The Standard #34

MountainA wise gentleman understands that while he may be incapable of altering certain burdensome circumstances that surround him, he is certainly capable of changing the manner in which those circumstances are handled on his behalf. It is true, there are just some realities and eventualities that stretch beyond the scope of a gentleman’s ability to resolve. However, sometimes it is not the situation that requires resolution, not at all, it is a gentleman’s spirit that demands an internal resolution to properly engage the matter at hand. Trust, the way a challenging circumstance is viewed and managed can dramatically refashion its complexion. If your mind and heart have predetermined a situation to be hopeless and lost, it should not be surprising if that reality remains unchanged. However, a positive and constructive approach can have a meaningful influence and substantial impact. Do not expose yourself to unnecessary stress in an attempt to change what cannot be changed. Instead, focus on strengthening yourself with patience, perseverance, integrity, thoughtfulness, and love. Empowering oneself with the proper tools for positive growth, both mentally and spiritually, is the best remedy for any adverse event you may encounter.

The Standard #7

denzel_washington_01Strongly influenced by meager beginnings, his character has been wisely steeled with sincere humility – resistant to the caustic nature of arrogance and hubris. He understands that his current elevated status does not preclude reflection and deep thought. Thoughts that include a former reality burdened with struggle and tribulation. It is this remembrance that grants an appreciation for what he has and not lamentation for what he does not have. His wisdom dictates a comprehension that recognizes happiness is not predicated on monetary reward. And happiness is not sustained by perpetual monetary fulfillment. Because when allowed, wealth possesses a peculiar proclivity for nurturing a vanity that slowly erodes a gentleman’s character. Therefore, his heart is absent conceit and pretension. Family. Friends. Community. Serving his God. Those are the things that make him whole. Those are the things that give him joy. Those are the things that keep him humble.

The Standard #14

football playA successful gentleman understands that he does not approach life insufficiently prepared for what might arise. He has a carefully devised strategy. He has meticulously formulated a plan for his future. The better the preparation, the better the ability to handle adversity. No crisis or dilemma will seem insurmountable. Think about it: A coach does not haphazardly send his players into a game without a game plan. Even football audibles, though deviating from an original set play, have a purpose. Sure, a play may be broken, but an intelligent player makes the necessary adjustments and adaptations. Life will not perfectly proceed as you might imagine. A gentleman will encounter setbacks. A gentleman might face innumerable obstacles. Nevertheless, a smart gentleman has a mission. He has a vision. He has a plan. He even has a contingency plan even when the original plan doesn’t go according to plan. He has strategically placed himself in position for optimal reward. You can do the same-if you have a game plan. So, do you have one?

The Standard #33

mistakeTo be truthful, despite earnest attempts to uphold a gentlemanly standard, a gentleman will always be subject to the possibility of failure. Given that living one’s life in perfection is an impossibility, missteps and mistakes are almost certain to occur. It is an inevitability. Nevertheless, it is paramount that a gentleman understand his shortcoming, and it is more important that he extracts wisdom from his failure. Diligently, he must strive to apply the proper corrective measures to ensure that the esteemed, personal standard he has established is met. Don’t squander precious time persecuting yourself. Moreover, don’t grant time to individuals that want to continuously persecute and shame you. They are vulnerable to same mistakes as you, and constant reminders of your failure can negatively affect your spirit and focus. Privately and quietly – humble yourself. Admit your faults and recognize your error. A gentleman must not seek refuge in denial, instead, exhibit sincere contrition and work to prevent such failures from occurring again. You will emerge a more mature gentleman, fully knowing that you are still susceptible to making mistakes, but understanding how to try to avoid them in the future, and how to better deal with your missteps when it happens again.

The Standard #29

roadHumility. The act of possessing a modest opinion of one’s importance, understanding the complex context of life, and respecting the reality that other individuals may be better at some things than you. Gentlemen, please don’t be mislead by the boisterous musings of silly folk; so enamored by their own greatness that they cannot recognize their own shortcomings. Sometimes a man must recognize his faults and limitations. There is no shame in that. One must understand that embracing humility does not make a gentleman weak, actually, humility strengthens you. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you focused – on the important things in life. It is brazen arrogance that renders a gentleman vulnerable. Trust this: Keep living and life will eventually happen to you. And life can be the greatest administrator of humility. Recognize your position in life, and even if your station ranks well above others, discipline yourself in humility, as the folly of vanity can ultimately become your undoing. You don’t want to discover this bit of wisdom the hard way, but I am sure that you won’t. Maintain the standard my friends; catch you later.

The Standard #5

successUndeterred by difficult obstacles in his path, the accomplished gentleman understands that he must remain true to his beliefs. Resolute in making decisions regarding his future, he does not let circumstances or individuals negatively influence his actions. Doubt can never become a factor, for doubt is a killer of faith and kidnapper of hope. Nevertheless, this gentleman is acutely focused. All challenges are welcomed. He remains remarkably steady, even in the face of naysayers. And even if success does not arrive expeditiously, he understands patience is an ally of diligence. And together, they will bring forth prosperity. Transforming aspirational dreams into reality, this gentleman never betrays his goals. He never betrays his work. And most important, he never betrays himself. Success feels so much better this way.

The Standard #32

CloudsTo be certain, there may exist a myriad of reasons from which a gentleman can derive the proper motivation for achievement and success. His motivation may arrive from varying sources that are both intensely intimate and personal. And certainly, no one should hold the presumption that they can dictate how the aforementioned gentleman summons that motivation. Nonetheless, perhaps we can gently suggest that one’s inspiration for greatness originate from love, compassion, and positivity. To extract inspiration from anger, hurt, and bitterness is not wise stewardship of one’s time and energy. To enjoy the beautiful rewards of future successes, a gentleman must subject himself to painful reminders of the past. Is such a place worth revisiting?

Humbly, I submit that it is not. An accomplished gentleman need not be driven by pain to succeed, as his greatness is deeply rooted in the affirmation that he is already great to begin with; only a positive focus is required to bring it to fruition. To embrace pain and suffering in effort to be successful is counterintuitive, and psychological wounds will never be afforded appropriate healing if one chooses to persistently pick at the scabs. You’re better than that. You are already great. Positively focus on your happiness and accomplishments. Going forward, your pain will not be empowered. Your time and effort will be better utilized because you have better things to do – like succeeding. Let’s go!

The Standard #18

 

Jesse OwensFirmly standing upright under an unrelenting, blistering storm of vitriolic contempt and caustic distrust, the successful gentleman remains undeterred in his journey towards triumph. Triumph – born of an unwavering resolve and complete assurance in his abilities; this gentleman cannot be denied what he has tirelessly striven for. And despite ardent attempts to trivialize his work, undermine his legitimacy, or boldly question his intellect; ignorance and hatred will be trumped every time. Believe it. No amount of mockery can shake his confidence. He is resolute. He is intelligent. He is courageous. More importantly, he recognizes that there exists individuals consumed with hubris and guided by conceit, which ultimately hastens their downfall. So, he stays in his lane and does what he does best – win. Are you a winner?

The Standard #31

 

MountainIt is wise for a gentleman to avoid an ascension that strays him amongst mountains of hubris; an ascension that betrays his remembrance of the ever distant valleys beneath his feet. Gentlemen, be not thoughtlessly mistaken, your climb towards success does not preclude the possibility of an agonizing fall. Depending upon the heights that one rises, arrogance may silently corrupt your character, and thus the descent could be resolutely sharp, steep and abrupt. This is not say that a gentleman should not achieve or strive for the greatest heights of success or prosperity. To be certain, a gentleman can certainly ride amongst the highest clouds of accomplishment, and yet remain grounded in modesty and humility. It is the appreciation of the valleys that makes the view from above that much more beautiful. It is the appreciation of the valleys that assuage any fear of falling. Because, if a gentleman so finds himself in the midst of a certain plunge, his spirit is steeled with the knowledge that he will rise again. Conversely, a successful gentleman may never experience any affecting gravity upon his achievements. Nonetheless, the underlying message is steeped in consistency, never lose sight of your origins and appreciate the valleys of one’s life that have transformed into triumph. And if you are not there yet, don’t worry, you will be. See you at the top.

The Standard #3

harlemThe knowledgeable gentleman comprehends that his image does not begin with how society views him. Rather, the gentleman’s image begins with how he sees himself. He alone determines and dictates the manner in which he is presented to the world. When he gazes into the mirror, the reflection of greatness should readily greet him. It does not begin with the clothing he chooses to attire himself in, nor the vehicle he selects to navigate city streets. Not the place of employment where he makes a living. Not the amount of money presently residing in his bank account. Why? Well, because character starts with his self-worth. His esteem is not erected upon a mountain of biodegradable materialism – subject to decay and waste. No, the gentleman’s image is based on gentlemanly fundamentals that are concrete and certain. Virtue. Honor. Principle. Forthrightness. The Gentlemen’s Standard.

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