Men of Quality-Reflections from 21 Years Ago

Recently, I came across a letter I received February 11, 1996 from a Fraternity Brother from San Diego, CA.

Recently, I came across a letter I received February 11, 1996 from a Fraternity Brother from San Diego, CA.  Earlier that year, I wrote him inquiring about a mentoring program that had been created by Omega Men in San Diego.  The name of that program was “Men of Quality”.  Omega Men across the country, especially in Louisville, were actively mentoring young black males.  We took notice that San Diego Brothers had formalized their mentoring efforts.  We (Omega Men in Louisville) also decided upon the “Men of Quality” name and moved on to create our long-standing mentoring efforts.

That 1996 letter reminded us that Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was created with four cardinal principles; Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift.  Principles that Men of Omega are expected to strongly uphold.  So, it is refreshing now, in looking back twenty-one years, to know that the Men of Quality Organization is firmly rooted on Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift.

We continually inform our young mentees of their ascent to manhood, their need for scholarship, their drive for perseverance and the need to uplift others.  One of our Omega Brothers, Dr. Furman Glenn, a renowned retired Chemist, often gives a presentation entitled “What is a Man of Quality”.  Dr. Glenn cites over thirty characteristics of a Man of Quality.  I noted four of those characteristics relative to the cardinal principals:

Relative to Manhood, Dr. Glenn states that a man of quality is a free man of great courage!

Relative to Scholarship, he states that a man of quality must excel educationally!

Relative to Perseverance, a man of quality must work hard, work longer and work smarter than others!

Relative to Uplift, a man of quality must be loyal, supportive, trustworthy and provide for others!

Without fail, at every Men of Quality meeting in each of our schools, we instill elements of those principles and characteristic into students.  In 1996, we stood before the Jefferson County Board of Education and stated our goal:  To help young men set goals and to help them realize that the future belongs to those who are prepared.  Twenty-one years later, our aim remains the same!  We pledge our continued commitment to young men of color.  Now, more than ever, we realize the importance of strong African American Male role models!

—Audwin Helton

6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life

Is it true that people have a natural resistance to change? Dig a little deeper and you might discover that resistance to change

6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life

By avoiding discomfort, we can survive. Stepping into it is how we thrive.
Mick Ukleja February 21, 2017

Is it true that people have a natural resistance to change? Dig a little deeper and you might discover that resistance to change is just the symptom and that people have a natural resistance to feeling incompetent. Humiliation is a deep fear we all possess; we don’t want to feel or look incompetent and change has the potential to activate that feeling.

But what if we conditioned ourselves to feel good about pushing our personal boundaries? What if our fear of feeling incompetent was less than our desire to learn something new?

This won’t happen naturally. It has to be taught. And it has to be maintained on a regular basis. If not, we will slowly drift into losing our curiosity, and with that, our vitality. Inquisitiveness atrophies over time. Our natural bent toward laziness is exacerbated by inactivity. Contentment is a great virtue, but its shadow side is apathy. It’s natural to grow accustomed to our surroundings, but as John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

Learn to value discomfort, disequilibrium and disorientation. That’s where our greatest growth takes place. It’s in the discomfort zone where we grow and learn. Here’s the truth: Discomfort doesn’t lead to breakdown. It leads to breakthrough. By avoiding discomfort, we can survive. Stepping into it is how we thrive.

How do you do this? Develop these six habitudes (habits + attitudes):

1. Question the status quo.

By doing this, you will be facilitating the skill of critical unlearning. What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to leave behind? What do we need to forget? What do we need to ignore? This is important if we want to grow and go forward.

2. Challenge your assumptions.

Just because that’s how we’ve always done it doesn’t mean that we should keep doing it the same way. This can lead to the bias of experience, that the way we’ve done it is still the right way to do it. Go below the surface and discover the belief that is driving that behavior. What is the belief behind the habit or process we were taught? Even if the belief is right, does it have a different application today? If it’s valid, our commitment will go even deeper. If it’s not, we might need to do some innovating.

3. Try something new.

This often leads to something better. Occasionally it comes through association with others. What seemed like an impediment to progress became a breakthrough in efficiency. Sometimes it’s as simple as trying an unfamiliar food. Experiment, test, expose. People tend to see danger where there is only difference.

4. Repurpose something old.

Sometimes the pearl gets lost in the process. The principle is good, but the delivery system is outdated. Don’t miss the reliable because it’s cluttered and camouflaged with irrelevance. This is more than recycling. It’s also about ideas, attitudes, emotional intelligence, money, simplicity and wisdom.

5. Connect with the bigger picture.

Synthesizing your life illuminates your path. Learning and growing is about capacity and skill. But it’s also about connecting the dots. That is hard to do without knowing the bigger purpose of who we are and what we want. This takes learning to a whole new level. You are no longer just a teacher. You are a master teacher.

6. Trust what you know.

Trusting what you know gives you the courage to try new things. Here’s what I know:

  • The sun will come up tomorrow.
  • What I am going through right now will pass.
  • With one exception (you), the world is composed of other people.
  • Be kind. Everyone I know is carrying something.
  • The best things in life aren’t things.
  • People make mistakes.
  • You get out of life what you put in it.
  • Gratitude is the healthiest emotion and trumps gratification.
  • What you focus on becomes your reality whether it’s true or not.
  • The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of your emotions.
  • Bitterness is a downward spiral.
  • I must forgive in order to live.
  • The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Developing ourselves includes developing our minds. This does not happen without discomfort and occasional disorientation.

7 Daily Habits of Exceptionally Successful People

Success breeds success. Take these tips to improve your life.

7 Daily Habits of Exceptionally Successful People

Success breeds success. Take these tips to improve your life.
May 24, 2016

When you see people who are capable of accomplishing extraordinary things, you can’t help but wonder, What is it that makes them so different?

Numerous studies show recurring characteristics congruent with high achievers. Exceptionally successful people…

1. Plan each day with purpose and action.

Sunday night gets a bad rep because it means having to face another week, back on the treadmill, spinning the wheel once again. Successful people plan their days (yes, even Sundays) different, better, more exciting, more purposeful, more meaningful. Tony Robbins says action without a higher degree of purpose is a waste of time. How much of your life are you designing?

2. Step outside their comfort zone.

Successful people thrive when they are stretched beyond what they think they can handle. They consistently push the boundaries of what’s possible and don’t accept settling. This means stepping outside our comfort zone and questioning the world around us, looking for opportunities to constantly improve. How long have you been in your comfort zone?

3. Surround themselves with smart people.

Some of the world’s trailblazing entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg, had a solid team around them from the beginning—they knew their team was crucial to their success. Collaboration allows you to refine your thinking and challenge yourself and be challenged. We become the average of the five closest people we surround ourselves with. Who are you spending your time with?

4. Focus on the big picture.

Focusing on details allows you to track results and make improvements based on facts, not guesswork. But sometimes, we get lost in the doing and forget the building and creating. If you are not designing and creating a better life for yourself, who will? Never lose sight of the big picture and always work on your why.

5. Get the job done.

It’s human behavior to procrastinate. High achievers have developed laserlike focus when it comes to getting things done. At times they can be obsessed and selfish, often making sacrifices most of us would not be prepared or willing to make. Prioritize better; set aside time to focus on your goals list, not your to-do list.

6. Refuse to take no for an answer.

When you’ve hit a wall, it’s easy to consider that the end of the road and tend to give up. Only the most stubborn among us will persevere long enough to climb the rest of the mountain. Think of the Wright brothers trying to get people in the air. Can you imagine what their peers said? Today we can’t imagine a world without planes.

7. Never stop learning.

One of our great capacities is the ability (and urge) to learn. Unfortunately, most of us stop actively learning once our formal education stops. We allow ourselves to remain stagnant in our careers and personal lives. One of my mentors, Dale Beaumont, once said, “If you are not green and growing, you are ripe and rotting.” How much of your week do you dedicate to learning?

Success breeds success. Take these tips to improve your life. Challenge yourself on a daily basis. Never give up. Surround yourself with great people who will encourage you to move forward.

How to Create a Master Plan for Your Life

Everything you do is a link in the chain of events that will lead you to your final destination.

Rohn: How to Create a Master Plan for Your Life

Everything you do is a link in the chain of events that will lead you to your final destination.
Jim Rohn – January 1, 2017

Wouldn’t you prefer a life of productivity rather than a life of endless tasks with little accomplishment? Of course! When you carefully set your goals and keep them at the forefront of your mind, you can work smarter instead of longer. You’ll know that a life worth living comes from a life of balance.

In order to maintain that balance, here’s a key technique you can use in your life to help keep you on the right track: “visual chain thinking.”

Ambitious people know that each step toward their goals is not a singular step. Each discipline is not a singular discipline. Each project is not a singular project. They see everything they do—and every discipline they adhere to—as a link in the chain of events and actions that will lead them to their final destination. Every action and every discipline achieved today is a link in the chain. Every action and every discipline achieved tomorrow is a link. And every action and every discipline achieved in the more distant future is also a link.

Your direction, activities and disciplines all make up crucial links in your chain of success. When you can see that one thing affects everything else, when you come to realize that every discipline affects every discipline, when you look at your future as a chain that needs strong links all along the way… then you’ll build a reservoir of strength and courage that will serve you will during the down times.

When you can see that every link in the chain will eventually lead you to the things you want most out of life and to the person you want to become, then you won’t grow discouraged, fearful or impatient with today. When you can see where you’re going through visual chain thinking, even on the toughest days, you’ll keep moving toward your goals because you know where you’re going.

Building your visual chain of thought begins when you have well-defined plans for your career, your family activities, your investments and your health. Your plans and goals are your visual chain. You know where you’re going before you get there.

It’s ironic how we all understand the importance of mapping out a strategy for a football game or a basketball game. Not one professional team in the world begins a game without a game plan. But few of us take the time to map out such a strategy for our lives.

It’s so important to make this sort of plan. Here’s the first rule for your game plan of life: Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your day until you have it planned. Do this every day. I know all this writing takes time and a disciplined effort. Remember, however, that reaching your goals is the fruitful result of discipline, not merely hope.

Once you’ve mastered the art of planning your day, you’re ready for the next level. Don’t begin the activities of your week until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your week until you have it planned.

Just imagine what life would be like if you took time out every Sunday to plan your week. Come Friday, you wouldn’t be saying, “Boy, did this week fly by. Where did it go? What did I do?” No, if you plan your week before you start it, you’ll know exactly what you want to do, what you want to accomplish and what you need to work on. If you learn to plan your days as part of your overall game plan for the week, the parts will fit much better. Your days will be better. You will be more effective. You’ll be working smarter, not harder.

And when you’ve learned to plan your week, guess what? You’ve got to plan your month! Don’t start your month until you’ve mapped out your game plan.

By developing and following your game plan, your days, weeks and months all become part of a larger plan, a bigger design you develop, a long-term view of your life, a visual chain. You’ll start gaining a greater perspective of it all… because you are planning.

If visually seeing your future is new to you, if you’ve never developed a game plan before, let me offer a few tips. There are two things you need to understand before you create a game plan.

1. A game plan, a visual chain of your future, is like a spreadsheet. Instead of listing numbers, list activities. It’s like a to-do list.

2. The technique of developing a game plan can be used for a single day, a single project or a variety of projects that are happening simultaneously.

Here’s how you do it. Game plans work best on graph paper. Take a sheet of graph paper and make vertical columns corresponding to the number of days this plan is to cover. Then on the left-hand side of the paper, write the heading “Activities.” Under this heading, list all the activities to be accomplished within your time frame.

For example, you’ve got one week to finalize a marketing plan. It’s an overwhelming amount of work to complete, but it’s got to be done. So break it down piece by piece. The best way to start is by listing all of the individual components on the left-hand side of the page. Some of these things will need to be completed before others can be started. You need to obtain your market research results before you can determine your target market. You need to know your target market before you can develop your marketing strategy. You need to have your marketing strategy before you can create a budget for collateral materials, and so on.

When you break down the project piece by piece and deadline by deadline, you can be more effective in putting together the appropriate parts of the puzzle—and in doing your own work while delegating the rest.

The final result of developing your game plan is a clear visual presentation of the tasks before you. This method is used quite often in business to coordinate and develop projects of any length. It’s the only way to see the entire project on paper and manage its progress.

Admittedly, game plans are frustrating to create. They’re frustrating because it’s difficult to completely prioritize your life and all your projects. You might go through several sheets of graph paper before you produce the perfect format. But as soon as you develop your first one, you’ll see the value in this discipline.

Keep your game plan in plain sight. Put it up in your office where you can easily look at it. Have a copy of it at home and tape it to the bathroom mirror. Keep a copy in your journal for quick reference. Your game plan will serve as a constant reminder of all you need to do to get where you want to go.

If you’re doing all you’re scheduled to do, game plans are very rewarding. Day by day, week by week, month by month, you’ll see the magic of your dreams and plans turning into reality. You will have an incredible feeling of being in charge of your life, your surroundings and your future. It’s like creating a work of art on the biggest canvas imaginable. It’s creative. It’s beautiful.

This is powerful stuff. To dream a dream, plan for the dream, and then watch your dream turn into reality. Here’s what’s really powerful about creating game plans: You can see your future right before your eyes. So on those days when your energy isn’t up to par, your enthusiasm is a little low, your ambition isn’t pushing you forward and your attitude isn’t on the positive side, use your game plan to see how far you’ve come. Take the time to visualize exactly where you’re headed. On those days, it’s your discipline and visual chain of the future that will push you ahead. People and circumstances might try to set you back, but your visual chain will propel you toward your goals.

Why You Need Discipline to Achieve the Good Life

What’s at the core of achieving the good life? It is not learning how to set goals. It is not learning how to better manage your time.

by Jim Rohn 
What’s at the core of achieving the good life? It is not learning how to set goals. It is not learning how to better manage your time. It is not mastering the attributes of leadership.

We spend our lives gathering knowledge, skills and experiences. But what are we doing with it?