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OTHER ITA SITES:
African Americans: Decide Your Destiny, Master Your Mind, Part 1
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
Our ability to exercise self-discipline is key to taking control of our destinies. It is the ability to delay self-gratification while working toward the rewards of your long-term goals. It is also the skill of getting yourself out of unproductive emotional states and into more productive and more resourceful states using proven strategies.
Many times, we do not realize how much control we have over how we feel at any given moment. How we feel is determined by the meaning we give to events regardless of whether they are real or only perceived events. For example, we all know that the boogey man does not exist but the fear we may have experienced as children is just as legitimate as if he was real. Perceived and real threats can both cause physical manifestations such as goose bumps, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and cause your hair to stand on the back of your neck. Managing our emotional states is one of the most powerful skills we can acquire. Many people make decisions about business, money and relationships while in unresourceful states which can lead to disastrous consequences. Emotional mastery is achieved once you are able to recognize the emotional states you are experiencing at any moment and alter them so that your emotions are serving you instead of controlling you. Think of the parent that takes a few deep breaths and counts to ten before acting upon seeing the destruction their little one left in the living room. The parent instinctively knows that it is better to take control of her emotional state first so that she can deliver just enough punishment for it to be effective without being overly harsh. An overreaction to this situation could confuse the child and create unintended lasting impressions on the child.
The reason this is a very critical skill for African Americans such that I mention it as the first skill in my book, "The 7 Simple Secrets to Wealth Building", is that a large number of us are vulnerable in this area. The higher percentages of African Americans living in poverty, who are fatherless and live in communities where crime and violence are pervasive as well as the negative and stereotypical images of African Americans in movies, television and music videos are all damaging to our sense of self esteem and are an assault upon our spiritual and emotional fortitude.
Reversing these statistics can dramatically give us the edge we desperately need to give our future generations. Strong families, strong faith, a sense of security at home and school and positive images of black families can uplift and shield our self esteem from the negative influences in the world. There is no better gift we can give our children then to provide them with these blessings.
Many of the great successes in African American history suffered loss and defeat before ultimately achieving victory. A fragile self-esteem will find it very difficult to muster the perseverance and resolve needed to recover from defeat and succeed against the odds. Here are some strategies you can employ to successfully get yourself out of unproductive states and into more resourceful and productive states.
Each of these points will be discussed in more detail in subsequent articles. The key here is to recognize that the unique experience of African Americans calls for a different view on the solutions presented. Simply doing what ‘Whites’ do is not an adequate solution to ‘Black’ problems. We must create our own solutions that satisfy our needs. Each of these strategies attempts to do just that.
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