Beyond the Surface: Lessons from Wu Tang

"Method Man", "RZA", "GZA", "Raekwon"

When you envision your fulfillment of  goals, does it stop there or do you think beyond?  What will you do once you’ve accomplished the number one goal you’re striving for?  Have you ever considered?  Since the assemblage of The Wu Tang Clan in 1992, they’ve remained undoubtedly known as the most dynamic, eclectic collective to ever rock the hip hop scene.  Their story translates beyond rap, because their lyrics have expanded beyond time, and their visions have multiplied throughout years.

While Complex Magazine judged their favorite 100 Wu Tang songs through preference,  the truest accomplishment shared between them all is the growth of their public identities.  First and foremost known as the powerhouse of rap styles and signature adlibs, production technique, subject matter and image, nearly 20 years later, they’re positioned as rap legends with many more titles to spare.

RZA, the “scientist” producer, went on to become world-renowned for creating international blockbuster movie scores for hits such as Kill Bill (1 and 2), Blade Trinity, Unleashed, and The Protector, and recently released his own brand of headphones, ChambersRaekwon, the “chef” lyricist, is slated to direct his nearly complete self-written biopic “C.R.E.A.M.,” which has already picked up Cee-Lo and Erykah Badu for a possible Lionsgate film production;  Method Man is currently premiering his new movie, The Sitter, and in the studio for his last album, rumored to be in plans of expanding his already lucrative acting career to follow; while GZA, though one of the least public members and most prophetic in his lyrics, took a trip to Harvard and MIT to expand his knowledge to feed to the masses through his newest project.

Just naming a few, the members of Wu Tang are influential because they’ve managed to first teach beyond the norm, and grow to think beyond the world of rap.  When contemplating the ultimate place you’d like to see yourself in ten years, take into consideration where that may be able to take you.  Where can you then see yourself in fifteen years?  Twenty?  Boundaries are endless, and possibilities are limitless; take your talents and create something new, do with it something different; challenge your dreams.


Live Civil


Live Civil’s Top 7 Lively Civilians of 2011: Day 1

Every year, the time comes for listings of the top celebrity donations and philanthropists based upon money, prestige and sincerity.  But, isn’t that just played out?  This time, we would like to present to you (in no particular order) those whom have contributed to the betterment of this world, while fighting for their rightful place in history congruently.

Live Civil’s Top 7 Lively Civilians of 2011


Wise Intelligent (of critically-acclaimed rap trio Poor Righteous Teachers)

Wise Intelligent receives a spot on our Top 7 because of his dedication to the youth through all aspects of his work.  He first sparked a reading campaign which grew to new heights via Twitter during the month of July.  At the same time people were obsessively tweeting pictures of themselves planking and some arguing about its origins, Wise took to his Twitter in a more educational way: “Take a pic of yourself reading a book and share it! Flood Twitter and Facebook! It’s no longer smart to be dumb.”

Although the campaign did not run global or become first page news on any blogs, via Twitter hundreds of others participated in the movement.  Previous to, and beyond that day, Wise Intelligent advocates for the betterment of self and education through the act of reading.  Specifically targeting children of lower-income neighborhoods, he acknowledges how his love for reading and writing inspired his music career.  This has also been expounded on in his newly published book on Hip Hop culture, economics and politics, “3/5th an MC: The Manufacturing of a Dumbed Down Rapper.”

Beyond reading, writing and recording, he is also involved in IntelligentSeedz, which is a “not-for-profit youth media organization – co-founded by Stacey Muhammad of Wildseed Films – that teaches middle and high-school children film, television, web design, music video and print publication production.”  The rapper-activist-writer definitely works to see the future where his books are—in his eyes.  We see you living civil.


Leaving Your Mark: Why Are You Here?

Here’s a scary question: If you died today, who would remember you and why?

This whole dilemma plays out perfectly as a repetitive dream of mine; a tablet of time in hand, standing directly in between two warring worlds, cue the excessive fan for my hair in the wind, but only this time add the soundtrack of Beyonce’s “I Was Here” from 4.

It’s the perfect song.  Beyonce’s life aspirations are belted out into 4 minutes, in the simplest form of all.  Excluding money, fame, and recognition, she is most remarkably, (human even,) hopeful for memory.  Is the drive to be remembered not our single-most desire that propels us to long for love, friendships, family, and public acknowledgment?

♫ I want to leave my footprints on the sands of time

Know there was something that meant something that I left behind

When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets

Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget

I was here ♫ 

Many people begin the search for their “I Was Here” moment through fame.  Problem is, there are plenty of celebrities who have millions in the bank, thousands of fans, hundreds of fancy materials, and no one to tell their inner-most beautiful stories of laughter, love and light after they’re gone.

♫ I want to say I lived each day until I died

And know that I meant something in somebody’s life

The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave

That I made a difference and this world will see

I was here ♫ 

 Whether or not your dream job is to raise a family or to feed a nation, it should always begin with self-respect.  Self-respect starts with you loving your true self, and allowing others to do the same.  Even if you’re afraid others will judge you; if you’re worried people will ridicule you; or if you’re terrified some won’t accept you as an equal.  If all that you do ends with you carrying yourself with respect, you’ll know you’ve done your job when it’s all said and done.  Never jeopardize what you have for what you can have; there should always be a compromise.  The grass may even be greener on the other side, but will your new neighbors water your lawn when you’re away?

Live Civil.

Giving, Receiving & Leaving Advice

Much like the Holidays, it’s said that it’s better to give than to receive.  When making decisions about your next career move, the same is true.

As a small child, we’re granted little decision in listening to what others expect of us.  “Wash your hands before dinner!  Make your bed before breakfast!  Do your homework before television!”  But as maturity grows and expectations rise, as a teenager many of us found ourselves questioning the same authority that taught us all we knew.

One of the biggest steps I took in my life was my decision for college.  Choosing an out-of-state destination, moving from the South to the North, and knowingly choosing debt in the thousands rather than the hundreds was something I had to debate amongst both family and friends.  But I had a goal, and I knew my first step in reaching it was to be in New York City.

Where do you dream of seeing yourself in ten years?  What actions will get you there?  You are the pilot of your own plane.  Would you land in Mexico instead of Brazil because someone suggested Spanish is easier to learn than Portuguese?

In this same essence, you must take advice with a grain of salt.  Some of them will save you, while others will lead you astray.  Advice should always be appreciated, given that it usually means the person genuinely cares about your success.  But you must decide on your own accord—to give it to another, to receive it respectfully for yourself, or to leave it as is.

Sometimes the best advice you can receive is from yourself, but the knowledge from others should never go undervalued.  Check out a few of the most influential quotes from our Live Civil Twitter Page and influential people throughout time:

 Don’t take “NO” for an answer when you can create your own “YES”!

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.”

Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.

 I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

Cherish your visions and dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

The most important requirement in success is learning to overcome failure. You must learn to tolerate it, but never accept it.

How to Heal Your Holidays: The Cheap Remedy

With so many events constantly rotating in national and international news, (I’ll spare you the reminder,) more than enough people are having a hard time finding the Holiday Spirit.  Even if you’re not religious, the Holiday Spirit is a feeling, a sense, a joyful reminder for the new year to come.  Moving into the new year with a bad attitude is the worst way you’d want to start afresh.  Here’s a few cheap, but wealthy tips on how to get you into the Holiday Spirit for some December celebration!

1. Make a funky playlist

It doesn’t have to be full of Christmas music, we all know that will be played out enough on the week of.  Put together a tracklist filled with your favorite, most uplifting songs you know.  What do you listen to when you’re searching for peace?  What makes you dance?  Whose voice calms you or makes you blush?  Jam it on your ipod, in your car or on the job and see how much it makes a difference!

2. Bring a smile to someone’s face

Sometimes making someone else’s day is the best way to jump-start your own.  It doesn’t have to be a diamond ring (although I would never discourage this).  It’s the thought that counts.  Going the “cheapest” way is often times the sweetest way.  When’s the last time you created a home-made card?  Baked a birthday cake?  Or just set up an unexpected night of games, movies, and quality time?  Be creative!

3. Make Decorating Enjoyable!

If you REALLY want to get in the holiday spirit, whether it’s for Kwanzaa, Christmas, or Hanukkah.  Make it a fun trip to buy candles, a tree, or gifts.  Dollar stores often-times have great (AND CHEAP!) decorations.  Throw in an old Christmas CD like Nat King Cole, or spice up the new year with Justin Bieber.  At the end, you’ll have a beautiful setting for your family and friends to compliment on!

4. Write a List

Reflect on your year.  Make a list of the thing’s you’re most proud of over-coming, vibrant memories of those you’ve lost, goals you achieved, compliments you’ve received or just your favorite moments and memories of the past eleven months.  If you wind up feeling that you’ve had more pain than happiness, instead make it more of a reason to take on this new year in a new light!  Make a list of long-term and short-term goals.  Start with a simple one that you can achieve in January, and move on from there. Remember to be thankful for the times past and grateful for the boundless possibilities to come!

5. Reach Out

Get off the internet and call a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while.  Maybe you’ve been meaning to say “sorry,” or tell them “I love you.”  It’s never too late, and now’s a better chance than ever.  In the month of December, as many people recall and reminisce, a lot of times regret comes into play.  Whether you may be the one in regret or regretted, take the initial step to start the new year with a clean slate.  Even if you’re not forgiven, or if you’re not sure you’re ready to forgive, put your emotions on the line.  No matter the outcome, be relieved that your conscious is free.  Reboot, Refresh, Restart.

Now’s the time to Get Up, Get Out and Do Something! Free of Charge!

Follow Us on Twitter @LiveCivil.

A Helping Hand

By Posted on 82 1 m read

It’s easy to be someone’s friend when they’ve got it all together, when they’re walking in blessing and prosperity. Anybody can believe in people after they’re successful, after they graduate, after they’re promoted, after they get their big break. But, people need our support the most before they get their breakthrough. They need us to look past their faults and failures and see their potential.

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Toasting To Great People

By Posted on 3 1 m read



Sometimes the most important things in your life is ensuring the right people stay in it. It isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. Priority with the right dose of honesty can lead to valuable perspective. Right now I’m winning and that’s a direct reflection of the quality of people I surround myself with. If you’ve got friends like mine raise your glasses. If not, raise your standards

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The Strength In Words

By Posted on 2 1 m read

Our words have the power to lift people up or push people down. We can say something to make others feel better about themselves or make them feel worse. It’s amazing what a simple compliment will do. When you tell someone “You look nice today,” or “Great job on that presentation at the office,” or “I really enjoy working with you,” those simple words will put a spring in their step and brighten their day. It doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost you anything, yet with your words, you can bless their life.

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How to Be the CEO of Your Life

by Janet Callaway

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The CEO of Your Life means that you are in charge, you make the decisions; you’re in control of your life. Guess what, you already are the CEO of Your Life; you already have 100% responsibility for whatever happens in your life. You need to recognize it, accept it and take action.

If you were a Company, you would do monthly, quarterly and year end reviews as well as plan for the next year. As the CEO of Your Life, it is time for you to do the same. Let’s begin.

Are you reaching your objectives? Look at both your short and long term goals. If you want to have more time to spend with your family or have more money for vacations/hobbies/children’s college, you might want to take a look at starting a home business, online business or a network marketing business. Such businesses not only provide you with additional income, they also allow you to take advantage of well over 100 tax benefits that are available ONLY to the owners of a home business.

As CEO of Your Life set your 10 year goal. Where do you want to be in 10 years. Then chunk it down into smaller increments. Where do you want to be in 1, 3 and 5 years? It is essential that you put your goals in writing.

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