Be Your Own Agent For Change

There are two ways to find your genius.  The first is to hope and pray for the right circumstances, opportunities, and that all of the stars align in the right way at the right time.  It does happen.  It happened for Beethoven, Bobby Fischer, Leonardo Da Vinci, and others. The other way to find your genius is to adopt the right mind set, do the right things, and to manipulate your circumstance to align the traits that you possess in such a manner so as to optimize your potential.  There are no accidents in life.  The universe is governed by laws and there never has been a law of accidents or coincidence.  However, there is cause and effect, the Law of action and reactions (Newton’s third law), or however you want to understand it.  What’s important is that you understand that your actions have causative effects to the world around you.  Therefore, deliberate actions can have a calculated and predictive effect on your environment.  Hence you jump out of a moving car and you will roll on the ground.  You bang your head on concrete, you’ll have a headache.  I think you understand my meaning.  So the key then, is to manipulate your own perspectives, beliefs, and actions in such a way so as to elicit your desired results.  This mean that you become your own agent for change, regardless of what perceived obstacles that you encounter.  I wrote “perceived” obstacle because this is about perspective.  Let me give you an example from a lady whom I know personally and respect immensely.

I have a good friend whom I met at about 13 years old.  We attended high school together.  This friend was of foreign birth.   After the passing of his father, his mother left their native country with 6 children in tow and moved to Los Angeles.  To put things into perspective, my friend’s mother and father were not married so she inherited nothing when he passed.  She had a two-year degree from a non U.S. university in accounting from a university that was not accepted here in the U.S.  They left their home nation and came to the U.S. when my friend was about 6 years old, so I met him about 6 years later.  By that time, she had a house with a value in excess of 1 million dollars, drove a Mercedes SL500, and sent her youngest two children who were still in school to a private school.  She, on a whim, entered into a business that is heavily controlled by wealthy White and Jewish men, yet when she would walk into that arena, everyone would stop to greet her and show her respect (at least that’s how I remember it).  When I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Business, I took a Small Business Course.  One of our projects was to interview a successful business person about how he or she achieved his or her success.  So I chose my friend’s mother.  What I learned from her was pivotal.

I drove out to their house one day and asked her a series of questions.  I don’t remember the majority of the questions, but the one that I do remember was this. “Mrs. So and So, what obstacles did you encounter while pursuing your dreams.?”  Her answer knocked me totally off balance.  She responded “what obstacles?  What do you mean?”  I was somewhat taken aback.  Keep in mind that I was raised by Black American parents who came of age before the American Civil Rights movement of the 60’s and I was raised being told stories of oppression, murder, racism, and hatred.  My uncle had been shot twice in the chest for dating a White woman and my cousin was shot, stabbed, and lynched by the KKK in rural Louisiana just because White women found him attractive.  So, though I realized that we had progress since that time, I was also aware that racism was still alive and relevant.  I responded “you’re a woman, you’re Black, you’re foreign, your degree is from a foreign university, yet even before I met you, you were successful.  Surely you had to face some obstacles.  She thought for a moment and told me a story.  Read carefully as it became the crux of my philosophy for success:

For the sake of the story and privacy, we’ll call her “Mom’, my friend “John”, and his older brother “Matthew”.  To set up the story allow me to explain that Mom lived in the hills of Los Angeles and her son Matthew, John’s older brother lived a block away also in the hills.  So Mom told me this story, “One day I drove up to Matthew’s house and as I approached I saw John and Matthew trying to force an ottoman through Matthew’s front door.  Matthew had just bought an oversized ottoman.  So there they are damaging the ottoman as they were forcing it.  So I told them to stop.  I stepped back and thought for a minute and told John to go to the garage and get the ladder.  Matthew has a 20-foot extendable ladder.  I had Matthew and John place the ladder on the hill side and the other end on the balcony (remember, his house was right against the hillside).  I then had John go get some flat boards and put them over the ladder.  Then I told them just to walk the ottoman right in through the second floor.  You see Eric, everyone is taught to enter a house through the doors, but that’s not what was going to work for what we needed.  So where everyone else thought door, I thought ‘what will work for what we need’.  Eric so you see, that’s how I approach life.  I guess that if someone has a problem with me, for whatever reason, I chose to let it be their problem.  I see what I want to do, and find a way to do it.”  But did you hear that wisdom???


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