Money, Sex and Hustle: Jay-Z’s Guide To Life Success


There are few men where the word “cool” actually grants merit, but Jay-Z is one of them.  Put him in a room with Robert Dinero, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Brady and I’d put money on Jay being the anchor of conversation.  There is a relaxed self-confidence about him that very few men have.  I don’t blame him.  Success breeds confidence and in Jay-Z’s case, his list of successes can only explain why his face is all smiles…  Over a span of 2 decades, Jay-Z has…

  • Accumulated more number 1 albums than Elvis Presley (11 at the time of this writing)
  • Founded Rocawear Clothing, later sold the rights for $204 million.
  • Was the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings.
  • Signed $150 million deal with Live Nation, to launch a record label/talent management/publishing company RocNation.
  • Co-Producer of the Broadway show, Fela!
  • Co-Owns 40/40 Night Club, a chain of upscale sports bars.
  • Is the Co-Brand Director for Budweiser Select
  • Co-Owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team.
  • Best selling author of the book Jay-Z Decoded
  • Married to R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles

We can learn a thing or two or 400 hundred from the man.  Luckily, he’s bestowed valuable life lessons through his lyrics over the years.  In this article, I’m going to break down some of his most powerful lines and how it can apply to both pickup and lifestyle design.

On Choosing Your Fate…

No lie, just know I chose my own fate / I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

from Renegade, The Blueprint

In the early nineties, when no label gave Jay-Z the time of day, what did he do?  Did he bitch and whine that life wasn’t fair?  Did he ask himself “Maybe I’m just not good enough?”  Did he quit all together?  Screw that.  He took fate into his own hands by partnering with Damon Dash, one of the most relentless business men in Harlem and together they created and grew Roc-a-Fella Records from the streets up.

What can we learn from this?  If you’ve sucked with women in the past, then hustle your way to get better – one approach at a time.  If you don’t get the dream job, create the dream business.  Don’t wait around for others to make things happen for you.  If life doesn’t hand you lemons, climb up the tree, yank the lemons out yourself, make lemonade and sell them for $3 bucks a pop.

On Staying Hungry…

Treat my first like my last and the last like my first and my thirst is the same as when I came.

from My 1st Song, The Black Album

One of the keys to long-term success is the ability to stay hungry amidst the peaks and valleys of of a challenging journey.  Jay eloquently wraps this idea up in the line above.  This goes to show why each and every year he seems to pile a new set of accomplishments.

In the pickup community, most don’t get good because their desire to get better with women eventually fizzles out after a few short months in the field.  The few that do see a bit of success settle for any girl that shows them the time of day.

It’s the same story in the lifestyle design community.  Millions of people read The Four Hour Work Week, yet very few actually work for themselves and travel the world.  Creating a successful online business involves putting in an insane amount of work to initially see little to no results.  Most aren’t cut out to handle this.

In order to win in either game, you have to say hungry amidst any external circumstance that comes your way.

On Fear…

How you get so fly?  From not being afraid to fall from the sky

from Beach Chair, Kingdom Come

Often times successful people are where they are because they don’t let fear get to them.  They walk forward while everyone else safely watches from the sidelines.  By pushing your fears to the side and simply making an attempt at whatever you are pursuing, you are already separating yourself from the majority of people.

The reason why few men experience success with women while most struggle, is they simply don’t listen to their fears.  When everything inside tells them not to approach, they walk up anyway (palms-sweating and heart-beating in all).  When they are scared shitless to pull the trigger, they squeeze (no matter how awkward it may be).  The 5% of successful guys aren’t necessarily that much skilled than everyone else, they are simply willing to do what 95% of guys aren’t.

As far as business is concerned, fear holds back most would-be entrepreneurs.  Most people don’t even attempt to create a business in fear of failure.  They’re scared of looking like a fool to their friends and family members.  They’re scared of losing their time and energy if things turn sour.  They’re scared of putting themselves out online.  They let their fear hold them back and because of this, they continue to work their unfulfilling jobs.

Fear is a good thing.  It gives you the necessary focus and energy to succeed.  A common myth is successful don’t experience it.  This is simply untrue.  If anything, they are just as scared as you.  The only difference is they don’t take it that seriously and continue to take action.

On Hardships…

And a drought can define a man when the well drys up, you learn the worth of water, without work you thirst till you die yep.

from December 4th, Black Album

The disadvantages life throws at you molds you into who you are today.  Jay-Z would NEVER be the man he it wasn’t for being raised in the streets of Brooklyn.  In that type of environment, you don’t live, you survive.  You don’t have a choice but to develop into a man, REALLY quickly.  This leads me to another Jay quote…

We invite you to something epic.  Where we hustle out of a sense of hopelessness, sort of a sense of desperation.  Through that desperation we become addicted, sort of like the fiends were accustomed to serving.  We feel we have nothing to lose, so we offer our lives, what do you bring to the table?

from, Can I Live, Reasonable Doubt

When you are placed in such an extreme position, you are forced to bring the best version of yourself out.  Music was Jay-Z’s only outlet to make it out of the ghetto, so he put every drop of himself into it.  That’s why it’s so damn good.  Check out Reasonable Doubt, arguably his greatest album.  It was his first and created when he didn’t have anything to his name.

Often times, guys who are pickup rockstars or self-made millionaires are those who simply had nothing growing up.  You’ll see accounts of certain pickup gurus who had zero experience with women and didn’t have a choice but to figure out a way to get better.  You’ll also find many successful entrepreneurs who only started turning their lives around when they got fired from their job, were in extreme consumer debt, had a baby on the way or simply hit rock bottom.

When extreme hardships are thrown at you, it is a good thing – the absolute best will emerge from you, taking your life to a level it couldn’t have reached otherwise.

On Placing Limits On Yourself…


Difficult takes a day.  Impossible takes a week.

from Diamonds Are Forever Remix,

You are only able to achieve as much as what you think you are capable of.  Successful people have ZERO limits in their mind with how far they can take their lives.  Take Jay-Z.  He grew up in The Marcy Projects, where most deem success as not getting killed before you’re 18.  Yet Jay though differently…

I can’t base what I’m gon’ be off what everybody isn’t.

from So Ambitious, Blueprint 3

He was the rare individual who thought nothing was impossible.  He didn’t let his environment dictate where he could take his life which goes to show why he later was able to accumulate hundreds of millions of dollars and marry one of the most desired women on the planet.

Do you TRULY believe that attaining your perfect 10 is possible?  Do you TRULY believe that you can support yourself online?  Seriously ask yourself these questions.  If there is even a hint of doubt, there is no way it’s going to happen. Never place limits to where you can take your life and shatter the ones that are currently holding you back.

On Learning From Failures…

I will not lose for even in defeat, there’s a valuable lesson learned so it evens up for me.

from Blueprint 2, The Blueprint 2

As a budding rapper in the late eighties, Jay had the opportunity to tour with Slick Rick, one of the most established artists at the time.  After facing less than stellar feedback from audiences, Jay took a step back from the rap game and resorted to selling drugs.  On the surface this would be looked at as a “failure,” but selling cocaine helped him to develop a keen business sense that later lead to launching his chain of successful businesses.  While most would have looked at his setbacks as “failures,” he looked at them as learning lessons. This acquired knowledge lead to the massive amount of success he would experience in the future.

In terms of women, there are no such thing as rejections, just learning lessons. When a girl says no, she is simply saying no to your approach. Being turned down is simply constructive criticism on something that needs changing.  Don’t take it personally.  Take note on what you are doing wrong and use it to improve yourself for the future.

The same applies with business. You will rarely find an entrepreneur who found his success from his first business. Often times it takes many attempts at a few businesses to find one that works.  I launched 5 failed businesses before I started making real money online.  Yet with each failure, I learned knowledge I couldn’t have picked up otherwise.  I would NEVER be where I am today if it wasn’t for those experiences.

So don’t look at failures in a negative light, they are golden opportunities to learn and grow from.

On Training…

…I spring train in the winter, around early December…

from Breath Easy, The Blueprint

One of the qualities Jay-Z is known for is his work ethic.  As a young teenager first getting into rap, he was known for devouring rhyming dictionaries, having piles of notebooks filled with lyrics, battling any MC that he could find, listening over and over to the great rappers at the time and doing anything and everything to perfect his craft.  When working on music today, he’s known for spending 16 hour days inside the studio, making sure each and every part of his songs are perfect.

Do you have this type of work ethic?  What measures are you willing to take to achieve your goals?

In terms of pickup, if you aren’t going out at least 4x a week, making at least 5 approaches per night, consciously working on a new aspect of your game, then there is NO way you are going to get better.  Often times you have to go through up to 1,000 approaches to develop the type of game you are looking to acquire.

In terms of lifestyle design, if you aren’t working at least 4 hours per day on your business, then you won’t hack it in this game.  Having to work a job is not a valid excuse either.  I talk about this in The Lifestyle Artist, but if you work a 9-5, you have all the way from 5pm, to the time you go to bed to hustle.  It’s going to be tough, but if you aren’t willing to pay your dues, chances of success are slim.

On Doing You…

I don’t surf the net, no I’ve never been on myspace.  Too busy lettin’ my voice vibrate, carvin’ out my space.

from Beach Chair, The Blueprint 2

Are you a fan or are you a player?  I see too many guys in both pickup and lifestyle design who are fans.  They read stories of guys working for themselves online, traveling the world, dating international women and having experiences of a lifetime.  Instead of using this as inspiration, they use it as an escape to live vicariously through these people.  Jay-Z wraps what I’m trying to get a perfectly with the line above.

In order to succeed, you have to be a player, not a fan.  Instead of obsessing over what a particular pickup guru’s pickup method, you should be out in the real world creating your own.  Instead of looking at awe at successful online entrepreneurs, you should be putting in the work to make your own mark online.

Don’t watch the action from the sidelines, be a player in the game.

On BEING The Game…

…I’m not a businessman. I’m a business…maaaannn…

from Diamonds Are Forever Remix

I love the play on words with this one.  Jay asserts that he’s more than just a business man, but a brand, a corporate identity, the business itself.  Each and every one of his business ventures are an extension of him and because of this, there’s a level of quality, genuineness and caring that’s hard to find in other businesses.  This goes to show why everything the man touches turns to gold.

This perfectly relates with women.  Don’t look at lines and techniques themselves as what attracts women, but it working because YOU said them.  Being attractive to women is a “being,” not a “doing.”  Whatever you say and do is the right thing because it came from you.

If you are creating an online business, YOU are brand, the identity, the business itself.  Like Jay-Z, I look at Next Level Lifestyles as an extension of myself.  That’s why I put everything I have into making this the absolute best site on the internet – from the each articles I write, to the design, to each and every one of the products I create.  I’m emotionally attached to everything with my company and because of this, my absolute best work is brought to the table.

On Haters…

He who does not feel me is not real to me, therefore he does not exist.  So poof… vamoose, son of a bitch.

from Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Blueprint

Jay-Z had a HUGE amount of haters early in his career.  Yet to him, not only was he not going to listen to them, they didn’t even exist in his reality.  He surrounded himself with positive, supportive people and didn’t give a second of his time to anyone that was going to bring him down.

If you are attempting to do anything out of the ordinary, you will no doubt come across a fair share of haters.  This may be family, friends, co-workers, or random people on the internet.  Whoever it may be, there WILL be a number of people that don’t want to see you succeed.  Doing so will only confirm their own mediocrity.  Therefore they want you to stay where you are to make them feel better about their lives.

Both pickup and lifestyle design are exceptionally unconventional pursuits the majority won’t understand.

With pickup, your friends my laugh at you after getting “rejected” time and time again from the women you approach.  Don’t mind them.  In time your skills will begin to develop and the same people that were pointing and laughing will be the ones astonished with the type of women you have in your life.

When starting an online business you may be faced with a slew of negativity.  Your parents will plead with you to stick with your “normal” job, your friends are going to get angry when you have less time to hang out with them, you’ll deal with crazy looks when trying to explain what you are trying to do – it’s not easy.

In order to succeed, you need to surround yourself with positive people and pay no mind to those who aren’t.

On Building a Network…

If everyone in your clique is rich/ your click is rugged/nobody will fall cause everyone will be each others crutches.

from I’m Feelin It, Blueprint

A major reason Jay-Z is where he is today is because he surrounded himself with the right people.  From being mentored by Slick Rick early in his career, to partnering with Damon Dash to skyrocket Roc-A-Fella records, to now rubbing elbows with the likes of Warren Buffet, Opera and President Obama – Jay knew the importance of having a strong network.

With women, who you hang out with plays a major role in your success.  You’ll learn more in a few hours hanging out with a natural than you would in months reading eBooks, watching DVD’s and attending seminars.  Crafting a solid group of friends is one of the most overlooked and underrated ways to get better with women.  I’m not talking about finding wingman to “sarge” with either, but real friends you would hang out with outside of pickup.  Women want to be with a guy who has an awesome group of close-knit friends, not creep-balls whose only friends are guys he picks women up with.

As far as business, your network also plays a pivotal role in your success.  If you have colleagues who are fellow entrepreneurs you’ll be able to trade business strategies, potentially create joint-venture deals, make connections you normally wouldn’t have had and generally be around other self-motivated individuals.

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Alex Wise served over 5 years as relationship expert helping women from around the world figure out the men in their love lives from an honest, male perspective. Alex is one of the contributors and editors for dating website. He is passionate about thought leadership writing, and regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and online dating communities.