"A SUCCESSFUL MOVEMENT TAKES SIGNIFICANT
I would like to express my gratitude to the Leadership of the M. W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge for the opportunity to share a few ideas with you tonight on the occasion of the 11th Annual Awards Banquet. It is an honor and a privilege on many levels. When I was a boy growing up in a small town in Southeastern Ohio my mother and I lived for a time with my maternal grandfather. I remember the panoramic picture that hung on the wall above the mantel of the coal-burning fireplace in the living room of granddaddy Jackson’s house. That faded old photograph was a source of fascination to me because it was so long and the people were dressed in a manner I had not ever seen before. I would gaze at the long photograph of the men lined up and spread out across the length of the fireplace and find my granddaddy standing among them. All of the men in that faded picture were dressed alike. They were dressed as some of you are dressed tonight. You see granddaddy was a 32° Mason and grandmother was an Eastern Star. And so I feel a special honor to be able to speak to you tonight. I feel as if I belong here, as if I had somehow stepped into that picture and was once again able to stand with granddaddy and grandmama Jackson and it makes me feel good…it warms my heart and gives me comforting thoughts. I feel thankful to you and blessed to be here.
I am thankful this evening for many things none the least of which is arriving here on time. After what happened to me coming over the Pali Highway tonight I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Pali Highway, it runs from the Windward to the Leeward side of the Island. It crosses over the Ko'olau Mountain Ridge which is a part of the mountain range that bisects and forms the backbone of the island. I was driving just a little too fast and as we got to the top of the Pali and began to descend down towards Honolulu I was pulled over to the side of the road by a female police officer. Although the Pali is not that high, only about 3,100 feet, my ears will sometimes plug up from the change in altitude. That’s how it was this evening as I rolled down my window to speak with the lady officer. As she asked for my license and registration the combination of my stuffed up ears and the sound of the traffic whizzing by made it difficult for me to hear and so I turned to my girlfriend and said “Huh? Baby what did she say?” and she responded, “She wants to see your driver’s license and registration.” Now I still have a home in Reno Nevada and I travel back there often enough to be a legal resident and hold a Nevada license. I gave my license and registration to the officer and she looked at it and asked “Are you from Reno?” As before I was unable to hear her and I once again said to my girlfriend “Huh? Sugar what did she say?” and she responded, “She wants to know if you’re from Reno?” I told the Officer that I was and she asked me “So you’re just visiting Oahu?” Still unable to hear her clearly I once again turned to my girlfriend and said “Huh? Sweetheart what did she say?” And she said, “She wants to know if you’re just visiting Oahu.” I briefly told the officer of my circumstances and then she said, “I have been to Reno and I had the worst sex of my life there one night.” Once again I turned to my girlfriend and said “Huh? Baby what did she say?” and my girlfriend looked me straight in the eye and without hesitation said “She thinks she know you!” and I knew right then and there that if our movement together as a couple was going to be successful it was going to require significant change! Oh, by the way, the cop was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down her face and she walked away and didn’t even give me the speeding ticket I deserved!
A Successful Movement Takes Significant Change
The truth of this statement is self-evident if we reflect for a moment upon just a few of the successful movements that you and I have witnessed or read about. For example, the movement from “3/5 of a man” to “Jim Crow” to Barrack Obama to “We are All Africans” most certainly has and will continue to take significant change. America has gone from counting slaves as 3/5 of a person; to freedom for all slaves, but systematically striping them and their descendents of all significant civil rights; to an African American President; to witnessing the acknowledgment that all human beings evolved from the humanoid species found in the Great Rift Region of Kenya and the African Savannah. Modern science and technology has enabled us to trace human DNA back to our very beginnings as humans in Africa…meaning in a very real since “We are All Africans!” regardless of whether you are Red, Yellow, Brown, Black or White we all carry the same DNA from our African forbearers.
A Successful Movement Takes Significant Change
As a younger man I used to listen to the music of the legendary second album from the Funkadelics’ and think I understood what the title “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow” was all about…you do remember albums don’t you…the round, flat vinyl things we called…records…that you would buy at the…record shop…take home and play on your…record…player? Yah…I know some of ya’ll can feel me! Then I went to college and studied psychology and received a degree so that I can stand here tonight and tell you that I now know it has a far greater and even more impact-full meaning than I ever imagined. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), an evidenced based clinical technique, rests on the idea that our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions are all interlinked and that the thoughts in our minds strongly influence the reality we experience. What this means for me is that regardless of whether you are a single person looking for even greater success in life or a community service organization, like the Masons, looking for ways to work together more efficiently and serve the community more effectively, it’s your thoughts that fuel your movement. And we know that A Successful Movement Takes Significant Change. Always has…always will. So how do we begin to use the proven skills of CBT to significantly change our thoughts and help us realize as a person, as an organization and as a People even greater success?
Although there are many CBT tools, tonight I am going to limit myself to talking about just one skill set. One set that has to do with adjusting one’s attitude. First let me ask, by a show of hands, how many of you have ever had your attitude, your emotions or the way you were feeling keep you from achieving a significant goal or gaining the full measure of success? Ok, Good. I think almost everyone has experienced this kind of disappointment. Now again by a show of hands, how many of you have ever had your attitude, your emotions or the way you were feeling help you achieving a goal or gain the fuller measure of success? Yes most of us have. Wouldn’t be great if there was a technique that we could use to help us mold our attitude, to shape it and get it to help us more often and hold us back less? Well there is such a skill set and it’s known as COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING. Although there are many techniques that comprise Cognitive Restructuring tonight I’m going to limit my discussion to just two of the basic, fundamental skills: Goal Setting and Affirmations.
Goal Setting – Research suggests those individuals and organizations that set goals are more successful then those who do not. Those organizations that not only set goals but also write them down are twice as successful as those who do not and that those who not only set goals but also write them down along with the steps to achieve the goals are the most successful of all. So in order to get the most out of the goal setting exercise you should write them down and define at least three steps that must be taken in order to achieve each goal. Because the process of writing goals and steps down on paper helps them to become more concrete and helps you to become more committed to their achievement, this mind game should always be played with paper and pencil. Once goals and steps have taken final written form, you're ready to take the next step.
Affirmations - An affirmation is a short, positive statement that confirms the achievement of a goal.
An affirmation should be created for every goal and step that has been identified. An affirmation is a short, positive statement that confirms the achievement of the goal or step. Writing at least one short, positive, supportive statement for every goal that you identify creates affirmations. The steps that must be taken to achieve each goal are also used as the basis for action provoking affirmative statements.
The following suggestions are helpful to the process and should be used when writing affirmations: (1) Be personal - Use I, me, my, or your first name - “I am responsible for the intensity of my performance.” (2) Be positive - “I consistently strive to compete at the highest level of my potential!” (3) Use the present tense - “I am confident of my ability to be selected to the National Team.” (4) Phrase your affirmation as if the goal was already accomplished - “I am in ideal physical and mental condition.” (5) Change yourself not the other person -“I stay focused on my goals and I am unaffected by the behavior of others.” (6) Do not compare yourself with anyone -“I am tenacious about doing my very best!” (7) Use action words - “I take charge of my thoughts and feelings whenever I train or compete.” (8) Be realistic, but stretch - “I have the self-discipline needed to consistently finish in the top 3.” (9) Use feeling words - “I love the feeling I get from competing at my best!” (10) Avoid and eliminate - “I can...” or “I will...” or “I always...” or “I never...”
Now it isn’t enough just to write your Goals and Steps down and turn them into positive affirmations you must also read them, review them and revise them when needed. Most importantly you must say them Out Loud at least twice every day. Now you might ask yourself “Why is it important to read them, review them and say them out loud often? Let me ask you “Do you believe the Energizer Bunny keeps going and going and going?” No, of course not but we do know that repetitive advertising does effect behavior…it works…the more you hear it, the more likely you are to at least think about Energizer batteries when you’re buying batteries. This is true because of the “Law of Concentrated Attention”. The more attention is focused on an idea the more likely that idea is to SPONTANEOUSLY realize itself. Affirmations when used properly allow you to take charge and snatch control from the mass media advertisers and give it back to yourselves. In the words of the late Gil Scott Herron “The Revolution will not be televised"…not be on your Crack Berry…not be on your Smart Phone...and you sure as hell won't hear about it on your Blue Tooth! ”FREE YOUR MIND AND YOUR ASS WILL FOLLOW"!
A Successful Movement Takes Significant Change
Although we may not realize it we encounter the need for significant change on an almost daily basis. For example, if you are like I was you may believe that Jim Crow was successfully overcome as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. Perhaps the Old Jim Crow died but a New Jim Crow has arisen to take his place. I urge you who have not already done so to read “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander. It is yet another example of why we as Black People in America must find, must develop a thinking style, such as Cognitive Restructuring, that helps us create new goals, alternatives, choices and options to successful overcome the challenges which we face as individuals, as groups and as a People who are sill in many ways oppressed. But not only do we have a need on a Nation and World-Wide scale but in our every day lives as well. Let me tell you what I mean: On a recent plane ride back from the Mainland I had the pleasure and good fortune to be seated next to one of the most beautiful and desirable Black Women I have ever seen. As you know it’s a long plane ride and to pass time we began to chat. I found out that she too was a psychologist traveling to Hawaii on vacation after years of research in Africa. She was a sex researcher at Harvard and her research had discovered that Kenyan men of the Luo Tribe, the same tribe as our president’s father, and members of the Tembu Xhosa tribal group of South Africa, the tribe of South Africa’s first Black President, were identified by her survey of women as among the best lovers in the world! As we continued to talk she asked my name and immediately the thought ran through my mind “A successful movement take significant change” and I looked her straight in the eye and without hesitation said “My name is Barack Mandella!" Thank You for letting me share these ideas with you tonight. It has been an honor and a pleasure.