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.

Hate

I was recently in a short debate with a young man on facebook (which shows the level of the debate). He was going on and on about how he hates Christianity, Christianity is the problem that causes people to be weak and docile, etc. I basically just shut down due to laughter. I realize that this sort of thing prevails in young and old alike. In my case, I hated everything and everyone. I thought I was the baddest man on the planet at one time (late 90s- early 2000s). I hated the way I grew up, hated the way I was raised (to a degree), hated how I was treated by “my own kind”. Hearing this young man talk reminded me a LOT of myself. Vocalized (in this case keyboardized hatred) anger over anything except doing what is right and sticking up for others is not good for you. Back in my day, I had the idea that I wanted to kill everyone and everything. That I was on the right track “doing my own thing”. Reminds me also of the “Men’s Movement”. Some call it MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way). My only concern about this is the removal of God and the application of pure unadulterated hatred, rage and what I call “venomous living”. Surgically precise, Intensely vicious was the code I used to live by. I made a “big to-do” about everything in life. With age comes wisdom. With wisdom comes introspection. With introspection comes reality. I have found that life is something that makes cowards of people. Hate is a lot like a garment we wear to cover up hurts, scars and whatever else.

Hate is something that all of us experience at one time or another. From my experience with hate, it can be something that consumes you, it becomes a part of your life (if you let it) and takes over. Something like that is not healthy, not needed. It makes a case for just walking away from toxic situations and toxic people. Bottom line, it is essential that you have to take care of yourself above all else. Hate is symbiotic if you let it. People can use it for motivation to become great. Usually, hate debilitates. Hate destroys. Hate takes over your life. In summation, don’t let hate take over your life.

The LAST MAN STANDING

Have you ever felt that you are in a valley in life? That everything you do is seemingly “in escrow” for a later time, but you need things now? Add to that, the people around you are not making anything easier, whether they complain a lot, whine, or whatever it is that they do? Troubles, trials and tribulations are the name of the game in life. We do live in an era where people have been softened up with “sweetness and light” coming from every angle. What is more confusing, there are those who actually do have answers, but their manner of delivering the answers further isolates and frustrates the people in need. How can you make something out of the seemingly endless cacophany of voices that all promise you that they will help you, make things easier and bring things to a head? I am no expert, guru or any of that. However, I can tell you about how it is imperative that you think for yourself. Thinking for yourself, personal accountability, stuff like that, is a lost art in our world today. But HOW do you think for yourself, when it is easier to go with the flow of media, popular opinion and groupthink? It is something to behold when you see someone using the brains God gave them. It is amazing to see men and women accomplish their own dreams instead of seeing people go on some track that allows them to live “life on autopilot”. How many times have we on social media or on our blogs, comment on those who we deem to be “stupid”? How did they get to be mentally deficient? And what makes us, any better than they are? Is there some disconnect that we haven’t figured out yet? Is it because it is 2014? Is it because we live in such an affluent society that even a growing class of people who do not have the skills to pay their bills is nothing to fear, since “we got ours”?

i simply wanna say that the times in which we live, it is more important than ever to realize we must “break out of the matrix” and begin to THINK FOR OURSELVES. I know it’s not very popular to be a thinker. I know it’s not very popular at all to have a set of beliefs that prides itself on a deity, or “rugged individualism”. If it were all to end today, what would you want to be said about you in the history books? To be THE LAST MAN STANDING, you must realize the times we are in, the urgency of life (as it passes all of us by to some degree), and just how frail we really are. It takes brains, brawn, desire and the willingness to endure tragedies, troubles and disappointment. As it says in Psalm 30:5, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning”. 

For those of you who this hits, I hope it helps you, as writing is therapeutic for me.

For all of you seeking something in life, remember this old Roman proverb: PERDES OMNES QUI ADVENERUNT (Destroy All Who Came).

How Do You Know Your Worth?

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From the poster here, you should all know where I am going with this. People tend to play down to their common denominator. It shouldn’t be that way. The poster says “know your worth”. How do you do that? Simply saying “know your worth” makes about as much difference as telling a homeless man to “get a job” if he doesn’t now what to do, where to go. I remember this in my own life. Basically, men are not taught to value themselves in their own eyes. They are brainwashed into being subservient and DEPENDENT upon the ideals of the media and women. Men, it is time for ALL of us to “get out of the matrix” and realize the con job that has been run on us. Four generations of men raised by women has this nation reeling. It is easy to see. No real men, only a bunch of mannish-acting boys who act like women when angered. This is not the way it’s supposed to be.

But how do you know your worth? Simple. Look at where you are, your current circumstances. Then look at where/what you want to be. Set goals. Refuse to take any crap off anyone. Become the man you want to be, instead of cup-caking, soft-shoeing around people just to curry favor with them. That is how you determine your worth. Looking to anybody else other than yourself and God is foolish at best.

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.

DEALING WITH HATE

ImageThe other day, I was reminiscing on my life (seems like I’m always thinking huh), and one theme I am on a lot is hate. I remember the words, the sneers, the judgment passed on me. I think of this a lot as a mean of motivation. I am basically sold out to being ruthless in achieving my goals for life. So many people are underachievers, or they don’t understand what it takes to make something for yourself in life. It is imperative that people “get out of the matrix” when it comes to having things in life. So many people are all on the “my four and no more” philosophy of life, basically looking out for number one.

Hate is a theme of life I am intimate with. Growing up the way I did, I am on a face-to-face level with hatred, violence and pain. Hate is something that is now mainstream in the media when you don’t like something that is popular (i.e. Deena Jacobs to Kim Kardashian). Hate was something that was fed to me, being a youth in the ‘hood. All I knew was hate. People hated me cause I had buckteeth, cause I didn’t have a dad, or for some reason. People hated me because I was alive and breathing. This is something people have to understand. They hate you. And? Am I supposed to break down every time some fool passe judgment on me that I know isn’t true? I couldn’t care less about what anybody thinks of me, other than God and myself. More people need to have the POV I have (not saying it because I said so, but because it’s the stone-cold truth) if they want to succeed. This thing we call life is not for the timid. The winners in life win because they forsake all fears, even forsaking “common sense” to get what they want out of life. Too many times, we now have people who are willing to settle. Bad relationships, bad everything, no job, stuck on welfare, got kids with no father, no support. Then the hatred comes.

Hatred is something people do to distract themselves from the sad-sack reality that they have created. People usually hate things they don;t understand, things they can’t do- other times, they hate what they cannot control. It is simple in my eyes. The confusion comes when people who don’t have the mental acuity, the mental disposition you may have, start in on you. What to do?

1. REALIZE AND ACCEPT that people do not have to like you, love you, or even acknowledge your existence. You must make the determination that you will be happy no matter what people say or do to you.

2. People will be people. What they cannot understand, control, profit off of, they will hate, despise and try to ruin.

3. YOU MUST NEVER EVER GIVE UP BECAUSE OF THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS. I know it’s tough. You must develop your talents, and develop a thick skin.

4. LEARN TO REVEL IN THE HATE. I have taken to a new mentality concerning this. I often say NEW HATERS WANTED- the old ones are starting to love me!! This a mental deal that will take years to overcome. The fear of people is a snare, as said in the Bible.

5. As you are developing your talents and skills, and your mental frame, never forget that you are accountable to yourself, family, the people that depend on you, and to God.

6. Morgan Freeman said it best in “The Shawshank Redemption”: GET BUSY LIVING OR GET BUSY DYING.

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