Screening Test: I’d like for you to try and stop yourself from painting a mental picture of a tiger playing a piano. DO NOT paint a mental picture of the largest member of the Felid family striking its paws across the ivory keys, miraculously producing the sounds of a well-known Mozart classic.

If you are like 99% of the population, chances are that not only did you fail the test miserably, but now it seems all but impossible to get the ridiculous image of a piano-playing tiger out of your head. So why is this? While we would like to believe that we are in complete control of what information we allow our brains to focus upon—while we would love to believe that we know the difference between useful information and nonsense made purely for entertainment purposes– the fact remains that our brains (our minds in fact, but we will leave that distinction for another day) are highly sensitive, complex organs that are at the mercy of whatever we decide, or not decide, to expose it to. As we have all heard many times before, we are only but a product of our environment. Taking a “Hip Hop Hiatus” is going to allow you to reclaim control of this environment of yours, creating a world that will propel you towards the achievement of your personal goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Tiger playing piano

The Hip Hop Hiatus
  1. Free yourself from all hip-hop/contemporary music for seven full days. Clear your daily playlists and iPod from all of your favorite music.
  2. Next, replace this music with “success-conscious material.” Motivational, Inspirational, Educational—mix it up!
  3. Finally, just listen, listen, and listen some more. After seven full days, analyze your results and celebrate the great new habit you have created for yourself.                               

So what is music’s role in all of this?

Between commutes to and from school or work, exercising, socializing, and even relaxing, the average American listens to a minimum of four hours of music everyday. I know I personally have found myself some days listening to music for double that amount of time. With that amount of “brain exposure time,” it is easy to see how we can drift from the focus of achieving our goals and instead become carried away by the music. How much better off would you be with an extra 28 hours every week focused solely on whatever goals you wish to accomplish?

Don’t get me wrong– I love great music, and hip-hop is one of my favorite genres. But remember, we’re trying to achieve our goals here! What better way to do that than to take a habit that already exists (casual music-listening), and use this habit to create and sustain thoughts and ideas concerning nothing but our short and long term goals.

The “Hip Hop Hiatus” along with this entire article can be summed up in one brilliant, earth-shattering sentence that is constantly overlooked by all of us: “A [wo]man is only but what [s]he thinks about all day long.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

OK, I understand the music I listen to isn’t exactly helpful. But how will listening to positive, motivational music physically help me achieve my goals?

The money-question! So what should happen? Removing this music from your playlist by replacing it with positive, influential material will cause a steady shift in your thinking. More often throughout the day, you will find that your thoughts will be directed towards the accomplishment of your goals (as opposed to humming the latest Chris Brown or Katy Perry single). Obviously, just sitting and thinking about your goals will do you no good. It is the constant repetition of this goal-oriented material that will remind you of what is most important to you, and ultimately force you into action. You will find yourself feeling motivated to act, doing things that will only lead you closer to your goals, whatever they may be. This music is helpful especially on those bad days when you feel uninspired to say the least.

So what do I now?

1) Firstly, Get excited. You are about to embark on a new kind of mental journey that will help you achieve whatever it is you desire, only faster.

2) Make a new playlist for your IPod/IPhone entitled “Positive Influence.” This is the fun part. Search the Internet (YouTube works well) for motivational speakers that peak your interest and positive messages that you feel you could listen to throughout the day. I promise you, if you listen to these messages long enough, they will lure you into action! If it’s weight loss you seek, you will find yourself making more health-conscious eating decisions. If it’s money you hope to save, you will find yourself chugging along with “The 14 Quarter Project.” Whatever your goal, this playlist will engrave in your mind reminders that will constantly keep you engaged with what I like to call “success-conscious activity.”

3) Send me your favorite new song! Send me your playlist. Let me know what kind of impact the “Hip Hop Hiatus” has played in your day, week, or month!

4) Need help getting started? Email me directly at serwanga.isaac@gmail.com, and I will send you my own personal favorite song, and help guide you towards creating the right playlist for you.

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What should I expect?

  • It will not be easy at first. But if you stick with it, you will eventually ask yourself why you hadn’t started “The Hip Hop Hiatus” sooner.
  • Expect it to work for you. I know nothing of your goals and dreams, but I do know that if you think about them long enough, you’ll do something everyday to make them come to life.

 

Last but not least. The Hip Hop Hiatus will not work if…

  • You don’t try it. If you are someone hungry to achieve your goals more rapidly, I’m sure you are looking for any and every way to get ahead. Trying is always the first step in succeeding.
  • You don’t believe it will work for you. Don’t be scared of change. All growth comes from a state of discomfort. You will miss your music at first, but as you see results, hopefully you’ll thank me for the idea and thank yourself for following through.
  • You don’t have any clear goals!! Know what you want—the positive Influence playlist is there to remind you of your own personal goal. Write it down. Memorize it. Then listen, listen, and listen some more.

If the “Hip Hop Hiatus” does not work for you, then you have missed out on listening to your favorite music for a week. But in the case that it does, then you, my friend, are on the path to success at an alarming rate. Enjoy the ride!

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