Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now

Rise Up

Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now, by Gary A. McAbee

RISE UP! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America is the follow up to Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now! RISE UP! is a continuation of the call-to-action for all people laid out in the first book. In both books, the emphasis is the idea that everyone, including African Americans, needs to learn how to improve their lives today. The only way to improve is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own lives. More and more African Americans across the nation believe that we can change things; we can make a difference.    

RISE UP! focuses on a series of ideas that can be used to live the life that we all are seeking. To teach these principles, this book is broken into six categories: Learning Lessons, Building the Family, Managing Finances, Offering Service, Strengthening Communities, and Helping Society. This information is directed at African-Americans; however, regardless of race, gender, origin, or economic status, everyone can all learn and apply the principles in this book to become more successful. Best wishes and blessings on your journey through the following thoughts and ideas. I sincerely hope that this book will also inspire people to improve their lives NOW!

 

Now available on Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1766AsX

Also available in paperback: http://amzn.to/OOe78y

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Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now

Wake Up

Wake Up! 42 Ways to improve Black America Now, by Gary A. McAbee

WAKE UP! 42 Ways to Improve Black America is a call-to-action for all people, including African Americans, who want to improve their lives today. The only way to improve is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own lives. More and more African Americans across the nation believe that we can change things; we can make a difference. The American Dream applies to us too, and we have numerous shining examples to prove it. These examples are there for us to study and duplicate in order to become successful in this society. Success breeds other successes, if African Americans can follow the blueprint.

What is this blueprint? The blueprint is a series of ideas that can be used to live the life that we all are seeking. To teach these principles, this book is broken into six categories: History, Education, Self-Motivation, Self Improvement, Communication, and Support. This information is directed at African-Americans; however, regardless of race, gender, origin, or economic status, everyone can all learn and apply the principles in this book to become more successful. Best wishes and blessings on your journey through the following thoughts and ideas. I sincerely hope that the words that follow will inspire us all to improve our lives NOW!

Now available on Amazon Kindle

Special price: 99 cents

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009FGAW0I

 

 

Also available in paperback… http://amzn.to/NJ6PBB

  

You Might as Well Excel

Excellence

Strive for Excellence
from the book: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now, by Gary A. McAbee

In a former life, my job was driving a limousine. In this role, my goal was to strive for excellence by being the best limo driver in the company. After a year of learning and providing strong customer service, I became recognized as one of the top drivers. Whenever VIP clients needed a ride, only the top drivers were selected to cater to their needs. On a particular night, Roger Clemens the future Baseball Hall of Famer needed a ride to and from a function. This function took place on the night before he made history: winning his 300th career game. The pressure to win his next game was mounting because of the significance of the achievement. He needed to relax and enjoy this occasion, then prepare for the next day’s game. Guess who was selected to accompany Mr. Clemens?

Those who strive for excellence keep in mind the reason for being excellent: self-improvement. Attempting to be the best at something should not occur at the expense of others. We should not get involved in attacking others, endless comparisons, jealousy, envy, or spiteful behavior. These behaviors waste time and effort; therefore, they cannot be a part of the process of striving for excellence. Those who strive for excellence put in their best effort.

Think about it for a second. When you have your own company, what kind of employees would you want? Would you want to pay employees who own their job and its responsibilities, or waste money on those who do not? Would you invest in people who complete tasks to the best of their ability, or would you rather have people who do not care for the quality of their work? Would you want employees who value time and use it wisely, or waste time?

Wasting time equals wasting opportunities. Wasting time equals wasting a chance to learn something new. Wasting time equals wasting a chance to improve a process. Wasting time equals wasting potential. Most importantly, wasting time equals wasting money. Those who waste time do not strive for excellence. My philosophy is that if you are not striving for excellence in your workplace, find somewhere else to work where you will!

People who consistently strive for excellence avoid these common traps to be the best they can be:

They do not waste time…

They do not gossip or assassinate people’s character…

They do not dismiss new ideas without trying them first…

They do not compare their rewards, or lack of recognition, to others…

They do not complete tasks only to be rewarded or recognized…

They do not change their ethics or lower their standards to be the best…

You might as well excel… strive for excellence!

Handle Slights (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff)

Question Mark

The recent increase of racial tensions continues to simmer weeks after the George Zimmerman verdict. To help ease some of the tension, I feel the need to share more knowledge about my experiences as an African-American man and how I face situations that remind me of my blackness every day. To refresh your memory, feel free to read my article about the Zimmerman Trial and racial profiling first, then come back to this blog post to learn about how I handle slights.

The George Zimmerman Trial and Racial Profiling

Handle Slights: (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff)
Excerpts from: Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now by Gary A. McAbee

Have you ever been followed in a store? Have you ever had someone hold their purse when you walk by? How about times when people lock their car doors when they see you coming? Don’t forget that nervous energy people have when they are alone with you in an elevator! Each situation has happened to me too many times to recall. All of these things are slights, especially if you are a good person with no intention of harming someone else.

A slight is when people or events seem to turn against you for no apparent or legitimate reason. Slights are small things, not major problems. People slight each other all the time. Most people will slight others because they put their own values and beliefs into every situation. They use their preconceived ideas about you to base their judgment. Some use their preconceived ideas about your situation to form a slight. Still others don’t want to see you step out on faith and move forward. Finally, a lot of people are negative thinkers. In all cases, prepare to be slighted for some reason.

In each of these examples (being followed in a store, seeing a clutched purse, or hearing a door lock), it is probably best to let the slight go. A person with a positive mental outlook would not allow small slights to bring them down. In the past, when store detectives followed me, I confronted the store manager. The person who held the purse, locked the door, or squirmed in the elevator would get the dirtiest look I could possibly give. These reactions were based on letting a slight change my attitude.

Now, all of these situations do not get a response from me. This is because of the way I choose to handle slights: with a positive attitude and a smile.

Handle slights with a positive attitude and a smile.

Three good ways to handle situations like these are to understand the reasons why someone slights you, ignore the slights, and move on. Just move on! Don’t choose to fight these small battles. They are a serious waste of time and they take you away from having a positive outlook. If people know they can use slights to take away your positive energy, believe me, they will. This includes friends, foes, and maybe even some family members too.

The way to handle slights is to stay positive. Always stay positive!

A Lack of Empathy: Trayvon and George

gavel

One of the things I teach and put into practice is to build up the ability to show empathy toward others. One way to do this is to START by accepting someone else’s “reality” as fact WITHOUT adding your preconceived notions or personal opinions. Then say, if their “reality” is TRUE, how would I feel about it if I was put in the same situation? Next, ask how would I react in the same situation. Finally, decide if the situation in question is something that requires additional attention. If so, take action. If not, accept it and move on.

I have read so many articles and posts about the Zimmerman trial and its aftermath. In most cases, people have not tried to use empathy to understand what MIGHT have happened between GZ and TM. Let me help.

GZ felt threatened once the confrontation started. I get it. Did he have to shoot TM? Don’t know, I wasn’t there. I do know that if I had a gun and “had” to use it, I probably would have done it too. His “reality” was shoot or be beaten to death.

Next, ask how you would feel if you were in GZ’s shoes? I think this is the easy part. How many of us can at least imagine what we would do if we were put in a life-threatening situation?

TM was profiled as a “suspect”. I don’t know for sure if he was or wasn’t about to do something wrong in that neighborhood. Again, I wasn’t there. I do know that TM had the right to be there and he also felt threatened. His “reality” was to fight for survival.

Ask how you would feel if you were in TM’s shoes? I think this is the hard part. How many of us can imagine what it feels like to be a treated like “suspect” and followed?

(I wrote an article that speaks to my experiences as a “suspect” to help you with the hard part… The George Zimmerman Trial and Racial Profiling.)

Finally, decide if the situation is something that requires your attention. People who post their opinion in places like this believe they should “get involved” by speaking out. However, have they gone through the basic steps I provided about building empathy for all parties BEFORE “getting involved” and voicing an opinion?

I respect everyone’s opinion, even those who have opinions that have been way out of bounds on both sides of this situation. Some of GZ’s supporters have expressed outrageous opinions. Some of TM’s supporters have expressed outrageous opinions. Do you think they tried to use empathy to understand this tragedy?

I suggest that everyone tries to build their ability to use empathy as a way to better understand this tragedy. Then the healing process can begin.

Personal Declaration of Independence

Fireworks

The Fourth of July is a day of celebration, complete with food on the grill and fireworks in the air. However, we should not forget the reason why we celebrate this occasion. We remember this day to remind us about of the foundation of our country: our declaration of independence from tyranny and oppression. We should also remember that it is symbolic of our personal struggles and challenges that occur every day? We all need to declare independence.

A personal declaration of independence is the decision to break away from anything that is holding us down, or holding us back. We all live with challenges that hold us back and prevent us from fulfilling our destiny. The question is whether or not we are willing to declare independence from these obstacles, and then put in the work to free ourselves from them once and for all.

If you want to declare your independence today, follow this sequence… 

Dream

Vision

Idea (Goal)

Plan

Action

Result 

If we think about it, EVERYTHING starts with a dream. The dream becomes a vision. The vision becomes an idea. The idea becomes a plan. The plan becomes an action. The action becomes a result. Faith propels this process every step of the way. It must be present as we move from one phase to the next. If we lose faith in the dream, it will never become a vision. If we lose faith in the plan, it will never become an action. Have faith that your declaration of independence will become a reality!

On this Independence Day, dare to declare your independence! Start by thinking about all the things that have held you back or continue to hold you back. Then envision your life AFTER you declare your independence. Write down your declaration: what do you want to remove from your life? Develop a plan to make it happen. Finally, get to work and eliminate things that impede your progress. I challenge you to declare your independence today!

My personal declaration of independence is to get rid of negative thinking.

 

Say What? Learn the Power of Using Quotes

CEO of Your Life

Years ago, as a high school senior I was asked to give a quote that summarized my personality for everyone to remember me by. I was assigned this task and it took days for me to select the perfect quote. After checking out hundreds of sayings, I finally decided to use my own. I said this quote to myself many times, but never uttered it out loud for someone else to hear. Under my picture in the St. Aloysius High School 1989 yearbook, it reads:

“Get loose and produce!”

While attending college, I had a collection of my favorite quotes plastered on my dorm room walls. The quotes provided me with motivation and courage under fire. For me, the quotes were fun to collect. There are good quotes about every situation and problem that can provide courage, strength, wisdom, and guidance. By far, the one place where the most, and best quotes can be found is in the Bible. The Book of Proverbs is a great source of these precious gems.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I have hundreds of powerful quotes at my disposal. Here are a few of my favorite gems…

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. -Anonymous

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

The capacity to believe is what you receive. -Anonymous

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success. -Napoleon Hill

Fortune favors the bold. -Anonymous

For more quotes from my collection, follow me on Twitter and Facebook:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.mcabee

Get loose and produce,

Gary A. McAbee

Voting is a Right NOT a Privilege : Save Section5

Here is a great article about voting rights!

Be a Seed for Change

votingTime to pass the Voting Rights Act, change redistricting rules and make it easier for ALL Americans to VOTE

Dear America

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist. 

 On March 7, 1965, hundreds of brave unarmed nonviolent women and men dared to March for African Americans right to vote.

The fact is that less than 1% of eligible Blacks could vote or register to vote.

A group of people organized a Peaceful Protest: The March would start in Selma then move on to the state capitol in Montgomery. However, as these peaceful protesters tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery the police, seemingly already assuming a defensive posture; some on horses had, looking back, a predetermined  tactical intervention plan against…

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Develop and Use the IT Factor

IT

There are many people who have a unique blend of intelligence, compassion, and positive energy. They are driven, focused, and committed to excellence. All of the traits these people possess are universally accepted and admired. What can we call the combination of qualities these people have that make them special? I call them the IT factor.

Do you know anyone who has the IT factor? 

How can you develop and use the IT factor?

To develop the IT factor, identify those people in your life that have it already and emulate their behaviors. As long as it is a genuine attempt, eventually you will develop the traits and characteristics of those who have the IT factor. Build your intelligence, show compassion, and remain positive. This is a good start to developing your IT factor. Continue to build it by helping others, being selfless, and making a commitment to excellence. These habits will become second-nature and soon you will be recognized as an attractive person who has the IT factor.  At that point, you should not be afraid to use what you have to improve your life. Go ahead, you earned IT!

Not everyone has IT. In fact, few people actually have IT.

If you have IT, use IT.                                                                

When you realize that you have IT, accept IT.

Do not be afraid to embrace IT.

Do not flaunt IT, because this is not necessary.

Everyone can see whether or not you have IT.

Most people will know if IT is real or an act.

If you don’t have IT yet, understand that you can get IT.

So do not act like you have IT if you do not have IT.

Instead, build and develop IT.

Once IT is obtained, IT should be put into practice immediately.

IT cannot be taken away from you once you have IT.

Use IT for the right reasons.

Finally, teach others how to get IT.

Test the Limits of Your Faith!

Faith

Recently I found myself in a real predicament. I didn’t have ANY money, and I had to get to and from work. It was one day before pay day and I didn’t have any gas. The problem was that my car was already on E and work was 24 miles away. Let me mention again that my commute was 24 miles one way! First, I thought about trying to make the round trip and running out of gas somewhere between point A and point B. Honestly, I knew that getting there would not be a problem; getting back would be the hard part!

James 2:14
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

Something told me to go, so I went. Sure enough, I made it there without a problem.

As I got back into the car to go home, the gas needle was well below E (somewhere around F, G, or H). I said a short prayer, waited in silence for about two minutes, then proceeded to drive home without a problem. In fact, the gas needle did not move at all. Can you believe that?

What exactly does this mean? It means that we CAN pull ourselves out of the dilemmas we presently face. First of all, it takes faith: a belief that we can succeed even when all signs point to a different outcome. Second, it takes work: a burning desire to do whatever it takes to achieve what we want. This powerful combination is a force, ordained by God, that can’t be prevented or stopped. When we start to understand this, we will be able to accomplish great things.

Hopefully, this lesson about faith will become a part of our daily lives. Sometimes we feel as if we have nothing. However, we have so much more. We have God, so we need to remember that HE has a plan for us. We have potential, so we need to build the strength to work toward it. We have faith, so we need to summon the courage to look for it.

Faith moves mountains. Faith builds bridges. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, but not yet seen.

When was the last time you had to test the limits of your faith?

Reference: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+2%3A14-26&version=NKJV