Homecoming Epilogue: Eric Thomas A Message From the Author Publisher's Page Booking Eric Thomas Bring Home The Motivation Foreword This is an. From homeless high school dropout to one of the most sought after motivational speakers in the country, Eric Thomas has truly found the Secret 2 Success. PDF | On Jan 10, , Ananda Amelia and others published DOWNLOAD PDF The Secret to Success by Eric Thomas.
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Eric Thomas' 10 Rules for Success. Notes by Coach Wolfe. 1. Know what you want. Spend your life going . or YouTube Eric Thomas – Secrets to Success Pt 1. The Secret to Success - Kindle edition by Eric Thomas. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks . Read "The Secret to Success" by Eric Thomas available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. From homeless high school.
Thomas grew up not knowing his real father and this caused him a lot of pain. Therefore, he greatly values his wife and two kids and says that they mean the world to him.
One of the things he is proud of is the closeness he has been able to achieve with his family. However, being able to inspire people to greatness is what gives Thomas life and what inspires him to continue living.
Thomas believes that everyone has a God given gift or talent but finds it difficult to make use of that gift. This is why he is driven to inspire people to tap into their gifts and achieve their maximum potential. By doing this, he is sure that he is creating a difference in the world.
He says the response to this book has been overwhelming. Parents tell him that they actually read his book as a family and they are applying the principles he talks about. As much as Thomas is happy with the change he is making, he has bigger plans. He would like to set up a boarding academy in order to create an environment where he can nurture students and leaders. Thomas said that he never went back to the streets and that is partly why he is successful.
He got himself out of that situation in order to become free and achieve great things. Therefore, he also has dreams of turning the academy into a resource that teachers can use to learn about how they can inspire their students better. He recognizes the fact that teachers are in need of the right tools to help them teach the students better and this is what he seeks to provide. Thomas believes that teachers are able to transform lives just like the preacher transformed his life.
If every teacher in the world could save one life then there would be a huge change in the world. I have a passion for the youth and I use my work to tell them that they can break the cycle of crime, anguish and hopelessness that many of them face and be able to accomplish great things and make maximum use of their potential.
I prefer to use a personal approach to deliver my message in order to make it dynamic and inspiring. It gives me joy to contribute towards the academic performance of youths and improve their lives spiritually too. I get different audiences such as urban educators, college students and Fortune companies among others. The struggles I have personally gone through have enabled me reach out to people going through the same and encourage them with the same insights, principles and strategies that worked for me.
Early life and Education Although I grew up on the streets of Detroit, I was born in Chicago and so I am familiar with the ills that affect the communities. I had a difficult adolescent life due to the fact that I was struggling with personal identity issues since I had no relationship with my biological father. However, I was glad to have this relationship when I was in my early thirties.
I met the pastor who changed my life when I was 17 years old. I then completed my GED and was ready for college. I joined Oakwood University and got busy reading any material I could find. I was familiar with the struggle on the streets and so I worked hard not to go back. My life had purpose then. I was able to at least reach out to my friends on the streets and help them go back to school and receive their GEDs and later proceed to college.
These were mostly drug dealers and I wanted to provide them with a positive alternative to the life of crime they were used to. By going back to school, they would escape crime, become literate and lead better lives. I used the strategies and exercises that had worked for me to help them create their own life plans. This organization was meant to help youths dealing with issues related to family, social life, making bad choices and academic struggles and dealing with not having a father around.
Over the years, BTC has grown to an extent of creating many programs and conferences that help communities in various parts of the country. These programs target both the youth and teachers and equip them with motivational strategies and self-improvement exercises that they need to excel in life.
I am currently the Chairman of BTC. I graduated with my Masters degree in and my PhD in I am also a senior pastor at a church know as Place of Change Ministries that is located in Lansing, Michigan. I am consultant for the Advantage Program I came up with at Michigan and have also volunteered the same services in different college athletic programs.
My role is to help student-athletes struggling with academics and social work to make a smooth transition from the high-risk educational institutes and communities to idealistic environment.
The fact that I have managed to pursue higher education together with the experience of living on the streets normally make people more willing to abandon bad habits and pursue personal and spiritual achievement.
If I was able to overcome the challenges that I did then you can also do the same. I worked at an Olive Garden in Detroit where I learned about discipline and sacrifice since we could work up to five in the morning and only get a few hours of sleep.
We both ended up at Oakwood University. One thing led to another and we got married while we were still college students. Thomas watched this documentary in college and it changed his life. By watching the documentary, he realized that his ancestors had lived during a period where you could be taken from your home and murdered without anyone doing anything about it. The fact that Martin Luther King Jr and other great leaders risked their lives for others was a source of inspiration to him.
He started looking at the opportunity he had with deeper appreciation and genuinely appreciated what the people before him had fought for.
Like, our ancestors literally went through these particular challenges in this country. Therefore, the birth of his son was a life changing moment for him. According to him, this was an opportunity to become a good example to his son. He wanted to provide his son with what his own father was never able to provide for him. Thomas therefore had a chance of building the family he had always wanted when he and his wife were blessed with a son. Or you have an opportunity to be an example to this kid, which means, as soon as the next school year comes around, you need to get your behind back in college, and you need to go back and handle your business for this kid.
Broke people sleep. You got to be willing to sacrifice sleep, if you sleep you may miss the opportunity to be successful. Believing he deserves success Thomas says that the first step you need to take towards achieving your dreams is believing that you deserve success in the first place.
Therefore, he encourages people to put their goals and dreams on paper and believe in them. In order to achieve success, it was important to change this self-image and that is what he did.
He started believing in himself even before making other steps to improve is life. As important as it is to believe in yourself and proceed to write your dreams down, that is not enough to achieve them.
Thomas knows that it is not enough to simply say that you want to be successful, you need to act. There are times when he felt discouraged when pursuing his degree and wondered why he was not achieving what he wanted after putting in an effort for several years but he continued to show up. He says that it is important to make use of each moment you have. He has made a name for himself in the business and professional circles and he is the man to hire when you are looking to expand your opportunities.
He deals with Fortune CEOs, non-profit organizations, Prison inmates, small business owners, automobile workers, and leaders from all walks of life. Les Brown is quite knowledgeable on the science of achievement since it is something he has not only studied for three decades but has mastered it as a result of the numerous interviews he has held with successful business leaders.
He has spent a lot of time with Les Brown is also an author and a television personality. He is the voice that tells people they need to stop living a life of mediocrity and explore their full potential and this is what made the masses know who Les Brown is. This is something that he has learned to do in his own life and he urges others to do the same to ensure that we all live up to our greatness.
My mother gave birth to us on an abandoned building located somewhere in Liberty City. My mother was married to a soldier who worked overseas but she got pregnant by another man and so she decided to secretly travel to Miami and give birth to us. She gave us away when we were three weeks old.
When we were six weeks old, we were adopted by a woman named Mamie brown who was a cafeteria cook. She was unmarried and with a very big heart and she took good care of us. My adopted mother deserves credit for everything that I have accomplished today. She had such strength and character which always inspired me to do great things.
She believed that I would do great things. When I was young, I found it difficult to concentrate in class particularly in reading due to the fact that I was very restless and inactive and liked to have fun. Being labeled a slow learner was tough and the stigma associated with it greatly affected my self-esteem.
It actually took me years to overcome the damage done by the label and the stigma. I accepted and acted slow since my teachers had said that I was. Encouraged by my teacher When I was pursuing my high school education at Booker T. Washington High School, my speech and drama instructor by the name LeRoy Washington made me realize that I had to fight for my dreams.
I even went as far as writing on paper that I was the greatest orator in the world.
Washington did not like my response and warned me never to say that again. These words were so powerful and they helped me break out of the label that I had been given.
He proceeded to say that the world will give me limitations and negative things but the things that empower me originate from within me. Lots of self education High school was the highest form of formal education that I attained. However, I was determined to learn more and so I started on the path of self-education. I knew that persistence and determination would help me achieve what I wanted and so I continued on this journey and it enabled me to give my opinions, observations and findings on human potential.
I had a great passion for learning and a hunger to know more and this is what took me from stage in life to another. Career and jobs After high school, I did a couple of jobs.
I was a city sanitation worker but this was the first time I felt motivated to pursue what I wanted. I therefore fought to get into radio broadcasting since I had grown up fascinated by patter produced by disc jockeys.
I was given odd jobs to perform at the radio station. I had literally bugged the owner until he found me something to do. I wanted to become a DJ and so learnt what I needed to while working at the radio station. An opportunity arose one day when the disc jockey in charge was drunk while on air and there was no one else at the station besides myself. I then took the microphone and helped him out.
The owner of the station was impressed by my work and he promoted me to a part-time disc jockey and later on to a full-time one.
I continued working my way up and was later made a broadcast manager. This widened my world and opened me up to new opportunities. I became more socially conscious and turned into an activist. I would urge my listeners to take political action to create change.
We later worked together on my motivational tours and programs where he would oversee things. I considered him to be a master communicator due to the fact that he was able to move audiences. To me, he was an international figure. However, he was later fired as his superiors thought he was too controversial. I won the seat representing the 29th House District.
I got more legislation during my initial year compared all the freshmen who have ever represented Ohio legislative. Your disposition controls the destination of your life and places you in a position to succeed.
Reprogramming My Mind God knew I needed a better coping mechanism to get me through the mental anguish of being homeless. Being separated from my family and not being able to talk to my mom on a daily basis was enough to break me down mentally.
The holidays were the worst. I knew my parents would not mind me coming over for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas, but my pride would not let me humble myself. In my mind, calling somehow was a sign of weakness.
In fact, it was that kind of thinking that made me feel like I had to cut them off—especially my mom. It was luck that brought me to a new environment where I would be exposed to some life changing information. I learned a valuable lesson in that environment: I also learned that I needed to annihilate all negative thinking.
When my thoughts were consumed with negativity, the thoughts often became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In short, the song illustrated that worrying would only further complicate the situation. I spent a great deal of time walking and talking to myself and praying. I used my imagination to control my thoughts about what my life could be like. I sang songs. I may not have been able to carry a note, but through singing I could forget the challenges I had as long as that song was in my heart.
It had more to do with their outlook on life and their ability to keep momentum on their side. Through my observation of these people I discovered that I had a much better chance of placing myself in a position to succeed if I had faith. I learned that there are three categories of people when it comes to faith. The first group has no faith whatsoever. They are from Missouri, the show me state. The second group has a measure of faith, but not enough to experience any real outcomes. The last group lives by faith.
They are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune and as a result, their expectations often become self- fulfilling prophecies. Ask, Believe, and Claim it. I have upgraded to a first class seat from coach without paying any extra money on many occasions simply because I asked. When I finally began to believe that my presentations were worthy, the checks began rolling in.
Finally, Claim it. According to the dictionary, claim means to demand as a right. In short, to claim something means to expect it long before it happens. I was looking to download my first house and I was told that the neighborhood I wanted to live in was beyond my financial means. I had the real estate agent take me through the homes anyway and when I saw this one particular house, I knew it was mine.
My realtor took me to seven other homes within my supposed budget, but I kept thinking of the one I knew belonged to me. So instead of worrying and allowing doubt to consume my thoughts, I went to the grocery store and picked up some empty boxes and started packing as if the house was already mine.
A month later my realtor called and said the couple that owned the house was relocating and wanted to accept my offer. Individuals who are able to maintain momentum listen to their intuition. I was going through so much in my life that dating was the last thing on my mind.
I was hoping that if I gave it a few weeks the feelings for her would pass, but something in my gut kept telling me I needed to get to know her. She had such a nurturing and caring spirit for someone so young. It took me a long time to introduce myself to her because of her mother. She reminded me of one of those secret service men who work in the White House protecting the President.
In addition to being scared of her mom, I was never the most suave guy when it came to the ladies. I never dated in middle school, and in high school I was never in a real relationship. After the first few weeks of attending church, I knew I had to take a chance. I decided to hire Bob as my personal private investigator. His job was to find out every bit of information possible without letting it be known that I was the one who needed the intel.
She was single. I learned once that the Romans considered Cupid to be the god of erotic love. While I was never a believer of Roman or Greek mythology myself, there was something mythical about my emerging romance with De. My relationship with her would prove to be a huge swing of positive momentum. She was more than a girlfriend; she was my best friend. She was constantly looking out for me.
Whether it meant giving me her allowance so I could have some money to eat or sneaking me into the house in the winter to sleep in her closet when I was between living situations, De had my back and never let me down.
She was my angel sent straight from the Lord himself. Principle Stop sabotaging yourself. While my love for De was growing exponentially, if there was one thing about her that bothered me, it was her mouth. She never held anything back.
If she thought it, she said it. You need to make up your mind what you want to do. Are you trying to get your life together for real, or are you just saying that to impress me? You know you are going to end up going to jail or get killed.
I am not visiting you in jail Eric. Eric, are you listening to me?
She was constantly nagging me about school. I used to think Pastor Willis put her up to pushing me into getting my G. Pastor Willis knew I had a soft spot for De and that I was bound to go take my test just off the strength of the love I had for her. He was asked which coach the players liked most, their former coach, Larry Brown, or their new coach, Flip Saunders keep in mind Larry Brown had won a championship with the team just a few years prior.
Chauncey gave a diplomatic answer; he said the verdict was still out. Flip Saunders gave them more freedom on defense and allowed them to open it up on the offensive end. In short, the players may have liked Flip Saunders more for his laid back style, but they never won a championship.
I felt the same way about my relationship with De.
I felt like she pushed me too hard. It was as if she had forgotten about all my hardships and the struggles I was going through. But De wanted us to be champions. De was pushing me towards greatness but I was scared to make a whole hearted attempt to reach it. I was purposely sabotaging my chances of succeeding and the momentum I had gained was quickly fading. You have to be disgusted with your current circumstances before your circumstances can change.
You have to be smart enough to know when life presents you with a golden opportunity and you have to be courageous enough to take advantage of it. My relationship with De was that golden opportunity, but the pressure was mounting.
My mother used to say there are two types of pressure- good and bad. I grabbed her hand and sat her down on the top stair of the porch. Do I love you? I am going to college, Eric I am not going to stay in State; I am going down south and I want you to come with me.
You want me to come? Hell, this is the first time you even mentioned the fact that you were going to college. What am I supposed to do? Just because you are going to college I am supposed to pack up my life here and follow you down south? So either we go together and continue our relationship or else. Just Do It. At some point we have to stop making excuses and like Nike…Just do it.
Accepting the challenge meant more than running up to another black male and blindsiding him, or stepping to a female and randomly asking her for her number. This dare would require more than a few minutes of my time and some random act of foolishness…no, this dare would require that I make some serious changes.
This is where most people drown, quit the race, and abandon their dreams. This is where the rubber meets the road. It is the point where the boys and the men are separated. Two, she knew it would be hard pressed for me to up and leave Bob, and she also knew it was going to be equally challenging for me to walk away from the block. She also knew that the church had a major impact on changing my life, but somehow it did not have the power to penetrate all aspects of my life.
Her last chance of convincing me to take school serious was to use her influence on me.
I knew De cared for me, but to hear her say to my face how much I meant to her blew me away. And I knew how much I loved her, and I was willing to do whatever it took to prove my love. Wanting to prove my love and actually passing the G. Talk is cheap; actually walking the walk requires Blood, Sweat and Tears. If I passed the test, I could leave the D, start all over again, and take my relationship with De to another level. I will be your Motivation. In some cases, Success is less about hard work, resources, and skill, and more about motivation.
Sometimes you have to find the right incentives that push you and drive you before you can reach your dreams. By the time I was 18 I had screwed up so much that I started doubting myself and started believing all the venom people were spiting.
The worst part was that it seemed like my mother was one of my biggest haters. She was so disappointed in my previous actions that she did not even get excited when I told her I was going to college. I guess I cried wolf one too many times for her to believe that this one was legitimate.
Well, she did not actually say his name, but I knew exactly to whom she was referring. Her hatred for me was unparalleled! In her eyes I was another thug with no future and nothing but trouble for her little princess No teacher, counselor, not even my parents could get me to see the value of school.
Somehow De was the only one who could convince me that school was my ticket out of Detroit. Even though I was afraid I would fail and I was petrified of going to college and leaving the D, I was not going to let that stop me from keeping my word to De.
I promised her that when she started school in the fall, she would not be there alone. We were going to school together and if I had it my way, we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.
When you make a decision to change, the Universe will do all in its power to make sure you have everything you need to make that change. All you have to do is be cooperative. One evening at Wednesday night prayer service I made a deal with God. I was not sure if that was an appropriate thing to do, but I was desperate.
I told God if he blessed my living situation, I would do whatever He asked me to do. No sooner than church ended, Brother and Sister Cannonier called me to the side. I later discovered that Sister Cannoier was from Trinidad and Brother Cannonier was from Tobago, a small island off the Atlantic Coast and like most underprivileged nations, opportunities for prosperity are scarce. They constantly reminded me of the opportunity I had as an American and how I need not take it for granted.
They did not just talk about it; they lived it. I watched them both rise early in the morning and start the day off with Worship. The house rule was that anyone who stayed the night also rose for worship. It was crazy being exposed to the West Indian grind. Sister Cannonier woke up every morning and made fresh biscuits from scratch. After she cooked, she got dressed and headed to Murray Wright High School to put in eight hours as a math teacher.
Brother Cannonier was a carpenter by trade, but he had about three jobs. I am not sure which one he went to first thing in the morning, but I knew for sure he was working on one of his properties at night. I was exposed to a great deal in the short time I lived with them and as a result, I learned a great deal.
Of the many values I learned from the Cannoniers, the one that stuck most was the non-negotiable family worship session every morning and evening. I am not sure if their sons, Sammy and Shane, were feeling family worship, but Brother and Sister Cannonier were committed to it. They also were committed to happiness. Hard work was another value I was exposed to. I grew up in a working class environment. I saw my parents and most of the neighbors get up in the morning and go to work, but this was a different type of work.
They literally gave up everything and came to the United States to create a better life for their family. You need your undivided attention. There will be a number of distractions enticing you to go back to your past ways. I assumed Lil B wanted to talk about the beat down we just put on these church boys.
It was something like a showdown from an old western. It started about a year ago and climaxed that night at a church basketball game. By the time we turned around we saw about four cats in a sports car swiftly approaching us. Instead of moving to the side and letting them pass through, I noticed B stop abruptly in the middle of the road and had this look like, I am not moving and you better slow down and go around me or something real is going to pop off up in here. Desreck and I were going to get out of the middle of the road until we noticed that B had not moved.
B did not blink and he did not say a word. Being out numbered was nothing new for us.
In the city we would stare another brother down in a minute and dare them to fight because our crew was so massive. Because we were outnumbered, they confidently jumped out the car to see if we would back down. After about 15 minutes of going back and forth, B said something about his older brother that was enough to shut the arguing down. Apparently, they attended the same school with his older brother and knew he had a reputation of laying cats out. B kept his word.
Before the fight at the game a few of us decided to go to a major church collaboration and we kind of figured they were not going to come on our side of town the west side , but we were wrong. On my way to the restroom I noticed about three of them walking toward me, so I did a serious degree rotation and ran back to the balcony and warned the guys.
By the time we exited the church and dashed to the parking lot and back to the ride, they were on our trail quickly.
Goodloe told us to start the car, pop the trunk, and meet him at the spot. I figured it did not take all of us to start the car, so I stayed with Loe.
He was about 6 feet 4 or 5 with a long reach. As soon as the fight reached us, Loe dropped the boulders. The first dude fell back. We hopped in the ride and headed back to the Twain to holler at the rest of the crew about the near beat down and figure out how and when we were going to deal with them. B suggested we wait and surprise them. He told us they played in the church basketball league and specifically, they played against their team twice during the season and we could bum rush them in the middle of the game.
Somehow I was in the moment and I forgot all about De and college. In that moment I felt trapped, like there was no way out. On the one hand, I wanted to sit this one out. I was a few months away from getting out of the hood and spending the next four years with my girl without her mother all in our business.
On the other hand, I wanted to show my loyalty to my homies. This was my moment to show the homies my appreciation for having my back and practically raising me as far as the street game was concerned. I felt like I did not have a choice, I needed to hop in the ride and represent. One night, one ride, could change the rest of my life for the rest of my life. It meant we all made it back to the block alive without anyone getting hurt or put in a bag. Plus, we made it off the premises before the police made it to the game.
Get out while you are alive. I am proud of you boy, now go make the Twain proud. Got my G. As I took my seat, my palms were sweaty and I could feel my legs shaking uncontrollably. Instead of panicking, I stopped and whispered a silent prayer. God would come through for me and I felt in my heart He could come through again.
So I grabbed my pencil, filled out my name on the Scan-tron and went to work. I approached the G. This exam had major lifelong implications. If I failed, I knew I would be broken. My entire future was riding on the results of this exam. For one, I could potentially lose my girl for life. Two, I would be trapped in Detroit for the rest of my life. I learned quickly that the hood is a dead end. I did not know one drug dealer that retired from the game. Even if the Feds did not catch up with them, some jealous snitch ratted them out, or some scorned female set them up.
And worse than that, I did not want to be one of those cats sitting on the porch drinking a 40 oz. On the other hand, if I passed, it was an automatic renewal on life. A renewal I so desperately needed. The test was timed so I had to be strategic. I did not want to rush it and risk making stupid mistakes, but I could not afford to be too methodical and waste so much time focusing on one section.
So my strategy was to skip all the questions I did not know immediately, and focus my energy on the questions I knew or thought I knew. The majority of the sections lasted about an hour and a half. That gave me enough time to nail the ones I knew and wrestle with the questions that were written in seemingly a foreign language. During my breaks, I was so nervous I did not speak to anyone. I did not even use the payphone to call De. I spent the entire break praying.
I felt really good about my chances to pass the exam until the instructor handed out the writing portion. In my mind the other sections of the test were easier because they only required deductive reasoning. I read a passage and based on the information provided, I selected one of four possible answers. It was a blank sheet of paper with nothing on it. To make matters even worse, they allotted the least amount of time to complete this section.
I wasted the first 15 minutes trying to create a thesis. I closed my eyes and shook my head. I barely finished the conclusion and did not have time to edit my work. All you need to do is visit the administrative office tomorrow after 3: However, your written portion will be mailed to D. The next day I woke up with a serious knot in my stomach and I was quiet the entire day.
I did not have much of an appetite, and I did not feel like being sociable. The test results were the only thing on my mind. I was dressed, out of the house, and at the bus stop one hour early. I made it to the school by 2. I walked up to the window and wrote down my name, time of arrival, and my ID number. I went outside to open the envelope so no one in the room would see my reaction to the scores.
Initially, the numbers did not make a lot of sense, but at the bottom of the G. I did not score a in every section but when I added up all the section, I realized I passed with flying colors. Unfortunately, I had mixed emotions. I wanted to run to the nearest payphone and call De, but the last thing I wanted to do was call her and celebrate prematurely only to later find out that I failed the writing portion. In fact, I was more terrified after realizing I passed the first phase than I was taking the test in the first place.
I remember thinking I had more to lose now than ever. If I had never taken the test I could always say I would have passed it if I had I taken it, I just did not feel like taking it. That way I would never have to face my fears and I could create this illusion in my mind to prevent me from feeling like a failure. I was good at that. But the stakes were high and there was no turning back at that point.
If I failed the written portion, Eric Thomas Is a Complete Failure, would be written in stone forever and my fate would be sealed. So when I finally spoke with De later that day I just told her I had to wait two weeks to get my results. It seemed like the longest two to three weeks of my life, but one random weekday I got a letter from the Department of Education.
I remember sitting there looking at it for a while before I opened it. It was pouring rain outside and the wind was whipping against the window in a fierce manner.
My eyes began to water and my neck began its infamous twitch. I opened the letter and read slowly. Dear Mr. Thomas the nature of this letter is to inform you that you have successfully completed the written portion of the G.
I dropped the letter and took off running down the street in the middle of the rain yelling and screaming uncontrollably. People think the only requirement is giving up all the bad habits.
That is the easy part. The difficult part about pursuing your dreams is that it often requires us to sacrifice some of the things we cherish. For instance, you may have to sever certain relationships, certain things and certain places. It was the latter that made it so hard for me to say goodbye. Despite all the negativity and all the things I had been through, Detroit still had a special place in my heart.
Hell, all I ever really knew was Detroit so even though I was excited about the idea of going away to college, I was afraid of going so far away from home. Alabama was approximately miles from Detroit—a long way from the only place I ever really knew as home. I did not have any family in Huntsville, Alabama or friends for that matter.
I knew Alabama would not be like Detroit. I heard about the racism, the KKK, and how African Americans were treated like second- class citizens. But I was willing to take my chances and venture out in the unknown if it meant being with De. Sister Cannonier gave me a great big hug and a bag with lunch for the road. I drove by St. Bede on 12 mile, and then passed Southfield Lathrup on the way toward my parents. As I approached the house the events that occurred over two years ago replayed in my head.
As I walked through the doors, I gave my little sisters Jeneco and Malori a hug and a kiss and told them I love them and that I would miss them. I spoke with my parents briefly. As I got out of the car I began feeling sick to my stomach. Bob meant the world to me and now I felt as if I was leaving him high and dry. On the walk up to the house I began imagining that he was coming with me and that I was just there to pick him up. I knocked on the door and Bob came out with that classic smile on his face.
I mean, here was the guy that poured so much into me at a time when I had nothing and nobody, and I was the one off to college while he stayed in Detroit. Bob was the first one who told me about Oakwood years ago before I even thought about college. I would have traded spots with Bob that instant if I thought I could.
We hit 75 south towards Toledo and passed Tiger Stadium. I could not decide what I wanted to major in, and I was not really sure what courses I should or maybe more importantly should not take. I was like a deer in headlights. Despite my academic indecisiveness, one thing was for sure, I came too far to fail. I promised myself this time that I would choose my inner circle wisely. Like I said, I knew from first-hand experience, not from what I read in a book or from what my parents told me, how one friendship could make or break a person.
So I spent the first few weeks observing. Those who have spent any time in the hood had to acquire this skill to survive.
So like a hawk that hovers over a particular area waiting for the right moment to swoop in, I observed everybody I came in contact with. I watched and I listened to their conversations and to the best of my ability, I tried to determine who was just talking and who was serious.
I knew if I were going to make it in my new environment, I would have to surround myself with individuals who knew where they were headed and had a serious plan of action. For example, I could not hook up with people because they were from Chicago or Detroit or because football was their favorite sport or because we were Virgos.
What drew me to Daphnis? Like all the greats, he had an aura about him. I can still picture him walking through campus with this one colorful dashiki with the continent of Africa embroidered on it.
Even though Irv had the ability to go toe-to-toe with the best of them and although as a freshman he easily matched the intelligence of most upper classmen, he never felt the need to isolate himself from the average Joe like myself. He also had a passion for knowledge and he identified with the struggle of his people. In fact, Irv was so proud of his heritage that we nicknamed him Black.
I remember the first oratorical contest I attended and watched Irv go to work. He breezed through the first few rounds and made it to the finals. I have to be honest, I was nervous when I found out he was competing against this other freshmen by the name of Furman Fordham, also known as Pucky.
I was blown away the first time I heard him speak too. His gift was his command of words; he was like a walking dictionary. We ran in different circles, but I admired him from a far. He was one of those guys who made me feel like I did not stand a chance at the collegiate level.
To my surprise, the contest was a dogfight. They went back and forth and back and forth. It was a tough decision for the judges, but to my surprise Irv pulled off the upset. I walked away from that contest a changed man. Watching another black male freely articulate in the way Irv did that day gave me the confidence that I needed to start believing in myself and my abilities. Not to mention the fact I discovered that Irv was Haitian and the fact that he was a first generation American inspired me even further.
Irv had the blue print; the competitive advantage and I needed to sit under his feet so I could learn from him. I remember thinking there are quite a few theories to memorize and after about twenty or more I kind of figured, this might not be the subject I want to spend the rest of my life studying. But I must admit, I somewhat liked the whole symbiosis lesson because I could use it to gauge any relationship. It was simple and straight to the point.
All relationships, whether the relationship was between you and your boys or with a female, fell into one of three categories. When I got to college I used the concepts from symbiosis to decide which relationship to invest in and which ones to cut. My relationship with Irv Black was a no brainer. I knew I was not on his level. He clearly had more to offer in the relationship then I did. For one, he finished high school and was clearly more intelligent than I was. Two, he had some leadership experience because he served as a youth leader for the Urban League in his community.
And to top it off, he had impeccable administrative skills. My only challenge was to make sure I did not fall into either the commensalism or parasitism category. I knew it was not about equal giving; it was about equal sacrifice. I had a slight competitive edge because I knew what most people did not know; even the great ones need a competent sidekick.
So between the codes of ethics I learned in the hood and what I knew about mutualism, I knew this relationship could create a dynamic duo. I could not have written the script any better. To this day I am not sure how Tre became a part of the team but just know Tre elevated Black and me from a dynamic duo to a tenacious trio. They wanted to let me know they felt God was leading us to do something big on campus, but they did not know exactly what it was.
So Tre initiated a fast. He believed that fasting was a way of clearing the mind from all distractions so we could get in tune with the mind of God. So the plan was to fast from everything but water for seven days. I did not grow up in church, so fasting was a foreign concept.
Despite how ludicrous the idea sounded at first, I consented. And all I can say is that three months after the fast we became a part of a groundbreaking, life-changing program that not only took the campus by storm but would also eventually transform our lives and impact the world.
It was amazing to see what was birthed from a small meeting of three and a seven-day fast. The student lead initiative would be known as the Bell Tower Ministry. Black was the president and founder, Tre was the vice president and our spiritual advisor, and I was the glue guy who kept us all together. By the grace of God, I was never jealous of the relationship between Black and Tre. I never once thought I should be the vice president because I knew Black first.
Besides I knew Tre was a better number two man than I was and that I could best serve the squad from a supporting role. He was so different from Black in that he added a spiritual and meek dimension that was missing. Tre was way more levelheaded and methodical than Black and I, who tended to be a bit more radical and loud. I brought that Detroit blue-collar mentality to the squad.
In this, his debut autobiography, Eric shares that secret with the rest of the world. By chronicling his days sleeping in abandoned buildings in the unforgiving Detroit winters, to his rise as a successful husband, father, CEO, educator and motivational speaker, Eric inspires the masses to reach greatness.
In one of Eric's speeches entitled Secrets 2 Success surfaced on YouTube and quickly went viral reaching over 1 million views. It was the response to this video and the subsequent thousands of emails and phone call from viewers ranging from high school teachers and students, to professional athletes and CEO's of fortune companies seeking Eric's advice on how to reach their maximum potential that ultimately led to the writing of this book.
In the book, Eric not only details his struggles and successes, he also provides invaluable advice on how anyone can take their life from its current state to places they never dreamed imaginable. Spirit Reign Communication Publication Date: