Advice

Memory Will Protect Your Heart

 

Sad Black Woman

(Photo Credit: Ex-Superwoman)

Psychology teaches us to judge people by their previous actions. While one should forgive people, and forgive them immediately, don’t forget their track record. Even when you’ve just met a person, evaluate his or her words and assess his or her fidelity to those words. Unless you have some type of mental condition adversely affecting your memory, it offers great power to protect you from heartbreak. Listen carefully to what people say and closely observe whether they deliver on what they communicate.

One of the central reasons why an individual must engage in close analysis of what others communicate and their corresponding actions is selfishness often enters the equation. People’s selfishness can have devastating effects. Although you cannot guard yourself against all acts of others’ selfishness, valuing the power of memory permits you to diminish opportunities for falling prey to such selfishness.

It’s okay to trust people—just exercise good judgment. As much as possible, make sure the people you trust have a track record that merits trust. Words alone are meaningless. What real evidence is available to help you determine whether to trust someone? If you ask that question each time you make a decision, you will greatly ameliorate your outcomes.

Memory, an invisible best friend often neglected, is waiting to collaborate with you to defeat those who would attempt to do you harm. Let memory guide your thoughts, your actions, your values, your principles.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Transformative Power of Reading

Transformative Power of Reading

(Photo Credit: Black Christian News Network)

One of the most powerful ways to awaken, develop, strengthen, and renew your inner intellectual is through reading substantive pieces each day. When you read substantive works, your knowledge grows, your imagination becomes broader, and your capacity to dream elevates. Reading permits you to not only discover many or most of the answers you seek, but also it enables you to formulate the right questions, questions that will lead you to a better, more interesting, and more successful life. This intentional focus on your inner intellectual will pay true dividends in enhancing your self-concept and naturally and ultimately your self-esteem.

When you read quality material, material that relates to your interests, aspirations, and search for answers, your purposeful reading will serve as a strong defense against negative factors affecting and influencing your self-concept and self-esteem.

Reading substantive literature, such as slave narratives, allows for you to place the challenges, barriers, and problems you face in their proper context. When you read slave narratives, you will learn about individuals who persevered and triumphed in impossible conditions—conditions much more difficult than you will ever be able to imagine. These stories about how American heroes and heroines endured these impossible conditions will inspire you to continue to strive for success—even when success falsely appears unlikely and barriers seem like they will never be conquered. Look for the strategies, values, principles, and thinking that led to those individuals’ success. Find ways to incorporate what contributed to their success into your own life.

Use your school library, public library, and the internet to find books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself each day is to read something that is going to support your interests and place you further on the path to achieving your goals. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t waste a moment in self-doubt. Expand your knowledge, expand your horizons, expand your imagination through a commitment to reading meaningful books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals.

A commitment to purposeful reading every day is one of the most powerful ways of strengthening your self-concept and self-esteem. With this commitment, your mind becomes occupied with self-advancement, pursuing your interests, and meeting your goals.

Let books and articles occupy your mind, limiting the amount of time for condemnation, peer pressure, and self-doubt to discourage you and halt your progress.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Make Your Work Pay

Pay Me

(Photo Credit: Navitor)

Although it may sound harsh and selfish, don’t do anything that will not yield you a beneficial return. View your work and activities through the lens of budgeting and investing. Labor and activities not producing a useful return—eliminate them. Does a fruitful return necessarily mean money? No. It can mean anything deemed valuable to you. When you constantly feel overextended, take an opportunity to see why. Are you trying to do more than you’re able to do? Are you attempting to solve all of the problems of those around you? Are you more preoccupied with the affairs of others than your own? If your answer is “yes” to those aforementioned questions, then your life is rife with imbalances.

Have enough courage to turn down work that does not pay. Be willing to disengage or not participate in activities that will not improve you in some way. When you know your worth, then you will place a demand and/or price on requests people make. If someone wants you to do something for him or her, then he or she should expect to give something in exchange for the request. He or she cannot go into the supermarket and pick up a bag of grapes without supplying the cashier money in exchange for the item.

Face it—we live in an exchange society: you want something; you give something.

For those who have a problem with this exchange society, they’re really the ones who are selfish. Why would you want someone to do something for you and you not at least offer to do something in return for him or her?

My dad taught me to work smart—not hard. Yes, I know his teaching is counter to the American ethos of “hard work pays.” However, does hard work always pay? How about most of the time? If you desire for your work to be meaningful and your activities to be meaningful, then you better attach expected returns to that work and those activities. Don’t become so altruistic to the point you lose yourself, lose your self-worth.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Unload Unnecessary Baggage

Although we keep important items in our metaphorical luggage, too much unnecessary stuff remains. Continuing to carry all of this junk weighs you down, presses you small. “Bag Lady,” one of Erykah Badu’s most powerful and popular songs, reveals the toxic nature of maintaining excess baggage, and people disregard at their own peril the valuable lessons this song offers. You must realize that immense stress will kill you. It’s essential, therefore, to remove stressful phenomena and people from your life. Don’t get buried in the baggage you elect to transport.

Today is the right time to release the excess, dispose of the trash, and organize the clutter. Consuming and hanging around mess will turn you into mess. If you really don’t like mess, then get rid of it. Don’t go another day dealing with unhealthy stress levels, guilt, shame, condemnation, worry, and fear; tap into a hope on the inside of you far greater than them all.

When you cannot find any joy and benefit in a thing or person, then it’s time to disconnect from it or him or her.

You possess the power to improve your life today: dump the junk now.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Show People Themselves

Couple Arguing

(Photo Credit: Urbanette)

One of the most effective ways to show people how they behave is to respond to them the same way they respond to you. This, of course, goes against what is traditionally taught in most faiths. From time to time, however, you need to expose people for who they are by demonstrating to them how they act. Jesus often employed parables (elementary teachings) to make profound and enduring statements. You might contemplate approaching people in the aforementioned way as a means of adopting a similar pedagogical practice used by Jesus.

By temporarily choosing the ways of others, you can cause them to abandon their unfavorable conduct, considering they will not like when these ways are used against them. This strategy presents a meaningful opportunity for you to teach them valuable lessons and change their lives potentially forever.

At some point, you simply have to let folks know their behavior is unacceptable, and you must engage in efforts to discontinue their troubling conduct. You possess the power to ameliorate those around you.  Although they may not know yet, you’re the change they need to see in their lives.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Be Valued and No Fool

Be No Fool

(Photo Credit: No Way Girl)

With this piece, Revolutionary Paideia launches a new weekly feature, “Pop-Up Sermon.” What is “Pop-Up Sermon”? From one sentence to a full-length piece, this feature, “Pop-Up Sermon,” will offer you a sermon that you might not receive from your church’s pulpit. Uncomfortable truths will often be submitted to you. As spineless, milquetoast, equivocating, and self-serving preachers are becoming more prevalent, I commit to being that preacher for you who will deliver what you might not want to hear but need to hear. The central goal is to speak some relevant, useful words into your life at least once a week. Be sure to check out Revolutionary Paideia each day, considering a “Pop-Up Sermon” could emerge at any time.

Today’s Pop-Up Sermon:

Learn to appreciate people. When people fail to appreciate you, then you have a responsibility to teach them how to appreciate you. This may, unfortunately for them, mean ignoring them. Know your worth; then govern yourself accordingly. Don’t let folks use you, and don’t be their fool.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

10 Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem

Man Crying

(Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

Numerous people can benefit from a significant improvement in their self-esteem. When you have low self-esteem or unsatisfactory self-esteem, don’t be ashamed; take steps to boost it. You possess the authority necessary to take control of your life. A healthy self-esteem is essential for a healthy life to materialize. Recognizing how important a strong self-esteem is to a productive and fulfilling life, this piece offers ten tips to aid you in strengthening your self-esteem.

1. Take Charge of Your Own Life. This is your life—choose what you want it to do for you. Make life submit to you; don’t allow it to dominate you.

2. Accept the Notion that You Are Responsible for You. When you claim responsibility for your life and are able to own your failures and celebrate your successes, you place yourself on the path to a healthier self-esteem.

3. Reject Those Committed to Destroying You. Surround yourself with people committed to building you up and advancing you. Disconnect from those who consistently attempt to undermine and attack you. Refuse to allow your friends and family to destroy you with their words and actions. If necessary, separate yourself from them.

4. Speak Positive Words to Yourself. People with an unproductive self-esteem constantly speak negative words to themselves. Their thought-life is consumed with self-defeating thoughts and images.

5. Take Calculated Risks. If you’re going to reach your full potential, comfort zones must be eradicated. Comfort zones kill dreams; comfort zones extinguish passions; comfort zones limit possibilities. Never permit the fear of failure to prevent you from tackling a challenge.

6. Discontinue Comparing Yourself to Others. Focus on yourself. Become the best version of yourself possible.

7. Love Yourself. You will never experience true happiness and joy when you fail to love yourself.

8. Be Trustworthy and Loyal. Let your words and actions prove you to be trustworthy and loyal.

9. Win with Grace, Lose with Class. Be a great winner and lose honorably.

10. Be a Giver. Being an authentic giver fills you with joy and dismantles the elements that compose low self-esteem.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison