Discriminatory financial practices like redlining and predatory lending can lead people to see an ample world through a narrow lens, emphasizing the need for divergent thinking. Some institutions, grappling with profitability concerns, engage in unethical policies and use psychological priming to influence people’s behavior and financial choices.
Deception behind policy text can contribute to an environment that is more susceptible to distrust and economic crime.
It’s a troubling art to skillfully shape hope and fear with bad ink. Persistence in creative thinking and financial education safeguards against emotional manipulation in finance. It can reduce involvement in what Anthony Walker, author of B is for Black Wealth, calls the Game of Extraction.
Anthony: If we surveyed our lives, we would see, a lot of it is a game of extraction. I believe that prison is the backbone of that game. When an area is depressed, that’s when they get a bunch of prison labor for free. I don’t want to say it keeps the economy afloat because I believe in my heart that it isn’t the best way to make an economy thrive. However, that’s what they are doing, extracting our labor. A lot of it at scale.
This game of extraction is detrimental to us as humans and the economy overall. We will all have to pay a price for the decisions that we make and our involvement in that system. It’s ugly and we need to recognize that a lot of times we are being used for our labor to continue to be extracted from. At times, I wonder if things could get worse than the crack era. While part of me believes the worst is behind us, another part feels like certain institutions are finding more ways.
How do you feel creativity and optimism is important to our generation?
Anthony: Identifying and unlocking our creativity is vital to personal growth and finding our purpose. I believe that people are made in the image of God (The Creator), and therefore, we have an intrinsic need to create and bring new things into existence. This question is powerful because I never saw myself as creative until I received the first completed copy of my book, B is For Black Wealth.
Since then, my life has been transformed because I now recognize my inherent need to create, and creativity infuses my daily life. To me, optimism is what keeps life light and joyous. Expecting things to go as they should is a tool for a more fulfilled life. Optimism helps us overcome anxiety, relieves stress, and increases the chances of achieving what we wish.
Overcoming systemic challenges for minorities and fostering social responsibility among financial institutions is challenging to achieve. Anthony is making progress in that direction.
Anthony: I’m an author, educator and entrepreneur. I have a curriculum called A Guide to Enter Generational Wealth based on the book B is for Black Wealth. It is a curriculum designed for adults and children to do together similar to the book. It helps them create an identity around money making, as individuals and as a collective family. It also gives them concrete and solid strategies, in order to become effective investors.
I teach curriculum, conduct workshops, and have a clothing brand called Finance Friday. We will be launching a new line in the fall. The ideas expressed on our merchandise are phrases such as, Black Wealth, Pay Yourself First, Love is Currency, and Buy Land.
Regarding certain locations being marked hazardous areas in practices such as redlining, we asked Anthony for his thoughts. The color-coded maps produced by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in the 1930’s explicitly categorized certain neighborhoods as high risk and ineligible for loans or insurance.
Anthony: Some people say that it is an economic strategy to depress one area or one group of people so then you could extract resources out of them in another way. I think that’s true. When an area becomes sufficiently depressed, it is often those who end up being sent to jail when they commit crimes to try to earn money. In jail, they are pretty much forced to work for pennies on the dollar. That is how labor is extracted.
The redlining policy was put into play in the 1930’s and later outlawed by the fair housing act in 1968. Despite some improvements, the lasting effects from redlining persist, directly impacting the ongoing uneven distribution of resources that still exist today.
Anthony: It stole a lot of wealth from black families and created a social system that we all dealt with the effects of, in the creation of what we consider the ghetto. That had a deep impact. It started out as an economic impact, but it turned into social impact as well. Some of that stuff honestly, is irreversible, and there is nothing we can do about what was lost.
Anthony emphasizes allocating attention to both alternate solutions and reparations instead of solely focusing on one.
Anthony: It’s a both-end thing, we shouldn’t be ignoring one for the other. I think that reparations is a legitimate argument and conversation that we should be having. There are people really organizing towards that end. I see some momentum in California, it may not happen nationwide, it might.
Most money is moved based on governmental policies, so we need individuals working on governmental policies with an economic lens, which is a real need for black folks. With that said, there are small things that we can do as individuals to improve our personal lives and our community’s financial well being. So for me, it’s a both-end thing. It's not about choosing one or the other.
Nothing is guaranteed, but we need people working on all fronts. I know it feels like we might be spread thin or giving too much energy for one thing or another, but the truth is we should all be aware of what people are doing on different fronts. We should be aware of the reparations and support that work, even if we are not directly involved. We have to be excellent on our end and in the areas we are working.
I appreciate the fact that we are getting some education around it in this generation and trying to hold people accountable for recompense, you know, as far as reparations and things like that are concerned. It’s a conversation that’s been brewing in California. I’m glad we are starting to make progress towards reparations from some of those shady practices.
Anthony touches on a few of the topics in his book that could help people take a creative approach towards reversing damages that were caused.
Anthony: B is for Black Wealth was written for children but it was actually intended for adults and children to read together. It gives us an opportunity to catch our young folks, young. By doing so, we can be prepared and become specialists when it comes to the idea of business for the next generation.
If we could get one million more of these books out into the world, that is one million more of our children that are educated, in a way that honestly, puts them ahead. Reading and understanding my book would give you more knowledge about business, finance, and entrepreneurship than ninety percent of the population. It's about executing on the information provided.
The way the book is written, gives parents that may not be the most educated on these topics, the opportunity to learn, within the construct of the book. So they are teaching and learning at the same time.
I don’t think we have to reinvent the wheel. There are existing structures and opportunities in place that we can utilize. Simple things like growing our own food, that is an opportunity for economic empowerment for ourselves and for our community.
Creating our own businesses and making them vertically integrated as much as possible, involving our people , allowing them to eat and to win off of those businesses. These are some of the ideas I hope people pull from the book I wrote.
How does B is for Black Wealth explore community development and economic empowerment?
Anthony: B is for Black Wealth differs from other financial and economic writings by its community focused approach prioritizing the collective over the individual. Often, we focus on individuals when we talk about finances, but I don't think that works for black folks. Throughout history, we've utilized a collectivist mindset in order to achieve any of the success that we have achieved so I think that, that’s the same way we have to approach economics.
That is something unique that we bring to the world of economics and finances. From a ground level, we are dependent on each other and have been interdependent. I hope we don’t lose that as we gain more economic mobility and education. We can’t be so smart that we forget the principles that brought us to where we are today.
How can we strengthen the curriculum of schools with more life awareness skills and strategies?
The way to strengthen curriculum within schools is to create it ourselves. Schools are very bureaucratic and are in desperate need of a community and outside programs help to do what they are not agile enough to do. Individuals, businesses and community members are all responsible for creating opportunities for students to learn in and out of the classroom.
We should focus on our child's financial future, we all care about it on some level. I think sometimes we just don’t realize we have the power to change their situation over the course of a generation but a generation is a long time. A lot can change in 30 years, even though we are not in a position to do for our children financially, or we don’t really see a way out of the condition we are in right now, I think that through education and implementation over time our children could really see a much brighter financial future than we had. The information is part of the foundation for sure.
Focus on ownership of creative work.
Anthony: I think creativity is absolutely important, and that’s one of the things we have continued to be successful through. Now, it’s important that we focus on ownership of our creativity going forward because we miss a lot of opportunities. In Black History Month, we talk about all the inventions black folks had, but we never talk about the families that own the rights to those inventions.
Take Hip Hop, for example. We know that it has been hugely influential. Yes, some black folks got rich from it, there are also many people outside of our communities who enriched themselves off of Hip Hop as well due to a lack of understanding about ownership. We are starting to understand that concept, and I think it is super important that we start to create with the idea of ownership in mind. So, when it comes to creativity, that is a big part of the conversation for me at this moment.
How hard is it to stay creative and what would you say to somebody experiencing this same issue?
Anthony: I think that it is oftentimes hard to produce a quality finished product but I think creativity is as natural as breathing. I think the problem is we live in a world where we are pressured to produce but quality art takes time, it takes a level of discomfort, frustration, disappointment, joy, love and laughter to produce beautiful things that are useful to others. I think we are most creative when we don't allow outside pressure to dictate our expression. Expression is ever present and so is creativity production is cyclical. It is important to let production run its course but keep our creativity at the forefront.
True beauty and true art comes from expressing what is inside of us. The more we focus on the inner person, the better we can be at expressing at a high level and expressing things that are actually beneficial to us as people. The more that we let our inner person get beat up and shrunk, depressed and depreciated and all those things, the more that our art will reflect that. It might be beautiful, but it’s not going to help us grow, because it will come from a place of lack instead of a place of abundance, a place of love.
Would you support the bill to eliminate private prisons?
Absolutely, I don’t believe that anybody should profit off of human suffering.
How have you overcome a trial and tribulation as a company using creativity and optimism?
Anthony: As a Black-owned business that started during the pandemic, funding has always been the biggest obstacle to obtaining my short term goals. One of the ways that my business has overcome that struggle and moved further along at a respectable pace is by partnering with others. I partnered with family friends to publish my book, I partnered with a seasoned educator to create a curriculum based on the book, and I partnered with family members to obtain trademarks for my clothing brand and most recently to secure some family land.
All of these partnerships were forged by finding creative ways for many people to benefit financially from one idea or action. Therefore, instead of having to hire and pay a lot of other people big money to bring my visions to life I partnered with people and lightened my load up front in order to share profits on the backend. To me all of these situations required a lot of unselfishness, creativity, trust and teamwork and all of them have helped many people reap great benefits.
It is also important for me to state that during that time I had many failed partnerships because nothing in business is guaranteed. This is why it takes courage and optimism to continue to trust and build with other people when the truth is it doesn't always work.
If you could have done three things differently, earlier, or better while building your brand, what would they be?
Anthony: I wouldn’t change much. Setbacks have given me a level of clarity that is only earned by going through the fire. With that said, I believe all early stage businesses need to keep good financial records, get a bookkeeper and a quality tax person as early in the game as you can, it will save you a lot of headaches down the line.
Will equality be something your brand will promote after this blog/interview?
Anthony: The core of my brand is about creating opportunities for Black people to thrive economically. My goal is to continue to strive for a better financial future for Black people, and if I am being honest, what is good for Black people is typically good for all people and creates a much more equitable society. So, my short answer is yes.
Love is Currency. When we focus on love we will create more organically, we will become more optimistic, we will give more freely and we will see each other as equals.
Names of your business partners and any necessary components to operate your brand.
Anthony: One of my biggest goals is for my business to be able to operate independently of me. Right now, most of my business processes involve me doing the work. I order, market, sell and send my books. I do have a really powerful team of people that work on other aspects of my business, but my goal is to continue to scale while also letting go of some of the day-to-day operations.
EvenRights is a platform where we seek people from all walks of life, to find as many answers as possible.
We asked Mike “C-Roc” Ciorrocco, Co-Founder of the innovative tech platform Blooprinted, powerhost of “What Are You Made Of?” podcast, and the bestselling author of Rocket Fuel, how do you feel creativity and optimism is important to our generation?
Creativity is everything because if you are not causing or creating your own future, you will remain stuck. Most people on this planet are drifting, going through the motions and allowing others to create their future for them. I think creativity and optimism go hand in hand because the more you can create yourself, create your own universe, the more optimistic you will be.
Efforts to consistently convert mental energy into a more productive form can help overcome trials and tribulations. C-Roc discusses an imaginative approach that anyone can use to transform difficult situations into energy that could thrust them forward towards their dreams.
I wrote a book called Rocket Fuel. The primary concept, or law, from that book is to take everything that comes your way that would stop, discourage, or slow down a normal person and store it in your fuel tank instead of your trunk, where most people keep it. Most people tend to hold on to all the negative things that come their way, letting them weigh them down, and slow them down, by keeping them in their trunk. I decide to store them in my fuel tank instead, where I can convert it into rocket fuel to become unstoppable.
I collect data from situations to learn from it so that I can advance in the future.
Does our natural ability to create and our shared ability to access optimism make us equal in some ways?
I believe that we are all born equal, into this world with creativity and optimism. However, as we go through life, we can accumulate layers that cover up our creative abilities. These layers could come from the let downs that we have, and discouragements that we face from people.
We all need to understand that the better everyone does, the better it is for everyone. Therefore, when people do not wish the best for each and every person, regardless of their identity, they are actually hurting themselves.
Similar to enhancing the performance of a rocket propelling, our creative output and optimism can also be enhanced. Removing layers that may weigh down our creative performance, will get us closer to the space of innovation and discovery.
We encounter challenges throughout life, it could be with people or decisions we make. These challenges start to camouflage our creativity and optimism. As we drift through life, we start to wake up and get tired of living without optimism and creativity.
We might suddenly realize and say to ourselves, “Wait a minute, I used to be creative, I used to be optimistic. What happened?” It is up to us to peel back those layers, to get back to who we actually are and what we were brought here to do.
Once we start exploring, we may discover that we were not always the way we are now. It is important that we dig deep to really explore who we actually were when we were born and what our purpose is. When we discover what we were put here for, creativity follows and when you get creative, optimism follows.
How hard is it to stay creative and what would you say to somebody experiencing this same issue?
For me, staying creative is only challenging when I don't allow myself time to think clearly, and my schedule is jammed with meetings and calls. However, when I free up time to think, go for a walk, or read, that’s when my creative juices start to flow. Changing my environment up by traveling to new places can help generate creativity.
To anyone finding it hard to stay creative, be sure to intentionally create time and set aside time to be able to think. Sit there and let your mind relax for a little bit.
The effects of mis-emotion and emotion on creativity in business
There are two different types of emotions, mis-emotion and good emotions. Mis-emotion causes you to have problems in your business. You never want to have mis-emotion in your business if you can help it because it leads to not thinking clearly. Your intelligence drops, and you react and it causes you to dig a bigger hole for yourself than what you are currently in for whatever caused that mis-emotion.
Emotion, when you are excited, exuberant and fired up, that goes hand in hand by the way with creativity, and optimism. It causes innovation and good risk taking in business.
How we think is only one aspect of us getting closer to our dream. We also need to take control of our environment by setting it up in a way that supports us.
Sometimes, when you are at your house or your office - the same place all the time - and you deal with what life throws at you, what appears to be negative, it’s easy to start associating those negative experiences with the environment itself.
An energy may build up in that environment and you may need to find a way to clear it out.
When we are affected by negativity we start to lose our ability to differentiate and disassociate things and people with events that have happened. Also, emotions that we experienced during those events. Switching up your environment can help to clear that out.
There are things that you can do to get back into a better state where you can disassociate and differentiate things and people from the emotions that you experienced, during the negative event.
Take a long walk, observe nature and go to a crowded place to observe people. These are some things that I learned to assist with getting back into a better emotional state.
I also like to journal. Telling the story of who I am, who I want to be, what I want to experience and why I want to do it. When I avoid discussing things I don’t want, my intention becomes more focused on who I want to be. Once that happens, I start seeing results. My thoughts, words, actions and environment start to be in alignment with the person I strive to be.
Will equality be something your brand will promote after this blog/interview?
It will continue to.
If there were three things you could have done differently, earlier, or better while building your brand, What would they have been?
While building my brand, I wish I had started podcasting sooner. I would have started appearing as a guest on other podcasts a lot more. Getting known by people for something is one of the most important things you can do while building a personal brand.
Taking the time to cater to a primarily adult audience. What can we teach our adult audience to do in order to be examples of equality for our youth?
I go with my mission, which is that all people are unstoppable to living the life of their dreams. You must tell everyone that if you want it for yourself. You cannot have it if you don’t want it for others. You identify an ethical mission, and you live through that.
Your thoughts, words, actions, and the environment that you keep have to be in alignment with your mission. If you do that then people start to see that you are genuine, they start to feel the energy and the beingness from you and it's attractive.
Do you believe in the right to bear arms & how important do you think it is to be able to do so in this day and age?
Yes, people have the right to protect themselves responsibly. I think it’s important that you are not put in a vulnerable situation where you are unable to protect yourself or your family.
What are some ways weapons can cause conflict & how can we address the emotional impact of weapons as a source of conflict?
It all comes down to responsibility. In our world, a big problem is that people fail to take responsibility for their actions, thoughts, and words. When they don’t take responsibility, they become controlled by the things that they are not taking responsibility for. That includes weapons and emotions. I want to emphasize the importance of responsibility and to the degree you are responsible, you are in control.
Do you think educational tutorials for police officers of how equality, creativity and optimism may be able to better decision making officers are forced to make in the field? YES!
The tobacco industry is often criticized in commercials, but do people truly have a choice whether to smoke tobacco or not? Or are there external factors that influence them to the point of addiction?
People should have the freedom to make their own choices, but to some level of responsibility they need to understand there will be consequences to their decisions. However, people are often influenced when there are promotional items for tobacco or anything else. Companies that can spend a lot of money on marketing, and do a lot of research, they know how to do it in a way that leads to programming people's minds. Our minds are highly susceptible to programming, and creative or intellectual marketing can take place with any product.
How can we strengthen the curriculum of schools with more life awareness skills and strategies?
I believe that schools should have an ever-evolving curriculum that reflects the rapid changes around us. As platforms like Youtube and TikTok evolve, so should the curriculum in our schools.
Would you support the bill to eliminate private prisons?
We should have a system of rehabilitation rather than containment. It doesn't make sense to take people who break the law and put them in facilities that make them worse and encourage repeat offenses. If we had a society that was completely sane and understood ethical values, we wouldn’t need police officers or prisons. Therefore, whether the system is public or private, it should be focused on a rehabilitation system rather than a punishment or containment system. Punishment alone doesn’t change people and it doesn’t help them become better.
Updated: Apr 1
Let’s remove the flooring of discrimination towards certain social groups. These negative stereotypes may prevent people from taking action towards their dreams by making them feel disadvantaged. As you read through our interview with Clayton Rodrigues, CEO and Founder at Zothex Flooring, Cabinets and more, you will see how creating a level playing field starts with the mind. We all have a mind, the ability to think and overcome. However, most of us don’t use it. We tend to give up at the first challenge, claiming we can’t do it. The quitting mentality is pretty prominent in society today. Mindset is something everybody has, and everybody has the ability to think, regardless of their upbringing, or any other factor. You have to say… How do I get out of here? What do I do to get to the next level? You define yourself in that moment. The point where we think and try to overcome an obstacle is where we begin to create equitable circumstances. The amount of thought and effort that it takes will vary from person to person. It can take a shift in emotion for an individual to want to change, what did it take for you? When I moved to the United States from Brazil it was challenging adjusting to the language barrier and culture change. Having to relearn 17 years of my life and not knowing how to talk to people was hard. Being brought up in Brazil, there was a huge lack of opportunity for betterment and advancement in life. The country isn’t built to empower people for growth, unfortunately, to get ahead in life, you need to cheat and steal, which are things I’m not willing to do. I also had to deal with the limited mindsets of some of my country mates that were in the United States longer than me. That type of stuff wears on you. It took people rejecting me for me to change my mindset to even remotely consider having a retail store. There were people coming after me just for the sake of it because they didn’t believe that I could make it happen. The owner told me, it was almost like a little bit of an alliance saying don’t employ Clayton. For 3 months I had no job, nobody to employ me in Sacramento because they saw I was trying to have my own company. “It was just me saying to myself, how do I make this happen?” I don’t want to get too much into race here but it does play a role, right. Being a black male limits my advances. Whether in this industry or any other, I don’t receive the same treatment.
Beneath the surface of physical or mental impairment are hidden capabilities. Listen, we shot a commercial, with a gentleman with one arm, also the first D1 basketball player to ever go D1. His mindset never told him not to go play basketball, or go do this or go do that. Here is what Clayton has to say about the line where we all share equality. It's the mindset. People do have this ability, this innate desire to overcome their disability whatever that is. Kind of like this gentleman that you mentioned, he does have that want, that drive. It may not be at the exact same level, but yes there is equality in the power of having the correct mindset. People made false assumptions about me all the time based on me coming from Brazil. To this day, I’m still questioned about the ways Zothex grew as a business. I don’t expect it to go away either, I just have to ignore the negative and keep pushing through. Now there are some things that are done to you as a person, that you are not responsible for. That could be coming from a pregnant mother that drinks a lot of alcohol, her kids may have a difficulty thinking straight. It’s just going to be hard. There is damage that occurs with that. While individuals with disabilities may not have had the same level of exposure or opportunities as those without disabilities, they do still have the ability to try and overcome their challenges.
Optimism is a constructive tool to get through the downs but don’t hide behind it. It is important to protect the younger generation from the unrealistic expectations of cemented happiness. Pushing creative thinking could unlock solutions to any obstacles the youth may face that expose them to emotions such as frustration and disappointment. We have too much negativity out there today. Not only that, but the wrong kind of happiness is being promoted. People want to feel happy all the time, right. People want to feel good all the time. That is an impossible thing to do. Being optimistic means that through the ups and downs of what you go through, you want to see the positive outcome. You want to be optimistic about what the final outcome is. You must understand, at some point there is going to be a down. Your heartbeat goes up and down, it doesn’t stay flat. If it’s flat then you are deceased. Our heart rates are not elevated all the time because that could lead to a heart attack. We have to understand that ups and downs are going to happen. Influencers, at times, can create unrealistic expectations on social media platforms by saying you have to be happy. Yes you do and you want to make an effort towards it, but don’t think that’s happening all the time. Kind of like in a relationship, or marriage, it’s about percentages. If you think that you are going to be 100% good in that relationship, you are absolutely wrong. You may be 70/30, or maybe even 50/50 that is grounds for divorce. If you are 60/40 you may still have problems. However, to assume that you are at 100, I don’t think it's not doable but it’s not realistic. So, promoting the right kind of being optimistic about life and anything in general, is important. Understanding that you have to have a positive mindset even though you are going to go through tough times. It gets ugly during the downs, this is where you find who you really are. The place where weak spots are often revealed is within trials and tribulations. How have you overcome challenges as a company using creativity and optimism? My upbringing had a lot to do with it. To build a brand like this, I had to work twice as hard. In my mind I have to think, first prove it to you and second prove it to myself. So, how do I do that? The way that I’ve done it is by going back into what I had to go through. I remember… “My Mom said, “I’m leaving. You are 6 years old and supposed to take care of your brother. I’m going to be gone for probably 10 minutes, so don’t let him play too rough.” My brother was playing with a tennis ball, he threw it and ended up breaking the glass window in our house. My Mom told me it was my responsibility, even though he did it. She made me go sell magazines to pay back for that window. Realizing that, it just made me think that there is a lot more responsibility required of me. I have to maintain a certain level of discipline, and that’s how my creativity gets started, so to speak. That is a very interesting story. It all goes back to discipline. If you have it, it flows through what you do. If you don’t, it doesn’t necessarily. Does Zothex promote equality, and if so, why do you prioritize this through your business? Yes. I just did an Instagram video the other day about the point of growing a business. The financial situation is a good outcome but it shouldn't be the sole reason. You need the right kind of people to grow a business, period. Do what you can to provide them the best opportunities. You have traits and qualities that I don’t possess, and your ability to make things happen is better than mine in some aspects, right. I need to be able to utilize your qualities, and you can benefit from this experience. By seeing Laron for who he is and what he can bring. By seeing Oscar and all these people for who they are. I am bringing people together, on an equal level. There’s no discrimination on whether or not there is a gender, there is a race. I want to bring everybody together, to see what they can cook together, right. What can we come up with together? For being somebody from out of the country to come here and see how it is, and realizing, man, yeah, it can happen. I just need people that are invested in the same exact mindset that I am, then equality happens. Then, creativity happens. Then, optimism happens. Right, because they see, man I have the ability of actually being at a job where I feel recognized. A place where I feel people want me here. They feel that, right. People who don’t show up, don’t interact, have no value, no care. I don’t want that.
So, you understand the value of being creative, and overcoming obstacles and all that. What would you say to a company or a person who is having an issue being creative? What information could you give them on having optimism to overcome their trials and tribulations? It doesn't have to be business, it could be family or anything. The way I look at overcoming trials is I think that there is no other way. I create this tunnel vision where you can't really get me out. That’s it. Eminem has this song from the movie 8 Mile where he says, “this is the only moment, you have to seize this moment. You have to get it.” For the longest time that was my song. I was still out doing labor and all this other stuff. I was like man, there is no other way, there is no other plan. People ask, what is your plan B and it’s always to make plan A work. So, I keep going back to, if anybody really wants to become something. Understand that if you persevere, if you push, if you keep driving, it will happen. Right. Now, how long does it take to happen? I can't tell you because it goes differently for everybody. It took me 18 years, if I look back, and I tell myself it will take you 18 years to own a company that will be successful, I would have been like man you must be out of your mind. You know, but, that’s how long it took to overcome all this. There’s more coming, now I’m dealing with other trials, right. Other tribulations, the way I look back, the only way for me to make this happen is to keep going at it hard. Every single day, so I'd say don't give up but also look into whether it is really for you, and does it make sense for you to persevere for you to keep knocking on the wall. If it does, tunnel vision it.
If you could rearrange the way you put the pieces together while building your brand, what would you do differently I would look for mentorship and talk to people that have made it a lot sooner. I would believe in it as a bigger, broader thing. I would believe in it as it is now. Because at first, I didn’t. At first, i just thought, Ok this is just a gig, this is me just trying to see what’s going to happen. Why didn’t you want to seek help I didn’t fully believe in it. You understand, so, when you are out there slanging floors from a 1996 GMC K1500, and you are loading that carpet, you are thinking about this, you are not thinking about having 50 employees, or 60 or 100. You are not thinking about any of that. You are not thinking about extending your brand. You are thinking about, today I’m going to be laying out some floors. That’s all you think about. Going for help at that stage didn’t mentally make sense. Now that I look back, yeah I should have probably gone to talk to somebody, maybe they would have dismissed me but ultimately, if I feel like I got help before, I would have probably got to this point sooner. I don’t know, I feel things happen for a reason but believing in myself was a very big challenge for me, from the very beginning. How do you feel we can strengthen schools with more life awareness skills and strategies, education in general Kids today need to be taught real life skills. They need to know how to negotiate and what it takes to make it on their own. Again, it goes back to how you have to be happy all the time. This is where we are weakening our system, our kids, by teaching them that. People need to go through a little bit of hell to be able to make it out. If you don't then, you got to at least be at a point where you are like man I can't do this. This is too hard. Or you got to be at a point where you are working at McDonalds, and you're there constantly and your manager is yelling at you and you're like man. If you don't have that experience you can’t come out on the other side. I have my thoughts from our own kids, I got two little boys and I’m, in my mind I already know. I want them one, cleaning up the warehouse, I want them dumping trash. I don’t want them to come here and work. I want them to go to McDonalds and Starbucks to work. I want to put them through Dutch Bros at 5am and sling coffee, for at least a year. Something different, don’t deal with Dad because Dad has a soft heart for you, on one side. I’ll be tough on them too.
Teaching youth how to channel their energy to push through real life situations They have to understand that right. I came to this country working with my Dad on flooring. We would leave Sacramento at 6am and do 3-4 apartments out in Richmond and then come back at 3 in the morning. The whole day from 6am to 3am, come back, sleep for an hour. Go to the shop, pick up another 3-4 apartments and go back to do it again. For 3 months. No sleep, I’m 17 years old, if I didn’t go through that I couldn’t look back and say yeah I went through some hell. The lack of sleep alone, I mean sure I’m 17 so I do have a lot of energy but you have to understand, if that wasn’t channeled correctly, Would this happen? That energy, it could go anywhere. So kids need to go through some hell, they have to have some real life skills. We protect a lot and it’s understandable. Laron, you're a Dad, I'm a Dad. You don’t want to see your kids suffer. You show me what you do with your kids, and I’m very impressed because that is the way of teaching them how to endure stuff. In the future you're not going to be here, you will be gone. How do they think for themselves? What do they do? I think our educational system is very flawed and it's failing hard. Real life skills is where it’s at.