Let me expose you to the Five Wells of Life. I heard these 5 Wells for the first time while attending a speaker series at the University of Baltimore. The speaker of the event was the President of Morehouse Dr. Robert Franklin. Dr. Franklin highlighted five important qualities that all leaders should be equipped with. Dr. Franklin put a special highlight to all the African-American men in the auditorium. After hearing the speech, I had to write a paper for a class and I have continued to use them as a guide in life. Here they are the 5 wells with my spin on it.
The Five Wells:
No matter what you do in life keep educating yourself by reading books. The more you read, the more information you will know. I’ve read a few books that have continued to fuel my passion for knowledge. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, He-Motions, Soul on Ice, and Between the World and Me are just a few of my favorites. Don’t just skim through the book, take time and read what the authors are saying. Books are fundamental and they can open your eyes to things that you may never know. Don’t dumb down yourself to fit in with others. Your mind is your mind and no one else’s. No one can ever take away your education, intelligence, and creativity.
Learn how to speak and pronounce your words. There’s nothing in this world like an intelligent black man. You have an advantage that you probably don’t know you have. It’s called the switch. Not like the tree branches that I got hit with as a child, but the switch to change your tone. It’s when you switch your tone from corporate to urban. Within our black community, we use slang as a second language. It’s not the best way to communicate, but it’s a necessary tool to keep in your arsenal. Learn to eliminate profanity and verbal placeholders like, ‘um, uh, ahh’. Challenge yourself to learn two different languages and speak them fluently.
Travel, travel, travel! The world is so much bigger than what you see in your own backyard. Traveling opens your eyes to greater opportunities that are bigger and more meaningful than you could ever imagine. It’s ok to travel by yourself but I encourage you to take someone along with you. Take your time when traveling and fully see the culture and immerse yourself in it. Listen to the natives and learn their traditions. Embrace cultures by trying different foods. Overall you will enjoy a rich experience and a better insight on life.
The way you dress does not only reflect the way you feel about yourself, it also sends signals to other people around you. The way you dress can be a direct reflection of your respect for others. Don’t let “special occasions” like going to court, a job interview or going to church on Easter be the only reason you wear a suit. So many young guys don’t know how to tie a tie or better yet a bow tie. Wear clothing that fits and shows your personality. Be respectful and keep your pants around your waist with a belt. There’s no reason you should be sagging! Clothing fads come and go like the water in a river, so find your own style. Lastly, make sure you take care of your skin, you only get one body so take care of your temple.
All the above characteristics all go together with each other. In life, you will have to balance many things in the different seasons. The most important of these is to be spiritually disciplined and have compassion for others. Be humble and willing to lift others up as they climb to new heights. Keep your pride down and your head held high. There is nothing in this world that you cannot do. Being a well-balanced person prepares you for the unexpected things in life and allows you to act and react to the world in positive ways. Surround yourself with positive people because everyone will show you their true intentions over time. You don’t have to have a lot of friends, – quality beats quantity. Learn early to put people in categories and life will be a little easier.
Bonus Financial Wellness
Don’t forget to take care of your financial health too. Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo Money Mo Problems. This song nailed it back in the late 90’s. I’ve heard famous people in interviews say that the more you make the more problems come with it. “Let your money work for you and you not work for the money.” My uncle told me this. Always pay yourself first and then pay your other bills.
Paying yourself doesn’t have to be expensive, but treat yourself to a nice dinner, a weekend vacation, a nice manicure, and pedicure. Yeah, I said it – a nice manicure and pedicure! Take care of your body which includes your hands and feet. You definitely don’t want to be that person with the flip-flops on in the summer time with the white crust around his heel. Or even having your toenails so long that they start slicing up your bed sheets and yourself, don’t be that person. I’ve definitely ripped some skin off of my lower legs because of my long toenails. Learn that you must take care of yourself first before you can help anyone else and this is true for all aspects of your life.
Bonus Well Mind
Take the time to input small things into your life like.
Exercises like yoga that focuses on the connection of body and mind
Get a massage like hot stones, deep tissue, or Swedish.
Listen to music that will calm your mind and body. My go-to music is Ocean and Zen.
Until Next Time