Russell Simmons is a powerful reminder that all change comes from within. It’s not every day you hear of a success story that begins with “former heroin addict turned multi-millionaire” – but that’s the power that comes from taking responsibility for your actions. Russell is an expert at filling space – whether it’s through ideas, music, diet, philanthropy or spiritual enlightenment he’s never afraid to innovate and carve his own path.
You may know him from his insanely profound contributions to the music and comedy scene, but to stop there is doing yourself a disservice. His activism, spirituality and charitable side deserve a deep dive. He proves that you can fill any void through focus, dedication and powering through obstacles no matter what stands in your way.
My time with Russell was limited, but this interview was anything but. We dove headfirst into the deep end and explored the light and the dark areas of humanity in this incredible episode.
what you'll learn
- Why you need to practice being present.
- How freedom can come from a comfortable seat.
- How meaningful change starts and where it can lead you.
- Why you won’t always recognize personal growth.
- How lasting happiness comes from full clarity.
- Why so few people find lasting happiness.
- Why you need to start meditating right now.
- Why you can’t work on your dreams part time.
- Why you need to question everything.
- Why finding yourself is a lifelong journey.
We evolve from the present moment on, but if we don’t live in the present moment enough, we can’t change. We are not trapped or bound by our past and we reinvent ourselves every second if we choose to. So when you meditate, you practice being present. When you do your physical Asanas practice, you practice smiling and breathing and adding pose. So that’s moving meditation. And when you do good comic work, you get the burden of the noise off your head. You do all these things so that your brain can function in the present, and in the present you can change. From this second on, you can be somebody new.
“There’s inspiration that can remind you anything is possible, but you have to make choices on your own. Every step should be one step towards your dreams. If you get up at 8:30 in the morning and go to a hot yoga class, you sweat like a slave, you take a shower, and you put your clothes back on, you’re a different guy, than you were before you went to class. You go in sluggish, you’re doing all these “Smile and breathe” exercises. But you’re like, “Fuck it’s hot.” You’re sweating, and then you shower and you get dressed. Then it’s, “Wow, I’m a different person.” You get addicted to being a person who is evolving, who is different. Keep moving forward, keep doing what is healthy and happy. You have that stuff inside you.
The idea of being fully awake, where you’d drive your car and never miss a flower, that’s the thing that we’re all striving for. Evolve more and more towards that consciousness. That’s why we live, to go through experiences.
I would like to say to a young entrepreneur that you have to stay focused. They ask me, “why do you have 80 businesses?” I answer, “because I went hard, hard, hard on an idea that no one understood. And then one day, smarter people than me understood it and helped me to take it to the next level.” One day, I walked into our office and I felt less relevant than I needed to, so I could go do something else. But I stayed on because no ideas evolved unless I was there. For most people it’s less likely to happen if you have an idea and you walk away from it. You have to be there front and center, invested, and focused. Somebody else may be in the same space as you, and that’s all they do all day. You think you can do it part time? You can’t.
Finding the higher self is a lifelong journey. The prophets gave us tons of road maps that all run parallel. Whether it’s Christ Consciousness or Nirvana, or Samadhi, or Taqwa, or whatever you call it. They’re all looking for this awakened state. And all these tools they give you, meditation, physical asana, running, it clears your mind. You want to quiet your mind. A quiet mind is the awakened mind. The fully awakened mind is quiet always and sees the world in slow motion. Like a car accident, all the time, it’s the speed the world is moving at that’s slow. You see it, in its infinite beauty. This is God Consciousness. Follow what the prophets told you. And you can’t do it without some experiences that are not quite the good ones. A lot of us have to learn and experience, it’s through experience. Some can read about it, but know better. Some can instinctually know. Inside of all of us is scripture on how to act. We have to do the work to evolve, or have bad experiences to evolve. But you are evolving, like it or not.