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Chapter 4: Keep Moving – Calculated Momentum (The 50th Law)

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Miles Davis

THE OLD MUSICIANS STAY WHERE THEY ARE AND BECOME LIKE MUSEUM PIECES UNDER GLASS, SAFE, EASY TO UNDERSTAND, PLAYING THAT TIRED OLD SHIT OVER AND OVER AGAIN…. BEBOP WAS ABOUT CHANGE, ABOUT EVOLUTION. IT WASN’T ABOUT STANDING STILL AND BECOMING SAFE. IF ANYBODY WANTS TO KEEP CREATING THEY HAVE TO BE ABOUT CHANGE.

—Miles Davis

This chapter is about overcoming the fear of change.

50 Cent joined the drug trade at a turbulent time. There was little law and order, many competing drug dealers, and constantly changing tastes. An ambitious man called Jermaine, who came out of prison, decided to consolidate the drug space in 50 Cent’s neighborhood – he had learned about monopolies and competition in prison and wanted to apply these lessons to the streets.

He succeeded at first, even forcing 50 Cent to adhere to the parameters he set. But he was too ambitious, and made his intentions clear to everyone – that he was going to monopolize the drug business. A week later, he was shot in the head.  

When 50 Cent joined the music business, he noticed that people behaved just like Jermaine. They held on to old ideas. They thought about copyright and ownership at a time when these things were being rapidly disrupted. They applied old business models that no longer worked.

Fear of Change

People see change as something that is threatening. It is an attitude we learn from childhood. And like how the child grasps and clings to what they know and want. Adults do the same, in slightly more sophisticated ways – they cling onto people and things and ways of thinking.

Machiavelli warned that it was this tendency that caused so much pain and misery in our societies. Someone who rose to power through brute force, would be unable to change his strategy of brute force under different circumstances. And because of this addiction to what worked before, so many continue to find themselves in the same position, trying to survive on the glories of the past.

People rely too much on convention and the way things ought to be. They focus on separation and not unification of knowledge. They try to compartmentalize everything into neat boxes, and in this way, they fool themselves into believing that they have reality figured out.

Those who thrive are not the ones that cling to fixed knowledge but are those who constantly evolve to circumstances. They are like chameleons, and instead of seeing division, they see unity.

Da Vinci started his career as a painter, but this led to an interest in design, which led to architecture, which led to engineering, and finally to an interest in the relationship between emotions and physiology. He was the first Renaissance man.

Miles Davis kept young talent around him so that his style never got old.

THUS ONE’S VICTORIES IN BATTLE CANNOT BE REPEATED—THEY TAKE THEIR FORM IN RESPONSE TO INEXHAUSTIBLY CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES…. IT CAN BE LIKENED TO WATER, AS WATER VARIES ITS FLOW ACCORDING TO THE FALL OF THE LAND.

Sun Tzu

Our educational system is built on the assumption that more specialization is better. But specialization comes with a price, it narrows the mind into mastering only a very small part of the world. Under circumstances that are constantly changing, it may be much more pragmatic to be a dilettante.   

The chameleon does not see only one environment it can survive in, and only one group of people it can be friends with, or one group of people it can do business with. As the world becomes more complex, it is important to become more like a chameleon, and to see the world as unified, and to take everything as it comes, to deal with complexity with adaptability and quickness, instead of rigidity and convention.

PEOPLE WISH TO BE SETTLED; ONLY AS FAR AS THEY ARE UNSETTLED IS
THERE ANY HOPE FOR THEM.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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