Story time again! So, what makes a Hustler? Travel with me as I relate stories of moments that changed my life.
I used to live in a world just below yours. Some call it the Underworld. When people hear that term they immediately think hardened criminals, shady drug deals and sleazy dens of gambling and partying with danger lurking behind every door.
Some of you all watch too many movies and listen to too much gangsta rap.
This isn't one of my exciting stories, but it did impact the way I Perceived things. Get comfortable.
Before the days where my Hustle was able to afford me a nice home and a vehicle I used to catch the public transportation system here in Atlanta, Georgia known as MARTA.
I was walking up Campbellton Road to the nearest bus stop. I had my plan all laid out. Catch the bus, hit the Oakland City train station, head to College Park and then into Red Oak. When you have to be across town at a certain time, missing 1 bus can really knock you off schedule. It was always in me to be as punctual as possible – I wanted to be a man of my word in every way possible.
I huffed and puffed with a 20 pound bag hanging from a strap across my right shoulder. I arrived at the bus stop and sat down. Both benches were empty.
I was fairly confident I was on time so I relaxed a little and wiped the sweat from my face. I watched the cars on the road pass by. Various beats and rhythms of music rose and fell. People strolled the sidewalks in their usual daze – their minds filled with worry, dread, fear, anger, resentment and other thoughts we all indulge in from minute to minute.
I then realized a short older black man sit down next to me.
He rummaged through his pockets and grumbled something while he fiddled with a couple of plastic shopping bags he placed on the concrete near his worn out coffee-colored dress shoes.
I was paying him little mind while still making sure he was in my side-vision. I didn't feel like a conversation but people have always felt comfortable speaking with me. Even complete total strangers.
“Look,” He said.
He held out his palm filled with 2 disposable cigarette lighters.
He continued, “Those Arab muthafuckas! These used to be 69 cents. Now they want me to pay 99 cents for the same damn thing.”
I responded in the only way I wanted to respond. “I hear you,” I said.
I thought he would get the message that I wasn't up for an idle conversation, but I should have been more direct.
He continued, “And I don’t mind paying 99 cents. I really don’t. But if you want something more from me, then give me something more. Don’t raise the price and give me the same shit I've been gettin’. Why should I give you something more if you’re not going to give me something more? Same lighter, I get the same amount of uses out of it but you want me to pay more? Fuck that. I just took one of these. You’re going to charge me 99 cents, then I think I deserve 2 of these. Greedy muthafuckas!”
The older man opened one of his plastic bags he had placed on the ground. And again, he continued, “The World is full of shit. Everybody wants to take but doesn't want to give. What happened to fair deals? You see this?” He pulled a can of vegetables from the plastic bag, “Same thing. Charge me more and give me less. I took another one of these too. That ain't how the World should work. Things should be a fair exchange. Everything should be fair. But, no! Greedy muthafuckas don’t want you to have shit. Raise prices, then don’t pay you more at your job and you end up with less and less until you don’t have shit. They get more but they don’t give you more.”
He grumbled something else but honestly at this point I had tuned him out.
I already knew where this conversation was going. I just nodded my head. I wasn't nodding in agreement; I nodded because this spiteful little man and his whiny tirade made me realize something.
This man and his Perspective on life caused him nothing but frustration. I learned that day the World doesn't work the way you want it to work. To him, he was 100% right. He claimed he wanted things to be fair, but what he really wanted was things to be easier, for him.
He justified his theft by making claims he was being taken advantage of. Justifications are a sign of a weak mind. It’s the cover that you pull over your eyes so you don’t have to see clearly and accept things as they are. It’s the mask we wear so we can convince others that we look like something we’re not.
This is the mask of the faker.
The truth is, despite your best efforts, you can lie to everyone, but yourself. Other people may buy into your justifications, but on some level, you never will.
The spiteful little man I met that day screamed out for fairness and justice but acted out in pettiness and weakness. Sure, he had a valid point, there should be fair exchanges, and there should be reciprocation. But when looking at matters from the Perspective of The Game, you see why certain things are the way they are.
Powerless people will always whine and complain. They will sing the doctrine of injustice. And with all that energy and time they have, they won’t use it to change their situation.
I realized that bitching, whining, complaining, moaning and justifying your actions to others isn't strength, its weakness. That line of thinking and what it produces is weak. Players don’t sit around in groups complaining – we move around and seek ways to improve our situation.
I would later learn in the Game the difference between strong and weak thinking and how to recognize one over the other. When you don’t live the life you advocate, when you justify weakness trying to make it look strong, when you choose to constantly place yourself in positions that you don’t like – then guess what? No one is Playing you. You’re Playing yourself.
Are you complaining about things you're not going to change? Put that time and energy elsewhere. There are many things you can get back, but time and energy aren't one of them. Until next time…
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