Growth

Into The Mind - Part 1

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It’s cold.

 Not the, “Yeah, stupid, cause it’s winter time,” cold.

 It’s that, “Someone forgot to turn up the heat last night,” type of cold. 

 As I made my way down to the thermostat to confirm what I already knew, I moved the switch to turn up the heat.  

 The moment I finished doing so, my stomach started growling. 

 “Hmm…,” I thought. “Let me see what I have in this place to eat.  Some eggs, potatoes and toast sound wicked right now.”

 “But I probably shouldn’t because it’s 4:30 a.m.  I’ll just make some tea and eat some of these soda crackers.”

 “Wait…What’s the date? It’s the first of a new month, isn’t it?”

“Shoot.  Guess I’m not eating anytime soon.”

 “Why did I choose to fast again?”

 “Be disciplined, Akeem, be disciplined.”

 

 

What does it mean to be disciplined?

 

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines discipline as the following:  control gained by enforcing obedience or order.

 

That sounds very military esque.  Let’s not use that definition.

 

Let’s use some examples.  

 

I started fasting in September.  I usually fast from the 1stto the 5thof each month.  The time of my fast depends on what time I wake up. But I always fast for at least 12 hours. 

Example:  If I wake up at 4:30 a.m., I fast until at least 4:30pm.  However, I recently realized my math is a little off.  I don’t take into consideration that the last time I eat something is usually around 8:30 p.m. the night before.  So, I’m actually fasting for nearly 20 hours.  But that’s a softer issue. 

 

You may be asking, “Why are you fasting? Why so long?”

 


There are a few reasons, but I’ll drop the main two.

 1). To get closer to the Lord and hopefully hear His voice in my prayers. (I mean, if He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, I figured the least I could do is five.)

 2). To gain deeper control of my flesh and my mind.  


 

During these 17-18 hours of fasting, some of my days look like this:  I work around food all day; I hit a gym session; I come home and go straight to writing or recording (visual or audio); I help my siblings with their homework; I get them showered up and start cooking while they are in the shower; I serve them their food; I jump in the shower myself, come back to the kitchen, get my food and finish it faster than the both of them. 

 

On these particular days, I wake up at 4:30 a.m. and don’t eat until 6:30 p.m.  And then I do it all over again the next day.  

 

You see, the average person doesn’t have a lot of discipline, not because they can’t have it, but because they don’t “feel like it.”  And when you don’t feel like doing something, every excuse in the book becomes acceptable.

 

But the truth is, you won’t always feel like doing certain things.

 

If you want to get to another level in your life, you can’t always focus on how you feel.  There are going to be some days when you just have to grind it out and get the task done. 

 

I remember training in Phoenix, and some days it would be so hot it didn’t make sense.  Not the type of heat that’s refreshing.   It was the type of heat that makes you question why you decided to live in this oven.

We would be doing block starts, and we would all false start after two seconds.  Not because we weren’t listening to the starter, but because our fingers would be on fire from the lava (track).   

 

Why am I telling you this?

 

Because if I did what I “felt like doing,” I wouldn’t have gone to train in that excessive heat.  

 

However, my desire to reach my goal was stronger than how I felt.  I knew if I didn’t train, running fast was not a reality.  

 

 

Some days are going to suck.  And you won’t always feel like doing the task in front of you.  

 

Life happens.  I get it.

 

But the days you don’t feel like doing what you need to do are the days you probably need to double down and do it, especially if it’s going to pay off on the back end.

 

Disciplining yourself isn’t the hard part.  

 

Reminding yourself everyday why it’s important is.

- Akeem

Blog edited by: Chanelle Price

Find the Collateral Beauty

 

I woke up one Saturday, sat up in bed, looked at my night table, and glanced at my phone’s display clock.

“3:13 a.m.”

One hour and thirty-five minutes before my alarm was set to go off.

 3:13 a.m.?  What a strange time to wake up.

 I tried to force myself back to sleep for a little longer, but I made it to 3:20 a.m. and said, “Well, I might as well get up.”

 I turned off my alarm and started my normal morning routine.

 Around 7:00 a.m., I opened my window and looked out only to see it was snowing.  This was interesting because the weather forecast did not call for snow that day. But then again, Calgary weather is often unpredictable.   I really don’t mind the snow, when I’m inside that is.

 I said to myself, “Well, if it’s snowing, I don’t plan on going outside today.”  I decided to find a movie to watch.  From the title of this piece, I’m sure you’ve guessed what movie I chose.

 It’s funny how you never really know you need something until after you receive it.  Collateral Beauty-was a much-needed reminder for me on this particular day.

With that being said, here are a few of my favorite moments from the movie.

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1). “I’m time.  You wrote me because you need me.  I’m a gift, and you’re wasting it!”

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This was a conversation Howard (the main character in the movie) had with “Time” who he’s been writing.

 

Meaning:

 Time. 

 

It’s the one thing we can never get back.  It’s the one thing we should cherish every moment of.  Yet, it’s not always easy to appreciate time, especially when we are going through trials and tribulations.  It’s important to evaluate where and how we are spending our time and energy.

We can always find time to do something depending on what we prioritize.  The things and areas you prioritize are what your time and energy will flow toward.

Like Solomon wrote in the bible:

There’s a time for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

 

Someone once told me: “Time is currency, and it will put you in debt if you don’t appreciate the voices when they are there.”

Whatever season you are currently in, take a moment to figure out what your priorities are and where your energy is going. 

 

Time is only wasted if you don’t find the value in what, who or why you’re spending it. Just going through the motions of life is not the way our time is meant to be spent.

 

 

2).Brigitte: “People write letters to the universe all the time. Most don’t get a personal response, but you are.”

Howard: I don’t want this!

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Meaning: 

Be careful what you ask for.  

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve prayed to the good Lord for some huge asks; things I know wouldn’t make sense to the average person; things that may seem impossible to some, but are more than possible to Him. 

Maybe you’ve asked for more patience, and then someone or something comes to stretch your patience. 

Maybe you’ve asked for a financial breakthrough, and then you get a notification that your credit card limit has been increased. 

Maybe you’ve asked for a huge amount of success in one area, and then you have to pick something in another area to sacrifice.

The point is, in order to attain what we ask for, we first have to go through certain tests. These tests develop our character and prepare us to keep what it is that we asked for.  

Continue to pray and ask for the things you desire; just make sure your motives and your heart are aligned as one.

 

 

3). Madeline: [to Howard] “You’ve been given a gift, this profound connection to everything. Just look for it, and I promise you it’s there, the collateral beauty.”

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Meaning:

 

We all have a God-given gift.  Every single one of us.  I’m not sure who’s going to read this today, but you have a gift. It’s hard to notice your gift when it’s not clear to see.  How do you find your gift?

 


Start with these three questions:

1). What’s the one thing I’m good at that comes easily to me?

2). What makes me different?

3). What’s the one common comment my friends/close circle say about me? (sometimes you don’t know what you’re good at until someone tells you)


 

I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t have a gift.”

 

 I’ve never liked that statement.  Just because it can be hard to find something doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. So, if you’ve said that before, don’t say it again.

 

Finding your gift will take time and patience.  Cultivating your gift will take effort and discipline.  I believe we are all called by the Creator to do something, and in order to operate in our calling, we first have to seek and find the gift inside of us.  When you find your gift, you will be called to leave a place of comfort.  In discomfort is where you truly figure out what you’ve been called to do.

 

The seed of my gift was planted when I was thirteen.  My gift became apparent when I was twenty.  I stepped into my calling at twenty-six.

 

Keep searching, keep listening, keep digging.

Your gift will make itself apparent in due time, if you haven’t found it already.

 

So... what is the meaning of collateral beauty?

 

 

I think it means no matter what goes on in our lives, if we search deep enough, there is always something to be grateful for, even when it hurts.

If you’ve seen the movie, What are some of the scenes or quotes that stuck out to you? Comment below and please let me know!

-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

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

 

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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

3 Questions to ask yourself when it gets tough

Never get complacent. There is always something to improve on. There is always room for growth. There is always more to learn. More wisdom to gain. Never stop searching for answers.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

 

1). Why?

 

Always start with why. I truly believe that with a strong enough reasoning behind something, no matter how tough it gets, you can find a way to get through it. But first you have to find out why you want to do it. When your trying to figure out your why, understand that there will be many different reasoning’s, and you should have many reasons. But if your why is solely based on materialistic things it will not last. When you get hit by life, you will find an excuse because it’s not strong enough, you can always get any type of job and just work and work until you reach the goal of the material that you want. And then what? You will be right back in the same boat feeling unfulfilled. As humans, we desire finding something that brings us purpose and gives meaning to our lives.

 

 

Do me a favor, when you think about your why, I want you to think about something that brought you pain, something that truly left a print on you. Now, think about how you can use that pain and form that into something positive.

 

 

When I was growing up, there was a time in my life when I moved around a lot, I moved to so many houses in a short span of months that I lost track of the actual number, there was a time in my life when having regular meals was something that wasn’t very regular. Those are the moments that shaped my why, and in that moment, I made a DECISION that when I establish myself I will have stability in my environment and in my life, it was a decision that came from within.

 

When you can connect your pain, and use that energy into creating positivity it forces you to make a decision for change, and that is when you will have an unstoppable why. Now you’ve made a decision and now you have a purpose behind you, now you have a reason for why you do what you do. It’s a powerful feat when you make up your mind to do something. It’s hard to break or change a mind that’s been made up.

 

To paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche

 

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”

 

 

2). Is it worth it?

 

Along our journey we will be confronted with many situations, some will be filled with joy, and some will be filled with heartache. How we react to what we are faced will determine what kind of outcome the rest of our journey through life will be like. Recently, I was asked to be the guest speaker from the high school I graduated from, Crescent Heights High school in Calgary Alberta, Canada. I spent a few nights thinking to myself as I was trying to sleep, thinking of what I could tell them that would stick as they start a new chapter in their life. And in doing that I thought about my own life and how I got to where I am today.

 

The things we do, and what you put on the line, and what we sacrifice on a daily basis, to get to where we want to go, will it be worth it? I think that’s something that every individual will have to answer for themselves. You might see someone on TV and thinking they have it all figured out, only to realize later down the road that if they would do it again, they wouldn’t, and then you have those who have went through tremendous adversity and when they are asked if they would do anything different, they reply “no, because it made me who I am”.

 

Truth is, it will be worth it, if you become who you are meant to be from the mistakes you’ve made along the way. I’ve learned that it’s not about the destination, it’s not always about making it to the top because the reality is you might not make it to your initial goal or your initial dream, but who you become and what you can grasp from prior defeats, can provide you with new goals and new dreams.

 

It is in the actual pursuit in the journey of life, that we figure out who and what we are meant to become that makes the journey worthwhile in the long run.

 

Ultimately the only way to know if it will be worth it, is by risk figuring it out for yourself.

 

 

 

3). Why not me?

 

Anything is possible. A lot of people say this statement just to say it but this is something I wholeheartedly believe and I will always believe that in my heart, because the way I answered this question changed the trajectory of my life. Why not you? seriously why not you? you know, there is something inside all of us that truly believes that we can accomplish anything. No matter what our circumstances or situations are, there is something in our subconscious state that tells us that there is a way through. The only way to manifest that thought is to listen closely, and then act on that first thought that comes to mind. There are two ways when it comes to bringing an idea to life. The first step is visualization and the second step is by action. When you form Visualization and action together consistently, that’s when our ideas can be shape into reality.

 

I had to come to an honest truth when I was twelve years old, I realized that It doesn’t really matter where you start, and it doesn’t matter where you came from, one thing is certain and an absolute fact for all of us and that is life isn’t fair. That’s a given. But then I realized what is given, is knowing that there are 24 hours in a day. And in that 24 hours everything that we want to achieve and accomplish must take part every single day for the rest of our lives. The more negative questions you ask yourself, the more time you waste not moving forward. I came up with this phrase when I was twelve years old, and each day I would say it to myself the moment I woke up. “Why not you Akeem.” And in doing that, psychologically my energy shifted into finding answers.

 

In college when some of my teachers would tell me that I wouldn’t graduate on time because of my grades, it would have been easy to listen and give in, because I wasn’t the smartest guy out there, I didn’t really retain information that well, especially when it came to certain classes that I was uninterested in. However, as you know if you don’t pass the courses, you will not graduate. The many times I would hear the negative comments from people around me, I would repeat to myself “why not you? why can’t you graduate on time?” and whether I realized it immediately or not my subconscious mind would start focusing and dialing in a little more on information that I needed to grasp and that would be my answer.

 

Sometimes we have to ask ourselves questions in a different perspective in order to find an answer.

 

When you are faced with a delay in your life, don’t ask why me. Ask yourself why not me? Acknowledge the problem but don’t dwell on the problem. We are all problem solvers, and if we dwell on something for too long, we get caught up in believing that’s how it’s always going to be instead of changing our perspective and finding a way to overcome the problem.

 

 

Problems don’t go away,

 

You just find more effective ways to deal with them

 

 

ITS ON YOU…

 

Take some time today to develop a phrase that helps you,

 

Something that brings your reassurance when you need It most.

 

If you have your own phrase already I would love to hear about it in the comments.

 

Why not you?

Why not you?

Why not you ?

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the impossible, becomes possible when you ask yourselves the right questions.

 

 

 

Akeem Haynes

A Convo Between Two part 2-1

 

I’ve had the privilege of being involved meeting many different interesting people, and in this interview, I spoke to a reporter about the importance of owning your own personal story, he’s an established man in his own rights and we spoke for about an hour or so. Funny thing was the interview was only twenty minutes so we spent forty minutes off air just talking about everything. So, without rambling, here is a bit of how this conversation went.

 

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Reporter: Here is what just crossed my mind. I haven’t seen you in person for a year now, but I’ve known you for five years now. I’ve watched you throughout high school when you were still a teenager, and now you have a full Goatee!

 

Akeem: haha! Man thank you for acknowledging that. People stay hating on my facial hair growth. It’s been a long time coming! I still can’t grow a beard though.

 

Reporter: I see everything. Now, A few years ago, I spoke with your mom Kim, and I asked her a question. I asked her “What does she see when she sees her son coming up to her?”. Do you know what she said?

 

Akeem: ah man, I have no idea.

 

Reporter: she said, “When I see Akeem, I think of hope.” Why do you think that is? What do you see yourself as?

 

Akeem: I don’t see myself as anything special by any means. But I do know that I have more responsibility than most people my age. As far as the word hope goes, yeah. I think that’s what I’ve always tried to represent. A sign of hope. Hope from a common ground. Yeah, I think that goes with me.

 

Reporter: I agree with her, I think hope is something that sticks with you. Like you, I was born in Jamaica myself, I wouldn’t say I grew up poor but we didn’t have much extra, at a young age my father would say to me, “A person needs to do more for themselves than anybody can do for them” and I didn’t understand why he was telling me this until I got older, and I realized that for the most part you are in control of your own life, yes you can’t control everything, but you can always control how you respond. To gain a certain amount of success, what do you think is one or two things you must do?

 

Akeem: Westmoreland Stand up!

 

Reporter: Yes bredda!

 

Akeem: You know, I’m no life guru or coach or any of that. But I think the main thing, is you must own your story. You must look at what’s going on in your circumstance and situations, and you must decide if you’re sick and tired of being where you are and what you’re going to do to change that. It all starts with a decision. Now of course once you decide that, it doesn’t mean life won’t punch you in the face, in fact that’s probably what’s going to happen sooner than later, all you can do when you decide, is say to yourself “no matter what, I’m going to get through this”.

 

Reporter: When you say owning your story, why do you think others don’t own theirs? Is it a bad thing if they don’t?

 

Akeem: There is this notion of “what’s cool “in society. Most people are trying to compete about who has it harder and sometimes I think people create this image of what they wish it was like instead of the reality of what it is. For someone who’s been through hard ships I can say first hand it’s not cool. It’s not cool to have one meal a day if that. It’s not cool to wake up without heat or lights or hot water in the house, it’s not cool to get kicked out of your home, it’s not cool to be homeless, Mark my words there's nothing fun about any of that. The story of “growing up with nothing and making it’ is extremely interesting, people have some remarkable stories out there, but struggling isn't fun, to the ones who haven’t grown up in it, be thankful and appreciate what you have. Every story is significant, we all just have different experiences. But for me, However, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

 

Reporter: You mentioned “Making it”. Did you always know there would be brighter days ahead? Most people say they do, but did you?

 

Akeem: I wouldn’t say I always believed, but I always had faith that it would get better. It’s hard man, cause when you’re going through something, it’s hard to focus on anything else other than that. But I’ve always had faith that it would get better, the funny thing about believing something is that it takes practice, like anything else, it takes practice to believe something will work out. But faith is seeing something even if you can’t make out the picture. So, I held my faith close to my heart until progress showed me how to believe.

 

Reporter: “I held my faith close to my heart until progress showed me how to believe”. I don’t think there is anything else that needs to be said.

 

Part 2 To be Continued…