Paid In Full is a 2002 American crime drama film, directed by Charles stones and Dame Dash. It takes place in Harlem, New York in the 1980's. The title of the film is taken from the 1987 album and song by Eric B & Rakim. "Paid in Full" is based on three friends: Azie "AZ" Faison , Rich Porter , Alpo Martinez and their professional criminal exploits. The characters Ace (Wood Harris), Mitch (Mekhi Phiferr), and Rico (Cam'ron ), respectively, are based on these three drug dealers. Paid In Full, is one of the most Iconic movies in Hip Hop culture and bares many lessons. Here are 9 things you can learn from Paid In Full:
1-Make Sure Everybody Eats.
Ace was able to maintain his crew's dominance, by making sure that all of his associates, friends, family and his entire Burau (Harlem) had their pockets and belly's full. That way, Ace was able to minimize jealousy, disarm potential enemies and, got everybody in Harlem to be loyal to him and even help him get richer . One of the fastest ways to reach success in any field is by helping other people. When you help and take care of others with your best intentions in mind, you shall receive a lot more than you gave.
2-Keep A Low Profile.
Ace always made sure to be lowkey, he wasn't too flashy and discussed business only with a select few. He showed himself, just enough for people to know him, then went under the radar again. He let his success make all the noise. When you show off too much, brag about the things you are doing and the success you are having, you give your haters and enemies the keys to destroy you. They will use all of the opulence you show, against you. Also, on the road to success, you will encounter hate and criticism. You must keep working hard in silence when in these situations, instead of shouting and taking out your anger, let your success do all the revenge. Because as they say : “Empty vessels make the most sound”.
3-Keep The Aggression Minimal, And Only Use It When You Need To.
Unlike the calm and collected leader Ace, Rico was reckless, loud and very aggressive. When the business required violence, he was the one to call. Rico's mindset was to respond to every single situation with violence, that is when Ace would come in, to stop him when it is unnecessary. It is safe to say that when Ace lost control over Rico's violence, the crew started to fall apart. Aggression in business serves many purposes, such as: expressing anger, Intimidation and assorting dominance. However, you cannot respond to every situation with aggression. It is a tool, only use it when you need to, respond to situations accordingly.
4-You Must Feed Your Wolves.
Mitch's uncle turned on him and kidnapped his little brother, his crew member and friend Rico killed him. Calvin who was a friend of Ace's, ended up turning against him and shooting him. All of which, are betrayals that were not expected, coming from people that were considered friends and family. All of which happened because these individuals felt that they weren't being taken care of, even though they were in good positions. Greed is a trait that exists in all humans. No matter how much we have, we always want more, and sometimes we are ready to step over loved ones to get it. As a leader, you must understand that trait in people and feed those around you, even if you don't like them, in order to maintain stability.
5-Have Integrity And Always Tell The Truth.
When Ace was working with a laundry shop and found a small bag of drugs in Lulu's clothes, he brought it back to him, which lead Lulu to trust him and start working with him. Later on, Ace found Lulu dead in his apartment, he took all the money and jewelry in the house and handed all of it to Lulu's associates. That got Lulu's associates to trust Ace and start doing business with him. Integrity and Honesty are the basis of leadership, they will take you a long way. It will give you a stronger reputation, satisfy your employees and associates, as well as increase the quality of your product, since acting with Integrity often means creating better products or services for your customers. Lying and deceiving will take up a lot of time and energy, because you will be presenting different faces to different people, and it will be very hard to be consistent with them. Being honest and acting with integrity on the other hand, will free up all your energy and allow you to focus on what's important.
6-The Spotlight That Comes With Success, Can Either Make You Or Break You, Use It To Your Advantage.
The crew frequently hit the club, had fun, showed off and enjoyed all the attention they were getting. Ace used that attention to get more business and clientele, where as Mitch and Rico were using it to satisfy their material lust. Both Rico and Mitch ended up dead or in jail, Ace on the other hand walked away clean handed. Having big success puts you in the spotlight and brings a lot of attention , getting lost in the lime light can cause you to lose that success. You must use it to enhance your business, establish your self as a brand , build a reputation and not get distracted.
7-The Goal Is Not To Be Rich, It Is To Be Wealthy.
With the amount of money that the crew threw away at nightclubs, bought cars ,jewelry, bikes and designer clothes with . They could have used it to buy appreciating assets and legal businesses to leave the drug game. Lulu for example bought properties, diamonds and gold, which allowed him to build up long term wealth. Spending money on depreciating assets and not having savings or investments will cause your downfall. People get rich and go back to being broke everyday, those who make long term investments with their money and time such as Real Estate, Businesses and learning new skills, are the ones who are rich forever.
8-Be A Sharp Dresser.
Even though the crew splurging on clothes can be looked at as a bad thing, it does have a benefit. The Gucci tracksuits, Louis Vuitton Jackets, big fur coats and Rolexes that the crew wore, were like the stripes on a Tigers skin. It let others know that they mean business, are good at it and are not to be messed with or compete against. The way you present yourself is everything, the way you dress is associated with your level of confidence, intelligence and sophistication. The sharper you dress, the better people treat you and the more opportunities present themselves.
9-You Must Love The Game.
After Ace got shot. He layed in bed, tired and barley able to talk, he decided he wants to quit the game, the negative consequences of the lifestyle were too much for him. When he asked Mitch how come he doesn't feel the same way, Mitch's response was simple " I Love The Game". His love of the game allowed him to push through all hardships. No matter what industry or line of work you are in, you will fail, face hardships, and go through trials and tribulations. The one thing that can help you push you through it, is your love and passion for it, if you wouldn't do it for free, don't do it at all.
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