Lessons From The Wu-Tang Clan
Having recently read ‘The Tao of Wu‘ and ‘The Wu-Tang Manual‘ I thought I’d share a number of key lessons and tactics used by The RZA to create the massive success the clan has experienced.
I’ve always been a fan of the Wu-Tang Clan, with Enter the 36 Chambers undeniably being one of, if not the greatest hip hop album released to date, it was well ahead of it’s time.
The success and rise of the Wu-Tang clan wasn’t an accident, it was unexpected nor was it luck – RZA had it all planned out.
Below you’ll find a number of lessons and takeaways that you can apply to your own life.
Isolation Cultivates Growth
“Only on a remote island can something like King Kong grow to his full capacity”
When you’re able to work in an isolated environment you’re able to find yourself, you won’t be influenced by the fads and distractions that’re constantly occuring around you.
For the clan isolation was living on Staten Island.
You cannot develop the inner strengths necessary for success (well, certainly not as easily) if you’re living and working in a busy city.
Even if it’s only temporary to get things off the ground you must go to the islands if you wish to accomplish great things.
A Real Teacher is a Student
“A real teacher is also a student, someone who never stops learning”
The day you stop learning is the day you’re done.
King Solomon sought wisdom from the cradle to the grave – you must do the same.
Whether you’re a rapper, a martial artist, a chess player… if you stop learning and seeking knowledge it won’t take long for those that are commited to life-long learning topple you off your throne.
Understand The Jewels
“The jewels are as follows: Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding, Freedom, Justice, Equality, Food, Clothing, Shelter, Love, Peace, and Happiness. Each jewel has its own profound meaning, and each one takes work and meditation to achievc, but they break down like a chain reaction.”
It all begins with knowledge of self.
Do not let your body lead your mind, remind yourself of the jewels and proceed with your mind as the unstoppable force.
Truth Out Of Season Bears No Fruit
“One: There’s a time and place for every kind of knowledge to flourish. Two: The personal characristics of great messengers are usually irrelevant.”
Skip over names. Forget who said it if it’s the truth focus on the message itself.
If Wisdom Is Like Water, So Is Love
“It dissolves you then rebuilds you stronger. It’s like when you have your first child – you’ve never felt weaker in your life. Your love that for that child makes you vulnerable. But it also makes you stronger, because you’ll do anything to protect that child. So love, like wisdom, dissolves you and then resolves you. It breaks down your ego and puts you back together again properly.”
Harness the power of love after you’ve allowed it to rebuild you, forging a stronger will and motivation to continue forward on your path.
Reap The Benefits Of Time Alone
“Fast for a few days, don’t have a lot of people around. Be alone and quiet. You’ll start to hear from yourself, feel yourself. You’ll hear from the you that’s not you your family, beneath that the one that’s always there wityh you – the you that contains the god particle. Take time, this country fills up every second of your day with noise. That’s why they call this place Babylon – the Great Harlot, the Great Deceiver. Because it keeps us away from our true selves. So do the one thing this culture tries hard not to let you do: Look inside yourself. Be by yourself.”
Being creative, figuring out what you truly want, scheming… these things cannot be achieved to a high level if you’re constantly surrounded by the noise of others or the city.
Regularly find time to get away by yourself and use these periods of immense mental clarity.
Spend Your Money Wisely
“The publishing deal landed me a lot of money. But instead of buying a car or whatever rap stars were supposed to do, I turned that basement from a beat laboratory into a fully independent studio, a place we could complete entire albums. This is where I had my steepest learning curve, in the years 1994-96. This place became a dojo – Japanese for “place of the Tao” – a space for gathering, training, spiritual growth.”
Double down and invest your money in yourself, in your business, in the equipment, skills and knowledge that will allow you to continue to grow and flourish.
You’ll find happiness comes from production, not from a fancy set of wheels on your car.