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Healthy Living

Why Russell Simmons Defines Success As Finding Stillness

Simmons' journey from hip-hop mogul to yoga-loving vegan.

Before he was an outspoken advocate of meditation, yoga and veganism, Russell Simmons was one of the founding fathers of hip hop -- a music-industry mogul working long hours to build his empire.

By the time he was 26 years old, Simmons founded Def Jam Records -- one of the most successful hip-hop music labels in the world. Nicknamed Rush because of his "frenetic energy," he harnessed that spirit to reach greater heights of success in the music industry.

So what changed? Simmons took a turn in his life and career when he got sober at age 30 and started practicing yoga. He recalls having an important realization: Happiness comes from within, from the stillness of a quiet mind.

"You have to take care of the self," Simmons said in a recent HuffPost Originals video. "Now, the only success I could have is to be more still... the stillness in the mind is where bliss arises."

To find that stillness, Simmons has turned to meditation, yoga and vegan lifestyle (he wrote a book called "Happy Vegan"). But he didn't have to give up his career to find the peace and quiet he sought. Simmons became CEO of Rush Communications, a holding company that invests in entertainment, media, lifestyle, fashion, and empowerment brands. He's founded and launched more than 10 initiatives including Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Hip-Hop Action Network, GlobalGrind, and Tantris, a yoga and lifestyle brand featuring apparel and studio centers.

"Being present in working always makes you more successful," he said.

To learn more about Simmons' journey from hip-hop mogul to peace-seeking vegan, check out the video above. The interview is the first episode of Pioneers, a new HuffPost Originals series that profiles leaders in various industries who have redefined success by making it their mission to live more meaningful and less stressful lives.

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