You Underestimate Your Power

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure……..” Marianne Williamson

Too many of us do not go beyond the benchmark of ‘having potential’. Truth is, we can possess all the potential and embody all the promises of success but it is up to us to translate that potential into full self-actualization. It is up to us to translate that raw passion into pure power. Some believe that the biggest crime is not knowing love. I believe that the biggest loss is not knowing what you could have become.

 

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I Saw It Long Before I Had It

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Where I am today wasn’t where I thought I’d be some years ago and yet my mind still runs wild with possibilities, with expectations and with dreams. Everyone has their own idea of what success looks like and what seems to be a ‘given’ for some may be a miracle for others. What was the norm for you may have taken blood, sweat and tears to achieve for me. Either way, what encourages me is the fact that my subconscious and my dreams remain a constant reminder that there is still work to be done. The difference now is that instead of rushing to the finale, I’ve now learnt to enjoy the ride!

 

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Black Lives Matter: If Only All Black People Agreed

 

I’m going to be honest, as a race we lost our way long before the ‘white supremacists’, ‘European bigots’, ‘red necks’ and ‘racist clans’ launched concerted and random attacks against us, our families and our children. Given the recent spate of police violence towards Black people in America, everyone is up in arms and insisting that the police, government, established institutions etc. should start recognising Blacks as fellow human beings. Though noble, this message is misdirected. It’s not OTHERS that should start recognising our worth, it is WE who need to start recognising that our lives matter. You think this is irrelevant? Let me highlight some problems that we have but take for granted:

  1. Lack of Unity

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It is hard to penetrate the ranks of a unified stronghold the same way that a united group is far more difficult to subjugate than a single individual. Unfortunately, we have nurtured divisions among us from as far back as the time of our ancestors. Not only has this given the Western world a jump start in progress and development (all on the backs of our sweat and tears) but our own division has also set us back. This is despite the fact that we have proven time and again that we have the potential to not only prosper but thrive. Take the slave trade for example. For many years, our history lessons in the Caribbean was littered with horrific stories, gruelling pictures and harrowing accounts of how Africans were viciously torn away from their families, forcefully captured, inhumanly transported across the treacherous Atlantic and thereafter doomed to a life of torture, abuse, squalor and ultimately, death. However, there was very little account (or room for analysis) of how much Africans themselves contributed to this whole affair. The Europeans didn’t just arrive in Africa with the fore-knowledge of how to negotiate the continent’s difficult terrain and neither did they automatically know which pockets of communities were weakest therefore easiest to target. Their cultural and local language awareness was pretty much non-existent and like the Caribbean, it’s hard to believe that they could have survived the harsher environments of the continent without help. So there is no doubt that Africans were accomplices in this lucrative Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.

African Chiefs Urged to Apologise for the Slave Trade http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/nov/18/africans-apologise-slave-trade

Argument Against Africans’ Contribution to the Slave Trade http://www.asante.net/articles/44/afrocentricity/

Historical Eye Witness Account of Africans’ help in the Slave Trade http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/slavetrade.htm

Even if that can be forgiven, what is unforgivable is the fact that even when we have a hand in our own demise, we always manage to benefit the least because we are often short-sighted. The African slave traders thought short term when they traded their fellow brothers and sisters for European wares and currency. Their paltry profit stands in stark contrast to the huge benefits that the Europeans gained from what pretty much propelled their economies to be the superpowers and first world countries that they are today (How Slavery Helped Build A World Economy  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/01/0131_030203_jubilee2.html). This problem of ‘selling out’, ‘selfishness’ and ‘self-preservation’ has been the hallmark of our race. Look at the following examples which mainly highlights Jamaica as a case in point:

Tourism industries in the Caribbean benefiting foreign companies most http://www.sivglobal.org/?read=185

Jamaica’s IMF and World Bank debt affects its people’s social welfare http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/apr/16/jamaica-decades-debt-damaging-future

Two-sides of the argument for Britain’s repatriation of Nigerian, Somaliland, Jamaican etc. criminals back to their home country while sweetening the deal with so-called ‘monetary aid’

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/30/uk-to-repatriate-hundreds-of-jamaican-prisoners

https://www.facebook.com/thebellablair/videos/427499800789602/

Multinational companies and the harms they cause to local economies (including that of Black majority countries) http://www.laborrights.org/in-the-news/14-worst-corporate-evildoers

Outside of personal gains and successes, we fail to progress on a larger scale because we fail to see the bigger picture. Therefore, if Black lives mattered, then at the very least, our leaders, representatives and compatriots should act as such.

  1. We Don’t Even Consider Ourselves Beautiful

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I recently wrote the article ‘I’m Not Beautiful But I’m Worth It’ (https://technotecky.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/im-not-beautiful-but-im-worth-it/) because from a very early stage I was fed a preconceived notion that beauty involved having long soft hair, fair skin, a slender body and pretty-coloured eyes. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was the parents, grandparents and potential boyfriends and husbands in my society that fuelled this nonsense and embraced it as an ‘ideal’. Had I not acquired true self-awareness in time, I would have probably resorted to bleaching my skin (See video about this growing problem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y-a87ClNW0). I would have also continued to break my hair through harsh processing and unhealthy hairstyles and would have even approached my adulthood with a sense of being unworthy of the same respect and attention as my fair-skinned counterparts. You say Black lives matter? Then why are Black parents and grandparents reinforcing the stereotype that being ‘light-skinned’ and ‘white’ is synonymous to beauty and worth? Why do the Black men in our lives choose to remind us that we are a ‘downgrade’ when it comes to mate selection while the light-skinned woman is crème-de-la-crème? Why do Black women turn up their noses at a sista that chooses to rock her natural beauty yet are happy to fund a multi-billion dollar industry (which we don’t even own by the way) through routine purchases of fake hair, weaves and extensions? Why do we even need fake hair and makeup to feel beautiful? You cannot parade around the streets showing yourself to be an avid advocate of the campaign ‘Black Lives Matter’ when your kids have no true sense of self-worth, when you fear embracing your own natural uniqueness and beauty, when you happily speak ill of another Black individual on account of the shade of their skin or physical features and when you don’t even value yourself enough to wait for someone who is worth your time and will treat your right. You can’t demand that people see you or your fellowman as valuable when you don’t even believe that yourself.

  1. Culture of Baby Fathers and Single Mothers

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Black men have gained notoriety when it comes to cheating and being unfaithful. In fact, this habit is so prominent that many stupidly wear the label of ‘cheater’ and ‘womaniser’ as a badge of honour. Now Black women are partly to blame for this habit because they have either tacitly accepted that all men will cheat or they have happily embraced the role of the ‘side chick’. That is another issue altogether that I know will make for a lively debate. However, my focus is on our Black men. Again, we say Black lives matter? Then why is it easy for these men to walk away from the off-springs that they have fathered? How do they expect their children to fare in this cruel and cold world? Who do they expect to raise them? If you can’t even value your child that holds the seeds of tomorrow and carries your legacy within their very DNA, how can you expect others to suddenly see them as valuable? Abandoning your child is akin to casting your pearls to swine yet in the face of police brutality and discrimination, you wish to fly the banner of justice and human rights? What is human about leaving your child with an uncertain future when they didn’t ask to be born? How is it justified to wantonly flit from bed to bed, spreading your seed without any careful consideration as to the kind of individual your resultant offspring will become? If the system is built to stifle Black progress and inhibit Black success, how is adding a string of ‘fatherless’ children a way of alleviating the problem? People will insist that the police is against us, the State is craftily conniving to blight our future, the economy is built to inhibit our success and it is all a conspiracy against the Black race. I will say this, if this is all true then we are doing a brilliant job of adding to our own demise. If it isn’t, we have done an even more superb job of being our own worst enemy. Our race is resilient, feisty and resourceful. If we have been unable to relinquish the chains of poverty and discrimination, it’s simply because we continue to custom make and build these very chains that we happily yoke ourselves with.

BLACK LIVES WILL START TO MATTER WHEN WE START TO LIVE LIKE IT DOES.



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Why Should You Apologise for Doing Well?

Haters

The more ambitious, driven and industrious among us know the hard work, pain and disillusionment that come with the territory of being successful. You fight to keep your vision and dreams alive in the face of setbacks, doubts, ridicule and criticism. You fight to not let your drive and ambition be at the detriment of the things and people you hold dearest. You fight to keep your integrity and moral fiber intact while painfully clawing your way to the top. You fight to prove your naysayers wrong and your gut instincts right and you fight to ultimately realise your true potential. All this fighting truly makes you your own life’s version of Rocky Balboa and, like him, you eventually get to reap the rewards. However, what you are never prepared for is the hate, envy and jealousy that accompany your ascension to the top. How do you fight against people’s negative perception of you especially when you’re the last to know that you’re being vilified? How do you convince others that your enjoyment of the fruits of your labour is being misconstrued for pomp and conceitedness? Why has your struggle to the top attracted so many enemies when all you needed was a friend? Why should you even care about any of this?

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Well there’s one thing I know for sure, no one has the ability to completely block out the hate, vitriol and envy that they encounter. Even a strong and formidable character is not hermetically sealed off or immune from such sustained attacks. So we just have to find a way to cope. Now there are two coping mechanisms that are usually employed – humility before all or complete disassociation from some.

HUMILITY

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Humility seems prudent, doesn’t it? We have all those quotes: ‘Don’t burn your bridges’, ‘A great man is always willing to be little’, ‘Pride cometh before a fall’, ‘You must eat humble pie’ etc. which try and reinforce this concept. Furthermore, given the fact that too many of today’s rich and famous seem to exemplify avarice, selfishness and arrogance, it would be nice to see them more appreciative and humbled, especially given the fact that after reaching the top, there is only one way to go and that’s down. I actually agree more with this approach because you are prevented from harming and abusing the very people who stood as your backbone when you were at your worst. The only problem is that humility and success are an oxymoron. Humility is really having a modest or low view of your own importance. Unfortunately, this attribute is the greatest hindrance to being successful. Furthermore, malicious people will use this concept as a weapon to subdue your efforts and stifle your dreams. Success demands complete faith in oneself, an indomitable will, raw passion, fierce determination, a competitive disposition and the burning desire to do better. So how do you suppress all of that once you get to that place of accomplishment? Understandably, you should come humbly to those who have been your most fervent supporters but why should you also prostrate yourself humbly before those who only had ill-intent towards you?

COMPLETE DISASSOCIATION FROM SOME

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This brings me to the other approach which is ‘complete disassociation from some’. The idea of brutally and confidently cutting away all the naysayers, dream-blockers, idea crushers, mockers and sneering idiots from the fabric of your life is extremely appealing. After all, you already have your own doubts and demons to contend with so why add third-party negativity to it? I really love the idea of this except that this approach would evolve from ‘complete disassociation from some’ to ‘complete disassociation from all’. That’s because in your rise to success, some friends become enemies and, surprisingly, enemies can become friends (sometimes very loyal too). So if you completely disassociated yourself from your purported ‘enemies’ at the start and cut off all ties with those friends who have been relegated to the ranks of ‘unfaithful swines’, you would be left with no one. The worst thing to being a success is having no one to genuinely share it with. That makes life a very lonely place.

SO WHERE DO WE STAND?

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The fact is that both mechanisms are highly effective. In life you learn that with every habit – there’s a norm, with every norm – a rule and every rule has an exception. This is no different. You will need to be humble enough so that you are able to accept correction along the way; form and maintain sustainable relationships with people who will aid in your success and maintain a quiet and respectable dignity about the whole affair (especially when you’ve accomplished your goals) so that you don’t unnecessarily create enemies among people you have come to call friends. As for those that are wholly incorrigible, who despite your best efforts just can’t help but despise, vilify and hate you for your progress, by all means – cut them off and cut them off completely. I do not subscribe to playing the sacrificial lamb to people’s cruel nature especially if I’ve already survived my own baptism of fire. You should not have to apologise for doing well. Why should you? Realising your potential is the least you can do with the talent you were blessed with and the short life span we were all cursed with. Know when to exercise humility, be smart about who you surround yourself with but NEVER apologise for doing well.



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