FIVE IN THE STREET: HOW TO PLAY LIFE WITH HAND YOU’RE DEALT

cards, chance, deck

“Just because you were born at the bottom, doesn’t mean you have to stay at the bottom.”


For myself, as with many like myself, I am starting my life from humble beginnings. And when I say humble beginnings, I mean growing up poor. My mother is what you would call the working poor. Where one missed day of work, one sick day could have placed her, my two sisters, and myself in a homeless shelter, or worse in the street. But does that mean our lives have to stay that way? No, it does not. Because living in America, we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. My two siblings are currently steadfast in their careers, and am actively pursuing my own path in life. So if you’ve been dealt a bad hand, how do you win with that hand?

Well, for starters, it comes by way of education. At a young age, my mother started to invest in our education. And when I say invest, she didn’t have money set aside for us as children. But she did make sure that the schools we went to were good enough and safe enough. She waited in lines to enroll us in school. She didn’t sleep in the bed and not make an effort to get us into a good school. She made it her mission, at times sacrificing her own well-being. Even though we were in public school, with my oldest sister attending private in high school, the schools were decent. The school wasn’t a place where all the kids were focused on being cool kids. You were encouraged to expand your mind past how you were being perceived by your peers. So you were able to focus on your education.

So now that education was taken care of, my mother cultivated a household where our minds could grow. At a young age she would take us to the library where we took part in various activities: reading, writing, and putting together puzzles (which was an activity I loved). We even had times on Friday nights when she would have long conversations with us about life. Little did I know those conversations and those weekend trips to the library were getting us prepared to deal in life. It taught me patients, hard work, persistence, and dedication. In addition, I also have to not forget those trips to the zoo and museums, where we were encouraged to have an open mind to many different cultures and experiences.

So now that my sisters and myself are adults we can pursue our own endeavors with the confidence needed up to this point to succeed. So what does all this have to do with winning with a bad hand; well, a lot. Everything that I was taught growing up, in combination with my own cultivated intellect, we have always been able to prosper. Now, everyone did not grow up in a household where their talents were nurtured. Some people have some very tough lives that are far beyond my life. But understand, that your story and my story is not unique. There is always someone that looks like you, and have come from where you have come from to succeed. So in the end, there is always going to be people dealt a bad hand. Some will overcome their struggle and others won’t. Sadly enough, that’s just some of the outcomes of life.


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FROM SUCCESS COMES GUILT: WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL DOWN ABOUT THEIR SUCCESS

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“I’m winning, but do I deserve it?”


You’re young, successful, and life couldn’t be any better. As a matter of fact, life is so good, you often feel like why are you coasting so easily. Now what’s interesting about that statement is that you built yourself to where you are in life. Yet when you look at your life, you have given so much to be where you’re at. Why are you feeling this weird sense of guilt, or undeserving feeling of you getting what you have today? It’s because when you see how the dynamics of how the world actually is built, you think to yourself, “How the hell did I get here?” But most of all, you’re seeing people around you work so hard, yet go nowhere.

Now, I also look at where you have come from as it pertains to your socioeconomic situation. If you grew up poor, and now you’re upper middle class, then you go back home and see poor people. People you know very well are hard working people. They’re not lazy, they’re not bulking the system, so why are they struggling and I am not? Why does it seem like money is coming to me so easily and they struggle to survive? You sit on the lakefront overlooking the landscape with your 5,000; 6,000; or 7,000 square foot house in the background. You look around and say to yourself, “Why me?”

But then you have to snap back to your senses and say, “Why not me?” Especially if you came from humble beginnings, you deserve to have what’s coming to you. But it’s sometimes more than just that in life. Sometimes, some of us are blessed with the ability to retain more knowledge, or just born with more knowledge. And that would mean you hit the genetic lottery. You are of the few that are able to use your mind to move yourself to another level. The things to some people that make no sense, flow through your mind perfectly. Now most would say, “Why don’t you share that knowledge?” And you do, hence, why you have so many people who struggle. Not because you shared your knowledge of success, but because how some of them receive the information.

You might share how you made it, and they ignore, or discredit what you’re saying. So it becomes tough to share with people sometimes because they have this disconnect that causing them to not want to accept the truth. Yet, you are of rational mind. So when two people of rational mind talk, yet only one can accept the rationale, then you have a disconnect. And in the end, that is why you shouldn’t feel hurt by where you are in life. Life is all about choices. Choices to listen, to work, to enjoy your life, and to part take in activities you shouldn’t do. And you should never feel like where you have come is some kind of mistake. Because there is always someone feeling and living worse off than you; so live life and enjoy.


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NOT QUITE THERE YET: ARE YOU NOT IN THE PLACE YOU WANT TO BE IN LIFE

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“The long arduous path that is success.”


Have you ever had the feeling like you’re not in the place you want to be in life? Like you should be or thought you would be a lot farther by this point? Well, I am about to turn thirty years of age and I am working toward a career as a writer. While working toward this career, I am working two part-time jobs. And that sounds fine when you are a twenty years old, but not when you are thirty. Because when you are thirty, you are supposed to be a certain place by this time. You should be on your way to finding your first starter home and thinking about children, not writing. But I am pursuing a career I love, rather than a job I have to go to everyday.

So here I sit, in this moment writing. And to cope with the long road to writing success, I try to observe those that started around my age. And you see they had their first success at about mid to late thirties. Now I gave myself a ten year time period to break in as a successful writer of screenplays, playwright, and novels; with a little lightweight film/theatre directing. Now that I have gotten myself out of the way, what are you pursuing that your life isn’t where you thought it would be? We have all these visions when we are children of the things we will do as adults. But when we become adults, everything is up in the air once you are in the world on your own.

And everything is really up in the air if you have no clue what you want to do with your life. You typically spend all your time working, then coming home and existing. So the days turn into weeks, then weeks to months, and months to years. And before you know it, life has past them by, and they have not attempted at anything in life. And that is the scary feeling people have of not quite being there yet. They even see people their age making life decisions, going in the right direction. Yet they are still not there themselves. So they find any reason to avoid people they know out of shame. Why, well because we always compare ourselves to people that are around our age.

But what happens once people younger than yourself start making moves in life beyond you. That’s when you really start to feel uncomfortable. Seeing a new younger generation making moves that you feel you have not made yet. And what’s crazy, that young age group will feel the same once they reach my age. See, in the end, we don’t want to live with the failures. But we also don’t want to live with the idea of people saying I told you so. Trying at something and constantly failing at it over and over again. But I remember reading a quote by Thomas Edison which stated, “Many of life’s failures didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” But the real question is, how do you know when you’re close?


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A LESSON BEFORE DYING POSTS: WHY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP MATTERS

Image result for a lesson before dying

“The choices we tend to make in life.”


The above photo is of the historical fiction novel, A Lesson Before Dying. This book would later go on to be made into a motion picture played by Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, and Mekhi Phifer. A story about a young man sentenced to death for the killing of a store clerk and two of his associates. The film gave a really great depiction of the racial relationships of the South, as well as the harsh realities of growing up Black in the region. Now my topic today is how does ones’ choices influence their lives moving forward. Because in A Lesson Before Dying, all the main character had to do was pass on a ride with his friends.

We may all see it as nothing more than just a ride with some friends. Yet, in the film, there was something that made Mekhi Phifer, the young man sentenced to die, hesitate before getting in the car. Something in him knew he shouldn’t have been riding with those guys. It’s a feeling at times that we all have when being in the presence of someone we know we shouldn’t. It does not necessarily have to be a group of friends. You could be in the presence of family and a monogamous relationship. But the reasoning for Mekhi’s character getting into trouble is a story anyone can relate to; outside the racial premise of the film.

So many young men have been offered rides by their friends. Then get into the car and find out in the course of the ride, their friends have just committed a crime. How do you explain to the judge that you had no hand in the matter? The answer is, you don’t; and unless they state you had nothing to do with the matter, you’ll go to jail as well. Better yet, what happens when you ride somewhere and the people you are with commit the crime while you’re there with them? There is no way to plead your way out of that situation. In the case of A lesson Before Dying, the culprits died themselves, and Phifer was charged and executed for the crimes. In today’s society, you might be able to argue your way out, but not Jim Crow South.

Which brings me to my last reason point regarding the company you keep. You need to understand where you live and the laws as well. Southern laws are of the strictest laws in America. And what may be a slap on the wrist in one state is prison time in another. So in the end, you need to understand a few key words of advice. Watch the company you keep, be comfortable with decisions you make, and understand the place in which you reside.


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GENERATION FAST TRACK: HOW THIS NEW SOCIAL MEDIA ERA IS RUINING A GENERATION’S DRIVE

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“In a fast paced world, with long term success.”


Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, and way more. We are the generation that is used to instant gratification. You type it, it pops up in less than a few seconds. And if we just so happen to get a 15 second commercial clip we get antsy. And this behavior has to do with so Image result for social mediamuch moving so fast in today’s society. But when it comes to other areas of life, time seems to stand still. And there are two areas of interest where you don’t receive instant gratification: building a successful career and maintaining a successful monogamous relationship. These are two of the most important aspects of adulthood, and two of the hardest to tackle.

Yet, we struggle so much with the idea of having to build so long. Why does it take so long to build a career? For starters, initially, you’re building experience in the field of interest. Our generation wants someone to show us, kind of like working at a fast food restaurant. Then once we learn, we can start making Related imagethe big bucks. But it doesn’t quite work like that; you need more time. So you might think, what time, 6 months, 1 year? No, you should probably take close to 10 years of learning. And that’s when the onset of stress and depression set in. So much of your life is about in the now, that you hear 10 years and say to yourself, forget it. But 10 years is nothing when trying to build a career. As a matter of fact, I’m actually being nice when I say 10 years.

Nice! Yes, nice; it’s more like 15 to 20 years, maybe even close to 20. That’s why it’s best to start young and build. This way, hopefully, you’re still young by the time your career takes off. Then again, when you see someone young doing the things you want to do, you get discouraged. But you don’t know when they started. They could have started at age 19 years old, and are now Image result for GROWTH30/31 years old. We tend to look at the now, and say what you could have been. Don’t regret, you’re still young at 30 yourself, and you will be at 40 years of age. But so many see those who are what they could have been had they have started early.But now, they resent not working at what they want. Big mistake, you’re still young, start now.

But even with all I have written, what about relationships. With so many apps geared toward meeting someone and hoping up in just a matter of hours, no wonder good relationship are so hard to come by. How do we maintain a relationship when so much is based around a quick one hour encounter. But then you look at people who have been married for 25, 30, Related image40, 50, and some more years. And you ask yourself, “How did they make it that far?” Well, they made it that far because there was no rush when they first met. There was trial and error where people learned along the way. Now, there is no trial and error; if you screw up, you’re gone. Why, well there are more options today.

If the generations before us thought the way we do about relationships, I could only imagine what the state of relationships would look like today. There was a courting process in the past that involved not only you getting to know your partner, but the family you were marrying into. Now, it’s meet you today, sleep with you tomorrow, meet your family next week, marry a few months later, and then divorce five years after. Everything is so fast, yet Image result for goalswe want things to last long.We are way too impulsive in our society today. There is little thought that goes into our decisions that have long term effects. And in the end, the long term effects are what I am worried about. Will we wind-up hurting ourselves in the end? Will a generation become depressed and less driven because they are ill-prepared for the real world? Hopefully this is fear, and it dissipates as time goes on.


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YOUR LIFE, YOUR PATH: HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH ADULTHOOD

Man Standing on Brown Rocking Mountain Under Blue Sky and Yellow Sunlight

“Navigating life can be so tough.”


Living in real time, becoming an adult is seen as such a stretch in life when you’re a young kid. I still remember the days when my mother would walk in the house from work. I would be sitting in front of the television as she walked through the door. She’d head straight into the bathroom and get changed into her joggers andWoman in White Shirt Sleeping on Gray Fabric Sofa t-shirt. Coming back into the living room, she’d sit onto the couch and start to watch television as well. In that space and time, I knew my day would come to embark on my own journey in life. Yet at the time, I didn’t seem to quite know where that journey would lead. I just knew after age eighteen I would be out into the world.

 

 

Upon leaving high school, I went off to undergraduate school out of state, then transferring back home at the end of the first semester. After returning back home, I still didn’t quite know what I wanted to do in life, yet the timeachievement, cap, celebration was still ticking. My senior year was approaching and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. But, I did have plans of going off to graduate school after undergrad. And then, May of 2011 was the year I would graduate college. I walked across that stage just as my two sisters had done in the past. And it would be just a few months later that I would be moving on. Moving out to New York City to attend graduate school for my MBA.

Now, did I really want to go off and work for an organization. Not really, so why did I attend graduate school for my Masters Degree? Well, coming out of undergrad, I started to write my very first screenplay. It was entitled, “Wood Road,” and would later be changed to “Retribution.” Not realizing Image result for screenplayhow hard it would be to write, it took me two and a half years to complete. Why, well for starters I didn’t attend film school. And second, I was so discouraged, I quit the first time writing for about one and half years. I just didn’t think I was good enough. Yet, I kept coming back to the script, time and time again. My mind could not focus, unless I was thinking about the script. Then I came back to the script, and finished it.

As I was writing the script, I started to write down all these ideas I had for screenplays. And the more I wrote, the more I realized this is what I wanted Railroad Tracks in Cityto do in life. So at the age of 24 years going on 25, I made the conscious decision to pursue a career as a screenwriter/filmmaker. And here is where
the path to success becomes quite murky. Because as a writer, there is no real path to take in life. It’s not like leaving med school, taking up a residency at a hospital. Or leaving law school getting recruited into a firm. There is no real time limit, nor a real guarantee of it working. All I knew is that I was new to this, don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I like it.

And from that point of liking it, I continued to write. Even writing and shooting my first short film, self-publishing two books, and starting a blog site. At an age where a lot of people are hanging on weekends at the club or Asphalt Road Near Trees Under White Sky at Daytimefocusing on a monogamous relationships, I am producing film, writing my books, and contributing to a blog. What’s tough is that who knows if I’ll succeed. And that is the scary part. No one wants to work toward something just for it blow up in the their faces. We work hard with the hopes of things panning out. And as much as you’re taught that your best may not be good enough, it still doesn’t sink into the mind. Not until you actually fail.

And in the end, that’s the hardest part about life, is the failure. The majority of people go to work, get their checks every two weeks, and live like this for life until retirement. Yet when you step outside that box and try something, you don’t want to be the one people laugh at for failing. You don’t want to Person Doing Cliff Diving during Daytimebe the one people said I told you so. What’s funny is that sometimes those people as well as others secretly wish they were you at times. Throwing yourself off a cliff; taking that leap of faith. But the way I see it, it’s better to jump and see what happens, than to never jump and wonder what could have been.


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UNDERSTANDING YOUR PAST FOR A BETTER FUTURE

Image result for past

“Moving toward the future, from understanding your past.”


Why do people find it so hard to move forward in their lives? One of the reasons is they have yet to come to terms with their past. And don’t get me wrong, your past does not automatically translate into future. But something that has happened in your past is a reason you make your decisions today. And if you are not able to understand this past, then how will you move forward. For instance, a woman might be trying to figure out why she has such bad experiences with men. Then she realizes she never had a relationship with her own father. And as the old saying goes, you link up with, as a man or woman, your previous relationship with a parent.

Now that’s an interesting concept; you wind-up with your parent. Because choosing a potential spouse is such a daunting task in itself. So who raises you from childhood to adulthood is crucial. Now, there is no guarantee that you’re going to have a great relationship if you’re raised with these great parents. But statistically, those raised in two parent households go off to have more successful marriages. And if you are having problems with your relationships or finding a successful relationship, look into your own life. Where in your life is there a link between you and your parent. You might also have been raised in good surroundings, but other aspects like controlling parents or not enough transparency didn’t prepare you for monogamy.

What about other aspects of your past that could affect your future. Issues that you have that keep you from advancing in your career. Very rarely have past performances that are poor, lead to future good performances. Unless, you recognize the past poor performances and correct them for the future. For instance, I am currently working on my next short film. My first one was ok, but there are some things I need to correct for my next one. If I am making the same mistakes, then I have not learned my lesson. So career choices in the future can haunt you if not curbed early on. But small things we tend to avoid, and later make those mistakes that effect in a much greater way years later.

Then again, is coming to grips with your past always lending itself to family situations and career? No, other reasons you look into your past, could be how to make the decisions for the future. You want to learn how to save money, well, analyze your past poor monetary choices. You want to buy a house, then lose the ways of renting because you’re the boss now. In the end, we all have something in our past that can determine the outcome of our future. It might be something as simple as adjusting your monetary expenses or fixing your love life. No matter what, be willing to look into your past and figure out what’s holding you down from accomplishing your future goals.


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