I used to live in a world just below yours. The Underworld is a world that operates with a different set of rules and laws than what many of you are accustomed to. It’s a place where a person has to rely on their reputation to speak for them, long before they say a word. A place where you are judged not by a court of law, but by those you associate with. It’s a place where a person has to use whatever resources they have available and where the penalties of crossing too many lines are severe.
Here are some observations from that period of my life. This particular one had a drastic and profound effect on me.
When a group of street Hustlers get together there’s going to be A LOT of talking. We used to talk about everything – the latest movies, who made the best album that year, old “war” stories, women we wanted to have, women we already had, what happened last night, what happened the night before that, what was going to happen later that night, sports, and changes in the street Game.
You could also tell the mentality of a street Hustler by the way they talked about money and life. They could “front” and make up whatever stories they wanted, but conversations about money and life would eventually reveal how that Hustler truly thought.
For example, the wisest among us knew that money wasn’t real – that it’s just a tool and system of exchange. And there are other tools and systems of exchange. You could lack a lot of actual money but still be living very comfortable (that’s some Game for another time).
You may be surprised (or maybe not), but street Hustlers are a pretty sensitive bunch. Not sensitive as in emotional, but sensitive in the way they’re able to pick up on other people’s behavior. You had to be this way, you had to notice shifts in people’s behavior and attitudes. A few wrong mistakes in that area could be costly.
It’s a paranoid lifestyle sometimes. Anyway, I digress…
It was either spring or summer, my Game was paying me very mediocre at this time. I lived not too far from a very seasoned street Hustler whom I’ll just call, Double A.
Double A and I didn’t speak much, our personalities didn’t mesh well. He was one of those street Hustlers that made a lot of money, but was comfortable living like he was broke. At the time he made much more money than me but our living conditions were similar. This was a violation of The Game because The Game is about Advancement and Growth; always improving and being better this year than you were the last.
I ran into him as I was about to get on the city bus. “Peace Shah (my street Hustler name at the time)!” he said with his New York accent.
“Double A! What’s up with you?” I responded.
We talked about the usual sense (and non-sense) as we waited on the bus. When it finally arrived we boarded it and took seats near the back. The bus was fairly empty so we were able to stretch out a bit and get comfortable.
We talked about more sense (and non-sense) until we got on a very interesting topic.
“Let me ask you a question, Shah. Are you married?” Double A asked.
“Man, you know I’m not married. What kind of question is that?” I said.
He pointed at his ring finger as he spoke, “Married to your hustle, nigga! Are you married to your hustle?”
This was one of those moments where you notice that a street Hustler isn’t acting like his usual self. It’s not that the question was odd – it was the fact that HE asked it which made it odd.
“Being honest,” I said, “I don’t plan on doing this street shit forever.”
Double A nodded, “Nah Shah, you’re missing the point. Check this B, this is how I look at my Hustle. My Hustle is like my wife. I protect her, I respect her, I honor her, I feed her, I clothe her – you know, the whole nine. It’s me and her against the world, you feel me? Niggas need to marry their ideals and stop flirting with other weak shit.”
What he said didn’t hit me then. If fact, it didn’t hit me until months later. What Double A gave me was an extremely strong Perspective on life in general; not just the street Hustle.
What he gave me is something I took with me the rest of my life – being committed. This commitment can extend to a goal, an ideal, your Principles and even a life Purpose.
You must take what you want VERY serious. Serious like you would think about a marriage. If you loved your wife or husband you would put them on a pedestal to certain degree. You would do what it took to keep them. You wouldn’t cheat on them and you wouldn’t abandon them when things got rough – if you really loved them.
So how much are you in love with your aspirations and goals? How committed are you? You’re not truly committed if you allow contradictory goals and ideals to come into your mind. That’s like flirting with another woman or man with the intention to sleep with them. In other words, that’s cheating! Your heart should only belong to your wife or husband – what you truly want out of your life.
Someone else doesn’t like you and your new Bae? Pay them no mind. No one should be able to break you up – no one should be able to come between you two. And if you have to fight with other people who try to violate your relationship with your ideals, Principles and goals, then you’re going to have to fight. Or find a means to get them out of your life.
It’s this mentality that separates the men and women from the boys and girls.
Are you married to your goals, ideals, Principles and/or life Purpose? Because if you’re not, you’re just interested – meaning you’re just flirting; you’re just dating. And that’s not true commitment.
All of us only have a certain amount of time. Don’t waste it. Clearly decide on what you want out of life and marry it. Stop going in half-heartedly – stand up and fully commit. Put a ring on it! Peep Game.
Until next time…
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