Motivation Not-Quite-Monday: The Keys to Success Brought to You by DJs, Lions, and One Arthritic Basset Hound

This week a fellow book lover and I, in an effort to recuperate from a work week that got too big for its britches, took to the bookstore. I mean, after drowning our sorrows in fish tacos, but I also tend to drown my happiness in fish tacos.

I’ll be honest. I don’t need an excuse for tacos.

Or bookstores for that matter, but given the last few weeks had me feeling a little pale both inside and out, it was a good week to go through the Favorite Things checklist.

Having found a healthy selection of both used and new books, she and I started making our way to the front of the store, but we ended up lingering by the “Books to Inspire Graduates” table.

And that’s when I saw it. That is when I saw The Keys by DJ Khaled.

Things I know about DJ Khaled:

  • He is a DJ.
  • His name is Khaled.
  • He yells his name in that one song in my workout playlist.

I did not know he wrote a book.

I initially picked up the book because I am a tactile person who needs to put her grubby little fingers all over everything, but on its way back down, it clicked: wait. This book cover definitely does have a lion holding a key in its mouth. What am I holding?

Upon investigation I would discover DJ Khaled’s ‘keys’ to a successful life. And presumably, those keys are delivered via lion’s mouth.

Some excerpts: All excerpts are true to the original text.

“‘They’ don’t want you to have breakfast. ‘They’ don’t want you to have Jet Skis. ‘They’ don’t want you to have Jay Z as your manager…imagine yourself having everything.

Woah. What monster doesn’t want me to have breakfast? And why don’t they want me to have breakfast? I think we can all agree, breakfast hurts no one, and wants nothing more than to bring us an assortment of delicious meats and to keep us in a good mood till at least 9:27.

They may be right about the Jet Skis though. I can’t imagine being very good at jet-skiing.

“I am special cloth, and I’ve always known.”

If you’re thinking to yourself, “is this literal gibberish?” The answer is maybe. Khaled goes on to explain special cloth: “like they broke the mold after you. Matter fact, there wasn’t even a mold, because you’re a masterpiece.”

Ok, right. Being special cloth seems like it’s an opposing phrase to being “cut from the same cloth.” You’re like, “don’t give me any of that cotton, I’m purple corduroy! I am special cloth! This makes all of the sense!”

And I’m glad someone is finally seeing I’m a masterpiece. It’s about time.

“I’m humble. I was born humble, but now I get humbler every day. Now, just because I’m humble doesn’t mean I’m not confident. I’m bold and I know I’m one of the greatest to ever do it.”

Do what, DJ Khaled? Greatest at life? Greatest at owning a lion? Greatest at having breakfast because you’re all like, “no one can tell me I can’t have breakfast and a jet ski and breakfast on a jet ski.”

“Life is what you make it, so let’s make it.”

DJ Khaled, don’t get me wrong. I definitely want you to have breakfast. But this is not how this phrase works.  If I’ve learned anything from the great philosopher Hannah Montana, you have to make life into something. Some options.

Life is what you make it, so let’s make it…




….full of french fries.

…special cloth! Am I doing it right?


One can only assume the chapter titled, “LLIIOOOONNNN!” outlines how to summon your lion for life’s keys.

Let’s be clear. He is a famous DJ, and I’m eating a stale baguette wearing a hoodie from Old Navy. He and I are at two very different places in life, and maybe he is in a position to advise those who are looking for some direction.

On the other hand, if DJ Khaled has a book with a chapter titled, “LLIIOOOONNN!” I need to get busy writing because it looks like anyone can have a book these days.

See, the book works! I am motivated! And it’s time to pay it forward, and share my secrets to success.

Silver Springs, Florida, Bruce Mozert, 1938.

My Keys: I’ve only locked them in the car three times

(Delivered by an arthritic basset hound named Gloria wearing a fanny pack for dogs)

  • Pay the bills – Trust me. This is a big one. People don’t like it when you don’t pay the bills. Even if you’re all like, “I used that money to buy a t-shirt that says, ‘I am brave’ to remind myself that you are brave, and they’re all like, “goods and services, dumb-dumb.” You can’t be successful if you’re dodging phone calls from the electric company.
  • Don’t make fun of me, or also anyone, but mostly me – It’s not that I can’t take it, but I can’t take it. And it’s hard to be successful when I’m crying three feet behind you.
  • Wear purple corduroy, both metaphorically and literally – Take chances! Live boldly! You only YOLO once! Why live your life wearing metaphorical and literal khakis, when you could wear bright purple corduroy and make a fun buzzing sound when you walk?
  • Eat Breakfast – No one ever said, “you know who’s a racist? Breakfast.” Breakfast has your back and is definitely not a racist and helps you think your best thoughts like, “what if there was an Uber, but for cheese delivery?” Like Gouber. Maybe not Gouber.
  •  Live your life as if someone said, “I bet she’ll never be able to _______________ ” – That way if you’re feeling low, think to yourself “I can’t believe that person thinks I can’t load the dishwasher. I’ll show them.” And then let the angry indignation guide you! Fake-doubters better lay of the hate-erade because that dishwasher is loaded!
  • If life gives you tacos, eat them – Tacos are delicious. This one’s a no brainer.

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