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Feb 4, 2022

“Walk This Way” to Avoid Victim Culture and Develop a Growth-owner Mindset 

In this world, there are pairs that just seem meant for each other. Think about it. What about the decadent, rich taste of chocolate with the refreshingly sweet essence of strawberry? 

Maybe the addition of salt and pepper to flavor a dish. The silly cat, Tom, relentlessly chasing after the cunning mouse, Jerry. A cold drink of water on a blistering summer’s day.  

How about the legendary band Aerosmith and the hip-hop group Run DMC?  

Not familiar?

Well, well, well, friends have I got a story for you. If you don’t know much about the Aerosmith and Run DMC combination on the song “Walk This Way,” prepare to be astounded.   

To get the full picture we need to go wayyyyy back... Back to the Future.  

 A match made in heaven? Not even close. But soon, everything was going to change. .

A Blast To The Past

The story begins sometimes around 1986. As a band, Aerosmith had dipped their toes in the pool of popular demand, but they weren’t even close to the top of the rock food chain. While they did have a fan base, it began to dwindle as time went on. As did their mental and physical health as a result of drug addiction, just like the BeeGees. 

Why was that? Because as a group, they gave in to victim culture. Instead of taking action, they stayed in a failure loop that resulted in a decrease in fans and happiness.   

But what’s this? Around the same time a new kid was breaking into the music scene: hip-hop. While hip-hop was still finding its way in the industry and wasn’t as large as pop music from artists like Madonna and Whitney Houston, it was really starting to make an impact.  

And if things couldn’t get any worse for the steadily aging Aerosmith, music videos were also the new fad. MTV took music and kicked it up a notch by creating cool music videos that really spoke to the popular crowd. Who could resist the stunning performances like “Thriller” by Michael Jackson?  This made it pretty simple for Aerosmith to slide into victim culture. 

 Suddenly, being a popular musician meant having to create video productions of quality. They had to contend with acting, big costumes and wigs, and enough money to make it look good. In this case, video really did kill the radio star. 

 Aerosmith was struggling to push their way back to glory and Run DMC were the new kids on the scene looking to make a name for themselves. So, how did a drug-ravaged rock band that had fallen prey to victim culture and a hip-hop band even stand a chance of releasing a chart-topping hit in 1986?  

The answer? Teaming up. 

 This is hillbilly gibberish ... Country bumpkin bullshit!  - Run 

Sounds like a great match, right? Well, it wasn’t at first. Sadly, this isn’t a Tom meets Jerry type tale (unless you count the fighting). The two groups had a hard time with the concept and gave in quickly to victim culture.

Despite that, they eventually made something extraordinary. No one else could see it in 1986, but producer Rick Rubin did. He knew that even though hip-hop wasn’t fully mainstream and the two bands were very distinct, there was something great there just waiting to break free.  

But How Did He Do It?

 Rubin was the only one capable of seeing past victim culture because he had a little thing called a growth-owner mindset. 

This is what allowed him to pursue the goal of uniting these bands to create a hit even though everything seemed to point against it. He wouldn’t allow anything to stop him from reaching his dreams.  

Sure, Run DMC and Aerosmith weren’t an obvious combination, but Rubin knew there could be wonder and sensation so he wouldn’t stop until he did what he could. He could’ve sat down and given up because the world told him it wouldn’t work, but instead of giving in to victim culture (like Aerosmith did), he decided to be proactive.  

He was able to look at Aerosmith: a decaying band full of “country bumpkin bullshit,” and Run DMC: A cool new hip-hop band lacking a big audience to make something amazing. 

He bridged the gap between two completely separate music genres to create something that remains popular today (and hopefully forever).  

 But of course, the bands themselves weren’t as enthusiastic about the collaboration as Rubin. On top of giving in to victim culture, Aerosmith thought they were way too ingrained in the music industry to work with newcomers, and Run DMC just couldn’t grasp how the combination would work at all.  

 You know who pushed through the victim culture to make it work anyways? 

You guessed it, Rick Rubin! With his growth-owner mindset he trampled all the naysayers and problems in his path to create a big hit. Sure, the bands still weren’t exactly overjoyed, but Rubin got them to parley for 2 days of recording what would soon become one of the biggest hits of all time.  

What came from it was a timelessly captivating masterpiece.  

Here it is in all its glory: 


While Run DMC didn’t necessarily want to be known for lyrics such as: 

So I took a big chance at the high school dance 

With a lady who was ready to play 

Wasn't me she was foolin' 

'cause she knew what she was doin' 

When she told me how to walk this wayyyyy 

 These words were what inevitably brought both bands to the top of the charts. In a world where hip-hop had barely begun to break the surface, this was legendary. 

By following Rubin’s instinct, they managed to crack the music industry into bits by creating something completely new. Run DMC went from obscurity to popularity with one song. They were finally established as musicians. 

Not only that, but Aerosmith also broke away from victim culture and went to the top in the eyes of the masses. They were no longer boring relics of the past; they were the bright stars of the future.

Something every cool guy or gal had to be a fan of. They had been freed from victim culture and landed themselves in a thrilling success loop. It only continued with time as they produced multi-platinum records like Permanent Vacation and Nine Lives.  

The Lesson: Don’t Fall Prey to Victim Culture 

It’s hard to know a flower will be beautiful before it blooms, though we typically think “well, obviously it was gonna be a good one.”  

Is it possible for us to remember these instances and build up momentum in order to act, and if so, how?

You’ll need to Walk this Way, much like Rick Rubin did. Rather than giving in to the victim culture around him, he reevaluated what was going on in the music industry and found something new. That new thing was a flower about to bloom (a flower worth 10k, that is).  

 He karate kicked the victim culture that doubted his ability to make it happen and said it wasn’t worth it and could never work. 

Instead, he used his growth-owner mindset to expel that nonsense and say “I’m going to make something great no matter what stands in my way. Nothing will stop me.” And so can you.  

Do you feel like you’re living in a robotic routine day after day following in the steps of society? Do you purposely stand to the sidelines rather than step out into the sun?  

As human beings raised in a society, we often feel like we must follow the actions of others rather than being unique. We don’t always want to take risks because we are afraid of breaking the mold. Yet, it is the bravery and brilliance that breaking through victim culture and failure loops takes that creates a growth-owner.  

While Rick Rubin was the one who put coals in the fire of the Aerosmith/Run DMC crossover, both bands continued to stoke the growth-owning fire that he started. 

Because of the hit song, they were able to continue their illustrious music careers despite the victim culture around them. They learned from Rubin that all they needed was a bit of positive momentum.  

What about you?   

It’s always hard to take a risk. It always is, but in order to break your failure habits you must pick at the wall of your failures with an ax until it crumbles around you. Even when you don’t succeed at first, you must try until you’ve gotten where you’ve always dreamed of being.

Reaching success habits will allow you, much like the two bands, to find your own happiness and success. YOU have the power to level up your life by building your own momentum.  

So, Do You Want To Walk This Way?  

Want to know where you stand in the five values of life tied to happiness (Your 5 Cores), take this two-minute core values quiz to get your core score in the five values of life. 



Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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