Lose Yourself, Don’t Lose Your Career
On his Academy Award winning song “Lose Yourself,” Eminem rapped, “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime…”
The aforementioned Detroit-based rapper does not have a reputation for poignancy, but “Lose Yourself” will always remain profound.
Many people want greatness.
But the road to greatness is narrow, and you often only get one chance at true greatness in life.
Sure, the God I serve forgives and gives us second chances at salvation and redemption. But our dreams in life sometimes only have one act.
When we mess up the first act, the second act is sometimes given to our understudy who probably will not mess up the blessings that God tried to give us.
Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt messed up his opportunity for greatness and football immortality by pushing and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel.
Only time will tell if he ever plays in the NFL again.
I am convinced that God has already forgiven him since he seems remorseful.
Remember, God does not forgive just because.
He forgives when we repent.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of people forget that repentance is a part of forgiveness.
At the same time, there is no reason a man should put his hands on a woman unless his life is in danger or the lives of others are in danger.
But many people ask God for forgiveness and then continue doing the same thing again and again.
That type of behavior does not earn forgiveness, but I digress.
Despite the fact that God might have forgiven Hunt for putting his hands on a woman, that does not mean that the 32 NFL owners owe Hunt a second chance in the NFL.
And if they do not give Hunt another chance at football glory, his decision at the young age of 23 has to go down as one of the most tragic stories in pro sports history.
As I have grown older, I realize that the world is not filled with as many evil people as some would believe.
Sure, there are definitely some evil people in this world, just look at some of the people locked up behind bars.
However, many people locked up behind bars are incarcerated because they made one bad decision in their life that they paid dearly for.
Many people see their dreams destroyed because of the company that they choose to keep.
A person could be doing everything correctly and making all of the right decisions, but someone around them could make a mistake that costs them their life and their livelihood.
Former University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias had just been chosen number two overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the world champion Boston Celtics.
It was his dream to play for the Celtics and his dream came true, almost.
A day or two after the draft, Bias snorted cocaine with some friends and died before he could ever play one game in the NBA.
Bias made a tragic mistake.
He did not get a second chance to correct his wrongs in life.
Likewise, singer Toriano Easley was on top of the music world in 1990.
He was the second lead singer for a Waco, Texas-based boy band called Hi-Five, signed to Jive Records.
Hi-Five’s first single “Just Can’t Handle It” had just been released to radio and the music video was completed.
When Easley briefly went back home to his native Oklahoma City, O.K., he got into a dispute with an old acquaintance and Easley’s gun went off, killing his acquaintance.
Instead of tearing up the music charts and touring the world with Hi-Five, he had to watch his former band mates blow up on the music scene without him.
Although he has since gotten out of jail, his dreams of being an R&B star ended that fateful day in Oklahoma City.
But for me, I do not have to look at established celebrities to know how narrow the road to success can be.
I am constantly aware that one mistake can ruin everything I worked for in online journalism, television and radio.
Like my cousin Bruce Smith once told me, it takes a lifetime to build an impeccable reputation and a second to destroy that reputation.
Although I have not made all of the right decisions, I thank God that He was there to bail me out of bad situations that I got myself into despite His warnings.
But I fear the day God decides not to bail me out because of my disobedience.
Would everything I worked for be destroyed?
Would my dreams be over?
I do not want to face that reality, so I always try to do the right things, say the right things and avoid the wrong people and the wrong situations.
Furthermore, I know when God gives me an opportunity on television and radio that I need to take advantage and bring my “A” game because I know that there is someone dying to have the opportunities that I have.
I do not take those blessings for granted because I know how hard I had to work to get those opportunities.
Additionally, I know how long it took for me to get my so-called “big break” on television and radio.
No one owes me that opportunity.
But when they give it to me, it is my job to make sure that it will not be the last.
Hunt, for a brief moment unfortunately, forgot that reality.
He might have forgotten that people might be jealous of his blessings.
Therefore he has to watch the company that he keeps.
Hunt might have forgotten that fame is fleeting and that his shelf life as an NFL running back is extremely short.
As a result, he has to take advantage of his opportunities while he can because as NFL players say, the acronym for the NFL should stand for “not for long.”
Whether or not Hunt gets another chance is beyond anyone’s control besides the 32 NFL team owners.
But what is not out of our control is learning from cautionary tales of others, especially African-American men.
African-American men will not get the multiple chances our White counterparts receive.
Although that is unfair, no one ever said life was fair.
But once you know how unfair life is, hopefully that will encourage you to make the right decisions in life and take advantage of all of God’s blessings.
Like Eminem said, sometimes you only get one opportunity to blow up in life.
Will you take advantage of the opportunity?
Or will you blow your one chance?
It is totally up to you.
Unfortunately, Hunt might have realized that too late.
But it is not too late for everyone else.