TOUGHNESS

I recently gave a speech for our local National Guard unit. I was speaking on toughness, or as the Army calls it, resiliency. In my view… toughness is something that has to be developed. Merriam-Webster’s calls resiliency “the ability to rise above adversity”. How many of you consider yourselves to be tough, or resilient? How many of you honestly can look down at your life and say unecquivocally that you have that trait? In my eyes, we all have it, but in varying degrees. In my case, I had to grow into this. It was painful and took almost 35 years. This is something near and dear to me. I love seeing people “get over”. I am all about “putting people over”. Toughness is a whole hell of a lot more than using curse words, talking loud and being overbearing. Some of the toughest people I ever met were under 5 feet tall, under 100 pounds.

I am sure a lot of you are reminiscing by now, looking at your body, looking at the tattoos, the scars, memories. If you grew up in my era (late 1990s/early 2000s), you can attest to a shift in the overall consciousness of Americans.Seems to be a less confident, less resilient people now. More groupthink, less “rugged individualism”. More victimhood rather than a “can-do” spirit. I will leave you all with this: Do not be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to be hurt. Never fear anything.

ASHY TO CLASSY

Recently a buddy of mine in the A has been racking up wins. Now, he’s a supervisor at his new job. I am very pleased and proud to know that he is doing great. Add to that, he’s a burgeoning writer. As a friend, I can stand by and watch him succeed (as a fan watches his/her fave sports team). I am proud to know Mr. LeBeau and to watch his development- from ashy to classy. He had been taking quite a few L’s since I’ve known him. Now, I would like to take the credit for his development and his success… I know I’d be lying, and doing that makes for nothing more than being a disingenuous fraud.

HUMANOIDS

Hey people. Just back from a somewhat ill-fated trip. Ever have a really bad 96 hour time frame where it seems to be what everyone around you is lying to you? I’ve had years like that. Not very fun at all. Plans falling apart, just awful things. A really bad flight where I almost passed out because of the heat. It’s ridiculous at times how life is. I’d by lying if I were to say it didn’t hurt, sting or aggravate me.

I get back home, another fight, a house that looked like a terrorist attack. People calling, aggravating me about BS that they coulda let go. Typical humanoids.

Four days worth of nonsense. I need a real vacation.

DO YOU

Take this for what you will, ladies and gentlemen. We live in a society that doesn’t give two f**ks about anything except what they can get from someone else. If men ain’t worth it ladies, be like Fleetwood Mac and go your own way. Complaining about men won’t change YOUR lot in life (unless you like being bitter angry and spiteful harpies). Men, if these women are nothing but hoes, idiots and all that, GO YOUR OWN WAY. It’s a big world out there. Whining about women gets old and it changes nothing. In closing… DO YOU.

HARD TIMES PT.2

Today, I suffered a setback. I didn’t even try to argue it much, because in this stage of my life, arguing something other than anything that is really important to me is just an abject waste of time. I often say that people are cheap props, that they really don’t matter, and that’s true.

Most people are slaves to that paycheck- they’ll do anything for that check. No integrity, no backbone. No hope. I certainly hate hard times. I hate having to deal with nonsense. This is the wake-up call I need to get my butt in gear and rise above this once and for all.

HARD TIMES

I been having a LOT of hard times lately. Gives me introspection on the world around me as well as myself and my struggles. I have gathered one thing from my difficulties, and that is perseverance. It is essential to success. Quitting, running from your problems, that just does not work. It is in the hard times where you find out who you are, what you’re capable of. I tend to say that is in the fight you make your name. Besides, I haven’t come this far to turn back now.

Life in tha 77316 part 4

It’s been a while. So I am back with some new stuff to tell ya. Recently I was made privy to some stuff about some close friends of mine. One of them, and old Army buddy, is basically Norbit. So much so, he was called out on it by his section sergeant (2012) and was laughed at for it. I got love for dude, but he allows this sheboon in his life to walk all over him. It’s disquieting to say the least. Another friend, who I met along the way out West, is in a bad way. On one hand, he is doing great things in his life. On the other hand, seems as if his personal life is falling apart. Bad times, bad people, bad things happening to a good dude. He feels alone in a lot of things, since he is a newcomer to a major West Coast city. I talk to him a lot. He comes to a consensus that he is going to change his life in a major way. With his work, he isn’t settling for anything. He wants to work multiple jobs. He wants to date again (he is out meeting, greeting people through his work anyway), plus he understands that life is nothing nice. I applaud his courage, because change doesn’t just happen. Besides, he’s too smart to just allow things to happen to him and not challenge/overcome them. His attitude has undergone a facelift, as he talks of personal branding. He’s even talking about writing a book and self-publishing (or getting it on amazon). Seems to me buddy is basically having a second coming-of-age. He is in his early 30s, yet experiencing life as a twentysomething would. I’d say my friend is just finally coming into his own. To hear him tell the tale, he was an outsider of outsiders. With much advice, insight, prayer and relating my story to him, he sees that he wasn’t so bad after all. Just he grew up around a lot of fools in a foolish time.
In closing, I must say I have seen a lot of people like this- amazingly enough, most of these achieve a lot later on in life.

Toughness: Is It In You?

Toughness is a word bandied about a lot. But what is it? As defined by Webster’s Dictionary, toughness is  being able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking (which is also the definition of my first name Kente’); strong and resilient. Toughness is also defined as being aggressive; pugnacious. Seems to me that toughness these days is nothing more than comparing resumes, overtalking someone else, name-calling and throwing around big, politically-correct words, followed by a fistfight. That is not toughness. Toughness, at least my definition of it, is simply an attitude of resilience. Not giving up on anything or anyone. Nowadays, it looks like everything and everyone is disposable like a paper cup or plastic silverware. We have recreational dating, we have all kinds of things that are strictly for fun. We literally have entire industries based on the flippancy of people. It is 2014, and look at how weak everyone has become. In our “progressive” world, we have modern families, we have everything that is top-shelf. Toughness is not promoted. Why? Toughness is sorely needed. Comedian Chris Rock recently stated that “kids need bullying”. Why on earth would he say that? In my estimation, he was referring to the toughness created by dealing with people who hate you and decide to mistreat you. Life is not fair. The attempts by the popular culture and the political class to “level the playing field” is ludicrous at best. Life is tough. It does not stop. Time doesn’t stop going. So I ask you all who are reading- is toughness part of you? How many of you have beat a drug problem? Or stopped drinking? This past week made three years for me being sober. I do not miss drinking. At first, I would fight the temptation not to drink. As time went on, it went away.

Toughness is an attitude. And attitude is everything. By toughness, I don’t mean living like an outlaw, destroying everything in your path. Take me for instance. I am an Army vet. I stand 5-11, weigh 238 lbs. I am a guy who likes to fight, military history, etc. Some of the toughest people I have seen were women who didn’t raise their voices or their hands to anyone. I sat and listened to their life experiences, their wisdom. They talked to me in a very soft voice. Old ladies. Tougher than a “two-dollar steak”, as the old saying goes. I am a big believer in what is called “self-talk”. Self-talk is what you say to yourself. Lots of people think that talking to yourself is some sign of inherent mental illness. That perception couldn’t be further from the truth. People tend to believe what the world says about them more than what they believe about themselves. It is a sad sight to see, a person who is a doormat. People who believe lies about themselves. As you all know, I am not a man who is afraid or ashamed to talk about himself. I battled fear, doubt, insecurity, depression, anger and angst for years. A lot of my “issues” came from my self-talk. The more you dwell on the negatives in your life, the weaker you become. Mentally weakened people are not tough. You see it in sports, like in a football game. One team may be stronger, more athletic, more well-like by people in general. The other team may be despised and a “gaggle of hooligans”. The less talented team wins with ease. Why? Mental toughness. One team will bring confidence, swagger and the will to win that crushes the other team. Such how it is in life. People must understand that no amount of knowledge, no adherence or compliance with the popular opinion on “social issues” will help you win in life. The issue of toughness is all about being able to endure hardship, as life is all about loss, pain and being able to withstand it without being destroyed by it.

In closing, I am living proof that life doesn’t have to be a series of losses, or whatever you are fearing. People fear conflict so much they will concede to anything that guarantees ease, peace, tranquility. It is imperative to develop toughness. But how do you develop toughness? In my succinct opinionation of it all, it is to realize that nobody owes you anything. Nobody is responsible for you eating, nobody has to help you. It is all about taking personal responsibility for your life. Using self-control, discipline and never giving up on your hopes, dreams and goals is essential to developing toughness, mental toughness I should say. Physical toughness and strength is also something that has to be developed through calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, running), weight-training, stuff like that. I would rather have a weak body than a weak mind. In summation, toughness is something that is developed. No one can do it for you (most folks will assist you in your demise). It is all about your level of pride in yourself, the level of determination to achieve and succeed in life. Never allow life to crush you. Life in my eyes is nothing more than a long, drawn out war. Conquer life or it will conquer you.

I AM A SCAM ARTIST

Hello, I am Kente Bates, and I am a scam artist.Image

Yes, you all heard it here first. Based on what I get from folks on the internet and in life in general. But before I put myself on the stand, we need to know what a scam artist really is, what they represent, and where they are usually located. By definition, as scam artist, or confidence artist is someone that defrauds a person or group after first gaining their confidence, in the classical sense of trust. So what do they represent? Just getting over on everybody else to get money, sex or whatever else. Where are they located? They are located all over. The biggest ones are in key positions of leadership, often in politics, the media and in music.

BATES: I call KENTE to the stand.

Kente walks up to the stand. He holds his right hand up, left hand on a Bible.

BALIFF: Kente, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help you God?

KENTE: I do.

JUDGE: You may be seated.

BATES: Now, Kente, you are here on the accusation of several dozen people that you are a scam artist. Is that true?

KENTE: “Never. I would never scam anyone, because it is not in my nature to do so”.

BATES (laughing): Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh right. We all know everyone who is not a known name cannot guarantee a thing. YOU are a scam artist! ADMIT IT!

KENTE (calmly): “I realize you’re doing your job, but it ain’t working. I have never scammed anyone, nor will I ever scam anyone. All I do is help people. it’s in my DNA”.

BATES: “You expect me, this court, and all those watching in the world to believe that you are not a liar, not a scammer? We have transcripts of Nigerians calling you a scammer. Now if we can’t take the word of a Nigerian “businessman”, who can you believe”?

KENTE: You take a look at the internet, society and all- who runs everything? Scam artists. Now, we have all been trained to spot the scammer, but look at who the biggest ones are- the ones running the cities, the governments- add to that the people who are weak-minded, the dope boys, the hoes, the SIMPs- all the politicians, all the musicians, ad people. Those are scam artists- big time scammers.

BATES: Again, do you expect us to believe the word of some unknown like you? Why should we? You can’t do anything! You can’t get me any money, you can’t get me hooked up with a chick, and you can’t get me anything so I can get high. You are worthless, not a leader, irresponsible, scatter-brained, weak. YOU ARE A LOSER. YOU ARE A SCAM ARTIST. YOU ARE A JOKE. JUST ADMIT IT.

KENTE (agitated): Not only are you trying to bait me, but you’re grossly out-of-line, sir. You are in no position to challenge or question my expertise. You speak as if you know any of my struggles, from the time I was six years old up to now. I have spent my life helping people, refining who and what I am, only to see it rebuffed time and again by losers. You, sir, have no clue as to what it entails for you to lose everything you have. I know firsthand what this is like. SEVEN TIMES I have lost everything. Working myself almost in the grave- collapsing in public, working when I had pneumonia and could barely stand. I have done everything in my power to ensure a life of respectability, and I stand firm on that. Ask anybody I ever worked for. I am the archetypical hard worker. You, my friend are out of your league coming at me with this garbage!

BATES (sarcastically bored): Now that your monologue is done, I wish to bring out exhibit A- the track record of people like you, who are wanting money for nothing. Let the court bear the testimony of Raymond R. Mulalas (name changed to protect actual people): “He goes looking for money, now he’s offering money- SCAM.” See? That’s proof positive there. Exhibit B states that in a fundraising consult, you were found out to be “lacking in all fundamentals of fundraising, often delving into grandiose illusions rather than concrete evidence. Let Exhibit C state that the defendant also, “Does not have his head on straight. The simple fact that he is trying to raise funds online should show you he is a shady character at best”. BATES motions to the door. “I now offer before the court a testimonial by a Ryan Brown, a REAL money man. Mr. Brown runs a financial firm. He was interested in Kente’s ad, but he found that Kente was a scammer, through and through. BATES pops in the tape, the tape begins: “Both me and Kente were conversating, and were about to come to a deal, but I knew something wasn’t right- all my questions were answered, but I just didn’t feel at ease about this. I am someone who checks everything before making a deal. If I cannot get the upper hand,  will back out. The last time I talked to him, he starts popping off at the mouth, calling me an arrogant prick, how he didn’t need me, etc. The fool was BROKE, couldn’t even afford to pick up the tab for the service he was offering. Not to mention that, but I must say again, it just sounded too good to be true! Nobody offers anything like that anywhere without it being some kind of scam. Yes, he sent me information, names, addresses, numbers- but I just don’t do deals that way.” The tape ends. BATES is standing, with a smirk on his face, as to suggest he has boxed KENTE in.

BATES: Now, we all have the word of an actual person, on video, that is concurrent, germane and congruent with what I have been laying down the past hour. Kente has yet to prove he is anything but a mealy-mouthed, forked-tongued liar who is just  nothing more than a scam, a fake and a cheat. So, Kente, you need to answer ALL my allegations. We all know you are just are a hack who can’t cut it.

KENTE (visibly angry): In reiteration, you must have just bumped your head. I have stated just what and who I am. You can bring up as many folk as you want, but they were and always will be fearful people. Don’t you never try any crap like that with me. These guys and gals thought it’d be something for nothing, waste my valuable time- I am trying to build a business, and these hacks are all online, in my presence telling me I have nothing to offer, that I am a mere scam artist? I have had a lot of insults hurled my way in my 37 years- but nothing enrages me more than some jack boy lying on me, telling me to my face that I am not worth anything other than a waste of space. It is very infuriating to hear these lies. It’s bad enough to hear lies come from the mouths of fools online, but to hear these gross misrepresentations of me, my intellectual property is downright egregious and might I add, a travesty of justice.

BATES: No further questions, Your Honor.

The jury deliberates for 3 hours. The jury is arguing every point made, arguing every jot, tittle and line explained, exclaimed and portrayed.

All of the participants of the trial reassemble. The verdict is about to be read aloud:

JUDGE: Jury, what is your verdict?

FOREMAN: Your Honor, we find the defendant, Kente not guilty of all counts.

JUDGE: Kente, you have been absolved of all reasonable doubt. You have been found not guilty of the charge of being a scam artist by a jury of your peers. I have nothing more to add to this. You are free to go.  BANGS GAVEL. You are dismissed.

I want to thank all of you for reading this. I hope it was as entertaining for you reading this as it was for me writing it, imagining the players in it, and the feelings associated with several of the players in it.