What Pharrell Taught Me at 5AM

sometimes it's just good to get weird. 

Once I was on a 5AM train to San Diego on the one day a year it pours in Los Angeles. The cabin was empty except for one sleeping dude as it jerked out of Union Station. The darkness outside and the dim light inside made me into an eerie reflection and I stared at myself for a while before reaching in my bag and pulling out a notebook and a GQ article.

I had wanted to read this article by Pharrell Williams and thought then, at 5AM, would be the proper time to get educated by Skateboard P.  Little did I know that the words he said would get so ingrained in me… like the microchip my cat has to tell me where she is.

Pharrell talks about his career and the confusion he felt the entire time, coming into himself now in his album “Girl.” Which is some of the best music I’ve heard, let alone Pharrell’s best album. He summarizes his journey like this:

I wanted to be like Jay. I wanted to be like Puff. Those are their paths. I got my own path. But I didn’t know what my path was. I knew I was meant to do something different. I knew that I needed to inject purpose into my music. I didn’t realize that like from ’08 up until now was like training. Like, keep putting purpose into everything you do. Don’t worry about it. Just put purpose in there.

Not only were these words expressing the same sentiments I was experiencing in my life, but they were coming from Pharrell, this guy that everyone would call one of the most influential men in music for the past like, entire time I’ve lived (let’s not forget he was entering adulthood when I was born...and looks my age now. Cool.). He was going through the same thing.  

I wanted to be my own equivalent of Jay and Puff – I saw success as others defined it for me and was confused when my unauthentic, awkward outcome would appear just after I shoved a square peg through a circle hole in school, with friends, in jobs. And it caused me to worry.

I never knew I needed to inject purpose into what I was doing. That’s what I do now, fortunately. That’s what I do here on this blog. I don’t know what will come from it and that’s okay. I just know that I’ve never felt more free to be myself and excited to actually discover my own paths than I do today.

What if we all did that? What if we all found something we loved that also was able to reach and uplift others – even one person. I bet you 20 bucks your life would look different by next year. I bet you would save a lot of time and effort quitting someone else’s life and living your own. Don’t be Jay. Don’t be Puff. Inject purpose, your purpose.