TALKING A GOOD GAME: WHY SOME REFUSE TO WALK AS MUCH AS THEY TALK

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“You got all these dreams, well, put it to the test.”


You ever meet those people who have all these animated ways in which they explain all their dreams and expectations? Or how about the people that can sell you hopes and dreams of what they promise to do for you once they become successful (usually men who lie to women fall under this category). There is just one problem with these types of people in life. They are the groups of people who can talk the talk, but when it comes time to walk, it’s a whole other ball game. My current pursuit is filmmaking, and I’m sure there are people out there way more knowledgeable than myself. But they cannot put the pen to the paper and write their script. They’re not able to pitch that script nor are they able to make it into a film. When it comes to knowing all the technical lingo and classical filmmakers, they know it all, yet execution of their plans fall short.

You want to know why these guys and gals never remotely go anywhere? It all comes down to daydreaming and fears. Do you remember the movie Collateral with Jamie Foxx as the cab driver and Tom Cruise, the hire hitman, in the backseat. Jamie Foxx tells Cruise of all his plans for his own Mercedes Benz car service, yet Foxx’s reason for not starting is the money to get it off the ground: staffing, cars, and other logistics. Near the end of the film Cruise finally tells Foxx, you were never going to do it anyways. You are going to spend your life drowned out by daytime television like a lot of people when all it took was a down payment on a Lincoln Towncar to get started. And just like that, Jamie knew what that meant. Jamie could talk a good game, but when it came to actually putting himself out there, he couldn’t do it.

Jamie even went as far as to lie to his mother in the hospital as if he were really working for himself. At lunch, Foxx would even flip through the pages of a Mercedes pamphlet to see the fleets available. A lot of people do this; looking at what they wish they owned and daydream. The fear of launching comes from not feeling you’re good enough or worried of what others will think of you. Yet truly successful people don’t listen to what others have to say, they are doers. If you’re listening too much to what others say, you’re not progressing. You see, in the end, I was never a guy who was good at talking a good game. And sometimes, I even admired the people who can because I have more of a walking ability than talking. But in life, the one walking is more in alignment with success than the one who talks all the time.


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IT WORKS, IT REALLY DOES WORK: WHY OUR SUPREME LAW ACTUALLY WORKS

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“Imperfect, but keeps our system moving forward.”


In a nation where so much is surrounding politics and social activism, we need to make sense of everything by going back to our roots. And those roots of a nation lie in our Constitution of the United States as well as our Declaration of Independence. Now, don’t get me wrong, these documents were written during a time period where people had no rights, so to write documents surrounding human rights while human rights violations exist under your watchful eye is very hypocritical. But the Constitution’s opening to the document states that, “In order to form a more perfect union.” A more perfect union is a very important opening because humans are not perfect creatures. We are flawed: we have vices, we have our like and dislikes, we have our fears. So making a “more perfect union” does make sense. Because it implies a union that is more productive than the previous decisions made.

Decisions that as the Constitution states, promotes tranquility, general welfare, common defense, and the blessings of liberty with a lead into our amendment our rights. But you cannot have the Constitution, without our Declaration of Independence. A declaration which states, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” (U.S. Constitution, 1789) So even in all the flaws of our leaders, the brick laying for our civilization is aimed at making sure that America works by way of preserving these documents.

But what happens now when those documents are put to the test as we see in today’s society where our Amendment Rights are challenged by one another and we feel as if freedom is being lost. We live in a society today where people don’t like what you say and want what you say to be restricted. Yet the answer to unpopular speech is not to suppress that speech, but to have more dialogue surrounding what it is that is creating the bind within you. You don’t like what I protest, fine, express your grievance, but forcing those from protesting because you don’t like the action goes against the very document we promised to uphold. So what happens when we live in a society where we start to role back on these rights? What happens beside losing your national identity, you lose time. Time spent building a nation that is now being in jeopardy of failing at the very hands of the people it promised to protect.

And yes, we all have reasons why we don’t like social situations, or political figures and their decision making. But as much as I am not a fan of certain people in America, one of which is our current President elect Donald J. Trump, impeachment might be problematic and threatening to our nation’s future. Because the Declaration states, that it is up to the people to change course from what we have in power at the moment for the future security of this nation; meaning to vote. In the past we uprose, but uprising in modern times is to vote the person out. So in 2020, if you are unhappy with the political binds to which we are under now, you express that vote at the polls. We do not, unless we prove criminal wrongdoing has taken place, remove a leader from power by way only sentiment alone. Because a civilization cannot be maintained by way of sentiment, but a basic rational non-emotional structure to which we all live.

Because in the end, as we go back to the beginning of the passage, we have to understand that the Constitution is only a way to make the union more perfect, not perfect. Meaning as an African American man, there was one point in time where I was 75% human and 25% property as a slave. Today we (Black people) work in every facet of industry in society. There are still issues we face, and based on population will always have people who we as Black people will have to deal with racially. But the ratifying of the Constitution which gives way for me to express myself freely and a Declaration for me to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is in essence a “more perfect union”. For it is better than the previous, never will be perfect, but any goal of any civilization is the following: status quo, equilibrium, standard, and not ever and will ever be perfection.


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FREEDOM: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU

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“Options!”


The above photo is of the Statue of Liberty that was given to us as a present from France. And since that point and time it has stood as one of our monuments in America that is a representation of freedom. So my question to you is, what does freedom mean to you? Would you say you’re living the life that you thought you would always be living? Or have the life yet to come into existence for you? Maybe you fall under the third option, the American dream has never and will never live in your heart. For me, the idea of the American dream is the ability to choose to go to work everyday. Meaning, I can make a conscious decision to not do anything today and tomorrow, that is freedom for me. Another aspect of the American dream is financial.

And for me, the financial American dream for me is living an Upper Middle Class life. The perfect income for me would fall in the range of $250,000 – $500,000 for me to live comfortably. Meaning everything that I have always wanted falls under this yearly income bracket. So for me, a middle class life is survival, and a dream falls in the prior range. And with that said, a lot of people never meet their expectations and live out their entire lives unhappy with their personal and financial position. Other aspects of the dream such as marital and parental could also be a dream for you as well. For me at least, marital and parenting goals are not the least bit of a priority in life. So all in all, single, upper middle class, and the ability to choose to wake up everyday and not having to is the dream.

Now, when observing the landscape of America, we all have something we consider the dream life. And for most people, you hear what they want, and middle class is just fine. For others they need to have a private plane, yacht, with a mansion, and amenities. And that is the just of the American dream, it is open to whoever is interpreting what the dream is to them. No one person can define what that dream is, even we like to at times. But when you look at the landscape of America today, it seems like that dream is dying out. A dream that so many lived is now taking a new form that many are starting to see as eluding them. Can the idea of that American dream ever return again? Because in the end, if the idea of the dream is lost, the identity that has made America special will die as well. And thus the country going into a state of degradation.


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YOUR VISION NOT ANYONE ELSE’S: WHY THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU

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“Don’t expect them to believe in you.”


Someone I work with today was informing me that they have had enough and it was time to pursue their purpose. They were about the quite work and embark on their journey to their own personal greatness. It struck me as odd because this was a person who worked a lot, but now they were quitting. But I am embarking on my own journey, and I don’t know what road it will take me down. And that’s when it hit me, I don’t know this person’s inner workings. Maybe they feel that they have it figured out and things are finally making sense inside of their heads. The pieces are starting to come together and everything is working out for the best. But what is it about the people who don’t see your vision? They can not see you past what you are in the moment, and it takes them longer. Sometimes they never turn around, and only live to see you falter.

The reason being is that they may now have passions of their own, or they might not want to see you above them. If you are working a dead-end job and someone is above you, why would they want to see you prevail in life. They might hate their job just as much as you hate yours, but at least they have the upper hand over you. What happens when you overshoot the runaway of what they expected. Your airplane was never supposed to have made it out of the gate. But you have managed to fly off the runway and into the sky. So much so that you are cruising at altitude while they are still at the terminal watching you soar in the air. And that is when it sinks into their head that they must try to say something, anything to get you to stop working.

Because if they give you the confidence to keep pushing, then what is there out here for them. And that’s when you learn that there are people who look at life in the scope of their failures is your success. If you doing so much and they are not where you are, then what does that say about them. So they have to bring you down a few pegs. But if your life is in so much of a wrecked place, do something about it. Don’t try to bring someone else down because you have not landed on your feet. You are not where you thought you would be by now, so in an attempt to not feel alone, you want to keep them where you are in life. This also falls into the whole crabs in a barrel mentality. You are fine by me, so long as we all are stuck in this one place together. And that’s when you have to make moves to separate yourself.

Because in the end, your personal growth is your growth. It’s not up to you to help another adult figure out their stuff in life. You are responsible for your own problems. So as you pursue your dreams, don’t listen to the crowd noise. Your main goal should be to try to tape into the minds of those that love and respect your vision. You are going to always have adversaries, that’s the nature of the game. Just as long as you meet your expectations, that’s all that truly matters.


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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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I OWE IT TO YOU: WHY NEVER FORGETTING THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS IS IMPORTANT

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“For those who died, I thank you.”


As a young man born in the year 1987, I did not experience those turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. Now my parents on the other hand saw the tail end, and there’s of course the generations prior. So as a child, I grew up going to school, eating where I wanted, and using public restrooms. Not once did I understand how I got to that point. All I knew is that when someone needed to go to the bathroom, you went. But what I didn’t know until my mother sat down and talked with me, is that it was not always like that in America. And that I should never forget why I am able to do what I do.

And she reminded of this because for the longest there were not only demographics of citizens, but an entire systematic push to keep me from having the basics of necessities. So as I went to school, I always performed well academically because she reminded me at one time how illegal it was for me to go Image result for white onlyto the schools I went to in America. Whenever I used a restroom, she not only told me, but we watched the video footage of Black men and women being attacked just for trying to consume a meal or urinate at public rest stops. So my reason for not getting into trouble is not mainly because of the enforcement of the judicial system, but more so by way of these men and women who died. There are unmarked graves of countless Black people who gave their lives, a lot of which you will never know their names.

So now as an adult, I do so much because they really didn’t have to pave that way. Still today, some of those individuals from that time period are here with us. People who were either teenagers or adults in the fight. And even at times when I see things differently than they do, I can never hate. I can never hate those who Image result for civil rights movementsacrificed so much for me. And no, these men were not the reason I got into my college of choice or landed a job I wanted. But it was because the pressure they placed that made companies even look in my direction. America didn’t want me to have those rights, and had it not been for these men and women, how long would Jim Crow have really lasted. 90 years,  100 years, 200 years; when was the appropriate time to end segregation.

We all would like to think that those types of events had to end, but why? If not for fighting for rights, whose to say? You have of course the critics, yet their voices are to a great degree irrelevant to me. A country tells you to go fight and defend your country, but when you return don’t sit at this table counter. Then you can’t Image result for al and jessesay my country, because in my country you eat where you choose. Otherwise it’s your country, and if I am the lesser, then why are you depending on a lesser to fight for what is yours. So thanks to the men and women who challenged the ideologies of what I am and what was expected of me. For it was you who reminded me before you’re Black, you’re a man, and before that you’re human. You weren’t fighting for my freedom of speech, but my freedom to exist. You did in the past, and still in the present. So despite what the critics think and feel you have my love and respect.

In the end, I dedicate this life of mine to you. Those who fought who are still alive and to those who died in the struggle: Al Sharpton, Alex Haley, Andrew Young, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Barack H. Obama, Bobby Seale, Booker T. Washington, Cornel West, Denmark Vesey, Dick Gregory, Dred Scott, Eldridge Cleaver, Elijah Muhammad, Fred Hampton, Frederick Douglass, Gabriel Prosser, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Harry Belafonte, Huey P.Image result for black historyNewton, Ida B. Wells, Jackie Robinson, James Baldwin, James Meredith, James Weldon Johnson, Jesse Jackson, Jim Brown, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver, Louis Farrakhan, Madam C. J. Walker, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Maxine Waters, Medgar Evers, Muhammad Ali, Nat Turner, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Stokely Carmichael, Thurgood Marshall, W. E. B. Du Bois, and many others who were lesser known or even unknown, yet gave their lives for me. I love you, “WE” love you.


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AIM HIGH: ACHIEVING THE GREATEST YOU IN THIS WORLD

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“Keep going: never stop, never quit.”


We should all want to strive to be the best us we can possibly be in this world. Not just because we want to excel in our careers, or to make a lot of money. But we should strive because it internally makes us feel to good to achieve. Especially when the achievement comes from humble beginnings. What better way to go through life than to start at the bottom and build yourself to the top. And the top can be a very ambiguous word depending on the person pursuing the top. The top could be being one of the best school teachers in your school, or the top can mean the superintendent of the entire school board. The top could mean a head coach of a professional sports team, or the owner of the team.

But other ways you can reach the top is by means of mental greatness. Some people have average financial gains, but they have this mental awareness of who they are in life. That mental could be something connected to their spirituality. Reaching the highest level of spirituality is to some people what winning the Powerball lottery is to another. Well, is there ever a time where the mental is hard to achieve because something else internally is blocking that mental? And the answer is yes; there are plenty of instances where someone has a hard time with their mental greatness because of some extenuated circumstance they may be dealing with at the moment. Enternal issues such as Depression, stress, and anxiety can lead to you not being able to fully achieve such mental greatness.

Well, what about back to financial gains, what is wrong with wanting to reach a higher level of wealth? And the answer to that is nothing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to strive to attain a higher level of wealth for yourself. There are so many people who think chasing the almighty dollar can be a bad thing. I don’t think it is because everything is in context. If you want a nice estate, nice cars, vacations, then fine. It is a life that is well in reach. To me, it’s about how you’re going about attaining your wealth. If there are people you’re directly hurting to gain, such as selling drugs, then no. But if you start a company that grows into a multinational organization, then fine. Because you’re gaining wealth, but also, you’re employing people in the process.

In the end, striving to be the best you, you can be is very rewarding. It can come in both a financial, physical, and intangible form. You want to lose weight and that helps you become the best you, then pursue it. You want to gain wealth, pursue it. You want to be the best parent, pursue it. There are no guarantees, but the great thing about living in America is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And that’s the key word: pursuit.


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