Hamilton the Musical started to sweep the nation in 2015. My son discovered the songs on YouTube around 2018 and became obsessed. In July 2020, I watched it on Disney+ with him. The first time I watched, I was mesmerized by the theatrics, so I had to watch it again to get the story. Then I downloaded the soundtrack, and I realized it's a very powerful story told through hip hop.
After many listens there were phrases that stood out to me in my life. There were phrases that stood out to me as a coach. There were phrases that stood out to me as a Gen-X woman, and I believe other Gen-X women need to hear these lessons.
Caution: there may be some spoilers! Links to songs referenced are included! Enjoy!
Here are the Top 5 Lessons Gen-X Women can take away from Hamilton the musical.
#1: Don't Take Everything at Face Value I feel it's important to start here. First, I realize not everything in the musical is historically accurate. My list is based on the musical, and the lessons we can take away from it are super valuable. It's important as we move through life that we don't believe everything we're told, and we take time to investigate to find the facts. This is especially true of what others say about us. We need to realize their negative perceptions of us are just that--THEIR perceptions. It has nothing to do with us, and we need to believe our truth about ourselves We see this a bit in Hamilton because several of the people see so much negative in Alexander Hamilton, but he kept staying his true north.
#2: Speak Up for What You Believe In; Let People Know What Your Stand For In the musical, Aaron Burr told Alexander Hamilton, "Talk less, smile more. Don't let them know what you're against or what you're for." This was terrible advice. Burr was later asked by Hamilton, "If you stand for nothing, what'll you fall for?"
How does this apply to you? You've been granted a certain amount of time on this earth. To live in your purpose and be your best self, you must stand for something. What that is depends on what your purpose is. BUT, why would you hide it from the world? Why would you not let people know who you are and what you're about? Hamilton charged into everything he did heard first and with his convictions. As a Gen-X woman in the 21st century, you should do the same.
# 3: Work Hard for What Your Want Alexander Hamilton displayed a go-getter attitude through most of the musical. He ran into so many obstacles, but he kept knocking them down. How? With determination and hard work. He was out to prove himself to everybody and leave behind a legacy.
In 2020, I can sit here and say that he only really needed to prove himself to himself and not worry about all the others. In the song, "Hurricane," Hamilton tells the audience everything he had written. Back then, at the founding of our nation, it was all about writing. Previously in the song, "Nonstop," the cast sings about how Hamilton always wrote like he was "running out of time". He was so committed to the work he was doing, he did it with speed and confidence.
We all heard about the Federalist Papers in American History class. The original plan was for John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton to write 25 essays defending the U.S. Constitution. As Aaron Burr's Character tells us in Non Stop: "John Jay got sick after writing five. James Madison wrote 29. Hamilton wrote the other 51!" WOW! Above and beyond. Hard work and determination. If you believe in something, like Hamilton did America, work hard. Make it yours. Don't stop at the minimum.
#4 Don't Overwork at the Expense of Your Family I know, it sounds like a contradiction to the above. How do you work hard and still make time for your family? How do you create that work/life balance? Both Eliza and Angelica begged Hamilton to "take a break." They begged him to "go up state." He said he had to work. He said he had to get his plan through Congress. In reality, he should have taken the time for his family, and gone away. This was a turning point for Hamilton which ended up costing him a lot. Although in our lives it may not be as extreme as Hamilton's (won't give spoilers), it is important to stop and make time for your family. You don't get those moments back. Chase your dreams but not at the expense of your family. It also has to be said that you need to take time for yourself. Don't kill yourself with work. Schedule time off to spend time with your family and do things for yourself, so you don't burnout.
#5: Leave Your Mark in this World--You Only Get One Shot! Hamilton's mantra throughout the musical is, "I'm not throwing away my shot!" And he didn't. He wanted to leave his mark on this world, and he fought for every opportunity to do so. This point goes back to working hard (#3), but it's really so much more than that. It's about making a conscious effort to go out there and live your purpose which means doing what you were put on this Earth to do. Do you makes you happy and leave a legacy doing it. Live each day like it's your last because you will leave a mark in this world. You get one chance to decide how you'll be remembered. What will you choose?
I'd love to hear from you: what lesson from Hamilton resonates with you the most?