Monthly Archives: July 2014

What Comes First?

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Raise your hand if you have a job. Raise your other hand if you go to school. Stand up if you have friends. Take a step forward if you’re in a relationship. Step to the left if you have a family. Take a step back if you have bills you need to pay. Step forward again if you have a hobby. Step back again if you need a break. Did you get all of that? Are you tired? Are you confused? Well, that’s life. Life is full of so many different components that require your attention that it’s mentally exhausting and it’s hard trying to keep track of everything. So what do you do? You figure out what comes first and cut out all of the bullsh!t. If you don’t need it, why keep it?

First, you need to evaluate your priorities. What should come first? It could be school, work, or even just finding time to yourself, but you need to identify your priority and why it’s your priority. For example, for a long time, my priority was to do well in school and to graduate as soon as possible. I knew I wanted to have a strong career and that getting an education was the first step. Your priority could be to get a job in order to gain experience for a better job, to buy a car, or own a home. Your priority could also be to relax because you don’t want to have a mental breakdown that keeps you from doing anything at all. The point is that you need to figure out what is most important to you and why. As soon as you figure that out, organize your life to help you focus on your priority. Of course, you don’t want to become a workaholic or a studying hermit, so you want to maintain some balance, but you do have to rearrange some things so that you can achieve your goals. Hence cut out what you don’t need.

When you reflect on your life, where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to be, it helps put everything into perspective. You realize what really matters and what deserves your energy, so you stop stressing out about the little things and instead pay attention to what is important to you. Sometimes we get lost in the confusion of our lives. There’s so much going on that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and we end up losing ourselves a little. What’s worst is when the lives and priorities of those around us overshadow our own priorities. You start to question your own judgment, while focusing on the negative, so you usually end up shifting your life based off of another person’s opinion. Now, you’re one step further away than you were in the first place. This is why it’s so important to know what you want, so that you can stay focused on what matters. Once you realize what comes first, nothing else matters.

2014 ESPYS Must See (Part 1)

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The 2014 ESPY Awards were last week and, although there were many great moments including Drake’s hilarious skits, I wanted to highlight two of my favorite moments.  They are emotional, inspirational, and motivational, which is why I wanted to make sure all of you got a chance to see them.  The first of my must see moments is Stuart Scott’s acceptance of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.  I’ll be posting my second favorite moment tomorrow.

Presentation is Perception

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Throughout my young lifetime, I’ve learned that you should present yourself how you would like to be perceived. Age, race, gender, and any other factor are virtually irrelevant as long as you make them so. A woman can be a competitive athlete if she trains and performs like one. A Black man can be an educated professional if he has the credentials and acts accordingly. A teenager can be a business man if he works and conducts business like a legitimate entrepreneur. There should be no limitations to how a person is treated unless those limitations are self-enforced. However, I don’t know if many other people from my generation understand the true power they have over their lives. It is as if people would rather shoot themselves in the foot before persuading people to see who they truly are, or at least who they could be.

My brother is an entrepreneur at the age of 24. When he was talking to his mentor about his business a few years ago, my brother told his mentor that he was worried about other professionals not treating him as such. His mentor’s response was “If you act like a business man, then they’ll treat you like a business man.” Ever since that conversation, those have become words that my brother and I live by.

Since then, I have worked hard to eliminate the limitations that I believe people are trying to place on me whether it has to do with my age, gender, or nationality. These restrictions have no power unless I give them that power and I am proud to say, within the past few years, that power has been diminishing. People have begun to perceive me how I want them to because that is how I present myself. Intelligent, independent, hard-working, talented, and driven are some of the ways that people have described me given the way I’ve presented myself. However, it seems like not everyone realizes the power they have over their lives.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed one too many times when a person dissolves their opportunities through lack of professionalism, lack of grace to rejection, lack of preparation, and so many other scenarios. But these flaws that you yourself present to the world are what people will remember you by. They’ll say “she’s so beautiful, but her attitude is horrible” or “he’s so talented, but the profanity he uses is something I don’t want to be associated with.” So make sure people remember you how you want to be perceived by presenting yourself how you want to be seen.

Celebrating Nelson Mandela

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Today would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday, so to celebrate his life and everything he represents, I’m sharing with you all the work of Marco Cianfanelli.  This artist created this sculpture in honor of the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s capture by the apartheid police, which stands in South Africa.

“This represents the momentum gained in the struggle through the symbolic of Mandela’s capture. The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising, bringing about political change and democracy.”
 
-Marco Cianfanelli
 
Nelson Mandela Sculpture