Read an Excerpt
Stay Away from “They”
You hear me saying “Stay away from ‘they’” all the time, but who are “they”? I’ll tell you: “They” are the enemy. “They” want to keep the keys hidden and block you from the pathway of more success, and “they” want to see you to fail. I’ve seen “they” out there and I’ve seen their evil. It makes “they” happy when you don’t prosper and “they” laugh at your plans to make yourself better and get ahead. The person who wants to distract you from your studies or your career with their drama? That’s a “they.” That’s a big “they.” But here’s a major key: As long as you stay away from “they,” you will prosper.
People ask me how “they” become that way. I tell them—hate makes you “they.” Back in the day I used to just call “they” haters, but I realized after a while that I had to change that word out of necessity. “They” are sneakier than that—“they” take all forms. For some it will be immediately apparent that there’s hate in their hearts, but others have a disguise.
There’s the type who will do everything in their power to befriend you; “they” will want to hug you and kiss you, meet your family, and become your friend. You’ve even got the kind who bring you thoughtful presents. But even if a “they” hid their true nature at the beginning, eventually you’ll see their evil energy. The “they” vibe is a mess. You know that feeling in your gut when you meet someone who seems off? Young world: Pay close attention to that feeling and trust your instincts. It doesn’t matter how new or inexperienced you are, or how influential “they” are, or what “they” have that you don’t. Don’t get distracted by the gifts and affection and don’t ever think a “they” knows what’s best for you.
I’m blessed for a lot of reasons. You can see the blessings in my house, my family, my musical garden, and Florida, but an unseen blessing might be one of the most important—my memory. Anyone who’s ever worked with me—and that’s a lot of people—will tell you the same thing. I remember. I want this to be put in bold in the book in big letters: I REMEMBER. Major key.
“They” tried to count me out. “They” told me I couldn’t have a house on the ocean, that I couldn’t have a garden filled with angels. “They” told me time and time again that whatever my goals were I couldn’t reach them. And I remember it all—twenty years of doubt and hate. If you’re reading this and experiencing doubt and hate right now, just remember I’ve gone through all of it and triumphed. I’ve had “they” tell me to my face—to my face!—that I wouldn’t amount to anything. When I was working at the very bottom, nobody was trying to hear that I was going to be the biggest DJ in Miami and the world. Nobody thought a high school dropout would ever be a record label executive. Even later, when I wanted to make an album, I had so many people tell me I’d lost my mind. “They” all said, “Khaled, you can’t have a hip-hop album; you can’t rap.” But I found a way. Not only that, I make some of the biggest rap records in history.
And now I got the keys. And “they” hate it. “They” hid the keys from me because they wanted to end me. “They” didn’t want me to learn that if I work hard and dream big I’ll win. This is exactly the lesson that I want to share with you. Don’t let “they” ever tell you anything different.
Because “they” are petty. The whole lot are busybodies who want to get in your head and ruin all the pleasure in your life. “They” don’t want you to win. “They” don’t want you to do 360s on a Jet Ski. “They” don’t want you to have stars on the roof of your Rolls-Royce. “They” don’t want you to enjoy your best life.
So how do you make sure you do all the things that “they” don’t want you to? Take out the trash. Rid yourself of all the “they.” As soon as “they” show you their true colors, act fast and cut them loose. It’s like breaking a hit record or making a new announcement—timing is everything. And the time is always now.
I know that when I say take out the trash, it sounds simplistic. Making that choice in your mind is easy; you’re a boss, and you do what you have to. But actually deciding to go out and take out the trash can be difficult and require a lot of follow-through. You just have to remember that “they” will try anything to make you change your mind. “They” will try to confuse you and beg you for another chance, or try to argue and blame someone else for their mistakes.
But when you’ve got a “they” on your team, you have to move. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t just talk about that person behind their back or start beef on social media. It’s not only a waste of time, it’s the first step in how you become a “they.” Tell them straight up that “they” are no longer a part of the team and why. Just do it. Don’t wait for something to change. Don’t start second-guessing yourself. Here’s another key: When a “they” is on your team, it’s like a cancer on your future success. Think about that. “They” are stealing from your future, the future that you work hard every day to make sure you reach.
Part of making sure that you’re keeping trash off your team is keeping a small circle. Now, my circle’s always been tight, but as the successes get bigger, I tighten up my circle more. It’s very important. I’ve seen people make mistakes and do the opposite. Some people can’t handle success; I can. What that means is that some people sabotage themselves when they’re on a winning team. When a boss’s circle gets too big, people on the team start thinking they’re bosses or make sloppy decisions because they get gassed or greedy. The more people you have around you, the more chances one of them is a “they.” “They” are everywhere, so this is just math and logic. Small circles mean you have a better chance of getting all the ungrateful people out of your life. And “they” shouldn’t take it personally because it’s business. Now, I’m not saying that just because we’re hot we’re trying to leave people behind. It’s that a certain number of wins can change someone. You’ve heard it before: power corrupts.
That said—and this can be sad—sometimes you can have a good friend who turns into a “they.” People change. It’s human nature to evolve. Now, you can be a good friend and try to help a “they” out and tell them to cleanse off, maybe jump in the ocean—use that salt water to rinse off the evil. And when it’s an old friend, you might really go out of your way to try to change them. But let me tell you: Once someone turns into a “they”—even if it’s your oldest, closest friend—most of the time there’s no changing back. Hate makes you “they.” Jealousy makes you “they.” And since We The Best, that hate and envy won’t stop.
The point is, some people can’t elevate their vision because they don’t want to progress in the pursuit of prosperity. Instead of being inspired to new heights, they want to drag you down to their level. So just be straight up. Tell them it’s time to part ways. It’s not just a matter of cutting them off, it’s that they’re cutting themselves off. It happens all the time. Do it quickly and clearly. I just tell them, “Yo, don’t ever walk into my house with any negative energy in your life.” I don’t care who it is or where we are. If there’s a room, I’m out or “they” out. Period. My people know this.
I can’t stand ungrateful people. Ungrateful people are some of the evilest “they”s I can imagine. I know some people who are ungrateful to where it’s so disappointing, but it’s called “Congratulations: You played yourself. Look at us. We’re not stopping. So whatever plan you had in your head with your ungratefulness and your complaining and your evil and your doubt, it’s not going to work.”
Fan Luv is beautiful, and I’ve got so many fans, but if you know me personally . . . like, if you’ve been to my house and really know me, you know I always help my family, team, loved ones, and give back to the community. Some of it you see, or maybe you read about it online, but a lot of it is anonymous. I help people out in so many different ways, so when I know someone who is ungrateful, I have to get them out of my life. It’s unfortunate, but lately I don’t even waste time thinking about “they.” That’s not selfish; that’s me taking care of my vibe and making sure I stay positive. This is a lesson that really took a long time for me to learn. Prioritizing yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
It’s real out there. But you have to believe in your instincts and your vision because when you stay away from “they” there’s a reward. There’s a feeling out there that the whole world is missing out on, and it’s called joy.
Joy is an all-body experience that touches your soul. Some people think they have joy now, and they might be happy, but what I’m talking about is really special. True joy. You’re going to be so much better once you stay away from “they.” You’ll feel like you’re living a whole new life, a life free of hate, doubt, envy, and trash vibes, and let me be the one to tell you that that’s when you can start winning. Major key: The ungrateful and jealous “they”s are the most dangerous “they”s out there.