5 Keys to Success that I Learned from John Legend

141372052620141014IMG_1008I am always on the lookout for things to learn from Successful people and when I went to see John Legend Live 2 weeks ago, I was not disappointed. The man oozes confidence, success and happiness in such a ‘cool’ way. When you listen to him speak in between songs you can tell that he has learned a lot on the way up and is very inspirational when he talks about it. Thankfully for everyone at the concert he gave away a lot about his journey and some of the keys to his success. I have narrowed it down to ‘5 Keys to Success’ that I believe have helped John Legend become who he is today.

1. Know How Great you are (and be Proud of it!)

There was just something about the way that John moved. The way he sat at the piano and perhaps the biggest give away to his confidence was the way he received applause. He just sort of stood there and looked so centred and confident whilst nodding a sort of ‘yea, I know I’m good’ style. For whatever reason in today’s society we have been culturally persuaded to think that knowing how good we are will be perceived as arrogant. Not True. You will rapidly increase your chances of success if you realise how great you and begin to accept it. Of course, be gracious just like Mr. Legend was but in your head you can be saying the most ‘arrogant’ things in the world. Think about it; how often do you let that little voice in your head say ridiculously negative things and get away with it? If you’re going to have inner conversation you might as well do what John Legend obviously does so well and be very positive about yourself.

2. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

Why would you want to struggle and strain your way to the top when you can use the help and talents of other people? John Legend talked about spending time with multiple grammy award winners Lauryn Hill and Kanye West. It is clear that John was able to learn a lot from people like this and he featured on Lauryn Hill’s album and supported Kanye West on his tour. Sometimes you have to be prepared to live and learn from the success of others and even hang on to their coat tails a little bit. These days, John Legend has had many successful albums and tours of his own.

3. “Sometimes our Dreams Take a Detour”

John told a wonderful story of how he moved to New York City to pursue a career in music. He remembered how this didn’t go so well at the start and he actually spent some time as a management consultant! He laughed at the memory and came out with one of the most inspirational quotes I have ever heard live: “Sometimes our Dreams take a Detour”. Amazing. What John is saying is, of course the plan was to go to New York and become a recording artist straight away but sometimes you have to be aware that the path you take isn’t necessarily going to be ‘Plan A’.

4. Keep Going…

You, me or anyone that has read anything about ‘Success’ has come across this piece of advice many, many times. It was however, refreshing to hear the details of a story directly from someone as successful as John Legend. As mentioned above, he was a management consultant when he wanted to be a full time singer but he would still sing by night in a New York City Bar. He talked about the fact that there was only ever 5 people in attendance and 3 of those were bar staff! John didn’t let this deter him and he just kept on and on until he was successful. 

5. Do it for the People Close to you

John Legend’s 2 best performances of the night were a Song that he dedicated to his late grandmother and ‘All of me’ which is the number 1 that he wrote for his new wife. This is not a coincidence. These 2 people obviously mean an awful lot to him and no doubt provide the motivation, passion and belief to carry on working hard and making music. We can all use this to our advantage. Think of someone close to you or someone that you were close to that is no longer with us and dedicate your endeavours to them. This has been massive for me personally and you will be motivated and ultimately successful as a result.

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