“When something rings true, it’s because it harkens back to some truth in the universe.”

– Rick Rubin

In early 2013 Kanye West asked the legendary producer and Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin to help complete his new album Yeezus. With 5 weeks to meet West’s deadline and a rough cut of 16 unfocused and unfinished tracks, the task seemed impossible. West’s creative process often bordered on perfectionist and he could not seem to find the essence of the his sound.

When Rubin showed up the albums rough cut ran nearly three and a half hours and he suggested trimming. “That first day, before he even asked me to work on it, I said, ‘Maybe you should make it more concise. Maybe this is two albums. Maybe this is just the first half,” Rubin said. In the studio, the two began deconstructing the tracks to get the “edgy and minimal and hard” sound West was searching for. The duo worked for 16 days, 15 hours a day, with no days off. With two days left five songs still needed vocals and two or three of them still needed lyrics. In a final flurry of remarkable creative collaboration, West and Rubin finished those songs and the album in a two hour session. The final cut of the album featured 10 songs for a total length of forty minutes, only 19% was left from the original three and a half hours of music. Rubin had broken down West’s compositions to their simplest form, and the results were epic.

When Yeezus was released it received rave reviews from music critics, many of whom named it among West’s best work and commended its brash direction. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and eventually went platinum. Yeezus was the most critically acclaimed album of 2013, appearing on 61 meta-critic top 10 lists and being named first on 18 of them. When asked about their collaboration Kanye said, “Well I didn’t reduce it. Rick Rubin reduced it. He’s a reducer, not a producer.”

Rubin’s trademark as a producer is a “stripped-down” sound, he eliminates unnecessary production elements and works with the artist to expose the truest version of themselves. According to Rubin, “there is tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get the point across,” simplicity is the key to his success. By peeling away all the unnecessary elements Rubin helps the artist manifest the the purest form of their magic. Rubin doesn’t create simplicity to the point of meaninglessness, quite the opposite, he creates simplicity that holds great meaning from it’s intense focus and purity.

Rick Rubin’s process with musicians is exactly the process we are espousing to manifest your magic. He is quoted as saying “People are so different. It’s almost like you need to go through the process, discover and unlock what it is that makes that band that band. And a lot of times they don’t know it.” The same applies to most individuals and organizations, and they don’t know it. As magicians it is our job to identify the core points of differentiation aka purpose and aligning actions with that purpose so the truth can break through. The only way to do this is to cut away the noise, to simplify brutally in order to create beautifully. When you achieve meaningful levels of simplicity in yourself and your process the universe will conspire with your essence to create magical things.




“If you live through defeat, you’re not defeated.

If you are beaten but acquire wisdom, you have won.

Lose yourself to improve yourself.

Only when we shed all self-definition do we find who we really are.”

The Rza, Tao of the Wu


The word itself is loaded with a multitude of emotions. For some its fear, for others its dread, and for one or two of us it may even remind us of simpler times with our old friends struggle and sacrifice. Whatever feelings the word brings to mind, the act of failing is efficient at cutting to the core of who you are. Failure exposes your truth by allowing you to clearly see your strengths and your weaknesses and use that insight to understand what is important to you and what you need to change.

To manifest your truth you must experience failure and embrace the feelings that come with it.

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I believe in ideas.

I believe in dreams.

I believe in art.

I believe in passion.

I believe in creation.

I believe in the journey.

I believe in the goodness of people.

I believe in the things I can’t see or touch.

I believe I can change the world with an idea.

I believe in magic.

I believe in myself.

To achieve I must surround myself with people who believe.

I will find them and hold onto them with all my strength.

I will work hard and be brave.

I will manifest my dreams in 2016. And nothing will stand in my way.

When I forget how amazing I am I will start from the top.




This evening we say goodbye to 2015 and welcome all of the amazing possibilities of the coming year.

A new year allows us the opportunity to reflect on the past, learn from the last year’s successes and failures, and build on these lessons to set new goals and guidelines for our life in the coming year.

The most successful individuals and organizations visualize their future like it is a story they are actively writing. Each year they set goals based on their experience and aspirations. Then they spend the next year manifesting the story they visualized through the achievement of these goals. This combination of reflection, learning, and proactive application is a major difference between highly productive people and everyone else.

In order to make 2016 your most fulfilling and productive year I recommend that you reflect, learn, and apply those lessons through taking the time to answer the following questions:




Popular culture tells us is the path to success and sustainable fulfillment is from the outside in. This is false.

While physical manifestations of success such as oversized homes, fancy cars, and piles of money are nice to have, without purpose, meaning, and connection, this type of success is fleeting and will leave you feeling empty.

Sustainable fulfillment comes from understanding your true self also known as your purpose, and manifesting and sharing that purpose.




Blackjack has the best odds of any game in a casino, with a house edge of just one percent in most cases.

Yet that one percent edge is enough for casinos to generate substantial profits. So substantial that if you play long enough they will just start giving you things for free.