My thinking continues to evolve on how precisely to create the change I seek in America, so bear with me as I experiment with approaches.
This morning I realized that I needed to make a little change in my “five principles” program, designed to create the very shortest path to maximum change. I doubt this will be the final form, but it opens the door to tapping into the first major study of my life: how to succeed. So here are the current five steps to healing our country’s racial rifts:
- Love yourself. Banish guilt, blame, and shame, and replace fear with faith. Commit to protecting that child self within you like a tiger protecting her young. Only if you feel safe can you feel truly loving and open. I saw Steve Muhammad, my beloved karate instructor while in Atlanta. I spoke to him of feeling like a very open-hearted person, and he laughed, reminding me how “mean” I was in actual combative movement. He was right. I needed to feel that I had a vicious beast to unload on anyone who messed with me or my family. That gave me the space to be loving.
- Expand “self” to others. Expanding your definition of “self” to another human being creates a loving relationship. Expanding further creates family. Community. It must happen naturally and organically, and cannot be forced. But love without projecting guilt, blame, or shame. Take responsibility for your own emotions and your own soul. But the Koisan belief in “Num”: one soul looking out through many eyes, is a path of awakening, IF you first be sure you are safe.
- Understand human history and current events beyond dualities. Can you see black and white, male and female, gay and straight, Conservative and Liberal, Christian and Jew and Muslim without condemnation and the need to feel superior? If you can, you can walk this path. In this specific context, understand our racial history and current events without needing to believe in one side or the other being morally or intellectually inferior or superior by nature. God didn’t do this: we did this to ourselves, and we can get out of it…ourselves.
- Select your “Mastermind” from those who can simply and without equivocation state a belief or faith in human equality. The following question works very nicely: “under the same historical circumstances, would whites have been as damaged?” While people can lie and withhold, those willing to accept this premise can then extract any understanding of our history or current status from this position, and also point to our path of healing: remove the knife, clean the wound, stitch it up and natural healing factors have a chance. But beware of those who are asleep, dreaming they are awake, mistaking the faith in their own superiority for facts. Even worse are the Smiling Monsters. I personally think no more than 1% of human beings fall into this category, but they exist, and are the most important reason to be strong and ruthless about protecting your heart and family. We don’t need everyone to agree with us–we can do this with the resources we now have, with the people now awake. While respecting their rights and persons, stop arguing with these people…flow around them.
- SUCCEED TO THE LIMIT OF YOUR DREAMS AND ABILITY. THIS is what I have modified. Once you are safe, once you love and forgive, once you understand the world from a perspective of equality, and have identified your comrades and family…SUCCEED. Thrive. Live life with energy, passion, and commitment to your dreams. Be happy, healthy, loved, and loving. Why? Because it is intoxicating. Everyone will want to know how you do it. In this specific arena (healing racial wounds) the indicators are such things as infant mortality, incarceration rates, education and so forth. But it is entirely possible that the greatest gap, which is simultaneously the one that will BOTH benefit you personally at the same time it helps you benefit your family and community, as well as be a role model if you wish, is the realm of the financial.
Not just income or cash on hand. Inherited wealth from generation to generation is a terrible gap. But let’s make it more personal: Net Worth. Your wealth minus your debt. Here are some fast statistics: https://psmag.com/how-much-do-racial-wealth-gaps-affect-the-next-generation-13d37d0ac291#.uhdpust3c
The gap is stupendous. The gap in Net worth, which is wealth minus debt, is AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE. TEN TIMES. Closing this gap will be BOTH an effect AND a cause, indicating AND enabling such things as: political influence, legal access, health care, stress relief, education, self esteem and far far more.
So let’s start there, and then apply those same principles to the other major indicators of success: love, health, happiness.
We’ll use the principles of the very best success book ever written, THINK AND GROW RICH. We’re going to burrow into the techniques, and how they apply to ALL success, whether on a material, physical, emotional, or spiritual plane. In fact…it will be critical to be sure that every step benefits every level. You cannot aim at financial success at the cost of your physical health or love relationships, at the cost of honesty or compassion. That is NOT the kind of “success” we seek.
THINK AND GROW RICH is a unique book, impossible to replicate today. Napoleon Hill spent thirty years studying and interviewing 500 of the most successful (mostly) men in America, working from scratch to isolate the common thread in their approach to accomplishment. Such men as Edison, Ford, and Carnegie were among this astounding group. What he learned has influenced every “success” book written after it: there is no longer any possibility of a clean slate. Everything either restates, isolates, or acts in reaction to this first book. So…why pretend otherwise?
He isolated thirteen basic principles, and you could spend years studying any one of them. They apply to any goals you can state clearly, whether they be physical, mental, financial, spiritual, or emotional. I kid you not–this stuff (while sometimes out of date in language and particulars and a bit of attitude) is dynamite. I was first introduced to it in childhood by my mother (yep, she was conflicted, wasn’t she?) and have returned to it over and over in my life.
The first of thirteen principles is DESIRE. If you have enough desire, you will find a way to succeed. Chew up any obstacle. Stay up late, get up early, ignore fear and opposition, and claw your way to success…or die. THAT is the attitude of every great man or woman I know of. They found something worth giving 100% of themselves for. Find that, that gleaming jewel in your heart, the thing you’ll give EVERYTHING for, and you’ll have your seed.
So a few thoughts before we dive in and get more specific:
What BURNING DESIRE can you put behind your drive to heal, expand and protect your finances?
What BURNING DESIRE can you use to motivate yourself to heal your emotions, master fear, open your heart and find a love partner, and build a beautiful, satisfying, inspirational relationship?
What BURNING DESIRE can you use to motivate yourself to develop a healthy animal physicality?
For me, I’m getting simple: I’m willing to die to communicate how magnificent the human heart is, the human soul is, and that means willingness to kill any illusions that separate me from my greatest self and deepest mission in life.
I can see how this struggle, the question of race in America, was not chosen by me–it was thrust upon me at the age of Six, when my teachers put me in a racially-coded “slow” reading group. When at eight I read in the Encyclopedia Brittanica that blacks were intellectually inferior. When at ten my mother told me “if you let white people know how smart you are, they will kill you.”
I had no choice. My children have a choice, as do yours. We can set them free to fight other battles, and leave this one on the ash-heap of history.
And if that’s not your drive? Just be loving, and healthy, and succeed. That will be enough.
Join me…I’m going deep.,