Know your value. If you work hard, contribute, communicate and treat others with sincerity, you’re a valuable member of our society. People will generally approve of you, because your actions reflect positively on you as a person. But finding a meaningful professional connection, friend or lover can take a lot of effort. The question is, are you willing to work for it?

Maybe you look different, have had less opportunities, or lived an alternative lifestyle that isn’t as popular as other narratives. This will make things harder for ya. A lot of your value comes down to how much you respect yourself, though. Keep leveling up, and don’t let others use you, tread over you, or come and go when they please. Learn to recognize when you’re putting in most or all of the effort. Give it your all, so there’s never any doubt.

Most of us will have to work a shitty job on their way to success, associate with toxic people, date or even marry the wrong person. Staying with your current company is always partially your doing, though. You can look elsewhere, but might be comfortable where you’re at, and hope for better without actively pursuing alternatives. You’re attached to what you already have. Maybe it was great at one point or another, and so you stick around at that same menial job, with the same uneducated group of friends or disrespectful partner.

Where I’m from, how you treat those close to you reflects on who you are as a person. There’s little economic opportunity and no industry presence, and folks know that being a good person costs nothing at all. It’s an easy choice. You can’t force others to be genuine, but you can always try to associate with positive people. If you’re being great and they’re not reciprocating, they usually have alternative motives. Move on.

As someone who had to do some heavy innovation to escape a low income Wisconsin background afflicted with violence, disease, drugs, corrupt politics and destructive media bias – just to make it to Hollywood – I’ve had a hard time finding the right ones. I had to learn how to compliment myself (rap), because no one else would. That’s hard work. Now, I’m smarter for it, I know my worth, and I’ll never stop working.

Love. Learn. Progress.

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