Until You Walked In Someone Else’s Shoes

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“Don’t be so quick to judge unless you know the journey.”


When you look at the picture before you, you may ask yourselves. Who is the man behind the shoes? Why are his feet so rugged? Where has he been and where is he going? What’s unfortunate about the photo above, is that we typically look at someone’s shoes and judge them by what’s on their feet. The thoughts that initially go through the mind is they must be broke. They must not care about the way they look. But, who ever said someone with rugged shoes don’t care about the way they look. There could be a number of reasons why their feet look the way that they do. I know me, for example, I go through multiple shoes per year. The reason being I walk a lot from work to business meetings to restaurants to home. With that much movement, anyone would purchase shoes throughout the year. There is a reason I do so much walking in the city of New York. I do my best thinking when I am walking around the city. As a first time author as well as a first time filmmaker, the year 2015 has been a busy year for my feet pounding the pavement.

Like the one shoes I bought this year; brown boots from the Amazon.com website. I still remember that  new smell and that new look. What I enjoyed most of all are the compliments for my new boots. After about a month or so, no one looked at my feet and what was once adulation from peers quickly went away. The loss of comments never effected me because the journey taken in these boots are more memorable than the compliments. Walking throughout the city in a fellowship program that I started earlier in the year is what I remember the most. I ran errands for the director/producer, helping him on various projects to the point I wore the bottoms away. This led to me buying another pair of boots, but this time black. These blacks boots were the same brand, just in a different color. I felt like a new man once again as I took my trek into the big city. Going from my job to my fellowship, the soles on these rapidly wore away. So from that point on, it was split toe flip flops sandals and dress shoes.

I often noticed people staring at my feet in sandals, almost wondering why I was not following the pack. Given it was the summer, all around me wore nice sneakers, loafers, and moccasins. Instead of paying for expensive designer shoes, my money went toward my short film I was working on. Oh, and the dress shoes, worn to the core, but the worn look was comforting. It reminded my of not only going to work, but kept me working toward something more. Nice new shoes are refreshing, but a new pair of shoes can in a way be connected contentment. Now, there is nothing wrong with being content, what I’m saying is that it keeps me hungry. When people get new clothes and new shoes, they don’t recognize their current situation, even if the situation is bad. For example, I see people living in poverty stricken communities, but everyone has new shoes. People seem to lose sight of their current position when they have new amenities. I stray from always buying new and keeping old to keep me pushing toward something more.

If by now, you’re still lost as to what I am talking about it’s all about the grind. When you look at someone’s shoes, you never know why they are wearing these shoes. It could be affordability, or it could even be for a purpose. In my case at times it has been affordability, but I also like to keep junk shoes and clothes around because it keeps me wanting more out of life. So why you’re concerned looking down, I am looking forward. Forward at what tomorrow will bring; forward at what life has to offer.

1987: What Can Happen In 365 Days

“1987”

“Were you here?”

1987 was not only the year I was born, but it was year a lot of events took place. As with any year, things take place that are burned into our minds that we never forget. You think to yourself, we as humans have evolved and inhabited this planet for hundreds and thousands of years. How come we can never have 365 days where nothing major happens? Like for instance, the beginning of the year we witnessed the Chadian-Libyan conflict battle in which a brigade was destroyed. That next week 16 people were killed in a train collision bound for Boston from Washington D.C. The rest of the month was no better, witnessing the suicide of  Pennsylvania Treasurer and the defunct of a long standing department store putting many out of jobs.

The month of February could have been promising, but the Unabomber placed a bomb causing injuries to the store owner. Then March was a jump from the previous month when an ocean liner capsizes killing 180 people. The very next day a reported massacre took place in China when nearly 20 Vietnamese were executed on Donggang Beach. Little happened April until mid-May when a United States military ship was hit with an air missile killing 47 sailors. But only 5 days later, the Hashimpura Massacre took place in India where nearly 40 people were rounded up and executed. June proved to be calm, and the majority of July; but then the last day of the month tragedy struck. 400 pilgrims were killed during conflict in Mecca in Saudi Arabia with security forces.

August was a month of even more tragedy than the past two months when the Hoddle Street Masacre took place by a 19 year and claimed the lives of 7 people. 7 days later, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes on takeoff killing 156 people and one child surviving. 3 days later, yet another massacre in England, when a gunman opens fire, killing 16 people including himself. Over the next couple of months issues increased. From a hurricane that killed 23 people and a train collision claiming 102 lives in October; to 11 killed in a bombing in Ireland, 31 killed in London fire, a Typhoon killing over 1,000 people, 159 passengers killed in airline crash, and another airline flight killing 115. Coming into the month of December was another plane crash killing 43.

Now, as with all the bad, there is the good things that took place in a year; and this year is no exception. At the beginning of the year the Dow Jones rises 2,000 points for the first time, as well as scientist eyeing the first supernova in space. At the beginning of the spring, treatments were developed to fight the HIV/AIDS virus in the month of March. Over the next few months our economy was positively effected once again when the Dow Jones closed at 2500 points in the month of July. As the summer wound down, an artificial intelligence conference was held in September in New Mexico. The next month a rallying together of the first National Coming Out Day for Gays and Lesbians are held. Through all the good as well as the bad that took place in the year 1987, for the most part life remained normal. We all know too well the really bad things that happen in life and not the good. Maybe because these are the things that burn in the minds of people the most. But today is the year 2015, slowly approaching 2016; I wonder what the future will hold for mankind.

1% Isn’t About Money, It’s a State of Mind

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“What bracket are you in? What bracket do you think?”


Most of the general population feel that a person that lies in the 1% is someone who makes an income greater than anyone else, yet controls 90 plus percent of the wealth. This is true when looking at how much income someone has or their overall wealth. You’re considered a member of the 1% if you fall in the $300,000 plus bracket. This amount of income vary depending on what city you may live. If you live in a small Midwest town, then you’re doing very well, but in New York City, you’re still in the middle. One may think it’s crazy to consider anyone making this kind of money is middle class. People say if I had that kind of money, the things I could do. How do I feel sorry for an individual making this much money? I only make between 40k and 50k.

Well, in order to make that level of income there are certain skill sets you have to attain. For starters, there’s the environment where you come from or grow up. If you are from an impoverished community chances are you will have a harder time being a member of the 1%. On the other hand, individuals coming from a community where everyone is on average upper middle to upper class will have a higher chance of continuing this path. Why is this; why is it so hard to rise in economic status. One reason is that coming from a much higher income environment, you have opportunities not made available to someone from the lower class. Another reason there is such a vast difference is not only opportunities, but the thought process of the people around them. The mind frame of people in the 1% income is always about going forward, but the lower class can only se what’s in front of them.

So since we know the growing up aspect, what about the educational side of things. Some may believe all you have to do is go to college, get out, and get a high paying job with your degree. The problem with this is two things: 1) college degrees don’t equate to work experience and 2) a degree with no work experience from a job pertaining to your degree is meaningless. Basically what I am saying is that if you go to business school, but only work fast food or retail jobs in undergraduate school, this doesn’t equate to business experience. 99% thinking is what I just described, but 1% thinking is college degree, internships, resume, and references. It’s like applying to college all over again. The only people whose degree outright works for them are doctors and some attorneys. So when people say go to school get your degree, you only listen to them to get the piece of paper, but get involved in other activities as well. Remember that school is only a matriculation into a system of economy; ,meaning fall in line and get a job.

The next level is the job market, which is where one tends to rise in the rankings. Here is the place where people generate their connections and further build their networks. The workforce is also a place where someone can rise in their job if they know the right people. But how do you know the right people if you’re coming from the lower class. This is why it’s important to start building your network in college if you are from the lower class. This will help you land a great job after college by being linked to the right people. Now the right people are those who can help you get your foot in the door when landing that job out of college. Be prepared to kiss a lot of behind and schmoozing as well. Just working hard doesn’t work because the hardest working Americans usually are the poorest. Meaning going to work eight hours per day coming home and doing the same the next day for five days a week is not enough to persevere. You must do more, go to company events, socialize with upper management, get in where you fit in so to speak. Like I said before, prepare to do some serious schmoozing.

A lot of people want to excel and brings themselves up to another level. The only thing is that they don’t understand the many obstacles and games one must play to reach that next level. But with any level we reach, we aspire to move up to yet another place. With every level comes new hurdles and new barriers entry. So, let me ask you; you still think being 1% is about or how one thinks? Managing your money not letting your money manage you. All these things I named are what can either make you a one percenter or not. If you’re comfortable where you’re at fine, a lot of people are in this country. But if you’re not happy or not comfortable, get ready for the long road ahead of you.