It’s Not About Money

“It’s never ’bout the money ‘cuz I burn bread. It’s the principalities like Big Worm said” — Fabolous

Some people get so caught up with the dollars. I couldn’t care less about what my bank account said if I knew I lived in a nation that cared enough to make sure that I didn’t ever lose it all. I’ve been there and I can say that pursuing happiness can be pretty tough when you can’t pay your rent/mortgage, don’t have health insurance, and are working a job you hate just to make ends meet.

Bankruptcy and poor credit don’t only affect those whose names they are attached to, but also the people attached to those names. Families get evicted, children lose memories as a result of going from home to home, and those things that could’ve grown to mean the world to a person end up in a storage auction never to be seen again. Or, worse, uninsured people enter a hospital only to be told they will be helped only to a certain level and, after that, they’re on their own. What makes any one human more or less deserving than another to receive quality medical care, housing, or nourishment?

America, if you take anything at all from this blog, know that it’s not about the money. It’s never been about the money. Money just provides security. But what if (imagine this…) community provided security? What if we didn’t let our neighbors slip through the cracks? Or if we buy things to fill the voids we created by not giving our family time? What if we taught integrity before integers? We shouldn’t be privatizing education. Actually, we should be doing the opposite and equally distributing the resources that elite institutions (private and public alike) have.

If we want to make America great in the truest sense, we have to teach love and empathy. Yes, we have to take care of our own households but who will really want to kill us when we show them love? Proposing a truce (within reason) isn’t weak in the eyes of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to a toxic school of thought. I am a vocal proponent of self-defense but let’s have a little faith in God’s ability to put the humanity in mankind. And, in our everyday lives, let’s exhibit that humanity. We should not let anyone be homeless or hungry. Our children ought not learn untruths that the school system teaches. We can change this world together, one neighbor at a time.

And if you think me telling you to love your neighbor is too political, you probably don’t understand the denotation of the word “politics.” But there’s a wonderful book someone put together once that’ll explain that to you if need be.

 

Make money an avenue to improve the world as opposed to a goal in and of itself.

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You Owe the World Your All

Today’s post has been compiled from a series of reflective tweets I posted yesterday while I researched my family’s past.

Doing research on my family tree and, as I look at census records, it is easy to see how we, as Americans, are where we are today in terms of race relations. I’m looking at Eastern NC records from 1870 (naming my great-great-great-grandfather), which recorded 40 people from 9 households. There were two landowning families, both who are white. The remaining were black famers, undoubtedly sharecropping at that point in time. So, when certain American citizens say we must make America great again, I disrespectfully object to that sentiment.

As I look back at my family’s records, stretching well into the 1800s, I can truly say I am my American-born ancestors’ wildest dream. Many of them were sharecroppers, enslaved humans, or domestic workers. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But imagine how great America could’ve been had it given a damn about their imaginations. Imagine if those black women and black men had been respected. Am I perfect? No. But I am a college-educated free man. I am entrepreneurial, a homeowner, a freethinker, and a heck of an artist.

Seriously, many of my ancestors, as recent as grandparents, didn’t make it to high school. I’ve spent years conversing with and sapping wisdom from family members who never saw the 9th grade (or even the 6th). And I’m thankful to have had them see me graduate from HS and college. Sometimes, I wonder what I did to deserve this. And then I realize the answer is, “Nothing.” But I’m here at this point in history b/c that much more is expected of me. My success isn’t about me. It’s about setting my legacy up for something greater in honor of theirs. They didn’t have the opportunities I’ve had. They didn’t have the access to education. They had to stop going to school in the spring in preparation for harvest season. Their childhood and teenage summers were spent toiling in fields while mine were spent learning math and science at the Summer Institute at Durham Academy.

 

Make making your ancestors proud a priority.

You Could’ve Done Better

Everyone makes mistakes. This post was not inspired by typographical errors or even poor sentence structure. It was written in response to the limited understanding of the English language that I see too frequently. Something sounding a certain way doesn’t mean that is how it is written. We aren’t supposed to record our thoughts on paper/screen in the accent with which we speak.

I’m not placing the blame on anyone. Parents, teachers, and students all share the weight of this. But, what I am doing is saying that, as an adult, you have to think more critically when you communicate. After seeing “would of” in one of my more educated group chats, I had to stop and think about the fact that we are not thinking about what we’re writing. While he “would have” done something differently, the failure to properly conjunct this makes me wonder where else he’s incorrectly written this or other comparable things.

Teachers, stop failing our kids. Parents, stop failing your children. And adults, stop failing yourselves by not thinking critically about this very particular language’s ins and outs. Use the tools (i.e. the internet and library) that are at your disposal. If you don’t, you’ll look crazy in a chatroom of young professionals who may or may not be in a position to recommend you one day. The choice is yours.

Brief sociopolitical statement: Maybe, instead of focusing on all the other things going on in the world that are tearing us apart, we should focus on improving the American educational system. We’re mad at immigrants who come to the United States and speak broken English but ours is not without regular flaws. As a matter of fact, having been to the United Kingdom twice in the past three years, I can say that our brand of English is far from the standard. But, I digress. Just start learning the basics like the difference between “a woman” and “those women.” Seemingly small things like that will take you far in life.

 

Make communicating intentionally a priority.

 

An Open Letter: This Thanks Is For You

Dear Everyone,
It is an empowering thing to see us breaking down society’s rules of what it means to be successful and, instead, define it as our happiness. Certainly, many of us stunt a bit on S.M. but we are making progress and that’s what matters. I love scrolling down my timeline and seeing my friends defining success and joy for themselves.

Whether they just got out the bing or started their own business or got a promotion or switched careers or decided to pursue dreams of spitting bars or finished reading a book or learned a new word or quit their job to travel the world, I’m happy for you. You may have just saved your first $100 or $100,000. I am happy for you. You may have just gotten engaged or announced you’re having a kid out of wedlock. I am happy for you. I am happy because I know that every step you take, even if it is a challenging one, is another step toward your destiny. You are going to be great and you’re getting greater each day you do something that causes love in and for yourself to grow.

Life is short. If you aren’t loving it, you’re wasting it.

Sincerely,
Deryle

#BelieveInTheG 2018

Hey everyone. While I usually use this platform to discuss issues affecting young professionals, today is all about helping young people become young professionals. My alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, kicked off its Believe in the G campaign today and will conclude it tomorrow at 11:59 PM. This is a great opportunity for Spartan alumni, family, and friends to show what the university means to them and their loved ones.

I had a great experience at UNCG and was on a partial scholarship while there. Now I am an established professional who adds immense value to organizations and comes with a wealth of potential. Much of this is because of the time I spent in Greensboro and I believe it’s only right to give back to an institution that taught me so much, both in and out of the classroom. That being said, I would love for everyone who sees this page to make a gift or pledge to UNCG today. There is a Daniels Dollar for Donor match on the table that Desirée  and I are sponsoring and, the more donors we get, the more we can give to help provide access to education and resources to more young people. The size of your donation isn’t as important as the act of giving it (but if you can give a large amount, by all means, please do!).

Visit BelieveInTheG.com today and make a gift. You can give to any fund you would like and the Daniels Dollar For Donor match counts but, if you don’t have any preference, please consider either giving to the Pi Zeta Scholarship Fund or the Deryle Daniels BBSA Scholarship Fund (you will have to select “Other” as your designation and then write either of those fund names in the comments).

Thanks in advance for helping a young person have a chance to better him/herself.

Click here to follow #BelieveInTheG on Twitter.

Click here to follow #BelieveInTheG on Instagram.

Click here to follow #BelieveInTheG on Facebook.

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Make investing in the future a priority.

Be Intent on Knowing

“Life without knowledge is death in disguise.” — Talib Kweli

What are you learning? What do you want to know? Are you open to what life brings to the table?

“Professional development” is just a fancy way of saying learning. You have to keep learning and because anything that does not grow is dead. Seek knowledge, both of self and of your surroundings, and you will gain understanding.

 

Make knowledge a priority.

I Got a Story to Tell

A leader’s time is valuable. Well, everyone’s time is valuable but, monetarily, a leader, more so than those who support him or her, is seen to have more valuable time. So (s)he is not expected to engage in the day to day tasks that the support staff is expected to do. That’s not to say that one’s role is more or less important because, it is often said, “A leader with no one following is merely a person taking a walk.” But, back to the point at hand, in the eternal words of the late, great Christopher Wallace, “I got a story to tell.”

Yesterday was my fourth day dealing with the dreadful NC snow (I say that sarcastically because I’ve spent plenty of snowy seasons in NY and NJ where this here is a breeze). But I managed to get out of the house and made it into the office to get some stuff done (I needed some files that I couldn’t access from home so I had to come to campus to patch in). When I got to campus, I saw the groundskeepers out working with shovels to chip away at the ice and snow that had accumulated. No big surprise there. The surprise was in the fact that, right there alongside them was the head of school, Dave Michelman. This guy is a well-educated educator whose signature sits on the checks of every single person working at the school. He runs one of the most successful independent schools not only in the state but one that serves as a model across the nation. He could have easily delegated the work to the groundskeepers while sitting comfortably in his home, looking over reports and drinking coffee. Instead, he was out there, chipping away at ice and tossing shovels-full of snow onto an off-white (in some spaces, off-grey) pile of slush. I feel like I’m pretty cool with the maintenance and grounds teams so, whether he was there or not, I would have helped out anyway. But the thing is, Dave inspired me to invest more in Duke School because he was out there investing. He was going above and beyond. He wasn’t sitting around looking like an educator. He was ensuring that we could safely provide students with an education. Folks, that’s leadership. It’s knowing that an extra set of hands is needed and, if you don’t have something more important vying for your attention, making yourself available. At that moment, his main priority was getting the school up and running by 8:00 AM the next morning. And, guess what? Students were in classes and learning at 8. As I think back to some leaders I’ve worked with in the past, there are very few who I can say I’ve seen a comparable level of integrity shown. I, however, want to be the kind who, when it’s time to get a task done, will be out there in the trenches with my team if need be.

Some people want to be leaders so they’ll have to put in less hours or do less of the “hard” work. But a real leader knows that he will likely have to put in more hours and, when necessary, work harder than everyone else who is doing the hard work. If you don’t want to do that, find a nice mid-ranged position and stay there. Know that you don’t have to do everything but you also cannot delegate everything and, sometimes, you must include yourself within your delegation to inspire integrity and loyalty in the team that you’re leading.

 

Make professional development a priority.