Take a minute to take stock of your life. Identify who and what is a positive influence. Be that by their guidance, friendship or love. Embrace them and move forward with them. Then negative influences? Discard them and move on. Everyone and everything can not come along with you on your path. Reaching for the stars is hard enough by itself don’t let yourself be weighed down by those that bring only negativity to the table.
In December 1967, Rev. Dr. King announced the plan to bring together poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington. This march was to demand better jobs, better homes, better education—better lives than the ones they were living. Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy explained that the intention of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was to “dramatize the plight of America’s poor of all races and make very clear that they are sick and tired of waiting for a better life.”
In April 2019 we are still dealing with many of the same issues that Dr. King addressed with his Poor People’s Campaign. If anything the gap between the haves and the have nots has widened not shrunk. Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 39 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 188 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.
Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income for those in the richest 1 percent and 0.1 percent exploded. The wage and salary income for these elite groups dipped after the 2008 financial crisis but have nearly regained their pre-crisis value. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 22 percent increase from 1979 to 2017
Medical bills were the biggest cause of U.S. bankruptcies. A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues —either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found.
Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson articulated that:
“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
Today our President uses devise speech to tap into fears and subconscious racism embedded in each of us to keep the “every-person” divided rather than united.
A popular saying for many in the Trump base is that we’re losing our America. But the truth is it was never, for the vast majority of them anyway, “their” America. The America they claim they are losing was and has always the America of the rich white man. Access to the best schools and quality health care. The ability to “legally” manipulate the tax system to shelter money from the ever increasing taxes you and I pay. Consistently looking to increase their bottom lines at the expense of the average American.
Now let’s be clear here and not misunderstand what I am saying. I’m not saying that every wealthy white man acts this way or that they are inherently evil or solely responsible for many of the ills that the average working American, regardless of color or gender, faces on an everyday basis. What I am saying however is that there is a select few who have always had the money and the power to control the narrative. To keep the masses at each other throats, pointing accusatory fingers at each other and fighting for the scraps thrown their way.
It is amazing how often the poorest of the poor will vote against their self interest because they have been led to believe it is in their best interest to ensure the well being of the wealthy. Ensure their well being because after all one day they will drink from that same prosperous cup. That is as long as (insert race, gender or religious identity) doesn’t take what is rightfully theirs. The concept that they are more like that person they have been conditioned to believe is threatening them then they will ever be to the wealthy who promote the narrative is seemingly foreign to them.
But the truth is Dr. King had it right in 1967 and if he would have lived to see his campaign through he would have been seen as more of a threat to the “establishment’s” way of life than anything he accomplished during the civil rights movement. Simply put there is power in numbers, there is power in unity and if the majority of Americans put aside their hatred of each other, embraced their similarities and united in the fight against inequality there is no telling what this country could accomplish. Imagine a country with affordable and quality health care and education for all. Wage equality and a tax system that treated the 99% the same as the 1% and maybe as a byproduct of coming together to fight the inequalities we all face we’ll gain better understanding of each other. Now that’s a dream worth fighting for.
It is that time once again. The ending of one year the beginning of another.
A new year! A call to action! The opportunities to be better tomorrow and each succeeding day than you are today.
A chance to break free of the mundane, to refuse to paint in black and white and between the lines but instead wherever your imagination takes you. To paint your future in the bold strokes and daring colors it was meant to be painted in
A new year is the chance to embrace the truth. The truth that nothing is impossible as long as your faith remains strong and you dare to dream.
A new year,
A blank canvass,
A new beginning,
Make it yours
Because after all the future is but what you make it
I recently asked a friend what was the secret to their success? They replied that they were unafraid to walk the path of the unknown. Many fear that path and avoid it but often at the end of that path there is an abundance of opportunities. That may be the case I replied but walking the path of the unknown is fraught with risk. While there may be opportunity to advance waiting at the end there is just as much chance that there will be perils that when encountered will set you back. This is true my friend replied but I have faith in the Lord and as such I have cast away my worry and I step fearlessly onto the path knowing that He will guide me and bless me with the courage to face and the strength to overcome any dangers that I may encounter along the way. You see they continued with faith I know that the path may be that of the unknown to me but I am not walking that path alone I am being protected and guided by the Lord and with Him there is nothing to fear and all things are possible.
I traveled the long road through the tunnel of despair, depression and self-doubts, and emerged a better person. The journey while difficult was worth it because you must look despair squarely in the eye to find yourself and at the of my journey I had rediscovered myself. I realized that receiving the accolades of others, being recognized for my achievements may have made me happy but was not the key to my happiness. I realized that while I was looking for validation from society the only validation I needed is from with-in. Gone was the fear of failure because I may fail again and its place was the resolve to move forward and seize the possibilities the future holds. I no longer put on a face for the world to believe I was happy but show my real face because I am happy. For in traveling the road back I found the keys to being truly happy, belief in myself and what I can accomplish. The journey may have been arduous but it helped me to find the strength to discover myself and to believe in my potential.
So you’re telling me there’s a chance
– Lloyd (dumb and dumber)
Has there ever been truer words uttered when it comes to reaching our full potential. We are presented with endless opportunities in business, love and life in general some of those opportunities may seem unattainable but what we have to learn is that if there is even the smallest chance at seizing that what we thought was unattainable then we should go for it. It is no fun going through life wondering what if. Maybe we don’t accomplish what we set our mind to. So what, at least we will never wonder what would have happened if we just tried. And more importantly with every effort we make successful or not our fear of failure diminishes and we learn and grow from it. Making the next opportunity feel less unattainable and the more likely we will attempt to grab hold of it opening up our lives to the full potential it was meant to be.
I had just finished a long difficult project when one of my co-workers remarked you must be exhausted that project must have taken a lot out of you. Interesting I thought I’m not tired at all in fact I’m full of energy. Why? Because I was passionate about the project I had just finished. My passion pushed me to keep going when the project hit roadblocks. My passion drove me to learn new and exciting ways to see this project succeed. My passion helped me take those lessons learned and translate them into creative and innovative strategies which pushed the project to success. And at the end when the project was a success my passion energized me to a whole new level. Passion is funny that way it is a force of nature that can drive you to pursue your biggest dreams, chase opportunities you would normally ignore. It can unleash your talent and push you to be the best you can be. The moral to this story? Simple, follow your heart and do what you’re passionate about in doing so you will find not only your full potential but all the possibilities that potential yields.