5 Self-Development Principles Drake Uses

As someone who has studied personal development principles for over a decade, I take notice when I see celebrities and public figures applying these concepts in their own lives and work.

I'm a big fan of Drake and have long admired how he interweaves personal development principles throughout his music and applies them in his life. He strikes me as an introspective, thoughtful, and self-aware individual.

I’m not arguing that you should aspire to be exactly like Drake. Obviously, he has both positive and negative qualities, as we all do.

This post is just a fun and lighthearted way of explaining timeless success principles using a famous person as a case study. I'll show you how Drake has employed these concepts to create his version of success.

Principle #1: Setting and Visualizing Goals

Back in 2007, when Drake was still unsigned and mapping out his future, he searched online for "world's craziest residential pools." He fell in love with one of the homes that came up and set it as the desktop image of his computer.

In 2012, Drake purchased that very same property.

“This house was the desktop image on my computer years before I bought it.” —Drake, Rolling Stone interview

This story shows the power of having a clear picture of what you want and keeping it in front of you. This is sometimes called creative visualization.

When you hold a picture, idea, or feeling in your mind of a particular reality, your subconscious mind goes to work to help create that reality. 

By setting specific goals and putting them into written or image form, you tell your brain what to focus on and send it the clear message: “This is important!” You then become more attuned to the things in your environment that are relevant to that particular goal. In other words, by setting this “filter” for your brain, you are more likely to see (and therefore, act on) opportunities relating to your goal where you might not have before.

“I always felt like my vision been bigger than the bigger picture.” (From “How Bout Now”)

Drake lets us know that he tends to dream big. No doubt, he has employed this principle to help manifest his dream home. According to people who know him, Drake has also been known to make vision boards. Let’s take a look at a few more Drake lyrics that show his belief in this principle…

“All I gotta do is put my mind to this sh*t.” (From “My Way” Remix)

“This some sh*t I wrote about when I was broke. See the power of the mind is not a joke...” (From “Both”)

These lyrics further reinforces Drake’s belief that success starts in the mind. And finally...

“I believed it. Yeah, I thought it and I achieved it.” (From “Club Paradise”)

This is one of my all-time favorite Drake lines because it seems to be a reference to the book that inspired me to start the ThinkGrowProsper Instagram page—Napoleon Hill’s classic success book Think and Grow Rich!

Principle #2: Positive Self-Talk

Something I’ve always appreciated about rappers is their ability to use the power of the spoken word to create their reality. I’m reminded of the time Jay-Z referenced this principle in an interview one time when he said, “I believe you can speak things into existence.”

The words you speak and think act as commands to your subconscious mind. They tell it what kind of reality you want to experience.

When you say things to yourself like, “I’ll never be able to afford that or I have the worst luck or I’m not good at such and such,” over time, your subconscious mind will accept these statements as reality and create tangible evidence of them in your life.

In that sense, the words you speak are self-fulfilling prophecies.

But the opposite is also true. You can speak and think positive things like: “I can make enough money to afford that. I am always in the right place at the right time. I am confident in my skills and abilities.” You get the idea.

Over time, the positive things you think and say to yourself will also tend to manifest themselves in your life.

Yes, I know that rappers (Drake included) can sometimes take this too far and move from positive self-talk to outright bragging/cockiness "real quick." But with Drake, it goes deeper than just money or material things. You can tell his core beliefs about himself when he says lyrics like:

“Really, I think I like who I’m becoming.” (From “Crew Love”)

This lyrical affirmation helps ingrain this belief into Drake’s subconscious and also serves as an encouraging reminder to himself. It also seems to convey Drake’s belief that growth is a process and we are all on ever-evolving journeys.

“If I ain’t the greatest then I’m headed for it.” (From "0 to 100")

Drake restrains himself a bit here, and for good reason. Self-talk that is too outside of one’s current belief system is usually ineffective and lacks creative power.

For example, if you’ve never lifted weights before, it doesn’t matter how many times you tell yourself you can bench press 900 pounds, you probably don’t truly believe you can do it without putting in some work first. In this scenario, it would be more effective to adopt self-talk that says something like: “I’m getting stronger every day. I’m becoming the strongest person I know, etc.”

In this line, Drake recognizes that there are lots of other talented artists and leaves room for the possibility that he may not be the absolute “greatest” at this exact moment. However, at the same time, he confidently affirms his direction, intention, and focus. This self-talk comes from a place of self-awareness and is infused with real belief and therefore possesses far more creative power than a wild or completely unsubstantiated claim.

Side note: It’s interesting to compare this line, which he said several years into his mainstream career to another statement he made much earlier in his career: “Last name: Ever, first name Greatest.” (From “Forever”). Sounds like the Canadian rapper matured a bit over the years, eh?

“If I die, I’m a legend.” (From “Legend”)

At first glance, this line seems cocky. But something I love about Drake is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and says a lot of things tongue-in-cheek.

In my own life, something I’ve noticed is that the more lighthearted I am about “success” and pursuing my goals, the less resistance I encounter and the easier it is to mold my reality. Drake making the claim that he’s a legend might be a little presumptuous, but he’s just having fun. That positive, lighthearted energy tends to come back in one form or another.

Principle #3: Maintaining a Positive Emotional State

An important part of creating your ideal reality is maintaining a productive emotional state. This is a main component of the framework known as the Law of Attraction. Life does this thing where it aligns you with people, things and situations that match the energy or emotions that you put out...or so it seems.

From a scientific perspective, it's not that your emotions literally create your reality or attract different circumstances, but that your emotions determine how you deal with and respond to your circumstances and that determines the outcome you receive from them.

Drake exemplifies this principle perfectly when he says:

“Just as a reminder to myself, I wear every single chain, even when I’m in the house, ‘cause we started from the bottom now we here...” (From “Started From The Bottom”)

It’s no secret that material wealth and prosperity are important to Drake. He seems to be aware of the idea that like attracts like, which is probably the reason he adorns himself with material reminders of his wealth. He wants to keep experiencing feelings of prosperity and wealth because he intuitively knows that these feelings tend to perpetuate ever more experiences of prosperity and wealth.

Principle #4: Persistence

This is a principle Drake believes in quite strongly.

“If you thinkin' I'ma quit before I die, dream on.” (From “Over”)

Drake states, in no uncertain terms that he does not intend to give up. Ever.

“The only thing I did to end up here was put the work in.” (From “Weston Road Flows”)

Persistently taking the necessary actions required to achieve our goals is something we all know we need to do if we want results. But how many of us actually do it? In this line, Drake reveals his key to success.

“Yeah, I want it all, that’s why I strive for it.” (From “Successful”)

Drake knows that anything worthwhile takes effort of some kind. This may take different forms, depending on the goal. The action could be mental, emotional, spiritual or physical, but it is still action. Get clear on what you want and then strive for it.

“Tell the young high school kids keep dreaming because they sure do come true.” (From “Schemin’ Up”)

Drake was one of those high school kids who had big dreams. And although he’s had ups and downs, he never gave up on them. That’s the power of persistence at work.

Principle #5: Following Your Excitement

If you’ve been following this blog or my Instagram account for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about this principle A LOT. It’s a concept that has made the biggest impact on my life and one that I really enjoy discussing.

The idea here is that the things that excite you are not random. They are somehow connected to your path, passion or larger purpose in life—even if you can’t see how. Your job is to take action on these things on a daily basis. When you do this, your life will become an ecstatic explosion of joy and synchronicity.

“The moment I stop having fun with it, I’ll be done with it.” (From “Too Much”)

From this line, it seems that Drake lives by this exact principle. If you study his backstory and the backstories of countless other successful people in the arts and entertainment industries, a common thread is that they all followed the things that excited them with intensity and integrity. Even when it made no sense. Even when they couldn’t see how they were going to make it.

When Drake’s TV career wasn’t serving him anymore, he left and pursued what truly excited him—music. It seemed to work out pretty well for him.