Prepare for Take-Off

After a spirited, nearly two-hour conversation that contained nuggets of wisdom and insight, I was left with a comment that embedded itself deeply within my psyche. “I’m almost out of runway,” my friend said. As a confessed “runner” from any semblance of the status quo or pedestrian, I often feel like there’s nowhere to run. Well, nearly three months later, long after that chat ended, it hit me.


Video embed courtesy and H/T to the wonderful scholar Malaika Mutere


If you’re looking to accomplish something, put the focus on your goal.

Beginning at the end may seem easy enough. But conceptualizing the right outcome can be tricky. Often, we confuse goals with objectives (the means to an end), and when we achieve the objective, we are no closer to the outcome we’d hope. 
For instance, if you want to be a force for good in the world, whose words and ideas words touch hearts and change lives – then that’s your goal. Period. Any task between you and the change agent’s way of life is an objective. Engaging in a profitable and sustainable writing career; Signing with a “Big Five” publisher or a top literary agent are objectives, a method used to achieve your goal.  
Many will say, of course, I know that, but world-renowned author status is my goal. But is it? In our haste or despair to make something happen, we often lose sight of what we want to accomplish. We forget a goal is your guiding principle.

Case-in-point. A few years ago, I unwittingly set a personal goal, and in achieving it, it knocked me right off my life’s path. After a series of professional setbacks and failed intimate relationships, I wanted to disappear. Just go and get lost in the world. Five months after that heartfelt plea, I accepted a job as an international flight attendant with one of the world’s largest airlines. For the next eight years, my friends and associates would send me messages, “where in the world, are you?” Looking back, that was mission accomplished. I’d set a goal subconsciously and was surprised when I achieved it.

[The Power of Your Subconscious Mind: Updated Audible Audiobook – Unabridged Joseph Murphy (Author), Jason Culp (Narrator), Penguin Audio (Publisher)]

But it’s what many of us do, then wonder why we missed the mark. We may say, “I need this, or I must have that. But it’s usually unrelated to our desired outcome. Yet our subconscious doesn’t recognize the difference between desires and principles. So, it goes on and carries out the tasks to achieve yet a misaligned objective. Therefore, it’s important to carefully determine your principled outcome in your logical mind and then reinforce it in your heart. If I did, my heartfelt plea would have aligned with my rational mind. 
My subconscious would’ve worked to stabilize my career and help me engage in a healthy intimate relationship. – And not fall for the sway of the next tall, dark, and handsome man who set my body on fire 

But I digress. 

The goal I haphazardly created became my guiding force and created a new story that I followed onto a different path.

Here’s how it happened.

You may have noticed, “the why” of your goal is just as important as the goal itself. 


My everyday life sucked, and it triggered my desire to get lost. 
Everything that happened afterward followed a novel’s 3 Act structure.

[How to structure a story: The Eight-Point Arc 1996 | “Writing a Novel and Getting Published” by Nigel Watts]

You’re in your comfort zone – it could suck, it could be lovely, but its what you know. Then something happens to snap you out of it and forces you out of the zone and onto a journey. Your goal is to get back to your routine. On this journey, you’re likely to face obstacles, objectives (a means to an end) assistance, and more to help you achieve your goal.  
Note: This journey is to make your character stronger and wiser, but that’s a decision you’ll have to make as you go through the struggles. 
Let’s use this current global pandemic as one of those triggers in literature.
The conflict is “Human against Nature.”
The Three Act structure is as follows: 
The protagonist in this story is you. It’s not virologists, epidemiologists, health care workers, or government leaders.  

Here’s how your story looks.
Stasis: Good, bad, or indifferent; you are going about your daily life.
Trigger: Hostile extraterrestrials from planet Corona invade the Earth –

The Quest: (a journey specific to achieving a goal or mission.) While the world’s governments work with industries to eradicate the Alien Coronavirus, your task is to relieve the effects it is having on your life. The goal is to return to pre-Coronavirus stasis.
Surprise(s): It’s not going to be as easy as you thought it would be. Governors have closed major states for about three months; you learn you’re either an essential or nonessential worker. If you’re the latter, your employer might lay you off. Only jobs available are for essential workers -everything from delivery, cashier, store clerks to health care workers, and first-responders. You’re social distancing to remain healthy because even with health insurance, you may not get treatment, and without it, you won’t. In addition to hostile invaders from Corona, bad actors in the world governments arise. Con artists, opportunists, and anarchists flood the airwaves, the internet, and streets. There may be some in your family, and you might not be able to trust your neighbors.  
Critical Choice: Then you come to the big test: “Decision Coronavirus” The test is a pass or fail. You won’t know the results until you decide. Here’s where you learn if your guiding principles are selfless or selfish. Will you make the hard decision for a good outcome or take the easy road that will undoubtedly lead to an awful end?
Climax: The moment of truth: The results of your decision reveal your character. 
Reversal: You experience a character change, or at the very least, you’ve learned something about yourself. 
Resolution: You’re now experiencing a new normal. You may have a whole new story and are bound for a new journey to learn a lesson. Or you’ve returned to regular life. But now you’re a hero with a gift for those in your community.

So long story, short. “Too Late” as the characters said in the 1985 film “Clue.” A goal isn’t something to do – it’s your foundation. It’s a way of life. A state of being, your cornerstone from which all objectives originate.

Hence always, begin with your end goal in mind.  ~MH

Question of the Day: Is your job on the Essential workers list? Were you shocked to learn your job isn’t considered essential?

I was surprised to learn of all the client/customer facing personnel and first-responders who are on the front lines during the Coronavirus pandemic. High-Five to Health care providers including virologists and epidemiologists, delivery personnel, grocery clerks and cashiers, adult infant and child caregivers, journalists, transportation personnel – (shout-out to the flight attendants, pilots and workers above and below the wings), sanitation workers, farmers, ranchers, fishers, EMT, Fire and rescue, Peace officers, ICT personnel (I’m mean really, cloud computing isn’t 100 percent automated, right?) apologies for any other essential workers I’ve left off the list.


#TBT | Do You Remember Who You Are?

The exalted ones in our world remembered their life’s mission. They were born ready and eschewed reprogramming. They knew their purpose. They knew what they’re going to do. And soon as they could, they went about their business.


But many of us forget our mission soon after we survive traumatic labor and delivery. For most, the entire birthing process renders us amnestic. We can’t even call it retrograde amnesia because, according to those ushering us into this world, we’re a clean slate. We can’t speak, so most just believe we’re a mass of clay to be molded. Or we’re waiting to be filled with knowledge by our parents. That’s right. Our mothers, maybe fathers, are our first ‘software’ programmers. 


 If we’re lucky, our parents’ coding skills will guide us to personal discovery. But if they too were traumatized and endured the same fate, we may be SOL. Short of having a smooth trauma-free delivery; if we’re to remember our mission, we must be committed to the process heralded by the African proverb “Know thyself. “1


The Process


 Oh, wait, let me back up! Was that a News flash? You didn’t realize your initial caregivers were your first ‘software’ programmer.

That’s right. And if the caregiver, mom, and dad are anything like mine, they are guilty of parental programming. They’ve used social engineering tactics to hack their children’s brains and minds. And they’ve done this for one reason. They want eternal life. And to get it, they go about bending their children’s wills in hopes their ideas will live on through them.  


Ok, maybe I’m a bit too cynical. But upon waking up this morning, it hit me. My career, the one I thought was my destiny, was a series of programming events that occurred during my childhood.   


Write to reveal

Here’s how I became Hopkins 2.0. My father was a career military man and world traveler turned police officer. My mother retired from a career in graduate school administration. Planning and producing commencement exercises for future pharmacists, pharmacologists, et al brought tears to her eyes every year without fail. Although I like a good mystery, I had no desire to work in law enforcement. The only time I stepped foot on a college campus as baby bop was going to work with my mother. So clearly, I wasn’t influenced by their jobs. 


Their hold over me occurred when they weren’t working.  


In his leisure time, my dad was a party animal – but he wasn’t a “partier” per se. My father loved planning and throwing great events. He was good at it too. Together, my dad and mother presided over “that house.” The home where people enjoyed coming to “unwind and let loose.” 


In fact, growing up, I remember going to a lot of great parties and family gatherings on military bases, and even off base too. It seems if you’re in a military family, you’ve learned how to throw a great event.

Writing this, I remember the film “Mission to Mars.” There’s a scene where the astronauts are at a cook-out and enjoying fellowship before a mission. The camaraderie was my reality. The workplace is one thing, but when you can party at home with your coworkers, that’s when you become a family. 


Before my dad passed away, He even got a chance to witness my event production skills. I planned my “super sweet-sixteen” decades before it was an MTV show. I arranged to have a real two-turntable-cutting-scratching-mixing Dee Jay on the wheels of steel and an actual emcee to kick rhymes at my birthday party. Our neighbors – who by then were used to our events contributed food and drinks and my birthday party and it became a neighborhood affair. I’d like to think he’d be impressed by how years later, I took those skills to plan and execute some very high-profile corporate events. 


When my mother wasn’t working, she was completely tuned in. She loves everything media – current events, broadcast television, radio, and print news. I think she watched every black and white film ever made. When she was younger, she ravaged books and today still talks about her “A” graded college essay on Frank Kafka “Metamorphosis.” My mother doesn’t read as much now. She says the print is too small, and her eyes burn from the left to right movement. 


But during my young life and into the present, I’ve heard her praise journalists, especially with the one she agrees. In my pursuit of gaining her respect, I wandered down that path media & entertainment, with a touch of event planning & marketing to pour one out in remembrance of my dad.


My mother rarely cries. Verklempt is her go-to emotion, but she cried a tear the day she read my byline on the EBONY magazine cover story. I’d finally arrived and achieved her admiration, just like a few of the journalists that came before me.


While lying in bed, I wondered who I’d be if I didn’t pursue her praise and idolization. Or what I’d be doing if I didn’t want to continue to throw parties around the world like my dad. Even my passion for learning is a result of visiting my mother’s office in those hallowed halls of academia. 


By the way, does anyone realize how difficult it is to combine those activities into one career? Well, not so hard if you take some time off to work as a flight attendant. Seriously, though I’m not saying this in a negative sense, I just don’t know what career, if any, I’d pursue without my parents’ influence. 


Step back and review


That is until I stepped back and thought about it.

Without serious consideration of why we do what we do, we’re “programmed” in ways that counter our mission. 


I spent the better part of this century learning who I am. Once I figured it out, my goal then was to deprogram. Knowing yourself may seem better suited for the young. The older you get the more layers there are to peel away. There’s a bright spot. Programming is unlikely to occur after you reach middle age. By 40, it’s more mind-bending software updates, malware protection, and removal tools to keep you at stasis.


But you don’t have to do a programming update.


If you’ve read this far, you’re one of the lucky ones, you can review and begin anew.  In fact, the charmed few can rediscover their mission. 

I continued with this exercise of self-rediscovery. At first, I thought I must figure out what would be more fulfilling. Other than working as a journalist, world traveler, with a few corporate events, book marketing, and project management gigs in-between. 


 After everything I’ve experienced and witnessed nothing short of a hard reset would help me shift the paradigm. Because when I think of it, expression and learning get my heart racing.

And by learning, I mean a continued path of discovery. Having an instructor “teach” me about “learning” is more programming. Formal education in the Learning field i.e., mind, brain, and education, would be best pursued as a defense mechanism; self-discovery better for the offense.  

If it didn’t start from scratch, then it would be easy because communication is the mother of all professions.   
Mathematics? Economics? Rocket Science? Go on. I challenge anyone to engage in this field without a background in communication.

But I digress.


The Fruit of Passion 


So, there it is, proof, I was a product of programming. Not only was I created out of my parents’ desire, but they also programmed me with their passion. And I’ve continued their mission of celebration. I fashioned into a career all the activities, their love for media and entertainment, specifically books, music, expression, and celebration that brought my parents’ joy.  


I didn’t have to deprogram. I just had to remember my codes.  


But what would be the outcome if the primary programmers chose to code a child with their pain instead of joy? 


The answer is simple; it would impact the mission.   


And this is the point when I remembered my choice. 


I chose to be born into a family that cherished the activities that would help me on my mission.


Dealer’s choice (words matter)


I should note: the words “choice” and “decision” are two very different words. There’s a Swahili word” Kuumba – and its origin means creating at the Divine level to bring something out of nothing. The website Etymonline suggests choice replaced The Old English expression “cyre,” which meant free will. Cyre is similar to and has the same connotation as Kuumba. The original meaning fell out of favor. We, English speakers, started using choice and decision interchangeably.

Since culture and language go together, the intent remains even if we lose meaning through enslavement or immigration. 


Cultural Intent gives a word power. When I say, “believe,” it implies faith. I don’t need facts to move forward. I know wherever I go, what I need, will materialize. When I say I “choose” or “choice,” it’s preordained.

Using words interchangeably weakens the symbolism, which limits perception and impairs vision.  


Once I began reviewing my words, I remembered who I am. 

And before my arrival to this dimension, I chose to live a life in obscurity to work behind the scenes, with a mission to shape society quietly through words, events, and deeds.

I arrived here with a clean slate. But I remembered a “clean slate” relates to how the journey will unfold on earth. What we call chance occurrence stems from our choice.   


So, there you have it, existentially speaking, our initial and overarching goal is to remember the mission we’ve created to carry out here on earth.  Once we remember why we’re here; knowing who we are, is easily defined. 


 So, do you remember what you came here to do? It’s never too late to be what you always thought you’d become.


1 – The full proverb, allegedly written on the walls of the Temple in Luxor, translates, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you and who so ever knows himself shall find it.”