Why “Being a Boss” To Defeat Just About Anything Is The Wrong Life Lesson
Doing the work isn’t always enough
While catching up on episodes of one of many shows on Hulu, a commercial popped up that caught my attention and led me down a dreary path. It seemed like the kind of messaging that we would ordinarily applaud because of the mantra that suggests how we can conquer anything, even the deadliness of cancer, if we make the effort to tackle these challenges “like a boss!”
The pictorial ad features iconic rapper and actor LL Cool J, and his wife Simone Smith with a plethora of notable faces, congregating in a splashy display of support for those who’ve battled or are still battling a horrific disease, and have emerged stronger than ever because of the will to live and unrelenting desire to kick their aggressor in the rear end.
Simone Smith is a bone cancer survivor, and 15 years later, she’s rightfully claiming her victory, by spreading the word with some help from her celebrity friends, who also believe that cancer can be defeated with the right attitude and dedication to causes that are committed to getting to the finish line of a cure.
After quickly skimming through the website, for “Beat Cancer Like a Boss,” there was a lot more to the packaging than the brief staging in the ad which was a huge relief.
My close proximity to this gruesome disease, has exposed the stark reality of its cunningness, and how it ruthlessly devours the spirit of the sufferer and helpless supporters, regardless of the matching blows that are exerted on behalf of a life worth saving.
The trigger was unleashed when “Beat Cancer Like a Boss” seemed to imply that those who didn’t beat it were somehow deserving of their permanent loss, because of their lack of motivation to rise to the occasion with the super human capabilities that other cancer patients were able to summon in order to guarantee success stories.
Of course I’m certain that isn’t what LL Cool J and his wife were trying to convey, but in this striking age of perfectionism, that’s driven by weightless phrases of encouragement that were birthed from the lips of overpaid scam artists, also known as life coaches, it’s hard not to be overly-sensitive about issues that hit too close to home.
We are constantly being bombarded with Insta-worthy regalia, deposited by lucky strikers who apparently “did the work” better than those of us who can’t seem to make the transition from #averagelives to #bestlives or #dopeliving — in record time.
Twitter contains the glittering biographies of newly-minted book deals, brand anointed podcasts, and all the other newsworthy items that are propelled by a series of acknowledgements by fellow blue tickers, who once again point out the value of hard work, and why those who are still flailing deserve to sink to the bottom if they aren’t able to work as hard to garner those blessings.
It’s the kind of shaming that hits at the core of personal struggles, that are worsened by the pressure to not reveal the depths of despair that accompanies that journey.
Social media platforms have mandated the need to glaze over the unsightly episodes, graphically depicting how some of us tirelessly pour heart and soul into the curation of trajectories, only to be met with more potholes that temporarily derail and force the need to recoup expended energy that’s required for the next phase.
Nobody wants to document the bitter truth of how “doing the work” isn’t always enough, out of fear that the #buzzkill will revert us back to that time when instead of speaking in code words for T-shirt sales, we actually paced ourselves with consideration for how the path to overall fulfillment is a lot more complicated than the racks of selfies, that serve as paid endorsements of that #hustle.
As a Gen Xer, nobody knows more about consistent output that pays off, and that’s due to the upbringing by baby boomers, who preached about following the rules without taking unnecessary risks that potentially result in destabilization.
New York City was the beast that tormented my existence, but I managed to minimize puncture wounds by #hustling the old-fashioned way. That meant taking unglamorous jobs like telemarketing, and anything else that would terrify young influencers of today, who are more accustomed to posing with Amazon products in outfitted bedrooms.
There are many who share my sentiment of being stuck in a role that we never signed up for, when you consider the decades of industriousness during an inflexible era that didn’t showcase the ease of tweeting and Instagramming storyboards, that come to life with the seamlessness of clicks.
According to the assessment that we’re all subjected to, which includes the punishment of “cancel culture” and the impatience for those who can’t keep up with the race to the top; if you’re not boasting about stuff that sets you above the murkiness of an average score, you have no one and nothing to blame but yourself.
But what about the facts that prove that there are things that are beyond our control such as fate and the goodness of luck that hits the untalented and the very lazy, who are able to claim their fortune with the falsehood of how hard they worked for something that was handed to them on a crowded platter.
We’ve become a culture that rewards those who had it all before they took even more from where that came from, thanks to the magic of accessibility and the bedazzled greed of “Momager of the Universe” Kris Jenner, who owns every major label known to man.
If only we had millions of dollars and millions of followers as a starting point, we could easily become billionaires before the age of 21, like Kylie, and get the praises for a job well done.
If only we could be delusional enough to demand a free 3-night stay at a 5 star luxury resort in the Maldives. That deal would amass summery afternoons during the winter season, with award-winning selfies that highlight stunning ocean views, providing ideal lighting for the 200-word barely legible essay that paid for our #hustle.
This era of “no excuses” and “no wriggle room” when it comes to the quest of the unchanging status of being exceptional is exhausting and quite frankly boring.
The human tendency unsurprisingly succumbs to the temptation of wanting to only present the very best that can be mustered, because it feels good to always share the positivity of #winning as opposed to #failing.
But you can still “be a boss,” and accept unexpected defeat like a champ, without losing the fighting spirit that only becomes more fierce after the persistency of getting back up from the stumbles that almost knock you over.
There are plenty of cancer patients who gave it their best shot, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to prevent the legitimacy of their terminal diagnosis. We can’t assume that their untimely deaths were as a result of not being strong enough to overcome the unfathomable.
They were bosses while they lived though grueling treatments and the frightening side effects, and they remain bosses in the defiance that lasts past their untimely demise.
And for those who are still trying to figure out this thing called life through the stumbles and unevenness that refuses to uplift the years and years of disciplined labor, and unwavering belief in that unrealized dream, there’s no shame in the acknowledgment of how “never getting there” won’t define or mute the passion that never dies.
Bosses take charge and keep moving forward without looking back or surrendering to the road blocks along the way.
That doesn’t mean that the grand prize will unequivocally demonstrate the impressive efforts each and every time.
Just as you have folks who put out very little, and amass so much, you also have bosses who go the extra mile without missing a beat, but weirdly get the scraps from the loot that less-deserving honorees casually discard.
Life isn’t fair, and this climate of snobbishness that buries ordinary people, living ordinary lives with all the messiness that erupts, is desperately trying to erase the realness of what it means to do everything right without the privilege of what should follow when you’ve conquered your tasks like a boss.
“Being a Boss” isn’t about defeating the formidable shit in your way, it’s really the never-ending dedication towards what keeps you fulfilled, even when you already know the dire outcome.