A few days are left before February 2017 comes to an end, the hashtag blackhistorymonth will disappear like a shining city on a rearview. Other will argue that it’s never about a month but a daily positive attitude of hard work to make every days of the week, every month of the years count. They are right. However, some of us just reprove that celebration for arguable reasons.
Black history month must be about filling a financial and historical void. Waltmart, Macy’s, and Targets for example do not complain about Christmas, Halloween, black Friday, or Valentine’s day. Those companies make millions of dollars during one of those days alone and probably wish those celebrations were extended. On the other hand, here there is 28 days, where the focus is on black history in businesses and their products and some people are not taking advantage to sell more, to use the hashtag as a marketing tool to expand their brands, sell books, create trendy content…
What we call economic segregation others call it a niche. If an entrepreneur launches an app that get random people (a la Uber) to braid people’s hair, it’s obvious that this market is a niche, but it can also be indexed as a segregated business, depend who you ask. However, the word niche is the most qualified here as braiding hair is a particular skill.
Again, think about Halloween and black history month, the words niche and segregated economy, and you will see two different mindset. One his offensive and the other is complaining.
Like Halloween, why is black history month not an opportunity where parents will dress their kids only in African style outfit and buy more products designed and created in the African American or African community? So it’s fine to dress up kids for Halloween for one day but not for supporting an economic behavior that could boost many entrepreneurs and make the community financially better off?
Black history year yes, but look at Walmart and Halloween, in just one day they end up making millions. Since African American buying power has reached the trillions of Dollars, it is more than a Walmart (215.7 billion in 2016 according to Forbes) in its own right. The key word here? Organization.
Build or perish is the new law of evolution! the new survival of the fittest.
Social media are populated with various groups of individuals that have decided to challenge assumptions and question everything about the world we live in. History, religion, economic model, and so forth. Among melaninated people has risen the conscious movement with a fond regard toward the past to build a better future (hopefully). People have labelled themselves kings and queens to resuscitate an ancient history. As much as self-esteem is a core foundation on which every individual must build a better personality, there is something else that made human being special in prehistory. There is something that separate the doers and the dreamers: it’s building.
Humans are makers. In the savannah of Africa where humanity started, the first tools were invented there. It’s in D.R. Congo that the oldest harpoon in world history was found. It’s again in D.R. Congo again that one of the oldest mathematical artefact(25,000 years old), the Ishango bone, was found. The oldest of these mathematical bones(40,000 years old), however, were found in Swaziland (South Africa). The mathematical concepts found on these artefacts prove that these first human beings were intelligent and already laid the foundation of astronomy. We are makers.
What are you building today? Where is your castle? As you have come to discover, this blog is not about feel good history. The purpose is to learn from history key moments and implement strategic solutions or intelligent boss move to impact the future. Ramses II IS DEAD, he will never come back, yet his strategic ideas are still taught in military school. How many people can mention the strategies of Thutmose 3, Hannibal, or Ramses 2 used? How many of these strategies are still relevant in today’s world and businesses? Again, it’s not about feel good history or style over substance. It’s about building something for the future. Hustle for your castle.
The first castle ever built was the African fortress of Buhen in ancient Egypt, the design was later brought in the middle east and then transferred in Europe. Lawrence of Arabia challenged this theory but since the Greeks and the Romans were in Egypt, they could have brought the design of Buhen back in Europe before the crusades. Many other castles or Fortress are still visible in Africa, a quick search on google will display these magnificent architectures build by Africans in Zimbabwe, Mali, Ethiopia, and east Africa. This is the past, a world heritage. What about the present?
More and more people pretend to be kings and queens but where are their castle? Where are their side hustle? Are they cashing on their passion? Everybody needs a side hustle, a personal business after 9 to 5 or on week ends. The economy is changing every day and the world is becoming more and more uncertain. Outsourcing menace more jobs around the world but it has also become a tremendous opportunity to work remotely and get more things done. Author Tim Ferris is a reference in that area. The internet open fantastic opportunities for sales and cooperation. Your computer, even your phone has become your new castle…you don’t need a physical store to sell your stuffs anymore…like money you can be either ruled by technology or impose your rules to make money out of it and rule the world via the internet.
The Assyrian Army Leaves Jerusalem.
8 The commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish. He found him at Libnah, fighting against that city. 9 Then the king of Assyria got a report that said, “King Tirhakah[a] of Ethiopia is coming to fight you.”
PRACTICAL TACTICS AND WISDOM FOR LIFE:
” I, Pharaoh Taharka, diversified Egypt’s source of income. At war with the Assyrians, we did not have access to the red sea and some important mines that used to belong to Egypt. Therefore, we had to send several expeditions further away to find those crucial ressources. I personally reached spain where a cartouche with my name was found. The Egyptian empire during the reign of the 25th dynasty streched from Sudan to the middle east and further away to the west of North Africa. We deversified so that we would not depend on just one source .
Don’t depend on one source of income, deversify. Focus on your main job but find a side hustle. Go the extra mile. Put the hours to develop another profitable source of income. Cash in on your passion to be as great as I was.”
PRACTICAL TACTICS AND WISDOM FOR LIFE: ” I, King Thutmose III wasn’t always self confident. I was a five feet three prince and was not as tall as the majority of my predecessors. Besides, my stepmother, Queen Hatshepsut usurped the crown that belonged to me so I was pushed away of my destiny. Instead of Complaining and making excuses on what I didn’t have or lost, I joined the military to become better, faster, stronger, and more tactical in my approach to solve problems. I learned self discipline and patience so that I would strike in a timely manner to get back what I was dispossessed. My small size turned to be a huge advantage. Most of the soldiers were tall, so they never see me coming. I always defeated my opponents from their weakest point below-their feet. I was unseizable. I learned to always turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Using the same wisdom, I took over a city in the middle east after deceiving them that we surrenred the battle and were ready to give them gifts to mark our abdiction. In fact, my troops were hidden inside the baskets containing the so called gifts. Brought inside the city, they then took over the city exactly like the Trojan horse centuries later…
In time, after 20 long years of preparation, I took over the crown of Egypt and became the undisputed King and the commander in chief who never lost a single battle in the field.
Never make excuses, turn your failure into wisdoms, train yourself to become better, faster, and more tactical.”
King Thutmose III
Photo source: Achievers! Photo credits James C. Lewis of Noire3000 | N3K
Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed college but he dropped back in the single class he found appealing, rewarding, and mind shaping: Calligraphy. The ancient art of calligraphy was the building block through which Jobs would develop his sharp focus and taste for pure and minimalist lines that will transform six industries on the row, Apple and Pixar among others.
Why the ancient Egyptian where such powerful achievers and builders? Because they were visual thinkers. Observe their writing systems. Writing is what separate history to prehistory. In 1998, German Egyptologist Gunter Dreyer found proofs of early signs of writing in the south of Egypt. Writing was therefore invented in Africa instead of Mesopotamia.
Early on, the Egyptian visualized their words to design a world of their own. According to Egyptologist Emile Amelineau, they chose the fauna and flora of central Africa, the land of their origins, in order to represent subjective concepts such as an alphabet, a numeric system, equations, a philosophy, a religion, chemistry, etc.
The pyramids of Egypt are maybe the purest form of creativity and engineering. Their shapes recall fractals which are natural shapes found around us, for instance: leaves, shells, mountains, algae, etc. Thinking visually is one of the most powerful ability of the human brain.
Sitting on his throne around 3200 BCE, Narmer, the Sudanese founder of the first Egyptian dynasty, commends his archivists, historians, and scribes to write in hieroglyph the whole story of his conquests. The Namer macehead is an artifact visible at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It showcases Narmer on his thrown and the wealth he harvested which is 400.000 cattle, 2 420 000 goats, and 120,000 prisoners.
The Egyptologists came up with those numbers after cracking the code behind the hieroglyphs. Needless to say that the Egyptians did not use the so-called Arabic numbers which are in fact Indian numbers. They had a more practical system consisting of attributing numeric values to natural forms. For instance, a frog represents the number:100,000 and a finger represents: 10,000 while a coil of rope represents: 100 and so on. Ridiculous? Not at all. Our brain processes logic and imagination. To simplify the concept, we have a left brain which is more logic and a right brain which deals more with our imagination. However, the right and left brain theory has been criticized a lot, for the brain is more complex than that. This is here only a framework to simplify the concept we will explain.
Mnemonic is a design that associate emotional and tangible values in order to remember something. It uses the law of linking and visualization. The people with the strongest memory use mnemonic technics to enhance their abilities and remember a lot of details in a few amount of time. This is exactly what the hieroglyph are:A powerful mnemonic system that use the left and right brain to enable people to processes efficiently mathematical problems for example.
Surprisingly, the ancient Egyptian kids never memorized time-table; there was an algorithm embedded in their hieroglyphs that prevented them to memorize those pesky time table. They knew for example that any number can turn into a binary number system. Therefore, operations were easier to implement. To illustrate, look up on the internet-Michael Schneider ancient Egyptian math video. You will see an easier way to do any multiplication a la Egyptian without time table. It is the same system used in modern computers today.
The so-called Vedic math in India and the Chinese multiplication has also powerful drawing and logic tricks to make life way easier. This is how the brain of the builders of the pyramids worked. It is how our brain should work and should be used not only for mathematics but also to design our life and set our goals.
In his book African alphabets: The story of writing in Afrika, graphic designer and author Saki Mafundikwa debunks the myth of the illiteracy of precolonial sub-Saharan Africa. There was many systems of writing known in secret society or the elites who transmitted their knowledge only to initiated people. Even in Ancient Egypt, the scribes were a special caste so the majority of the Egyptians did not write or read.
The sub-Saharan writing systems were similar to the hieroglyphs, for they were stylish images with a broad meaning. The Sankofa symbol is a powerful example. It was therefore a mnemonic system with both logic and imagination intertwined to impact the brain.
There is a binary system that design our mind: logic and imagination. Hoffer said “The creative imagination only begins to move efficiently if memory has previously been enriched with facts and images in direct contact with things and with all the senses. In this rich and varied reserve of sensitive representations, the mind finds at will the elements of an imaginative creation, from which will emerge the elaboration of new ideas.”The acronym is also a mnemonic technique. These two are popular acronyms for TEAM and FOCUS:
These acronyms sync the words effectively in your brain. We can use the same technic to design our plans. A mere list of wishful actions won’t impact the brain in the long run. Write your goals with a clear vision not only in mind but also on paper. You can write your first or last name with an acronym that states your goals, for example. Get creative.
Also, trace a vertical line in the middle of a paper or your word processor. On the left (brain), write what you want to accomplish. On the right side, draw or find a visually striking picture that match that goal. You are a grown up, not in kindergarten, I know but this is how the brain of the best of the bests works; those who keep the wonder of their youth. Print out the paper and pin it on your wall or take a picture of it, and read it every day, morning, noon, and night. It Works!
Joshua Foer, a former United States memory champion, shared his memory trick this way: Putting images on a certain frame, he can remember hundreds of numbers and words etc. Foer uses the major system which gives numeric values to letters a specific set of letters. Therefore numbers becomes words then images that you can visualize.
For instance, If you have to remember a lenghty series of number including the number 105, you can use the major system to convert it into letters. MKL=105 then picture Michael Jackson or Michale Jordan flying. MKL refers to Michael. The pictures have to be put on a memory palace to create a coherent story that will inlude the numbers you need to remember on the form of familar set of letters. Using this technic, he is able to memories the first hundreds digit of pie. I wish I knew this in high school where I totally blacked out, failing to deliver my poems properly.
Jack Hirsh, a motivational speaker and hypnotist wrote in a fast company’s article titled: Picture your goal-no, really picture it: “Start by taking a deep breath, placing your hands flat on a chair or desk, and concentrating tightly on an image. That image can be anything, but it’s probably most useful to you if you pick something that represents a goal you have…Concentrate on inhabiting this imagined experience—and stay in this state for a while. It will force your mind to start making subconscious associations, helping you to move from where you are in your day to the point you need to reach in the future.”
Shark Tank investor and Fubu’s founder Daymond John set 10 goals that he read every mornings and nights five days a week. 7 of those goals expire within 6 months (John visualizes health , family, and business in that category), 2 expires in five years, and 1 in 20 years. The list has of course a road map to get there. The fear of rejection and the laziness of execution hold back must of our dreams to paraphrase motivational speaker Gary Vaynerchuk.
Keep your secret plans for yourself, people who do not know the secret of the brain of the ancient Egyptian will laugh at you if you share it. Keep it a secret and share it when it succeeds. In a remarkable TED talk, entrepreneur Derek Sivers demonstrates how telling your goal make your mind lessly incline to do it. Your brain trick you and gives you the false emotional belief that it’s already done. However, we are all unique beings, some of us need encouragement and a reality check so announcing your goal to a trusted and motivational ally can be crucial. Know your own pattern.
Design your own macehead , reread Hoffer’s quote. We need our ideas to be fueled by vivid images to remember it throughout the day, the week, and the years to set a habit. These words and images association are the hieroglyphs your brain needs to start creating a new reality. Observe the constructions of ancient Egypt: the walls, the roofs, the pillars, the tombs, all covered with words, images, paintings etc. It was a strange obsession. Even now, emoticons have replaced our words.
Today only vandals write and draw mostly offensive pictures on pillars under a high way or the metro. In anciant cultures, it was a way of life to cover pillars with sacred words and images. That obsession wires the mind toward a purpose. This ancient secret is still used by modern top achievers. Robin Sharma, the successful personal development expert who worked with billionaire achievers and world leaders, developed a method called-A magnificent obsession statement & a dream collage. This is exactly how the hieroglyph method works.
The magnificent obsession statement is the words you write to state your goals, then the dream collage is the pictures (anything you want to acquire) you put on a journal for example to feed your subconscious mind. You have to put those two activities together like a hieroglyph. When Albert Einstein said imagination is most important than knowledge, he also pointed at that binary principle somehow. Knowledge is 0 and imagination is 1. A picture (1) worth a thousand words (0). This is computational thinking.
Those two sequences implement our reality which is a sequence of choices. Bruce Lee taught us to add emotional content in our goals. No anger, no thinking, but just positive feelings. “It is like a finger-pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory,” Bruce Lee said while teaching how to throw a kick. Whether is a kick or a dream, Lee’s advice remains true.
The Greeks were too rational and had hard time understanding the Egyptian thought process when they studied in Africa. The Greeks wanted laws, theorems, axioms, etc. instead of allegorical tales. They were like dogs looking at the finger while the master showed them the moon to paraphrase Bruce Lee. We do the same mistake in our modern materialistic society. We focus on the material, the finger and miss the moon.
Steve jobs’ focus was to reconnect technology and humanities, poetry and mathematics, science and arts. The remarkable stories of Disney-Pixar and the visually striking technology behind it owes a lot to Steve Jobs’ mind. The iPhone, the iPad and so on are also the brainchild of this remarkable visual thinking.