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We all hold the responsibility of creating the best lives for ourselves and our families. Regardless of the obstacles and barriers in our lives, we are responsible for finding ways around them to have the life we want and deserve. Our youth are no exception to this reality. Through interactions with the youth, I realized that many young people are not aware of their power and responsibility to push past these obstacles to achieve success. Many young people are held back and put off by the multitude of issues in their lives. Not realizing their strengths and lacking the tenacity to persevere despite difficulties and setbacks has caused many to blame others and quit trying while settling for less.
Our education system’s shortcomings have failed to provide our youth with the essential life skills needed to persevere through the obstacles. In the household, learning opportunities provided by parents often fall on deaf ears with comments or thoughts that parents do not understand the struggles of today’s youth. Often, the education system’s failure and the inability to reach our young at home, causes them to turn to the streets or social media for information and guidance. These platforms can further distort our children’s minds, leaving them worse off and further away from the correct path.
Providing powerful messages that young people can relate to will motivate and
empower while providing a roadmap to changing their mindset towards achieving the things they want in life. The mindset change allows the youth to realize that success can be a reality despite any shortcomings that may exist in their lives. In my life, changing my mindset allowed me to overcome a heavy stutter, the criminal temptations of living in a tough neighborhood, and racial obstacles. By thinking differently, I was able to excel in my law enforcement career, retire comfortably, attain the highest level of education, author and publish two books, and start two businesses to pursue my passions. Through changed mindsets, young people can have a reality filled with their own personal and professional quest.
Through my business, Forward Motion Life Success, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on empowerment, changing mindsets, and removing limitations, I speak and provide workshops designed for young people. One workshop, The 7 Principles of Success, has successfully guided young people towards continuing their education, pursuing graduate education and law school, transitioning into better careers, starting businesses, and achieving the successes they thought were only a dream.
The year 2020 was filled with an enormous amount of turbulence and distractions. COVID-19 and the resulting school and business closings, the dining and travel restrictions, and the horrifying deaths of friends and loved ones seemed to turn the world upside down. The bizarre political environment that seemed to close the year out was reinvigorated in 2021 by the Capitol attack that reminded us that things would never be the same in this country. The distractions are many and quite unnerving for those who are established and already making their way through life, but for those starting out and trying to find their way, these distractions can be disastrous.
As a college professor, I hear from numerous students who are extremely troubled by what is occurring in this country. They are confused and more uncertain than ever about their career paths and what lies ahead for their future. They express anxiety and fear and are yielding to the feelings that they do not know what to do. Many of our young people have seemed to have lost their way.
I remind our youth that it is more important than ever for them to stay focused and not let the events and issues around them become a distraction on the road to the successes they desire in their lives. Distractions are one of the many obstacles along the road to success. By design, distractions take us away from our purpose; they can make us feel that the issue is more important than our own goals for success. These distractions can immobilize our young people and give them reason to hesitate, make excuses for why they cannot succeed, why now is not the right time, and why the universe is out of sync with their goals. Nonsense, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “It is always the right time to do what’s right,” and working towards your goals and your future are the right thing to do. In fact, the events that are occurring should serve to empower and give purpose where purpose may be lost. A reminder of how important it is to succeed and to
I am in no way belittling or minimizing the importance and urgency of the issues occurring today. These are significant issues that require specific immediate action to bring awareness and show disapproval. These issues are not to be ignored but instead handled accordingly. Protests, marches, conversations, and other activities and involvements are necessary and should carry on. In moments like these, a pause to examine the situation and address the issue can be an appropriate response. The pause can consist of enough moments in time and enough involvement to gain satisfaction where you can resume your grind while monitoring the developments. At the ready to get involved when and where needed again. We must welcome this young spirit and understand that it is the young who have initiated change in the past, and we must honor it.
Through my speeches and workshops, I promote the importance of having a plan and staying focused on the road to success. Our young people should be encouraged to continue to change and heal the world while being reminded to position themselves to benefit from the progress they are creating. As the old saying goes, “Keep your eyes on the prize.” I teach that despite distractions, obstacles, and the hectic nature that life takes on, we must all stay focused and driven, intentional and determined, all while remaining motivated and empowered.