The legendary Snoop Dogg inspired generations. Not just to become rappers, but to become all you can be by perfecting your craft, following your vision and finding peace within yourself, in both success and failure.
As you’ll see, Snoop doesn’t let failure set him back, instead, he learns from it and pushes forward. There’s something in his wise words for people from all walks of life who are willing to stop what they’re doing for even just a short while to learn from this man and benefit from his message.
Let’s peel back the pages of Snoop Dogg’s Success Book…
During his teenage years, Snoop was frequently in trouble with the law, having been arrested for possession of cocaine and spending a few years after that arrest in and out of jail.
So how did Snoop become so successful eventually? While he obviously has musical talent, one of the things he said stood out for us:
“The most important decision I’ve made in business? The choices of people I have around me. When I first started I brought everybody with me, my homies from the neighborhood, criminals. I just said, ‘Come on everybody, we made it.’ Then I had to realize we didn’t make it. I made it”.
At first this can be misunderstood as if he reached success and then waved goodbye to people who may have helped him get there. Yet the truth is sometimes you find success while no one else around you does. What’s worse is when they think you owe it to them to bring them with you all the way. This is when you have to take a rule or two out of Snoop Dogg’s success book to Reinvent Yourself (rule #3), Pick Your People (rule #4) and then Find Your Peace (rule #6).
These people never helped you reach success. Yet they are ready and waiting to pull you down to their level the moment you slip up. The Social Proximity Effect says: “You’ll mirror the habits of the people you spend the most time with. To build good habits, spend more time with people who already practise them.” So choose carefully the people you do bring with you. But let’s start at the beginning…
Rule #1: Perfect Your Craft
“If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft.”
Snoop must have learned this early on from the time Dr. Dre took him under his wing. He knew he had to stay the course and keep at it if he was to succeed. For someone of Snoop’s background and early troubles, to be 21 years old and to keep on mastering his craft took dedication and a lot of discipline.
In a recent interview, Snoop talked about what he learned from Tupac:
“I think what I learned from Tupac was a different sort of work ethic. I always had a good work ethic about myself as far as being timely and on point and being a professional,” Snoop explains.
“But he just showed me how to be a little more faster with it, as far as getting to the meat of it all and not really just listening to it all the time, not absorbing it, but more or less just doing it.”
“Just keep doing it and doing it,” Snoop adds. “Let the engineers mix it and master it and not fall in love with it. But fall in love with the craft to being able to do it and continue to do it. That was something that was passed to me and now I’m showing it in my own work ethic.”
Rule #2: Learn From Your Losses
“Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen. It teaches you what you should have done next time.”
For Snoop, after he was acquitted of his murder charge on February 20, 1996, there was a distinct change in him. He decided to leave the gangsta lifestyle behind and went on to live a more peaceful and quiet life with the mother of his son. The well-publicized deaths and convictions of many of Snoop’s friends and labelmates were touchpoints in his life, marking a move away towards calmer lyrical aesthetics.
We may all have been caught up one way or another with what we thought made up our image, but the loss of a close friend or a close shave with the law can make you realize “what you should have done next time”.
Rule #3: Reinvent Yourself Often
“I used to be focused on being the dopest rapper in the game, and then once that became what I was, I wanted something different, and I wanted to become the best businessman in the game. I wanted to learn how to master the business like I mastered the rap.”
The many ventures that Snoop has involved himself with tells us he is not one who wants to stop learning. From creating a fried chicken recipe, launching his own wine label, advocating the legalization of marijuana to starting a dog food business, Snoop’s untiring thirst for growth and learning makes him the business mogul he is today.
In fact, he’s also said “If you stop at general math, you’re only going to make general math money.”
Snoop’s been through all kinds of reinvention throughout his career, it’s kept him fresh and clear between the ears, as well as relevant throughout the decades.
Rule #4: Pick Your People
“The most important decision I’ve made in business? The choices of people I have around me. When I first started I brought everybody with me, my homies from the neighborhood, criminals. I just said, ‘Come on everybody, we made it.’ Then I had to realize we didn’t make it. I made it.”
Snoop has come a long way since his early days of having his homies around him. He explained that you’ve got to close the gap if you want your friends with you, because if you rise and your friends don’t there’s a gap, and if you can’t close the gap, you’ve got to cut them out.
Snoop in fact switched homies for people like his manager, Ted Chung, a 1999 Wharton alumnus, who helped him build a diversified business that is enduring against the public’s fickle musical tastes.
Snoop is a great example of a self-taught business person who has achieved his successes from learning real-life lessons. Snoop learned about business by doing things himself and watching others. With his many licensing and endorsement deals, investments, and income from his musical career, Snoop separated himself from the pack financially which caused him to pick a new group of people to be around. Learning, growing, absorbing everything he can from the people he meets.
Rule #5: Embrace Change
“When I’m no longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.”
Snoop shows us how we must be adaptable. He himself changed from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion, although for a short while shows that he is always looking out for the next opportunity to rebrand himself, re-focus on something that may be better. Change in life is inevitable and we need to not fight it, rather plan for it, embrace it when it comes.
This quote on how he would be happy to open up an ice cream parlor tells us he is humble and open to a future of a different life, and that there is always sometime else you can do and draw inspiration from. Regardless of what life might throw your way.
Rule #6: Find Your Peace
“My message would just be to find peace within yourself.”
He explained that “Because once you find peace within yourself, the energy that you get usually is reflected and people get that energy off of you. And that’s what I’ve been able to find from being on the negative energy side as a young artist to a grown man, that projects positive and peaceful music.”
Since moving away from his gangsta roots, Snoop has exemplified a calmer and more lyrical way of life.
Rule #7: Win or Lose, Succeed
“I used to get stressed out all the time when I thought winning was important. I wanted to try to win and help my kids win. Once I figured out it wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about teaching these kids about being men, that’s when I started to relax.”
There are inevitable ups and downs in life, by focusing on winning now you will feel your losses far harder when they inevitably arrive. Rather focus on long term success in life, embrace peace, and leave winning and losing to sports which operate in a Zero-sum game environment. Life is a process, not an event, and you need to feel it and ride with it to thrive with it.
Rule #8: “Believe In Yourself”
We’ll repeat this again from the Dogg himself “Believe in yourself”. Really do because there will come a time when no one else will and it’s the ONLY way you make it through.
For Snoop the most important thing is to believe in yourself, regardless of whatever it may be in God’s green earth… if you don’t first believe in yourself, don’t expect others to.
Rule #9: “Push Forward”
Snoop said that when he was young, and he made money selling drugs, it was hard to decide whether he wanted to continue with the drugs or to push forward with his music, which he knew was a long and hard road ahead. He pushed ahead with music and some 27 years later, he is the one and only Snoop Dogg with the legendary music career. The takeaway here is to push forward, push forward with your vision, in your life. Regardless what it may be, always be closing in on it every single day.
Rule #10: “Lead by Example”
Snoop is very aware of his star power and how it’s now his responsibility to lead by example. One of his songs “No Guns Allowed” is how he wants to lead by example. He said he used to lead people by the wrong example, and how now he wants to lead by the right example. He wanted to speak directly to the issue of guns and wants to use his popularity and influence for good. He said that you’ve got to acknowledge who you are in the mirror. Snoop acknowledged who he was, who he had become, and dedicated his passions for the good. It’s what a great person does. Lead by Example.
Where can you lead by example in your life? It’s a question to ask yourself because even for a brief second, it gives you a glimpse of yourself and how people do look up to you. Take these messages direct from Snoop Dogg with you, Perfect Your Craft, Learn From Your Losses, Reinvent Yourself Often, Pick Your People, Embrace Change, Find Your Peace, Win or Lose Succeed, Believe In Yourself, Push Forward and Lead By Example everyday of your life.
“A lot of people like to fool you and say that you’re not smart if you never went to college, but common sense rules over everything. That’s what I learned from selling crack.” — Snoop Dogg