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Do this for a happier, more productive life. #MyTop10


The New Year is a time for new beginnings and much needed changes in our lives, homes and communities. While change is hard, success is simpler than we think. Reducing stress, saving time and better interactions with others are all quite doable. Here is my list of 10 rules for a better, happier and more productive 2017:

  1. Respect time-yours and others. There is nothing more frustrating or disrespectful than ignoring the value of time. It is the one thing you can never recover.
  2. Set goals. Living without goals is like taking a road trip without directions. You must at least have an idea of where you’d like to end up. Write it down, and remind yourself of them daily so that a step is taken in that direction on a regular basis.
  3. Be organized. Disorganization is the contributor of non-performance and wasting time. Find a method that works for you, and then use it.
  4. Communicate. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Tact matters, but being honest will prevent or resolve so many unnecessary dilemmas.
  5. Say thank you. Those who take the time and care enough to help or support you in even the smallest manner deserve the courtesy of appreciation. And, it is a positive reflection on you to do so.
  6. Be honest. A liar is worse than a thief, because you know to watch the thief; you don’t know how to discern the truth from a liar. Being honest is the best way to create and sustain healthy personal and professional relationships. The truth may not be easy, but it is more respectful and rewarding for everyone in the end.
  7. Be quiet. You don’t have to live out-loud, tell all you know, or repeat what you think you know. Think before you speak, and say less than you planned. Don’t use 100 words for what you can say in 20.
  8. Give back. Being selfish is never rewarding, and no matter how much you think you don’t have, you always have something to give to those less fortunate. Whether it is time, money, resources or even a kind word, make sure that you contribute to the pot from which we all withdraw.
  9. Do more. Productivity is the key to so many things, but many people prefer to slack and get by rather than to step up and produce. Don’t be a corner-cutter; give, and then give more. D your best, every time without complaint or compromise.
  10. Be thankful. Gratitude is the center of happiness. Remembering who you are and what you have and are capable of should always bring a sense of gratitude and appreciation. Without it, you’ll never have or be more than you are.

Give it a try, and Happy New Year!

“Poor” is a mindset, not a condition

I am not one to use the word “poor” when referencing someone’s financial status for reasons I consider pretty simple: being financially challenged—or broke, is temporary. The word “poor” reflects a deeper and embedded state that prevents the infiltration of hope or the pursuit of opportunity.

Unfortunately, the word is commonly used and has become synonymous with those who occupy urban areas and are often the brunt of disasters or social circumstances, and are then dependent upon the help of government entities or the general public’s kindness and generosity as we see playing out currently in Flint, Michigan with the water crisis.

Everyone wants to help the “poor” people in Flint. Constantly saying and repeating that title is almost as insulting as the crisis itself. It paints the picture of black, broken, hopeless and helpless, none of which are true in their totality. There are people of other races and cultures that live in Flint (and in conditions around the country that mirror those in Flint) and who are negatively impacted by the water debacle. They are human, have families and lives outside of just giving sound bites and providing photo opps to the endless news inquires of late.

Using the word “poor” makes for a better story, and fuels and helps to sustain the negative perception we have of those who may be in need, short or long term. It makes us feel bigger and maybe even better about giving but we’re doing so at the expense and exploitation of those we say we want to help.

To me, “poor” is a state of mind, not a socio-economic condition. Being economically challenged or broke is repairable; believing you are poor of spirit, opportunity and a solution is a psychological condition for which there is no cure. As we see, it can permeate generations and overshadow opportunities that would otherwise cure this ailment.

So if you want to do something to help others, who are in need, then do so without the title and leave the condescending and incorrect stigma behind.



The Message From Missouri

To the football team at the University of Missouri, I say thank you. Not just for standing up and speaking out for what you believed, but for delivering a lesson that has somehow fallen through the cracks since the height of the Civil Rights era. It’s the same formula that drove the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

The lesson is powerful, albeit quite simple; Collective efforts and money matters. It’s really as simple as that. That is how change is made. The football team, which is undeniably the core and pride of the university, threatened to not play unless the university’s president resigned or was terminated because of racist remarks. Less than 24 hours after the demand, the president resigned. While he may have personally not given two-cents about the students or their demands, the university and those who run it recognized the collective and financial impact a “boycott” would have.

Nowhere was there a “hold out” player trying to talk the other team members out of their plans; no dissention in the ranks of the team or students of all races who supported or shared their view and demands. This is usually an undercut in many social efforts, as one or two “key” people are engaged to talk the others out of what they plan and believe.

And, there was a clear recognition by the football team of their worth. They realized their value and financial contribution, impact and apparent influence on the university. This is called leverage.

This is the lesson that all communities, but especially urban ones, should duplicate; Collective application and leveraging of worth. Period.

From stores with poor quality service and goods, to companies with a lack of diversity or sensitivity to increased levels of excellence and performance in schools; racial injustice and everything in between, it all could be positively swayed if and when folks stuck together to impact the bottom line.

The key is to be simple, organized and focused. Know what you want, and be willing to sacrifice something to get it. Realize your value and worth, and be willing to withhold it without compromise as a negotiating chip. Be willing to support a cause that may not impact you directly, but will certainly matter to your or someone else’s quality of life. We live in a society fueled by capitalism, and ears perk up when money talks. And, like it (or each other) or not we are all in this together.

It has long been said that the next era of change will be ushered in by our young people. Well, the University of Missouri football team has just kicked down the door.