INTO THE UNKNOWN: WHAT OUR TRUE FEARS ARE ABOUT LIVING

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“What will tomorrow bring is always scary.”


Growing up as a child, we have all these different places we see ourselves in life. We see ourselves being the top person in our career field. We see ourselves happily married with children. We see ourselves living this all-around great life, that sometimes doesn’t quite pan out that way. We see ourselves in all these positions, yet when it comes time to actually step into society, we have a hard time coming to grips with the real world. In the real world, things don’t turn out how we always plan them. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and how you deal with the adversity says a lot about who are you as a person. How will you respond if life doesn’t turn out how you thought it would turn out?

Life is not this straight path that leads to this pot of gold. You might go to school, get out, get a good job, and in a matter of months have no place of employment and no place to live. How do you deal with this when it comes your way? What do you do when face with no job and no means of survival? There is no playbook when dealing in life, this is something that happens on the fly. We have all these theories on how to deal until it happens. That’s when panic sets in, and you start to make decisions that could worsen your situation. And at that point you realize what true adulthood is all about. Your biggest fears are right in front of you. Life has eaten you up and spit you out.

It’s tough because you look at all those people around you who never work as hard as you, yet you are the one who manages to go through so much. And then you’ll find yourself asking questions as to why you have to deal with such adversity, yet the people who don’t work as hard get to coast through life. But that you don’t want, what you never want to do, is make your disdain at your situation make you angry at another person’s life. Number one, never make the assumption that their life is going well. And number two, your life could actually worsen from where it currently is because you are so focused on them. Yet it’s hard to do so when you’re going through so much.

See, in the end, that unknown that you’re entering that is life can be petrifying. Even when you are prepared to live your life, you still have fears about each and every day. You don’t know when the supervisor will come in and say, “We had to let you go.” You don’t know when a simple hospital visit could be a longer stay that reveals a terminal situation. Yet thinking about it daily will also drive you crazy. So you live, going to sleep waking up, not knowing what will come of each day. But it is also that unknown that strangely enough makes you feel alive. That makes us appreciate everyday, because after all, it could be your last: last in a relationship, last on a job, last in life.


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PURSUE OR PAUSE: WHAT MAKES US NOT PURSUE

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“I’m afraid to pursue, but more afraid to not.”


Moving to New York City to attend graduate would have been a very scary move for so many, but not me. I just came out to the big city back in 2011 and have been here ever since. But I am also in the process of pursuing something else and that is screenwriting, filmmaking, and soon photography. These are career paths that so many for so long have strayed away from because the failure rate is so high. But why make the decision to not pursue something just because you’re afraid of failure. If you want to succeed at a high level you have to jump off the cliff at some point. So what is the problem with so many people and this failure to step out into the world?

Well, one of the reasons we as people decide not to pursue our dreams and play life safe is because we have hard wired in us on a nature level to not pursue things that are dangerous. It’s one of the reasons man has survived so long on this planet, is because we don’t take a lot of scary risks. We learn that taking the most basic of routes through life may not provide you with the happiness, but you are more secure. But yet, there are those who do step out into the world and take the plunge. Those who feel they can change the world, and more often than not, they do change the world. So what is it about them that they are able to change the world?

For starters, these are typically people who already have to some degree a level of intellect that they possess in something. And from there it’s all about unlocking that inner thing that makes them, them. Now once you unlock that inner you, most people will mistaken what you are for arrogance, antisocial at times, or crazy. They just don’t understand that when you finally figure out your thing it becomes more of an obsession. And to them, they think about life -pertaining to their day jobs. So they can’t for the life of themselves understand why you are going so hard or talking with such confidence. Little do they know you have unlocked you. Unlike them who are afraid to pursue that which could make them really successful, they run.

They run because it’s not necessarily the success that they fear, but what comes with it. Because the greater you are, the more people expect, the greater you have to continue to become. So that on top of failure, we as humans just play life safe. But those who pursue, not only do they free up a next generation, but the next generation go on to make something great for those that come after them. And anything great inevitably contributes to the dominant society. So in the end, which will you become, the person that pursue or the one that pause. But whatever the case may be, the choice is yours, and be able to live with the choices you make in life.


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YOU’RE OWED NOTHING: WHY DO PEOPLE THINK SUCCESS IS A GIVEN

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“The world is yours, if you go get it.”


Living in the United States, you notice that so many people have this built in mind-frame that someone is supposed to pick you up and drop you into this life of success. Your parents have raised you making you think that you’re special, and everything is golden. Then you step out into the real world and realize that no one gives a damn about you. No one cares that you were the captain of the high school football team or that you belonged to a respected fraternity or sorority in college. It’s all about you against the world; your talents and work ethic up against whatever obstacle is in front of you. And that is the dilemma I am already faced with in life. But every time I think about how hard I have it, I think about my mother and grandparents generation. Or better yet, my great grandparents who never even got through high school because they had to work at a young age.

Then I remember that they grew up in Jim Crow south and there was limited opportunities because they were African Americans. But they came to the Midwest with little to nothing and raised a family. My great grandfather working in a factory and great grandmother staying at home. They both could barely read or write but they weathered the storm and made it in life. Now here I am in New York City, and people ask me, how do you live in that city. And in my mind it’s just another city to get used to because if they survived Jim Crow and Miss Dixie, I can survive NYC. And I grew up knowing you had to make something of self wherever I decided to live. I’m not where I want to be, but I am putting in the time. Laying the ground work for what hopefully can be a prosperous life down the road.

So when I hear people and their stories about their hardships they had, you just have to realize that the world just doesn’t care. Growing up for me, I was raised by a single parent not developing a relationship with my dad until my mid-twenties. But what has helped to continue to move is living in a society where you have no other choice. That on top of knowing what I wanted to do at a young age, aids me in moving on also. But you have so many who ponder over why they have been dealt a bad had, and who owes them something. And maybe that was started due to the welfare that our government gives to us. Yet I was raised with the understanding that once again, if you are not where you want to be in life, find a way to get there, or not. Because it tends to be a very binary decision. You’re either going to do something or do nothing.

In the end, you have to come to the realization of something I have learned living in New York City alone. The only person who has a stake in interest in you doing anything in this world, is you. I recently made my second short film, and couldn’t raise all the funding, but hey, I made it anyways. I adjusted the script to fit my budget I did raise. So you suck it up and deal with what comes, there’s no other way. You fall five times, get up 6. Or stay on the ground, but if you do, know that it’s on you. And if you can live with that fine, otherwise, get to work.


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BOY YOU LOOK DIFFERENT: WHY OUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE TAKE FORM OVER TIME

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“I don’t look different, it’s called life.”


When I wake up in the morning and look at myself, I always think, “Man, I have not changed that much since high school. Yeah, sure I’m more mature and I have learned to be a lot more responsible. But my physical appearance is not that much different. Yet when I look at people from my past years so far in life, they bare a totally different look than what I remembered. Maybe it’s because the person got pregnant and had a child. In that case, you will take on a new form, especially your physique. Or maybe the person got into a terrible accident or was stricken with some type of illness. Then there are the people who say screw it and let themselves go. Almost like why bother trying to keep myself together. Well, I have a few reasons why they are unrecognizable; and I have already touched on a few.

When you are young, especially in high school, you care more about what other people think. You’re active, which means you have not got into a rut. You are not fed up with the world because you have not stepped into the world. Yet the moment you leave high school, you take on your own mindset. You begin to hang around different people and your life begins to move around. Yes, granted in the four years preceding high school, you still are to an extent stuck into the mind-frame of high school. But as you come through those years, you start to notice people becoming someone you can’t familiarize yourself with anymore. From the way they talk to how their bodies take form. Then college end and you really start to not notice the person you once knew. And like I said before, physically they become unrecognizable. And what happens that causes this physical reaction?

Children. that’s right children. I know people who have already had children, so keeping yourself together becomes not as important once you become a parent. Unless you have a certain means of finances, it becomes quite difficult to care for yourself. You’re feeding the children, chasing the children, making sure the children stay out of trouble. So days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, and slowly but surely, they give up. Now, to play devil’s advocate if I may, I don’t think people just give up. I don’t think people want to work as hard as we have to in the first place. It’s just that we use so much of our outer to attract others to us, then we become what we really want to be eventually. Keeping yourself looking a certain way is work that does not pay. And it has already been a job since high school. So you figure why bother now.

See, in the end, we would all like to stay looking young and fresh. But it’s such a tough time trying to keep ourselves. Me, I have not gained much weight since high school. I have not had a rough life since high school; sure I work harder, but physically, I’m still me. I guess it’s tough once you become an adult with a full time job. You’re doing this and doing that, running here and there; you sort of lose sight of physical aspects of life like your own appearance. And then you fall into this world-wind of who cares.


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WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE: THE REALIZATION YOU’RE NO LONGER IN SCHOOL

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“I just finished, now what do I do?”


You have worked from elementary school, through middle school, and coming through high school. You worked tirelessly to plan for college, you get accepted, and get into college. You go through college, and might even go through grad school. But now that you have completed school, or at least your formidable education, what now. Today, I am seeing so many students go back to school today. But what about the students who are no longer in school? What are they to do now? You graduated over the weekend, but there is no change to your life. You’re the same person you were before graduating. There is not this new physical form your body takes on now that you have graduated. What is the first move to make? What direction should you take in life? Are you sure you still want to do what you set out to do?

And that is when life sets in; you are on your own. You were told that the key to success in life is attaining a good education. But here you are Monday morning, working your job you once had, without anything special formulating in your life. Because for starters, attaining an education is more than just going to school. There is a lot of self-education in becoming successful in a career. Going to college alone is not enough to pull yourself up in life. You have to be willing to put yourself in the know of whatever it is you’re seeking to attain. I heard hip hop artist 50 Cent make a statement about school. He said, “If everything you needed to know about business were in those textbooks, the professor wouldn’t be teaching you.” “He’d be out generating wealth himself.” Now that’s not to say that the professor hates his job. It’s aiming at understanding taking full advantage of opportunities in front of you.

Basically what I am saying is that no one is going to teach you in society how to win. Why, well there isn’t a course you can teach, nor is there a conversation you can have, that is going to make you successful. It’s about working smart, consistent, planning, preparation, a little luck, and persistence. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, years of arduous and tedious work. It’s almost as if you have to kind of toss out some of the principles you were taught in school in regards to building a career. Because since it comes from your work ethic, there are things you can’t learn in school. There should be life courses in college that expose you to real world scenarios. Scenarios like real competition, failures, success, and building. But to the university, that is your job to build your own life, they just provide you with a basic template for life.

And in the end, that is the job of the collegiate institutions. Giving you the basics of what you have in store for you in life ahead. To you, you might think to yourself, $40,000 – $50,000 per  year does not sound basic. But that in itself is futile compared to the grand scheme of what life really cost. So to all who have graduated this year and are now in the real world, good luck grinding. Because there is no life book or class for the road ahead. Put yourself in the game, and take risk. Put yourself in harms way. (figuratively speaking)


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LIFE DEALT ME A BAD HAND OR DIDN’T IT: HOW PEOPLE USE EXCUSES AS TO WHY THEY’RE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE

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“I had this to do and that to do.”


All throughout life you hear people make statements regarding them getting the short end of the stick when trying to succeed in life. They’ll tell you all the reasons why things in life didn’t go their way. They had a rough childhood and didn’t have the support. Or even they might tell you how they had children at a young age and couldn’t pursue. They’ll tell you how much of your life was so much easier than their own. But they are telling you this in the moment. I have always wondered in the past tense, while living in real space and time, do people really have it hard as they say they do. Meaning, do people have the short end of the stick. Or do people make decisions in the moments, that define their entire existence on this Earth. Because there is a lot of that as well.

For example, someone will tell you at the age of 35 years old, that they can’t pursue because  they have a family to look after. They have 3 or 4 kids, and they have to be a parent. Then they’ll slip up and tell you the age of these kids. “Well, my oldest is 5 years old.” Then it hits you that they had an entire decade of life that they didn’t have children as a responsibility. Now, the person must come up with yet another excuse as to why. “Well, before I had kids I had to take care for my parent/s.” But when you start to press them on this, they begin to fall apart once again. And that’s when you realize you must end the conversation because this conversation is heading down the road of typical. The typical talking piece on not wanting to be held accountable for your actions. They want to hop and skip over every aspect of life that they have lived.

People make excuses because they have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that they have wasted so much time on doing nothing. They have laid back and enjoyed and indulged in the moment even to a point sometimes of overindulging. But instead of just saying I overindulged, they say all the things that never happened. So what it does is that the conversation becomes a waste of time itself. This person has a character flaw, and they’re trying to figure out ways around the truth which is accountability. I am able to be accountable because that’s how my mother raised my sisters and myself. And you want to tell people so bad to take responsibility for the fact that you are in this space and situation because of you. Yes, everyone has a story, but you can’t just use the story when you were also engaging in so many activities that contradicts your struggle at hand.

In the end, you will always have people who find it hard to admit they are where they are to an extent because of themselves. Yes, there are the case of people that have been given a bad hand. But there is always someone in your spot that made it out. Your story is not a unique situation to be in, in life. But putting in the time to get a better space mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially is what people don’t want to do. They don’t want to put in that time because they don’t want to deal with the idea of putting in their all and failing. Yet they’re putting their all into to nothing so far in life and it has gotten them nowhere. Why not try to put something in to see if formulates into something great?


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FIVE IN THE STREET: HOW TO PLAY LIFE WITH HAND YOU’RE DEALT

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“Just because you were born at the bottom, doesn’t mean you have to stay at the bottom.”


For myself, as with many like myself, I am starting my life from humble beginnings. And when I say humble beginnings, I mean growing up poor. My mother is what you would call the working poor. Where one missed day of work, one sick day could have placed her, my two sisters, and myself in a homeless shelter, or worse in the street. But does that mean our lives have to stay that way? No, it does not. Because living in America, we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. My two siblings are currently steadfast in their careers, and am actively pursuing my own path in life. So if you’ve been dealt a bad hand, how do you win with that hand?

Well, for starters, it comes by way of education. At a young age, my mother started to invest in our education. And when I say invest, she didn’t have money set aside for us as children. But she did make sure that the schools we went to were good enough and safe enough. She waited in lines to enroll us in school. She didn’t sleep in the bed and not make an effort to get us into a good school. She made it her mission, at times sacrificing her own well-being. Even though we were in public school, with my oldest sister attending private in high school, the schools were decent. The school wasn’t a place where all the kids were focused on being cool kids. You were encouraged to expand your mind past how you were being perceived by your peers. So you were able to focus on your education.

So now that education was taken care of, my mother cultivated a household where our minds could grow. At a young age she would take us to the library where we took part in various activities: reading, writing, and putting together puzzles (which was an activity I loved). We even had times on Friday nights when she would have long conversations with us about life. Little did I know those conversations and those weekend trips to the library were getting us prepared to deal in life. It taught me patients, hard work, persistence, and dedication. In addition, I also have to not forget those trips to the zoo and museums, where we were encouraged to have an open mind to many different cultures and experiences.

So now that my sisters and myself are adults we can pursue our own endeavors with the confidence needed up to this point to succeed. So what does all this have to do with winning with a bad hand; well, a lot. Everything that I was taught growing up, in combination with my own cultivated intellect, we have always been able to prosper. Now, everyone did not grow up in a household where their talents were nurtured. Some people have some very tough lives that are far beyond my life. But understand, that your story and my story is not unique. There is always someone that looks like you, and have come from where you have come from to succeed. So in the end, there is always going to be people dealt a bad hand. Some will overcome their struggle and others won’t. Sadly enough, that’s just some of the outcomes of life.


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