“I live in America, I'm an African-American male. They don't treat us the same. It's something called racism. I ain't gonna cry about it. It's probably going to be racism ‘til the day I die. But I'm not going to cry about it. I'm still going to get to where they are. Why? Cause I owe it to myself, and can't nobody stop me but me.” - Dr. Eric Thomas.
What is stopping you from living your best life? Those who really know me know that my life could easily have gone in the wrong direction. I struggled dealing with having a mother on drugs and not knowing my father. So I was a statistic - apart of the population of kids in the 1980’s being raised by their grandparents because of the crack epidemic. For me, I was embarrassed because I hated to see my mother become a victim of her environment. The sad part is that I was at peace when she was incarcerated because I knew she was safe and alive. However, I’m grateful that my grandmother stepped in and became my guardian and raised me. My grandmother was my hero and made sure that I felt loved regardless of the situation. Even though my mom didn't raise me, we still developed a close relationship as mother and son.
Before I met my biological father, I carried a lot of anger in my heart for years towards a man I never knew. So, when I finally met my father for the first time, surprisingly it was more joy than anger. Our relationship started on the right foot. We decided that we couldn’t change the past, but we could create memories for the future and our relationship is great. On the other hand, I was always mad at the man who my mother claimed was my father. He wasn’t around as much because he was in and out of jail and constantly breaking promises. However, when I got older and started to understand things better, I realized that he was doing the best he could do. So I learned how to forgive and take the bad with the good. Therefore, our relationship is also great, and I love both of those men.
Even though my childhood years was surrounded with negative situations, I refused to let my family’s generational curse have a negative effect on my life. I could have felt sorry for myself and became a victim of my environment, or I could have turned my negative situation into a positive one. For me, I decided to take the positive route. So as a young man, I was always on a mission to break free of the chains that were holding and preventing me and my family from reaching our full potential. I was not going to let those chains stop me from being successful. I was determined to make something out of my life, and I wasn’t going to let anyone discourage me from reaching my goals.
We all have something that is holding us down from being successful, but it is up to us to break free of all the stereotypes and move forward in the right direction. As stated in Romans 12:2, “Don't be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God's will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.” I learned very quickly that life doesn’t care about your issues. You either let your situation chain you down and become of the world, or you can fight to break free and live a more pleasing life.
So, I started with surrounding myself with people who were looking to be successful in life. During the journey, I found out that this path was not meant for some of my family members or my closest friends. During my journey I felt I had to distance myself from the people who I loved the most. However, I had to make that choice because I was simply trying to make a better life for myself. My goal was to make a better situation for myself so that I could come back and help my loved ones by sharing the knowledge and wisdom that I gained along the way.
During my journey, one of the most important things I’ve learned was “You must believe in yourself when no one else does.”
So as Bishop Odum would say, “Don’t miss your opportunity because you let some folks upset you.” So, that’s why I’m always preparing myself for the next opportunity by remembering the following:
Keep God first in everything that you do. Believe and trust in the Word and it will guide you.
Encourage those around you to do better in life.
Eliminate negative things and people from your space.
Pursue your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you from being successful.
Give your tithes and offerings and help those who are less fortunate.
Remember that all things can be achieved through our Lord and Savior.
Inspire the the next generation to be better.
Never focus on the odds against you but focus on beating those odds.
Don't live your life based on someone else’s agenda. Go out and start creating your own agenda.
Identify your unique qualities and implement your plan.
Navigate towards success.
Get in your lane and start your journey towards reaching your dreams.
Let’s KEEP GRINDING in 2019 and continue our journey to a successful life!