“I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Those are the famous words that were written by the Great, Julius Caesar after he was victorious in battle in the city of Zela in 47BC. The reason why these words stand out so much is because of the meaning of it. He came to the battle, he saw what he was up against, and he was victorious when it came down to conquering his opponent. These words are more than just a phrase to sum up a battle many centuries ago, it’s a phrase that can be translated to daily life. We all have objectives and goals that we ‘see,’ we approach them with a plan to conquer them, and eventually that is exactly what happens.

Climbing a mountain is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish. There are natural elements that you have to fight through: the rough terrain on the mountain, the snowy & windy conditions as you get to the top, and the thinning of air that comes with all of that as well. It’s damn near impossible, but it’s been done numerous times. People have sailed all over the world, flown all over the world, set world records all essentially with the same  mantra: ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici.’ You have to see your goal before you can achieve it. Have a vision and then you have to go after it.

I watch a lot of sports, so there are a lot of players & coaches who know that you have to take everything one at a time before you can take the crown and be victorious through being battle tested throughout a regular season and playoffs where it’s turned up to another level. The tests, trials, and tribulations are what determine the strong from the weak. And on top of that, you have to deal with criticism from the fans, media, and other peers in the league who really want you to fail and fall flat on your face. The infamous Dwyane Wade slogan is “Fall down 7, Stand up 8.” You have to rise to the occasion to be successful in life.

I was on the bus and I bumped into a fellow Toronto rapper, Rich Kidd. He’s well-known around the city because he’s been rapping and making beats for a few years, and just talking to him gave me insight. I’ve seen him in concert a few times open for rappers that are more known to the general public of ‘Hip Hop Toronto.’ He has fiery energy and you don’t really see a lot of opening acts bring out that kind of explosiveness right off the bat. He explained that although it’s hard to always please the crowd (especially in the city), you have to give it your all and treat every performance like it’s your last. He also stated that being on the grind is easier said than done, because when you have to ACTUALLY grind, and sometimes you’ll be living in hell, you have to be strong-minded to get through the bullshit and persevere. No truer words have been said. It’s a testament to a man who’s been steadily increasing his popularity, meeting new people, and collaborating with bigger artists, while being on tour that is evidence that he is on his grind (not to mention that he also works in the city helping kids with their pursuit of the arts). I respect artists on their pursuit of success. Too many talk about that life, not enough live it. That’s how you separate the real from the fake.

When it comes to athletes, backtracking on my Dwyane Wade comment (which is ironic in a way), they have many obstacles that they must conquer (which I mentioned earlier): his teammate, Lebron James, who just won his first NBA Championship is one of the reasons why I wanted to write this in the first place. It all started with this tweet from him.

Ever since he was in high school, he was proclaimed the ‘Chosen 1′ which was basically the one who would be the saviour for basketball. He went to Cleveland, and in pretty much no time wasted, he took what was once a very bad team, which used to be promising in the Jordan Era, and brought them (almost) instant playoff success, but he never capitalized on the one thing that mattered – the championship ring. After years of failure in Cleveland, he left his home state and “took his talents to South Beach” to join Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh to form their ‘Big 3′ with the Miami Heat. The first time around wasn’t so good as they lost in the Finals to the then champion, Dallas Mavericks. Lebron has been the subject of a lot of jokes, a lot of finger-pointing, and most notably, the leader of his hate fan club, Skip Bayless, has been the ring leader on instilling the insanely over-the-top criticism. He’s one man, and although he did help by engineering a lot of the success in Cleveland (winning 60+ games in back to back seasons while adding MVP honours), you must have a team around you that shares the same hunger and desire to win. He didn’t have that, and his best shot (that he believed) was to be in Miami. His goal was an NBA championship, as is the goal of every player in the NBA, and he saw the obstacles that he had to go through to get there. It may have been arrogant, and at times uncalled for, but 9 years later, he conquered. He got his ring finally, and right now he’s standing on his mountain top. It’s like planting the flag at the top of the mountain and rejoicing in victory, because that’s what it feels like. No one can take away your success, so be proud of what you got. I don’t like him all that much, but the tweet inspired me to believe that really, I can do anything that I want to when it comes to wanting to be successful.

Rich Kidd said to me that “there are different levels of success that you’re going to have to aim for. Not everyone is going to be the megastar selling out stadiums and shit, so you have to find your level of success (often) in other ways than just one.” That’s a deep statement, because let’s be honest, not everyone is going to have that level of success as the other person, so you work towards what you want, and it may reward you in ways better than the person who’s success stands above you right. You just have to focus on your goals, see the obstacles, and conquer past them so that you too can feel like a Champion.

That’s My Word & It STiXX