These are special people that many overlook in the beginning, but when

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they break out and create all of this success, everyone wants to take credit

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for discovering them or believing in them.

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I bring this up because this past weekend I watched the Kanye West documentary on

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Netflix, where it shows how so many people in industry didn't take him seriously.

Monique:

He would go to various record labels and play his music for them and they would

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listen for a little bit and start talking to people that were in the room, or they

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would leave the room, or just gradually go back to working on their computers.

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Entirely ignoring him while he's standing there playing his music for them, and they

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would just act like he wasn't in the room.

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The weirdest part about that is this was all being recorded by one of his friends

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who just happened to have a camcorder and decided to document Kanye's journey.

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So these are people who now, 20 years later, can see this while Kanye is one

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of the most famous people in the world.

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Sure Kanye can be a polarizing figure, especially since experiencing so many

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things within his life and on his journey.

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No one can say after watching that documentary, that this man

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did not have that fire in him and he was going to win no matter

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what anybody had to say about it.

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He wasn't going to stop.

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He went years being laughed at and ignored, and actually being used for his

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known talent, which is producing music and producing beats, not being a rapper.

Monique:

Everyone in the industry wanted him to stay in that box and continue to

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make their beats and they would make records and rap and leave the rapping

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to them, stay out of this Kanye.

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So people will place labels on you and put you in boxes but that doesn't mean

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that's where you belong or where you stay.

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So I saw a fire in young Kanye in those old videos.

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And it's one that I see in certain startup founders that I work with

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where I'm thinking to myself, whether it's this business idea or another

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one, this person is going to make it big in whatever way they want.

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Big is subjective, it's whatever way they want in whatever industry,

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in whatever type of situation that they want, they're going to make it.

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Somehow it just pans out for people who won't quit.

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But there are huge hits to the ego and embarrassment and hurt feelings

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as they go through the process.

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Behind closed doors, there's self doubt.

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One thing is for sure, those people come back out of their house, recharge,

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and enter into rooms with an energy that wouldn't give you any indication

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of those insecurities and hurt feelings that they've experienced.

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In this documentary, I could see it in Kanye's eyes, even though he never really

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voiced much about his disappointment, he would be playing his music, as I said,

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for record execs and they would just get up and walk out and he would literally

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stand there and let the song finish.

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It would be blasting loud enough with people in the hallway and in

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nearby offices to hear it and come in and see what it was all about.

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They would just kind of come in and look around and walk out.

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With the executives taking calls and meetings with him standing there, and even

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sometimes not just him playing the music, he's talking to them and they will just

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go off and start talking to somebody else.

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Just really rude kind of stuff.

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This even happened from people that liked him and hired him for producing

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other beats and things for their artists.

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These are people who liked him and who already knew him for his production

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capabilities, but his desire to rap and create his own albums, that was too

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far out there for them, and for any of them to be comfortable with back then.

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I'm saying back then like it was a long time ago but it really wasn't.

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Well, back then, you didn't have people straddle.

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You were either a rapper or a producer, but not both.

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I mean, they were thinking, who does he think he is?

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He's a great producer and all, but who does he think he is?

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He would be like, "I'm Kanye West, I'm a rapper and a Producer."

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You see, he defined who he was, regardless of what people thought he should be or

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them thinking he should stay in his lane.

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When I meet with clients that are new startup founders with seemingly out there

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ideas or innovations, that are probably not in industries that they come from

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and different things of that nature.

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That don't seem to align with what other people would see as, "you need this, this

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and this, you need to check these boxes in order to even consider this journey."

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When I meet those startup founders and they'll pitch me their idea,

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they'll ask me, what do I think?

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I'll always say, because it's the truth that I believe, I'll

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always say, I don't judge ideas.

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I'll let the market judge with their money.

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You see that's the truth.

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If the market loves it and buys it, really, my opinion means nothing.

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In fact, most of the time, I'm not your ideal customer anyways.

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You wouldn't be selling to me, so what I think doesn't matter.

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What I think about your product does not matter.

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What I help you do is find out what the market thinks about your product.

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One thing I can see quite clearly is when a startup founder has that Kanye

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drive, like they're willing to walk in rooms, be ridiculed, accept criticism

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and feedback, still be respectful in their communication and responses.

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Reenter those rooms where they've been ridiculed before and re-pitch.

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They keep going back to the people that initially told them, no,

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they'll stay in touch with them.

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They won't act funny when they see those people again, they'll

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engage in conversation with them.

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They'll share updates on their progress.

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They've remained dignified and approachable all the while,

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they keep grinding away piece by piece, refining their approach.

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What seemingly looks like an overnight success to everyone

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else is created with time.

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Now don't get me wrong.

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I've ran across some folks that are just really petty.

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Let's be honest, because many of them will wear their feelings on their sleeves.

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It takes a significant amount of emotional intelligence and self discipline to

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not take everything so personally.

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If you ask someone their opinion and they give it to you, it may not be

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what you want to hear, but it's their opinion, it's what you asked and it

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comes from a foundation of something.

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Otherwise you wouldn't have asked.

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It is to be expected that when it's your business idea or your

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innovation, you feel as if it's an extension of you as a person.

Monique:

So it can feel like a personal attack, but it doesn't make it

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so, it's just feedback or silence.

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Sometimes silence is really the feedback, which in Kanye's case, he

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received more silence than criticism or any other type of feedback.

Monique:

What I saw in that Kanye documentary is that he felt those feelings ,of

Monique:

course, of rejection but he handled it behind closed doors and then went back

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out there the next day and tried again.

Monique:

You see, people like him, they want to win more than they want to lash out.

Monique:

They aren't willing to give into those temporary feelings and

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risk damaging relationships.

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Winning is more important to them.

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You not believing in them right now doesn't change their

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confidence and their focus.

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They're focused on the ultimate goal.

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They feel compelled to something greater than themselves and what

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most people around them couldn't even imagine they can accomplish.

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Now, if this describes you, and if you're feeling a certain way about rejection

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right now or not being taken seriously, I will suggest you go and take a look at

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that documentary and see the old Kanye.

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The one that we all remember before all of this controversy.

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He had that fire in his eyes because he was already successful at something

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that he had done first, producing.

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Then when he wanted to charter into new territory, everybody was playing him.

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Not everyone, there were a few that did believe in him.

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What I want you to do is find out who those few are for

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you, and keep moving forward.

Monique:

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Monique:

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Monique:

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Monique:

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Monique:

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Monique:

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Monique:

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