Author: Antonio Maurice Daniels

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels is an editor and columnist at The Good Men Project. Also, Dr. Daniels is a University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Associate in Education and Co-Founder and Vice Board Chairman of The Why You Initiative [YU?]. He is a minister, theologian, higher education finance consultant, university instructor, non-profit executive, published scholar, and Earl E. Hoffmann Fellow. His cultural commentary blog, Revolutionary Paideia, can be found at https://revolutionarypaideia.com, and follow him on Twitter: @paideiarebel.

Don’t Let Disappointment Defeat You

Overcoming Disappointment
Photo Credit: Everyday Feminism

Disappointment is a natural part of the human experience; take time to learn from it—never hide from what it invites you to confront. One grows stronger when he or she learns to discover what disappointment offers, but fear causes people to attempt to bury the initial pain and restlessness it materializes. The pain indicates an undesirable, yet necessary pressing against love residing in you; the restlessness, love striving toward healing. Given a chance to run their natural course, pain and restlessness buttress your interior life: they engender resiliency, crucial to surviving and thriving in an often callous world.

Resisting the perception of vulnerability as weakness, a chink in your spiritual armor, inadequate emotional intelligence necessitates courage. To be fearless in the face of adversity, fill yourself up on faith and hope, joy and thanksgiving, rest and gratitude. Doubt, failing to develop a critical reflective praxis, denying vulnerability time and space to speak—all stifle your progress. Extracting value from disappointment requires one to use her or his organic processing tools—reading, writing, and meditating—leading to a higher, more enlightened self.

After reading yourself through disappointment, after writing yourself through heartache, and after meditating yourself through the unpleasant experience, you birth essential knowledge about resistance, resistance to malevolent forces aiming to destroy you. This knowledge of resistance grants you power to shine light into darkness, power to bring tranquility to tottering people and places—and regimes on the brink of ruin.

When you offer peace to chaotic people and places, two guiding principles are important to maintain: stay focused on the mission and understand that you will face opposition—often formidable opposition. Recognize that your opponents, those trying to thwart your continuous progress, suffer from brokenness, requiring someone like you, someone committed to truth, love, and justice, to move them from a barren place to a fecund place.

Misunderstood by many, disappointment torments people. Frightened, they become docile bodies held captive by it. At some point, however, these docile bodies must shatter the manacles of oppression and depression disappointment imposes.

Bondage, it’s dreadful. The more one surrenders to subjugation, the more she or he will accept it. What subjugated people fail to resist, they fail to comprehend.

Mentally and spiritually enslaved people, blinded by ignorance, face inevitable destruction—unless liberators come to their rescue. Resistance can crush bondage. But how? By unseating the false authority granted to bondage.

You have the power to dethrone disappointment’s reign of terror in your life.

What’s holding you back, though?

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison    

Liberate Yourself from People Using You

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Post-Examiner

When you transition to living a life free from allowing folks to take advantage of you, it’s a liberating experience. It’s not about revenge against those individuals who have used you; it’s about giving yourself a chance to be, to live, to breathe. If you’re living a life where you’re constantly serving every beck and call of others, then it’s time to stop. In fact, it has been time for you to end such an unhealthy, unproductive lifestyle.

Recognize that people will continue to take advantage of you as long as you allow them. You must muster the will and courage to stop doing this to yourself. After all, those people who have used you could only do what you permitted.

Once you close the door to users ever being able to use you again, leave that door closed forever.

When you’ve truly given yourself an opportunity to live free from leeches, folks always with their hands out looking for what you can do for them, it’s time for you to celebrate. Celebrate what? Celebrate your newfound freedom, or the rediscovering of such freedom. You deserve it!

You don’t have to announce you’ve closed that door to those individuals forever. Let your actions inform them. When they see your actions speaking, they will see your new liberated self.

People will start to realize they need to give you something before you continue to pour into their lives. This new liberated self isn’t about embracing selfishness—it’s about granting yourself the right to experience personal equity and justice. One shouldn’t passionately fight for equity and justice for others and not extend that same equity and justice to herself or himself.

Yes, those who have used you will begin to make some of the following comments: “You’re acting funny now,” “You’re acting brand new now,” “You weren’t really for me in the first place,” and “You weren’t doing things for me out of the kindness of your heart; you were always looking for something in return.” That last comment really strives to make you feel guilty and compel you to return to a life of bondage.

Never taste the sweet nectar of freedom and then revert to bondage.

Fight for you; fight for your freedom.

If people who have only taken from you want something now, respond to them by inquiring about what they plan to do for you in exchange for what they desire. This dramatically changes the power dynamics: it moves you from being a pushover to the person who holds all the cards.

When you understand that you hold all the cards, you will exercise your power to thwart attempts to victimize you.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison   

Make Some Sacrifices to Get What You Want

Quid Pro Quo

                                     Photo Credit: Minnesota Lawyer

Although you may hold a position that you are not willing to do something someone wants you to do to obtain something you desire, you may want to consider making a sacrifice for it. Yes, this defies conventional wisdom: don’t sacrifice your values; don’t sacrifice who you are for anyone and anything. Is what you need to do to receive what you want really forcing you to sacrifice your values and/or who you are? Face this reality: Successful people take risks and make sacrifices.

Don’t do nothing to risk your life or health, however.

In our present reality, you have to give something to receive something. Although during the impeachment proceedings for President Donald Trump the notion of quid pro quo, “a favor for a favor,” has become a dirty term, a quid pro quo in many contexts is fair. As long as the favor on one side is equal to the favor on the other side, a quid pro quo shouldn’t be viewed as a problem; in fact, it’s fair.

Too many folks want something for nothing. While I am a philanthropist and give much of my time to charitable causes and helping others, I understand how damaging it can be to one’s life when your giving and receiving are in a chaotic imbalance. You cannot pour from an empty vessel. When you are constantly giving and never receiving anything, you’re not taking care of yourself.  Unfortunately, when you need something from the same folks you have helped, most of those folks will not be there to help you.

For over 32 years, I have been a person who has given and given to people—with little being received in return. It’s time for me and others like me to stop feeling guilty about asking people to give us something in return for what they want from us. You’re not a criminal for looking for something in return from others who want huge favors from you. Be kind to yourself by treating yourself justly and demanding others to treat you justly.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing: A Summary

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Photo Credit: Amazon

Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing (2019) offers readers important insights about how to make successful decisions. The book strives to help readers see decision making as an opportunity for spiritual growth. For Freeman, one can find peace even when it does not seem possible. The author contends that doing the next right thing is about moving one’s focus from outcomes to the present moment.

When a person removes distractions, Freeman argues that he or she can better understand inner experiences.

If an individual is not being real with himself or herself, the author asserts that God is not able to reveal what He desires to communicate to him or her in the present moment.

The Next Right Thing challenges the reader to question his or her desires and motivations. Freeman believes that questioning one’s desires and motivations allows him or her to find clarity on their spiritual paths. This does, however, require one to be candid with himself or herself.

Freeman recommends that one invest more time in listening to his or her believers rather than critics. She asserts that keeping yourself uplifted with positive words of others empowers you to arrive at the heart of the person you really are.

The writer values surprises, for they, she argues, more often permit one to resolve decision making chaos than perceived clarity does. The book emphasizes that it is not wise to expect clarity about every detail of the future, considering life unfolds in complex and unpredictable ways.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

Doing Justice by Preet Bharara: A Summary

Doing Justice by Preet Bharara

Photo Credit: Amazon

Preet Bharara’s Doing Justice (2019) offers the lessons the author has learned during his career as a former federal attorney. Bharara contends that effective investigations require investigators who have a strong work ethic and who commit to withholding judgment until the appropriate time. The author explains that a successful investigator must be willing to reassess evidence. Also, he helps the reader to understand that successful investigators often question the processes they use.

Bharara divulges that reasonable questioning of witnesses is necessary to gain the cooperation of witnesses. Doing Justice makes clear that posing the right questions is crucial to the final outcome of an investigation.

The writer warns investigators against making hasty accusations because they can severely damage their chances of success. Bharara posits that police officers and prosecutors who are not careful in their decision making are serious threats to justice. He urges them to muster the courage necessary to endure harsh criticisms from various people and maintain their focus on the proper pursuit of justice.

Doing Justice emphasizes the importance of governments and prosecutors ethically exercising discretion.

The author encourages prosecutors to prepare themselves diligently for their court dates, for surprises during trial are certainly not pleasant. The book argues that prosecutors have to be willing to challenge judges who demonstrate partiality.

Bharara has a strong interest in prison reform. For the former federal attorney, prison reform is necessary to true justice. He asserts that any just society must demonstrate a real concern for how prisoners are treated. The author acknowledges that many problems in the American prison system need to be addressed immediately, and he sees that it is going to take the American people to champion prison reform for these problems to be addressed.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro: A Summary

The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

Ben Shapiro’s The Right Side of History (2019) is a thorough defense of Western civilization and the religious and philosophical thought that has supported it. The author attempts to provide of an understanding of the centuries of thought that have developed and maintained the West, and he attacks threats to the dominant thought that has been central to defining the West.

For Shapiro, people desiring to be happy must pursue a life of moral purpose. The writer posits that the reason so many Americans do not have a positive outlook about the future is they are not living lives centered on moral purpose.

Ben Shapiro argues that the United States was the first nation to be grounded in philosophy. He cites Thomas Jefferson’s comments about the Declaration of Independence as an effort to ingrain the thought of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and other great philosophers into the fabric of America.

The Right Side of History advocates for strong opposition to efforts to weaken individual rights in America.

The author contends that the modern American political left has embraced tribal identity, which, in his view, abandons Western civilization’s philosophical traditions. Instead of supporting truth, reason, and the pursuit of virtue, Shapiro asserts that the American political left has abandoned the aforementioned for victimhood.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

NIV, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd Edition: A Brief Review

The Maxwell Leadership Bible

Courtesy of Thomas Nelson

John Maxwell’s NIV, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd Edition, is a wonderful bible with an excellent, reader-friendly print. With the New International Version being a popular translation of holy Scripture, many will appreciate how John Maxwell helps readers to gain critical insights about it through illuminating leadership principles throughout the text. Maxwell does a brilliant job of evincing how the bible is truly a book that has much to teach about effective leadership. A well-established authority on leadership, Maxwell brings his years of leadership experience and expertise to profile biblical leaders and what can be learned from their leadership.

This bible contains an introduction to each book and many short articles related to leadership. The hardback edition is a soft, comfort hardback, which makes it pleasant to hold and carry. Maxwell does a thorough job of ensuring that the reader understands the bible through a leadership lens and that he or she is able to engage constantly with Scripture’s powerful revelations about leadership.

Without question, leaders (and not just spiritual leaders) should purchase a copy of this this bible. Also, all individuals serious about the study of the Word of God need a copy of this bible. When one reads this bible, he or she comes away from the text a more empowered person ready to address challenges and problems with biblical courage and wisdom.

To aid the drafting of this honest review, the publisher, Thomas Nelson, provided a copy of The Maxwell Leadership Bible through BookLook Bloggers.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison