Category Archives: Life Skills

The Life Skills category establishes an understanding about the “sandbox of life”. Everyone is in the box, young men of color have to understand how to conduct themselves in it.

You’re not working hard enough, get a side hustle.

LaTanya J. , a close friend of mine, had just come from her hair appointment. She said, “Man we have got to get on our hustle.” I was confused…I said, “What are you talking about?!” She said her beautician had a store that she managed and she had two Super Shuttle vans in her parking lot. “Why two?” …because if one van broke down, she could still make money while the other was getting repaired.

“Wow…and she did hair?”

“Yup…in the back of the store she managed.”

LaTanya and I were both engineers with Lockheed but I immediately thought to myself…

how I could make money if I lost my job?

Currently, I have a couple of things I’m working on with real estate but what else? I have a bartenders certificate and I’m a certified rescue & master scuba diver. I’m working on some writing projects also. I could always apply to Chic fil a…I love Chic fil a.  :o)

So, I pose the question to you, What is your plan A, B, C or D?

Another way of looking at it, what hobbies or volunteer activities could you turn into money earning activities? How could you get that second revenue stream?

Think…most latino students have one quick advantage, they’re bilingual. Do you know Spanish? Are you handy? Are you interested in an apprenticeship?  I know plenty of people that have their own business and make a good living.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I was convinced early to go to college. Looking back, I don’t think that’s the best thing…not for everyone. If you don’t go to college, learn a trade or start doing something legal that’s going to allow you to become a business owner. Even if you don’t start a business with an apprenticeship you will have the skills to get a job. My experience has been that my piece of paper (bachelors degree) helped me attain a job…but, after graduating, the 3 jobs I worked while in college helped me keep the job. Not everyone I know, after graduating, received a job and if they received a job it wasn’t always in their career field. I know one thing, all of them had a mountain of debt.

You can start your own business, possibly take a loan for truck and tools, and be working towards financial independence. A degree is banking on getting a job that might not be there after graduation.

I say this to reiterate…What is your plan A, B, C or D?

Hobbies:

Like working on cars = Get an ASE certification, become a mechanic

Like cooking = Learn to cook an entire menu, buy a food truck.

Like to drive = Get a loan for a car, drive for Uber

Like to dream =  Become an inventor

Good at lying = Go into politics (Joking)

All these hobbies are things you can do on the side. So in pursuit to become a doctor, lawyer, pilot a side hustle wouldn’t hurt. With multiple income streams, you can attain financial independence faster.

Regardless of the path you start on, have a plan and goals along the way.

To be honest, my plan A is really working out but I’m close to realizing my plan B and C…but it’s MY plan…get yours!

MPM

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Ask yourself, what are you doing today to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”

 

Shout out to LaTanya  owner of Pink Piggy Sweets ~ Organic Baking at its Best.

Historic Downtown 125 N. Center St, Goldsboro, NC 27550

 

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Blog of blogs: 2019 NYE Resolution, Almost movie review: The Green Book, Murder of Nipsey Hussle

NYE resolution…Help unite and support my brothers.  Yes I’m late…very late.

My previous New Years blogs…

https://middlepassagementor.com/2018/01/07/2018-annual-new-years-resolution-living-free/

https://middlepassagementor.com/2017/01/02/new-years-resolution-step-out-of-my-self-and-be-better/

https://middlepassagementor.com/2015/01/08/my-only-annual-blog-new-years-resolutions/

https://middlepassagementor.com/2014/01/14/new-years-resolution-self-improvement/

…have always been about incrementally getting better.

Every year we all commit to resolutions to make our lives better, eliminate bad habits, be successful, etc. Every year we either fail or succeed and every year…without fail, we make the attempt.

This year and every year forward I want to be about helping promote any positive black endeavor…help my brothers out. There’s been a consistent deliberate conscious and subconscious negative narrative about black men and women for that matter…just about us as a whole. We’ve been smothered with all the negative stereotypes and unfortunately, it seems we’ve come to embrace them. It’s almost like we now believe what people show us about us…like we are cooler or stronger because of the bravado. Our music is gangsta, our behavior is ratchet, our life is thug…all of it doesn’t make us cooler or stronger, it makes us week as a community and weak as a people. I’m just tired of it. So…I’m going to fight it with just my positive…wherever it may occur. That’s my NYE resolution.

Movie Review: The Green Book

Ok…so I saw the Green Book…good movie. I always have an appreciation for the bond or brotherhood between men. Like the movies, “Life” with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence or “Uptown Saturday Night” with Sidney Portier and Bill Cosby or even “Bad Boys” with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.  Green Book, as with all those movies, transition the friendship through the forming, storming and norming. That was corporate speak, what I mean is you meet someone, you assess them, they assess you, you assert your position, then you respect and protect each other. Now…he’s your homie, anyway the story is based on…

Wait…

I just did a google search and they don’t even list the black actor in the 15 cast members listed on google…wait he WON the supporting-actor for his portrayal and he’s not even listed?! I’m talking about Mahershala Ali who portrays the real-life jazz pianist Dr. Don Shirley.

Wow…maybe my algorithms are off.

Anyway…know your history, the Green Book is a real book that detailed where blacks could travel safely in the south during segregation…it’s an actual book. It’s displayed in the African-American History Museum, I saw it.

So…search on Mahershala Ali and Dr. Don Shirley but don’t go see the movie…apparently Mahershala Ali wasn’t in the cast according to google. Dang…threw my whole review off.

The murder of Nipsey Hussle…why him?

I don’t even know where to start. I’m so sick of this $%@#!

I mean when Nipsey got killed, I was like, So what…next week another black man killed over something completely stupid.  It might even be something serious but again NOT worth a life.  Oh he’s a rapper… ex-gang dude, whatever, it will be someone else next week…but let’s get mad at the cops first. I mean come on, what makes Nipsey’s death any different. Someone will get killed next week over something like an almost gold chain, Nikes, my girlfriend likes you, your phone…some stupid s#1+.  Shoot…we don’t have to wait until next week…tonight I bet money, some black male will get killed TONIGHT! What?…you don’t like what I’m saying?!  I bet you won’t bet me. I make that bet any day of the week in any city. What…?  You didn’t think the same thing?! What US city do you live in where we aren’t killing each other…where do you live? I wanna move there.

You don’t understand…this is what EVERYONE sees us doing to ourselves…but “Black Lives Matter” right?!

Then I actually listened to Nipsey and got even angrier…Nipsey was a positive dude…about to get married…talking about investments…Yo this dude was making changes. That’s why I say, “Why him?”  Why is it that when the positive influences come and get snuffed out almost immediately…why is that?  Why is it that our beacons that challenge us to get better get snuffed out. I don’t know man but something has to change.

Rest in Peace Nipsey….really sorry I assumed those things about you.

Anyway…if anything is going to change, it has to start with me.

…that google search really put me in a foul mood.

MPM

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#BMXCEL

While attending the Black Men Xcel Summit in PGA National Resort and Spa in Florida, I was given the chance to learn, laugh, network, golf and just enjoy influential people of color. This is my second time attending the event formerly known as the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge.

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Every Labor Day weekend, BE creates an environment that provides access and resource for people of color making “money moves”. (I get that from Cardi B.)

As expected, the event was well attended and very positive. This event, in parallel to the magazine, falls into a niche for people of color that are pursuing & finding a path to success. This summit, as other BE summits, is educational and evolving. Workshops and coaching sessions this year included “Golf: The Sport of Business”, “Succeeding While Black”, discussions on community engagement and a panel on prioritizing mental health.

 

The reason why I found it appropriate for this blog audience, I think it’s important not to confuse movement with progress and while I’m running a business, working and traveling, it doesn’t mean I’m successful at it. You have take time to invest in your yourself and your goals in iterative patterns. It’s not always a fun holiday weekend but it’s necessary to identify and walk deliberate paths to your goals.

 

“Dreams without goals are just Dreams”

Denzel Washington

#BMXCEL is a great environment to resource individuals that are successful and maybe a little further down their path than you.  As with success in anything…it’s not convenient and placing myself in this environment annually provides me examples of success, whether their individuals, companies, or strategies.  It’s a checkup of where I am and where I would like to be.

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Last thing…”Mental Fitness” is the newest term I’ve learned and it’s so obvious. It’s the same as working out, it helps you with your physical fitness…your mental fitness also should be cared for in the same level of importance.

Malik Yoba discussed his 5 Pillars: Spiritual, Mental, Financial, Physical and Emotional…he shared how he works on each of those tenants in his life. I believe that covers just about everything but you find your own. That panel on mental health helped me identify other ways to improve, I hope you can look to make the same improvements in your day to day life.

MPM

“Poor people stay poor by trying to look rich, while rich people are busy getting richer acting poor.”

Ramen Phase

 

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Control your actions…control your narrative.

I’m starting to notice something.

When cops pull over young black kids they ALWAYS have the individuals…

outside the car,

sitting on the curb,

handcuffed,

in clear view of EVERYONE passing in their cars.

What’s the first thing you think…”What did they do or what law did they break?”

Then I started thinking…black kids are not the only kids that break the law and drive…right?!  Well wait…have I EVER seen white kids outside the car, sitting on the curb, handcuffed, in clear view of everyone passing?!

No…not ever.

That doesn’t mean white, Indian, Chinese, and Latino kids don’t break the law. I’m just coming to understand that it’s a common practice to display black youth and men in a demeaning situation or publicly subjugated. Let’s be clear, I’ve always seen it but never really discussed in open forum.

Similar to the “perp walk” on tv, when they escort a handcuffed man who has been arrested. I started paying attention ever since they locked Mike Tyson up for rape. They covered his handcuffs up with a coat but he jokingly showed them to the tv cameras. That was the first time I saw a black man in handcuffs that were covered. I had never paid attention until that moment.

When it’s a black man, you will almost always see the handcuffs.

When it’s a white person, the handcuffs are usually covered by a coat or a jacket.

I’m not saying it’s all the time but just understand what the visual narrative does to minorities. What it’s been doing to us for a long time. It discredits us, it paints us as criminals, it lessens the empathy for people of color…most importantly people expect us to be violent or ignorant. It’s not just the law enforcement that paints us in a bad light, the news media has their paint on the canvas also. When there’s a mass killing you don’t see a white face for days, maybe not days but you know it’s a white perpetrator because they don’t show a face. If the subject is apprehended, he’s usually white, if he shot and killed he’s usually a person of color. When there’s a rape or murder and a black man has a actually been apprehended, you can bet his mug shot is all over the news. Everybody knows this, this is nothing new. That’s our country, I love it but it is what it is.

Fortunately technology is allowing us to tell our truth. We can now record on Facebook live a cop shooting an innocent child or police killing unarmed black men selling cds or groups of cops choking an unarmed black man to death while he repeats, “I can’t breathe”. Regardless if the jury finds them guilty or not, technology allows us to see what happened with our own eyes.

It’s been going on for years…it’s just now technology is recording it for the whole world to see. So…when you can, just control your reactions, change the narrative. Be intelligent like Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson. They are the two gentlemen unlawfully arrested in Starbucks back in April.

They did nothing wrong.

The cops tried to provoke them…they didn’t get react.

The manager lied about what happened…they didn’t argue.

They still didn’t raise their voice and they still controlled the optics. It was recorded for the whole world to see. They didn’t get upset…they didn’t react…more importantly Donte & Rashon didn’t give the cops any reason to arrest them on some minor offense that puts them in the prison system. If they would have done anything wrong…

anything

we wouldn’t be talking about it. The nation wouldn’t be talking about it. Starbucks CEO wouldn’t be trying to “fix” anything. They would be just like those kids outside the car, sitting on the curb, handcuffed, ready to processed and churned in the billion dollar prison industry. Donte and Rashon would be among the thousands, millions of incarcerated black men trying to get out of prison.

So…let’s take the lesson from these two mature individuals, control your narrative.

MPM

“Have you ever seen a successful person angry? It is very rare. It is extremely difficult to become successful if you go around letting others control and manipulate you, which is what happens when you let them make you angry.”

 

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