To Be Successful You Need Luck And An Authentic Story
Cardi B’s strategy: a case study for starving artists
People value an authentic story. Or rather, they value an unapologetic storyteller. It doesn’t matter what’s said, or how it’s told. This is why Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in 2016. Why comedians, despite their uncensored jokes, will never be muted. And the reason social media personalities like Cardi B flourish.
I don’t share the same hysterical fondness that other millennials have for Cardi B. But that’s what makes her the best case study.
The definition of success is a relative one. But…we can narrow it down to: monetary wealth and recognition in your field.
I’ll admit, I bopped to Cardi B’s single, “Bodak Yellow,” in the summer of 2017. Yet, I don’t clamor to read articles the rapper is featured in, seldom like social media posts about her and don’t follow her on any social platform. My indifference stems from my cultural roots and strict religious upbringing.
For context: I was raised in a conservative Christian household with limited exposure to music and urban culture. While I’m actively working to broaden my interests, they’ve always been narrow.
True: I can’t relate to the WAP songstress, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t millions who do. And there’s a reason for that.
The definition of success is a relative one. But for the sake of this post, we can narrow it down to two universal attributes: monetary wealth and recognition in your field.
Guess what? We’ve been taught a false blueprint to acquire them.
…the purpose of going to college is to qualify for work to repay the money you borrowed for college.
I was prescribed a specific blueprint for relative success. But as a writer following an unconventional path I’ve come to reassess its application.
I was taught that being ladylike, well-spoken, and ambitious were precursors to success. You know, degrees, higher education, suits and formal events. I was trained to speak with perfect diction, how to walk and sit, and to be witty yet charming.
But like many millennials, I sometimes grapple with understanding why I haven’t yet achieved a quarter of the monetary success of Kylie Jenner, Cardi B and the like. Especially if you’re told going to college is the key to everything only to learn that the purpose of going to college is to qualify for work to repay the money you borrowed for college.
There are exceptions.
But the point is: we’ve been fed this lie that our deportment leads to success. It doesn’t. It lends to a perception of great character. We’ve also been told that going to college is the key to success. Also, untrue. It’s one of the many keys to education.
It’s how we apply the two that lead to success.
Wanting to be well-manicured is admirable. But board rooms and wallets go crazy for an authentic story. And that’s the difference.
If, of course, board rooms and wealth are on your vision board.
Success, in the context of this article, has one common thread. For unconventional routes, it has less to do with practice and more to do with luck. And luck, as defined by Roman philosopher Seneca, is “when preparation meets opportunity.”
This is why there isn’t a tried and true blueprint for certain types of success.
Yes, yes! Practice your craft, and be consistent. But besides luck, artists who are unapologetically and unwaveringly vulnerable stand out.
…what consumers value is an authentic story. It’s not just about who you are but how you got there.
With timing and the right target audience, the sky is the limit for entrepreneurs and creatives who stand in their truth.
For example, Kylie Jenner capitalized on her insecurities, which many teenagers connected with. By being vulnerable, she created the foundation for a million-dollar empire. But this happened during a time when lip products were booming and overdrawing lips was a technique common in the makeup world (ergo: luck). She leveraged her sister’s celebrity capital to achieve her version of success.
Cardi used social media as a platform to be herself, and millions found her entertaining and relatable. She made online videos at a time when social media had just become a marketing tool. Cardi leveraged her supporters’ loyalty through rap, and that has catapulted her to the success she enjoys today.
There are no secrets or practices that can get you where you need to be. Sure, yoga, consistency, waking at 5 am, making your bed, and “practicing your craft” can help you achieve moderate success.
But sometimes we forget to utilize our unique story. Our gifts, personality, experiences, and voice help our consumers and audience connect with us.
The era we’re in values authenticity above everything else.
We often harp on whether a public figure’s body and hair are real. Sometimes we even target their morals and character. But what consumers truly value is an authentic story. It’s not just about who you are but how you got there.
The world craves authentic voices. People can spot a dupe from a mile away. And black twitter will come for anyone caught slipping — receipts and all!
“Cancel Culture” Is Canceled
The impact of mass petition weakens when we cancel excessively and without merit
The secret to success is to be authentic with your story and how you choose to share it. Let that be the theme of everything you produce.
There are millions of ears and eyes waiting to receive your version of events, but only if you do so in your voice.