Hustling – From the Streets to the Boardroom


“Read this and maybe you will be someone one day”

Those were the words my dad spoke as he handed me a book on the Mafia.  I was 12 years old and very impressionable.  I would stay with my dad during the weekends.  He would rent gangster movies for me to watch while he was away at work.  He was obsessed with the lifestyle.

During my childhood my dad was involved in criminal activities that ranged  from selling drugs to running numbers.  He tried to hide it from me, but I knew.  He hung around with low level, wannabe mafia types.  They sat in diners all night long drinking coffee, breaking each others balls about women and how “rich” the next guy was.   The fact of the matter was none of them were rich.

They told stories about the past while laughing obnoxiously loud in public places, creating a scene.  The majority of what came out of their mouths were either lies or half-truths.  It was like watching a bad episode of the Sopranos 20 years before it was a show.

As a kid I loved it.  I couldn’t wait to be around his friends.  I thought they were the greatest.  I idolized them.  They had nice cars, which my father never had.  Some wore gaudy jewelry and always carried big wads of cash.

They were always excited to see me and treated me like royalty.  Unlike my father who usually put me down and made me feel less than.  When I grew up I wanted to be like them.  I had become obsessed with that lifestyle.

At 13 I started selling weed to my friends.  At first, I stole it from my brother and my friend’s dad until I found my own source to buy it.  I bagged it up in little dime bags and sold it to friends for $10 a piece.

Even back then I remember wanting to make sure I always gave people a great deal.  I packed the bags I sold nice and full, removing the stems from the buds.  When I bought weed from other people it was mainly stems and seeds.  I hated that and wanted to be different, even it meant I made less money.

As I got a littler older and progressed from selling weed to coke, my mentality on making a profit changed.  I cut my product, but tried to maintain a certain quality standard.  I found that if I added seven grams of cut to an ounce of quality coke and mixed it well people rarely complained.  To stretch my profits further I would make half grams weigh .4 instead of .5 and my grams weigh .8 instead of 1.  These two tricks net me an additional $500 in profit if I didn’t use too much of it myself. (more…)

On Resentments…

burning paper 02

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ”

Resentments undermine progress and wreak havoc on my life.   They serve no purpose other than to drain my emotional health and positivity.  Resentments keep me in the past.  They handcuff me and stifle my ability to move forward.

Resentments have very little to do with what another person has done to me.  They are about the injustice I feel I have suffered and find unacceptable.  I hold onto these toxic feelings because they are comfortable and familiar.  I don’t have to think much to process them.  I can simply feel the anger and indignation fester inside of me and know that I’m alive.

12 step programs thoroughly discuss and address resentments in their literature.  One of the most powerful statements that I have read on the subject comes from the Big Book of AA:

“This mental habit extracts tremendous costs. After all, resentment does nothing to change the person we resent. Nor does it resolve conflict. Instead of freeing us from the wrongs of others, resentment allows those people to dominate our thinking — a kind of emotional bondage.”

Working through resentment is an arduous task.  It takes the ability to truly let go and not only forgive someone else, but yourself as well.  In every resentment usually lies shame, embarrassment, guilt, sadness and anger (the list extends far past that).  I feel that my actions have played a role in creating all of my resentments .  There is a part of me that questions what I could have done differently in order to avoid these feelings.

In order for me to relinquish my resentments I need to get passed my fragile ego and accept things for how they are.  That is the starting point.  From there, there are others processes that I have been taught, or learned on my own, to create a resentment free life.

I have been told to pray for the people I resent.   Asking God to give these people all that I would want for myself.  It takes the power away from the resentment.  If you are able to pray for someone you have such ill will towards you can overcome your feelings.  At first it may feel like just words.  That’s fine; go through the motions anyway.  I have done this for several years and it has helped me.

The other day I tried a powerful exercise.  I wrote a list of everyone that I was resentful towards.  Then next to each persons name I made a very detailed list of each reason I had to resent them.  Some of these reasons seemed silly and foolish, but it was important that I write them down.  It got all my feelings out of my head and made them real and concrete.

I had to be willing to be uncomfortably honest with myself about why I harbored each resentment.  Sometimes those feelings were embarrassing even to admit to myself.  However, it was important for me not to be judgmental about what I wrote as that could keep me from being completely forthcoming.

I started the list with the most obvious person that I harbor the most resentment toward, myself.  This list was by far the longest.  There are just so many things I have done that I resent.

Then I added my family, my ex girlfriend and people from my past that tormented me.  I added anyone to my list if I dwelled upon their “unacceptable” actions towards me.

By the end of the exercise I had 10 people on that list.  That seems like a lot of people to have resentments against.  I have struggled to let go of this poison.

After the list was completed I reread what I had written.  That sparked some more ideas of what I was resentful about and I added to the list again.  Once I had emptied my tank and my list was complete I folded the papers, said goodbye and burned them it my sink.

I watched as the flames grew larger and smoke emanated from the paper.  The words turned black and slowly disappeared in front of me until eventually the list was nothing but ash.

The process of writing them down on paper,  facing them and then burning them  was cathartic.  I felt a sense of relief.  The burden of all the resentments I had carried round with me for far too long seemed lighter and less intense.

Resentments can only live inside of our hearts and minds.  They do not exist anywhere else.  The more they are ignored the stronger they become.  Learning to resolve resentment gives us mental and emotion freedom, as well as the ability to become more confident, happy and cognizant of the world around us.

Holy Shit I Talk Too Much


Sometimes I can’t shut the fuck up.  I get so excited about the words that are about to come out of my mouth that I can’t hold onto them any longer.  I just blurt them out.  Sometimes in the middle of what someone else is saying.   It’s rude and inconsiderate, I realize that.  However, sometimes I can’t help myself.

My story telling skills can be maddening.  Brevity is not one of my strong points.  It’s something I struggle with in my writing as well.  I feel like every little nuance and detail is germane to the story and I have to explain them thoroughly.  But most people would be happier with the cliff notes.

Diarrhea of the mouth has actually caused me talk my way out of getting laid.  Sometimes I oversell way too hard.  I have to get another story in and keep pushing the envelope of what I can get away with a woman.  I feel its part of my charm.  I’ve had numerous women beg me not to talk so much.  They have literally told me I would be better off  sitting there and looking pretty.

I have a tendency to want to dominate my interactions with others.  I always have such amazing and interesting content to add to every conversation.  At least I think so.  The reality is I need to shut up and listen more often than not.

I can learn so much more by listening to others and what they have to  offer.  When I’m in a conversation and I hear something I feel I know a lot about, I tend to interject before they finish to make myself seem more intelligent or witty.

In the past I have been very opinionated and judgmental.  I have been trying to keep those opinions to myself lately.  Unless someone really asks for it.  Then they will get an earful they may not have planned for.

I’m the type of person who is rarely at a lack of words when it comes to dishing out advice.  I’ll give you more than you ever imagined.  I don’t realize that so often people just need to vent and get it all out.  They aren’t looking for my thoughts on the issue.  They only want me to listen.  I mean really listen.  Not just keep quiet long enough for them to finish their sentence just so I can speak again.

Listening is the most important skill for building all relationships.  People want to know they are being heard and understood.  It’s the basis for Sales 101.  Understanding the customers needs.  Any idiot can ramble on, talking to hear themselves speak.

Truly listening and appreciating the wants and needs of the person you are interacting with is priceless.  The more I work on this skill, the more I create fruitful and long lasting relationships in all aspects of my life.  Which is a key to creating a fulfilling, meaningful existence.