Kanye West and his audacity are at work yet again.
Back in 2009, West made headlines when he stole the microphone from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. West’s disrespect was rooted in his belief that the award belonged to Beyoncé instead.
At the 2015 Grammys, West pretended to take the stage and snag the “Album of the Year” award away from rocker, Beck. Again, he was defending Beyoncé who was surprisingly upstaged.
After the show, Kanye West had this to say:
“When you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. He (Beck) should’ve given his award to Beyoncé.”
Most recently, Kanye admitted to being $53 million in debt and tweeted Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, asking him for financial support claiming, “I am the greatest living artist and the greatest artist of all time.”
Kanye then proceeded to go on a Twitter tirade that claimed, “I’m this generation’s Disney. I want to bring dope s*%t to the world.”
While most of you may have a love-hate relationship with Kanye, his attitude and remarks highlight a growing problem in our culture. While most people want to write him off or make him a god, I’m wondering if there is something we can truly learn from him.
I think there is.
No Amount of Money Will Make You Happy
In 2014, Forbes reported that Kanye West earned $30 million dollars, making him number twenty on their list of Top 100 Celebrities. And now he’s $53 million in debt and apparently imploding.
It proves the cliché that we’ve heard for years: no amount of money will make you happy. Although we’ve heard that for years, for some reason we never really let it sink in. Why is that? I suspect that it’s because many of us have made money the culprit. But what if money isn’t the problem at all?
At the root of the money issue is the concept of gratitude. Somewhere along the way, we gave into the lie that if we just have a little bit more, then we’ll be thankful—then we’ll be happy.
Happiness isn’t a byproduct of money, it’s a byproduct of gratitude, and money can’t buy gratitude.
So if we can’t buy gratitude, then how can we achieve it?
It’s simple. Gratitude is a choice.
If we’re not grateful for what we have and where we are, we’ll never be grateful for what we get or where we’re going. Interestingly enough, the opposite is true as well. The more ungrateful we are, the less likely we are to receive.
If you’re looking to expand your creativity or your success, choose to be grateful for what you have and where you are right now. Instead of looking for validation, you’ll begin living out of the fullness of what you’ve been given.
Humble Yourself or Be Humbled
I think Kanye West was terribly wrong in his comments after the Grammys. Winning awards doesn’t inspire great art. If anything, winning awards has the ability to prevent the creation of great art because the artist begins to believe that it’s all about them.
Great art is birthed from a place of humility—when the artist appreciates the gifts they have been given and when they steward those gifts to serve others.
True humility is seen when an artist admires their own work no differently than they admire another’s. An artist should have an appreciation for the nobility of one’s cause but also an understanding that everyone else has a noble cause as well.
I wrote in my book that humility has a way of finding us, so we better find it first. I’m afraid that’s what we’re seeing with Kanye now. That doesn’t mean we can escape humbling circumstances, but it does highlight the promise of scripture that “Pride comes before the fall.”
Learning From Our Celebrities
If we’re not careful, our celebrities will continue to teach us to depend on arrogance as some type of barometer for greatness. The more outlandish, the more successful. That is radically false. And dangerous.
I took a cancer diagnosis for me to learn these concepts of gratitude and humility. And it is a privilege to use my experiences to share this perspective with you.
I believe that all of us should use our gifts and talents to entertain and inspire others. The moment we forget that is the moment our arrogance consumes us.
So Kanye, thank you for reminding me that gratitude will never be a product of my success. My success will be a product of my gratitude. And, although I can have confidence in my gifts and talents, thank you for reminding me that it will always be a privilege serve others with humility.
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About the Author
Matt Ham is dedicated to guiding others toward rich living. His own experiences have led him to the understanding and freedom of a rich life, and through his RICH Principles he helps folks uncover true richness, identifying real treasure and discovering true joy and contentment.
You can order a limited hardback version of the book at www.redefinerich.com
To contact Matt, visit www.mattham.com/speaking