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Category Archives: Wealth Creation

Leaders are Readers

Billy Joe 057 (1 of 1)Reading helps us to explore the world. I can remember as a child going into the library at Webster Elementary School in St. Paul, Minnesota and leaving with books to read. I never checked them out, but I had them. Upon my return, the Librarian would always ask, “Billy Joe, why don’t you check the books out?” Always in a hurry, the thought of checking the books out would somehow keep this engaged young reader from his weekly exploration of the world.

I love poetry, biographies, Dr. Seuss, and the compilation of Dickinson and Thoreau, books that engage the intellect and stimulate stronger analytical thinking skills. Today, I still read two to three books a month and I always write in them.

There are some interesting studies and statistics among American readers. One third of High School graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives; 42% of college graduates never read another book after college; 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year; 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last 5 years. Studies have shown, 72% of American adults read a book in the past year for fun, while the percentage of Millennials, ages 18 to 29, was higher at 80%.

Reading can improve the memory. If your looking for a way to improve your memory and concentration and to relieve stress, reading can help you. “The brain stimulating activities from reading have shown to slow down cognitive decline in old age with people who participated in more mentally stimulating activities over their lifespans.”

The 8 benefits of reading: 1. Mental stimulation, 2. Stress reduction, 3. Knowledge, 4. Vocabulary Expansion, 5. Memory improvement, 6. Stronger Analytical thinking skills, 7. Improved focus and concentration, 8. Better writing skills.

With these thoughts in mind, taking a reading break can be as important as stopping to snack on your daily energy carb. A student asked me the question, “What do you personally get from reading?” With an enormous amount of thoughts running through my head, I came up with the following answer: “I read because it allows me the opportunity to examine, explore, exercise my thoughts, to stay in the now, to expand my vocabulary, to find myself in someone else’s words, to place myself in the other person’s place, to simply have some enjoyment.”

I believe that not all personal growth is organic. My experience has taught me that to grow, we must prospect in intellectual mines that others have cultivated and learn there. Finding lessons and inspiration in the success of others, is part of the real circle of life. We cannot not be afraid to LEAP into the destiny of our future, because fear is living without hope attached to it.

Someone once said, “The man who knows how to read and doesn’t, has no advantage over the man who doesn’t know how to read.”

Even as an average student, reading helped me to maintain an above average mindset. It was through books that I found the inspiration to climb the intellectual ladder of powerful thought, that helped to shape my future.

Zig Ziglar’s “See You At The Top” was one of my first motivational reads as a ninth grader. My Upward Bound teacher, Alfreda Garibaldi, helped me to realize that books and reading could help give me the confidence to boldly go, where many men had gone before; into the expanded world of reading.

As a leader, encouraging others to read has been a focal point of my personal development as a leader. Benjamin Franklin’s provocative quote on learning simply states’ “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” And just like the leaders before us, we must continue the quest for strong intellectual thought and learning. Let me close with a favorite quote from Dr. Seuss, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”

Remember this, your going to great places, so keep standing on the Rock! And enjoy your next read!

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The Black wall Street (Part 1)

IMG_0978In the early 1900’s there was a phenomenon happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the sons and daughters of former slaves were paving the way for what would become known as, The Black Wall Street. Tulsa would become the epicenter for our country’s premiere socio-economic boom in the Midwest.

With over 600 businesses owned and operated by black citizens, Tulsa, Oklahoma, would become the breeding ground for entrepreneurial excellence and accelerated extravagance, that would place the black businessman head and shoulders above his contemporaries.  The list included: 21 churches; 21 restaurants; 30 grocery stores; 2 movies theaters; 6 privately owned airplanes; boutiques; a hospital, a bank, a post office, schools, libraries, Hotels. law offices, Doctors, and even a bus system!

The fifteen million acres of land, we once owned in America, have been replaced by less than 3 million acres held by 18,000 farmers who still hold the deeds to land once promised.  The Tulsa promise land, like Boley Oklahoma, helped to house some of the world’s richest African Americans and helped to sustain the cultural trend for black wealth in America. The Greenwood District meant the black dollar would exchange hands one-thousand times before leaving the community.  In today’s financial boom, the black dollar leaves the black community in six-hours.

I am proposing instead of “Black on Black Crime,” how about, “Black on Black Entrepreneurialism.” How about holding each other responsible for building the future through shared partnerships, where a man’s word is still his bond.  Where a baby’s momma doesn’t have to come looking for the baby’s daddy because he’s there, teaching the principles of wealth building and financial literacy; while reading and writing bedtime stories that provoke his children toward educational excellence and celebration dances that cover the fifteen million acres we used to own.

If Gordon Gekko or Jacob Moore could see us now, standing in the reverberations of the 1921 fires that burned in Tulsa, that seared our thinking and melted our greatest passions and focus for generational emancipation, they too would cringe.  Our greatest opportunities are still ahead, waiting to be revealed, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be unleashed by the proclivity of our genius.

Thank God from A to Jay Z, we are thinking again and casting off the mental chains of complacency and reaching for the star that represents our true identity.  Madam C.J. Walker would stand up and shout for joy at the mention of our expose’s on Financial Empowerment, Generational wealth Building, Lunch N Learns, and Master Mind Groups.

We must always remember, what we bequeath to the future is ourselves, our best self, and the fires that once burned through the Black Wall Street must be kept burning, if we are to see the resurrection of our dreams.

Keep Standing on the Rock!

 

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