Why I am a Christian

My faith is an important part of every aspect of my life. Humans can sometimes forget who they are, spirituality is what reminds us. And when I say spirituality I am not referring to it as most millennials do today, as some type of hippie unorthodox altruism. Spirituality is a connection with our own spirit

Spirituality is intimacy with self. This is why we have vices: Those activities that are habitual – those guilty pleasures, and things we sometimes probably should not do. We engage in them because it gives us a sense of intimacy.

This is why people stay in bad relationships, because even bad intimacy can feel good sometimes. This can also manifest into materialism, egotism and greed. 

We desire it so much that sometimes we can mistake self gratification for intimacy and call that spirituality. 

A true connection with oneself reminds them that all humans are a part of a collective. In other words, my well-being is predicated on the well-being of someone who does not necessarily look, think, sound, or act like me.

If you do not think this is a true principle, look no further than racism. World economies were built off the oppression of another people group. Look at the Jewish people in Germany at the rise of Hitler.

He encouraged and engaged in the genocidal treatment of Jewish people for the purpose of bolstering and advancing the Germans. 

We know how to use one another for our own gain, that’s our specialty

Christianity informs me that to truly be intimate with myself I need to care for others as if they are myself. 

Christianity connects me to a higher purpose outside of me, which causes me to live with purpose. It connects me with my true self which is creative energy derived from the God of the universe. This is true intimacy.

Spirit, gold and brown walled building interior
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of the problems with how Christianity and other spiritual traditions are portrayed by the world is that they are filled with legalism. The world would like us to think that we cannot be a certain way or think a certain way if we subscribe to one of the Abrahamic traditions of spiritual belief. 

As it relates to Christianity, that could not be further from the truth. 

Christians have the right to be themselves, whoever they are. The only thing that is required of a Christian is that they are open to changing their minds

Spirituality is inescapable. We all have a spirit. It’s the only thing we cannot program into a computer. The one thing we constantly seek to try to understand. It’s our spirits that make us human in the first place; Our bodies are just the best way for us to express the fullness of the spirit within us. 

When we begin to change our minds and believe that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience we open ourselves up to true intimacy.  

The problem is that the world separates us and tries to hide and suppress this truth. Imagine how different America would be if instead of instantly judging me as less than, when a white person saw a black man walking down the street, they saw themselves – they saw their equal. 

This is what Christ teaches us, that regardless of who you are, what you may have done, or why you may have done it, you can still live a fulfilling life. 

The world and specifically western culture says a fulfilled life does not start until at least $75,000 but Christianity says that fulfillment starts with our spirit, and the only thing that can ever truly fulfill us with all of the love and intimacy that we need is God our Father, spirit of the universe. 

So in a nutshell that’s why I am Christian. It honestly just makes sense to me. And unfortunately for a lot of people it does not. 

I treat my faith as if it is a light and a beacon in darkness. I want to shine as bright as I can to remind myself of who I am, remind others of who they are, and get those who are unsure of themselves to change their minds about who they think they are. 

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

How to have a Healthy and Effective Work Life Balance that Yields RESULTS

Do you constantly feel as though you are low on energy? Do you want to pursue your dreams but life seems to always get in the way? I am going to show you how to start making your life reflect what is important to you.

For a lot of us, we fall victim to allowing people places and things dictate who we are, how we should behave, and the degree of impact our lives have. 

A good work life balance inverts that pattern of behaviorOnce we start allowing ourselves to dictate the impact we have on people places and things, now all of a sudden the ownness of our happiness is our responsibility.

There is no room for excuses in an effective work life balance

The easiest thing we can do is complain about why we are not where we want to be. An object in motion tends to stay in motion while an object that is not moving is likely not to moveA healthy work life balance is one that is in constant progressive motion. 

Before becoming a full time blogger, I was constantly exhausted from running the rat race. It took a pandemic and me being fed up with the life I was living while in corporate America before I was able to be real with myself and say, “hey something is not working”.

A lot of us are great at identifying the problem but are slow to execute on the changes necessary to improve our quality of life. This is called learned helplessness. Simply put, a person can get so used to being in a bad situation, that they do not think they deserve to be in a better one. 

By developing an effective work life balance you put yourself back in the driver seat of your life, and take away the power that any circumstance may try to impose on you.

Step one: fluid compartmentalization 

As we begin to dive in, know that this takes work because you are literally going to have to change how you see the world around you. This is an intense mental skill that affects how you think about things.

If you are expecting that your life will change instantaneously by applying these strategies you are greatly mistaken. Repetition is the mother of learning, so you have to ingrain these skills into your daily life before anything tangible will start to materialize… But I am a living witness that it is worth it

Fluid compartmentalization means that you can change your state of mind on the fly. As a business man I am constantly in different circles of people, and in situations that require different things from me at any given point. 

I live my life in such a way that I can be a comrade, confidant, investor, advisor, doer, activist, or whatever else that I need to be whenever I need to be it. Work is work, but work can sometimes come up outside of traditional work hours. 

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

By being able to place every activity you engage in, within a certain box in your mind, you can assess who you need to be while doing that activity.

We sometimes allow certain areas of our lives to spill over into other areas… That has to stop. I used to get off from work at 5:30pm every day, and right after I would drive home and go back to work. I was letting a job dictate my life, the problem was, the job only saw my life as being worth a certain amount of money a year. 

Once I realized that I am worth way more than what some people I do not even know tried to tell me I am worth, I started reclaiming my most valuable commodity in time. Fluid compartmentalization allows me to tell my time where it’s going and how its going to be spent as opposed to the other way around. 

In the same way, now when I engage in whatever it is I choose to engage in, there is a different part of me that I allow to do that activity. “Blogger Ken” is different from “hanging out with friends Ken”, which is different from “me time Ken”. This is purposeful yet not stagnant

If I need business Ken at 4:25pm, guess who shows up at 4:25pm? Business Ken. If I need Ken who likes to workout to make himself present at 2:16am, guess who shows up at 2:16am, Ken who likes to workout. 

Living like this allows me to identify what is important in my life, how much energy I should give it, and whether or not what I am doing is truly adding value to me and or those around me. 

Step two: Do something you Enjoy 

Life balance, time, life, balance, work
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

When I was working a nine to five, I did not consider that time apart of my day. My job was what I had to do to generate income, it was not who I was. It is important that you make this distinction for yourself. 

It’s called work life balance because the two should be balanced out. Your work should be equivalent to your quality of life, and not solely monetarily

Any thing that you do for the primary purpose of making money will not satisfy you. I became an entrepreneur because my passion is in helping people first and foremost. I became a blogger because I discovered a passion for writing and I see it as an ideal method of expression. 

If you are not doing something you enjoy you become lifeless

I would literally work my full shift, do work at home if I had to and chose to, then “get my day started”. Getting my day started looked like going to the gym, writing a blog post, reading, working on my website’s SEO, and hanging out with friends and family. That’s what I valued so that is what I gave my time to. 

Once again this is not as easy as it sounds because there were days where I would be up until 3am completing whatever I had to accomplish on my personal to-do list. And there were weeks when I had the same to-do list for several days. 

However, I was intentional about what mattered to me because not only do I enjoy what I am doing in the form of blogging, but I also allowed myself to see the full potential in this opportunity.

Most of what I do boils down to practicality, and living a life that is not enjoyable is not practical to me.

Step three: Have a Regimen

To have a healthy and effective work life balance, you must have a reset button. This is an activity you do that puts you in a proper state of mind to conquer your day. 

My primary reset button is working out and showering. As simple as it sounds, I know that if I am unsettled in any area of my life, if I go through my regimen I will get back on track. 

I treat my life as if it was a conveyor belt. Regimen, work, time for others, time for me. I can tell people exactly where I am in my day in terms of how far along on my proverbial conveyor belt I am. 

Because I am mentally fluid when tackling various tasks, I can rise to any challenge that presents itself throughout the day without becoming overwhelmed or flustered. 

That’s the point of having a regimen: What do I have to do to make sure that I am always ready to be effective and impactful. 

And when I say regimen I mean a set routine of tasks that never change no matter how often you do them. I conduct my regimen in a certain way every day, the only thing that is likely to change is the time of day. 

You have to get so granular with your regimen that you are not able to sleep at night knowing that you did not complete it for that day, or that you missed/skipped a step. 

Additional tips and tricks 

While trying to apply these steps to your life to create a happy healthy and effective work life balance, here are a few things you should also be considering: 

What is your Goal

Life balance, time, life, balance, work
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

What are you running towards? Do you have a vision for yourself 5 years from now? You cannot go where you cannot envision. I literally have journals filled with different nuances of the same vision. I know exactly what I am running towards, and here is the key: I am not willing to allow anyone or anything stop me from getting there

My future life is just that important to me. Do you have something that is so important to you that you will not let anything get in the way, not even yourself?

Time is Money

I do not intentionally waste my time anymore. People, places, and things do not get more time of me than I allow of them. My presence is a present

You have to become covetous of your time. It is literally the only thing we do not get more of. The richest people in the world will tell you, the thing that matters to them the most is their time. We can generate money, we cannot generate time. Everyone may not be able to get rich, but literally everyone dies

Once you realize that every time you wake up you are also another day, another hour, another minute, another second, and another millisecond closer to your literal death, meaning no more air traveling through your lungs; you will start acting as if your time matters more than what you feel like doing, who wants to see or talk to you, or how much money you do or do not make.

Me Time is Important

How do you revitalize your spirit? This is not the same as having a regimen. Spirit revitalization comes primarily from a hobbyWhat do you do for yourself that makes everything else that you do worth it?

I am thankful that my passion is my hobby and my business, however, that may not be the case for everyone. It was not always the case for me. I used to look forward to being able to play video games after a long day or going to the bar. Now, writing and having an impact on others is what replenishes me

Life balance, time, life, balance, work
Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

What is it that you enjoy doing: writing, taking pictures, drawing, sowing, bike riding, cooking, socializing… whatever it is do it every day at least for an hour. This is the art of making time for yourself

Are you important enough to yourself that you are willing to make time for you

There are times where I will purposefully not answer my phone because talking to someone or dealing with something is almost never as important as my me time. 

If you want a work life balance that is proactive and yields the results of the desired life that you want, organize every area of your life in a way that makes sense to you. Pursue work that you are passionate about and is meaningful to you; And set up a routine that will keep you on track no matter what life throws at you. 

Do you have a healthy work life balance, if so how do you maintain it, and if not what could you do to improve it? What is a hobby that you enjoy doing that recharges you? 

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

5 Essentials to a Success Mindset

Success like everything else comes at a cost. There is obligation associated with recognition. Successful people have responsibility. They must take charge, have a vision, and seize an opportunity. Subjectively, success looks differently for everyone, but objectively, it is made up of the same substance. Success is proper preparation for an optimal opportunity. Here are my 5 essentials to developing a Success Mindset.

1. Hard Work

The most successful people become so not because they are better but because they worked harder. Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Michael Jordan is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in basketball not because he was naturally great which he was, but because of how hard he worked.

Mindset, money, success, essential

The same has to become true in your own life when cultivating a success mindset. What are your habits? What are your building blocks?

Success is a laid foundation.

I am successful because I built my life around it. That is not braggadocios that is a fact. You develop a success mindset by constantly seeking success. That means being willing to fail every day.

2. Know Your Why

Successful people embrace failure. Failure is an opportunity to grow, not an excuse to quit. Quitting is the only true form of failure. Every time we fall it is our responsibility to get back up. The second way to develop your success mindset is to have a reason to get back up. In business this is called “knowing your why”.

The concept is as simple as it sounds: Why do you do what you do/want what you want. You have to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and I hate to break it to you, but money is not a sufficient enough reason. People who win the lottery statistically do not lead better lives, in some cases, their life ends up worse.

Mindset, money, success, essential, why
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

When money is your why, you instantly lose.

Passion reverberates, but Paper is passionless. The only good that comes from money is in how it is used. That is why those same lottery winners tend to go broke within 3-5 years of winning, because all the money in the world cannot buy happiness.

When you know your why you become unhindered by the inconveniences that life throws at you, because you know you are living for a higher purpose. An authentic why should be rooted in one’s true desires because our desires are universal gifts unique to each one of us.

3. Ask for What you Want

People with a well-developed success mindset know exactly what they want, and they act on it. Part of taking action is being willing to ask the universe for what it is you want.

Words have power and by claiming what you want by speaking it out loud, you begin to align yourself with the resources necessary to achieve that goal. I am a businessman and entrepreneur because that lifestyle is my heart’s desire, I work hard at my craft, and I specifically ask God for those type of opportunities to manifest in my life.

Mindset, money, success, essential
Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

People with a success mindset are also granular about what they want. They can tell you almost every detail about what they want because they see it every day. You must visualize your success before it starts materializing.

Directionless people are helpless people. Imagine being lost in a remote part of the world and your phone dies. So now not only do you not know where you are, but you also do not have a GPS to help you find your way. People without vision or direction are the exact same way, lost in their own wilderness.

4. Reassess the People in your Life

An eagle can fly over 10,000 feet in the air. The average bird stays at around 500 feet in the air. People with success mindsets are eagles. In addition to flying high eagles tend to also fly alone. With altitude comes separation. Sometimes your success will cause you to isolate yourself.

Is your why worth maybe having to take the road less traveled? If it is not, then it probably is not a big enough why. A success mindset rooted in an emotional conviction and is uncompromising.

Would the people around you respect and support successful you?  People with a success mindset evaluate the space they are in and determine whether that space and its inhabitants are benefiting their growth or hindering it.

5. Humility

The last essential to a success mindset is humility. The world systems that we live in teaches us to value another person based on what they have, social status, and position. In reality, none of that means anything.

We are all people, we all bleed the same, and we are all made up of 70% water. The only true determinant among individuals is the state of their soul and not the number of zeros in their bank account.

Mindset, money, success, essential
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

Humility teaches us to be expectant of new opportunities and to be receptive of different viewpoints.

Respect should not be predicated on the potency and effectiveness of a person’s resolve. Just because a successful person worked harder than someone less successful does not mean that they are exempt from the challenges associated with being a human.

People with a success mindset look for ways to give back to those less fortunate. Successful people with a true why want to proliferate their success and do their part to make their corner of the world a better place.

Do you exemplify these five characteristics, if so how, and if not why? What is your “Why”, tell us  in the comment section below?

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

The Value in Adding Value

What if I told you, that the fastest way for you to start making more money is by making money the least essential part of what you do and why you do it?

The common denominator when it comes to successful businesses and individuals alike, is their capacity to give to others. How much one gives is associated to how much one receives.

That does not mean that by giving away all of your money, you will automatically double the amount in your bank account. That is a delusion. 

What’s real, is that all of us are given what we are appraised at. In the most simplest of terminology: when we agree to go to work to build someone else’s asset(s) for 40 hours a week, the salary that we agree to do that work for, is the appraisal that is placed on the role that we fill. 

A director position can start at $100k a year, But a sales position starts at much less, potentially nothing. This is not because there is a world of difference between the two people in those roles. But there is a world of difference in how those two roles are valued

How do you Value Yourself?

Each one of us has an evaluation, or how much we could potentially contribute. It is our responsibility to operate in a value equals money mindset as opposed to a time equals money mindset. The difference is in how we allow others to appraise us

Money is not real. Money is a vehicle that allows us to be productive and contributory citizens. We have to come to the realization that money has no sustained value in our lives. Before and after we become cogs in a corporate machine we are souls. This means that our true value is not in what we can do but rather in who we are

We add value when we live out our passionsIf you want to lead a successful life, you cannot compromise on your passions.

As a society we have allowed ourselves to be appraised by what we do rather than who we are.  When you switch from a time equals money mindset to a value equals money mindset, you start putting a higher value on your time.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

Once again this is not a free pass to be irresponsible, however, every good financial plan starts by asking: how much are you worth

If you complain about your job every day, wish you were making more money, feel stuck in your current role, or even just wish you were appreciated more for the work that you do, than it is safe to say that maybe you are not being properly valued. 

What’s your ROI?

I can relate to this because at one point I found myself being undervalued in almost every area of my life: relationally, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. Once I realized that was happening, I began to make drastic changes that put me in a position where I began to appraise myself for what I am truly worth and not what someone else says I am worth. 

The problem with letting others place value on you is that they will almost always underestimate you. This is no fault of your own but rather a symptom of human nature.

We naturally look to label things as they fit into our paradigm better when we do. I learned to live in such a way that it is impossible for me to allow myself to be undervalued.

The best way to determine your own value is by measuring how much value you give to someone else

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Return on Investment (ROI) is a key indicator with how a business is doing. Successful people treat themselves like a business. They take stock of their inventory, their investments, and assets, and determine their ROI. The value equals money mindset puts us in a position to constantly ask ourselves: how valuable am I

That does not mean how much money do I have in the bank, again, money itself is valueless. What “how valuable am I?” means is, how am I proliferating my abundance?

Are you giving back? If so in what capacity, and can you do more? 

The Value of Adding Value

When we look at large companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, yes they have a lot of money; but why do they have all of that money? Because they all provide a tremendous amount of value to their customers. As a business owner and as career men and women, we have to ask ourselves am I providing tremendous value to my work and to the people in my life

Do people know how reliable you are, can people call on you for the big project to be completed; How trustworthy are the products and services that you offer, does what you do perfectly align with who you are? 

When we merge our passions with our values we start living with purpose

Purposeful living is more rewarding and gratifying than all of the money in the world. When you live on purpose that means you are living the life you were meant to. When you live on purpose you cannot help but to be a servant to others. 

The golden rule is to do to others as you would have others do to youIn other words, serve the way you want to be served; and impact the lives of others the way you want your life to be impacted

This is how we add value. This is how we identify our own value.

Living with Purpose

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

From a theoretical standpoint you want to add value to other’s lives because you want to become active engagers in the Law of Reciprocity (the idea that what you put out in the world comes back to you).

The practical value in adding value is that you build name recognition and familiarity. Marketing and trustworthiness is how businesses build their brand.

As a purposeful individual, you seek to add value because it gives you the room necessary to grow and develop; and to have a lasting impact on someone else’s life. 

The goal is to realize that we are more valuable than a dollar amount associated with an hour of time. The same thing that gives a CEO value is the same thing that gives a janitor value, their souls.

When we become effective at touching more souls, our bank account becomes more effective at attracting more money. It is not about what we do, but rather why we do what we do; and who we do it for

What are your thoughts on this concept? How do you seek to add value in your workplace/people around you? What other topics on money would you be interested in learning more about? 

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

Blood is Not Thicker than Water

I have been going through a lot over the last couple weeks. Physically, Intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, I have been coming up against various challenges that have been testing my resolve and convictions. 

In addition to getting back into routine with regularly creating content, I am also about to go back to school for my second master’s, I am in the process of launching what will be my fourth start up, and I am currently studying for my Project Management Professional Certification. 

My plate is becoming gradually more full as the year progresses, I am also processing the civil unrest from the unprecedented murders of men that look like me at the hands of men who do not. All of which is playing out against the back drop of Covid-19, and all the other problems associated with the pandemic

I’ll be honest I have been swamped and in need of support. At one point I caught myself spiraling out of control because of how overwhelmed I was by what I was experiencing. 

Since the pandemic has started I have been imploring you to take advantage of this opportunity. As the foundations of society started to shake I encouraged my readers on how to survive the coronavirus pandemic

I am thankful that I practice what I preach. I have been diligently sowing into my future and what I want my life to look like within the coming years. So much so that I am concerned about how bountiful the harvest has been in such a short period of time. 

In order to expand my capacity to accomplish what I need to, I sought out the comfort of my family. Turns out there was no room for me. There is something wrong with a family that does not support you in your endeavors. 

Within the last week I have found myself bewildered, perplexed, flabbergasted, troubled, cast down, and in dismay at the reality check that when this thing called life is done, all we have is ourselves. 

This sentiment is completely counter intuitive from what I thought I was taught while growing up. My mother passed away when I was five, so I never really had the chance to know motherly love. 

And while statistically, I am just as good if not better off than where I would be if my mother was still living, nothing can co-op motherly love. Unfortunately I have had to find this out the hard way. 

Just because you use super glue on something does not mean it is going to stick every time. For most of my life I have been performing for the attention of those I love. It took me a long time before I was able to do a proper appraisal of myself. And before I was able to realize my self worth and my value, I allowed myself to be influenced by the value others placed on me. 

As a creative and to my fellow creatives who are reading this, you and I know, that while we want people to praise our created content in some capacity, we cannot lean on that type of affirmation because it is fleeting and misleading. 

I feel as though I have been lied to and misled for a greater portion of my life than I care to admit. Just because we are skin folk does not mean that we are kin folk. 

Since taking ownership of my mind, and no longer conforming to the culture, I have come to discover my true identity in Christ. A lot of times people try to throw my Christian walk in my face. 

While I used to get offended and tried to defend myself on that point, I have come to realize that those same hypocrites that put my faith walk on trial do not have one iota of knowledge on what the good book even says.

 I am not in a place in life where I can allow myself to be uprooted by foolishness.

One thing I like about gardening is, that while whatever flower bud is sprouting, whatever kind of tree is flourishing on the surface, the testament to the virility of the plant is in its roots.

I am of no good if I have bad roots. I need to believe in something in this season of life, I need to have something I can hope for. And while on the surface, that may look like an accumulation of material things, when one inspects the roots they can see I am developing an authentic relationship with my father in heaven

I am looking for the same thing that everyone else is looking for whether they know it or not, Love.

I am looking for people who love me because of me. What I can do does not matter because in the grand scheme of things I am statistically more likely as a human being period, to get things wrong more often than right. Love is acknowledging that fact and saying: I do not care. My flaws should not phase you. 

The problem I have been having recently is, that my flaws do not phase my family, my freedom does. The condemnation that I have been feeling, I identify as stemming from a decrepit familial structure. 

Right now I am constantly looking for affirmations and confirmations that I am moving in the right direction. This is important to me because every step I have taken recently has been one of faith. 

I have no idea what my life is going to look like in the next two months. That’s the case for a lot of us. But because I laid a good foundation back in March 2020, I can confidently say that I am living in faith.

Faith: the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

I have been praying for the life that I am currently living. Did I expect it to look like this? Absolutely not. But I am not going to let my goals get subverted just because another person cannot see me achieving them… 

I SEE ME achieving them.

I perpetuate success. Not because of what I have but because of who I am. I perpetuate peace because of whose I am. When you start walking in your truth, and your truth is larger than the box someone else put you in, when you finally break free people will start getting upset if for no other reason than you broke their box. 

Over the last week I have been called out of my name, asked if I was in a cult, and completely disrespected and dismissed. All by people who are supposed to be my family. Blood is NOT thicker than water. At least the stuff I come from is not. 

If you cannot see me for me you cannot see me at all

I am thankful for the people and the family members who have been loving on me in this season. They edify my hope. I get a second wind when I feel appreciated. I can overcome obstacles as long as I know someone is cheering me on. 

And I’ll be honest, finding someone who appreciates you is challenging. I have yet to find the person specifically made for me to help me run this race, but that does not mean I can just stop running. Love comes in all different forms. 

In due time my wife will provide me with an abundance of romantic love. But until then, I still need love from my family, love from my friends, and love from my God. This is literally how we are supposed to live

Long story short, I have been astonished by the lack of reciprocal love I have received and have been required to give to people who identify as my family members for the purpose of pacifying them and diminishing myself. 

I can no longer live as though I do not know who I am, I know exactly who I am. And I am not in a place where I can continually care for someone else’s grass, when mine is malnourished. 

I have literally had to start bracing myself for certain interactions because I am going to protect my convictions at all costs, especially from anyone and everyone with a weaker and less effective resolve than mine, family or otherwise. 

I have hated feeling unseen by the masses for the better portion of my life thus far. Now that I have become more resolute in my convictions,  It is absolutely fine if no one sees me. God sees me, and because he sees my due diligence in secret, he will surely reward me openly. 

Have you ever felt unsupported? If so, what has that experience been like for you, and what challenges have you faced trying to overcome this obstacle?

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

Understanding My Creative Process

Originally Published August 17 2019

I believe that all of us are creatives. In fact, the bible tells us we are creative beings within the first verse of the book. When the bible introduces us to the character of God, the first thing it shows us is that God is a creative being:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

Genesis 1:1

As beings who were first created (Genesis 1:26-27) then formed (Genesis 2:7), for the purpose of ruling over our creator’s creation, as a believer in Jesus Christ, it is safe to assume that human beings are creative beings, a power gifted to us from our heavenly father solely because of who He is.

On July 12 2019 I posted my very first blog entry entitled “A Letter to My Mother“. It along with, “Prayer of Consecration“, were part of a collection of pieces written and prepared for public consumption over the course of several months prior to release. On July 14 2019, I wrote my first official blog post entitled: Does College Still Have the Same Bang for it’s Buck.

I have come a long way since those first few posts, and now I want to take inventory of the impact that this experience is having on me, how I have come to understand myself as a creative being, and speak/write into existence my hopes for this blog’s future. I invite you to join me on this critical examination of myself and my work; and hope after reading you are inspired and edified.

Why I Create:

The purpose of this blog thus far has been solely to give flight to my voice. I am thankful because to that end I have been successful. I have been following the Create and Go model for creating and growing my blog and I am thankful that the fruits of my labor are evident.

From back to front, this blog has grown leaps and bounds in both depth and width.

This blog found me at a not good place in life, and manifested in the midst of personal chaos and turmoil, becoming in my mind a cornerstone.

While our creativeness is inherent, it is also discovered. They say we do not find our passions, but rather our passions find us… This was definitely the case for me and writing.

I have always been a good writer, but never thought about writing as an effective form of expression. The value writing has in my life is that, all I ever want in almost every capacity is to be acknowledged.

In today’s world acknowledgement comes through the form of accolades. But I do not believe that we are to pay more respect to the CEO than we do the doorman; And writing has showed me how to be both.

It was the piece of peace I was missing.

The sheer joy that oozes out of my being when I open my laptop and begin my writing process is like nothing I have ever experienced before.

It is amazing the shape things will take because what started out as a passion project project, is now turning into a business.

How I Create:

My creative process starts by me being in a state of “perpetual creativity”. I am always creating. I do not believe in isolating my creative abilities solely to my primary medium. This means that I create atmospheres, I create environments, and I create moments a lot more frequently than I create written content.

All of us do this exact same thing the difference is what we create when we are not focusing our creative energy. I have grown in this area by asking myself what kind of space do I reside in. As mentioned, writing is my main modal of creating, but when I am not focused on that creative process, I am focused on one equally as important to me: creating and perpetuating peace.

Having peace is essential to my writing process because I do not have to protect myself in my own peace. This is key in my writing because I do not and will not hold back or dilute my content for the purpose of pacifying others.

Most of my writing is done in comfort. If I am not comfortable about what I am writing, or where I am writing, that angst will come through in the content’s quality.

A lot of times for a post, I do not have a beginning middle or end in mind. Usually all I have is a topic and a title. Organization is a key factor for me so those two things are essentials. My standard for any piece of content I produce, written or otherwise, is that it has to be: Familiar, Relevant, and Informative.

My number one “rule” is write whatever comes to mind. I keep a multitude of writing spaces. I have to have quick access to writing something down. As quickly as an idea comes is as quickly as it leaves sometimes, so even ideas that I may not expand upon down the line; I write down anyway.

I give value to my content after it is created, with the expectation that it is naturally excellent.

The bible says that we should operate with a spirit of excellence (Proverbs 22:29) in all that we do, so I do the best I can to manifest that sentiment.

Entrepreneurship:

As I mentioned in “My Bout With Unemployment” I use to be a small business owner; and in fact, before this blog became “My Black Perspective”, it was going to be a blog that would support my small business. Little did I know going into this endeavor, that blogging is a small business all its own.

This blog has done a good a job at revealing different qualities in me. I have found that I enjoy the back-end of blogging just as much as I enjoy the front-end. I have found a way to place value on my own time, and through blogging, have been given the capacity to do so on my own terms.

Control of how we use our time is probably one of if not the highest form of creativity. I do not believe God created any of us, but definitely not me, to sell our most valuable commodity in time off to someone for minimum wage just so we can live as a slave to money and lifestyle.

Employment undercuts and undermines one’s individuality within the creative process, that’s why most people are actively disengaged at work.

The opportunity to be the captain of my own ship and not have it tied to my financial survival has been satiating. I check my stats all the time. Its rewarding to see this blog grow. I enjoy seeing the performance of a post. Not necessarily because I am going to change my approach in how write based on such information, but rather to see how that particular piece resonated with people.

Freedom for me starts here. Every time I get to share a perspective, that’s me becoming more free. I’ve recently been on a content creation binge, because of the value I place on myself as a creative being.

I am thankful that this blog is giving me the capacity I need to continue to grow.

I know I’m on the right path and that this blog is the foundation for some great things to come. This blog is going to out grow itself one day, and come what may I am going to stay true to myself and steadfast to the process. I will never be afraid to share my black perspective in whatever form it may take.

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

I Can’t Breathe – What being a Black Man has felt like Recently

Life in America has been a whirlwind recently. With the killing of George Floyd on top of a pandemic and mass unemployment, anger has engulfed her people. I have been angry. At a lot and for a lot of reasons.

There is this story in the bible about a young ruler named Samson. He was born into a dysfunctional family amongst a dysfunctional people. And in addition to being denied what was his, he was surrounded by impotency. I have been angry, because I have been alarmed at the impotency of some within the black community.

On the flipped side of all the devastation in the country, there has also been never before seen abundance. As a black man who grew up hearing about and seeing how much greener the grass on the other side is, I have been totally engaged with doing whatever it is I have to do to get my grass as green as possible; And I know a lot of people who look like me who have always talked about striving for a better life, and achieving more for themselves.

So, at the sight of rain clouds/in the preparation of manna falling from heaven, one would assume that it would be lucrative to be prepared when the release finally comes. As a people I fear the justice we get will not fully be the justice we deserve. Not because it is not fully available to us (which it is not), but rather because some of us are not ready to act.

The black community has a chronic inability to attain or sustain. We lack drive, we lack motivation, we lack a connection with our truest desires, and as such we lack what truly matters, our humanity.

“Each one teach one”. It is as simple as that. Literally, the following is an excerpt on the origins of the concept:

It [each one teach one] is an African-American expression thought to have been brought to the United States during slavery, when enslaved people were denied education, including the right to learn to read. Many, if not most, enslaved people were kept in a state of ignorance about anything beyond their immediate circumstances, which were under control of owners, lawmakers and authorities.

Teaching slaves to read was an act of civil disobedience, as it was illegal many places in the United States. When an enslaved person learned or was taught to read, it became his or her duty to teach someone else, spawning the exhortation to “Each one teach one.” This recognized the duty owed by the beneficiary as a result of the courage and risk displayed by the teacher.

www.eachoneteachone.is

Samson matured into a mighty warrior and ruler, and as he grew up he uncovered the value of generosity (Judges 14:12-14). Each one teach one is rooted in the core value of generosity, and it has a genealogy in early African American tradition.

Generosity is this: If I help someone then eventually that someone will help someone else. Generosity at the molecular level is how we create a legacy for ourselves.

Samson understood the commodity that is the exchange of knowledge. Our enslaved ancestors understood the commodity that is the exchange of knowledge. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr who saw a promised land we have yet to reach understood the commodity that is the exchange of knowledge. I feel confident enough to say that as a community, we have cut off our own nose in spite of our face.

The knowledge transfer divide is so deep, it is a chasm. This is where my anger, and the anger of other people who look like me come from. Each one has not been teaching one. And the one’s who have, have either been teaching the wrong thing the right way, or the right thing the wrong way. I am mad; black people are mad, because no matter how hard we work on our lawns the grass just does not seem to be getting any greener.

How are we in a national pandemic that is not even America’s fault, and black people are the most impacted? Why is it that “essential worker” has become code for minority laborer? The black community has been playing at a disadvantage for far too long, and now that we have a chance to advance pass go, we’re finding out the banker does not have our $200, monopoly money or otherwise.

America has indoctrinated us through over 400 years of slavery to, as Kanye put it: hate ourselves and love their wealth. Our youth and specifically our young black men have been taught that the only way to make it is to make it out. Which is fine and dandy, but if everyone is leaving, who is coming back and teaching?

We have become a leaderless people because our leaders on all levels do not look like us nor do they specifically pass into law policies that benefit us. And as black people, we have to take ownness for some of this dysfunction ourselves. Positions of power are not about what office we hold, its about the proliferation of our generosity. Black people are not generous to themselves.

In addition to not having immediate access to the right soil to help our grass grow, we will deliberately not use the right tools for the job, for fear they might actually work. This is also known as the crab in the bucket mentality, or “if I can’t have it, neither can you” mentality.

The way we make it is together. We want to have the opportunity to live the same life as our white brothers and sisters, the life this country was built to accommodate. But for all of us that means not only do we have to reach forward, but we also have to be willing to reach back and pull someone else up.

Divide and conquer is no longer a winning strategy. And we can no longer be visionless. The bible says that without vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). The black community’s greatest downfall in this season will be an essential uneducated decision being made. All of which will have proliferated from the knowledge chasm in the community.

This is not a bash on my people but rather a call for us to stay engaged and have an expectation. I have been on fire over the last week eager to do what I can. But now that the blaze has subsided, and I am not roaring with a mighty indignation I can see that the only way we as black people can effectively do our part is if we coalesce around each other. Right now, is when we must specialize in identifying and relying on each other’s strengths.

Before we can require our oppressors to change, we must change. If we are seen not loving on or valuing each other in our own community, how can we expect someone from another community to give us our just portion.

The road to freedom is a carpool lane.

As human beings, our strength comes from our ability to make decisions. Recently, I have seen a lot of my people either afraid to make decisions, or void of any decision-making agency all together.

When the riots and the looting are done, and black people are finally able to see the forest for the trees, I hope as a people we can acknowledge when we are being pacified and pandered to. We are an incredibly valuable people group in America, always have been, always will be, and its time for us to start building our own house. Defunding police departments will only be as effective as the plan my people have to use that money in our own community, if we even get any of that money.

We are more than our buying power or our voting power. From now on we need to know what we want, the value in having it, and how we can give it to others. Forward is the only logical direction to go from here, and each one teaching one is the only way to get there.

We can no longer be derelict on our duty to teach our own people. And we can no longer be timid in teaching our people in fear of being overshadowed. If we cannot get what we want today, we have to be willing and able to equip our successors to get it tomorrow.

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

Does College Still Have the Same Bang for it’s Buck

Originally posted July 14th 2019

As college students enter graduation season, a lot of them will be graduating into a work force a that is nonexistent. With the recent economic down turn, opportunities for post graduate employment have diminished. Because of this, some graduates will be left with an insurmountable amount of debt with no way of paying it back; Which begs the question: what good is a college degree?

Seven years ago I would have had a concrete and confident answer, now a days I am not so sure. Growing up, my initial motivation for wanting to go to college was I’d have an opportunity to get a better job, make more money over the course of my lifetime, and I’d get to do something I’m passionate about.

Since getting my masters however, I have yet to get the better job or the more money. And prior to starting this blog, I was not doing something I was passionate about. The world does not reward us just because we got an expensive piece of paper, this is more true now than ever before. So with no visible benefits from going to a glorified sleep away camp for four plus years what will students actually get from going to college?

The fact of the matter is, higher education institutions are failing to prepare the majority of their students for life in the real world. Most college graduates aside from engineers and medical students go into some type of sales/administrative role after they graduate.

College exacerbates the propaganda that is spoon fed to students while they are growing up, that they have to go to college after high school. And today’s employers proliferate that narrative by requiring applicants to have a degree. Most people today do not work in the same field they earned their degree in, and those that want to, do not always get the chance to because while they may have the degree they do not have the experience.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, the reported average cost a year for an instate student going to a public four year institution was just over $25,000, double for a private school. If the average college student after four years is coming out of school with between $100,000 – $200,000 dollars worth of debt, it should be standard practice not a program specific privilege to gain real world experience while in college.

And while students can find ways of reducing the cost of school through scholarships, living off campus, or getting an on campus job, the fact remains that students generally speaking, get less value for their dollar as it pertains to college; Not to mention, that your average college undergrad changes their major three times, prolonging their time and money spent at school.

The good thing is, the culture around college is shifting. Four year universities are not the definitive option they use to be. Community colleges are becoming more competitive everyday, and trades are becoming more appealing.

While there is still value in pursuing higher education, the decision to do so has to be better informed. Future students have to know what the actual return on their investment is going to be when they finally graduate, and determine whether or not college will be lucrative for them.

The best way to get a real bang for your buck from college is to use it as a catalysis for you passions. If a person is passionate enough about what they do/want to do, they can make their passions a career, and then truly enjoy the fruits of their labor, knowing the debt will have been worth it.

Photo by Lia Castro on Pexels.com

For those students who are just hellbent on going to a four year college right out of high school, regardless of major, the best thing they can get other than the degree, is what I would call non-marketable experience. This is experience that a person may not be able to put on a resume but, they can apply it to everyday life.

This type of experience encompasses: leadership skills, diplomacy, networking skills, time management, conflict management, teamwork, sales skills, marketing, how to dress and carry oneself professionally, public speaking, interviewing skills, and healthy habits. These are all skills that are important in the real world, but cannot be explicitly stated on a resume.

While in college a person can learn these skills anywhere, as long as they put themselves in a position to do so. This is the true immediate value of going to college today. In short, new college students should make getting involved in extracurriculars a priority.

It’s time to get smarter about how we do college. Students need to be more educated on what making the decision to go means. College students will be in debt, may not gain any marketable experience, and may not even end up in their chosen career path. Is that worth going and getting a degree anyway?

Depends on what that person wants. People with college degrees will still have more opportunities over the course of their lifetime than those without, but college is not the only way to make it anymore, it never was, and its time to be upfront about the positives and negatives of that.

Students should do their research, and those in a position to advise should make every option known and appetizing for students. The military for example should not be presented to a high school student as a second to last choice if it’s a right first choice.

And for those students who do go to a four year college, they need to know its important to get some immediate value from their experience as a whole. The degree it will eventually pay off, but if that pay off is delayed they should have something to show for it other than just a piece of paper and an expensive bill.

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

How Millennials are Redefining the Workplace

I recently wrote about how millennials are not connecting with religion the same way that our parents or even grandparents do. Might I propose, that the same is true when it comes to work.

How they view work and industry versus how previous generations do is changing. For the longest, I use to believe that if I got a good education, by going into an insurmountable amount of debt at an institution that only cared about me after I graduated, and went to work for someone for the better half of my life, then I would achieve the moderately sized house, 2.5 kids, the dog, and two cars.

And while I still believe in the American Dream the details of that dream are changing. For many millennials, committing 52 weeks a year, and 40 hours a week, to a job they hate for an outcome that is no longer satiating is not their recipe for success.

More and more millennials are taking the lower paying job that they enjoy going to every day, minimizing their lifestyle, investing into tiny homes, and starting their own businesses. Every day they are redefining the American dream for themselves.

The challenge is, employers are not properly equipped to handle such changes.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that people are motivated by specific needs in their life. Those needs include: Basic needs (food, water, shelter, safety), Psychological needs (belongingness and accomplishment), and Self-fulfillment needs (self-actualization, the fulfillment of one’s potential).  

Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials have been afforded the opportunity to live in a mental space that does not require them to focus most of their mental capacity on what they will eat, what they will wear, where they will live or how they will provide for themselves.

Image from medium.com

Previous generations lived through life events that did not necessarily allow for them to self-actualize in the same way millennials can. For Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, self-actualizing for them more commonly looked like being a good provider for their kids, creating a career for themselves at one place of employment, and or buying a home for the family.

In other words, a good portion of people in previous generations never left the first three levels of Maslow’s pyramid, and instead, co-opted the last two levels to fit into the first three.

In the case of millennials however, this generation is more likely to live at home after graduating college, more likely to stay single longer, and less likely to have kids. This means, that since they are used to there always being a full fridge, a home to come home to, all of their time to themselves, and no one dependent on them for survival, they can focus more of their mental capacity on the last two levels of the pyramid as opposed to the first three.

Work is Not Working

work, employment, maslow, satisfaction
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

21% of millennials job hop within a year, this is three times more than other generations; and 6 in 10 identify as open to new opportunities. In fact, most millennials do not see themselves as retiring with their current employer.

We are also the least engaged generation. 55% of millennials are not engaged at their workplace meaning, that they feel uninspired, unmotivated, and emotionally disconnected from their jobs. This statistic eclipses the national average.

Millennials require more from their work environment. 59% deem learning opportunities and room for growth a workplace essential. 58% need a “high-quality manager”, and 50% need tangible career advancement opportunities.

During my bout with unemployment, every job I worked lacked at least one of the aforementioned. Even my most recent role was only able to scratch the surface. This is why 62% of millennials are interested in starting their own business, are more likely to do so earlier than previous generations and are happier for it.

And while starting a business is not in the cards for every millennial the reason behind why we do so/change employers so frequently is the same, we need to self-actualize.

How to meet the professional needs of Millennials

With a new generation comes new needs. Millennials are far more preoccupied with social engagement, traveling, and their overall mental health, than they are with money. Conversely, they are also very concerned about their career prospects.

We are fulfilled when we do the things that fulfill us.

For Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, there is a positive correlation between a sense of fulfillment and a met obligation. In addition to millennials not having as many hardline obligations, they also have more tools at their disposal to get things accomplished. A millennial being able to complete just about any task is a lot easier and therefore not as fulfilling as accomplishing a task that relates to something they value.

Employers must start accommodating the needs of their younger employees. Money alone is not getting us up out of the bed bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to be the best employee ever.

Give us purpose and we will give you profit.

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]

How to Survive the Coronavirus Quarantine

Originally posted March 26 2020

This coronavirus pandemic is draining. It feels as though no matter where we turn, the coronavirus scourge has permeated every single part of our lives. One cannot even go outside without being impacted by the eeriness of the atmosphere. And what was once a quick trip in going to a store, has now become a hassle and a production for individuals and families alike.

Most of the world is going into week six of quarantine and staying at home is becoming an arduous task in and of itself. A lot of us are starting to experience cabin fever, and as a result may also be experiencing diminished mental health. I know for me personally, last week in particular was like pulling teeth in terms of mustering up energy to be and stay productive.

Additionally, the isolation is starting to set in if it has not already. Because of how the virus has interrupted the business of our lives, we are being forced to spend more alone time with our thoughts. People who are not physically isolated may also be starting to experience an increasingly hostile home environment.

Week by week it seems as if the coronavirus is constantly changing our lives specifically: how we engage with others and how we engage with ourselves. As such, now is a great time to revisit the survival tool kit and see if there is anything we should be adding to our repertoire.

Focus on Yourself

Being forced to spend time with ourselves is a scary prospect for some. Some purposefully create a life that avoids them having to spend too much time with themselves.

Some of us have a hard time dealing with ourselves. We have traumas, moments in life that we may not be proud of, things about ourselves that we do not like, or a Pandora’s box of memories that we rather not open.

Regardless of how we may feel towards ourselves, the reality of our existence is, that no matter where we go, we always have to bring ourselves. The idea of self is pretty oxymoronic of a traditional interpretation in this time, where we are self-isolating and social distancing as a precaution for others.

coronavirus, focus, survival, quarentine
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

(Join the newsletter today for more on mental health topics)

I would assert however, that in the same way that we are exercising social restraints for the benefit of each other, we should also be taking the time to work on ourselves for the same reason.

If we get better, the people around us can get better.

Now is a great time for us to work on ourselves. The implication behind this is a necessity to engage with ourselves, and to do so well.

How do you engage with yourself when we are not being over stimulated? Are those engagements healthy or self deprecating?

Now is a good time for us to ask ourselves: How a I growing as a person, and do I like who I am becoming?

Spend your Time Well

A major concern for everyone is time. The one thing that no one seems to have enough of is time. It is the only thing that we cannot buy more of; as such it is important that we value our time while under quarantine.

With most of us locked away in our homes it is easy for us to waste time watching television, and procrastinating; But what if we used this newfound gift of extra time on hour hands to do something constructive.

We will never find ourselves in this exact situation again where we have the majority of our time to ourselves. This is a unique circumstance with unique opportunities. Politicians like to say “never let a crisis go waste”; meaning, do not let this unique opportunity pass without getting something important on the agenda accomplished.

If some of us have been, now is the time to stop letting letting this crisis go to waste. We need to accomplish those things that are important to us that under normal circumstances, we would allow ourselves to put on the back burner.

Read that book, finish that project, complete that application, prepare that business plan, whatever it is; before this window of opportunity closes we should make sure we are capitalizing on this time.

Our time is more valuable now than ever before.

Invest

Now is a superb time to invest in the intangible, to invest in our relationships.

We all have the opportunity to have more accesses to our loved ones than usual. Speak regularly with friends and family. Social media as our primary mode of engagement is not going to cut it during this time of isolation.

No matter how disconnected we become with the advent of technology, at our core humans are social beings and its important for us to never forget that. Since being quarantined, I communicate with my close friends and family several times a week. I’ve even challenged myself to reach out to new people each week.

quarantine, survive, coronavirus, invest
Photo by Gelgas on Pexels.com

It is equally essential that we manage our investment portfolio well:

Do you have a regimen in place?

How do you spend your 24 hours and how is that benefiting you?

What is the desired ROI on your time after all of this is over?

All of these things are important and something that we would not normally take time to consider. I’ve been consistently working out at home, spending more time to take care of my health, and leaning into some of my favorite hobbies like cooking.

We have become use to allowing our schedules dictate our lives; but now is a good time to turn the auto pilot off and get back in control of our lives as best we can.

Protect your Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are two of the biggest mental health challenges most of us are facing right now. Social Isolation can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. Another side effect of social distancing is a lot of us are staying inside for most of our day.

Sunlight is thought to increase levels of serotonin in people while a lack of sunlight decreases it. A decrease in serotonin can contribute to depression.

Additionally, the 24-hour news cycle has become the 24/7 coronavirus live stream. While it is important for us to stay informed with what is going on regarding this virus, the news is also constantly exposing us to negative information that undoubtedly has a negative impact on our mental health.

We have to be disciplined enough to take care of our mental health because our current state of being is not conducive to positive mental health.

What we put into us influences what comes out of us. Avoid energy vampires. Do not allow someone else’s negativity to impact you in any way.

Depression can be insidious, and anxiety can be treacherous. I would encourage each of us in this time to identify mental health struggles that we may be facing and find the proper help.

quarantine, mental health, survival
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

(Here are articles on battling anxiety and depression.)

We are experiencing unprecedented times and we are not out of the woods yet. It is important that we do what we have to do to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and those in need.

If we are not in a good place we cannot help others get to a better one.

Knowing how to survive this quarantine is essential and the benefits of doing even a portion of what is in this post will outlast immediate satisfaction and gratification. I implore each one of us to work on ourselves in this time so that we are all able to come out of this pandemic better then how we entered.  

Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!

[convertkit form=1523085]