Month: April 2014

New Innovation Is Required Within Criminal Justice System

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When people rely on surface appearances and false racial stereotypes, rather than in-depth knowledge of others at the level of the heart, mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people accurately is compromised.

James A. Forbes



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Incarceration Trends in America

  • From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people
  • Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners.
  • Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in ever y 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control.

Racial Disparities in Incarceration

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  • African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
  • African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
  • Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population
  • According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%
  • One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime
  • 1 in 100 African American women are in prison
  • Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).

 

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Drug Sentencing Disparities

  • About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
  • 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
  • African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
  • African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

 

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Contributing Factors

  • Inner city crime prompted by social and economic isolation
  • Crime/drug arrest rates: African Americans represent 12% of monthly drug users, but comprise 32% of persons arrested for drug possession
  • “Get tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies
  • Mandatory minimum sentencing, especially disparities in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine possession
  • In 2002, blacks constituted more than 80% of the people sentenced under the federal crack cocaine laws and served substantially more time in prison for drug offenses than did whites, despite that fact that more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic
  • “Three Strikes”/habitual offender policies
  • Zero Tolerance policies as a result of perceived problems of school violence; adverse affect on black children.
  • 35% of black children grades 7-12 have been suspended or expelled at some point in their school careers compared to 20% of Hispanics and 15% of whites

 

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Effects of Incarceration

  • Jail reduces work time of young people over the next decade by 25-30 percent when compared with arrested youths who were not incarcerated
  • Jails and prisons are recognized as settings where society’s infectious diseases are highly concentrated
  • Prison has not been proven as a rehabilitation for behavior, as two-thirds of prisoners will reoffend

Exorbitant Cost of Incarceration: Is it Worth It?

  • About $70 billion dollars are spent on corrections yearly
  • Prisons and jails consume a growing portion of the nearly $200 billion we spend annually on public safety

http://action.naacp.org/page/s/naacp-criminal-justice

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America: Sports The Greatest Plantation

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The nature of individual culture within the terms of enslavement stemmed from a desire to forge a basis for self-identity beyond the control and persecution from the white slave masters. Undoubtedly, the generic sentiments of slavery throughout American history found in textbooks and classrooms throughout the country, provides a glimpse into the mindset of Americans on the issue. However, the representations of slaves contrived from these stereotypical images hinder the reality and complexity of their existence as individuals. Slavery was an evolving institution, which experienced vast changes over its numerous generations. African slavery transformed into American slavery and with this shift came new cultural foundations. Accordingly, traditions developed in exchange with the interactions and the progressions of a new cultural and social institution. It was through vital cultural developments of leisure that slaves were able to establish and experience a reprieve through activities such as sports and recreation, despite being bound by the institution’s harsh practices.

From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, says New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.

Provocative and controversial, Rhoden’s $40 Million Slaves weaves a compelling narrative of black athletes in the United States, from the plantation to their beginnings in nineteenth-century boxing rings to the history-making accomplishments of notable figures such as Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, and Willie Mays. Rhoden reveals that black athletes’ “evolution” has merely been a journey from literal plantationswhere sports were introduced as diversions to quell revolutionary stirringsto today’s figurative ones, in the form of collegiate and professional sports programs. He details the “conveyor belt” that brings kids from inner cities and small towns to big-time programs, where they’re cut off from their roots and exploited by team owners, sports agents, and the media. He also sets his sights on athletes like Michael Jordan, who he says have abdicated their responsibility to the community with an apathy that borders on treason.

The power black athletes have today is as limited as when masters forced their slaves to race and fight. The primary difference is, today’s shackles are often the athletes’ own making.

The furor surrounding comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has again cast an unfavorable light on racism in American sport.

Sixty-seven years after Jackie Robinson famously broke baseball’s “color line” when he went to bat for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the specter of racism still looms large over U.S. professional sport—from outspoken billionaire franchise owners to foul-mouthed players and bigoted fans who spew xenophobic nonsense behind the anonymity of Twitter avatars.

“Racism remains a problem throughout our society as a whole, and sports merely reflects that,” said Ray Halbritter, who has been leading a campaign for the Washington Redskins to drop their racially charged name. From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, says New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.

prison-gerrymandering

Another species being targeted with these deceptive practices is now being brandished with the new scarlet letter “F”‘ which stands for  felons, ex-offenders.

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These laws have a disproportionate impact on minorities — 1.4 million black men cannot vote. That is a rate of 13 percent — seven times the national average. A majority of the disenfranchised live in the South: Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia all bar former prisoners from voting. Some of these states adopted disenfranchisement provisions during Reconstruction in order to evade the 15th Amendment’s ban on withholding suffrage from freedmen. (Disenfranchising crimes were carefully selected to disqualify large numbers of blacks.) In Florida and Alabama, the racial effect is greatest; blacks comprise almost 50 percent of the disenfranchised.

Given the disparate targeting and treatment of blacks by the criminal justice system, felony disenfranchisement adds a second level of insult and injury to minority ex-offenders. It harms individuals and also limits group political power. I am launching a campaign to provide my community with a facility to redeem life to empower them with another mindset to exist in this life with contentment and resolve so that they may defeat these stigma’s.

Adopt A Vision: Helping Hands

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“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon    way.”

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915);
American Political Leader, Author

Exodus 17:8-13

8While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. 9Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” 10So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. 

But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. 

So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. 

fundraising-beginning-of-story

I want to solicit your helping hand in the circulation of this vision within your networks. I don’t expect a huge by in from anyone particular group or individuals. I am moving in faith that God will touch someone heart to just forward this information within their network as to aid in us getting through chapter one of this vision.  The information about this project is incorporated within the flyer click the link to be navigated to the “Why” of this vision. Thank you for forwarding this information and prayers over this vision.

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How Do You Explain The “Why” To Loving The Gospel?

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Empower A Felon

“We do not need to make the Gospel attractive by dressing it up in modern clothes. The Gospel already is attractive. It is up to us to bring out this attraction as clearly as possible, grounded in the situation of the people we talk to” (Alister McGrath).

“It is the task of theology…to discover what God has said in and through Scripture and to clothe that in a conceptuality which is native to our own age” (David Wells).

“There is non-negotiable, Biblical, intellectual content to be proclaimed. By all means insist that this content be heralded with conviction; by all means seek the unction of the Spirit; by all means try to think through how to cast this content in ways that engage the modern secularist” (D.A. Carson).

“Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms…. Confusion here is fatal” (J.I. Packer).

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How do you create ideas that stick? What differentiates successful innovations from unsuccessful ones? What is the best way to commercialise an idea? How do you ensure that it reaches the masses? Who are the thought leaders that you should be targetting when seeking to influence opinion leaders? How do you create critical mass in the adoption of an idea? These are questions that marketers, innovators and sociologists have been grappling with for a long time.

My belief is that an innovation, no matter how good it is, cannot be successfully adopted without social acceptance and behavioural change.

Let me explore this with you a little further and offer up a useful model in thinking about:

  • your future product launches
  • influencing key stakeholders and opinion leaders in social media
  • pitching the next change management project in your organisation
  • positioning educational program in communities
  • your own thought leadership

The model is “The law of Diffusion of Innovations” created by Everett Rogers back in 1962. A bit of true thought leadership, which has had new light thrown on it with the advent of new communications channels like social media.

Let us have a look at the model below to understand it better.

Law of Diffusion of Innovations Anders Sorman-Nilsson

On the x-axis you can spot the percentage size of 5 different types of groups in society.

  1. Innovators – 2.5%
  2. Early Adopters – 13.5%
  3. Early Majority – 34%
  4. Late Majority – 34%
  5. Laggards – 16%
On the Y-axis on the right you’ll note the market-share adoption of a new innovation.
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So, Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures.
In an age of social media, when organisations are trying to position their brands amongst the masses, to pitch new technologies to early adopters, and leaders are trying to influence their teams to adopt change and new technologies in the way we work, this model is critical.
For anyone who has ever tried their hand at selling an idea, concept or their own thought leadership, the model is equally relevant.
Let us look more closely at the categories in this thought leadership model by Rogers.

INNOVATORS

Innovators are the first individuals to adopt an innovation. Innovators are willing to take risks, youngest in age, have the highest social class, have great financial lucidity, very social and have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators. Risk tolerance has them adopting technologies which may ultimately fail. Financial resources help absorb these failures. (Rogers 1962 5th ed, p. 282)
What is an instance that you can identify when you, or someone close to you displayed innovative behaviours that fit this definition of innovator?

EARLY ADOPTERS

This is the second fastest category of individuals who adopt an innovation. These individuals have the highest degree of opinion leadership among the other adopter categories. Early adopters are typically younger in age, have a higher social status, have more financial lucidity, advanced education, and are more socially forward than late adopters. More discrete in adoption choices than innovators. Realize judicious choice of adoption will help them maintain central communication position (Rogers 1962 5th ed, p. 283).
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What is a technology that you have adopted early on, while knowing that you weren’t first, but you had an edge on the mass adoption of that technology?

EARLY MAJORITY

Individuals in this category adopt an innovation after a varying degree of time. This time of adoption is significantly longer than the innovators and early adopters. Early Majority tend to be slower in the adoption process, have above average social status, contact with early adopters, and seldom hold positions of opinion leadership in a system (Rogers 1962 5th ed, p. 283)
Are there instances in your life or career when you have adopted a technology, idea or innovationat the same time as the early majority? How was the instance different from the previous twoadoptions that you experienced?

LATE MAJORITY

Individuals in this category will adopt an innovation after the average member of the society. These individuals approach an innovation with a high degree of skepticism and after the majority of society has adopted the innovation. Late Majority are typically skeptical about an innovation, have below average social status, very little financial lucidity, in contact with others in late majority and early majority, very little opinion leadership.
Is there someone you know who displays behaviours consistent with this description? What specificinnovation are you thinking about here?

LAGGARDS

Individuals in this category are the last to adopt an innovation. Unlike some of the previous categories, individuals in this category show little to no opinion leadership. These individuals typically have an aversion to change-agents and tend to be advanced in age. Laggards typically tend to be focused on “traditions”, likely to have lowest social status, lowest financial fluidity, be oldest of all other adopters, in contact with only family and close friends, very little to no opinion leadership.
What are the benefits, if any, of being a laggard? Is age a factor here, when technology and social media is re-defining the traditional concept of age?

KEY TAKE-AWAYS

When selling an idea, concept or your thought leadership, consider

  • which stakeholders you need to communicate with and persuade of its merits
  • which communication channels can best influence them
  • how much time might be required to influence the influencers, and how they might in turn influence the masses
  • which social system you are selling the idea into and what cultural barriers might exist against adopting the idea

See “Yourself” Through Scripture No Matter What…..

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To be rooted is perhaps the most
important and least recognized need of
the human soul.

Simone Weil

The year was 1858 and the Illinois legislature used what might be called a dirty political trick. The legislature gave newly elected U.S. Senate seat not to the man who won the popular vote but to the man who had the most support from the Illinois legislature. The man sent to the US Senate was Stephen A Douglas and the man left behind was Abraham Lincoln. A concerned friend asked Lincoln how he felt and this is what he said: “Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh.” 

What is rejection?
Webster defines rejection as to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use to refuse to hear, receive, or admit

Rejection is a part of life and at some point we are all going to feel the cold sting of rejection. Rejection is something that we have all dealt with. Whether it’s on a personal level or a professional level, the sting is still there. 

We have felt the familiar pain of rejection in a variety of ways. The job or promotion we were not given, the loan that your bank turned down, the position that you were not given, the family member that stopped speaking to you. Rejection happens to us all and rejection inflicts pain. It comes and drives its fangs into our heart and unleashes its poison. 

You can take heart because if you have ever felt rejection, then you are in good company. There were many that felt the sting of rejection throughout the pages of the Bible.


Adam and Eve rejected the command of God 

Jeremiah was rejected by the people of his day and was thrown into a well

Jonah rejected the people of Ninevah after they repented

Jesus was rejected by the society and religious leadership of His day

Peter rejected Jesus by denying Him three times

Stephen was rejected and executed by the Sanhedrin

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My own thinking sometimes rejects my faith thoughts and at that very moment the battle begins. My creativity is at risk and my resolve to forge ahead is stifled. In trying to partner with God on this vision of Second Chance Alliance I am really at my wits end concerning fund raising and the philanthropic aspects associated with measuring success.  The concept of rejecting yourself is more apparent than from outside entities.

Rejection Started in Joseph’s home  in Genesis 37:3

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

When we first meet Joseph he had a favored position in his household. He seems to play the role of the spoiled child. He is the one whom his father played favorites with. To further make the favoritism known, Joseph was given an expensive robe to wear. This would have been a symbol of status. We see the response of his brothers to this was not good. 

The writer makes it clear that the brothers hated Joseph because of his favored treatment. The manner of their attitude toward Joseph is seen in their envy, animosity and their jealousy. 

5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Joseph is given a vision through a dream and makes the mistake of telling his brothers about it. The response is only more of the same. Look at the end of verse 8, they hated him all the more. The burning hatred of Joseph’s brother roared out of control and consumed them. The consuming fire of hate would soon burn Joseph.

Notice the downward spiral that Joseph’s brothers went down and each step brought them one step closer to their rejection.

Bitterness
The brothers were bitter over the special treatment that Joseph received and from the negative report that he gave about them.

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Anger
The brothers became angry over the dreams that Joseph told them about. They felt that he would never have authority over them

Jealousy
The brothers were jealous of Joseph’s special place with their father and with his obvious special abilities.

Resentment
The brothers allowed their negative feelings to linger and then they infected the way they saw Joseph. Notice that they hated Joseph. These are strong words for an even stronger emotion.

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe–the richly ornamented robe he was wearing– 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. 29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?” 31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” 33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”

images (1)Notice what happened with the brothers and Joseph:

They mocked him; The brothers saw Joseph coming and they mocked him calling him that dreamer. The fuel of hatred moved them from hard feelings to hard words and hard hearted actions. They plotted against him as the brothers saw Joseph coming, they began to plot how they would attack him. The original plan was that they would kill Joseph and tell their father that he was killed by an animal.

They attacked him: Joseph’s brothers joined together and attacked him. The brothers got the jump on Joseph and physically assaulted him. This means that they grabbed him and held or beat him. No matter what they did they were physically abusive to him.

They stripped him:

The first thing that the brothers do is to take the favored possession from Joseph. The robe that made him the father’s favorite was stripped from him. The symbol of their resentment, jealousy and rage was taken. They took the thing that was withheld from them. In a sense they were stealing their father’s blessing from Joseph.

They threw him:

Before the brothers kill Joseph Reuben stops them and convinces them to put him in a dry cistern. They throw Joseph in and this means none too gently either. A cistern could have been anywhere from 15 to 30 feet deep and could have caused significant injuries.

They sold him:

The brothers agree to not kill Joseph but to teach him a lesson. Judah sees a trade caravan and gets the idea to make some money on the deal and the brothers decide to sell Joseph. Judah makes the plea to not kill Joseph because he is their brother, let’s just sell him instead.

The saddest part of the whole situation was that when they sold Joseph, they did so for the lowest price possible. Twenty shekels was the price for an injured slave. The fact is that they just wanted to be rid of him. Let’s do the math, ten brothers and twenty shekels of silver comes to two shekels each. These brothers sold their brother for about $10 each.

They ignored him:
As Joseph was in the cistern, he cried out for help from his brothers. They ignored him. When they turned him over to slave traders, Joseph cried out to them for help and they ignored him. This may have been the cruelest of all their actions, they heard and did nothing for Joseph.

They buried him:

This is figurative and not literal. The brothers slaughter a goat and dip the robe into it. The whole time trying to make it look like Joseph was attacked by a wild animal. They in essence gave Joseph a burial. They lied and told their father that Joseph was dead.

What do we learn from Joseph in this passage? What can we take away from all this? How do we live in the face of rejection?

Be open:

We have to be willing to be open to the work of God in our lives. Joseph was given the visions of God in dreams. This is an incredible ability. The abilities that you have may not be visions from God but they are equally important to the church. If you allow your life to be open to God, He will decide where, when and how to use you.

Be humble:

One of the downfalls of Joseph was the simple truth that he didn’t keep his mouth shut. Joseph was given a great gift from God but the manner in which he displayed it was totally inappropriate. Pride comes before a fall and Joseph’s pride caused him to be humbled in tragic ways.

Be patient:

Many times we look at the short term effects of the trials we go through and doubt God is using them in a positive way. Before things would improve for Joseph, they would sadly get worse. God is not finished working in us and through us. We cannot judge the outcome by the unfinished product. Allow God to finish what he has started in you.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Never forget that God is not done with your life and making you into the person he knows you can be until you die or Jesus returns. Until then be sure that God is working his plan out in our lives even in the rough spots and the difficult days. This morning if you are dealing with some form of rejection or other form of personal pain, I invite you take a moral inventory of self and give the situation over to God.

Bring the Rain
I can count a million times People asking me how I can praise you with all that I’ve gone through The question just amazes me Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days it’s never really crossed my mind To turn my back on you O lord my only shelter from the storm But instead I grow closer through these times So I pray:

Bring me joy, bring me peace bring the chance to be free bring me anything that brings You glory And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain but if that’s what it takes to praise you Jesus bring the rain.

Empower A Felon
Empower A Felon

How Do You “Tell” Your Story?

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Jesus was the master storyteller. He’d say, “Hey, did you hear the one about…” and then tell a parable to teach a truth.

In fact, the Bible shows that storytelling was Jesus’ favorite technique when speaking to the crowd: “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Matthew 13:34)

Somehow we forget that the Bible is essentially a book of God-inspired stories! That’s how God has chosen to communicate his Word to human beings.

There are many benefits to using stories to communicate spiritual truth:

  1. Stories hold our attention. The reason television became so popular is because it’s essentially a story-telling device, whether you’re watching comedy, drama, the news, or a talk show. Even the commercials are stories.
  2. Stories stir our emotions. They impact us in ways that precepts and propositions never do. If you want to change lives, you must craft the message for impact, not for information.
  3. Stories help us remember. Long after the outline is forgotten, people will remember the stories of the sermon.

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It’s fascinating to watch how quickly a crowd tunes in whenever a speaker begins telling a story and how quickly that attention vanishes as soon as the story is finished!

In this post I’m going to share with you how you can begin to determine how you can manage both your internal and external experiences tocreate a greater sense of fulfillment in your in life and in business.

But first I have to give you some background so you can get a firm understanding of how important this tool, called a story, can be.

Why Are The Stories We Tell Ourselves So Important?

Because the quality of the stories you tell yourself everyday determine the quality of your current and future experiences.

The stories you tell yourself determine how you internalize the events around you and the people you interact with.

When you tell yourself dis-empowering stories about yourself and what you make the world mean to you, it’s like living in a black and white world devoid of any color. The stories you tell yourself represent the meaning you assign to ways of the world and the people in it, Including yourself. So make them good stories that support you and those around you. YOU assign the meaning of what happens in your world. When you assign meaning you do it through “stories” you tell yourself.

If you’re telling yourself stories that cripple you:

  • It costs you quality relationships between family, friends and spouses
  • It costs you your quality of health
  • It keeps you living small and not taking chances (even well assessed risks)
  • It can cost you money
  • It can cost you time which you’ll never get back
  • It costs you your overall quality of life and keeps you from having meaningful experiences

When you begin to understand you talk to yourself in stories and you realize the impact of those stories you begin to see the world in full 3D color. Your behavior chances because your outlook on life changes.

Your outlook changes because you changed the stories you tell yourself about you, others and the world around you.

What Is “Story”

Look at story this way.

Beliefs are made up of emotions.

The beliefs you hold onto are propped up by the stories you tell yourself. Those stories become emotionally charged. You can see why people hold fast to their beliefs. They are highly invested because their identity is essentially attached to those beliefs.

If they give up their story, they give up their identity and that my friend can seem like some scary outcome.

Unless of course you put a plan in place to replace the broken story with a new one.

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The stories you tell yourself represent the meaning you assign to ways of the world and the people in it, Including yourself.  

You are the one who assigns the meaning of what happens in your world. 

This perspective gives you much more control over you’re own emotions and direction in life. Owning this perspective allows you to align yourself with the role of being the cause of what happens around you rather than being at the effect.

You see, you’re constantly telling yourself stories about the world and the people in it. Through these stories you reinforce what the world means to you, the experiences you have in it and what you believe.

The stories we tell ourselves determine our destiny.

When working with someone I can tell when they’re stuck in their story. They have been telling themselves a story which then is fueled by emotion and that reinforces their belief. The belief could be bogus but it’s an open loop that started years ago. They never asked themselves what the belief was costing them and what sort of benefit they were gaining by keeping it.

Imagine this for a moment. If you said you want to be happily married with a wonderful spouse and eventually two beautiful children within the next 5 years, yet the story you told yourself is that you’re too overweight for anyone to find you attractive, you’d never reach your desired outcome.

Your behavior to overeat and not exercise would be fueled by the story that you’re too overweight to be found attractive. Worse yet you settle for mediocre relationships which reinforce your sense of non-worthiness.

So an example which is near and dear to my heart would be this: Women like men to be taller than them. All women like to date tall men. I’m short, so therefore no women would really want to date me.

As you can see this is a bit of a ridiculous story to tell ones self. Yup, it’s a story I used to tell myself at one point. As ridiculous as it may sound there are little stories like these we tell ourselves everyday.

  • I’m too overweight for anyone to find me attractive, so why bother trying to date? I’ll just make myself feel better by eating (for immediate gratification)
  • I’m too broke to date right now so I’ll just wait till I have money before I do. (but to reinforce the belief you remain broke)
  • I hate my job and feeling like a prisoner of it but I don’t have what it takes (money, skills mindset) to start a business of any kind.
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I could go on and on but these are just tiny examples of the stories we tell to ourselves about ourselves.

Stories are predetermined by the questions we ask ourselves. Our brain asks a question and we tell it a story in order to answer it. Even if that story makes no real sense except to support the story.

So the question I would ask myself is: Why is it women even shorter than me seem to want to be with men twice my height?

Which I did encounter several times, (I’m 6’7″) and women even shorter than me were clear they wanted to date men over 6’ or taller.

So the conclusion I came up with was all women must always like taller men.

Um, yeah. total nonsense.

So in essence the quality of questions we ask ourselves determines the quality of our destiny. If I held onto that belief I’d never be in a relationship.

Ask yourself better questions, tell yourself better stories and begin to live a more fulfilling life.

So the bottom line is it was necessary for me to come up with a better story.

What Next?

Determine one area of your life you would like to improve upon.

Ask yourself what kinds of stories you tell yourself around it. Write them down.

Reverse engineer it and ask yourself, “If that’s the story I’m telling myself…What’s the cost of owning this specific story in my life right now? And also, what am I gaining from holding onto this story?”

The stories you tell yourself represent the meaning you assign to ways of the world and the people in it, Including yourself. So make them good stories that support you and those around you. You and you alone can assign the meaning of what happens in your world in such a way you’re supported.

If after reviewing the area’s of your life you feel you’re not doing that area justice with the story you’re holding onto, give yourself the gift of a new story. The benefits can be immense.

  • You can gain deeper more meaningful relationships with family, friends and spouses.
  • You can create more opportunity in business or career
  • And you can even go deeper into your spiritual practice once you give yourself permission.
Empower A Felon
Empower A Felon

 

I am telling myself this story, speaking those things that appear so out of reach that they will manifest themselves. I am not focused on how well anyone accepts my story, I am focused on the faith contained in my story. My grand mother used to say; Aaron, laughing catches, so if you find yourself laughing at someones story be on guard. My wife and I will get this business open, we will help change lives, we will contribute to the fashioning of other peoples stories in Jesus name.

Writing The Vision

Link Posted on Updated on


 

In our conversations with community partners, it is apparent that there is very little data about
the needs of those with older criminal records. The formal criminal justice system follows people
only while they are incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. Post-release supervision sentences are
generally not more than 5 years, though we demonstrate below the very long-term effects of having a
criminal history, since over a third of our respondents have been out of jail for more than 5 years.
Individuals often seek supportive services from a wide range of human service agencies, and there is
usually very little communication between service providers. We offer this and future data to the
community in its efforts to conduct more effective, meaningful programs and services for those
returning from incarceration, or ideally before they ever get involved with the criminal justice system.


Overview of Results
• 80 respondents sufficiently completed the survey
• Demographics:
o Age: average 42, range 18 to 64
o 73% male, 27% female
o 68% African-American, 22% Caucasian
• 75% most-recently incarcerated for a non-violent, non-sexual offense
• 33% of respondents have been out of jail or prison for more than 5 years
• Most pressing needs when last released from incarceration:

Employment: a top-3 need for 74% of respondents
o Housing: 68%
o Health care: 36%
o Identification: 30%
o Obtaining food: 24%
• Re-entry services respondents were most satisfied with: social support from friends, family,
and community; identification services; and addiction treatment
• Re-entry services respondents were least satisfied with: probation/parole, housing, and
employment
• 59% of respondents were unemployed, able to work, and looking for work at the time they
took the survey. Only 7% were employed full-time and 3% were employed part-time
• Only 25% have been employed full-time at some point since their release
• 8.5% were enrolled in school at the time they took the survey
• What respondents felt they needed most to gain or secure employment: driver’s license, better
resume, computer skills
• 80% were homeless (18% in shelters, 62% in temporary arrangements with friends or family)
upon release from their most recent incarceration
• 56% needed assistance getting identification after they were last released
• Almost all respondents have received the public assistance they need, but many have needed
assistance ever since their release due to lack of employment opportunities
• 46% were incarcerated, in their opinion, as a direct result of a chemical dependency issue
• One third have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, while only 11% received
mental health counseling during their incarceration.
Details about specific barriers faced by our respondents and other results are discussed below.
These results provide a glimpse into the hidden long-term effects of certain policies and their impact
on ex-offenders and our community. Public education and awareness about re-entry issues will
ultimately benefit those in re-entry, their families, and our society as a whole. We invite you to
continue reading for more detailed analysis of the issues faced by the thousands of individuals
returning to our community each year from incarceration.

What Does it Mean to be in Re-Entry?

No matter how long a person’s jail or prison sentence was, readjusting to the community presents many obstacles and anxieties. Even if someone served just one month in jail, he or she has spent time away from family, friends, children, and work. With limited and expensive communication, many inmates struggle to keep in touch with loved ones. Families struggle if a person they rely upon is absent from their lives. Inmates often incur large debts through court costs, restitution, and civil fines. Some inmates have family who can help, but most struggle with debt long after they have been released. Some prisons offer paid work to some inmates but typically pay less than 40 cents an hour.
After incarceration, individuals must find a place to live and obtain food and personal care products, usable identification, and, ultimately, a source of income, all the while being socially stigmatized, readjusting emotionally, managing debt, and being required and expected to disclose conviction information to everyone It is difficult to plan such logistics during incarceration since
contact with the outside world is so limited and costly. Many ex-offenders have mental health, chemical dependency, or medical issues as well. Then, the challenge of re-establishing one’s outside life is often made difficult by a number of societal, systematic, legal, economic, and emotional factors. Barriers within one institution are often compounded with barriers in another.

Thus, ex-offenders are often trapped in frustrating self-perpetuating cycles. Our societal systems should set one another up
for success, not for failure, frustration, hopelessness, and bitterness—sentiments that do nothing to build our community. It is imperative that we begin to look at the barriers in our society that ex-offenders must navigate and try to increase their ability to secure–with a reasonable amount of effort basic needs and avoid recidivism.

Many people believe it is the responsibility of individuals and their families to provide such assistance with these struggles. Surely these personal social supports are irreplaceable and invaluable; very few of us would be able to succeed with just the assistance of strangers. Unfortunately, though, many people do not have such support. When dealing with legal struggles, there are many burdens put upon the convicted person’s loved ones: identifying available resources, forgiving what the person may have done, understanding the legal jargon, and navigating the often-incomprehensible social and justice systems at work. Friends and family may be uninformed or misinformed. They may have already helped their loved ones through drug addiction, mental illness, multiple incarcerations, or financial struggles and are simply exhausted. Whatever the reason, many people leave jail having
burnt bridges or lost touch with loved ones, no matter how much they may have changed. In these times, people turn to their community. We need data-informed, just, efficient community systems to successfully reintegrate ex-offenders and offer a real chance to do right after they serve their sentence.

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