Be Better Than Average Blog
designed to provide you with the
inspiration, advice, encouragement, resources and accountability
to help you build and live a
BETTER THAN AVERAGE LIFE
I have repeatedly advised against setting New Year resolutions. I recommend setting goals instead. Not just any goals, but rather, better than average goals which are specific, well thought out, goals with a definite plan of action and deadline. These are guaranteed to give you better results than your typical resolution.
But being a realist, I know that people are going to ignore the best advice and continue to be creatures of habits and slave to routine. So I created a list of the best resolutions a person can make in order to make themselves and 2016 better than average. These are habits, success skills, personal development techniques which highlight the best and most effective principles of the better than average philosophy.
Again, these suggestions are just a base line to get you started. In order to get real significant results, you need to set concrete goals. You can get tested and proven techniques on how to achieve your goals for 2016, purchase my new book "Better Than Average Goals:Jonathan McMillan's Guide to Setting & Achieving Goals that Change and Save Lives"
Happy new year!
I attended a mentor training yesterday specifically for those of us who work with young black men. The session opened with this video.
I watched it and it broke me down.
I began to cry as I introduced myself to the group.
Not just cry, but damn near sob in front of a crowd of mostly strangers. My tears were a visceral reaction to both the reminder that this is the world that my sons will grow up in and the validation of my belief that we must give them skills to not just survive, but to thrive in these circumstances.
Earlier this week I was frustrated because I was involved in a debate with a family member who just wasn't able to see the danger in painting the bleakest picture possible when it comes to the survivability of a young black males encounter with law enforcement.
If I had to boil my message down to four words it would be "Don't steal their hope."
I guess now-a-days, that would have to be a heart wrenching catchy hash tag that like #BlackLivesMatter or #HandsUp #DontShoot or even #IAmMikeBrown to be taken seriously.
The expanded version of that message is we must build our young black men into empowered individuals who have an understanding of racism and it's potential impact on their lives and enable them to respond to events and circumstances without being victims.
It is important that we expect our young black men to only survive, but to thrive. It's imperative that they know we expect this of them and even more critical that they expect it of themselves. Otherwise they will continue to spiral the downward trajectory of failure and defeat which I and thousands of other young black men experienced in the late 80s/early 90s.
Growing up, we had been consistently told that we were a part of an endangered species as if we were wild animals. We were repeatedly reminded that more of us would head to prison than to college as if that path was predestined for us. We were pitied for the lack of fathers in our households and simultaneously forgiven for the broken homes we had not yet created as though breeding was the only skill most of us would ever possess. Although the stats and myths were used as tactics to scare us straight, they only served to be a blueprint or an instruction manual for many of us coming of age.
Since failure seemed to be all that was expected of us, we easily sunk to that level of mediocrity or worse. In his book “The Mis-education of the Negro”, The renowned educator and author, Carter G. Woodson wrote: “If you can control a man’s thinking, you don’t have to worry about his actions. If you can determine what a man thinks you do not have to worry about what he will do. If you can make a man believe that he is inferior, you don’t have to compel him to seek an inferior status, he will do so without being told.”
Yes, the deck is stacked. Yes, the dice are loaded. Yes, the playing field is uneven and the refs and officials who are entrusted in protecting the integrity of the game are complicit in the unfairness of it.
But young black men must still show up to play the game with all of their hearts otherwise they are guaranteed to lose. Period.
The fact of the matter is: hopelessness leads to recklessness. Recklessness leads to prison or the graveyard.
Us, the trusted adults who have choose to use our voices to identify the societal issues, injustices, burdens and hindrances faced by young black males must be prepared to find and/or create and then offer resources to help these young humans to succeed regardless. We who know the problems these boys and young men will face are required to coach these children to do the best they can to fully realize their potential. It is our job to help them identify and recognize the obstacles they will face. It is our duty to help them develop the skills and habits to properly overcome those obstacles. It is our obligation to be and also connect our young to mentors who will inspire, encourage, advise young black males to be champions .
In short, we must be the suppliers of an abundance of hope -- not the thieves who steal it.
Be better than average.
Have you made your typical new year resolutions yet?
No? Not yet?
"Why not?!?" you ask?
Well, because you want to be better than average.
Millions of people make resolutions, usually during the last week of the month or even worse, in the last hour of the year. Almost 40% of people who set New Year resolutions will have given up on them by the end of the week. That's because each year millions of people make New Year Resolutions and set ill defined, vague goals.
The problem with these types of goals is, they don't mean anything to the person setting them. They haven't put much more than minimal thought into them and only set them due to obligation or tradition.
You must be significantly motivated to achieve the goals you set or you will make up excuse after excuse as to why you aren’t doing the work required to achieve your goal or keep your resolution. This is why I suggest you set better than average goals. Goals that fuel you, because your goals should be a source of power.
A better than average goal begins with being a well defined goal. A better than average goal will become your alarm clock in the morning and the last thought on your mind before falling asleep. It is what pushes you when you’re tired and what reassures you when you are scared to go a little bit further into the unknown.
High Octane = High Performance
Let’s pretend that your goal is a car that is going to get you the lifestyle which you want to live. So what fuel do you put in that vehicle to give it the energy to get there? Just like with a real car, if you don’t put in the correct type of fuel, you will not get very far. If you use incorrect or cheap fuel, your vehicle won’t last very long. But higher quality fuel not only powers a vehicle - it also cleans and maintains the vehicle’s inner workings, providing a better, longer lasting performance. The same goes for your motivations.
You must have a significant and satisfactory reason or purpose as the high quality fuel to keep your goal going.
I call this a YUR (why you are).
The process of staying motivated begins with how solid your goal is whenever you set it. When you determine what your goal or resolution for the next year will be you must ask yourself if it will help you do the following:
Ideally, your goal/resolution should have all eight of these characteristics but if doesn't have at least one -- your chances of success are slim to none.
Additionally, a better than average goal is one or more of the following
Get Help Setting and Achieving Your Goals with this Free Guide
If you want more tested and proven techniques on how to achieve your goals for 2016, purchase my new book "Better Than Average Goals:Jonathan McMillan's Guide to Setting & Achieving Goals that Change and Save Lives" Only $9.98 for the rest of 2015!
This vague concept of "pray for InsertLatestTragedyHere #HereWeGoAgain" is incredibly silly.
Even sillier when folks begin to argue about which cause to pray for. "Don't party for Paris! Pray for Nigeria!" "Why isn't anyone praying for XYZ?!?"
Even sillier still, is when praying is all that is being done. Even the Christian texts says "prayer without works" is dead. Works, is quite literally a synonym for action.
Without a willingness to act upon that which you are praying for, a person may as well cross their fingers, wish upon a falling star, and hold their breath while walking past a cemetery. None of it will stop these shootings like calling and demanding change in the gun laws. We've been praying and praying and praying.
A few of years ago almost to the exact day a classroom full of children were slaughtered and we prayed and prayed another again.
When a theater of movie lovers were slaughtered we prayed and prayed and prayed.
We prayed when a man *slaughtered people who were IRONICALLY praying at bible study/ prayer meeting.
And when a congresswoman was shot in the head and when countless college campuses were under siege we prayed and prayed and prayed some more.
We pray for deliverance from evil. And then do nothing else.
That's like praying for God to flush the toilet.
All we have to do is demand a change from those who make the laws
God made us in his image which means we are capable of just about anything we make up our minds and commit our hands and feet to doing. He isn't a magic genie that grants wishes no matter how hard you pray.
Jesus taught us exactly WORD FOR WORD how to pray. It says nothing about the things we sit around and pray for. I'm not saying prayer is nothing at all but it's not a cure all.
Quite honestly, expressing gratitude is the highest form of prayer and then you request nothing.
In order for things to change, first and foremost, we must demand that our politicians crawl out from under the thumb of the NRA and those who lobby on their behalf. They must enact a set of laws as strict or stricter as the 10 which I'm proposing below:There needs to be a heavy burden of responsibility, duty and accountability alongside the right to own a gun.
I mean something way more significant than the non invasive background checks and laughable waiting periods.
The arguments for the rights of gun owners is being deafened by the wall of dead bodies who are victims of those rights. Point blank. No pun intended.
I am a simple man who has lived a complicated life. The lessons I've learned from the experiences I've been through and the challenges I've conquered have helped me develop a philosophy that life is meant to be lived at a level better than average.
What Our Clients Are Saying
I thought I knew what setting goals looked like. I believed that I was doing it the right way. But, after attending BTA workshop, I realized that I wasn't asking the right questions and digging deeper within myself to define that answer. I was skimming the surface. I'm grateful for the new insight and the tools to move further faster with my goals. I ask myself everyday, "What am I doing today to advance toward my goals?" Thanks, Jonathan, for your wisdom and spirit!” - C. King