“You can’t do your best when you’re doubting yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”
The media got Michael Jackson ALL wrong. They wanted you to believe he was a wacko, race changing child molester. They wanted you to forget his musical genius and instead, view him as a figure of ridicule.
The system always does this to people who don’t conform. It doesn’t know how to cope with those who won’t stay in their box. Even worse than that, it doesn’t know how to cope with the non-conformists who are mega successful.
In Michael Jackson’s case, the system discredited him by sensationalising his life and neglecting to take an objective view on his eccentricities. It was easier (and more importantly, sold more papers) to say that he wanted to be white rather than look into the REAL causes for the change in his skin colour. It was easier to say he was dangerous to children than look into the reasons why he associated so strongly with kids and take note of all the positive work he did to improve their lives.
But this piece isn’t a defence of Michael Jackson. Even the staunchest fan (which I am) would have to admit he was a complex and troubled man. So I want to focus on something that few people could deny – his musical brilliance.
While The System would have us believe this was due to innate talent, there are enough clues left in the wake of his story to suggest this was only partly the case. In revealing them now, my hope is that you will look beyond what is so often explained away as ‘genius’ and realise that these rules can be used in your life, no matter what your field.
Michael Jackson was a huge Dreamer. Despite his phenomenal success, his dreams expanded even further than his achievements. Undaunted by the prospect of following up on Thriller, he dreamed of Bad being even bigger and selling 100 million copies (Thriller had only sold approximately 40 million at this point).
Evidence of this could be seen every time he checked into a hotel when he’d scrawl the figure 100,000,000 across his bathroom mirror. In fact, his life was littered with these subconscious prompts. In his autobiography, Moonwalk, he talks about his wish of creating the greatest selling album of all time and how he would repeat it every time before he jumped into his swimming pool and on every occasion he watched the sun set.
He knew about the connection between the conscious and subconscious mind. He was aware that if he kept feeding his mind with the goals he cherished so dearly then the subconscious would provide the answers necessary (song and video ideas, connections in the music industry) to advance his cause. In his own words,
“I believe we are powerful but we don’t use our minds to full capacity. Your mind is powerful enough to help you attain whatever you want.”
When using this first rule to mega success, you’d do well to imitate some of the subconscious prompts Michael Jackson used. If you don’t already have a daily thought channelling routine then it’s time you got one.The method you take – whether its wishes, posting notes on your fridge door, prayers, meditation or affirmation – is not as important as the fact that you do it every single day.
So if your goal is to get 10,000 subscribers to your blog, make a five figure income each month or to connect with your future soul mate then begin focusing your mind on this aim. Keep it simple though. The subconscious doesn’t cope well with varied instructions. Just the number 10,000 will work or picturing yourself hand in hand with your ideal partner. Whatever you do, make it bright, bold and emotionally charged. Remember MJ, wishing on the fading sun – The more dramatic, the greater the effect.
Michael’s producer and musical mentor, Quincy Jones, was always telling him not to get in the way of the music. “Don’t write the song, let the song write itself,” became one of Michael’s favourite sayings.
The idea was that he should act as a conduit and allow the Universe to channel melodies, rhythms, beats and words through him. He wasn’t forcing anything. He wouldn’t sit down and think, ‘I’m going to write a hit today,’ or, ‘I need a song with a rock feel on this album, how should it go?’
Instead, he’d often wake in the night or be driving along in his car and start to hear the base or the rough outline of a song. Inspired, he’d quickly rush to a tape recorder and begin singing what he heard. With this outline, he could then begin to write lyrics and get his production team to build an arrangement for the song.
Whether you area of expertise is creative or not, you can learn a huge amount from this approach. The temptation is always to force out excellence. We are desperate to succeed so we exert as much will as possible. However, this is often counterproductive. We tie ourselves up in knots, often ignore a more inspiring solution because we’re so fixed on moving in a certain direction and over think a problem causing us to miss the easy answer.
So from today, learn to connect with your intuition. It will come to you in flashes, often accompanied by strong feelings of inspiration or excitement. Then, for goodness sake, get the idea written down. Whether it’s a pen and paper or your phone, make note of what your genius is telling you. Often this small framework can later be expanded into a brilliant book or blog post, an idea for a lesson you want to teach, a talk you want to give or a discovery for an invention you’re working on.
Be open to it though. You being passionate and already mentally engaged in the field you love will be enough to get your genius firing off. Just make sure you listen to it and not the naysayers who might get you doubting some of your best ideas.
“Work like there’s no tomorrow. Train. Strive. Really train and cultivate your talent to the highest degree.” – Michael Jackson
Most people who are not fully acquainted with Michael Jackson’s story are surprised at how ball breakingly hard he worked (it flies in the face of the whole genius perception people have). He wanted to be number one. He wanted to be the biggest musical star on the planet and dominate the charts like no one had ever done before.
Quincy Jones recalls tales of them working on Thriller 5 days straight without sleep. Rod Temperton, song writer of Thriller and an assortment of other Jackson hits, remembers Michael staying up all night memorising the lines from the songs Temperton had written so that he could sing without prompts in the studio the next day. Relationships and friendships were sacrificed. His health suffered. However, this didn’t matter as much to him as becoming number 1.
Understandably, this is a price you might not want to pay, but it’s worth noting that MJ’s extreme success had a lot to do with his extreme drive. What separates a star like Michael Jackson, who can have decade after decade of phenomenal sales, from one who experiences a brief high with a breakout album but then fails to follow up with anything meaningful?
Top of the list of factors, is how bad they want it. There’s a great book, written by advertising mogul Paul Arden, whose title I now want you to burn into your subconscious mind,
IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE
Despite winning countless awards, Michael Jackson never displayed them at this home. Instead, they went into storage as he was adamant about never dwelling on his success. Instead, he was always focused on the next big project and approached them all with the same hunger as if it was his first.
Remember this example the next time you get complacent or want to slouch in front of the TV or aimlessly browse the internet. Every second, minute and day of your life counts and a lot of success is about how far you are prepared to push yourself. Go beyond what your body and mind tell you is possible and you’ll discover one of the greatest secrets that all mega successes know – there are no limits!
Know any Michael Jackson fans? If so, please email them a link this article so they can learn success tips straight from their favourite superstar.
And let me know in the comments section below which famous figures you’ve learned from.
(Image taken from Erin Williamson photostream flickr.com)
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