When you turn on the TV these days, you’re bombarded with negative stories and talking heads claiming America is a no-good, very bad place. It can be hard to grow up in an environment where it seems like everyone thinks America’s best days are behind her.
Many young Americans believe such dark prognostications about the evil of America, and are convinced that their country is a lost cause.
But rapper, podcaster, and life coach Zuby disagrees.
“You should be hopeful, because what is the alternative?” Zuby asks. “The alternative is being pessimistic and negative and black-pilled, and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t think you can win the game, why would you even play?”
He adds: “If you live in the Western world, you’re American, you’re British, you’re Canadian, and you exist in this time period, in 2022, you have it immediately, off the bat, better off than at least 90% of people who have ever walked the face of this planet.”
Zuby joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss why it’s so important to remain hopeful about the nation’s future.
We also cover these stories:
- Food prices surge even as gasoline prices fall at the pump.
- FBI Director Christopher Wray condemns threats made against him and other law enforcement officers on social media.
- Twitter introduces new moderation policies designed to combat so-called misinformation on the social media platform before the midterm elections in November.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
Doug Blair: My guest today is Zuby, a rapper, podcaster, and life coach. Zuby, welcome to the show.
Zuby: How’s it going?
Blair: Good. Thank you so much for coming on. I just want to say, one of the things that’s really wonderful about you is you’re a big proponent of keeping things positive with your lyrics and a lot of the coaching that you do. How do you keep so upbeat when it looks like the country is going through a really off time right now?
Zuby: Perspective and gratitude at all times. I practice gratitude consciously daily, and I have done so for years. I am a very blessed and fortunate individual, and so are most of us. So are all of us in various ways.
If you exist in this time period, and you even have the capacity and ability to listen to this message right now, whether it’s in audio or written form, you are blessed. If you are an American citizen, you live in the Western world, you’re American, you’re British, you’re Canadian, and you exist in this time period, in 2022, you have it immediately, off the bat, better off than at least 90% of people who have ever walked the face of this planet.
Whilst we all have our concerns about where society is going, or culture and politics, and this and that—which always exists, by the way. … It’s not a new thing. We’ve seen in the past, if you take a very cursory glance at history, of many, many times I’m sure you’re pretty happy that you’re not living in, then it gives you a sense of both gratitude and perspective if you travel the world, if you go to different countries.
I was born in England, raised in Saudi Arabia. My family background is from Nigeria. I’ve been to, I think, 37 to 38 countries at this point, across various stages of development, developing countries, so-called developed countries, and so on. And man, there are billions of people in this world who are really still struggling on a very, very basic level. I’m talking access to clean water, plumbing, having working toilets, electricity, internet access, stuff that we completely take for granted. We lose Wi-Fi access for a little while and your phone battery dies, and people are like, “Oh my gosh, this is—”
So many of the issues that we even have in our society and culture, if you think about it, they stem from comfort. They stem from comfort. They stem from excess. Nobody is starving in the USA. Obesity is a big problem, though. I had someone in Nigeria tell me they want to move to the USA because even the poor people are fat here. Historically, that’s unheard of. It’s unheard of.
The reason I’m able to stay in such a positive state is because these things are always very conscious in my mind. Whenever I start complaining about my own life or my own position too much, I laugh at myself and I’m like, “Dude, so many people would trade positions with you on so many levels.”
Also, I structure my life in a way that I do what I love for a living, which is important.
It’s taken a long time for things to get to the stage where they’re at now. I released my first album when I was in university in 2006, left my corporate job in 2011. It’s taken me 11 years to get to where things are now, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m still just getting started. But I’ve structured my life in a way where I maximize doing things that make me happy, and at least avoiding doing things that I hate. That’s important.
We spend about a third of our lives asleep. We spend a third, oftentimes more than a third, say a third, working. And you spend a third, in the meantime, between time, having leisure.
The first one, we can’t negotiate too much. We’ve all got to sleep. But then if you’re spending a third or half of your waking hours doing stuff that you hate, then you need to make a change.
There might be short periods where you’ve got to go through, no matter what you do, you’re going to have go through a grind and some low lights at some point, but you don’t want to for decades. You don’t want to spend decades living a life that you don’t like and you don’t enjoy.
One of those is more philosophical, and then the second part of that is more practical in terms of just structuring your life in a way that is positive.
It’s also important, your lifestyle. I’m healthy. You can’t always control every aspect of your health. We know that. But in terms of the foods you put into your body, how much water you’re drinking, are you exercising regularly, the sleep again, these things affect your mood. These things affect your mood.
People are like, “Man, how do you have so much energy?” I’m like, “I’m in shape. I’m in shape. I’m healthy.” There’s people who are my age—I’m 35. There’s people who are 35 and they’ve just run roughshod over their body for the past 15 years. Maybe they were healthy when they were 20, but now that they’re 35, they’re looking like they’re 55.
I’m 35, and I’m still looking like I’m 25, and functioning in the same way. I plan to maintain that for many more decades. That keeps your energy going and having that mental attitude. And then also, if you structure your life in that way, I think those things keep you as happy, positive, and motivated, and so on, as you’re going to be.
Blair: That’s wonderful. I think I also should have added to your description that you’re an author. You are working on a kids book right now called “The Candy Calamity.” Where did you come up with the idea and what do you hope for kids to get out of it?
Zuby: Yeah. “The Candy Calamity” is out right now at bravebooks.com. In 2019, I wrote a book about health and fitness called “Strong Advice: Zuby’s Guide to Fitness for Everybody.” It’s sold about 10,000 copies now, completely independently, helped a lot of people. I’ve met people in person who have lost over 100 pounds after reading my book, and that is powerful in itself.
“The Candy Calamity,” I wanted to put out a message for young people, make a fun, adventure-focused kids book, but with a powerful moral message in there about the importance of taking care of your body, exercising moderation, making sure you eat enough but not too much, making sure that you exercise but you don’t exercise so much that you stop eating, and so on, just living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
We only get one body, and one of the craziest things in our time is that so many people, if you think about it, treat their material possessions better than they treat their bodies. You look at how people treat their shoes, their cars, their clothes, their house, their sofas. So much care. These things are all replaceable. They might be worth money, but they’re replaceable.
If you ding up your car, you can get it fixed. Even if you smash a car, as long as you’re OK, if you get in an accident, who cares about the car? Are you OK? You are not replaceable.
It’s crazy to me that it’s been normalized to fill your body with crap, from terrible foods to poisoning it with alcohol all the time, people abusing substances, legal and illegal, just not caring about it at all. To me, that’s crazy because once your body stops working, once it completely stops working, you’re dead.
But even prior to that, there are so many diseases and issues which both the incident rate and the severity become increasingly worse, the worse shape that you’re in. It gets more and more costly in every way, not just financially, including financially, but it gets more and more costly as those things go along.
So I’m a big advocate for, when I’m talking to people at any age, but I think especially for young people, it’s important to recognize that. At 5 years old, you’re not going to be thinking so deeply, but the body you have at 5, it’s the same, but different, as the one you’ll have at 75. Of course, you’re going to grow and you’re going to mature, and your old cells are going to replace the new ones, so you sort of get a new body, but you also don’t. You’ve got the same organs, your heart, your kidneys, your liver, and so on.
We all know people who—you have heart failure. You have liver failure. You have kidney failure. Then these things stack up against each other, even certain viruses. Look at the past two and a half years. People who were in a rough shape health-wise already, be it their fault or not, if you get certain diseases or ailments, you’re going to most likely have a much rougher time with it.
We can’t control everything in life, so I’m a big fan of the things that we do have some control of. Let’s do our best to control that within ourselves. You can’t control other people. You’ve got nature. There’s so many random things in the world, but what you can do is be like, “OK, I’m going to take care of myself. I’m going to make wise decisions. I’m going to do my best to live righteously and treat other people with decency, and to pursue the things I want to pursue, and to do this and to do that.” That’s the best we can do.
There’s 8 billion people in the world. Even if you could control them all, you probably wouldn’t want to. It’d be pretty complicated. But there’s one person, and it’s even really hard to control yourself. We all know this. Just controlling that one person that you have control of is hard.
We all have thoughts in our head and we’re like, “Wait, I want to not have that thought,” or we have certain behaviors and habits and patterns. Some people have addictions and this and that. It’s hard. Just self-mastery is extraordinarily difficult.
Zuby: I find that, again, we live in this age of performance activism and many people wanting to—their life is not in order at all. Jordan Peterson talks about this, “Clean your room first before you fix the world.” There’s so much truth in that.
If you yourself can’t get your just basic things in order, you can’t keep your room clean, you can’t get your body in shape, you can’t do this and that, what gives you the audacity to think that you have the solution for the world and that you can go out and now lecture everybody on the things that need to be done? It’s like, well, if you want to make a change, how about you start with yourself?
Also, other people see that if you make that change, people around you see it, and it inspires and motivates them. Also, it puts you in a position to help other people. The better I get at doing what I do, the more people I help.
There would’ve been a time where, I guess, even as a kid, I was relatively articulate, but the better I get at speaking, the better I get at using my voice, the better I get at making music, the better I get at writing books, all of that. Great, I can now inspire and help more people.
Me getting better isn’t just about my own ego or wealth, or whatever. It’s like, actually, the more I improve, the more people I can help and the more people I can inspire. That’s one of my North Star goals.
Blair: Absolutely. I’m really glad you brought that up, specifically the Jordan Peterson thing, because I think a lot of young people in particular are looking for that structure and that guidance. Do you see that, maybe, movement toward looking for something like a North Star as a result of what the culture is pushing them toward or do you see that as the human condition to want to better yourself and to improve?
Zuby: I think it’s some of both. What’s weird is, as I alluded to earlier, we live in a very prosperous time. If you think about it, so many of the problems we have and so much of the conflict, you have to be in a really prosperous and comfortable society to even be having some of the conversations that are happening in the West, to be debating all these conversations about gender and about this theory and that theory.
Around the world, people don’t care about any of that stuff. A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Period. You don’t even have the capacity to—you’re still in survival mode. There’s no debates about this and this and this. It’s just like, “We’ve got to survive. We can’t just be sitting here and having these discussions.” People didn’t used to do that until things got so—
I think it’s important. … I think there’s something within us that recognizes, “OK, I want to live a decent life and have some degree of success in the things that I do.” I think also that … there’s positive messages that are out there in society, and I try to add to that, and there’s a lot of negative ones. But I think even with the negative ones, I feel optimistic that it’s creating a pushback.
If I think of what I myself am doing personally and what other people are, we’re at a really unique time where we have this combination of technology and weird societal, cultural stuff going on, and people seeking truth and seeking authenticity, and not getting it from the channels that they used to, and having so many options. Whether you’re doing a podcast, or you’re an independent writer or an author, or you’re a musician, or you’re a social media influencer, whatever it is, this is so brand new. We’re seeing this new age. …
If you think of traditional celebrities, it was always quite manufactured. What’s the music industry giving you? What’s Hollywood giving you? Who’s on the big corporate news channels and stuff? If you talk to young people now, they care and know more about YouTubers and TikTokers and Instagrammers. Those are their celebrities now.
Even if I look at what I do, it consistently blows my mind because I’m at this weird level where millions of people know me now, but … in some areas and territories, I’m very famous, and then elsewhere I can be anonymous. … I have this weird type of fame which is new. I have this new type of fame which is niche. So many people know you, but you’re not just this guy who’s on TV all the time or whatever.
That’s new, and it’s strange. I don’t know exactly what to make of it, but that’s where the world is going. … We’re seeing the rise of micro-celebrity and micro-influence. It’s more democratic in a way. It’s not just like, “Hey, look, these are the people and ideas we’re giving you.”
People roll their eyes now when these Hollywood actors go on and then they start lecturing people about climate change and politics, and they’re just reading from a script. Even the people who are so-called on their side roll their eyes at it now and are like, “Yeah, dude, you’re flying around in your private jet and lecturing everyone.”
It used to be more impactful, and now people are just like, “Ugh.” Every year, the viewings go down, and people aren’t interested in that.
Then you have people—we mentioned Jordan Peterson. Joe Rogan is the most listened to man in the USA. He’s a dude with a podcast.
Blair: Yeah. He’s still got it.
Zuby: Yeah. He’s a gym bro. He was in the MMA and all this weird stuff. In 12 years, he’s become the most listened to man in America.
I know him personally, and he’s like, “Dude, I did not expect this to happen.” When he started his podcast in 2009, he wasn’t like, “Yeah, this is my goal.” He didn’t have some huge plan and investment. He’s never spent a penny even advertising it. You’ve got corporations that spend billions and he’s beating them. That is crazy.
You’re seeing this on all different levels. You’ve got the independent YouTubers. You’ve got new little organizations popping up. You have independent media. Just the other day, I was with Tim Pool, and he’s got 30-something staff now. I’m just like, “Man, I remember when he was just going around with his GoPro filming in the war zones and stuff.” …
As concerning and weird and scary as it can be sometimes, there’s so much optimism to me there because I’m like, “OK, it’s not there yet, but we’re at the beginning of this new era where there’s so many more opportunities and options.”
If you’re an 18-year-old right now, or let’s go even younger, say a 12-year-old right now, the job you do in the future, the job you’re going to be doing in 10 years, might not even exist yet. That’s pretty crazy.
Blair: It’s fascinating.
Zuby: It’s fascinating. If I had to explain to a dead relative, great-grandfather or grandfather, what I do for a living, they wouldn’t get it. They would go, “What?” No aspect of it would make sense.
If I’m like, “Oh, I’m a musician,” and they’re like, “Oh, so you’re with a big company or whatever?” I’m like, “No, I just do it myself.” They’re like, “You can’t do that. That doesn’t make sense.”
“Oh, I run a podcast.” “Wait, what?” “I wrote my own book.” “What?” None of it makes sense. “I have followers on—I have 1.5 million followers on the internet.” “Wait, what’s the internet? Who’s following you? Should I call the police?”
Blair: “Do we need to call the cops?”
Zuby: Yeah. None of it even makes sense. That’s where it’s going. There’s people now, streamers and people playing video games, and people just commentating on social stuff and whatever, and making a living from it, making a good living in many cases. It’s all new, man, so it’s very exciting. It’s very exciting.
The tools have their dangers. Of course, a lot of bad stuff can be pushed with them as well. But as you probably observed, I’m an optimistic person. I consider myself an optimistic realist. I don’t shy away from the concerns and worries and dangerous things that are going on in society, but I think we can win.
Blair: Sure. All right, as we begin to wrap-up here, I would love to get in your own words, maybe in a couple of sentences, why should young people be hopeful about the future in America?
Zuby: Well, you should be hopeful because what is the alternative? The alternative is being pessimistic and negative and black-pilled, and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t think you can win the game, why would you even play? …
Human beings, we always need to have hope. If you don’t have hope, it’s game over. It’s game over. That’s when people kill themselves or kill their societies, quite literally. When the hope goes to not, it’s completely done, and they’re like, “OK, the only way out is—” That’s dangerous. That’s really dangerous territory.
You always have to have hope. And with optimism, it’ll make you play the game and try. There’s so many games that can be played. It’s not just one game in this life. You also have the potential for greatness. If you don’t like the way things are going, do your little bit to do something about it. Again, you can’t control the entire country or the entire culture and society, but you’re a very small part of it.
Even if things are, on a wider scale, not going that well, they can be going great for you. They can be going great for your family. They can be going great for your future children and for your neighborhood and for your community and so on. That’s where I think your point of focus should be, because all a society is a collection of individuals.
What is the USA? It’s the 340 million or so people who live here. Everyone is a part of that. If everyone, in theory, were to do their part and just do 10% better, then you’re going to get a 50% better—this is random math here.
Imagine if every single person in the country just put in 10% more effort in improving themselves and just being a bit better. That would have such a seismic impact. Let’s just treat each other a little bit better. Let me just drop—let me do this a bit more, let me do this a bit less. It would have a very, very significant impact overnight. If you could somehow magically do that, it would have a big impact. I think that’s why you’ve got to be hopeful.
Blair: Good. Well, that was Zuby, a rapper, podcaster, author, and life coach. Zuby, I very much appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
Zuby: Nice one, man. Appreciate it.
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