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!

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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

Are You Writing Down Your Goals? Write them down first, then make them happen!

Wake Up

(From the book: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now, written by Gary A. McAbee, p. 95-96)

The best way to increase the odds of achieving a goal is to write it down. How many people write down goals? Statistics show that less than one out of every ten people writes down their goals! How does this translate into achievement? Chances are, this is the reason why two out of every ten people are living the lives they want. They are planning to work and working their plan. There is a direct relationship between writing goals and achieving them.

Writing down a goal by itself does not guarantee greater success. It only starts the process of achievement. Goals must be accompanied by action plans that clearly define how a goal will be reached. Action plans must include dates of completion for each step of the process of completing a goal. Without dates, there is no incentive or “pressure” to complete a given task. In other words, the hunger to complete a task is accompanied by setting specific deadlines.

Action plans must be broken down into steps. Each step, when added together, should equal completion of the goal. The steps should also have dates of completion. In other words, a goal will look like a blueprint or a series of instructions. Think about it: could you build a new house without a blueprint? Could you program the latest electronic device without step by step instructions? Without the blueprint or instructions, the likelihood of completing tasks is slim. It is also true when setting goals. Without a plan, the likelihood of completing important goals is slim.

The goal-setting process also takes examination of potential obstacles that will surely come. Every goal, regardless of its scope, will be challenged. The goal of passing a test will be met by the challenges of what to study, when to study, and where to study. The goal of starting a business will be met by challenges of what industry to enter, what services to provide, and how to incorporate. In short, when you set a goal, problems will arise. The way to handle obstacles is to prepare for them.

Is there a goal that you would like to accomplish? My goal worksheet and action plan can help you get started today…

Do you have a Positive Mental Outlook?

Motivation

Do you have a positive mental outlook? A simple experiment can help you find out…

People who have a positive mental outlook are few and far between because most people are negative. Most people look for bad things to happen, make them happen, then claim that their theory of impending doom was correct. What many people do not realize is the process works in reverse as well. If you look for good things to happen and make them happen, then you can claim that things will work out well. It is all based on your mental outlook.

Have you ever noticed how some people can find good in everything? They look for and find a silver lining in every situation. Even on rainy days they can find something positive to think about. Their secret is simple: they have a positive mental outlook! The best part is that we all have the ability to have a positive outlook. It all starts with a basic understanding: there is a silver lining in every situation if you choose to look for it.

Try the following experiment:

Think about the worst thing that has happened to you this week. Now try to find something positive that can happen, or already has happened as a result of that bad experience. The truth is that if you dig deep enough, there HAS TO BE something positive you can take out of your worst experience.

How many people who try this experiment can find a positive result from a bad experience?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Lemonade

What are lemons? Lemons are the things that bring about anxiety, fear, and frustration in our lives. You should consider yourself lucky if you only get a few lemons a day. Unfortunately, many people carry around a sack of lemons that is clearly visible to everyone. Others hide a lot of lemons in the closet.  You might not see them, but they will certainly fall out once they open the closet door. Even the so-called lucky people have their fair share of bitter experiences every now and then. Life tells us that we will have our own lemons to deal with on a daily basis.  

The best way to deal with lemons is to make lemonade. What is lemonade? It is the end result of dealing with the things that lead to anxiety, fear, and frustration. Small challenges can quickly be overcome, so making lemonade out of them can be a quick and easy task. On the other hand, major challenges can make it difficult to find a place to store your lemons while you search for a pitcher large enough to make your lemonade. Simply put, big challenges request much more effort, but once they are overcome, you have more lemonade for yourself, and others!

When you make your lemonade, be sure to add a little sugar. What is sugar? Sugar is the attitude we possess when we make our lemonade. The best way to handle life’s problems is to have a positive attitude and mental outlook. Hopefully, you have the ability to find a positive outlook on your own. I believe we have all been given this ability from God. You have been given your own sugar! However, if it is difficult to find or add your sugar, look outside to people or other sources of inspiration to add a little flavor. 

As a final thought, no matter how bitter your lemons may taste, someone else has lemons taste that taste just as bad, if not worse than yours. In other words, someone is always worse off than you are in your present situation! This is why it is very important to share your lemonade, and your ability to make it, with others. You never know when your story, or encouraging thoughts or deeds, will arrive just in the nick of time for someone who is saddled with a heavy burden. You might even inspire them to make lemonade out of their lemons and share it with other people too!

Have you been able to turn lemons into lemonade lately?

 

If you are saddled with a sack of lemons and you need a little help making lemonade, feel free to contact me. I will be sure to bring the sugar!

By Email: gary@motivationfortheworld.com

By Twitter: @McAbeeGary

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