Rise of the Millennials

Peace, my name is Chris Wise. I’m a writer, artist, and activist from Brooklyn, NY. Kareem is a great friend of mine and I’ve been a subscriber to Aghanomics for a few years now. I’m here to relay some of my life experiences, hoping to impart the spark for your personal evolution.

This is me (right) with the founder of Sneakers for Success (center), an educational non-profit using sneakers as a transformational medium to connect with underrepresented youth. We teach students about the origins and significance of sneaker culture and expose them to opportunities in the sneaker industry. Kenny, on the left, is one of my best friends. Teamwork makes the dreams work!

“As digital natives and emissaries from the future, the millennials hold the keys to unlocking the secrets of tomorrow.” – Forbes Leadership Forum

With each passing day, it may seem that the decks stacked against you heighten exponentially. The struggle to find meaningful employment is absolutely serious: only 25% of graduates in 2010 had a job secured on Graduation Day. This is a grim figure but, I assure you, there is light.

The world is yours. I find myself passing this message along to one of my peers practically every day. The key to your destiny lies within you. As the children of the digital+information age, the world is literally at our fingertips. Once immovable barriers to entry in many industries are falling by the wayside, causing a boom in entrepreneurship. Creativity is abounding, as the youth are inspired to make a difference in this heavily-flawed world we inhabit today. Here in New York City, I meet talented young artists daily, and we are building a renaissance to raise the level of consciousness among our peers and become the changes we wish to see.

The first building block to achieving your dreams is knowledge, the foundation of life. You are what you know. The most vital knowledge to possess, and remain cognizant of each day is knowledge of self. Get to know yourself: meditate on your desires and your dreams; establish goals (Note from my mentor: It is only a goal if there is a deadline); examine your network of friends and family; analyze some of your previous decisions to discover your inner-motivations. Once you have a strong knowledge base, you can begin a course of action (read: work absurdly hard) to reach your destination. Enjoy the flow of life, but always dedicate time to strategic planning.

We are trapped within the college-industrial complex, but it does not have to be an oppressive situation. The onus is on you to cultivate a college experience that is worth the exorbitant amount of time, energy, and resources that you will be giving to this school. Four years is a LONG time; do not waste any of it.

In retrospect, I wasted far too much time while racking up more than $15k in loans during my two years at UMass. However, the work I did and the connections that were forged will pay major dividends in my future. Now I attend the City University of New York where I attend school for free! The degree will look and feel exactly the same, and I am more than happy with this decision to stay home.

Subvert the school system: get the degree that best suits your passions in life, take the classes that matter to you, join student organizations that will further your social capital and stimulate your thinking. Perhaps most importantly, associate with people who can empower your success: choose your friends wisely, and find mentors that can provide specific wisdom on how to seize your aspirations.

I will graduate next year with a degree in Hip-Hop Studies. I’ve always been a great student, but the confinement of college caused me to sour on the concept of school. Today I woke up with clarity: this final year of school, taking a course load entirely created by me, will be a great experience and make me a better artist.

My advice to you: Discover your true passions and dedicate your life to pursuing them. Give every joule of potential energy that you have toward making your dreams come true. Align with the people who can help you get to the top, and reciprocate that same love to them. Trust your struggle. I can’t express the supreme importance of goal-setting enough: establish your vision and stick to it.

NEVER GIVE UP! Just work harder.

Peace and blessings on your journey.

It IS Your Fault

The other day I overheard this woman talking to one of her colleagues on the subway about how her boss is treating her unfairly. I was intrigued and continued to listen in even though eavesdropping isn’t the most ethical thing to do. She said that her boss was mad at her for being late but that her boss does not understand that if she misses her train in the morning that the next one after that is an hour later and that is what causes her to be late. She continued to complain the whole train ride about how her boss doesn’t understand her life and how he needs to be more compliant to her schedule.

You got to be shitting me. Take responsibility for your damn actions and get to work on time. Instead of complaining to your colleague about how you are being treated unfairly figure out a way to get to work on time. The problem is though, in her mind, it is not her fault she is getting into work late. it is the trains fault for not running more often. And in her mind she is not in the wrong for being late to work, it is her bosses fault for not sympathizing with her due to the faultiness of the train system.

Plain and simple you need to grow up and stop being a child about this. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and catch that train every single morning. There is no excuse for being late to work for something with as simple a fix as that. Alright, if you miss the train once or twice a year it is understandable. Things happen sometimes like electrical outages or certain crises that FORCE you to miss that train. But if you are missing that train consistently enough to be reprimanded on it than you simply are not mature enough to have a full time job. Go work a part time job that fits your schedule better. If I was the boss in that situation I would say “Oh you don’t like your commute in the morning to work? The door is right behind you I don’t want whiners on my team. I want people who will shed their blood, sweat and tears for this this company. Not people who are here just to make a paycheck and can’t wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to make sure this is not a problem. Get here early every single day or hit the bricks”.

Where I am going with this is everyone of us in our life have problems. There are some problems that are above our control but almost any problem that you have in your work place CAN be controlled. Whether if it’s you hate your boss, your late to work, you missed a deadline or you cost your company money it IS your fault and start acting like it is. You will earn the respect of your colleagues and when you act in this nature the odds of that mistake happening again are drastically lowered.

What Makes Great People Great?

Everyone one of us has an X-factor within us which, when used properly, allows you to excel to levels you have only dreamt of. That X-factor is the power of your will and mindset. There will always be people that are just as talented as you or just as smart as you. However, if you believe that you will wind up being better than everyone else and are willing to develop the work ethic that will get you there than you will rise above everyone
else. The thing about hard work is that in the beginning it does not really seem to be paying off which is why a lot of people tend to slack. However, what those people do not realize is that the ones that continue to put in the effort are the ones who do succeed. Through hardship and through opulent times it is necessary to always strive for more and out-work everyone around you, that is unless you are happy with mediocrity. There is no reason why you cannot be early to work and leave late everyday. Doing things like this will get you recognized and put you in good terms with your management.

What goes hand in hand with this whole mindset is being able to deal with failure. Failure is inevitable. Even if it is just something small at some point we all fail at something. Thomas Edison failed 6000 times before he finally came up with a working light bulb! The key is being able to immediately move on from your failure and stick to your intitial goals. The only way you will ever be able to push yourself and find out how far you can go is by not fearing failure. In weight-lifting terms how would if you can bench 315 ponds unless you try it? Overcoming this fear of failure and rejection is especially important for those who are interested in getting into sales or business development upon graduation.

In my opinion failure and mediocrity are both just state of minds. If you go into something thinking your going to fail or go into something with the intention of just trying to get by than you will never impress anyone or really advance anywhere. You’ll get your company wide raise every X amount of months and that will be about it. That is not the life I want. I put 110% into everything I do and sacrifice a lot of my personal time to increase my chances of success. I am a big believer in the saying “sacrifice for the greater good” and right now is the time to sacrifice. Sacrifice going to the bars on a Thursday night and stay a few more hours at work. My goal is to make a meaningful impact on the world and to be remembered, not to just be an expendable cog in the system from the ages of 21-65, take as little responsibility as possible along the way, retire and die. If you also want to change the world with me than NOW is your time to start. Also, lets not forget that you have to work hard to ball hard and that sounds pretty damn good to me.

Join me on Twitter and lets start making a difference. @Aghanomics