04/27/2016 Steph Anderson

Prince’s impact beyond the music: Life lessons from a legend

Steve Quinlan / Shutterstock.com

Steve Quinlan / Shutterstock.com

When I first heard last week that Prince had died, I thought it was a joke. I assumed it was another one of those celebrity rumors. Unfortunately, the truth was quickly confirmed — another legend was gone too young.

Prince was beloved worldwide, but among Minnesotans he was a hometown hero. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he always had a soft spot for the Twin Cities. No matter how much his popularity grew, he called Minnesota home. We will always love him for that loyalty.

A night out in Minneapolis was always made a bit more magical with the prospect of a Prince sighting. He was known to jump on stage for impromptu concerts at small venues throughout the cities. He also supported Minnesota sports and communities more than any other celebrity. Although he had a private jet, the rumored last photo of Prince shows him riding his bike to Paisley Park, his home studio in Chanhassen.

No one will disagree that Prince was a complex man with many layers. Even if you weren’t a fan of his music, there are many reasons to be a fan of the man. The lessons he left behind can help guide everyone toward being a better person.

1. Be authentic
Be true to yourself. It’s something we’ve been told over and over again, and Prince was the perfect example. From the start, he embraced his unique rhythm and didn’t care what others thought. He did it so well, it made him the epitome of cool.

2. Respect others
If you’re going to be true to yourself, you have to let others do the same. Prince blurred many lines and influenced the communities near his home. He treated women as equal, often collaborating with and promoting female artists. His iconic symbol is even a unique blend of the male and female symbols.

3. Be generous
Prince was a generous philanthropist and most of us didn’t know it until he died. He gave millions to many different charities and in return he simply asked organizations not to say anything about it. He teaches us that giving is an important part of life and something that we should do without expecting anything in return.

4. Own your craft
Prince had a stage presence that couldn’t be ignored, but he also had the talent to back it up. A master lyricist. A brilliant guitarist. A visionary artist. He was always practicing and improving. What’s more, he seemed to only get better with age. No matter your talent or profession, perfecting your craft should never have an end date.

5. Embrace your roots
The world was Prince’s oyster. He could have lived and built his studio anywhere. He chose Minnesota. In numerous interviews people asked him about this, perplexed why someone like him would stay. My favorite Prince response: “I like the cold weather, it keeps the bad people away.” Of course it was more than just that — his roots were here and he never forgot it. And we are all better off thanks to that decision.