“Tell me, what do you do just when you’re on your last dollar. And the stress of this mess you in can make you’re ass holla? Do you fold, grow bitter and grow cold? No longer fightin’ now the only thing you grow is old. Or do you flip that fuckin’ dollar to a dream? Whether a scholar or a fiend, watch a pawn become a king.” J Cole, “Dollar and a Dream”. Cole World: Sideline Story, 2011.
Hello from Sunny California. This is Joshua Moore, a fresh new voice of the DDR, and I’ll be holding it down for the Daily Dose every hump day for the rest of 30 Days of J Cole. I’m currently just finishing my first month of law school and the workload is already starting to get hectic. But as Cole says in “Dollar and a Dream”, I’m about to flip this dollar to a dream. I’m a pawn becoming a King. For those of you who don’t know, in law school it is said that your first year is your most hellacious year of your life; complete with stress, unhappiness, long hours of work, little hours of play or sleep, no rewards, and grades at the end of the semester with a guarantee that only about 6 or so people in your class of 60+ will get As. Whew! Makes me wanna hollaaa! Due to the high stress level, inspirational talks as morale boosters are common throughout law school, even if they are just from fellow peers. Last week, I was privileged enough to get one of these talks from Thomas Mesereau.
Most famous for his successful defense of Michael Jackson, Mr. Mesereau is also known for his commitment to representing the underprivileged. His free legal clinic in south central Los Angeles provides much needed legal services to many residents who might not otherwise have ready access to such services. In our conversation, Mr. Mesereau, who has also represented people such as Mike Tyson and Robert Blake, advised me: a first-year law student fresh out of Morehouse College. Though USC might be molding me to enter into big law practice, he encouraged me to never lose sight of what my life’s goals and ambitions are. He said too many lawyers are unhappy now because they are sticking to a pre-planned script rather than trying something outside of the box. Mesereau placed a seed in my mind that I want to pass on to you this morning: Never be afraid to deviate from the common path if you don’t find it working in your favor.
The DDR: Too often we are too focused on what others have done or are doing or expect us to do. Sometimes its our parents, a spouse, a mentor, or an employer. You have the power to create your own path. You perhaps have landed admissions into that top college or graduate school or that amazing job opportunity that so many people only dream about. Perhaps you decided to go back to school to get another credential, and now you’re like “Now what?” Don’t let these moments dictate your life trajectory. Do not let what other people or institutions want or expect you to do hinder your hustle, your happiness, or your satisfaction. At the end of the day, we’re all pawns in the chess game of life. Make power moves. Later for the lateral moves. Today, I challenge you to consider what king/queen moves are you making?