50 Cent’s Rule for Overcoming Fear & Living Your Dreams

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 50th Law" by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is 50 Cent’s rule for overcoming your fears in life? How did he overcome his own fears and become so successful?

According to The 50th Law by rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) and author Robert Greene, the fear of what others think of us, what we’ll lose, the future, and so on, is the biggest factor holding us back in life. In the book, 50 Cent shares his most influential rule for facing your fears to gain power and success.

Read on to learn 50 Cent’s rule for overcoming fears and living your dreams, according to The 50th Law.

50 Cent’s Rule of Fearlessness

According to The 50th Law by rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) and author Robert Greene, the biggest factor holding us back in life is fear—of what others think of us, what we’ll lose, the future, and so on. This natural fearfulness developed to help us survive in ancient times, but in modern times, we rarely face life-threatening situations where it’s warranted. As a result, our fearfulness only holds us back from gaining power and success. In the book, the authors argue that you must become fearless to truly thrive, and they share 50 Cent’s rule for overcoming the fears that hold you back in life by giving examples from his own life and childhood.

In this article, we’ll explain the most powerful rule that 50 Cent provides for overcoming your fears in life, based on the examples in The 50th Law.

Adopt a Fearless Mindset

50 Cent had a difficult childhood. He was raised in Southside Queens (New York City, New York) during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic with little familial guidance and almost no opportunity for upward mobility. Hustling by dealing drugs (which we’ll refer to simply as “hustling”) was the only career that could provide him with enough income to live comfortably, so he chose to pursue this path at a young age. Hustling was a dangerous lifestyle, and 50 Cent faced violence from other hustlers, drug addicts, and police

(Shortform note: 50 Cent wasn’t the only one who struggled with life in New York during the crack epidemic—a 1989 New York Times article explains that the effects were felt city-wide. From 1987 to 1988, the homicide rate in the city jumped by 10.4%, with 38% of those homicides involving drugs (including crack). Crack use also tripled the cases of child neglect by intoxicated parents. Further, crack became most popular in disadvantaged Black and Hispanic neighborhoods (like 50 Cent’s) because, as 50 Cent suggests, it promised increased social or economic status—new dealers joined the industry for quick economic gains, and the poor used the drug to feel part of wider society.)

To survive in these treacherous conditions, 50 Cent adopted his rule of fearlessness, which he and Greene call the “50th Law”: Instead of fearing circumstances he couldn’t control, he adopted a fearless mindset. He took advantage of opportunities, adapted when necessary, forged his own path, and followed that path fervidly and without delay.

(Shortform note: While 50 Cent and Greene present the “50th Law” as a new rule for success that they’ve co-created, it actually encompasses some of Greene’s existing rules from The 48 Laws of Power. For example, Greene’s 28th Law in The 48 Laws is to act boldly—be confident, forge your own path, follow it without delay, and don’t let fear and hesitation hold you back. Further, Greene’s 25th Law is to reinvent yourself—adapt your actions and image according to your circumstances to control how others see you and maintain power. That said, Greene’s 48 Laws isn’t as supportive of taking advantage of all opportunities, as recommended in The 50th Law. Instead, Greene argues you should be tactical and focus your efforts on actions from which you’ll benefit the most.)

In the following sections, we’ll discuss two distinct periods of 50 Cent’s life in which he applied his rule of fearlessness and how it helped him achieve major success: when he transitioned from a hustler to a rapper, and when he became an independent artist.

Fearlessness Transformed 50 Cent From a Queens Hustler Into a Rap Star

The authors write that 50 Cent’s rule of fearlessness quickly paid off when pursuing hustling. He became one of the most successful hustlers in his area, gaining respect from customers and other hustlers alike. However, he soon realized that with his newfound fearlessness, he could accomplish more than being a great hustler. He decided to leave his home and hustling career to chase his dream of becoming a rapper.

Once again, despite having no connections or experience in the music industry, 50 Cent used his rule of fearlessness to make his dream of becoming a rapper into reality. In a few short years, he was signed to Columbia Records and ready to release his first album. However, right before the album’s release, 50 Cent was shot multiple times by an assassin sent by an old hustling competitor. As a result, his record label dropped him and he was back at square one.

This didn’t stop 50 Cent, however. He maintained his fearlessness and used his unfortunate circumstances to change the rap world forever. Once he recovered from his injuries, he created a unique genre of rap based on his dangerous experiences that portrayed the harsh reality of life on the inner-city streets. He spread the word about his music by handing out free mixtapes on the streets of New York. 50 Cent soon gained the attention of Eminem and joined his and Dr. Dre’s label.

Violence and “Gangsta Rap” in the Hip-Hop Industry

50 Cent isn’t the only hip-hop artist who both had a rough childhood and experienced gun violence after entering the industry—in fact, it’s a fairly common occurrence. A 2015 article shows that murder was the cause of more than 50% of all hip-hop artists’ deaths, including internationally renowned artists such as Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls), Pop Smoke, and Takeoff.

Experts have differing views on why hip-hop artists face such violence in the industry. Some argue that it’s the result of the cultural prevalence of guns in America, not hip-hop culture. Others argue that it’s due to gang prevalence in the industry and the dangerous inner-city conditions many hip-hop artists, like 50 Cent, grew up in

Still others argue that the specific genre of rap 50 Cent helped give rise to—what many call “gangsta rap”—is the cause of violence inside and outside of the industry. For instance, an article featured in a 1995 publication from the US Department of Health and Human Services claims that gangsta rap promotes violence in Black communities—arguably among rappers and civilians alike. Critics of the view that rap promotes violence in Black communities point out that many rap musicians use their art form to criticize gun violence and condemn the structural issues, like racism, that marginalize Black communities.

Fearlessness Transformed 50 Cent From a Rap Star Into a Global Figure and Entrepreneur

While working in the music industry, 50 Cent used his rule of fearlessness to maintain his autonomy and success. Rather than letting the record label control and use him until his popularity slowly dwindled, he took control of his music and image, seeking independence from the label. As a result, he’s survived and thrived for years in the music industry and now owns a business empire of his own. 50 Cent’s dedication to his rule of fearlessness is the recipe for his success.

(Shortform note: More and more modern artists are breaking free of record label control as 50 Cent did. This is arguably due to the social media app TikTok—rather than music being provided to consumers from the top down (record labels deciding which artists to sign and promote), consumers can more easily discover new music through the app and request more of what they want to hear. This gives independent artists more exposure than previously. Further, experts explain that going independent is appealing because, while difficult, it’s much more rewarding than staying with a label because artists don’t have to conform to industry standards. They also receive a much larger chunk of their royalties.)

50 Cent’s Rule for Overcoming Fear & Living Your Dreams

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Here's what you'll find in our full The 50th Law summary:

  • Rapper 50 Cent and Robert Greene's perspectives on overcoming fear
  • The story of how 50 Cent overcame adversity and became successful
  • The rules and principles you must follow to become fearless

Emily Kitazawa

Emily found her love of reading and writing at a young age, learning to enjoy these activities thanks to being taught them by her mom—Goodnight Moon will forever be a favorite. As a young adult, Emily graduated with her English degree, specializing in Creative Writing and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), from the University of Central Florida. She later earned her master’s degree in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University. Emily loves reading fiction, especially modern Japanese, historical, crime, and philosophical fiction. Her personal writing is inspired by observations of people and nature.

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