August 6, 2014
Don’t Kill Your Future. My commitment as Judge is to uphold the laws through rulings that are fair and impartial. My commitment as a man is to be an agent of change. I am further committed to using my knowledge and experiences to help positively shape the minds and behaviors of all people. It could be the CEO of a multi-million dollar company in need of a new spark of energy or it could be a young person heading fast down the road to destruction. Helping people see and realize their potential is a full time job that I take seriously. At a recent “Finish First” workshop conducted at the East Cleveland Municipal Court, we discussed the topic of “killing your future.” I can’t take credit for coining that phrase, it was presented by attorney Darrell Fields while speaking to a group of men and women who were in search of ways to make a better life for themselves and their families. However, understanding that are current actions determine our future, I asked my workshop group, “What does it mean to kill your future?”
The collective definition from the group was that “killing your future” means making decisions today that will limit or destroy your possibilities in the future. Notice that I said “possibilities.” Considering, contemplating and preparing for “possibilities” is key to the ideal of NOT killing your future. What I expressed to the participants of the workshop is that you may not know where you future lies. You may not be able to appreciate your possibilities as you sit here today, but surely, you don’t want to destroy your possibilities before they materialize. Dr. Ben Carson didn’t know he would be a renowned surgeon when he made a commitment to study hard in school. President Obama didn’t know he would be the president while staying the course through law school. Oprah Winfrey didn’t know she would become a business icon when she ignored criticisms and continued to pursue her career in broadcasting. You surely may not know exactly where your future will lead, but the fact is that actions taken and decisions you make today will have a affect on your future. In other words, you have to always be “game ready.” Here are some examples of things that can “kill your future: Catching A Case: When you expose yourself to the legal system you lose control of the outcome. More importantly, the events that take place in the legal system remain a part of your official history. Dropping Out Of School: Education is essential to your success. Today the competition for jobs is so fierce that you must have an education so that you can at least get in the door. Failure to Gain Employment: This is a not so obvious example, however if you are not employed or employable you will consider compromising your future in order to survive now. You may decide to rob, steal or conduct an illegal hustle so that a roof is over your head and food on the table. Instead of accepting this destiny make sure you find employment. Any employment is better than no employment and if you have to go back to school, workshops or seminars to get job ready, then do it.
Associating with the Wrong Crowd: There is no other sure way to determine your future than to take a look at the people you are surrounded by. Your associations will either help you excel or cause you to fail. For more discussion on this subject or others, join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on Monday nights at 5:30pm at the East Cleveland Municipal Court. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!