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Want to Succeed? Do as Ice T Does

How many pimps do you think go on to become famous rappers and television stars? I’d say only a handful. But, somehow, Ice T did it. This son of a conveyor belt mechanic transitioned from a life of crime to that of fame and fortune.

Be like ice

What does it take to transition from the life of a bank robber to that of a millionaire reality TV star, you might be asking? Drive, mofo, drive.

I’m not a big hip-hop fan, never have been. I like some songs by Tupac, NWA, Kanye, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Public Enemy, but I’m more likely to be found listening to old show tunes than “Straight Outta Compton.” It’s just not my thing.
I do, on the other hand, appreciate folks with a drive to succeed, whether it’s a CEO or a heavy metal/rap star. And Ice T is one of those folks. How do I know this? I had the fortune to sit in on a speech he gave at an upstate New York college a couple years ago. Oh, and I also got to talk to him.

My sister is a big Ice fan, and she asked me to accompany her to the speech. I didn’t know much about him, other than that he’d been in Body Count and starred in “Law and Order: SVU.” Going in, I didn’t expect a lot. Boy was I surprised. I spent over an hour listening to an articulate, smart, funny, and thought-provoking guy talk about his transformation from a criminal to a success. It was like listening to a great professor, but one who cursed a lot and was married to a model named Coco.

While funny and filled with crazy anecdotes (yes, Gary Busey, who starred with Ice in “Surviving the Game” is as insane as you think), Ice’s speech was notable for being super inspiring. I didn’t take notes and can’t remember an exact thing he said that night, here’s a quote that captures the mood of his speech: “I’ve never been competitive with anybody but myself.”

No one told Ice T to pursue a rap career. No one told him to give movies a try. This guy took it upon himself to chase his dreams. He might have stumbled in the beginning (robbing banks isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of “going places”), but he always challenged himself and went for it. It was a great speech, and certainly a poignant one to give to a roomful of college kids soon to set out on their own.

Don’t worry about what your friend or classmate’s doing. Do your own thing and see where life takes you. Achieve your own goals, not those laid out for you by your parents, friends, society, etc.

If Ice T can go from pimping hoes to starring on a hit NBC drama, what’s keeping you from achieving your own lofty goals?

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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