Take the Road Less Traveled (Letter 16)

the-road-less-traveledDear Y.B.M.:

I trust that you are doing well today.

I am writing you now to encourage you to take the “road less traveled.” You might be asking, what is the road less traveled? Well, in short, it is the tough, lonely road of self-discipline. This road is about delaying gratification and pleasure to accomplish a worthy goal or pursuit. Practicing discipline is much easier said than done. Discipline is a great idea, but implementing it is difficult.

According to Websters Collegiate Dictionary, the word discipline means:

– To bring under control
– Training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
– Self control
– To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control
– Control gained by enforcing obedience or order

Discipline is that quality that says, by the grace of God, come hell or high water, I am determined to get the task done or reach that goal, etc. Discipline says, it doesn’t matter how I feel or what is going on around me or who is doing or saying what. All that matters is that I am willing to sacrifice – to do without things, if necessary, to reach my goal.

Here is a personal example of self-discipline: to write this book, I’ve had to get up at 3:30 a.m., forego eating, get rid of the television set, and not look at football and basketball, etc.

Dear friend, you will have to have that rugged tenacity and discipline if you are going to succeed in your endeavours in this life.

Here are some things that we really need to practice the principle of discipline in:

PRAYER: You will need to learn to pray when you feel like praying and pray even when you don’t.

READING: Especially Bible reading. One man said: “The Bible will keep you away from sin, or sin will keep you away from the Bible.” Reading other books besides the Bible will take discipline as well. But the rewards are great.

IN-DEPTH STUDY: King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, said, “Much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12b). And it is. Someone stated that “Mental work is much more difficult than physical work.” And that is true. For example, I find it much easier to work in a warehouse than to sit down and write an article or a book.

EXERCISE: Even though there are people who say they like to exercise, it still takes discipline to move that body out of bed and on to the running track or gym. Discipline! Discipline! Discipline! Make it your battle cry and you will win every time.

SEX: One of the most difficult areas to exercise discipline in is the area of sexual desires. But as in any thing else, God will help you overcome those temptations if you would only pray and take heed to His Word.

We could go on and on as to the areas we need to practice discipline in. The question now is, how do we practice discipline? Here are some simple ideas that I find helpful:

1. When you have a goal that needs to be reached, abandon all else and focus on that one thing that needs to be done and get it done now!

2. Take the T.V. out of the house.

3. Do the worst first.

4. Work hard and then have big fun. Plan an exciting reward for yourself after the goal is reached.

5. Remember that good feelings follow positive action. Positive action hardly ever follows good feelings.

6. Fast. When you really have to get something done, do what I call, fast and focus. What I mean by this is in order to reach your goal, you may need to go without some things that you enjoy such as food or television for a period of time to focus on accomplishing your goal.

7. Bathe the goal or project in prayer.

Dear Y.B.M., please take the road less traveled — the road of discipline. It’s hard, but good. And as my dad used to say: “It’s tight, but right!”

On the Road Less Traveled,

Daniel Whyte

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Frederick Douglass said, “The collapse of character begins with compromise.”

Zig Ziglar said, “When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

Rudyard Kipling wrote:

“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on.’

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run-
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!”

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You Are Not Inferior! (Letter 15)

Dear Y.B.M.:

I am back in Atlanta, and at the writing of this letter, I am on the beautiful campus of Morehouse College — the alma mater of the late and great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Down through the years, I have noticed that one of the marks of a “Morehouse man” is confidence. And that is what I want to write to you about today.

I hope that you are not one of the many young men in our community who feels inferior and shows that he feels inferior to other races — particularly the white race. It is disturbing to see so many young black men catch this disease called an inferiority complex when it comes to other races. It is almost as though this disease is in the air in the black community.

What are some of the ways that we catch this awful disease? Well, one way to get this disease is by not being raised right. Often times, if a parent does not know how to love and nurture a child while he is young, especially black boys, that child will grow up out of balance mentally, therefore feeling inferior. I am one of those who believe that young black children need lots of love, nurturing, and encouragement to turn out right in this strange society that we live in, especially black boys. It is crucial.

I believe the second reason why young black men feel inferior to others is because they have become addicted to that one eyed monster – the television set. I am convinced through my own observation of children that those children who grow up with a heavy diet of television watching will often times end up with feelings of inferiority. This happens simply because they are constantly watching others on the tube doing things and who are progressing and moving forward with their lives while they just watch. Of course, most of the people we see on television are white, and certainly most of the people we see in positive roles on television are white. This constant bombardment on our young black boys is destructive. One of the reasons why I don’t let my children watch television is because I don’t want them to think that white people are the standard of beauty and I don’t want them to think that white is always right.

In consequence of this heavy dose of television watching, they never develop a pattern of progress and success for their own lives, thus making their lives feel and appear inferior. The more you conquer, succeed, and prosper, the more competent and confident you will become.

A third reason for this feeling of inferiority among young black men is because many do not pursue more knowledge. I didn’t say education. Unfortunately, knowledge and education are not necessarily the same in our society. Be that as it may, the more knowledge that you have, the more confidence you will have. It is trite, but true – KNOWLEDGE IS POWER — and, may I say, huge power. Knowledge puts a smile on your face and a pep in your step that is unmistakable. Now when I speak of knowledge and confidence, I don’t speak of this haughty, snobbish and proud attitude that can come with knowledge. For Saint Paul said it well in 1 Corinthians 8:1: “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” No, I am speaking of the humble gaining of bold, loving, and biblical confidence.

No matter where we come from, what side of the tracks we live on, how rich or poor, we as young black men can and must have the confidence and boldness to accomplish great things that God designed for us to do.

Out of all of the billions of folks who have been born into this world, there is no one like you; and there is no one who can do what you can do.

No one is better than you. You are just as good as anyone else,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Arthur Ashe said, “I did not equate my self-worth with my wins and losses.”

Mark Mathabane said, “The most important thing I have to fight as a black person in an oppressive, racist society is what I think about myself.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “With a spirit straining toward true self-esteem, the Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and say to himself and the world: ‘I am somebody. I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honor. I have a rich and noble history.’”

John Singleton said, “If you respect yourself, it’s easier to respect other people.”

Max Robinson said, “I think one of my basic flaws has been a lack of self-esteem…always feeling like I had to do more. I never could do enough or be good enough.”

Please Learn “Yourself” a Little Etiquette (Letter 14)

Please Learn "Yourself" a Little Etiquette

Please Learn “Yourself” a Little Etiquette

Dear Y.B.M.:

In this letter, I wish to encourage you to do something that is very important and that is crucial to your advancement in whatever field you enter into. Also, if you learn the principles of this subject, you will gain great peace of mind when dealing with people.

Here is what I want to encourage you to do: Learn “yourself” some etiquette.

Personally, I believe that etiquette is the capstone of a man’s education. For one should not only be smart in his head, but one should also be smart in how he relates to other people. A truly educated man certainly knows what he knows, but he also knows how to act in every given situation or occasion. Sadly, many schools do not spend much time on this very important subject.

What is etiquette anyway? According to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language — etiquette is:

Conventional requirements as to social behaviour, proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.

A prescribed or accepted code of usage in matters of ceremony as at a court or official or other formal observances.

My definition of etiquette is: doing that which is right, proper, polite and kind in dealing with our fellow human beings.

Unfortunately, most of us have never taken a course in etiquette. And very few parents have taken the time to teach their children the basic principles of good etiquette. If you are one of the millions who have not been taught, take heart! Below is a list of quality books that you can read and study so that you can educate yourself as to what to do when the time presents itself. You will not need to read the entire list, but, at least read one of these books or maybe even two. Also, get a small paperback book on the subject that you can keep close at hand, as a quick reference. Here we go. Below are the top six books on the subject of etiquette:

The Amy Vanderbuilt Complete Book of Etiquette
Revised and Expanded
By Letitia Baldrige
(Doubleday & Company)

A Gentleman at The Table: A Concise, Contemporary Guide to Table Manners
John Bridges & Bryan Curtis
(Rutledge Hill Press)

Miss Manners’ Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour
By Judith Martin
(Atheneum)

How To Be A Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy
John Bridges
(Rutledge Hill Press)

The Correct Thing: A Guide Book of Etiquette for Young Men
Alyce Derian
(Author House)

The New Emily Post’s Etiquette
By Elizabeth L. Post

I do not agree with everything in any of the books listed above, but any one of these books will help you get on the right track as to how to act.

Now, out of all of the books listed above, I would recommend your reading the one by Emily Post. I really like the down-to-earth tone of the book, as well as the humor of it.

In closing, my brother, let me say, please don’t get carried away with this etiquette stuff. Just learn the basic rules of how to carry yourself well and then be natural. And remember: keep it real!

Yours For Not Only Being Smart, But Looking Smart,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Booker T. Washington said, “Do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

Coleman Young said, “Thinking your way through your problem is better than wishing your way through.”

Duke Ellington said, “Create and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.”

With All Thy Getting, Get Wisdom And Understanding (Letter 13)

[audio http://brotherskeeper.buzzsprout.com/26357/209524-with-all-thy-getting-get-wisdom-and-understanding-letter-13.mp3]

Dear Y.B.M.:

I trust that you are growing.

As I have shared with you in previous letters, it is true that gaining more education and acquiring knowledge is very important and essential to your success as we know it in this life. However, let me quickly say to you that there is something more important than these things, and that is obtaining WISDOM. While you are gaining more knowledge, please also get wisdom.

Notice what King Solomon said in Proverbs 4:7: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

What is wisdom? The word “wisdom” literally means having skill. Education will tell you how to do something, but wisdom will tell you why you ought to do something. And wisdom will also tell you when you ought to do something. In other words, knowledge or education is the automobile, but wisdom is the fuel. Wisdom is that supernatural edge that most people do not have, and have no idea how to get. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said: Wisdom is more valuable than gold, silver and rubies. In fact, if you don’t have wisdom, you won’t have and certainly won’t keep much gold, silver and rubies.

Probably, besides my letter on “Get to Know Your Creator” (Letter Two), this short letter is the most important to your happiness, success, and advancement in this life.

Now very simply, here is the basic way to obtain true wisdom. But watch out: this is going to be so simple that you might miss it.

ASK GOD FOR IT!

That’s right. If you want true wisdom, you must simply ask God for it. You cannot work for wisdom; you cannot study and get wisdom; you cannot borrow wisdom; you cannot buy wisdom; and you cannot extract wisdom from other human beings. The only way to get true wisdom is by simply praying and asking God for it. It is a free gift of the grace of God, as is your soul’s salvation.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

The glorious wisdom that God gives will open your eyes to so many things that you cannot see right now. The wisdom of God will give you the ability to see things that the average person does not see. Having the wisdom of God will also definitely give you an advantage — a great advantage in this life. So I urge you to ask God for wisdom to guide you throughout your life, and, friend, He will do it for you.

In closing this letter, let me also say that if you want to be wise, it is wise to walk or hang with wise men. King Solomon said in Proverbs 13:20, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

Dear Y.B.M., even though it feels good and may look cool, please don’t hang with fools because if you do, you will eventually become a fool yourself. Pick out those guys who are wise and hang with them and be a wise guy yourself.

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

A Word To The Wise,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Roy L. Smith said, “The world belongs to the man who is wise enough to change his mind in the presence of facts.”

Jean Jacques Rousseau said, “Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.”

Albert Einstein said, “Gentlemen, try not to become men of success. Rather, become men of value.”

T. H. said, “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.”