Lately, it seems like every week another African American pro athlete in the prime of their career self-destructs, or (sadly) worse. Why is that?
This gets detailed, but go easy on yourself and keep reading. It’s important. It applies to everyone.
You won’t hear so-called leaders talking about this: not politicians, not clergy, not educators, not business people, not bankers, not financial managers. And especially not commissioners, agents, team personnel, or player’s union execs.
So listen up …
Lately, it seems like every week another African American pro athlete in the prime of their career self-destructs, or (sadly) worse.
Why is that? (Not why that impression, but why the black pro?)
I believe I know why, and it’s for the same reasons every time.
The three main reasons are these:
1. Doubt about self-worth
2. Fear of success
3. Lack of a definite major purpose (vision)
In the black community, the first two are opposite sides of the same coin.
Let’s look at the affects of each of these.
Doubt About Self-Worth
Doubt about self-worth causes excessive need for approval and validation. This plays itself out in the need to overcompensate with material possessions and the flaunting of them.
Doubt about self-worth causes inability to receive abundance without guilt, because human nature won’t allow a mismatch between the level of abundance received and the level of self-worth one feels deep down.
The only way to reconcile this is to dilute or drain away such abundance until it matches the imagined level of one’s self-worth.
This explains why lottery winners return to being broke.
This explains why (I’m told on authority by someone formerly with the Retired NBA Players Association) 30% of all ex-NBA players retire broke.
This explains why so many celebrities unravel. Will Smith recently admitted he was broke during his first several years of “Fresh Prince” despite earning millions.
The public obviously has no sympathy for this and why should they? Which adds to the shame, and the need for more validation. And the cycle continues.
You suffer from doubt about your self-worth if you deny compliments instead of saying simply “thank you.”
You have doubt about your self worth if you need approval from your friends for the moves you make, instead of adding new friends that can help you be, do, or have what you REALLY want faster or more easily.
If you spend your energy trying to prove something to someone, instead of to yourself, by creating your own definite major purpose in life, then you suffer from doubt about your own self-worth.
If you spend your time trying to prove to your old friends that you still love them, so they won’t withdraw their approval and validation of you, because it was so hard to get it in the first place, then you have doubt about your self-worth.
People don’t hate people with wealth and fame. People hate people with wealth and fame who flaunt their wealth and fame as an antidote to their doubt about their own self-worth without appreciating that other people also have doubts about their own self-worth.
For many communities, especially along socio-economic lines, doubt about self-worth is built into the system. It’s built into the media and into school systems and into corporate America.
If you get this, then you’re nodding your head in agreement.
If you don’t, then you’re asking how someone with so much money they could buy whatever they want, or so much talent they could score at will (or knock out any opponent, outrun any defender, hit anybody’s fastball, etc.) can have any shred of doubt about their self-worth.
If you are in the latter group then you’re probably broke, or unhappy, or both. Because you don’t understand that true inner wealth has nothing to do with how much money or athletic talent someone has.
Related to this syndrome is lack of gratitude. Do you pick up pennies when you see them on the street? If you can’t appreciate a penny, or a compliment, or a kind gesture, how can you appreciate greater levels of abundance?
The remedy? Create for yourself a bigger vision. (See below.)
Fear of Success
It’s so difficult for people with unchecked doubt about their self-worth to finally achieve a certain level of approval and validation, that to risk that level, however small, is usually intolerable.
Success presents risks to this hard-fought approval and validation.
Why? Because most people would rather opt for the comfort zone of their status quo rather than face the idea that things will and must change as we get more of what we truly want in life.
You say you want to do something, or have something, or be someone, right? You want fame and fortune and success. You want to make history. But are you willing to do what it takes to get those things?
Are you willing to take the steps to get there, including looking closely at the blueprint of your relationship with success and wealth? Are you willing to recondition that blueprint?
If you’re not sure, don’t worry. Most people have never done that. Our conditioning started when we were kids. It was in the news, in our schools, on television shows, in magazines, at work. It didn’t happen overnight.
But the good news is that the remedy can happen overnight. It has to do with having a definite major purpose.
Lack Of Definite Major Purpose
Highly successful people wake up with fears and doubts. The difference is that those who truly succeed (inner wealth as well as outer wealth) know how to act in spite of those feelings.
How do they do it?
They create a definite major purpose in their lives.
I’m not talking about just having kids, or getting married, or taking on a “big project,” although those things help.
I’m talking about envisioning something so huge that it goes just barely beyond what you think is possible in your wildest imagination.
Except that it IS possible or else you wouldn’t be able to imagine it.
Humans can’t do that. They can’t imagine something that isn’t possible. It’s, well, impossible.
Having a definite major purpose is what gets us up in the morning. It’s why we do what we do.
Having a definite major purpose keeps all those petty speed bumps from distracting or derailing us. We don’t get upset every time someone says “boo.”
Mo’ money, mo’ problems is only true if you can’t figure out how to address fear of success and doubt about self-worth.
The way wholly successful people address that is to create BIG, MASSIVE visions for themselves that include how they will affect other people’s lives.
For example, the question might be, “What are you trying to do THROUGH basketball? THROUGH football?”
Is the goal just to make the team? Make the league? make the first round?
Do you only go TO the finish line? Or can you go THROUGH the finish line as every high school track coach commands?
Homework #1: Ask someone who you think is wholly successful, if they ever have fears or doubts, and how they manage them.
Homework #2: Ask them to explain the secret to their success and see if they mention what they are trying to achieve “through” their work, not the work itself.
Homework #3: Write down on a piece of paper the definite major purpose you want to achieve, including the things you really want to have, be or do in your life, and how those will change other people’s lives. Also tell 3 people verbally.
Anyone Can Apply This
You can probably tell that this way of thinking doesn’t apply only to athletes. It applies to all of us, doesn’t it?
Parents, instead of pushing your kids to achieve a particular thing (get TO the finish line), encourage them to envision something much bigger that will be enabled if they do that. And the next thing.
Kids, if your friends don’t support your massive vision, don’t get it, belittle it, make fun of it … then just add new friends who serve you better.
Notice I didn’t say “get rid of your old friends.” You know where they are and you can find them any time but you will likely outgrow them if they are not serving you (and you them) and if you are serious about getting the things you say you want.
Tools That Help
Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Speedwealth by T. Harv Eker
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
The Science of Success by James Ray
The Secret, a film
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
I’m qualified to talk about this through my own personal experience.
I’m really smart, and I work really hard.
But that never really seemed to get me jack sh–. Not looking at my bank account anyway (and other results).
So for most of my life I believed that:
- Real success wasn’t meant for me
- Other people got all the good breaks, I got all the bad ones
- You had to inherit money to succeed
- You had to be in an old boy network to get ahead
- You had to be dishonest to become wealthy
- My success was limited due to racism
Subconsciously needing to be “right,” I was, of course, always broke.
Despite having great jobs and a long career of steady advancement in corporate America, I was always broke.
Even after starting this company, Black Fives, creating a line of throwback jerseys that reached national distribution in the best urban and sports clothing stores, I was … still broke.
In fact, at one point during my wholesale jersey business I was facing bankruptcy and divorce.
I couldn’t drive my kids to the park on the weekend because I only had enough gas in the tank to get to my office on Monday.
To the outside, and to our kids, my wife and I acted like the perfect couple, like nothing was wrong.
But one day my then-5-year-old son gave me something, a picture of a $3,000 bill he had drawn and cut out.
He knew what was up.
He gave it to me, he said, because he thought it would help.
That’s when I swore that something had to change. EVERYTHING had to change.
Within a week, out of the blue, my sister gave me a book called Speedwealth, which led me to this other book called Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, which led to take all these courses (and others) about understanding one’s financial success blueprint and reprogramming for better results.
Six weeks later I got a call from Nike. They wondered would I be interested in a licensing deal with them. I said “yes.”
Coincidence? I think not.
My life has changed since then. (My wife and I even renewed our vows.)
But I first had to discover that I suffered from those same three things: fear of success, doubt about my self-worth, and the lack of a major vision.
I still wake up with that fear and that doubt every morning.
But I’ve since learned that every highly successful person wakes up with fears and doubts. The difference is that those who succeed know how to act in spite of those feelings.
How? By having a definite major purpose, a huge vision. You can find out more about my definite major purpose here.
My mission in life is to teach, enlighten, and inspire people. I would be doing that with or without Black Fives.
Please let me know what you think of this topic.
And what you’re doing today to make history now!