Sing, dance, rap, party to the negativity.

I came downstairs this morning and do what I normally do…turn on Bounce TV.

On the weekend I usually turn on the tv and have it as ambient background while I cook breakfast. My pooch follows me to the kitchen and I notice the video countdown is on. I don’t have cable so this is the only “ethnic” video programming.

I was on #7 Mary J Blige was singing about how she’s tired of some man.

Then #6 was a song entitled, “My girls” by some female group…emphasizing the solidarity of her girls.

Then #5 John Legend talking about love; Family, Country, Heterosexual, Homosexual…love.

Then #4 Beyonce “Lemonade” the video was the “Queen B” walking around breaking up cars, windows, fire hydrants, singing about how she was betrayed hurt by some, you guessed it, man. I thought queens behaved a little differently but that’s just me.

Then Bryson or whatever his name was, talking about some woman that hurt him. This dude is about 20 years old complaining about a woman…please.

What number are we on? Solange talking about rebuilding and trying…wait, honestly, I don’t know WHAT she was talking about.

Finally number #1 Bruno Mars…he was partying about money, vixens,  Vegas and Versachee(spelled it wrong on purpose). I actually like this song.

Ok…out of ten videos, what do you see? I’m not talking to you ladies, I’m talking to the young men. I’ll tell you what I see…a bunch of negativity about black men and this contentious culture with our women. I’ve done my share of hurting and disappointing women, so I’m the last person playing victim here.

My point is this;

  • All women are not gold diggers.
  • All women are not hoes.
  • All women are not cheating.
  • All women don’t dress like strippers.
  • All women are not ALL women.

Regardless of what you see on tv, regardless of what may be around you, treat women with respect. Even if they don’t act like they deserve to be respected, respect them anyway. As a man you have to be the better person, you have to lead by an example of a gentlemen. You have to want better for yourself. If you can’t make someone happy or make their lives better, keep looking. Don’t stay there making each other miserable. Find someone that will appreciate you doing something for them. Sliding off topic…anyway as I said, “ethnic” programming…and that’s just what it is…programming. That’s an interesting word because that’s exactly what’s happening. Well, don’t let videos, tv, social media or the news convince or “program” you to be negative. Keep your perspective positive. Remember All women are not All women. Find that one that’s different and put a ring on it. I need to take my own advice.

I could be blogging volumes about all the other negative influences but I chose to take a bite out of this one.

MPM

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New Years Resolution: Step out of my self and be better

The point of this blog is not to get you to have the perfect resolution. The purpose is for you to understand the path to getting better through your resolutions. You have to examine yourself and target what’s lacking and make it better. I want you to get moving towards your goals through a self assessment of who you are and who you want to be. I’m personally never content in one space when I know I can do better. I try to keep moving forward in my attitude, my position and my vision. Nothing worth attaining happens overnight, so start working towards that goal. Before I get into resolutions, let me first examine the purpose of resolutions so we all can understand how resolutions originated and what they should be.

There are several origins of new years resolutions;

The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.

The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. The Romans believed Janus could forgive them for the wrongdoings in the previous year. They would make promises, believing that Janus would see this and bless them in the years ahead.

In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.

Thanks Wikipedia ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My interpretation of a resolution is some vow or commitment to better yourself. I’ve learned to make my resolutions realistic. For example, “Being a millionaire by the end of the year” is not a resolution, it may be a goal but how realistic is that really? Now if you resolve to “Save ten percent of your income by the end of the year”, that’s a good attainable resolution. Shoot maybe by the end of 10 years saving 10 percent, you may be a millionaire.

My point is that all resolutions aim at making yourself better, self-improving, and becoming a better person, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As a young man, I had role models like; my uncle, grandfather and my mother’s boyfriend. As some sort of rite of passage, I always tried to think of a resolution that would make me better as a man or husband. I mean, they knew things about cars that I didn’t know so I would learn from them. My grandfather was a hard worker so I would try to work harder and not give up quick like I usually did. My mother would say, “Don’t half do it, do it until it’s complete”.

I’ve committed to several resolutions over the past 20 years or so. This is a list of resolutions as far as I can remember.

  • Clean up my room more
  • Take out the trash when asked the first time
  • Learn how to swim
  • Get my driving permit
  • Learn how to jump-start a car.
  • Learn how to drive
  • Get a passport
  • Pay off my Macy’s credit card
  • Get accepted to college
  • Study 4 times a week
  • Learn how to cut my own hair
  • Get a part-time job while in school
  • Learn how to drive a manual transmission
  • Don’t have any babies before I graduate college
  • Don’t smoke any weed
  • Graduate college
  • Purchase a home
  • Travel outside the country
  • Whenever I need to, pray
  • Volunteer/Mentor with an organization
  • Pay my taxes on time
  • Don’t get any speeding tickets
  • Start my own company
  • Join a church
  • Lose 10 lbs
  • Learn how to scuba dive
  • Tithe regularly
  • Eat red meat once a week
  • Join a dive club
  • Run for office of my volunteer chapter
  • Learn muay thai
  • Don’t send out emails without proofreading
  • Run for an office position of my national volunteer organization
  • Start a mentoring blog
  • Purchase a retirement home

All of the previous resolutions were goals at one time. I can honestly say most of them were successfully completed. The speeding ticket one…hmmm.

My more recent resolutions were:

  • Focus on my spirituality and less on religion
  • Read twice a week, put Netflix and Amazon prime on hold.
  • Learn Spanish…still going
  • Be positive, regardless of the situation be positive, make the situation better not worse
  • Pay off all my credit cards…I paid them off once, gotta do it again and again
  • Let me try this again…do not purchase any clothing!…Not even boxer briefs
  • Interview celebrities for my blog
  • Finish 3 screenplays…uuugh
  • Investigate 3 places I would live abroad…down to two (Capetown, Caribbean, or South America)
  • Maintain 15% body fat…up to 20% but I’m 184 so maybe that’s the good fat.
  • Focus on wealth building not money…always.
  • Be happy!…pretty easy for me.

Fortunately or unfortunately, some significant things occurred this year that shook my foundation. It tells me I can’t just do the same old “focus on you” thing. I’ll still work on the above goals but I feel it’s time to heal and help my people. Let me give you an example:

As I was walking in the Costco parking lot I saw this woman’s cart in front of my car. She was an older black woman, so I walked up and politely informed her that her cart was in my way and I was leaving. I thought I was polite when I approached her. She responded, “Ok”  

As my behind landed in the seat I noticed what I had just done. I had walked past an elderly black woman trying to put bottles and a package of plastic water bottles in her trunk. I felt like an idiots that don’t hold the door when you’re 3 steps behind them. Well…before my door closed, I immediately got back out, helped her sort the individual items in the cardboard box and picked up the package of water and placed it in her trunk and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking, I’ll take your cart for you.” I returned her cart to the cart area and returned to my car. She was appreciative and hurrying to get her keys and stuff together. I said, “Miss…please take your time.” She said, “Bless you…Thank you”. I was mad and ashamed that I had the attitude that she was in my way.

I just shook my head in the car and realized then…I must change.

The shame of my actions wasn’t obvious and that’s what bothered me. Regardless of what I felt election night I feel right back to worry about me, what I have, what I’m doing, where am going, what I need.  At that moment, I realized and reminded myself that I have to change. I think we have veered to far off the path of what’s right. We’ve forgotten what’s important, we’ve become selfish and that’s NOT who we are…we’ve been convinced to believe who we are… but they’re wrong. I’m starting to creep out of my blog subject but you get what I mean. There’s more to discuss on this topic.

My resolution for 2016 is:

  • Be a better example, I think I’m ok, good even…but I want to be exceptional.
MPM
“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.”
Winston Churchill

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Learn how to receive feedback

A couple of weeks ago, my brother Devon and I met two women at Due South over Yards Park. We had a discussion that related to one of my blogs, I’m usually proud about my blogs so I asked them to read it. They looked at the blog on their phones and within seconds, both agreed to read it later. Then after a feeling out period they told me how they really felt about the blog.

“Well, most if not all your blogs are too long,” they said, “you’re going to lose your audience because they’re not going to read this.” What’s even more ironic, one or both of them were editors of some sort…great. My punctuation was commented on too. Jeesh.

After receiving their feedback I’d like to give advice about feedback.

When someone gives you feedback;

  • Don’t get mad.
  • Close your mouth and listen.
  • They are not hating on you, they are helping you to become better.
  • Understand what you need to do differently and apply their feedback.
  • Thank them for the feedback, even if you don’t like it.

Lastly, not all feedback is supportive, constructive or helpful. People have their own motives for giving advice. The more you listen to feedback, the quicker you’ll recognize feedback that is well intended, and genuine.

So, thank you Michanda and Iris!

I tried to keep this blog short and will continue to keep shorter formats. If you disagree and I should keep the longer blogs, please let me know.

MPM

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.  Elon Musk

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YOUR attitude will shape YOUR destiny.

I wanted to publish this blog so badly but it’s taken me forty something years to understand the importance of attitude. I feel comfortable discussing it now because I needed to learn and understand the effects of my attitude.

My friend Keisha would always tell me, “…you gotta kill them with kindness”. I believed her but I didn’t think I was capable and I did not want to be a “punk”.

If you’re kind, it doesn’t mean you’re a punk.

In my militant Morgan State mind, I always thought it was weak to be kind. Let me explain where that originates. Black males are always dealt a higher level of criticism, our ideas are never good enough, we’re always expected to fail because most of the time, we are set up to fail. I call it the “Obama Syndrome”, no President Obama wasn’t the first black male to experience a blanket scrutiny but in the highest position in the country, it’s easier to see a bias during his term unlike we’ve witnessed in the past. Black males don’t get the benefit of a doubt, another chance or an adequate level of support or fair consideration of the circumstances. We aren’t a part of the good ole boy club and don’t have any relatives that can get us access. We may be able to get a reference but for the most part, anytime you start of job, you’re starting from the bottom of the hill with no shortcuts to the top. Thinking back, it was hard for me to react with kind intentions, with that culture of bias. Let me say, kind is not the right word to convey what I mean. Being professional, positive, less sensitive or a little less confrontational, may be what I mean.

Over the last two years I have been working in a position that was inherently contentious. I was dealing with rigid personalities and negatively reactive support. I’m not complaining, I’m use to it, it was the typical scenario I faced and you will face. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

The only difference in the past two years was how I reacted to it. In the past, those circumstances always invited a frustration or impatience that exuded in attitude and actions, but in the last two years I didn’t carry that frustration with me. I just did my job and helped everyone as much as I could. I tried to always be pleasant, positive and a team player. I’m not tap dancing and smiling all the time,  I just do the job, get my money and be bigger and better than any nonsense. There were some significant challenges, small people testing me but I just kept focusing on my goal.   I always just kept my attitude positive and it was reflected in my actions. When a shady email came across my screen, I had the reservation to just not respond. I would respond only a few times with a strategic email but nothing like I did before. In the past, I would respond and embarrass myself and my team. I would find myself in my managers office trying to justify my actions. Well…I didn’t have to visit my manager in the past two years and most times, someone else was defending my actions. Over time in this role, I found people supportive because I wasn’t the angry black dude. I was the team player with the great attitude. I had never been him before and I liked it. Well…I’m leaving this position because someone from another division sought me out. They heard I had a “Great attitude” and would be an asset to the team. ME?! (Looking side to side) The two years of being positive paid off. Both of my managers came to me and said, “I support you moving on, you’ll do great.” I was blown away, one manager said, “If it doesn’t work out just call me and I’ll find a position here for you.”  WHAT?! …that has never happened in my life. I’m not saying that I can’t return to any of my positions but my value was never made so clear to me.

So I’m sharing this because I wasn’t kind, I was positive, stayed away from gossip and did the best I could without falling into the angry black man stereotype. Don’t be angry. I mean why?!…you have a job, you can buy nice things, take care of your family and enjoy life. Why fight with people, black or white, that are unhappy in their lives, why give their misery company. Being positive doesn’t mean being a punk or a sell out. You can avoid drama and reinvent your reputation and be seen as a person that wants to succeed.

There’s a few sayings that are relevant here;

“Life is 10% something happening to you and 90% how you handle it”

” Watch your thoughts, they become words, watch you words, they become your actions”

For the first time in my life I can control…as I’m typing this another statement rings in my head;

“He who angers you, controls you”

That’s what I mean, when you don’t respond to the nonsense and you stay above the pettiness, things come easier.

MPM

“A bad attitude is like a flat tire, if you don’t change it you’ll never go anywhere.”

“Your attitude is like a price tag, it shows how valuable you are.”

Ps. The instagram photo is of my goodbye card, my old manager signed it saying, “Robert, I’d wish you luck but you’ll be successful wherever you go.”

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