Thought Provoking

8 Tips to Start The New Year Right

Yeah.

So…

Okay,

I don’t really have an intro…let’s just get into it.

 

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1)  Don’t say, “New year, new me.”

 

Chances are if you’ve said this, in about a month or so you’ll probably go back to the old you.  Don’t be ashamed.  Just acknowledge this truth and find a way to fix it.

 

Fixing it:  FULLY commit to your goal for the new year.  It’s important to commit to it even on the days you don’t feel like it. It’s not always about what you feel like doing; it’s about committing to what you said you were going to do long after that good, motivating feeling is gone. Motivation doesn’t last but habits do.

 

2)  Do something you didn’t do last year.

 

Oftentimes we can catch ourselves saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow, or in a few days, or in a few weeks or months.”  It’s hard to get ahead if you keep putting it off until “tomorrow.”

 Fixing it:  I know it can be tough sometimes, but just be courageous TODAY and do something different.  Start today. Focus on the now, on this present moment.  Then tomorrow, take a deep breath and find that same courage.  And then find it again the day after that.  The time is now, and there is no time like the present to start something new.  In order to get somewhere, you have to leave somewhere. Get out into the unknown and leave the comfort!

 

3)  This is my year!

 

Last year wasn’t your year.  Or the year before that.  But this year!!!  Oh baby, this is the year.  I feel it! 

 Fixing it:  All it takes is a few small things to work in your favor to build that momentum. Once that momentum builds, you’ll start to get some wins in areas you probably didn’t think you would get just yet. That’s all success is- a lot of small wins stacked on top of each other.  You never know when things will come together, but no matter what, you must believe that your time and year is this present one because it is!  If not this year, then best believe 2020 is the one! Expect that breakthrough, believe in that breakthrough, claim that breakthrough.  You don’t have to tell the world, but you have to tell yourself.

 

4)  Know the difference between a need and a want.

 

It’s not always about what you want.  Everybody wants something, but do you need it? How do you know the difference?

Fixing it:  A need is something you cannot live without.  A want is something that will bring you instant joy & temporary happiness (that’s kinda deep and I wasn’t even trying to be).   Needs require a budget.  Wants have no expiration date. A need involves prioritizing your focus; a want involves how big your eyes get when you look at it. Put it this way, if you take care and focus on what you need right now, you’ll have what you want in due time, and probably in abundance because you taught yourself discipline.

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5)  Re-evaluate your circle.

 

Every year there is a meme that says, “If I don’t reply to you, I left you in last year,” (some of the memes are actually kind of funny). It’s not always about cutting people off; it’s about making sure those you surround yourself with aren’t just taking from your energy but are also adding to it.  Sometimes you have to make sure everyone in your circle is on the same page as you. 

Fixing it: Priorities change, you change, your goals and motivation change.  That’s called growth.  As an individual grows, so do certain things in his or her life.  We are a new person every single year which means we should raise our standards.  Oftentimes, when this happens, people naturally drift out of our live, and that’s okay.  Never apologize for growing into your full potential and having to leave some people behind, no matter who they are.   

 

Everybody wants to ride the wagon up the hill until the wheel falls off.  That’s when you’ll find out who’s there to help you push and who’s just there for the transportation.

 

6)  Get your nutrition right.

 

For real.  Don’t play with your body.  Amazon and ebay don’t sell bodies.  Trust me, I’ve checked.  You only get one body.  Just one! So take care of it.  If you take care of your body at the beginning stages of your life, your future body will thank you.

Fixing it:  Drink water, eat your veggies (broccoli won’t kill you).  Get that exercise in, even if you’re not really into exercising.  Just go for a walk.  You’d be surprised how good for your joints just plain walking is.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to realize you should have taken better care of yourself.  Exercise and nutrition are in your control.  Take control of them.  

 

7)  Don’t let your past keep you trapped.

 

“This is how my family has always done it. And this is probably how I’m going to do it.”  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But what if that’s not what’s best for you?

Fixing it:  Going against the grain is always tough. It’s not always comfortable or ideal, especially to those who know you well. (Quick story time!)

 

A few years ago, I was talking to an individual that I will call Achilles, and the conversation went like this: 

Achilles:  Man, I don’t even like what I’m majoring in at school.

Akeem:  You wait until 3 months before you graduate to have these thoughts?  Why’d you choose that major?

 Achilles:  I know right. Because my parents are engineers and so is my brother.  It only makes sense.

Akeem:  I get it. It’s in the family. S what’re you going to do?

 Achilles:  I’m going to finish, and then I’ll probably find a job in that field for a year, and then I’ll quit.  What would you do?

 Akeem:  Well, you should probably take some time and figure out what you really want to do.  Whatever you do, just don’t half-ass it.  People never forget a hard worker. 

 Achilles:  Yeah, that’s a good point. I’ll take some time to figure it out these next few months. You tryna go to Dairy Queen this week, though?

 

I heard Jim Carey once say, “You can fail at doing something you don’t like to do, so why not take a chance on doing something that you love to do?” 

 

8) Unwavering faith. 

 

Faith is believing in something you cannot see.  Faith is finding a reason to keep going even when you can’t see the path.  Faith is practicing your craft every single day when you don’t know when that opportunity might come.  Faith is wiping your tears and smiling at the same time.  Faith is understanding things will get worse before they get better.  Faith is encouraging others when you need encouragement yourself.  Faith is being positive when you don’t see anything to be positive about.  Faith is believing your breakthrough is just around the corner when the corners aren’t very wide.  Faith is believing God is working in your favor when it feels like He’s forgotten about you.


If you are reading this today, I am praying for you.  I hope this is the year you’ve been praying for.  I hope this is the year the seeds you planted will start to bear fruit.  I hope this is the year generational cycles are broken and a new generational cycle begins.  

 

I hope today is the day that it starts.

 

Leave a comment below and let me know which tip spoke to you.

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-Akeem

Blog edited by: Chanelle Price 

 

The Race Is Not Given to The Swift

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There are some things you’re just going to have to find a way to outlast.  And if you can find a way to outlast, you’ll not only come out a better version of yourself, but you’ll also realize you’re much stronger than you think.
— Akeem Haynes

 

I hear this saying often, but I never really understood what it meant.  After searching for the correct context in which this phrase is used, I was able to give meaning to it and put it into my own words.

 


Ecclesiastes 9:11 says: 

I have seen something else under the sun.

The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.


 

That man Solomon was deep! 

 

To me, Solomon is saying we need to find the strength and endurance to persevere through the tough times-the times when we feel like breaking, the times when we feel like giving up, the times when our faith is questioned, the times when our backs are up against the wall, the times when we feel alone, the times when we don’t feel like being positive, the times when fear and doubt creep in.

 

Oftentimes, when circumstances aren’t going in our favor, we question if things will ever get better, if things will ever change. 

 

Maybe you’re not where you want to be right now.  Maybe you’ve had a tough year.  I just want to remind you today that, despite what you may be going through, you’re still here.  And because you’re still here, there is a purpose behind your pain, struggle, and hardship. The greater the struggle, the greater the reward.

 

“The race is not given to the swift, only to those who endure it.”

 

There are some things you’re just going to have to find a way to outlast.  And if you can find a way to outlast, you’ll not only come out a better version of yourself, but you’ll also realize you’re much stronger than you think.

-Akeem

Blog Edited by: Chanelle Price

Figure It Out

The truth is we’ll never have it all together.  We’ll never have all the answers no matter what age we are. We just get a little more experienced each day and become better equipped to navigate life through the application of our knowledge and wisdom we’ve gained over the years.
— Akeem Haynes
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I’ve always been a thinker.  I spend a lot more time in my head than I probably should. I’m always searching for the meaning behind certain things in an attempt to define them for myself.  Being open minded towards everything allows me to gain different perspectives.  My beliefs and values are different from most people.  People may not agree with mine and vice versa.  But I’ve always been intrigued by other people’s thought processes.

 

You see, a person doesn’t have to agree with me because at the end of the day we are all entitled to our own opinions.  Nevertheless, it’s important to understand how others come to their different conclusions.

 

I like what Marcus Aurelius says in the book Meditations:

 

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”

 

Life is about searching and digging deep within yourself to find your truth.  No matter how many opinions you may hear along the way, dare to define what life means to you.

 

Let’s begin, shall we.

 

Experiences + Knowledge + Wisdom + Application =

Every year there’s a special day we celebrate- the day we were born.  When we hit a certain age, our birthday becomes less about celebrating and partying and more about reflecting (nothing wrong with doing both of course!).  While on this day most people think about their success and accomplishments, I spend equal time thinking about the mistakes, failures, and lessons I’ve learned over the years.

 

It doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge where I am.  I just spend more time acknowledging the fact that I’m not where I once was.  I realized at an early age that you will learn more about life through your pain and hardships than your success will ever teach you. I’m not saying success doesn’t have its advantages. Everyone wants to win.  I’ve never wanted to lose at any point in my life.  We all want to be on top. However, I am saying the mistakes and hardships we experience offer invaluable lessons that we could learn no other way.

 

Have you heard this saying before?

“When you know better, you do better.”

 

It’s crazy when you really think about it.  We are all just trying to figure it out as we go, even if it may seem at times that we have it all together.

 

Let’s do this:

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Think about the people who raised you- your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, the Gorillas if you’re Tarzan, whomever.  As a child, we probably said to ourselves, “Man those people there, they got all the answers.  They know how to cook.  They clean after me.  They give me snacks.  They know how to speak eloquently.  They read words in those things called books.  Man, they are super people.”  And it may seem as so until you get older and you realize how easy they made it seem to “have all the answers.”

 

The truth is we’ll never have it all together.  We’ll never have all the answers no matter what age we are. We just get a little more experienced each day and become better equipped to navigate life through the application of our knowledge and wisdom we’ve gained over the years.

I had a conversation with a young man who was just about to go to university and he said to me:

“These years are going to be great.  I have everything figured out.   By the time I’m finished man, things are going to be booming!”

 

I smiled and asked him his age.

 

He answered, “Nineteen.”

 

I then said:

 

“Man, the cerebral cortex of a human being isn’t fully developed until around the age of 25.”  (I went to school too, man.)

 

He said, “Wait what?”

 

Learn what you can.   Take that knowledge, mixed with your values, beliefs, and the experiences you’ve had, and go define your truths.  Then, just do your best to make well-educated decisions and solve problems.  You may not have all the answers now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never find them.  

 

After all, we are all just trying to figure out this thing called life as we go.

- Akeem

Blog Edited by:Chanelle Price

10 Things They Don’t Tell You Before You Graduate (University Addition)

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The other day, I went for a walk to my usual spot.  I call it my “thinking spot.”  When I got there, I sat on my bench and after five minutes started laughing. 

 

Now, before you call me crazy, hear me out!

 

 I was laughing because I was listening to a podcast and heard the individual say, “The moment you graduate, everything will fall into place because you will have a degree.”

 

HA! I’m sure you’re laughing too.  Or you’re just waiting for me to get to the point.

 

This point is this- that statement couldn’t be further from the truth!  A degree, in my opinion, is like a passport.  It has the ability to open different doors.  However, it doesn’t mean those doors will ever be opened.  And if they do open, you better seize the opportunity quickly! 

 

I graduated from The University of Alabama a semester early, and one thing that stuck out to me from my whole university experience was when my English professor said:

 

“You will learn more about life experiencing stuff than you will reading this English textbook.”

 

After my trip down memory road at my “thinking spot,” I made my way home.  When I got inside, I picked up my phone and hit my guy Ian.  I asked if he wanted to jump on this post with me.

 

I’ve always said I wish someone would have told me about university before I got there.  I would have done my best to take advantage of certain things a little bit better.

 

For those of you reading this who are about to enter that chapter in your life, I hope you write these down and keep them in mind...

 

Let’s begin.

 

 

 

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1). Saving Is More Important Than Earning

 

When you graduate college, the only thing on your mind is making that paper for the first time. What they don't tell you is that it doesn’t matter how much you earn, it matters how much you save.  Getting into the habit of saving is not about being rich. Saving money keeps you sane.  It grows your self-control.  And it allows you to have money ready for when opportunity strikes.

 

If you get a $20k raise, and you spend $20k more, you end up with more stuff but your bank account looks the same way. The key is when you start increasing your income, try and live like you are still a broke college student for as long as you can.  Doing this will allow you to build up a financial cushion.  And you can make much better choices with $20k sitting in the bank compared to having nothing.

 

 

2). Get Around Like-Minded People

 

It’s imperative that you get around like-minded people as early as you can. University is the one place where the majority of people get into debt, but very few people get out of that debt.  So, you might as well get around some people who actually want to pay off that debt. Why? Well because those people probably have some type of plan.  Those are the people that are going to make sure you think outside of the box, and they will start by holding you accountable.

 

It is hard to make friends once you graduate from college.  Your whole life can easily be spent with coworkers or your family.  You have to make an effort to build with like-minded people to have in-depth discussions with. These are the people who will challenge you to be better than what you currently are.  It is not easy to find people who challenge you because when most people see you messing up, they are happy about it.   They now have a chance to step their game up. When you are trying to advance your way of thinking, you need to be around people who think like you do in order to stay sane.

 

3). You Have To Do More Than What You Are Paid T0 Do

 

Do more than you are paid to do even when it hurts and it seems that life is unfair. Doing more than what you are paid to do is how you ensure you are always needed and practically irreplaceable.  There are not many people who will follow this.  Look for more opportunities to help and to give. If you want to receive more, it is imperative that you give more.  If you only look to do what your job title says and never anything more, you make yourself dispensable.

 

Do the extra.  When you do what others won’t do, you will get more than they get.  I’m not even talking about finances.  I’m talking about creating a lifestyle and building a character that gets noticed as soon as you walk in the room.  I think the one thing people forget is that you make money.  Don’t let the money make you.  When you make yourself non-disposable, you’ll always make money.

 

4). Knowing What You Want Matters More Than Working Hard

 

It does not matter how hard you work if you have no direction.  Before you do anything else, you have to decide exactly what you want from life.  What do you want, when do you want it, why do you want it and what is your plan to go and get it?

 

Doing this is like setting the destination in your GPS.  If you don't set a destination, how can you know the path to where you are going? School teaches us to drift.  It makes many people feel like it is okay to not have a plan.  It’s why people going to college “undecided” is perfectly fine. The message is, “Wake up and have no idea what you want to do!”  That’s fine as long as you can pay that $28,000 college bill :).  

 

“What if I don’t know what I want?”

 

Let me slide on this one Ian.

 

You know what you want.  Whether you say it out loud and believe it is a different thing. Everyone has an idea of what they would like their life to look like. For example, the moment you say,  “I want...” you have an idea.  You just aren’t being intentional with the description of that idea.  And If you don’t know the description and how you can make that idea manifest, you’ll get lost in-between your other ideas.  And you’ll just continue to answer.  “I don’t know”.  You do know.  Just take a little more time and be descriptive.  Write down your own personal goal dots, and then connect them.  (See what I did there?  You know, connect the dots?  Like the game?)

 

5). That Childhood Imagination Is The Worst Thing You Can Let Go Of

 

The computer I am typing on, my iPhone, your favorite app are all things that came from the imagination.  Someone had an idea that they took action on to create all of these products.  When you’re in school, you are taught there is an absolute path you must follow.  The people who are remembered in history never follow the same way. They walk to the beat of their own drum, letting their imagination and “out of the box” thinking lead them.

 

I feel you bro, but it’s Android phone and Mac computer over here! But listen, if you don’t realize the endless possibilities of what the mind can create, you aren’t dreaming enough. People have a way of downsizing your dreams, so don’t even sweat that.  They don’t see what you see, or believe what you believe.  People would rather tell you what you can’t do and belittle your ideas and aspirations rather than give you hope so when you fall the first few times, you’ll have the courage to get back up. So, if you’re reading this today, and you have some big aspirations, I believe in your idea. Whether you succeed or fail is up to God.  That’s his realm.  But if you don’t ever try and give your dream oxygen, it’ll never live.

 

6). You Have T0 Believe In You First

 

If you do not believe in you, no one else is going to.  Your new boss is not going to give you pep talks about how he thinks you can do it. Disney Land is Disney Land, and real life is real life.  Don't get them confused.  When you believe in yourself and put in massive action, you’ll produce results over time and others will slowly begin to understand.

 

You have to believe you are already at the table before you even sit down.  Know that you belong anywhere you so choose to be.  If you don’t think your worthy of something, you’ll never fully grasp it. 

 

7). You Have To Start From Where You Are

 

Imagination is great, BUT you still need to be real with yourself about where you are today.  Social media has made some people delusional because it’s cooler to act successful than it is to actually obtain success.  Look yourself in the mirror and understand that where you are today is the result of the choices you made yesterday.  If you don't like where you are then make some different decisions.  You can build an accurate roadmap to greatness if you don't have your current destination correct.

 

Everything that you do, or don’t do, has a positive or negative reaction. Look, I know your tired some days, but isn’t it worth being tired from giving everything you have towards progressing further?

 

8). Experience, Experience, Experience

 

This will probably be something you hear a lot about. 

“You’re not experienced enough” 

or 

“You lack experience”

 

It’s funny, you can go to school for a billion years and when you graduate, certain companies won’t even give you that “experience” you need in order to succeed in that particular field.  How do you gain experience?  Well, be aware and be open to what’s around you wherever you are.  Create your own experiences.  Things have evolved so much.  Nowadays, you can search and find some type of contact information to send an email to the companies and people you want to be involved with. The worst thing they can say is, “No.”  But if they are willing to have you there, you’ll be able to gain that experience.  Don’t wait until you graduate to find out you’re not qualified. Leave no stone unturned.  And if they won’t give you the experience, try to create it.

 

 

9). It’s better To Be Productive Than To Be Busy

 

According to everyone you meet, especially after you graduate, they are “busy.” “Extremely busy” at that.  But you know what I’ve realized?  Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive.  Sometimes people confuse busyness with clutter. It’s not the hours you put in, but rather what you put in those hours.  You could be busy on paper for 15 hours straight.  But of those 15 hours, if only 4 of them were productive, you just wasted 11 hours.  People who are productive and efficient with the time they have will always overshadow those who grind all day.  Be careful not to confuse the two.  Being busy doesn’t always mean progress.

 

10).Work Harder On Yourself Than At Your Job

 

School is always teaching you to work hard.  The message engrained in your brain is that if you work hard at your job, great things will happen.  It reminds of the story of the two men who went to cut down trees.  One worked his butt off sawing down the trees for six hours.  The other man spent one hour sharpening his saw, and then spent only two hours cutting down the trees.

 

When you decide to work on yourself, you are like the person who sharpened his saw first.  By learning about yourself, reading, growing, forming positive habits, and a building a solid character, you give yourself better ingredients to succeed with.

 

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I hope this has helped in one way or another.

 

Use your time wisely.   You will not be able to do everything, but you can spend time doing and investing in the right things.  And start by investing in yourself.

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Life experiences are what make our journey so much more meaningful.

 

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You can find Ian by clicking below:

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- Akeem

Thirty Shades Of Truths

 

 

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The biggest break is the one you will give yourself by choosing to believe in your vision, in what you love, and in the gifts you have to offer the waiting world.
— Leslie Odem Jr

 

I wrote the title for this post on my computer on Thursday, and didn't finish it until Sunday morning. For some reason my brain didn't want me to be great. Or perhaps, I just had a hard time quieting my mind throughout the past few days. Yeah thats probably it still.

My one sole wish for those reading this, would be that you sit with these truths above and let one of them speak to you. As I wrote them, a few of them re-spoke to me and I hope they do the same to you.

But nonetheless,

 

With 30 things to read, there really is no need for too big of an intro.

 

So, let’s get into it. 

 

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 1). Focus on what's in front of you. We are humans, it is in our nature to try and control everything. But in reality, we control a small portion of our everyday lives. But we have to pour our energy into the things we can control. Only when we can do that, do we really start to see a shift in our progression. 

2). What’s for you, will be for you. Sometimes when we want something to happen for us so bad, and no matter how much we try to make it happen, for some reason it doesn’t come together. That’s not be coincidence, when something is for you the resistance will be minimal. 

3). True strength comes from realizing that you need help. Though you can do most things alone, it's hard to do everything alone. Everyone needs a little help on their way up.

4). There is a title for every chapter in your book of life. Ask yourself today which chapter you on are. And ask yourself, what comes next?

5). Distractions can come from all angles. But you have to guard your focus. Don’t let small inconsistencies disrupt your path and ultimately your growth.

6). It doesn’t matter what it is. If you aren’t confident about what you can do and achieve you’ll probably never achieve it. Be your biggest supporter and put the work in and continue pushing. Confidence is a powerful thing.

7). You are going to fail. But always remind yourself, that no single failure defines you as a failure. You only fail when you quit. Because when you quit you stop trying to get better and improve on what didn’t go right. Don’t worry about failing, use your failure as a guide to what work, and what didn’t work. Failure is inevitable, what you do next is optional.

8). Long before your dreams and aspirations come to life, you have to have a stubborn belief that you can get the things you want despite your circumstances.

9). Sometimes you have to be willing to make the hard decisions for the greater good. Not Because you always want to, but you know you need to.

10). Be selective in your battles. Oftentimes peace is better than always being right. You simply don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited too.

11). Don’t worry about being seen. Focus on progressing and growing in each aspect of your life. The work you do in the dark will one day come to the light.

12). Life’s test are unexpected and unpredictable. You’ll never fully be ready for it. But you made it this far for reason. Perhaps, your more prepared than you think.

13). No matter what happens in life, you’ve got to be able to believe, “This too shall pass,” and that if you keep persisting, you’ll find a way through.

14). Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at other options. You can’t solve a puzzle trying to force the pieces where they don’t fit.

15). You don’t have to have everything completely figured out to move forward. Somethings you will have to adjust on the go as you take that next step forward.

16). Know your circle. Relationships should help you grow, elevate you, challenge you, empower you, support you and be honest with you. If they aren’t helping you become a better person, then you need to make some serious decisions. You are the sum total of the people you surround yourself with, that’s not just a cliché statement, that’s an honest life truth. 

17). Learn to say no. If you always say yes, you will always be taken for granted. Simple as that.

18).  You attract what you want into your life. The way you carry yourself will always reveal how you want people to treat you. It’s never what people call you, it’s what you answer to.

19). Let go of the story why you haven’t accomplished certain things. You have to be honest with yourself about where you are right now. And that can be discouraging, I get it completely, but instead of complaining, start figuring out how you can get back on track. There is more than one path to get to your destination, you just have to complain less, and start doing more.

20). “They gave up on me” – I get it. But you know what, you are the one constant between trying to pursue a dream, and not even trying. And the beautiful thing about that, is that it only requires one person to believe. And that’s you. So, don’t get discouraged when people don’t see your vision, you will attract the ones that do as you continue pursuing your vision. Focus on proving yourself right, and less on proving them wrong.

21). “Woe is me” – If you always play the victim, you will only be seen as that. Nobody cares about what’s happened to you, they might be slightly concerned for a moment or so, but then life goes on. So, you’ve got to get up and use your pain to your advantage. Because after a while you are going to have to ask yourself, “what now?”. 

22). Be whole by yourself. Don’t give your happiness to anyone. That’s got to come from within, it’s got to come from inside of you. If you aren’t happy with yourself, every relationship you are involved in will not get a fair shot at flourishing. You have to be right within yourself, to add external value to others.

23). You are good at more than one thing. Don’t let your self-worth be consumed by a sport, or a job or one specific thing. Too many get into this hole, and the deeper you get into it, when you try and make a transition you become lost in who you were, instead of remembering who you are. Take the time to figure and nurture your many talents and gifts. We all have them, but you have to search and nurture them.

24). Own everything. Own it. Whenever something happens, before you look out, look within. Too many post the blame on other people and other things before they consider the fact that they might be the problem. 

25). Sometimes God needs you to live a scripture, and not preach one. Listen, sometimes you are going to have to go through some things that you don’t deserve to go through. Sometimes you’re going to feel like God skips your prayers. Sometimes you’re going to be put through more tests than others. Sometimes he needs you to stretch your faith further than you ever thought you could, so someone who might be trapped in the dark, can see the light through you and the way you carry yourself during your hardships.   

26). Don’t neglect your body. Exercise. Go for a walk. Take care of yourself. Eat the right foods, drink enough water, get the right nutrients in your body. Just because it makes your mind and soul feel good, doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for your body. Think moderation, not indulgence (all my desert lovers out there, including myself). 

27). The more you feed your mind the deeper the transformation will be. Just because you can relate to the weakness, doesn’t mean you have to adopt the mindset.

28). Be proud of who you are. No one can do you better than you. Be proud of all your accomplishments. Never settle for less than what you’ve worked for. You don’t have to be perfect, but you always have to give your best efforts. You owe that to yourself.

29). No matter how small you start, always dream big. There is nothing out of reach if you're willing to put in the work consistently, stay patient and make some sacrifices for it. Success is a decision, not a gift.

30). No matter what, you must keep going.  Even when it doesn’t seem like there is a way through, you must keep going and find that way. I recently read “A man’s search for meaning” by Victor Frankl. He said “A man can overcome anything, if he isn’t asked how”

 

 

I hope that one of those spoke to you in a way that makes you think. 

 

 

Your Turn…

 

In the comment section, I’d love to hear some of your own life truths that have helped you, or if you would like to email me them personally, I’d really like to hear some of them.

 

Akeeminspires@gmail.com

 

- Akeem

Blog Edited by: @Cpricerun

 

Four Things To Remember When Life Gets Tough

Life is unpredictable. 

 

You just never know how quickly the tide will turn and change the trajectory of where you were going.  

 

But at the same time, the things we go through are meant to create a stronger and much improved version of ourselves.

 

To never struggle is to never grow.

 


 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

— -Proverbs: 3:5-6

 

 

1)      Find Your Path

 

Be honest with yourself.  And that can mean many things and go many different ways.  But you have to be honest with where you are right now. Speaking from experience, this can be extremely eye-opening and discouraging. 

 

When I was 16, I wrote down about 10 things I wanted to accomplish by a certain age.  I would look at that paper almost every day, and to this day, out of those 10 things, I’ve achieved 2 of them.  A mere 20 percent!  Nevertheless, I’ve accomplished some things that I didn’t expect to.

 

Sometimes the initial path of our journey gets redirected to where we need to go, not where we want to go. 

 

What does that mean?

 

Well, it means that just because you aren’t where you want to be doesn’t mean you won’t end up back on the initial path you started. 

 

 

Ok, let me break it down mathematically really quickly.

1+3 = 4

2+2 = 4

0+4= 4

6-2 = 4

 

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There is more than one way to find the answer.  There are many different ways to get to where you want to go.  But if you don’t develop the skills you need along the way and learn how to get back on that path, you will continue to lose sight of the way.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

 There is more than one way to find the answer.  There are many different ways to get to where you want to go.  But if you don’t develop the skills you need along the way and learn how to get back on that path, you will continue to lose sight of the way.

 

 

 

 

Embrace where you are.  Stay the course.  Try not to get discouraged.  Develop what you need to on the path you are on.

You will find your way back.  Just don’t stop walking.

 

 

*

 

 

 2) Watch Your Self-Talk

 

No, for real.  You’ve got to watch the things you say to yourself on an everyday basis. Especially when it gets tough. There is no way you will make it out of the hole if you keep digging it deeper.  Adjust what you say.  Don’t play with your words.

 

I never agreed with the saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”  That’s a lie. Words are powerful.  Because eventually, if you tell yourself something enough times, you will start to believe it, and your words will slowly begin to manifest physically.

 

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If you are going through a rough patch, tell yourself you’re going through a transition stage and you’re almost finished.  If you’re going through some financial stress, just say you’re in between funds right now and you’re about to be financially stable.  If you had a bad day, remind yourself that there really are no bad days, just character-building days.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

If you are going through a rough patch, tell yourself you’re going through a transition stage and you’re almost finished.  If you’re going through some financial stress, just say you’re in between funds right now and you’re about to be financially stable.  If you had a bad day, remind yourself that there really are no bad days, just character-building days.

 

Change the things you say to yourself.   Speak life into yourself.  If you want to see change, you have to not only work for it physically, but you’ve got to put it out there in the universe.  

 

 

 

Words by themselves don’t hurt us.  Only when we give them meaning do they gain their power.

 

Watch what you say.

 

 

*

 

 

3) Trust Your Preparation To Pass The Test

 

When I was in school, up until about my last year in university, I would do well on the assignments and homework and projects.  But as soon as a test, mid-term or final exam came around, I wouldn’t do too well.  Not all the time, but for the most part, I just didn’t do well.

 

And the more I think about it now, straight up, I just didn’t prepare as well as I could have.  I’m not saying I didn’t study or take it seriously.  I just didn’t prepare as well as the other students who got the high scores. And because I didn’t feel confident in my preparation, my brain would be all over the place, and I’d second guess myself every time.

 

But I learned from that experience, and I now apply that lesson in my everyday life.

 

You can’t control everything, but no one can take away how hard you practice and the effort you put toward your craft and developing your all-around skillsets.

 

And when you feel like you’re ready for a breakthrough, that is when you will be tested to see if you are going to revert back to your old ways.

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When you haven’t prepared and prepped yourself for what’s to come, you may pass the assignments, but you’ll never pass the most important tests.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

When you haven’t prepared and prepped yourself for what’s to come, you may pass the assignments, but you’ll never pass the most important tests.

  

 

 

*

 

 

4). Take The Good With The Bad

 

This is such a powerful statement.  You are still here.  You are still here.  YOU are still here. You are here for a reason, a purpose, a specific reason that God has intended for you.

 

Despite everything that you’ve been through, and might be going through at this moment, you are still here. That’s not by accident.  That’s not by chance.  Sometimes when we go through things, it’s not for us.  It’s to show someone watching that they can get through their own situation too.  Sometimes God doesn’t need us to preach a miracle.  He needs us to live in the present as an example of one.

 

Nothing goes unnoticed.   Sometimes we need to fall down in the fight of life so we can learn how to get back up on our feet.  That breakthrough you might be looking for is probably taking its sweet time, and I mean really taking its sweet time.  But that’s the reason you’ll appreciate it so much more when it does come.

 

Without the darkness, we wouldn’t appreciate the light as much.

 

If it didn’t rain, we wouldn’t be able to see the rainbow.

 

If we didn’t go through the bad, we wouldn’t truly appreciate the good. 

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Life has a way of findings its balance. Things can change at one glance. Your moment will come when you least expect it. But what you do while you wait will make the biggest difference, always.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

Life has a way of findings its balance.  Things can change at one glance.  Your moment will come when you least expect it.  But what you do while you wait will make the biggest difference, always. 

 

 

 

Grow through it, you made it this far, don't stop progressing now. You've came to far. You've got this.

Stick with it. Push through.

- Akeem

The Lessons I've Learned From The Airport

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Airport Layover

 I dislike travelling as a whole. I enjoy new cities, and scenery, and culture and different atmospheres I enjoy that part, but I dislike actually flying, long road trips. All of that, its super quiet for me on that aspect.

Like if your trying to go on a road trip and you need someone to go, I’m probably not the best person to ask. However, I’ll come along, providing we are loaded up with snacks.

 

Matter of a fact I’m writing this at the airport as I’m waiting for my connecting flight.

 

Kind of ironic honestly, simply because of how much it relates to being patient.

 

 

 


Delayed

 

I’ve always somehow been portrayed as this patient person. And Truth is, by nature, I’m extremely impatient. I don’t like to wait. I’m a very punctual person, and the value of time is something I try not to waste or take for granted.  

 

But what happens when you have no choice but to be patient? 

 

I remember when I was coming back home during Christmas time when I was at school in Kansas, and on this particular trip my flight looked like this 

 

 Wichita to Houston, Houston to Edmonton, Edmonton to Calgary.

 

On paper I guess it doesn’t look that bad? however, I had a 4-hour layover in Edmonton, and the flight from Edmonton to Calgary was maybe 30 minutes once you’re up in the air.

 

I was beyond annoyed, tired, and all the above.

 

But It taught me a valuable lesson that day,

You don’t know how patient you can be, until being patient is all you can be.
— Akeem Haynes

 


 

 

Taxing

 

In 2016, on the way to the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, if memory serves me justice, I believe we had a night flight. After boarding the flight and putting my bags up. I sat in my seat and waited for the magical words. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready for take-off”

 

 I was already tired from the week of training and travelling back from London earlier in the week. So that made everything that much sweeter, I had everything planned out in my head. I was going to kick back and watch a couple movies, and let the movies tire out my eyes and I’ll be in deep REM sleep and when I wake up I’ll get there.

 

*Doses off*

 

10 minutes later….

 

I opened my eyes and realized I was still on the dang runaway!

 

My trip was ruined, I ended up staying up half the 9-hour flight. 

 

But in the midst of the stress, there was a lesson to be learned from it

 

Don’t get too ahead of yourself. 

 

 

*

 

 

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Sky High

 

This is the one part you have no control over whatsoever. Literally, all you can do is sit and occupy your time and let the pilots and steward & Stewardess do their job.

 

There’s always that stage in life, where it seems like you’re just going through the motions. You’re working towards something, but it can often feel redundant. Sometimes it can feel like you’re not making any progress. And as humans, we strive off progress, that’s what keeps us going.

 

When you’re in the air flying, and you have a long flight, it doesn’t feel like you’re moving or really covering any ground, until you get to your destination and you realize is was the complete opposite.

 

Here’s the lesson here:

 

It’s not how many hours you put into what you do, but rather what you put in those hours.

 

 


Landing

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Prepare for landing”

 

Those are sacred words when it comes to flying. It means the trip is almost done! 

 

I wish there was that announcement from the good Lord above that told us that our time was about to come. I imagine mine would go something like this.

 

“Aye akeem, just stay strong for two more weeks and then it’s your time my guy! the next week and a half I got to make tough, but don’t worry, you’re good, stay strong. Two weeks!”

 

See, that way I’m prepared. I know in exactly, two weeks I’ll be good!

 

But when you’re sitting in the sky on the plane, you don’t control the landing, you just got to have faith that you’ll get to the ground safely.

 

But you know what, 

sometimes the unknown is our strongest weapon. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you’ll just have to trust what you do and know that you are prepared for what’s to come.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

 

-      Akeem

Always Bet On Yourself

I think a lot of people believe in themselves, but very few people are willing to risk everything, and put everything on themselves.
— Akeem Haynes
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It’s one thing to believe in yourself, but it’s another thing to bet on yourself. One is talk, and the other is the real deal. We’ve all heard that cliché statement “Put your money, where your mouth is.” In other terms, if you’re really about it, then be about it.

 

 

I think a lot of people believe in themselves, but very few people are willing to risk everything, put everything on themselves. 

 


Here’s the difference:

When you bet on you, you truly invest in yourself. Your faith is fortified because you found a way to see the light in the darkness. You know what you’re capable of because of the work and effort you put into everything you do. You don’t sweat what people say, because you live your truth. You don’t worry who’s against you, because God is with you.

 

You don’t worry about what you can’t control, because you’ve controlled your preparation. You don’t worry about falling, because you’ve fell so much you’ve learned how to get back up.

 

There’s a difference, and that difference, is that no matter who is against you, no matter the odds, no matter the logic, no matter how hard it can be and will get, you are still willing to bet on yourself to overcome it and find a way to progress forward with a positive attitude.


If you are reading this today, Always be willing to bet on yourself, through the highs and more importantly the low’s because no matter what project you are working on, you will always be your greatest investment and lifelong project.

Bet on you.

 

 

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-Akeem

 

 

 

Mind, Body & Spirit

One thing I always told myself and I believed this wholeheartedly to the bottom of my heart was this. I knew that one day, it would be different. One day I would look back and smile, not because of how hard it was, but because I made it through.
— Akeem Haynes

 

*

 

 

 

A Few weeks ago, I had a session with my old coach back when I played football in high school. Apart from the session being great so was the conversation and the insight. He’s got about 15-18 years of knowledge on me when it comes to this thing called life.

 

I learned along long time ago, that when somebody older is trying to educate you, you shut up and listen. Period. Never ever be too into yourself that you think you know everything because you simply don’t. but we’ll save this part of the message for another day.

 

Between reps we would grab some water and sit on the bench and id ask questions. And the more questions I asked, the more I learned, the more he reiterated what I knew, but he said it in a way that I wouldn’t have said it in.

 

People say things differently, they give different examples and explanations. Put it like this, you could show 10 people how to make chicken, and the chicken would taste differently 10 different times, even with the same recipe. Interesting huh?

 

But as we started talking more, we started talking about the mind, body and spirit. How you treat your body as a whole. How to feed your body the right things inside and out. Which leads me to the message today.

 

 

*

 

Mind

 

If there was a ranking, this would probably be #2. The mind is a complex component. Very complex. You can think yourself into doing anything, but you can also think yourself out of everything. And I mean everything. The mind is a place where all our information lives, its where our dreams and created, its where our ideas are stored.

 

Your mind can be your greatest weapon, or it can be your greatest road block. I’ve probably said in many of these messages, be careful of the story you tell yourself on an everyday basis. I don’t mean to every sound redundant, but that’s probably the only edge I’ve ever had on anybody else. The story you tell yourself, every day is the story that’s going to come to fruition. Some of you may have read the book so I’m going to expound on this story so it’s a little different. When I was in high school my only motive, was to get a scholarship in football, or track. I knew that without a scholarship I couldn’t afford to go to school at least for a few years. All I could do was control what I did on the field, or on the track and classroom. Everything else was out of my control. I couldn’t control going to school and only eating one meal a day or sometimes none. I couldn’t control that most nights we had to use candle light and take cold showers in the middle of winter. I couldn’t control the fact that I wore the same two pairs of shoes throughout high school, I couldn’t control wearing the same clothes throughout high school, I couldn’t control sharing a place with 10 other people at one point. SOMETHINGS ARE GOING TO BE OUT OF YOUR CONTROL, REALIZE THAT. But what is in your control you have to take full advantage of that.

 

One thing I always told myself and I believed this wholeheartedly to the bottom of my heart was this. I knew that one day, it would be different. One day id look back and smile not because of how hard it was, but because I made it through. Every single day before I took the field or track id tell myself in a short prayer. “Today is the day, if not today, then tomorrow. I just have to keep working and believe in it, and have faith. It’s going to work out”

 

Every day, envision the things you want. Envision how you’re going to make it out of this tough time. And I know some of you are going through some things right now, but continue fighting and breaking those mental barriers.

 

The things you tell yourself in your mind every single day, will one day come to fruition.

 

It is possible. It will be done. It shall be done.

 

 

Body

 

Take care of your body please. Take care of your body. This is so key. One thing half the world doesn’t realize is that if you take care of your body, it will take care of you. I hate vegetables. I don’t like broccoli, or peas, or tomatoes, or anything of that stuff. But I know what it does for me in the long run, not the short run. If you focus on the short term when it comes to your body, you’ll probably find an excuse to not go exercise or not drink that water or not drink that green juice.

 

Between you and I, I could eat ice cream and cookies every day. And I mean every day, and I’m not strong guy when it comes to desert. I’m strong but I’m really not that strong. I could grab a cookie, get a few scoops of ice cream and dump it right on that cookie, add some fruit and eat that every single day. Mannnnnnnn just talking about it!

 

But I also don’t want to get big. I don’t want to put on that extra weight because I know how much harder I’m going have to work to sustain that habit. So, I eliminate the pressure and I don’t really buy it in my place.

 

It feels good to work out, it feels good to break a sweat, it feels good to get results, it feels even better to watch your body go through transformation. Your body will love you for it, not only now, but later.

 

Drink more water. Eat more greens. Do yoga. Go for a walk. Stretch more. Go for a jog. Hit the gym. Play some basketball. Play tennis, gulf, whatever it is. Get out and be active even if it’s for 10 minutes out of the day.

 

Watch how that small change changes your mood throughout the day. The best way to help you if you get angry is to take a boxing class. Hit a punching bag. Exercise that anger away.

 

Eat, drink whatever you want, in moderation it’s all good. But remember

 

 

If you take care of your body today. It will reward you later.

 

Spirit

 

This is probably the most important one of them all. You must believe in something. I’m a Christian. I believe in God. Believe in something. Strengthen your relationship with a higher source. I’ve gotten this far in my life, because someone was praying for me when I wasn’t praying for myself. Somebody was praying for my breakthroughs and guiding me through decisions when I could have taken another path.

 

You can feed your body and mind as much as you want, but when those things break down, what do you lean on? Where do you get that guidance from?

 

I’ve made a lot of changes in my life this past year, especially in the past few months. And this has been the area where I’ve seen the most benefit from. I read or listen to the bible every day. I pray to God for guidance, for acceptation, for forgiveness, and most importantly I pray more for people.

 

The thing about having a belief in something, is that no matter happens, you commit to it. Even on the days you don’t feel like it.

 

Sometimes when things aren’t going well, I’ll take a few moments and ask God to help me understand his ways, because sometimes he makes me want to fight him, but he accepts that. (I think)

 

I’m not saying you have to believe in my god or anybody else’s god. But believe in something. Take the time to feed your spirit. Because whatever area that you feed, will eventually get nourished.

 

Whatever area that you feed, will eventually get nourished.

 

Feed your faith, feed your spirit.

 

 

*

 

Mind. Body. Spirit.

 

 

Akeem Haynes

Two Types Of Pain

Everybody hurts, everybody goes through something. Everybody. Life doesn’t throw warning signs, its unexpected and pain is pain. But the difference between pain that helps you press forward and the pain that keeps you down, is how you use that pain and the meaning you give behind it.
— Akeem Haynes

*

 

Sometimes bad things just happen. Point blank.

There isn’t always an explanation for why things happen.

We’ve all heard that saying “everything happens for a reason”. And as much true as that is, I believe that statement only applies 99% of the time. There is a 1 % chance that sometimes you just might get the short end of the stick.

 

I don’t mean to be negative or to sound pessimistic. I’m always overly optimistic and positive. But this is reality and that’s how it is sometimes. I was reminded of that this morning when a close friend of mine is going through a tragic moment with his family.

 

One thing I’ve realized, is that when things happen it changes you. There are two types of pain in this world. There is pain that teaches you a lesson, and there is pain that keeps you stuck in the past. But no matter which one, you will still hurt. You will still feel pain.

 

What do you do when you have these encounters with life?, When I was 14 I lost one of the people I cared about the most. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was at a friend’s house getting ready to go to football practice. And my phone rang, and it was my mom, at the beginning I couldn’t really hear what she was saying because she was crying.

 

But what I did make out after she calmed down a bit was this. “Akeem, your grandfather died today”. At the moment my heart froze, but for some reason I wasn’t showing any emotion. I believe it’s called “Shock” ha. I remember grabbing my stuff and heading home.

 

When I got home I dropped my stuff in the house and went and sat on the steps and waited. I feared that the worst was yet to happen. That was my mom’s dad. And I knew she wouldn’t take it well.

 

A few minutes later she came home. And as the car drove away, she saw me sitting on the steps, took 4-5 steps and dropped to her knees and screamed “why”. The only thing I could do, was hold her and let her know that everything was going to be okay.

 

And that’s when it hit me. See I had spoken to him a week before he passed away. And his last words to me was “when are you coming to see me?”. He would always ask me that because I made a promise after my mom and I left Jamaica. And when it hit me, that’s when I realized I broke my promise to him. That’s when I realized that I’d never hear, or see him anymore in my life. I promised him that before he passed away I would come back and see him. And at that moment, I realized that I will never be able to fulfil that promise, for the rest of my life, that will sit on my heart. And that’s when emotions took its course and I broke down in my room at 4am in the morning.

 

THE LESSON IN THE PAIN

 

I wanted to honor him. I wanted some way to apologize to him for not fulfilling that promise. I wanted something for him to see as he looked down on me.

 

The next morning before school, I grabbed a plain white shirt I had, grabbed a sharpie. And stared at the shirt for about 10 minutes and wrote.

 

“RIP Etel Samuels

Forgive me, for I have let you down. But I will never leave this earth without giving everything I have to it. In your name, I will live on this earth and earn and work for every single thing. I won’t let you again.”

 

And then I grabbed a white arm sleeve, and wrote down his name and the year he passed away.

 

I wore that shirt and that sleeve every single high school football game that year. And every time I felt tired, I’d look at that sleeve and found that energy I needed. We ended up winning the high school Championships that year and I ended up breaking the city record for touchdowns, rushing yards, receiving yards, kick return yards and Touch downs. Needless to say, I left everything I had on that field because of the pain that was left in my heart.

 

 

Recycle your pain. Everybody hurts, everybody goes through something. Everybody. Life doesn’t throw warning signs, its unexpected and pain is pain. But the difference between pain that helps you press forward and the pain that keeps you down, is how you use that pain and the meaning you give behind it. I used that pain to motivate me, I used that pain to dig deeper, I used that pain to flip on a switch that said “aye Akeem you got more in you. He’s watching you.”  I recycled my pain.

 

Recycle your pain! Some of you may be hurting right now, you may be going through something at this very moment. Don’t let that pain keep you down. It’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel a type of way about things, it’s okay to be down. But it’s not okay to stay there.

 

On the other side of that hurt, and pain is a smile. A new motivation, a new meaning, a new purpose behind why you do what you do.

 

Use your pain to make you better, not bitter. Use the pain to propel you forward, not de-gress your downwards. I know it’s not easy, I know it’s tough. But you must and you need too. There is someone out there that is watching you, there is someone out there looking up to you and saying “she/he is so strong. If they can get through it I know I can do too”.

 

On the other side of pain, is a smile. A smile that someone is watching.

 

And no it won’t be easy, and yes some days will be easier than others. But nonetheless, you got this and you can and will get through it.

 

You will get through it.

 

 

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Akeem Haynes