22 pieces of advice for the millennial black man to consider
don't get it twisted, this isn't a list that outlines the art of manliness. this is, however, a bit of advice for men, primarily black men. it's a condensed list of things i've learned from trial and error, things that have been poured into me, and things i've picked up on from notable brothers in my life who've invested in my success. we can't be perfect in anything, brothers. but we can definitely be practiced in many things. here's to establishing a new stereotype.
22). manage your money, wisely.
this goes beyond opening up a savings account and never using it again; you have to actually pour into your savings account, consistently. and what's more is, you also have to be a good steward over the rest of your money, too. are you tithing? are you paying your bills (on time) and not living beyond your means? are you putting money into your savings for the future and then spending money on yourself? that's called portion order. if you aren't, you need to get with the program, my brother.
21). learn how to be by yourself.
it's ok to take time to be alone. sometimes, it's actually a necessity that we take a step back from situations, people and so forth in order for us to re-center ourselves and "power up" again. it's like how can you ever know who you are as an individual if all you've ever known is yourself in relation to someone else? try learning who you are, become happy with that person and then go out and establish (or reestablish) your various connections with people. your future self will thank you.
20). don't compromise your values and beliefs to fit in.
i'll say it like this, if you ever feel the need to change (or downplay) your values and beliefs for the sake of fitting in with a group or appealing to someone, it's probably time to change the folks you surround yourself with, period. it's easy to join a crowd, the test comes to the man who isn't afraid to stand alone.
19). embrace (and promote) chivalry.
i know ya'll tired of women today saying that, "chivalry is dead" and "there's no more good, respectable men out there". forget all of that crap. continue to do the noble thing, even if they don't appreciate it or say "thank you." open doors, give up your seat and walk on the outside of the sidewalk whenever you can because it's not about being acknowledged, it's about realizing that your actions speak more volume than words spoken.
18). train your mind to see yourself where you want to be, not where you are.
"so a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." proverbs 23:7
17) find one girl, and treat her right.
one woman is enough. if you're casually dating, that's one thing--just make sure you're honest and upfront about your intentions to openly date from the beginning. however, if you're in a relationship, be all in, man. treat her like you'd want your mom or little sister to be treated, forreal. love is not rude nor is it proud or boastful; it's protective, though and it always trusts. don't show yourself to be untrustworthy.
16). don't use your young age as an excuse to be irresponsible.
stop listening to those absurd posts on social media. your 20's are not your selfish years. it is not the time for you to make the wrong decisions in your life despite the fact that you knew the right ones to make. it's nothing wrong with being selfish with your time to a certain degree, but don't be out here making dumb, irrational choices because anything that isn't growing you, is hindering you.
15). establish (or maintain) a healthy relationship with your father.
maintaining a healthy relationship with your father is extremely important, despite what the people thought. sure, you probably feel as though you turned out pretty well without him up until this point. but that's not the point. fathers can be good examples of fathering and "husbanding". if you feel that your dad didn't do a good job.. ok. forgive him anyway. not for his sake, but for yours. you forgiving your father doesn't excuse what they did (or didn't do). instead, it prevents you from letting unforgivness destroy your heart so you can move on; forgiveness is a trait of the strong and helps you to live an overall healthier and happier life. forreal.
14). less announcements, more actions.
bragging dims the soul. you don't have to tell everyone everything that you're doing or post your entire life on social media. it's just not as necessary as the ego sometimes leads us to believe.
13). be confident in your blackness.
we are kings, black brothers; never feel the need to downplay your blackness to make someone else feel comfortable. in the words of stevie wonder, "i wear the crown. you wear the crown. so proud to say that we all wear the crown." so rumble black man, rumble.
12). stop putting off going to the doctor.
going to sleep and hoping the pain will be gone when you wake up is not the solution. get to the doctor; and if you think it's too expensive, you know how many brothers are out here dying from various diseases and illnesses that could've been prevented if they just went to the doctor. sure, doctors may not know (and be able to prevent) everything; but they are far better than you trying to self diagnose with an aloe vera plant.
11). know how to tie a tie.
there's so many different ways to tie a traditional tie. at the very minimum, you should know at least one of those ways. and if you're really feeling ambitious, go ahead and familiarize yourself with tying a bow tie as well; it's really not as hard as it looks. besides...clip on ties are childish.
10). get yourself at least one male mentor.
a mentor does not necessarily have to be someone who's way older than you. it could be your pastor, a former teacher, coach, etc. the goal is to get yourself positioned under someone who's able to hold you accountable, give you honest feedback and help steer you in the right direction based on where it is you're trying to go in life. from experience i can honestly say, it helps.
9). have integrity below the belt.
simply put, no woman wants a man who's given so much of himself away to other women that he ultimately has little to nothing left to give her when he's decided to settle down and get serious about his dating/married life. you're a king, man. and although you may not be able to change your past, you can definitely make the decision to course correct moving forward.
8). have your measurements committed to memory.
size matters. neck size. arm length. pants size. shoe size. suit size. shirt size. it all matters, big fella. you need to know 'em all, too.
7). when you're wrong, apologize.
apologizing isn't just always about who's wrong and who's right. sometimes, it's just you deciding to choose the relationship over your ego. not all battles need to be fought to the death. choose wisely.
6). become a mentor to a younger brother.
humans weren't made to do life alone. don't try and go the journey by yourself. find you someone that you can mentor and teach so that they can learn from the mistakes you've made and ultimately build upon the framework you've provided them. that's how a generation progresses; though the teachings of those that have come before them, ya know?
5). always speak with purpose.
we as kings should always aspire to be a voice and not an echo. never feel the need to "calm" your voice to make others feel comfortable; this goes back to being unapologetically black, ya know? but at the same time, you also can't be out here talking out the side of your neck, either.
4). find time to read books.
if you really want to enhance yourself, open a book. being well read is one of the best things we can do as black men. you know why? because it debunks the negative stigma that if you want to keep something hidden from blacks, all you have to do is put it in a book.
3). do what you said you were going to do.
keep your word. keep your word. keep your word. and if you can't keep your word, communicate that. easier said than done, right? it speaks volume about your character, though.
2). stop gossiping.
we've legit moved into a season where men gossip just as much as (if not more than) women. no long vignette here, just stop doing it, brothers. it's not becoming. forreal.
1). get your "spiritual hearing" in order.
bottom line is, without vision, you're not nowhere, fast. even the word of God tell us in Proverbs 29:18 that, "where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keeps the law, happy is he." so you see, it is imperative that you make sure that the plans you have for yourself are aligned with what God has planned for you. otherwise, you'll be going through things in your life that could have been prevented had you just listened from the beginning, ya know? there's no use in learning things the hard way when it's within our realm of power to prevent that from happening in the first place. in jeremiah 29:11, God tells us "for i know the plans i have for you. plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." why would any man want to go against something that's already a done deal? listen, brother. listen.