Genesis: The Beginning Of My Reconstruction

When I first decided to start this project, it started as a “finding happiness” journey. After a couple of weeks of some deep reflection and study, I came to the realization that I did not have a happiness issue, but I had a “stuff” issue. My mind was inundated with “stuff” causing internal conflicts and constant turmoil within me:

Old unresolved pain,
Tainted belief systems,
Programmed fears,
Cultural/ traditional norms.

And this “stuff” was affecting most areas of my life, such as intimate relationships, businesses, and my mental health.

After coming to that realization this project quickly became a project of personal reconstruction.

I am under the notion that anything that is to be reconstructed must first be deconstructed.

Deconstruction: the analytic examination of something (as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy. (www.merriam-webster.com)

Either whole or in part, the structure under examination must be torn down, analyzed, measured, and then rebuilt with tools and materials that allow the structure to withstand more, function optimally, and most importantly, BE GREATER THAN IT WAS BEFORE.

So, for the three following reasons, I am using this blog as a personal journal documenting MY PERIOD OF DECONSTRUCTION as I transition into MY PERIOD OF RECONSTRUCTION.

1. Accountability

We all need to be held accountable! And by publicly admitting and owning my issues and stating my goals, if I try to hold on to these issues or retreat from my goals, someone can call me on them.

Too many times we attempt to fix our issues and/or set and work toward goals privately, but lacking any accountability, lacking someone to cajole us and press us forward, it is too easy to just give in and give up. It is too easy to stay “stuck “in the way we think and complacent in our growth.

2. Iron Sharpens Iron

It is my most fervent hope that the openness and honesty of my self-study will encourage others to embark on their own personal reconstruction journey of self-examination and self-analysis and begin repairing and shoring up those parts of themselves most in need of repair.

Additionally, I wish to help change the mindset that admitting you have an issue is also an admission of weakness. As written so eloquently by celebrated author James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Admitting and accepting ownership of an issue is itself evidence of certain strength and commitment, and a necessary step to opening the door of opportunity to make lasting change.

3. To encourage others to begin to examine their belief systems to see which ones are rational and which ones are irrational.

For the last ten years or so, I have consistently stated, “Everything that has happened in my life was not for me, but for someone else so that I might help or encourage someone else.”

I hope my journey, analysis, research, and discoveries help someone as I go through this transformation process. I ask for your encouragement and hopefully, I can encourage you along the way as well.

If you enjoy this post, Please come back to hear more about my journey!

Releasing My Transgressions

When I began this journey two things were apparently clear to me, I was ANGRY and I was FRUSTRATED.

So as began to examine some of the reasons why I immediately I was holding grudges against others that were constantly running through my head.

There were two people I had held the most animosity towards. I won’t go into the why it’s completely irrelevant at this point. So I picked up the phone and decided to reach out. Not in the “I’m going to give them a piece of my mind” way but just to tell them how I felt, get it off of my chest, and apologize for talking ill of them.

The call was completely sincere! I wasn’t attempting to be negative in any way. There weren’t any ulterior motives behind it! I wasn’t trying to breed a sense of guilt in them. I honestly just wanted to let them know how I felt and apologize.

I had come to the conclusion, I can not control the actions of others and just because they chose to treat me a certain way didn’t give me the right to treat them the same. I also realized that part of my frustration with them was actually frustration and anger with myself.

Frustrated and angry that I placed myself in a situation where I had to hold my tongue.

Frustrated and angry that I had let them get to me.

So I decide to release them! I decide to get rid of the toxic waste that I had allowed myself to hold to me and immediately after I hung up the phone I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me. It felt as if a ton of bricks had been lifted from spirit. I could literally feel my level of anxiety begin to subside.

Truthfully, if the cared about my apology or not I could care less. IT WASN’T JUST FOR THEM, IT WAS FOR ME AS WELL!!! It was for my peace, my personal growth, my stretch towards MY HAPPINESS!

A day or so later I began to research the effects of holding on to grudges and what are the benefits of forgiveness. I read a couple of scriptures in the bible and then I came across an article on Mayo Clinic’s website that gave several benefits of releasing grudges and forgiving others.

For years I have been holding onto those grudges. Over the course of that time, those grudges had begun to fester and grow inside of me. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt they have been the cause of much of anxiety, stress, and hostility.

And by releasing them, I released myself! It’s funny how you can hear something and never really understand it until you fully internalize it. I have heard and seen the quote “Holding on to grudges is like drinking poison and expect the other person to die million times” but only after really feeling the death that was inside of me do I now fully understand it.

#releasingforhappiness

Living Again: Fish Tank Build

I moved out when I was sixteen years old.

One day, someone came over with a 55-gallon fishtank looking to trade for it. I took the tank, went out and bought some of the things the guy told me I needed, about $100 worth of fish, and set the tank up in my bedroom. I did not know anything about fish tanks, but I was getting the tank for nearly nothing, and I thought it would look cool in my room when females came over (LOL).

I did not realize it then, but that tank would play major part in giving me a sense of peace and a piece of mind when I felt that I was losing mine.

My roommate at the time was another young man around my age, and at all times of day and night, people were continuously streaming in and out of our apartment. Trust me. At sixteen with my own place, I had a WHOLE LOT OF FUN, but It was a very crazy time in my life; my stress, paranoia, anxiety and hostility were at all time high. So when traffic finally slowed down about one or two in the morning, I would go into my room, lock the door, turn on the tank light and some music, and just zone out.

This was probably the ONLY real peace I had at that time.

Years later, I was living in a similar chaotic situation, and once again a funny thing happened. Someone else called me with a fish tank. However, I got rid of that fish tank during my divorce, but for years afterward, I often thought of getting another tank but did not have the room for one.

So when I recently moved into a new house (not in that situation this time), a tank was the first thing I wanted!

But I did not want the average tank and stand. I wanted something that you would see in a restaurant or a nice hotel. So, I decided instead of buying one, I would build it for the following three reasons:

I need something to keep my mind busy and off of some of the things that I have gone and am going through.

To me there is a grave difference between being given something, buying something, and BUILDING SOMETHING. The pride you gain in knowing YOU BUILT IT, especially given the blood, sweat, and tears you have to endure, makes it that much more worth it.

It makes you appreciate it and care for it more. And every day I spent working on the tank stand and every day that I walk pass it, it gave/gives me a great sense of PRIDE and HAPPINESS.

I HAVE NEVER built anything like this before, but I wanted to try. Without really even knowing it when I started, this project would be my first LIVING AGAIN EXPERIENCE!

And you know every time I strut pass it or look at it while I am working, something dumb pops into my head like “Bob Vila might need to give me a call,” and I can’t help but LAUGH AT MYSELF!

No Drugs For Me

After many months of mentally going back and forth with the idea, I finally decided to go see a doctor. I had gotten to the point where I didn’t have any motivation for anything and all I wanted to do was sleep. As a child, I was diagnosed with ADHD and coupled with all the things that were going on in my head, it had gotten significantly worse .

My mind kept playing scenarios over and over again, darting from one place to the next and I cannot stay focused on one task to save my life. The straw that broke the camel’s back, crazy thoughts had begun to consume me, I knew it was time to seek some sort of help.

It seems every since my divorce 6 years I had been in a slump. And being closed off to the world doesn’t help that at all. And even though I knew what the real problem was, I kept trying to find ways to remedy the issue’s myself. Going to the doctor seemed to be my only option at this point because it was clear to me that my depression was REAL.

I just wanted to get back place of happiness that has alluded me for the last couple of years.

So I set up the appointment! I entered the office and begin telling the therapist everything that was going on with me it, and my history. After about 20 minutes he had his diagnosis.

“It seems to me, giving what you told me and your family history you suffer from clinical depression and ADHD.”

Well, I know that Doc, How do we fix it? So the doctor gave me 3 suggestions:

  1. Of course, Medicine
  2. Counseling
  3. Counseling and Medicine

I told the doc about me beginning to read books on happiness, daily reading of the Bible and prayer and the men’s group that I had recently joined, he commended me on taking the right steps towards coping with my issues then told me he would like to see me go on meds and perform consulting at the same time.

Out of desperation, I agreed to the Meds.

However, when I got home the decision just didn’t sit right with me. And over the next two days, I went back and forth with the idea of taking this medicine. On the third day, the problem hit me like a ton of bricks and helped me realize why I was having such a struggle with taking it!

The first reason, I realized I was only depressed because I keep focusing on depressing things and not focusing on my blessings!!!! I keep playing every problem in my head over and over again. I keep thinking about how people have treated me, I keep focusing on shortcomings, past failures, and past mistakes!

The problem was not depression as much as it was how I had programmed my mind to dwell on issues, pain, frustrations and negativity.

The second reason, I had a problem taking the medicine was because I don’t like to win by any other scenario other than winning. I rather lose knowing I lost rather than winning knowing I cheated.

Let me explain, if I’m playing football and I run a touchdown but I stepped out of bounds I’d rather the touchdown be called back, then take the points. It would drive me crazy to have won by any other means but skill. I would constantly battle with the thought that maybe my skill level wasn’t good enough to have scored without stepping out of bounds.

And that is what the medicine is to me “It’s me stepping out of bounds.” It’s me looking for a way to cheat the system. It’s me getting over without learning the skills to live a happy life. It’s me allowing myself to become dependent on something, for something, that GOD promised me. HAPPINESS!

So I called the doctor back and declined the MEDS!!! I will take the consulting to learn more about myself and how to cope but I CAN’T take the Meds without exhausting all other options.

#Happinesscomesfromwithin
#Happinessisaskill

Redirecting The Finger For Clarity

The other day a friend of mine told me a story about a seminar he had attended in Atlanta. The focus of the seminar was to educate married men on how to create better relationships with their wives. And with any seminar dealing with marriage, the topic of conflict resolution came up.

But the technique which was taught was much different than those that I had heard or read in the past.

In this class, you couldn’t say anything about the other person’s actions because they were not there to defend themselves. (How often does that happen?) You could only talk about your actions that lead up to the situation or how you reacted to the situation.

When each man discussed a particular issue they were having with their wives, the instructor would begin to ask probing questions to get down to the root of the issue. As you can imagine, by the end of the exchange most of the men would realize they had either created the problem in some way or reacted in a way that fueled the problem and made worse it.

After listening to his story it made me think of an uncle of mine that operates under the same pretenses. I can call him to vent about something or someone and by the end of my vent session, he will have made me look at the situation from the other person’s perspective, killed my steam – almost making me feel guilty for thinking the way that I did about the situation and searching to find a way to fix it.

Over the last couple of years, I have been stuck in the cycle of blaming versus COMPLETELY redirecting my finger. This has caused me to remain angry and frustrated at the actions of others.

It’s easy to be angry when you feel that someone has done you wrong. It’s easy to be in conflict with others when you are looking at their problems instead of your own. It easy to hold grudges and not forgive others when you feel that they have wronged you. But when you redirect the finger and see you were the issue or that you provoked their actions it gives you a sense of clarity and allows you to change or apologize for your actions, THAT’S HARD!

All too often we tend to focus on other people’s scars and overlook our lacerations! We judge others based on their actions and justify our own either by intent, belief, pride, or by sheer denial. We get stuck in being angry with other people and never really resolve the issue that caused the problems in the first place, which makes those issues continue to surface guiding us (or me in this case) down the path of FRUSTRATION, RESENTMENT, and ANGER.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when you have done nothing wrong! In those situations you have to accept that fact that you can not change another person’s actions. If they are going to talk about you there is nothing you can do. If they have hate, or animosity towards you without cause, there is nothing you can do. The only thing you can control is how you deal with the situation!

#Iwantclarity
#Therearetwoprospecivestoeachstory
#Peaceandtruthgohandandhand
#Redirectingthefinger
#Forgivingthosethathavehurtme
#AskingforforgivenessforthosethatIhavehurt

Living Again: Beekeeping

Never in my life had I thought about beekeeping as a hobby. Outside of dodging bees, they were never even a thought in my mind.

Then, as I perused my church’s website, I came across a beekeepers group that meets monthly, and seeing that I have very few hobbies, if any, I decided to check it out. And I must say I instantly fell completely in love with it! Ever since the first meeting, I have been beekeeping with a friend I met in the group.

I know that most people would not even try something like this, but I can tell you that the experience is both peaceful and exhilarating at the same time.

Have I been stung? Absolutely! So far I have stung three times. All three incidents have happened when my friend and I were feeding the bees and chose not to put on the beekeeping suits. However, the rewards; honey, peace, and the feeling of somewhat taming nature’s small stinging beast MAKES IT WORTH IT!

#gettingbacktonature
#findingmypeace
#thehoneyisohhhhhsosweet

Wise Words From My Friend Willis

Recently I started the new hobby of beekeeping. At my first meeting, I met a gentleman by the name of Willis. Willis is one of those guys you gravitate towards. He’s 75 years old, always smiling, the physique of a 30-year-old and a demeanor that just exudes PEACE AND HAPPINESS.

Seeing my enthusiasm for learning more about bees, he invited my out to his house to help him with his hives. I went to his house 2 days later. He lives a rural area and has a little over 2 acres of land. As he’s showing me around his property, I can help but to notice 2 things immediately

  1. How quiet and peaceful his yard
  2. His 2 acres are pristine! No grass out of place. With nearly 60 or 70 trees, there is not one stick in his yard. Even the pine straw looked dress right dress (military term).

And he maintains it all by himself.

I really like Willis’ company and I guess he likes mine as well, because every since we met I am probably at his house once or twice a week cutting down trees, tending to the bees, or messing around in his garden and before I leave he is always coming up with new project for the next visit.

Willis is a married, retired railroad executive that consults from time to time with railroad companies both domestically and abroad, he is very well educated and has so many stories and knowledge. He seems like, do to the age difference between us, A great grandfather figure.

Before I continue I must say this:

Over the years I have realized that most advice is nonsense that is either second or third hand, made up with no proven facts, bias, or the product of misinterpreted situations that formed a messed up belief system. So I am very careful about most advice that I take.

  • If we are talking about sales and you are not a salesmen or you don’t study sales:
    IM PROBABLY not going to take your sales advice without researching it first.
  • If we are talking about being happy and you’re constantly on edge: IM PROBABLY NOT going to take your advice without researching it first!
  • If we are talking about having a happy relationship and you are constantly complaining, arguing, yelling, screaming, blaming, manipulating, attempting to control and hiding things from the person you are in the relationship with, I AM DEFINITELY NOT TAKING YOUR RELATIONSHIP ADVICE. No matter how long you have been together because whatever you BELIEVE or whatever you are DOING is not working for you! You haven’t learned how to be HAPPY in your relationship, you have learned how to CO-EXIST in your relationship!

So with that being said I must say I really respect Willis and he has never seemed to me to be inconsistent (His words match his life) and he has no reason to be biased because he doesn’t know any of the people in my life. He is only speaking for a place of knowledge, and/or experience.

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So being that I am on my RECONSTRUCTION JOURNEY, I find every opportunity to learn from his wisdom and ask for advice:

Getting to the GEMS………

Willis’s Advice On Happiness

As I mentioned, Willis demeanor exudes PEACE AND HAPPINESS. There is a difference between acting happy and being happy. His spirit screams HAPPINESS.

So one for the first question I slide in as we were burning wood after chopping two of the pine trees in his yard was “What your secret to being so happy all the time?”

Without even looking up or even having to think about it, he began to talk about maintaining the yard, his beehives and giving his “honey money” to help a girl through med school that he took in when she was in high school.

He then summed it all up into one neat package:

“Everyday you have to do something that makes you happy. I work in my yard every day because I love it and it makes me happy! No matter what you do in life there is always going to be complications, They just happen but by doing something that makes you happy every day it relieves the stress and helps you think through the problem with a clear mind.”

Willis and His Wife’s Advice On Marriage.

One afternoon, after we were finishing feeding the bees and cleaning out the honey extractor. His wife ordered a couple of pizzas and we sat down and had dinner together.

After a while of spending time with Willis and watching how he and his wife interacted, I had to ask the question.”What’s the secret to being HAPPILY MARRIED for 30 years?”

Willis and his wife, with a smile on their face, explained that they have been married for 30 years but, HAPPY for only about 26! We all couldn’t help but laugh!

Willis then began to explain that he grew up in a patriarchal environment. “Where the women were supposed to listen to the men without question” he believed “men were supposed to control their woman”.

She kind of chuckled then admitted to “wanting to maintain her independence. So we were always arguing. We use to call friends and family to help us understand how to handle the problems but it seemed they just got worse.”

Then he stated “the only thing we had in common, it seemed, was our faith. We had both been married before and we committed to making it work. We kept going to church, we started talking to the pastor, we kept trying to understand how to be married through the bible. Things began to get better.”

Then the WISDOM began, “You know Adrian, marriage should be a threefold cord: you, your wife and the holy spirit! So If we have a problem we work it out TOGETHER if there is a decision to make we make it TOGETHER, we pray TOGETHER, and we eat TOGETHER. God never told me to control woman that’s what my environment told me. He told us to love them as he loved the church. We as men are supposed to try to understand our wives and serve them – No ego, no pride.” He continued “When you get married you are no longer 2 but 1. Then she added “It was hard for me because the problems I had with my prior husband. We both had children from our prior marriages and I looked at everything as MY. Once we began to understand that we were 1 we became HAPPIER. We have disagreements, everybody does, but we go right back to the bible.”

I KNOW IT KIND OF SOUNDS LIKE A BIBLE STUDY or a Christian Relationship Movie!

But the proof was in the pudding: MARRIED 30 YEARS HAPPY 26 (LOL) 3 kids, 5 grandkids and they still smile, kiss and hug after all those years!

I kind of just sat there trying to absorb it all for a second but I GOT IT!!!! After, that we continued eating as Willis told stories of his past, most of them were hilarious and I left.

On the drive home I couldn’t stop thinking about what had they said.

I want to be HAPPY in all areas of my life and BEING HAPPILY MARRIED is a goal of mine. So, I will keep these nuggets close to me AT ALL COST.

#Everydaydosomethingthatmakesyouhappy
#Happymarriageequalsgodfirst
#doingittogetherkeepsyoutogether

Lack Of Connection Equals Emptiness

When I started this project, I made a commitment that I would be completely open and honest with myself. I committed to leaving no stone unturned in my search as to WHY I feel the way I do and as to HOW I could fix each of the problems.

The focal point of one of the men’s groups that I now attend weekly is RELATIONSHIPS:

Our relationship with God,
Our relationship with ourselves,
Our relationship with others.

We used the curriculum Every Man a Warrior as our guide.

Between the group and still fresh on my mind, recently failed relationships, I could not avoid mining this area first.

And this is my TRUTH. I have never had a completely healthy and/or intimate relationship!

This post has taken me weeks to write because I needed a lot of insight from other people, self-reflection, and research.

So here we go…

As a child, I moved around a lot. With every move, there were new friends that would soon be a distant memory and new homes that would soon be empty. So, I subconsciously learned to never become attached to anything because it would be gone in due time, and this experience gave rise to the belief system that ATTACHMENT EQUALS PAIN.

That combined with the “MANLY” irrational belief systems that were forced upon me that REAL MEN ARE NOT SUPPOSE HAVE FEELING and REAL MEN HAD A LOT OF WOMEN, I would avoid attachments to things and people at all cost.

And not only that, emotions and feelings were never expressed in my household. Please do not get me wrong. My mother never missed a chance to say, “I love you.” She taught me to be STRONG and INDEPENDENT, and she taught me to KEEP FIGHTING, but she could not teach me what she had not been taught–How to deal with my EMOTIONS in a HEALTHY way.

As the educational psychologist, Lev Vygotsky informed us, “All that is learned must be taught.” Without ever being taught, she had herself had never learned; therefore, she could not teach me how to CONNECT WITH OTHERS and deal with loneliness, fear, or hurt because out of necessity, she always had to be STRONG.

I have always depended on me and only me. And if I had to depend on anyone else, it made me feel COMPLETELY WEAK, so I rarely connected with others to avoid ever really having to depend on anyone and having to deal with the pain that comes with it.

So, in relationships with women, I often juggled 3,4,5 at a time. That way there was NO CHANCE of becoming connected or attached.

In our culture, we have been continuously taught to avoid any displays of weakness or be judged negatively. So, we put on a brave FACE, attempt to be SO STRONG, and hide our shortcomings. Since that is what I have seen, and still see to this day, and have been taught, I conformed to the pattern.

We have been so well conditioned to enlist comrades, people who are on our suppose to be on our side no matter what. We run to them with every problem that we have leaving out our wrong doings or shortcomings. We take their STRONG ADVICE not realizing that they are going through the same problem we are and they are also hiding their faults.

I can not tell you how often I see this same pattern among friends that have known each other for ten, twenty, even thirty years.

I now understand that no one is an island. No one can ever be completely whole without being FULLY CONNECTED to other people. We were not made to be alone, and many times we sit alone, wallowing in our shortcomings, our true feelings, our problems from fear of judgment and/or conditioning, and we die internally. Anytime you hold back your true needs, hurts, and fears there is always going to be a sense of emptiness and frustration.

I was recently smacked in face with this truth while I was reading The Law of Happiness by Dr. Henry Cloud. The author recalls a story of the CEO of a major company who he was brought in to counsel. The CEO on the surface had EVERYTHING TOGETHER, but inside he was torn.

He had multiple women scattered all over the country. He would take the corporate plane and stop in Vegas on business trips and blow thousand of dollars on gambling. He was doing anything he could to fill his sense of emptiness. One day it all came out, and he had to sit in front of the board to explain himself.

That was the turning point of his life. After he explained to the author that he had always thought he had to be strong and he had no one in his life with whom he had ever shared his fears, pains and shortcomings, the author told him to find people he thought he could trust, and anytime he had an internal issue, call them and tell them how he felt.

After doing do for a while, the CEO proclaimed for the first time in his life, he felt ALIVE. He did not have to hide who he was, and each of his relationships with people began growing immensely. He no longer needed THINGS to fill his emptiness.

So in my journey, I will work on my connections with others. I also understand that most people have been conditioned to NOT CONNECT, either at a conscious or subconscious level, just as I have been conditioned.

SO…

Even at the cost of pain,
Even at the cost of rejection,
Even at the cost of judgement.

I will strive for intimate relationship.

#ifthismakesmeseemweaktosomeIdontcare
#thisisnotaboutyouitsaboutme
#truthheals

Living Again: Beach Day

Growing up, I moved around quite a lot. The state I spent the most continuous time in and the place I call home is Virginia. And if you are from Virginia, you can not help but love the beach.

Some of my best memories all include the beach or being near water, whether I was in Virginia, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, or Florida. I have always loved water even though I was taught how to swim after being thrown in a pool and told I better move my arms and legs or I would drown. Needless to say, I learned that day!

Over the years, I have pulled a lot of all-nighters either after partying all night, or… Okay, all those all-nighters were probably after partying all night; however, in retrospect, even after all those all-nighters, I have never simply paused and taken the time out to just watch the sunrise.

So as I neared the end of my fish tank building experience and wanted to get my own
driftwood for my tank, I decided to wake up early one morning and go to the beach.

And I must say that the experience was GREAT!

It made me realize how often I overlook the simple things:

The things that I should be grateful for…
The things that are right in front of me or within my grasp, yet I don’t take full advantage of…
The things that other people wish they could see, hear, or feel…

All this time I have simply meandered through life all willy-nilly with blinders on without ever really acknowledging and/or internalizing the abundance of good existing every where around me. So now, at least once a month, I will go and watch the sunrise to remind me to be grateful for the small things.

Defining My Success

My cousin and I were cleaning out his basement the other day, looking through some old books. We ran across a book that sparked a conversation about what success really looked like.

Long after the conversion, my mind continued to run different scenarios of success and what it really meant to me. Everyone defines success from a differently. I believe media and the “keeping up the Jones” mentality has altered many people’s ideas of success.

External success has taken precedence over internal. And that imbalance is causing more individuals to be materially rich and internally bankrupt.

Success to me is not so much defined in material things but in freedom, peace, and giving.

So here is my definition of success as it pertains to me.

Happily Married to my best friend: We are 100% loyal to each other, no one can come between us! We can talk about any and everything without fear of judgment or ridicule. We never have to worry about our words, or actions being broadcasted to others because we are a TEAM. Where I am weak she is strong. We trust each other and are EXTREMELY HAPPY being in each others presence.

Surrounded by people I love and who love me: Open and honest relationships that are of an intimate nature, No SURFACE people surround me. If you can’t be yourself you can never be completely happy.

Multiple streams of passive income: It has been said that most millionaires has at least 7 streams of income. In other words FREEDOM! Over the years I have watched so many people make EXCELLENT MONEY and at the end of each money they are completely broke or life but that money is at the cost of time. They are tied to their business and have to work with people they can barely tolerate for the sake of a dollar because that one business fuels their entire lifestyle.

I Am The Biggest Servant: I serve my wife, I serve my children, I serve my community! I want to die knowing I poured into other people. I don’t believe success is based on how many people that serve you but how many people you serve. A great leader is one who serves, a dictator is one who wants to be served!

Able to give away more than I consume: I have always dreamed of being about to give away 1 million dollars a year to people who help people. I don’t believe you can truly be successful and only spend money on your wants and needs. I am not really impressed with people that proclaim to make a lot of money but give nothing. I have a heart for helping people and as the Good Book states “for where your treasure is, there your heart”.

I LEAVE A LEGACY: Truth, Love, Knowledge, and Wealth. I believe many people think living a legacy is about leaving materialistic – house, cars, and money. Yes, that is a part of it, but I believe it to be much more than that. It is about how many lives you touch, how many people you help.

I AM HAPPY: You would be amazed at how many people I know that are unhappy. They have the money, some are married – some are single, they have the houses, they have the cars but happiness eludes them. They constantly belittle others to make themselves feel better about who they are. They are constantly spending money on things try to fill a void. I don’t care how much money you have if you are not happy there is no way that you can call yourself successful.

If you ask 10 people their view of success, you will get 10 different answers. Me, I think my view surrounds happiness, freedom, peace and giving. They have evolved over the years based on experience, reading, and watching others. I could go on and on for literally hours of why I have come to these 7 points but I won’t.

If you would have asked me 12 years ago, it would have probably included things that I see pointless nowadays.

How do you define your success?