hope

Sunday Reminder #2

Just Keep Walking

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You know, sometimes it’s better to just start walking, rather than to sit and think about it. One of the hardest things to do, is just to start something. Whatever it is, having the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and fully commit to doing it takes a lot out of you.

 

Now once you start, I’m not saying it’s going to get easier, no no no that’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that you will start to gain confidence, and a flow and once you start getting in the flow of something you start to become consistent.

 

It always starts with you, we are the one common denominator in our success and failures, in our happiness and sadness, our problems and solutions, our fears and our dreams. 

 

The beautiful thing about one’s journey is that it only requires one person to believe, and one person to start. And that’s you, so just start walking towards that dream, start walking towards that goal, start walking towards that joy, start walking towards that destination.

 

Don’t worry about who’s going to join you, don’t worry about who’s going to walk with you, don’t worry about who’s not going to believe in your vision, don’t worry about who’s going to fall off along the way.

 

Just start walking, the right people when the time is right will walk with you. It’s better to be in company of those who want to see you do well with their actions, rather than those who say so with their words.

 

I’m going to continue walking no matter what,

 

And I hope that you do too.

 

Keep walking.

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

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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

 

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…

A Convo Between Two Part 1

 

I always get a lot of question, whether it’s from reporters, or kids, or parents, friends, and people in general. I take a lot of pride in giving an honest answer each time, that’s what I will continue to do. I don’t believe in fabricating or gassing up something just because. Now, with that being said “A convo between two” is my way of sharing some of the questions I’ve been asked that turned into a conversation that can be taken in any range. Some of these convos might even be  what's going on instead my head (like you don't talk to yourself, don't judge me). I’m always grateful for good healthy conversations that I can learn something from. People always say that words don't mean anything, but in reality they do. Words can spark something within you at any moment. So with that being said, let’s start!

 

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Reporter: I heard a rather intriguing story about you through the grapevine, that I thought was truly remarkable.

Akeem: Hopefully it’s not anything crazy, ha!

Reporter: I spoke with an old football coach of yours, and he told me that, your first season playing football with the golden hawks, you didn’t get a chance to play due to a medical issue, you weren’t cleared to play in any games, yet you went to practice every day, you put on pads in practice, ran conditioning, did everything that everybody else did, but when it was time to play the game you went into the stands and watched and supported your team. Is that true?

Akeem: aw man, what coach sold me out like this? but yes, that’s true. In every sport, you must go get a physical done just to make sure that everything is okay. Nothing out of the ordinary, you know, regular stuff. But when I went to get the physical done and get checked up, the doctors were checking my heart beat and I guess they found an irregular heartbeat. i wasn’t sure what it meant, I just didn’t quite understand why it stopped me from playing, I mean I’ve been active in sports since I was nine- ten years old, so clearly, I was fine. But yeah, he didn’t clear me to play so I couldn’t play.

Reporter: Most people your age would stop playing right at that moment, they wouldn’t continue going to practice, why did you continue going to practice knowing you couldn’t play? What did you keep practicing?

Akeem:  Honestly, I learned more about football in that one year of not playing, than I did any year playing football. I think when your faced with adversity, you will be exposed to who you really are. Adversity creates your character, and it’s not exactly because of the circumstance, but rather how you respond to that moment that molds your character. I remember that night I talked with my mom, and she asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her I was still going to go as if I was going to play. Looking back at it now, I kept going back because that’s just who I am. Yeah it sucks that I couldn’t play, but my whole life has been a fight. You don’t give yourself a chance to win the fight of life if you stay down when you’ve been knocked down. You will lose every single time if you don’t try and get back up, no matter how hard you’ve been hit, you must get back up. It became bigger than football, I figured later in life I will have something on a way bigger scale that will set me back, and I’ll have to find a way to deal with that, I’ll have to find a way to get back up and keep moving.  

Reporter: “You don’t give yourself a chance to win the fight of life, if you stay down when you’ve been knocked down”. I liked how you worded that. Because it’s true. What’s something else that you learned that year?

Akeem: Patience sucks!!. Man, that was hard for me. To go to every game and watch your team lose by a touch down or field goal, the whole time I’m thinking, “I know I could have gotten us that win today!” little thoughts like that, but I couldn’t change that I had to accept it and deal with it. Patience is something that we have to make an intricate part of our lives,  9 times out of 10, things don’t always exactly work out the way we think it should. It just won’t happen. And we must learn to be okay with that. Learn to take things for what it is, not for how we want them to be. This isn’t like burger king, we can’t always have it our way. I learned to be adaptable and the importance on taking things one day at a time. Everyday won’t always be good, but the goal is to try and have more good days than bad days. And trust me, adversity will test you to see how bad you want what you say you want. So, I suggest forming a marriage with patience among other virtues.

Reporter: Remarkable Akeem, patience is something we all need to work on including myself. Are you sure you’re not older than 24?

Akeem: Haha, I appreciate the comment, I’ve been through a lot of experiences in my life, I try and take something from those moments. Age doesn’t mean much, hardships doesn’t care about your age.

Reporter: You can say that again. Akeem, it’s always a pleasure speaking with you. It’s very liberating and refreshing for me every time we get a chance to talk, I wish you nothing but the best on the track and off the track.

Akeem: It’s my pleasure, and thank you again for the kind words, I always appreciate your sincerity. Means more than you know.