Monica Rivera

Millennial Realtor & Huffington Post Contributor

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Bless My Hustle

\\ MY COMMANDMENT

Bless My Hustle - Why? Because you can't cheat the grind. It knows how much you've invested. It won't give you anything you haven't worked for.

\\ SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

In essence, the Bless My Hustle philosophy is two-fold; hustle as a noun and hustle as a verb.

As a noun, hustle is about redefining your idea of success. It’s what you do, or the thing you dream of doing. It’s your passion. It’s the intersection of your interests, talents, and preparation so that you're ready for any opportunity.

Hustle as a verb is the grind. It's putting in work and adopting the hustler mentality. It’s driven by a street-inspired work ethic focused on determination and the willingness to do what it takes to push yourself to that next level. 

Bless My Hustle is a prayer to implore a blessing on your dreams and on the work you do to reach them. It's an everyday reminder to self and the world of your personal passion. It's an understanding that in order to create the life of your dreams, you have to invest in the grind. Sucess isn't easy. 

Bless My Hustle is knowing you might make mistakes. It's about taking those mistakes as lessons and allowing them to motivate instead of discourage you. It's the difference between a hustler and an average person. It's determination, work, and sacrifice. It's about working 5 years like no one else will, so you can live the rest of your life like no one else can. It's THAT type of hustle. It's not as much about proving others wrong in that it's really about celebrating your own potential. And finally, it's believing that when you want something bad enough, with hustle, anything is possible.

\\ THINK ABOUT IT

Albert Einstein was told he was mentally slow, was expelled from school and was rejected from the Zurich Polytechnic School. His name is now synonymous with genius. He won the Nobel Prize and changed the face of modern physics. Bless his hustle!

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He went on to invent the light bulb. Bless his hustle!

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team…. He is now arguably the world’s greatest basketball player winning 6 NBA Championships and numerous scoring titles throughout his career. Bless his hustle!

Elvis was kicked out of the Grand Ole Opry in 1954 – they told him to stick to his day job driving trucks. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Bless his hustle!

Lucille Ball got sent home from acting school and told to try ANY other career but acting. Three words: I LOVE LUCY. Bless her hustle!

And Dr. Suess’s first book was rejected by publisher’s 27 times but my, don’t we all love our green eggs and ham? Bless his hustle!

What do all of these famous individuals have in common? They failed at something. AND, they understood that failures are just achievements in the making. They pursued their hustle despite what they were told, and they not only became incredible successes, but household names. They took back their power and you can too. All you have to do is bless your own hustle. Believe in yourself, figure out your passion, and put in the work to create a life around that. 

Still don't understand? Check out this video, circa 2011, to see what hustle continues to mean to me: https://vimeo.com/23472000

\\ MY STORY & THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE COMMANDMENT

The phrase Bless My Hustle was originally taken from MIA's "Paper Planes Remix" but it was inspired by so much more than that. It is an acculturation of my personal experiences, my own beliefs about success, my interest in subversive and street culture, a hip hop mentality, a strong work ethic, and the many people who have touched my life. You see, my name is Monica Rivera, and the more you can begin to truly understand the orgins of this commandment and my story, the more you can realize that my message is incredibly compelling because it resonates with everyone.

I grew up in a family that knows what it means to be poor. My paternal grandparents were immigrants who came to the USA to make a better life for their family and my parents worked themselves to the bone. My father started his own business and my mother worked extra shifts and constantly proved herself as promotion-worthy despite her lack of a formal higher education. My siblings did not have the opportunity I did to pursue higher education and yet they have always encouraged and supported me in my journey. Growing up, I was also exposed to things like gang violence, drug addiction, discrimination and a really messed up educational and law enforcement system. I saw how hard it can be to make a living based on how you look or where you come from. As such, these experiences and people in my life are those that have motivated me to pursue success by all means necessary. It is for them, and my nine nieces and nephews, that I work as hard as I do and never refuse an opportunity. But though I have had countless opportunities, not everyone has.

This is where Bless My Hustle comes in. In our current society, individuals are rewarded and complemented when they excel in traditional fields and mold themselves according to societal standards of behavior. We are taught to choose a predefined and acceptable career track, pursue higher education in order to secure an entry-level position within that track, and finally to work our way up the organizational hierarchy until retirement. There is so much emphasis on telling kids that they should try to become doctors, lawyers, engineers or something along those lines. Those are great careers, but it doesn’t mean we should ignore or put down the students who struggle with math but create amazing doodles on the back of their notebooks. They could be the next Vincent van Gogh or Banksy.

Even so, that was my goal. I wanted to be a forensic psychologist and a prosecutor… for all the wrong reasons. I did debate, joined clubs and got into the University of Southern California as a Psychology major on the pre-law track. But I knew less than a week into classes my freshman year  that this wasn’t the path for me. I dropped my major and the track, dropped all of my Psych classes and signed up for classes in some of the different specialized schools. That’s when I really started to figure it out. I took a communication class where I wrote an analysis of Nas’s album Hip Hop Is Dead as a piece of rhetoric challenging the hip hop community on the direction that the genre had taken away from social commentary and towards commercialism. I took a gang intervention class where I heard from both at-risk and gang-involved youth on their motives for joining gangs and why they wanted out. I took classes where I learned about self-branding, political movements and so many other subjects. These classes all resonated with my own life experiences.

I knew then that I didn’t want to end up in some 9-5 job for the rest of my life. I’m just not that type of girl. A lot of people will tell you not to get tattoos or wear certain things because you won’t be able to get a certain job, but I promised myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t ever let my career trajectory affect my lifestyle choices. So in 2010, I launched Bless My Hustle as a lifestyle blog about success from the hip hop perspective. The idea was to redefine success and make it more relatable, while encouraging and inspiring people to follow their own passions. This simple idea has become much more than a blog to me. It’s my lifestyle, my commandment. It's the guide to how I live my life everday. I’m a hustler and I stay hustling. That's why I'm here, to create a life I love and the space for others to do the same.

As part of Bless My Hustle, I provide writbands to students, educators, mentors, youth, friends, leaders and more so that they can have a daily reminder that with hustle, anything is possible.

When you choose me for the endowment, know that you will be contributing to the development of Bless My Hustle as a brand and as a movement. My main goal is to create a lifestyle brand and resource network that works specifically with youth to identify their skill set’s, find their hidden potential and give them the tools to cultivate their own hustles. With the money I recieve from the endowment, I will be able to provide more youth with wristbands free of charge and will be able to develop a resource network with scholarships that allow youth to attend events that will get them aligned with their passions and set up the stepping stones to not only reach their goals, but set them in the first place.

Choose me and contribute to the movement. And, as always, bless your hustle!

\\ CONNECT WITH ME

@MonicaBMH - Hustler // Connector // Entrepreneur

[email protected]

In the spirit of connecting and collaboration, if you want a wristband, shoot me a tweet or an email and I'll send one over free of charge!

\\ BLESSED

The blessings just keep coming! A few weeks ago an organization called Soukle reached out to me for an interview about Bless My Hustle and Viva La Ink! Soukle is an awesome network of young professionals creating meaningful connections through after work events in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am so blessed that they felt my story was compelling enough to share with their circle! They mentioned this project for Marc Ecko's class as part of the article's introduction! Check out my interview at http://bit.ly/SoukleBMH!

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