PATHS!

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“Which path would you choose?”


 The definition of a path is a track for the sole purpose of treading in a continuous movement. A path can be made for many uses. The most common uses for paths are used for the movement of vehicles, walking, and/or biking. But this post is not for describing the use of paths in the above context. I will be discussing the  various paths one takes in life toward their journey to success. My many paths in life have taken me from athletics to business to writing. I wanted to be an athlete in middle through high school, a business executive in undergraduate school, but ended up wanting a career in filmmaking after college. You may ask, what made me want to become a filmmaker? Let’s just say people you meet in life along the prepare introduce you to a lot. Some of you might want to know more about me, but this post is more about the paths anyone might take as oppose to centralizing the topic on myself.

First and foremost, most people start to think about their projected path  in life when they are in high school. This is the time period when you begin looking for the schools you would like to enroll in for college. Going to a good school can set you up for success in life or failure; or at least that’s what people want you to believe. So naturally, what do most high school students do; constantly stress about their grades. This is an aspect of getting into college, which is having a good GPA (grade point average). But having a good GPA is only a small portion of what it takes to get into college. There’s test scores, volunteer work, work experience, school clubs, and extra curricular activities like sports. Once you have checked all of the previous items off your list, you start to researching a variety of schools. Scouting schools can come in the form of having the school send brochures, visiting the campuses, and/or both. Once senior has arrived, you should already have in mind where you will be going or at least narrowed the down the choices.

Getting into the school is still only the beginning of the process of choosing a path in life. Once your high school graduation comes around, everyone will be talking about where they will be headed off to next semester. Some people will stay close to home, some may go out of state, others might take time off to save money, and you’ll always have the group that won’t attend college. Stepping on campus for the first time is a daunting situation. Just as you were in high school everything around you will appear big at first. You’ll find yourself asking random people how to get around. Some may assist you, knowing they understand the freshman experience, others may see you as more of a nuisance. All this work to get here and your path may still be the same coming from high school.

Once you settle on campus, not unpacking, I mean having spent time at the school; you start to get some understanding of what you want to do with the rest of your life. Traditionally, schools make you wait at least until your Sophomore year to declare a major. Now here is where your path could change once again from high school in college. At this point you are choosing a field of interest for once you graduate college. Declaring a major means that is the career you’re pursuing, or choosing a broad and ambiguous journey. So majoring in biology is not the same as majoring in communication. So, after this you choose that major, in your pursuit toward graduation.

Once you’ve reached graduation the next step is thinking to yourself should I go to graduate school school or go into the job market. If you choose work, you have only a limited time to find a job before the government starts hounding you about school debt. But if you think about choosing graduate school, it should be decision you decide in your junior to senior year. This process is like choosing a university to attend all over again. You get resume, letter of recommendations, grades/GPA, and standardized testing; plus any volunteer opportunities from school. And then if you are accepted, you have the daunting task of narrowing down the schools and maybe even cities to live in for grad school. In my case, I went straight to grad school after undergraduate school. My advice to any of you reading this, plan, plan, plan ahead. School will be over before you know it, life will be staring you in the face. You don’t want to be stuck without any options, but let it be known, whatever path you take be comfortable with your decision. The only regret will be if you live to the end of your life and are not satisfied with the decisions you made.

POVERTY IS MIND NOT JUST MONEY

When I was a child I use to think that poverty was the lack of income a household was able to bring in relative the number of people in a household. It wasn’t until I was an adult until I realized that poverty is more of a mind frame than the money in your pocket. Being raised in a single parent household, I initially didn’t realize I was impoverished. We always had food in the refrigerator, a roof over our heads, and clothes on my sisters and I backs. Before I go into the mind frame of a person, I will allow you to understand my background. Like I said, a mother who raised three children with less than $24,000 income plus a little child support. This qualified us by way of the government as an impoverished family. She made less money necessary to raise a family in the state of Wisconsin. Rent was about $450 – $500, not including utilities, plus food and putting clothes on our backs, she was broke a lot of times. How does the mind frame come into play if all I am focusing on is money?

Well, growing up in my mother’s house we would go grocery shopping. Once we returned home and unloaded the groceries into the refrigerator, she went to the phonebook. She took the phone and contacted the Chinese restaurant and some nights we agreed on pizza or sit down dining. How about that, food in the fridge and eating at a restaurant. Something seemed wrong with that picture once I became an adult. Why would someone order food at a restaurant and spend $30, $40, $50, or $60, when they have food in the fridge? Not only that, living already in poverty, why spend more money in such a useless manner? My mother was raised impoverished herself, and raised her kids the only way she knew how. The problem with doing what you know, is that fiscal responsibility must be more than just what I think I know. Like I said, poverty is a mind frame as well. She went to the grocery store at least once every two weeks. We could have saved an extra $1,000 a year in the household by not doing spending with food in the fridge.

Another way in which she would spend, is taking us to the clothing stores with child support. That in itself could have been cut down by shopping at less expensive stores. My mother wanted us to have a better life than herself so she overcompensated by spending unnecessary money we didn’t have. There is nothing wrong with wanting more for your children, but as time went on, I looked back and realized why this was a problem. In an impoverished community, yet you have new shoes on your feet. The utilities are due, but let’s make arrangements on bills to buy clothes. What this does is negatively effects your credit, thus making it harder to overcome your current economic situation. Had my mother have known by way of being taught about money, we could have had our own home. She could have been a home owner by cutting back on clothes for us as well as restaurant food with groceries at home. So I reiterate, poverty can be a mind frame and not just money.

With all that has been said, people all over the nation make these same mistakes. I live in Harlem, New York, and there are huge lines outside sneaker stores. People are living in a poverty, some homeless, but everyone has the latest technology and clothing. Now as an adult, I look at how I was raised and my current neighborhood, and think to myself. If I were to give everyone in this community $100,000; who would be broke by the end of the year and who would be doing fine. If you were to give $100,000 to a poor family right before Black Friday, I winder how much would go toward their bills versus Christmas gifts. Another move would be who would quit their jobs with a little more. Some people might stop working if you gave them $1 million. One million dollars is not enough to stop working for life, but to a poor person they might think they’re rich. This is why, for instance, the lottery effect exists so much among athletes. They make a substantial amount of money young, and die poor. These athletes don’t understand the value of a dollar, how to properly spend their dollar, nor do they know how their own money work. So, someone else watches their income at the same time they’re spending money. When you have never had money it’s hard to make money, and even harder to keep it when you get it; never knowing what it was like to have it.

In my opinion, the longer you take to build your wealth, the more likely you are to keep your money. You start to be more cognitive about the money you spend. You slowly come out of the poverty mind frame and become fiscally responsible. The problem is that you start to see the mistakes of those around you. They may not fully grasp the concept of fiscal spending or don’t care. These are people you slowly start to lose and at times distance yourselves from because of this mindset. They are the live for today and not tomorrow people. Eventually it manifests itself in the way they live their lives and look at themselves. So in my opinion, spend wisely like there is a tomorrow even if tomorrow never happens.

Politics Is High Level Pimping!

Better jobs, better education; get out there, vote, and make America better. These are the two phrases that we as the American people we hear on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis from politicians. In my opinion, both pimps and politicians are one of the same person. A pimp will tell a woman go stand on the street corner and turn a trick so we can get rich; “we can get rich.” For once, I would like to hear the truth behind the words of those I am suppose to trust. It’s hard to figure out what I frown on the most. Let’s start with the way the politician says better jobs. They say we need to create jobs, but since when do politicians create jobs. Don’t get me wrong, they design policy that allows for people to create jobs, but their legislature does not mean without proper legislature, they lose creativity. The politician serves as the hurdle a creative person must jump over to get to where they have to go in life.

And let’s not forget how politicians throw out how education is something we continue to need yet nothing really changes. Kids going to school and yet have nothing waiting for them as they leave school. But it doesn’t stop our politicians from furthering the encouragement of more school. You go for four years, then a few more years of graduate school, and in between this time gain work experience that only qualifies you for retail or fast food. How come we continue to allow them to play this game with us? We allow them to pimp us because  we either want to believe so bad or the fact that so many people are sheep.

And the healthcare speech is not any better. They stand up and speak about how they’re going to be tougher on the industry. Then they get elected and nothing changes; no matter what political party is in power. No one gets tough on insurance companies, but this guy stands up and promises. I just want for once, for someone to actually stand by their word on their campaign. All I know is the 2016 race is fast approaching and the leader of the free world appears to be one of these same old guys. But who knows, someone might just surprise us, or we will continue to be played by the game.

Until You Walked In Someone Else’s Shoes

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“Don’t be so quick to judge unless you know the journey.”


When you look at the picture before you, you may ask yourselves. Who is the man behind the shoes? Why are his feet so rugged? Where has he been and where is he going? What’s unfortunate about the photo above, is that we typically look at someone’s shoes and judge them by what’s on their feet. The thoughts that initially go through the mind is they must be broke. They must not care about the way they look. But, who ever said someone with rugged shoes don’t care about the way they look. There could be a number of reasons why their feet look the way that they do. I know me, for example, I go through multiple shoes per year. The reason being I walk a lot from work to business meetings to restaurants to home. With that much movement, anyone would purchase shoes throughout the year. There is a reason I do so much walking in the city of New York. I do my best thinking when I am walking around the city. As a first time author as well as a first time filmmaker, the year 2015 has been a busy year for my feet pounding the pavement.

Like the one shoes I bought this year; brown boots from the Amazon.com website. I still remember that  new smell and that new look. What I enjoyed most of all are the compliments for my new boots. After about a month or so, no one looked at my feet and what was once adulation from peers quickly went away. The loss of comments never effected me because the journey taken in these boots are more memorable than the compliments. Walking throughout the city in a fellowship program that I started earlier in the year is what I remember the most. I ran errands for the director/producer, helping him on various projects to the point I wore the bottoms away. This led to me buying another pair of boots, but this time black. These blacks boots were the same brand, just in a different color. I felt like a new man once again as I took my trek into the big city. Going from my job to my fellowship, the soles on these rapidly wore away. So from that point on, it was split toe flip flops sandals and dress shoes.

I often noticed people staring at my feet in sandals, almost wondering why I was not following the pack. Given it was the summer, all around me wore nice sneakers, loafers, and moccasins. Instead of paying for expensive designer shoes, my money went toward my short film I was working on. Oh, and the dress shoes, worn to the core, but the worn look was comforting. It reminded my of not only going to work, but kept me working toward something more. Nice new shoes are refreshing, but a new pair of shoes can in a way be connected contentment. Now, there is nothing wrong with being content, what I’m saying is that it keeps me hungry. When people get new clothes and new shoes, they don’t recognize their current situation, even if the situation is bad. For example, I see people living in poverty stricken communities, but everyone has new shoes. People seem to lose sight of their current position when they have new amenities. I stray from always buying new and keeping old to keep me pushing toward something more.

If by now, you’re still lost as to what I am talking about it’s all about the grind. When you look at someone’s shoes, you never know why they are wearing these shoes. It could be affordability, or it could even be for a purpose. In my case at times it has been affordability, but I also like to keep junk shoes and clothes around because it keeps me wanting more out of life. So why you’re concerned looking down, I am looking forward. Forward at what tomorrow will bring; forward at what life has to offer.

1987: What Can Happen In 365 Days

“1987”

“Were you here?”

1987 was not only the year I was born, but it was year a lot of events took place. As with any year, things take place that are burned into our minds that we never forget. You think to yourself, we as humans have evolved and inhabited this planet for hundreds and thousands of years. How come we can never have 365 days where nothing major happens? Like for instance, the beginning of the year we witnessed the Chadian-Libyan conflict battle in which a brigade was destroyed. That next week 16 people were killed in a train collision bound for Boston from Washington D.C. The rest of the month was no better, witnessing the suicide of  Pennsylvania Treasurer and the defunct of a long standing department store putting many out of jobs.

The month of February could have been promising, but the Unabomber placed a bomb causing injuries to the store owner. Then March was a jump from the previous month when an ocean liner capsizes killing 180 people. The very next day a reported massacre took place in China when nearly 20 Vietnamese were executed on Donggang Beach. Little happened April until mid-May when a United States military ship was hit with an air missile killing 47 sailors. But only 5 days later, the Hashimpura Massacre took place in India where nearly 40 people were rounded up and executed. June proved to be calm, and the majority of July; but then the last day of the month tragedy struck. 400 pilgrims were killed during conflict in Mecca in Saudi Arabia with security forces.

August was a month of even more tragedy than the past two months when the Hoddle Street Masacre took place by a 19 year and claimed the lives of 7 people. 7 days later, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes on takeoff killing 156 people and one child surviving. 3 days later, yet another massacre in England, when a gunman opens fire, killing 16 people including himself. Over the next couple of months issues increased. From a hurricane that killed 23 people and a train collision claiming 102 lives in October; to 11 killed in a bombing in Ireland, 31 killed in London fire, a Typhoon killing over 1,000 people, 159 passengers killed in airline crash, and another airline flight killing 115. Coming into the month of December was another plane crash killing 43.

Now, as with all the bad, there is the good things that took place in a year; and this year is no exception. At the beginning of the year the Dow Jones rises 2,000 points for the first time, as well as scientist eyeing the first supernova in space. At the beginning of the spring, treatments were developed to fight the HIV/AIDS virus in the month of March. Over the next few months our economy was positively effected once again when the Dow Jones closed at 2500 points in the month of July. As the summer wound down, an artificial intelligence conference was held in September in New Mexico. The next month a rallying together of the first National Coming Out Day for Gays and Lesbians are held. Through all the good as well as the bad that took place in the year 1987, for the most part life remained normal. We all know too well the really bad things that happen in life and not the good. Maybe because these are the things that burn in the minds of people the most. But today is the year 2015, slowly approaching 2016; I wonder what the future will hold for mankind.

1% Isn’t About Money, It’s a State of Mind

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“What bracket are you in? What bracket do you think?”


Most of the general population feel that a person that lies in the 1% is someone who makes an income greater than anyone else, yet controls 90 plus percent of the wealth. This is true when looking at how much income someone has or their overall wealth. You’re considered a member of the 1% if you fall in the $300,000 plus bracket. This amount of income vary depending on what city you may live. If you live in a small Midwest town, then you’re doing very well, but in New York City, you’re still in the middle. One may think it’s crazy to consider anyone making this kind of money is middle class. People say if I had that kind of money, the things I could do. How do I feel sorry for an individual making this much money? I only make between 40k and 50k.

Well, in order to make that level of income there are certain skill sets you have to attain. For starters, there’s the environment where you come from or grow up. If you are from an impoverished community chances are you will have a harder time being a member of the 1%. On the other hand, individuals coming from a community where everyone is on average upper middle to upper class will have a higher chance of continuing this path. Why is this; why is it so hard to rise in economic status. One reason is that coming from a much higher income environment, you have opportunities not made available to someone from the lower class. Another reason there is such a vast difference is not only opportunities, but the thought process of the people around them. The mind frame of people in the 1% income is always about going forward, but the lower class can only se what’s in front of them.

So since we know the growing up aspect, what about the educational side of things. Some may believe all you have to do is go to college, get out, and get a high paying job with your degree. The problem with this is two things: 1) college degrees don’t equate to work experience and 2) a degree with no work experience from a job pertaining to your degree is meaningless. Basically what I am saying is that if you go to business school, but only work fast food or retail jobs in undergraduate school, this doesn’t equate to business experience. 99% thinking is what I just described, but 1% thinking is college degree, internships, resume, and references. It’s like applying to college all over again. The only people whose degree outright works for them are doctors and some attorneys. So when people say go to school get your degree, you only listen to them to get the piece of paper, but get involved in other activities as well. Remember that school is only a matriculation into a system of economy; ,meaning fall in line and get a job.

The next level is the job market, which is where one tends to rise in the rankings. Here is the place where people generate their connections and further build their networks. The workforce is also a place where someone can rise in their job if they know the right people. But how do you know the right people if you’re coming from the lower class. This is why it’s important to start building your network in college if you are from the lower class. This will help you land a great job after college by being linked to the right people. Now the right people are those who can help you get your foot in the door when landing that job out of college. Be prepared to kiss a lot of behind and schmoozing as well. Just working hard doesn’t work because the hardest working Americans usually are the poorest. Meaning going to work eight hours per day coming home and doing the same the next day for five days a week is not enough to persevere. You must do more, go to company events, socialize with upper management, get in where you fit in so to speak. Like I said before, prepare to do some serious schmoozing.

A lot of people want to excel and brings themselves up to another level. The only thing is that they don’t understand the many obstacles and games one must play to reach that next level. But with any level we reach, we aspire to move up to yet another place. With every level comes new hurdles and new barriers entry. So, let me ask you; you still think being 1% is about or how one thinks? Managing your money not letting your money manage you. All these things I named are what can either make you a one percenter or not. If you’re comfortable where you’re at fine, a lot of people are in this country. But if you’re not happy or not comfortable, get ready for the long road ahead of you.

Nature: Ever Wonder Their Intellectual Capabilities?

You ever wonder what the thought process of creatures living in the natural world might consist of on a daily basis? Better yet, do they think or operate on a much higher level than we do as humans? As people, we feel that we are the better species because of the infrastructure we manage to build or the many languages we are able to speak. Yet there is still the lingering question, “Are we really the most intelligent species on the planet?” Let’s take a look at the human species, at what we build and how we build things. If you look at a house for instance; over time, homes have taken on so many forms. In the beginning of time we aimed to make shelter out of the caves we dwelled in, but today homes are highly innovative. A home can consist of everything from a sewage system to expel waste, fully functional basements that are for entertaining, and back patio areas for preparing meals. If you are in the upper echelon of society one can even build a home theater in their home, a bowling alley, or a ball room for entertaining guest.

Crafting a home makes us highly skilled, but does that equate into intellect. I believe that humans in whatever time period are only as smart as the top few percent in the past before that period. Meaning, the ingenuity of the average person today, is an accomplishment equal to that of the smartest people in the past. Only a few chosen percent of people on earth are what I describes as possessing intellectual capital. The majority of people on earth are end users. So, with that said, I don’t feel we are the most intellectual, but when it comes to survival of the fittest, we can’t be overcame through battle by any other plant or animal. I don’t think we are the most fit to survive as humans, but higher on the food chain in case of times of conflict. But still, none of these things are intellect driven actions.

Well, intellect is defined as the ability to learn and reason. Wait a minute, humans are not the only ones that can learn and reason. To learn is to acquire knowledge and to reason is to make sense of something. This means viruses, plants, and animals are intellectual . Viruses are intellectual such as AIDS which can learn, it adapts, it mutates. It may not seem like an intellectual being, but it is one of the most deadly viruses known to man with no cure. I wonder what do they think about the world around them. Meaning if our planet is what we live in, then our bodies are a world of its own to viruses. AIDS attacks the body with a vengeance until we die, and then there is nothing to host off of anymore. I would compare this relationship to locust, except locust move on to the next crop field, while the viruses die. In addition, viruses make rational decisions and are quite calculated. They are rational decision makers because they attack the cells of the body for themselves to thrive off of to live. This is quite rational, now on the other hand, calculated decision making is what viruses do as well. AIDS attacks red blood cells, sending a signal to bring white blood cells, then the AIDS virus obliterates both cells; weakening the immune system.

The virus example makes them very intellectual in their pursuit to survive. But plants and animals are intellectual as well. Plants think and learn in ways that enable them to thrive in their ecosystem. For example, trees catch fire; while we call it a tragedy, trees need to do this, which is natural. Sometimes they need to clear the area for new life to come about. Animals learn and think by way of experiences and natural occurrences as well. Animals gathering food and hibernating makes them more intellectual than us as humans. When we see them gathering food, it’s cute and amusing, but by gathering these eatables they are ahead of us. We don’t start preparing until winter is almost here.

I guess these are lessons to be learned. When we observe nature, to us they are the lesser, but in reality they are fast at work. Only in times when we are not productive do we take a moment to acknowledge these creatures at work. Or maybe it’s just me noticing these things in our natural world. Maybe I’m the only one studying, wondering, hoping these plants and animals think and learn the same as we do.