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Failure is an Option but Success Pays More!

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As another academic school year unfolds across America, it’s important we take a moment and consider what we as parents, caregivers, and advocates can do to lay a solid foundation for the academic success of our youth.  For our community in particular it’s a supremely urgent task, as test scores show that our youth – our black males especially – are continually lagging behind the academic performance of other ethnic peer groups.  The abolitionist Frederick Douglas once said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Regardless of cause, there gaps remain in the academic performance of African-American and Hispanic youth relative to their White peers.  The end of the achievement gap will begin in our own home.  Let’s invest in success with these five steps.

  1. Do a DVD Detox

As a fitness professional, I am constantly coaching my clients to ‘detox’ not only their bodies, but their kitchen pantry, as well. I have the same attitude toward the glut of DVD movies that occupy many homes in our communities.  There are tons of DVD movies and very few, if any at all, books in our homes.  Somehow we have got to resist the urge to pop in a movie to satisfy the attention of our children.  A home full of DVD movies is as toxic to a kid’s brain as a pantry full of sugar-ladened cereal boxes are to their bodies. Detox your home of DVD movies!

  1. Make Reading a Priority

Which leads me to my next point: it’s time we reinstitute reading as a priority in our homes.  Reading is the vehicle that can and will close the achievement gap both in our homes and nationally.  The five worst words a parent with early childhood children can say is: “everybody don’t like to read.” Reading improves a child’s imagination, improves their concentration and teaches a child about the world outside their experience. Phillip Jackson, of the Black Star Project, an education advocacy group, suggests we should teach our children to read at grade-level by third grade.


  1. Take the television out of the Bedroom

A recent study suggested that the education achievement gap has linearly increased alongside the advance of the number of televisions Americans have purchased since the nineteen-fifties. Not only have televisions in every room of the typical American home eroded the bonding tendencies of the family structure, it has also crept into the academic potential of youth. A television in the bedroom of our youth is the epicenter of the achievement gap. Television and DVD movies cripple the intellectual capacities of early-childhood development.

  1. Cure ourselves of ‘Excusitis’

Yes, funding for urban schools is lower than that of suburban schools; yes, inequities exist in the application of standardized testing and yes, there is a dearth of positive, black male role models in our communities.  But can we afford to use these and other realities as excuses? I say no. As adults, we must be the first to outlaw excuses. We must then demand the same of our youth.  We must insist on excellence – that they give their very best – academically and otherwise.  Previous generations have accomplished more with much less resources and advantages than our present circumstances.


  1. Get actively involved

You can argue that this is the primary reason for the existence of the achievement gap. We tend to believe that once we have raised our own children into adults, our job is done.  Truth be told, our job is just beginning!  There are far too many of our youth who languish in mediocrity; who are being assigned an inferior academic status and who are riding first-class on the non-stop, school-to-prison pipeline. Active involvement is not limited to joining a mentoring or volunteer program in your community or church.  Awesome if you do!  At the least, though, identifying a youth or two at church or in your community and making it your job to encourage them to do better; to pat them on the back and tell them their doing a good job goes a long way toward motivating them to success.


Young people thrive on self-worth; their eyes light up when they realize they can indeed succeed and when they are exposed to examples of others who have succeeded.

Let’s infuse them with success mantras and affirmations; let’s get them declaring and then acting as if they are successful and understanding that failure is indeed an option – but success pays more!

The end of the achievement gap will begin in our own home.

W. Eric Croomes is a Transformation Coach and Inspirational Speaker. Book Eric at:


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Three Reasons Dreams Die and What to Do About It

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Many years ago, the great Harriet Tubman, in an era much different than ours, said, Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Those words are simple, yet very profound. Why? Because so many people have stopped dreaming big dreams. When people stop dreaming, they lose their connection to a vital source of energy.
Are you one of those people? Have you stopped dreaming? Have your aspirations for your life withered? If so, the good news is it’s never too late to dream again!
Here are three reasons dreams die and what you can do about it.

Our Dreams are Ridiculed
In the Holy Bible, the book of Psalms opens with a description of two types of people in life: those who are “like trees planted by streams of water” and those who “sit in the seat of scoffers”. A scoffer is a person who expresses scorn, derision or contempt for the well-being or dreams of others. It’s the Bible’s term for ‘hater’. There are scoffers all around us; people who will deride your dreams and what you stand for. Scoffers will laugh at you. They may not come right out and mock your dreams, but in subtle ways they hold you in contempt.

Know who the scoffers are but don’t use haters as motivation. Sometimes the scoffers are in your own household. Just be the best you can be. Nurture the greatness in you. Focus on the good you offer to the world. When you take on this attitude, it becomes its own vindication. Frank Sinatra once said, Success is the best revenge.

We Accept our Assigned Dreams
Your ‘assigned dream’ is the dream someone gave you or had for you. Those people usually include our parents, family and friends. They may have had good intentions, but assigned dreams usually end up becoming assigned prisons. Too often we live under the shadow of other people’s expectations; we become more concerned with what they want for our lives than what we want for ourselves.
Determine what you want for your life and get after it. Live your life on your terms for the good of others, not at the whim of others. Often, this requires a certain type of reinvention – but you have to be unafraid to remake yourself. The benefits of reinvention, though, are immeasurable. Remember the attitude of Walt Disney, when he said, If you can dream it, you can do it!

We Lose Our Dreams in the Fog of Life.
“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up? Like a raisin in the sun? Langston Hughes’ poetic question is as relevant today as it was during the Harlem Renaissance, when he penned it. Many of us have put our dreams on hold, whether for our children, career advancement or just out of pure apathy. We become so engrossed in earning money and material pursuit that we lose touch with what wanted from the beginning. Our dreams then become lost in oblivion.

You’ve deferred your dreams long enough. You were not born to merely raise kids and die. Refocus your energy. Reconnect to the dream of entrepreneurship you once nurtured. Dust the cobwebs from that book you dreamed of writing, that stage play you wanted to produce. Stay focused. Keep dreaming. Most importantly, nurture your dreams. This prevents them from becoming lost in the rat race. Dream again and remember the words of Dawn Markova, I will not die an unlived life. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid.
It’s never too late to dream again!

W. Eric Croomes is a Holistic Lifestyle Exercise Expert and Author of Life’s a Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both (LAG).

Visit Eric and download LAG at www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com

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Why These Three Questions Are Important

In order for us to meet the demands of our physical environment, we must have an optimal body, mind and spirit experience. How do we achieve this? How do we gauge our overall daily well-being? How …

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Four Reasons Why You Should Become a Public Speaker

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The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

-H.P. Lovecraft


H.P. Lovecraft’s words are as true today as they were back then. You can file just about any fear that we face as human beings – fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of ridicule – right up under the category of fear of the unknown. At the very top of that list will be fear of speaking before groups of people. In fact, polls suggest that people would rather die than to speak in front of a group of people. Why? As mentioned: fear of failure, ridicule and loss. It is a battle that I face constantly as I speak before audiences, a battle that has never be won per se, but only managed. It’s one reason that I have my eight year-old son doing motivational video speeches – to get him started early to overcoming the fear of speaking before groups. In my coaching practice and as a member of Toastmasters International (a public speaking association), I implore my clients to speak – to stand and deliver. Here are four reasons why:



It Releases Your Creative Genius

Thomas Edison wrote that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. When you speak, you release that one percent. It is not people who hold us back; it is our own debilitating sense of fear, our thinking that we are not equipped for the task at hand. Each of us is in possession of a genius which, when nurtured, fills us with an incredible power. Fear is a suppressive force; its job is to hold you down and hold you back. When you move toward your fear of engaging groups, you also move toward releasing your inner genius.

In Toastmasters, we call it the Ice Breaker Speech; it’s the speech a new member delivers to acquaint him or herself with the group. I fondly remember my Ice Breaker and how nervous I was in the days and hours leading up to it. I must have paced back and forth for a mile before that moment finally arrived. The feeling of empowerment I felt after I delivered my Ice Breaker was amazing! It does not cure your nerves, but it does make you even more excited to speak!



You Become a Better Human Being

Why? Because you have enhanced a skill-set that most people loathe to improve upon: communication. Wise men speak, says Plato, because they have something to say. Think about it like this: What could you have more of in your life by now if you simply had the courage and the ‘know-how’ to have asked for it? A raise? A better commitment from your spouse? More cooperation from your children? The ability to communicate improves your quality of life because it improves you as a human being.

Moving past the fear of speaking before groups of people is crucial to becoming better at any role you function in your life. You instantly become a better parent, co-worker, professional etc. Our success in life boils down to not only what we want, but how we ask for what we want.



You Gain Instant Credibility

Moving past your fear of speaking before groups gives you one element that most people lack: credibility. Credibility in human relations is absolutely essential. For every credibility gap, there is a gullibility gap, writes Richard Cobden.

Credibility cures gullibility. Once you master the fear of speaking before groups, nothing is impossible for you. Every person with whom you come into contact, from your kids to your spouse to your manager, will know where you stand and why. You will develop an arsenal of solutions to solve everyday problems. You will get more out of people. You will get more done in your own life.



You Open Up Entrepreneurial Possibilities

The latent, once-hidden talent of public speaking opens up a multitude of possibilities – including entrepreneurship! John Barrymore writes, Happiness often sneaks in through the door you didn’t know you left open. Moving past your fear of public speaking leaves many doors ajar.

Once you move to conquer your fear of speaking before groups, things begin to bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. Ideas begin to spring forth. Now you have got something to say and the world needs to hear it. You may choose to say it through a book or video or lecture. Whatever the method, you will find opportunity knocking at your door and the entrepreneur in you will answer!


Make it a point to stand and deliver. Look up a local Toastmasters group in your area. Ask your family and friends to evaluate your core skills at speaking.  Who knows, you might just change the world. It’s all about becoming better!

W. Eric Croomes is America’s Life Trainer and Author of Life’s a Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both

Visit Eric and download the book at http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com

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The Quintessential Mental Posture for Success in Life

As a fit pro I have observed up to eighty percent of people in any gym are exercising with improper posture and technique at any given time. Bad form and technique over time can lead to low back pa…

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What I First Ask a Client

I ask a client these initial questions: One, how does your body feel? Two, how is your thinking? Three, how are your vertical and horizontal relationships? W. Eric Croomes is a Holistic Lifestyle E…

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Four Attributes of Conquerors


There are four attributes conquerors have that non-conquerors don’t.

Have you ever run across a person who personified an “I can do” spirit? Have you ever met someone who rebounded from disaster and used their misfortune as a springboard to greater success? Every now and then I run into such people. I call them conquerors, which, in its most simple definition is to ‘gain mastery over or win by overcoming obstacles or opposition.’ In studying these personality types – both from history and in contemporary times, I observe distinct perspectives they exude and how we may learn from them as we seek to overcome our own challenges to success. Are you a conqueror?

Conquerors tend to overcome obstacles by exhibiting these (among others) four unique attributes.


Conquerors See the End Before the Beginning

A conqueror has mastered the art of visualization; he or she fastens their eyes on end before anything else. This is because the conqueror does not allow him or herself to become caught up in what’s lacking in the present moment. Most people look at where they are as opposed to where they want to be – and begin at once to make that a reality. Conquerors intuitively understand what Brian Tracy means when writes, Winner make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.



Conquerors Plant Seeds and Leave them Undisturbed

Long ago, the writer William Alexander prayed, Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring. This prayer forms the disposition of the conqueror, one who plants and patiently awaits the harvest.

As such, a conqueror, like a well-seasoned farmer, plants a seed and leaves the ground undisturbed. He or she does not wring their hands in desperation, wondering if the correct move was made the right connection attained. Conquerors await the crops to appear. But, like the farmer, they busy themselves with the pertinent matters in preparation for the harvest. Conquerors plant dreams not wishes.



Conquerors See Themselves as Part of Something Bigger

A conqueror understands that a bigger cause is at work and that they form a crucial part to the orchestration of the whole. Conquerors tend to have formed a relationship with a Higher Power because they know that, absent of such a Power, they are nothing more than a gangling mass of human DNA. The words of Ramana Maharshi ring loudly in the ears of the conqueror: It is the Higher Power which does everything, and the man is only a tool.



Conquerors Spend Time in the Silence

A conqueror is by definition a master. This mastery does not come by any other means than by silence. Conquerors know intimately the words of the poet, Still waters run deep. Conquerors know that they cannot be used as channels of Divine Activity as long as they are busy with their own plans, their own purposes. They seek to quiet their senses, focus their mental activity and seek guidance from within. This art form is only mastered in the silence. As Charles F. Haanel writes, There is power in repose.


Conquerors are those who overcome obstacle and opposition as they master success!

I am W. Eric Croomes. I help people live, move, think and eat for body, mind and spirit wellness!