I made a conscious decision a few months ago to listen to audiobooks and podcasts in the morning instead of the radio. That was not an easy thing to do, but it was necessary for my growth! Rickey Smiley and Steve Harvey are two hilarious brothers with an outstanding supporting cast! Not to mention the occasional mornings when I wanted to just blare some Mike Will Made It style music to amp me up on my morning commute to work lol. However, transitioning to wholly positive messages in the morning has made a significant impact on my daily experience while at the job, my entire day overall, and also my perspective on life.
Every morning I alternate between Greg E. Hill’s Minority Trailblazers podcast and The Tony Robbins Podcast. First and foremost, I strongly encourage you to support Greg Hill’s show. He has interviewed hundreds of young emerging professionals that have a common past just as you and I. The individuals he interviews shine a light on beating the odds while motivating listeners to keep pushing for greatness, as it is an inevitable result for all who meticulously pursue it. The focus of this blog, however, is to discuss something that I learned from The Tony Robbins Podcast. Tony is an outstanding individual, motivator, and coach! He also is a multi-millionaire who has fellow multi-millionaire and billionaire guests on his show who share snippets of their success story while dropping nuggets on how to attain similar success.
I noticed a trend while listening to his show. Most guests state that they do not watch the news. They say they understand the news is geared to attack your psyche with primarily negative stories from around the world. Your psyche, as Tony Robbins puts it, is also not always prone to ensure your best benefit either. Your brain will take past disappointments and failures, the anxieties of the future, and current day ills and exploit them. This is what causes depression, mediocrity, anger, and it is also what causes many negative behaviors leading up to suicide. Furthermore, every episode of the Tony Robbins Podcast ends with this statement, “success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics”. Tony advocates that if we can work hard enough to train our psyche for success then all else will follow.
Protecting the Psyche: I’m a firm believer that after racism there will be classism, but we’re not going to delve into that in this blog. However, I will say that it is definitely a privilege for certain individuals to refrain from watching the news or be affected by the negative stories covered therein. When I worked as a Juvenile Supervision Officer, it was common practice not to show the local news on the television. Why? Because if a child in our facility saw something bad happen in his neighborhood… the impact on them could be detrimental. They may want to fight, they might become depressed, they could desperately want to escape, or they might even want to take their own lives. Yes… it’s that serious and here we have multi-millionaires sharing how they refuse to allow the ills of the world infiltrate their psyche as well.
Is it possible that black people in America can attain the same results of happiness and success by simply not following the news? I’m not sure. I’d like to know your thoughts. Every day, somewhere in America, there is a negative story about racist hate crimes, whether perpetrated by the police or not, inequitable court rulings, discrimination in housing or education, the degradation of our neighborhoods and communities, and also the stories of us killing our own (which we must put forth even greater effort in addressing and combating). There is negativity all around us, so how can we choose to ignore it? How can I smile and entertain nonsensical conversations at a corporate cocktail mixer while there is a full-fledged onslaught against the Trayvon Martins of the world and other young people who look just like me… HOW???
Now, this is not a question that I propose to Tony or his pals… it’s just something I’m saying to get you to consider what I’m about to say next. Tony’s remedy is this – he says, “At the same time negative things are happening in the world, there also are equally as many positive things happening”. Will we choose to succumb to fear, depression, and hopelessness? Or will we stand up and choose to use it as fuel for motivation, happiness, and championing the one thing it appears society is out to destroy – the black community. When a student drops out, another graduates. When a child loses his life, a baby is born. When an African American is discriminated on, another civil rights attorney wins a landmark case. Everyday great things are happening, and it’s time that we, as a collective group of people, learn how to train our mind and bodies to FOCUS on the positivity, not the negative!
Two Key Areas of Focus: First, we must focus on living in the present. Our brain creates mental movies for us to reflect on the past and project the future. This can be good and/or bad, but most importantly… it’s not reality. What is real is that you are reading these words right now and that you are breathing and that you have the ability to look around and be thankful for the opportunity to enjoy this current moment. This is your choice. There is power in the NOW! The past cannot be changed, but what can you do to ensure a better future? It’s normal and extremely easy to have anxiety while projecting into the future, but why allow it to negatively affect you when you know you are doing what needs to be done TODAY? As long as you are handling up today then you are rocking it! Eat, drink, and be merry!!! So the first key area of focus is living in the present.
The second key area of focus is in placing a greater emphasis on the “how” and not the “what”. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I am an expert at the “what”. As soon as I hear someone tout something offensive I say, “What!? What’d you say?” When I was young, if someone expressed a problem with me I’d say, “What!? What’s up?” There’s a person I know – he’s a deranged individual who disrespects women, places proclaimed hate group leaders in political office, calls African Americans “the blacks”, has school yard disputes with respected community leaders, orders travel bans on the basis of religion, breaks up families with no regard on the basis of “immigration”, and embodies everything that represents prejudice – this individual becomes the 45th President of the United States and certain people have the audacity to defend him… “What!? What do you mean?” Yes, it’s very easy to get lost in the “what”.
African Americans from all social classes can expound on the ills that they face along with the historical oppression perpetrated by white supremacy that has been destroying us for generations. We are all too familiar with the “what”, but in order to transition from merely knowing about it and understanding how we were and are still impacted by such things – we must put our feet down and get to work on the application (wisdom). See the following definitions:
Knowledge – facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education.
Understanding – a mental grasp or the ability to comprehend.
Wisdom – the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgement.
Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore acquire wisdom! Of all three definitions provided above, wisdom is the only one that requires intelligent direct action from the basis of experience gained. There will be many more “What!?” moments to come, but we must transition to the perfecting of the “how”. How am I supposed to respond? How can I better myself? How best should I address this individual or situation? How can I best appreciate God’s blessings in my life today? How can I safely make it home or out of this situation? How can I ensure a better future for my children? How can I not repeat the same cycle of my parents? How can I not become totally victimized by societal pressures and limitations? How? We must train our psyches to strongly consider the “how” over the “what”. By doing so, we will better position ourselves to have a healthy psyche that will be more apt to enjoy the present moment and conquer our future. Forward thinking progressives is what we must be if we want to witness a change in our lives and in our communities. We must transition from the reactive/emotional state of “What!?” to the more proactive, thoughtful, and deliberate state of “How?”
I decided to share these ideas because they’ve had a major impact in my life and I know that it will bless someone else. Some readers might already be practicing this, but to you – I’d like to encourage you to impart this wisdom to another. Some readers might catch the notion of personal responsibility sprinkled throughout this thread, and might even draw assimilationist conclusions as well. To you – I’d say the notion of assimilation is far from the values of Melanin Origins LLC. We advocate psychological health, understanding threatening and opposing dynamics, educational excellence, community building, and individualistic direct action. At the same time that we support civil rights attorneys who champion our causes, we also support individual people and encourage them to believe in themselves, because God has great things in store for their lives.
To sum it up, we must protect our psychological health at all costs. If that means detoxing from the news, then so be it. If that means not entertaining controversial conversations, then so be it. If that means turning off reality TV because of the drama and negative images they promote, then so be it! At the same time negative things are happening, equally positive things are also taking place. We need to be able to feel the pain for our struggle and for those in worse positions in the struggle, and we also need to formulate a collective or individual plan about what we are going to do about it. Lastly, we then need to JUST DO IT. All the talk and chatter is for the birds (“tweet, tweet”, says #45). Yet, even as the tweets resume, he also has the power to negatively affect others. You have the power within you to drastically change your own reality and that of another, but it all begins with making the transition from knowledge to wisdom. Our hand is extended to you and your children. What will you do next? Or as our company’s call to action states, “What’s your M.O.?”
Post Word: The owner of Editor’s Corner, Francis W. Minikon Jr., is also the Chief Operating Officer of Melanin Origins, LLC. When you find a black owned publisher creating black history books for kids… trust Melanin Origins. Frank is intrigued by the resilience and tenacity of African American leaders who stand for truth, justice, and overcoming any obstacle placed in their way. Thus, Melanin Origins was created to share messages of lesser-known African American pioneers to the children of the world and empower them to aspire for excellence and chase their dreams regardless of the complications they may face. Thank you for taking valuable time from your day to share with us in this blogosphere. Please provide any thoughts, comments, and/or questions in the comments section… and when you do please be sure to answer this question as well – What’s Your M.O.?