#9 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style

For the background of this list – see my original post from 2-10-12.

The #9 Rap Lyric that shaped my leadership style comes from the rap group Outkast, which consists of Andre’ 3000 and Big Boi, and the song “Unhappy” which is off their 2003 album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.  The lyric:

“True happiness is not acquired and you won’t find it on sale.”

I’ve written recently about my thoughts on the idea of “doing what you’re passionate about” – which I think is mostly fools gold in terms of valuable advice.  To me, this runs right into the concept of happiness.  Happiness is a personal decision – there are great examples in our history of people making a conscience decision to be happy, under horrific circumstances (Just read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and his experiences in Holocaust for one example).

It is possible to decide on being happy, but it just doesn’t magically happen, and it has nothing to do with what you have, or what position you have.

I give out the following advice, every time someone comes to me and they are contemplating leaving their current position for a new position:

1. Are you happy in your current position?

2. Are you making enough money to pay your bills and save a little?

3. If yes, to questions 1 and 2 – stay where you’re at.

To often I see people chasing happiness like it’s a finish line, only to find out they still aren’t happy when they reach their end result (salary level, position level, location, etc.).   I was once in this race – so I know firsthand.  It’s like my grandparents use to say “You can’t buy happiness”, every time I wanted a new toy – thinking it would make me as happy as can be.

As a leader you need to be aware and recognize your people chasing down what they think is happiness.  You can help them learn that true happiness can be obtained, but you need to work for it.  I’ve found people are happiest when they are accomplishing things, when they are doing things for others, when those things are recognized and appreciated.  Those things have nothing to do with money or position level – they have everything to do with being about something bigger than yourself.

One thought on “#9 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style

  1. Love the post, and love the song.

    I’m just finishing the book Drive, by Daniel Pink. In it he details the three elements of Type I behavior – a framework for individuals that leads to stronger performance, greater health, and higher overall well-being. The three elements are autonomy, mastery and purpose – in essence happiness. It’s a good read, and so is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, both worthy if one is seeking true happiness in their professional and personal life.

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