Saturday, July 31, 2010



Many of you are too young to remember this song by James Brown, who was arguably the single greatest black entertainer of his times when I was growing up as a young man. It was a different world back then, but one that people of my generation know quite well.

Unfortunately too many men think the world they are facing now should be handled like the ones from the olden days. I can tell you now that with absolutely no uncertainties, “This is a completely different world.” Even though it is still basically a man’s world in terms of who controls the major leadership roles, in between the sheets things have already changed drastically. What happens in the bedroom may have stayed there in times past but that is no longer the case. Women and girls are stepping out and doing their thing.

Should males be intimidated by the surge of female empowerment? If a person is the best candidate for a position why should it matter which gender they may be? Most business owners want workers in their companies that are the best at what they do. They are seeking high performance in what they were hired to achieve. No matter what the job may be the bottom line is the level of performance and what the workers may add to the company’s bottom line. If females prove to be the best candidates then they should be the ones hired.

In an ideal world considering the best person for a possible position would certainly be the most logical thing to do. All people should be treated fairly and given an equal chance to compete for the jobs or positions at hand. However, this is not an ideal world. People are not treated equally. Bigotry, gender biases, discriminatory practices, haters, and male chauvinists still dominate our western civilization. However, that day seems to be on a short leash. Female power is on the rise and there doesn’t appear to be much to stop them from gaining full equality.

A real man would stand up to the challenge and make sure he is fully prepared to compete in the world at large for the position he seeks. Only the lazy or underprivileged would sit back and complain about their inability to compete. Who would you blame besides yourself? When different people compete for the same things then the basic rule is victory to the winner. If someone seeks an unfair advantage then how could that be a good thing?

Fellows, this is your wake up call. This is no longer a man’s world. It is now a world where the best person for the position gets the job. Men no longer have an unfair advantage. Women always had more power than we gave them credit for having, but now they are able to flex their muscles and exert their power. The game is on. If you want to compete in this world then you had better come to the table with your best stuff. This is a good thing. It should bring out the best of both sexes. Ultimately and perhaps even unfortunately the weak will fall. That is how Mother Nature takes care of business. The strong survive and the weak are trampled by a stampede of the strong ones. Fairly soon we will no longer call this “a man’s world.” It will simply be a place where the best person walks away with the goodies.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Road Most Travelled

We know that the wider road is the one most traveled simply because most people don’t want to take risks. If they see the majority taking a certain path they assume they do so for a reason. Normally I would say that is not a bad practice, but much depends upon if you, as an individual, have more to offer to the group effort than you are willing to give. It’s easy to take the wide road, but much harder to go above and beyond the call of duty onto the road less traveled. Those who take this road realize why they do so.

The common thought process is: “Why should I do more than absolutely necessary in order to put myself into the position that I desire?” If you are capable of achieving great things yet refuse to do so, “just because,” then you are wasting your natural or God-given gifts. As you look at the totality of the human species there are only a few chosen ones that carry our species progressively forward in a positive manner. If those who have such ability refuse to step on the throttle… the consequences can be devastating for the rest of the species.

As a person who has gifts and talents to do more and rise higher, it is almost a duty to fulfill the shoes I was destined to follow. Since the truly gifted and talented ones are so rare it may take several years or decades before life can reproduce one with uniqueness. Therefore it is imperative that those who have unique and special talents do all they can in order to place their stamp upon society and the world.

Imagine if Gandhi had taken the road less traveled? Imagine if MLK had chosen to get his nuclear family ahead and allow his race to fend for itself? Imagine all the scientists and inventors receiving an idea to create something totally new for the benefit of humanity and, for whatever reason, chose not to share their thoughts with the world? The road less traveled is not an easy one, but it is one that the select few chose to take.

Regardless of what you may think, you came into this world with a special and unique gift or talent. You have a special ability that is yours alone. Just suppose for a moment that you are the only one that can perform what you have the ability to do. Would you not feel an obligation to do the right thing for the right reason? Truth has it; people choose to take the lesser road. They realize that a higher road is available, but still opt to take the lesser one. Is that you?!!!

Without blaming anyone for negligence I would simply say there is much more available to us as a species than that of which we take advantage. More people with special gifts and talents think they can simply take the popular road and allow life to do what it does. I say to you; “That’s not good enough.” You were blessed beyond others for a reason. For those who are given much, more is expected of them; and for those who were given less, not as much is expected. Where you fall in the overall scale is something that you inwardly know. Your Creator knew in advance what you were intended to achieve.

Understanding this to be even a remote possibility: which road will you take? There are two choices: the road most traveled or the one less traveled. The choice is YOURS.

A Man With a Plan

Sorry to admit this, fellows, but too many of you wing it through life rather than coming up with a sensible plan that will assist you in navigating through it. In this case it is not the pot calling the kettle black because I was like most males who share a similar attitude when they are young. They operate from the seat of their pants or from their gut feelings.

Fortunately for me I made a couple of wise choices that assisted me later in life. I can’t take any credit for being smart because I only followed the prompting that came my way from my environment (most specifically from my Mother) that led me to take precautionary measures.

Unfortunately, the statistics show a drastic decline in how the male species is operating while at the same time it shows a counteracting incline in how females are operating. Overall females are doing much better in this society, while males are not. Much of this is attributed to the lackadaisical attitude men have adopted in recent years. Men are not used to having to compete against females for the typical roles men fulfilled since time's beginning. Men were the unchallenged heads of the family. Today, how things have changed.

Men can no longer depend upon going out and finding a manual labor job just to produce an income that will sustain a family. In tough economic times minimum-wage jobs will not cut it. Depending upon your financial social status such wages will not even cover the minimum standards of living. If living below the standard is what you are willing to accept for your family and yourself, then being a man without a plan will certainly get you there. Alternatively, if you want more for those who depend upon you, a plan of action is necessary. The rules of the world have changed. You must adjust if you want to become successful.

Obviously good planning is beneficial to all: Major businesses operate that way, teams work that way, and even the world at large works in an organized manner. When you don’t have a plan the automatic default is usually failure. For example, if you leave a plot of land un-kept it will not grow a manicured garden. It will only produce wild weeds. This is called entropy. A man without a plan achieves similar results.

Even though I can’t tell you how to plan your life, or what kind of plan may work with the skills or natural gifts you may have, I can tell you with certainty that if you do nothing… you will achieve nothing. If achieving nothing is good enough for you, then so be it.

Being incorrigible as a single person with no responsibilities is one thing, but being that way with responsibilities and people depending upon you places one on the lower side of human character and behavior. You are beyond constraints, advice, or correction. If that is truly how you want to run your life then do it alone, and hopefully away from others that want what is best for all.

A man with a plan is what you should want to be. When you were a child people expected you to act as one, but there comes a point when you reach the age of maturity. At that point you must shed your childish ways and step up to the plate in order to be counted or even be IN the game of life. You may not have a master plan for success but at least you should have one that keeps you out of the wild weeds. Be somebody that others can call worthy – be a man with a plan!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What do you stand for?

Obviously many of us have our different lines drawn we draw in the sand that we are willing to protect at all cost. A lot of this has to do with your upbringing. If you were taught a decent set of morals while you were developing your personality chances are that you will do the right thing when called upon to do so. However, with the peer pressure that comes when you are in the teens and young adult you are more liable to do things that go against your core values. At such times you may decide to recklessly break your own rules against what you know to be a smarter choice.

Are you your own man or do you dance to someone else's tune. Being your own man means standing on the values you deem to be right, correct, decent, caring, considerate, or just doing what you feel is best given the situation… I just used the “f” word “feel!” Do guys really feel things? Yes they do, but they were told not to show their feelings. It’s your gut instinct!

Regardless to what the media calls a “macho man,” a “real man” has the complete package. He is not afraid to stand up and do what is right. Doing things just to please others is not a “real man”… that would be one that does not pull his own chains. Since most males think analytically, tell me what you think is better… to be controlled by the desires of others or to be controlled by your desires? This is a trick question.

If you have good values then you should stand firm on them, but if you have weak values they are not worth standing upon. How do you know if your value system is good, bad, strong, or weak? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. If what you do causes harm to others and you as well… that would be weak or bad values. If what you do aids, assist, or otherwise improves upon others it would be good values. If no one taught you the difference between right and wrong while you were growing up it is up to you to start re-training you.

Think before you act. Understand that there are consequences to all the things you do. If you make a bad cause it will create a bad consequence. If you make a good cause it will make a good consequence. Use a simple set of rules in the beginning that are based upon the consequences of your actions, deeds, and thoughts. Once this becomes a habit then expand upon your basic values. Refine them to higher spiritual qualities. Know what you stand for and stand firm for the things you know to be beneficial.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

I’m sure most of you have heard this statement, but few know where it comes from or what it really means. The term is often attributed to Rudolf Enrich Raspe's story The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where the main character pulls himself out of a swamp, though it's disputed whether it was done by his hair or by his bootstrap.

Tall boots may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing one to use fingers or a tool to provide better leverage in pulling the boots on. The saying "to pull yourself up by your bootstraps" was already in use during the 1800s as an example of an impossible task. Bootstrap as a metaphor, meaning to better oneself by one's own unaided efforts, was in use in 1922. This metaphor spawned additional metaphors for a series of self-sustaining processes that proceed without external help. This is from Wikipedia.

That’s more information than you need to know at this time but it is a good metaphor for what I want to talk about. When you are down you have options. You can stay down or you can figure a way to get back up. Your options as to how to get back up on your feet may not be simple, they may not be easy, or they may not be what you desire, but usually “where there is a will there is a way.” If you want to achieve something bad enough you will more than likely find a way to do it.

Many of us have been down at various points in our lives. Things have not always worked out the way we planned. Some go through health problems, financial problems, failed relationships, problems with children, drugs, alcohol, or other issues. The reasons why we fall down are too numerous to count. However, the first step to recovery is to realize that you are down. Become aware!

Acknowledge exactly where you are in order to pinpoint the situation. Once you see your exact situation and circumstance then you can plan a route to get away from where you are to where you want to be. For example if you have a drug problem you need to admit to the problem and then seek the necessary help to fix it. If your relationship is failing you need to admit that it’s failing and then try to fix it, or end it. You must first acknowledge your situations before you can change it.

Now, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. By that I mean don’t wait for someone else to come along and save you from your problem. Instead get a hold of yourself, your mind, your physical abilities, your heart, your will, your desire, and every part of your being and decide that you are willing to do what’s necessary to change your circumstances. Once your mind is made up to change then the will (volition) kicks into action. This is the inner part of your being, the spiritual component that you may not recognize.

Rarely do we know the full extent of our abilities until we are forced into action. In life or death situations you do things that you didn’t know you could do because you don’t have other options. Survival is one of the primary human instincts. We use every part of our being when we absolutely have to. You have it in you… but you just don’t realize it.

Why wait until the curtains are about to be pulled down on your life. Why wait until your foundation crumbles. There are enough tale-tale signs to indicate when things are going in the wrong direction. Things do not normally crash without notice. I say to you, pull yourself up before you go completely under: If things are not going well, get the proper help. Reach out to a trusted friend; get professional help, rally the troops, or just do something to change the immediate picture. Change your circumstance and you may be surprised when you see a difference. If you’re lying in the mud, get out! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!