Your only true limitations are those you place upon yourself

Growing up in the south, I heard many stories and was lied to many times.  The stories I heard of was about the accepted fact that black men were either destined for jail, the graveyard or limited to working as a farm hand or in the local cotton gin.  I heard these stories from both blacks and whites and after a while began to believe them and settle in for what I was destined to do.  What changed was among those stories was the fact that as a black man, it would be a miracle to even graduate high school.  Like all children growing up, I dreamed of that big house with that white picket fence surrounding it and being able to walk out on my porch and be addressed as mister instead of boy.  To be able to purchase what I wanted when I wanted and do for my mother more than she had ever done for me.  I wanted her to be proud of the boy that she had raised and the man I had become.  It was my desire to not have her want for anything and not have to work so hard at literally raising 10 children alone.  I had those dreams but listening to those who had gone before me and who had lived much longer than I, my path, my destiny was already laid out for me and as a good son and a good boy, I was content to follow it until one of the tenants or major supporting columns of this pre-ordained destiny fell apart.

I got my high school diploma and it was not through some miracle but dedication, hard-work and a determination that I was going to graduate.  A few hours after walking across that stage, it occurred to me that if those who knew were wrong about this, maybe they were wrong about some of the other things.  It was decided, then and there, that I would apply the same grit, determination and drive to all of the other things I wanted to accomplish in life and let the chips fall where they may.  I wanted no regrets and if by chance I did not achieve any of the others, it surely would not be from the lack of trying and definitely will not be because people said I couldn’t.  That drive, determination and decision allowed me to survived 9 plus years, through sometimes extreme conditions as a United States Marine, obtained a college degree, established 9 businesses, patented 8 inventions, improved upon 2 innovations and garnered my beautiful children and a lovely, supportive wife.  The only thing missing is the big house with the white picket fence and the richness I envisioned as a child.

Today I realize, after looking back to see just how far I have come, that the riches I envisioned as a child was in the form of wealth, money and power.  I thought that being rich would mean I could buy what I wanted when I wanted to but I was wrong.  The riches are best described in the accomplishments mentioned above and especially in my children and wife.  Richness is not about being able to buy what you want when you want it but being able to produce what you need when you really need it.  This is the riches that fulfill our lives and make it more enjoyable than anyone ever realize because we fear not those things that comes when your richness is justified or measured by money and wealth.  You soon realize that power does not come as a gift from another person but from the gift of God and originates not from bank accounts but from the very essence of who we are.  That gift emits from the soul.

So I say to all those who may wish to read or listen, you can sit back and continue to wait on that mysterious “the man” to deliver what they think you deserve or you can make a life-changing decision to seek it yourself because in the end when all the smoke has cleared, it will become very clear to you that Your only true limitations are those you place upon yourself. 


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