The James Altucher Show

Ep. 153 - Russell Simmons: How to Earn Your Worth


Ask the world this question, and you’ll drown in failure. You’ll lose. Anything you take, anything you earn, will be foul. I bet you’ve asked this question before. Maybe everyday. Maybe all your life. “How can I get?” How can I get rich? How can I get happy? How can I get more? There’s no return on getting. It leave you with nothing. Or worse than nothingness. Emptiness. But there’s another way. It’s simple. And it works for me I’m going to tell you how to earn your worth. It works for me. And it works for my podcast guest, Russell Simmons, “the third richest figure in hip-hop with an estimated net worth of $340 million.” He gets. He told me a story. “That was my first realization that hard work turned into something,” he says. “I had never been on a plane. I had certainly never been out of the country, and landing in Amsterdam they're like, ‘Mr. Simmons what would you like?’ I'm like, ‘Oh shit Mr. Simmons.’ That was a revelation. I was a grown man I could get things I wanted.” But not all his life. He grew up in Queens. “Hollis, Queens and 205 Street. Frank Lucas was on our corner and so that was the heroin capital. The neighborhood went down very quickly,” he says. "Obviously every kid took a lot of drugs.” He was 13. Joined a gang. Sold drugs, “had some experiences,” and escaped. Now he’s the chairman and CEO of Rush Communications and the co-founder of Def Jam, the record label famous for spotting Beastie Boys, Jay Z, Kanye West, Rihanna and 100 others. Since 1984. I wanted to know how he got here. And how he became one of my heroes. “I didn't discover hip-hop,” he says, “hip-hop discovered me.” Opportunity found him. He was at the center of that universe. He grew his opportunities. He spotted talent, formed partnerships, and became an entrepreneur.  He learned a lot. You might expect to hear “he hustled.” But mostly, he gave back. “This idea that you have to trade with the world or manipulate the world to be successful is wrong headed,” Russell says. Contribute. “If you look at your own history of success it's because you contributed to success,” he says. It’s works for me too. I give writing. I get readers. I give interviews. I get advice, entertainment, a network, new friends, a memory, and experiences I would never get if I didn’t give. And giving can be simple. Write emails to people you admire. Surprise someone. Do something that makes someone else’s life better. Give ideas. Say thanks. “You have to be comfortable in your seat, and life's only goal is to be happy and comfortable in your seat,” Russell says. “From that space the universe unravels and it attracts everything. You become a greater giver because you're focused on giving and you're not fearful of the world. You become a contributor.” “Anyway I'm out of cocaine now. Just so you know I've been vegan and I've stopped taking drugs almost thirty years ago,” he says. That’s why I got to have him on my podcast. He wrote a book, The Happy Vegan: A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life. I got to go to his apartment to interview him. It’s an incredible book. I learned a huge amount reading it. I'm not a vegan. But I'm strongly considering it. Listen to today's podcast. You’ll get you ideas. Ideas about how to change different industries (food, farming, the drug industry). And you can start giving. You’ll learn how to contribute. Give. And why it’s important to your success. “Good givers are great getters,” Russell says. This interview will get you thinking.  You’re going to learn how to “get.” I’ll give you the starting step. Stop asking, “What can I get?” And start asking, “What can I give?” Listen now. Resources and Links: ReadThe Happy Vegan: A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life by Russell Simmons Read Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons Read Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All by Russell Simmons Follow Russell Simmons on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram