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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Murray’s Laws - Getting Our Minds Right
Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It’s July 4th. I thought about doing something about Independence Day, or independent labels, or albums with America in the title of them, but I’m sure your usual hack editorialists have already done that to death. With everyone having a day off, and in some cases two or three (gotta love a mid-week holiday), I wanted to write about something worth mulling over, something worth spending a few minutes reading and then a few more minutes thinking about. Recently I sat down with rapper Keith Murray and he spoke at length about getting his mind right, which is our Hip-Hop terminology for figuring out what’s important in life and re-prioritizing based on that. Since we all have some time to ourselves today what better subject to tackle than self-awareness and self-improvement? Murray’s had his own issues to deal with, from jail time to an alleged assault on someone at his former label. That being said, if he can move from that type of destructive lifestyle to the significantly more positive one he has now, what’s stopping any of us?

Murray’s Law #1 - The first step for Murray on his road to getting his mind right was to get rid of a line of communication. “I threw my phone away,” he explains, “first step, throw that shit in the garbage.” Murray’s feeling was that the vast majority of the people who had been calling him had nothing to say that could possibly move his life forward, so in essence his phone had become a distraction from advancement. Now I don’t necessarily agree with throwing your phone out completely, but there’s something to be said for turning it off once in a while, or letting it go to voicemail. Back in the day we had no problem having our answering machines pick up all our calls while we were out, only finding out who called us once we were back home. Now we seem to feel the need to pick up the phone every time it rings no matter who’s on the other end under the false pretense of “this could be important.” Most of the time Murray’s right, it’s nothing important. If you recall, I feel the same way about email.

Murray’s Law #2 – With his phone gone Murray had plenty of time to think in private. He feels this was the next step in his advancement, saying “go sit down, figure out what you want to do in your life, where you came from, where you at and where you want to go.” The vast majority of us have goals in life. Some have simple goals, others have vastly more complicated ones, but the key to this step is first figuring out what one’s goals are. Personally I’ve had to do this a number of times. I’ve taken out a piece of notebook paper and written down what I feel I’m good at, what kind of places I enjoy being in, what kind of people I enjoy being around, and then jotted down my thoughts on how I could get to those places and be around those people more often. Of course there’s no blueprint on how to get from point A to point B, but that’s kind of the point of the exercise. Not everything is laid out for us, but if we sit down and devise a plan, or two or three plans, and then attempt to follow them, we’ll be much better off. Find your goal, map out your path and make it happen.

Murray’s Law #3 – This is actually a law I’ve spoken about before. Murray notes that in order to truly get your own mind right you have to “surround yourself with positive people that keep you uplifted, not around those who come spread gossip and say what's the latest bullshit they heard and who died and who got what.” This can actually be the hardest aspect of the getting one’s mind right process because sometimes it involves letting go of people we’ve known for years. I’ve had to do it and it sucks, but it’s always for the better. The combination of putting effort towards your goal and ridding yourself of negative influences is a double shot of positive energy.

I know a lot of people will openly wonder “why would you take advice from a man with a track record like Keith Murray's?” My response is “why not?” Knowledge is knowledge. I’ve spoken with Murray a number of times and during our most recent conversation, where all of this information came from, he seemed to really know what he was doing, including having both a goal and a plan of attack. Why wouldn’t you listen to someone like that? So this July 4th, before you hit the BBQ, or even after you hit the BBQ, take a second to think about Murray’s Laws, they can only breed forward movement, and who couldn’t use some of that?

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