I spoke to Milton, a little while ago, and told him that we have to be great. No matter what. I have not relented on my proposition. If anything, I’ve doubled down on that very way of thinking. Everything that I do must be done with the intention of doing it in the greatest possible way. This can, undoubtedly, bring forth a certain level of pressure with regards to the endeavors that I pursue but I’m not worried about that. Pressure comes with any and everything that we attempt to master. So how is attempting to be great going to be any different? That pressure is a small price to pay, to get to the heights that I am convinced that I am fated to reach. Few are privy of the knowledge of the depths of hell, from which I have emerged. Granted, there are many different iterations of Hades but I can veritably say that I experienced one of them. No need to elaborate. Suffice to say that I was able to crawl out of that hole and aspire for the things that believe that I deserve. The funny thing about life is that the heights that you, sometimes, covet end up being beyond what the universe may be willing to offer. Maybe the mark that you are meant to make has already been made. Maybe you are at the very end of your road. Maybe I am at the very end of mine….Or maybe the book has many chapters yet to be written. None of us are the wiser. For this reason we are continuously warned that we should prioritize the relationships that we hold dear, by people who have seen the things that we are still approaching, and not focus solely on the achievements that we strive for, daily. Our lives don’t belong to us. They were gifts, given by a higher power. So what exactly are you going to do with yours? If it all ended today, I would be okay because my mom is proud of me. That, to me, is the apex. There was a point in time when I couldn’t be so sure of what I just said. Communication issues. But, putting all of that aside, I still feel that I have more to do. Certain people enter and exit our lives, every day, and we can only hope to learn from the relationships that develop, through those encounters, in order to better navigate the terrain that we occupy. There are answers to everything that we need to know and, a lot of times, they are right in front of us. We’ve simply grown so accustomed to the complexities that most of those answers are cloaked in, that we expect everything to be elaborate. But I believe that there are simple solutions to most things. Exceptions to the rule will always occur but simplifying is what I pour my energies into. That, and not allowing the static to distort the message that was originally intended for me. Take that information as you will. I am only able to speak for myself. The universe has pulled certain individuals into my orbit and repelled others. The repelling was, at times, beyond my understanding. It may not have been what I wanted, in that very moment and, since I am not someone that quits on things, I may have unwittingly attempted to fight for something that, if left to grow in my presence, could have ultimately hurt me. I have learned to trust the universe’s magnetism and fusing those principles with instinct make me supremely confident in the directions that I choose. None of this is to say that I always make the right choices, when I make decisions, but I trust myself enough to not dwell on the mistake once it is made. These beliefs have led me to the precipice of a set of interesting propositions. I don’t feel any fear towards the unknown. The only thing that I truly feel, at the moment, is what my instinct is alerting me to. Greatness is my journey. Not my destination.
Irrational confidence is a very dangerous thing to possess. It is also, in many cases of overachieving in the bubble, a necessity. It will always be something that I grapple with because I have been taught to be humble. My question to you is: Where does humility end and the refusal to recognize your own personal greatness begin? Just because I am proud of myself, for having accomplished something, that does not denote narcissism. Of course, if we’re talking about individuals that reflect on said greatness, with the sole purpose of reminding you that they have been exceedingly blessed…well…that’s just obnoxious, and I want no parts of that. But what are you supposed to do when someone acknowledges your greatness, poses that “confirmation-like” question, and you know in your heart that they are right? That question, oftentimes sounds like this: “Oh, so you’re really good at ____, aren’t you?”, and other variations of that observation. We’ve all heard it, and so I pose the following question: If you believe, in your heart, that they’re stating a fact, why can’t you confirm it? After all, we work very hard to obtain the knowledge that we, in turn, utilize to move our lives forward and on the off chance that someone feels the need to test our confidence, if we deem it an acceptable challenge, we should all be comfortable providing further proof of our claims. What says that we can’t be proud of the work that we have put in and, simply, recognize our efforts if we believe in them?
The first time I had ever heard of irrational confidence was while I watched a basketball game. I forget who was playing but I remember someone speaking about a specific player, and saying that “The irrational confidence that once made him a star is the same thing that will torpedo his career.”. I had never taken the time to grasp the concept of that possibility, before having heard what that individual said, but it immediately opened doors in my mind that would never again be closed. Ever since that moment, I have circled the idea of irrational confidence very carefully. I know that it can help me reach heights that I may never reach without it but I am, and will forever be, leery of it’s presence in my life. The scrutiny that I employ while maneuvering through life forces me to manifest a belief in myself that I possess against all of the odds that were placed in opposition of my path but, I often wonder, is it “irrational”? At this point, in my life, I understand exactly what I need to do. The only thing that I wonder is if I will be able to make it to the mountain top, before it’s all said and done. If you’ve never really thought that you would live a long life, it’s sort of difficult to envision a day when you might achieve everything that you now believe to be possible.
The confidence is there but the daily reminder, to accept the fact that I have a small window to do what needs to be done, is always at the forefront of my mind. No complacency, for me. The last thing I want is to be oblivious to the fact that I may possibly be weighing myself down with the very hubris that allowed me to excel. I grew up needing to make sure that I was able to identify any and all modifications that were necessary to my progression. That has not changed. In truth, I have gotten better at identifying the things that need to change around me, and inside of me. This clarity doesn’t imply that I have been successful in doing so, simply that I have become more aware . Adjustments are just a part of the progression and I am not shy about adaptation. Getting carried away, and believing that this ride will last forever is, simply put, a fallacy. The difficulty, I believe, in the subject that I am speaking of, is in ceding your position because your time is up. Who truly ever believes that they have, plainly, run out of time? Yes, we are taught that “Nothing lasts forever” ; however, when are we taught to cede power? Gracefully step aside? I feel that those lessons are just as valuable as learning how to grasp control. I also believe that our lack of understanding, for the latter, creates the illusion of being able to retain the former.
I rang in 2019 by meditating. I ran through each and every single moment that I could remember and gave respect to each of them. I spent about an hour doing that and I have to admit that I could have, probably, spent more time in deep contemplation. In doing what I did, I sometimes feel as though I’m still meditating. It’s like I set my clock to a certain time and now I’m living my life, following that time. Nevertheless, life feels different now. The confidence that I feel can only be described as “sunlight”. I have more control of myself, in the deepest of senses, and I am increasing my self-comprehension with the more that I learn about the person that I am becoming. I know what I need to do, in order to be the person that I am needed to become. Do I really need to be irrationally confident, to become that person? Who knows? Will it help me achieve my goals? Or will it tear me down because I’ve taken it too far?
I try to maintain a certain level of confidence in myself, at all times. I will admit that it is not always the easiest thing to do but I wake up, every morning, and believe in myself. From that point, it’s time to hit the streets and envelope myself in that energy. So, with that being said, what do you believe that you exude? And why do you believe that you exude it? I can tell you why I go around town with that mentality, in my back pocket. There was a time, in my life, when I used to seek validation from different places/people and I would extend (sometimes overextend) myself in order to obtain what I thought that I needed. As I grew to be older, I became upset with those same people, through whom I had sought that very same validation, because I felt like they were aware that I was looking for it in the wrong places and they chose to not steer me into the right direction. I thought that they were arrogant in that. Not realizing that the true arrogance was being actualized by yours truly. It took me a while to get to this place. The place of accountability. I cannot expect anything from anyone, if I don’t let them know that I need it and, as for any sort of validation, everything that I need is within me. Nothing that I do is done because of you. It is about how I feel about it. You may believe that saying this is selfish, and it is, I guess, but I can’t think for anyone other than myself and if I were to continue to seek for others to substantiate my inner strength, I would leave myself open to the possibility of dishonesty to be projected in my direction due to the fact that, unfortunately, some folks do not have your best interests at heart. With anything that you do, you’ve GOT to believe that you can do it. Belief, I have come to realize, is an EXTREMELY rare occurrence. Few veritably believe, whole-heartedly, in what they do/say. This is why I believe that it is truly important to be able to read what is right in front of you, and to utilize all of the tools at your disposal, namely your intuition. This is also why I believe that there is such a large discrepancy between the amount of success and failure, on every level. Now, this isn’t to say that many people don’t actually want to achieve success. I think that everyone wants that. It just comes down to a simple question: “Do you truly believe that you can attain it?”. When you believe, without a shadow of a doubt, success will happen. It is only when you offer up the possibility of failure that you encounter those things that will, potentially, derail you from your quest. I feel the need to be a bit more specific, with my theory. The singular thought of potential failure, rearing it’s ugly head, does not spell the end of your attempt, but you have to extricate those considerations by overwhelming them with belief. Your fears simply cannot be allowed to grow. Your day-to-day will always present you with a challenge (or two) that you may not have been prepared for, challenges that will threaten to undermine the mental state that you have been cultivating, so don’t be surprised when those moments appear. Build a solid base of confidence, and know that you will be able to deal with whatever it is. This is just how I think, every day, and I will stand behind these statements, if necessary. Ain’t nobody gonna look me in my eyes, and tell me that I can’t do something, and have me believing that shit. Never in your life. You’re welcomed to try, though.
Here’s the second part of the interview with Eric. I’m truly glad that I started this segment. It’s fulfilling to be able to lock in with someone and go back and forth, all while having a genuine mutual respect. To hear their thoughts, passions, ideas, and stories, keeps me believing in exactly what this entire ideology was born of; The belief that we are all great. That we are all able to do GREAT things. What exactly those great things are, I will let you figure out for yourself but I know what I have in mind and it, assuredly, isn’t going to plateau with Foreigner Exchange. It isn’t going to peak with The Nightfox Blog.
I’m just getting started.
Get familiar with some of Eric’s work:
“Keep On Running”
My father was never much of a figure in my youth, which was a shame, but I had other folks to look to, for that sort of patriarchal motivation. A lot of what I’ve carried forward, and what I have fashioned in my own image, originated from the blueprint that they presented to me. The way that I dress, the way that I speak, it all comes from somewhere. Later on, I took a liking to reading and really examining situations connected to comfort and the lack thereof, in order to understand social cues. From there, I realized that I was a bit different. Reason being that I hadn’t encountered anyone that focused, so much, on the minutiae, the way that I did/do. It became apparent, to me, that I couldn’t follow any established blueprints to get where I felt I needed to go, and the folks that had inspired me were always supporting my journey. All of a sudden, indiscernible to even me, there was a shift. I began making exactly what I thought were the right moves, in order to attain my success. There were failures, but I was always on the right path. The issue was that there was a sort of inversion in my relationships with those close to me, that supported. They were always fans but they went from “The Standards” to “The Admirers”. Something seemingly made them think that they needed to accept their realities, instead of daring to continue to forge a path through the unknown. I became the inspiration. When I realized that this was the reality, I was surprised. I’ve never taken issue with this. I am honored to be able to be that, for any and everyone that enjoys it, but to these very specific people, it makes me uneasy. Because they have resigned to what their lives are. Which, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not even close. There is just so much that they are capable of. It hurts me immensely when I have to stand there and listen to them tell me “Do you know how it feels to know that you’re settling?” I took a second to think about it and, yeah, I do know what the feels like. I’ve done it twice. That day, when that rhetorical question was posed to me, all I could ask was “Is that really how you feel?”, to which the answer was “I feel that way because that’s what I’m doing.”. In that moment, I realized 2 things: I need to help get them where they need to be and if I can’t do that, myself, I need to continue to be an example.
That specific situation put a lot of things in perspective, for me. It just explained a lot of things that I felt but couldn’t properly associate, in my mind. One of the things that I couldn’t quite place my finger on was an occurrence during a pretty big transitional period in my life, a little while ago, and I had been in a true funk. I was trying to figure out how this whole thing happened and why this kind of thing happens to me. I simply wasn’t being myself. It came to a head, one day, and they actually started to show anger for the way that I was being. Many things have happened to me, in my life but they, very seldom, have ever demonstrated any frustration about my sadness. This was different for some reason. It was as if they were saying “You have a chance to do great things now! There’s nothing holding you back, anymore! Do what you’re supposed to do, now!” In this instance, I am paraphrasing, but those words had actually been said to me, on a different occasion. It was like watching a movie with two characters attempting to escape a terrible situation but one of them knows that only one can make it. So that one decides to do all he/she can to give the other the chance. I feel that I am the one that was fated to escape. I want to save them, though. And I believe that I can save them. Save them from simply allowing things to be, and going after that elusive success that comes only when a person puts themselves on the line. For them to have been an inspiration, to me, and for me to simply leave them behind while they struggle with what they should do, would be a sign that I didn’t truly value what had been given to me, regardless of if they had been aware that they had been giving it, or not. I am a leader, now. Responsibilities rest upon my shoulders and I have always been brave enough to carry them. The difference is that I have grown into the man that can actually carry them, now.