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Thursday, November 01, 2012

7 Habits of People Who "Made it" Outta the Hood

Some of you may not know this about me, but I grew up in the 'hood. Not only did I grow up in the hood, I was a hoodchick. You read that right. I used to be an Air Jordan wearing, long acrylic nail having, bamboo earring rockin, shit talking, namebrand wearing hoodchick. I had hair to my ass and I still wore weave. Judge me all you want. Guess how many fucks I give? That's rhetorical, by the way. 

I'm not talkin about those people who move from a hood in Miami to the hood in Jacksonville where everyone else who moved from Miami lives. I'm not talkin about the people who move from Palm Beach to Atlanta and keep the same mentality and negative behavior patterns they had while they lived in Palm Beach. I'm talkin about a special group of people who have transformed their mindset after growin up with a "hood mentality" and managed to exceed expectations. This one's for you. 

Looking back, I know the difference between me and the other people from my hood was that I decided in elementary school that I was gonna leave. I had made up my mind that spending my life in Belle Glade, FL was not in my best interests. My dreams were bigger than "the Muck" could hold anyway. I won't sugarcoat it and say my hood wasn't horrible because it was. Some people like to say "well my hood wasn't that bad." Sheeeiiiitttt mine was. Thanks to ESPN everyone thinks all we do is hunt rabbits and play football, but there's more to it. My hood was a "football" town with a nasty poverty trap. I saw people get hooked on drugs. I watched my classmates become corner boys. I watched my friends become drama chasing babymamas. I saw my family members go to jail and struggle with drugs and alcohol. I've lost loved ones to gun violence. I have relatives stuck in a cycle of poverty. I go back to visit and sometimes I can't even believe I "made it out." How did it end up an exception?

For those of you who have made it and for those of you looking to take the first step towards leaving, here are the 7 Habits of the People who "Made it" Outta the Hood. . .
7. They're Open-Minded. A closed mind will keep you in the hood. That's not to say stayin in the hood is a bad thing. There IS more to the world than being known around your hood doe. Open your mind and you open yourself up to the opportunity to be great OUTSIDE of your hood. Start with trying the foods you wouldn't normally find in your hood and segue into a whole new world. 

6. They Travel. Get on a plane. Get a passport. Get some stamps in your passport. I'm not talkin about just going to Cancun & to the Bahamas. Act like there are other places you can go. Seeing how other people live in different parts of the USA & beyond gives you motivation to rethink your dream of being hoodrich. Then (and only then) will you realize that aint nothin rich about being hoodrich. 

5. They Take Their Education Seriously. You may see the media telling stories about athletes who went from the hood to hollywood, but that's not the whole story. Don't let the media fool you. For every athlete from my high school struggling to adjust his/her college plans after an injury, there was an "academic" with a full-ride to college. Don't sleep.

4. They're Risk-Takers. In order to leave the hood you have to be prepared to take risks. You have to be willing to apply for the jobs people say you won't get. You have to be willing to move to a place where you won't know anyone. You have to be willing to leave your comfort zone. Take the first step and build a stairwell as you go along. 

3. They Read. Reading IS fundamental. I read that in a book. So much information is in books, magazine articles and websites. You can read mediatakeout, but you should also subscribe to the WallStreetJournal. Strive to learn something new and useful everyday by reading something educational everyday. There's an app for that. 

2. They Appreciate "Both Worlds." People who made it out never really lose their 'hood edge. They appreciate 30 inch rims and custom candy paint while contributing to their 401(k). They have accounts with and good credit, but they also like ratchet music. They don't look down on people from the hood, because they were once there. You should be jealous. 

1. Decide to Leave. I polled (secretly) 10 of my friends who "made it out" and every single one of them listed *this* as their first answer. So many people talk about wanting more than the hood life, but they never decide to go after it. People who made it out began with the decision to "get out" and wouldn't take no for an answer. They left for college and jobs. They left behind the people they thought were friends, girlfriends and boyfriends, their family and their comfort zone. The first step is making the decision to leave. 

People raised in the 'hood have a resilience unmatched by anyone else. Fear them. I can say that with sincerity because I am one of them and so are many of my friends. We can look back astonished at how some of our friends and family members (who we thought had more promising futures than us) are bouncing from one hood to another. We remember how they got better grades than us and tested better than us, but now they're entrenched in a 'hood life with thigh tats while we're living our dreams. Don't get it twisted. We love our friends and family, but once you make it out it's hard not to look back and think "Damn it wasn't hard. Why didn't they take the chance I took?" 

Today's post was brought to you by the following. . .

So whadya think? Did you make it outta the hood? How? What is the biggest difference between people who make it out of the hood & people who get stuck? 

Twitter: @LegallyRatchet1


Candice said...

I love this because all of the above is true for me. I knew VERY early on that I wasn't going to stay where I was. And even up through Junior year at Spelman I had a "think I might wife her, you know powder blue Rockawear suit, white Nike her" outfit on deck. LOL! Spelman helped me change my ways a little, but honestly I was ALWAYS different from the people I grew up with. I knew it, got teased for it, but stayed true to myself and my desire for something different than my parents and grandparents had.

Rickeysha said...

That is true for me too!! OMG it's so awesome to hear other people feel the same way. I didn't REALLY let go of my "mentality" until about junior year when I decided I was gonna be serious about becoming a lawyer. I, too, was always different and I also got teased for being a "smart ass," but I look at the people who were teasing me and know the rest.

Histrio Magic said...

Okay, saying I made it out of the hood is something I've never thought about. But after reading this, I'd have to admit, I have. My hood motivated me to leave it early on. I knew THAT life wasn't for the kid. And being teased or picked on didn't help. So, I devised a plan to get out. I knew I couldn't stay there because my dreams were and still are bigger than that small town and the negative commentary about my leaving. Which was only motivation. Leaving was the best thing that ever happened, both, to and for me. Attending NYU and modeling and now living in California has opened my inner peace and confidence. I feel I can win here. The people I've met have helped me realize my potential as opposed to trying to kill my spirit and they too wants me to win. I like that!

Thanks, Keeks! Xx King

Unknown said...

Love it. This is exactly what I was looking for.

Unknown said...

This is amazing and was exactly what i was looking for.

Anonymous said...

Good article...i didnt grow up in the hood but staying or getting out the hood starts with your mentality

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