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As A Kid I Hated Being Poor!

As a kid I hated being poor. I hated the feeling of living hand to mouth. I remember one time when there was not much to eat and I ask my mother why this occurs so frequently. Keep in mind that we were on welfare and my mom did not work nor was she actively looking for work. She responded with “god makes the decision on whether we eat or not and if he does not want us to eat at this time then we won’t eat”.

When I look back on those days it was very clear to me that my mother’s self-esteem really suffered and it was passed down to us. My mother never really understood the concept of self-responsibility and never developed a strong work ethic. As a result when I became an adult there were times in which I held two and three jobs because I was mentally beating back the baggage of my childhood. Fortunately I did develop a strong work ethic but to be honest it was the result of negative motivation from my inner critic. Nonetheless, negative motivation can be a stronger driving force for success than positive motivations. It is just a matter psychologically reconciling with your self over time.

Today I am successful with a growing coaching practice, workshop gigs, and writing books. I have been happily married for 6 years and have a beautiful 3 year old daughter. The seed for success was planted back when I was in college when I met new people and was exposed to different ideas that would change my thinking forever. I understand that my mom did not have the opportunity for school therefore her thinking never evolved and succumbed to the old self-detrimental philosophies of the Black ghetto.  In many respect she was the result of her time. She is a baby boomer born from the old jim crow south and even though she migrated north the psych damage was already been done in terms of her negative self-image.

Financial freedom and overall success are very important to me and I realized a long time ago that in order to attain them I had to become 100% responsible for my life and improve my self-esteem. Nothing breeds success like success and this is why successful people succeed and others fail to succeed. When your parents are poor for the most part the information they pass down is the same ineffective information. The opposite is true as well. When your parents are successful they are more inclined to pass down success strategies. This is why the societal status quo remains the same unless like in my case you have a sense of awareness and look to break the generational direction.

I am very grateful because I have received so much help along the way. When you raise your self-esteem and awareness you send out a message to the universe that you are deserving of success. This will come in the form of other people that will provide resources like advice, networking outlets and capital. In fact one of the things I did not too long ago was meet one of my favorite msnbc political commentators, Chis Hayes of the Up/with Chis Hayes Show. I followed him on twitter, found out where he was going to be and gave him a copy of my book. Another successful personality I was able to track down was the writer Kevin Powell. He gave me great advice in addition to giving me his personal number and email address.

My strategies for success are as follows:

1.  Actively improve your Self-Esteem: Read books, hire a life coach or get a therapist. Which every way, improve your self-esteem so that you can be your own engine of success.

2.  Work: Work your ass off like your life depended on it. Be a one trick pony and find the one thing you do well and perform your best at it.

3.  Branch out: Join organizations and websites that will increase your visibility. This exposure will undoubtedly lead to new opportunities and experiences.

4.  Never give up: stay focused and remember your life can always go back to the way it was. If you were unhappy with it, then surely there is no alternative but to continue onwards.

I learned this as well. As you move on there will always be haters. They will take on different forms at times as your family members or friends. A colleague of mine once bought a copy of my book. She read it and provided some unwanted criticism. Now I will be honest, I am still working on my ability to handle criticism and she is entitled to her opinion. Nonetheless I felt her critiques were baseless and superficial. After her comments I responded by asking her, “do you have the courage to put your life and family history in print, secrets and all, for the entire world to scrutinize”? “Are you strong enough to be that vulnerable”? She said no and that ended the conversation. The point is as you pursue your goals, be metaphorically naked. The world will accept the real authentic you as oppose to the person you try to keep hidden.


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Ramone Smith
Ramone Smith is an Adjunct College Professor at Boricua College, a Self-Improvement author and IPEC trained Life Coach. He has more than ten years of experience teaching on the college and GED/Adult Basic Educational level.

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