Raw Materials and Raw Potential

The paper that you sign your name to when you sign your work benefits or go to the bank and fill out a withdrawal slip or sign an agreement with a new client is, at it’s rawest form, no more than wood that has been cut down by an ax or a chainsaw or some other tool. Raw materials make everything we have from smartphones to notebook paper to nutrients to even our bodies. Whether manufactured or not, everything on this earth was made from things that have always been found on the planet. Raw materials are the foundation of everything that our world is. It’s hard to think of it on such a basic level when we look at the greatness that has been created after millennia of human interaction but it’s all just rocks, wood, water, dirt, oil, and mined metals that have been manipulated to make that gorgeous Maserati you see on the street. Oh, and let’s not neglect the cows that made the leather interior. Either way, the car wasn’t made from car. It didn’t become great on its own. It was is the culmination of developing and combining many raw materials.

Now, let’s take that concept and apply it to being a young professional. Everything created by a successful person (however you define success) was created with raw potential. I’m not speaking of things that were passed down or gained by less than ethical means. I’m saying that any successful person who pulled themselves up did so by developing the raw potential they had into greatness. I look at the stories of motivators like Eric Thomas (at an elevated point in his career) or Greg E. Hill (at a strong point in his early years) and think about both of them hitting what they both expressed as being rock bottom, only to use that as momentum to shoot up. Or I look at Vince Jamael, a barber from Fayetteville, NC who is now one of the premier groomers on the east coast and I think about the fact that, when I saw him come to UNCG, he had raw potential and now he himself is a brand that is strengthening the brands around him. Or Devon Smith, a young man I met during his freshman (my junior) year who had a desire to succeed but didn’t know what he wanted  to succeed in. With some honing and grooming, he worked his way up to New York and now works at Revolt, a major player in the millennial lifestyle industry, as well as has developed a brand of his own, Infinite Magazine, that is gaining notoriety around the country. I even look at my immediate past blog post, A Moment of Clarity, and I realize that my raw potential and hunger primed me to take the risks necessary to just go for greatness. So, whether you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Mother Teresa, or Michelle Obama, you have to take your ideas, your passions, your skills, and your gifts and put them together to reach toward your potential and your purpose. And, if you didn’t know, you don’t have to do it alone. Your network is one of those raw materials that you have to develop. It may be the most important aspect of your success, especially in this day and age where one share from the right person can put you in a position to expand your brand’s reach exponentially. So take your most valuable resource (time), combine it with your most essential resource (faith), and go out grind, knowing that there is something better for you than what you have now.


Make professional development a priority.


It’s All You Have

“Forever is big.” — 2013 NBA Finals Television Advertisement

Tomorrow: Not promised.  11:59 PM on whatever day you’re reading this post: Not promised.  The next second of life is not promised.  You have right now.  What are you doing with it?  Or, so you won’t think I’m being judgemental, what unnecessary things do I do with my time?  The amount of time spent daily on Instagram: Wasted.  Scrolling past articles on my Twitter timeline that will impact my growth and, instead, choosing to click on a WorldStar video: A waste.  Riding the bus to work and sleeping as opposed to reading one of the books I’m supposed to be finishing this week: Once again, time spent that I can never get back.  Sitting around on my lunch break watching the Steve Harvey Show because that’s what the ladies at work decide to set the TV on: 45 minutes of my life down the drain.  I could go on and on about ways I waste my time.  But I won’t.   I’ll go ahead and jump to the point: You’ll stop wasting your time when you get tired of wasting your time.  When you get tired of your job, you’ll begin to stay up at night and apply for more jobs.  When you realize you don’t have the credentials necessary to get a position you want, you’ll invest in your own education.  You’ll stop making excuses as to why you shouldn’t get out of bed in the morning and go workout.  You’ll stop skipping church.  You’ll start purchasing books on financial responsibility.  You’ll enjoy 1 quality date a month instead of 2 bar nights with your boys each week.  Don’t give your time to anything.  Invest it in everything.  When you do community service, you’re investing in the future so those who come after you have it better.  When you begin dating, you invest in your significant other so that they will be there for you forever.  When you go to church, you invest in your spirituality so that, after this life, you will be rewarded.  The return on investment is not always as great as one would hope but that is often because we give up too soon.  Stop giving up too soon.  Stop accepting good enough as the standard.  You were made for greatness and, until you reach it, you’re going to feel unfulfilled.  Eric Thomas said “A diamond starts off with a very humble beginning: coal.”  Add pressure to your time.  Polish yourself.  Not only in your spare time.  Do it during the time you’re supposed to be asleep.  Do it during the time you’re supposed to be watching the NBA Finals.  Enjoy your life.  Relax.  But on commercial breaks, do a push up.  During dinner with your girlfriend, instead of discussing how Beyoncé is working on buying a new car, discuss how you plan to raise your credit score.  Forever is big.  Create a legacy that will last that long.  It begins with each new second.

Heart of Detroit by E.T.

Since there isn’t a “Motivational Album of the Year” Grammy, I will go ahead and say the mixtape of the year from last year goes to Eric Thomas. And he’s started this one off by releasing a second truly unique collection of his inspirational audio clips accompanied by some of today’s most powerful music.

Eric Thomas’ story is truly amazing. I heard the man speak one day on YouTube last year and thought it was a one time thing. Even so, that one speech was on my iPod on repeat for months. Then I heard he had a mixtape called “The Blueprint to Success” and I thought “Oh. He’s a rapper. Maybe he raps like he speaks.” But he was on the mixtape speaking once again. This time there were 20 different clips. I couldn’t stop listening. His story and mine have so many parallels and it let me know if he made it, I can too.

One day I heard that he was going to be speaking at a local university and I knew that, even without a car, I had to be in attendance to at least hear this man speak in person. So a few of my brothers and I got together and headed to WSSU to hear him speak. After his speech, my friends were ready to leave but I said I was going to meet him. There was a line of people waiting to have him sign their books but I needed to make sure he remembered me. So I slid backstage and had an opportunity to talk with E.T. I asked him for his email address and instead he gave me his number. How many celebrities do that?

I could go on about how he is continuing to change my life through this second mixtape, “Heart of Detroit,” or through his book Secret to Success or his iPhone app or YouTube videos but I’ll just give you these links. Check them out. Hear what I hear and let God let it transform your work ethic.

The Heart of Detroit

The Blueprint To Success

Eric Thomas’ Website: http://etinspires.com/