"I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions." ~ Proverbs 8:12
As Black History Month comes to a close, I wanted to highlight some historical figures whose inventions and innovations continue to have a significant impact on our lives today. They also reflect how God's inventive and entrepreneurial characteristics are displayed in His children - whether they acknowledge Him or not. Many of these creative geniuses are well known, but there are plenty others who are not household names that have made extraordinary contributions to our society. (This list of black American inventors was sourced from http://bit.ly/yBRt7X.)
ELIJAH McCOY (1843-1929)
A love of machines and tools led to a lifetime career and the awarding of 57 patents to Elijah Mc Coy, son of former slaves who had fled from Kentucky to Canada in search of freedom. Until Mc Coy developed a device, which made possible the automatic oiling of machinery used in manufacturing, companies using such machines had to stop the machines before oiling them. Oiling of machinery reduces the wear and tear of friction. So popular did Mc Coy's invention become that person inspecting new equipment generally asked if it contained the "real Mc Coy," meaning Mc Coy's oiling device. Today, "real Mc Coy" is an expression is in the American language meaning the "real thing.' In all, Mc Coy invented 23 oiling devices as well as many other useful inventions. He finally set up his own manufacturing company to develop and sell his many inventions.
GARRETT A. MORGAN (1875-1963)
Garrett A. Morgan was a prize-winning inventor who developed a safety helmet-breathing device widely used by firemen in many American cities in the early 1900's. His invention became popular after he and his brother used it to rescue over two-dozen men who were trapped under Lake Erie, at Cleveland, Ohio, when an explosion occurred in a tunnel, which was under construction. He was awarded a hold medal by the City of Cleveland for his heroic rescue. He later received a gold medal at the Second International Exposition of Safety and Sanitation, in New York, in 1914. Morgan is best remembered for his invention of the automatic stop sign. This invention, now called the traffic or "stop light" controls the flow of vehicles through street intersections.
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER (1864-1943)
Probably the best-known African American scientist and inventor is George Washington Carver, who alone, nearly revolutionized agriculture in the South. At a time when the South's major crop-cotton-was faced with total destruction by the boll weevil beetle, Dr. Carver, through scientific experiments showed the South that peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes (yams), among other crops, should be planted, along with cotton. Thus, if on crop failed, there would be others from which farmers could make money. Known as "The Wizard of Tuskegee," Dr. carver developed hundreds of products from the peanut, the soybean, the pecan nut, the sweet potato, and even the weeds. Today, there are many schools and other institutions named in memory of Dr. Carver.
DANIEL H. WILLIAMS (1858-1931)
Founder of a hospital which still exists in Chicago, medical physician Dr, Daniel H. Williams is credited with having performed the first "open-heart" surgery July 9, 1893, long before this kind of surgery was developed. Dr. Williams saved the life of a knifing victim by "sewing up his heart." Working in a makeshift operating room too small for the six-man operating team which helped him, he opened the patient's chest, exposed the beating heart, and stitched the knife wound a fraction of an inch from the heart without the aid of X-rays, blood transfusions or modern "miracle drugs." On August 2, Dr. Williams operated again to remove some fluid from the chest cavity. On August 30, the patient walked out of the hospital, and was known to be alive and well 20 years later.
I love to imagine how entrepreneurial thinking can produce creative ideas and innovative solutions to challenges that many impoverished communities face nationally and globally. I believe that successful purpose-centered entrepreneurs can be used as a strategic tool to empower others to build healthy, prosperous communities.
Inc. Magazine recently posted an article, "Why Entrepreneurs Do What They Do." In the article they describe entrepreneurship as "solving problems and creating social progress; building great new things that make a better world. It's about celebrating each step toward the ultimate human longing for an enhanced and enriched enterprise of life."
This description of entrepreneurship succinctly captures the entrepreneurial spirit that God wants every human being to have, whether you own a business or not. You were created for something special that goes beyond your personal well being and extends to creating well being for others.
The article quoted social entrepreneur and Episcopal bishop Rev. William Swing: "There are two fields of genius available...laborers who live on yesterday's insights and entrepreneurs who live on tomorrow's possibilities. Both have their own dignity, but entrepreneurship pulls life into its destiny."
The potential for great things to happen in the world is unleashed when purpose-centered entrepreneurs, who have incredible vision, diverse skills, and a passion for progress, channel their collective energy to create something greater than what one individual could do on their own.
Our society needs more God-inspired social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinkers to help conquer the immense challenges we are confronted with in the world on a daily basis. I am one of them. Are you?
Click here to connect with me to see what we can do together!
It's that time again! The new February/March issue of Brotha Online Magazine is ready and available for your exploration. My contribution to this edition is entitled, Developing the Entrepreneurial Mind of Christ. I also have a special accompanying video to go with this month's article (click here). Here is a short excerpt:
Albert Einstein was an intellectual phenomenon. Steve Jobs was a creative mastermind. Thomas Edison was a genius as bright as they come (pun intended). However none of these entrepreneurial inventors measures up to the brilliance, inventiveness, resourcefulness, prowess, and many other words I could use to describe our indescribable God.
God is the original and ultimate entrepreneur. In the beginning of Genesis 1, through Jesus (Hebrews 1:2), He created something incredible out of chaos. At the end of Genesis 1, they created man and woman in their divine image and told them to take dominion over the earth, be fruitful, and multiply. In order for us to accomplish these three mandates we have to use divine characteristics of entrepreneurship, including but not limited to faith, intelligence, creative ability, and resourcefulness, all of which God displayed as He manifested the universe.
When most people hear the word entrepreneur they automatically think about business and selling stuff. However, you don’t have to be in business to be entrepreneurial. My simple definition for entrepreneurial is the ability to create value for people using attributes given to us by God. So using this definition, everyone should be entrepreneurial, which also describes how we should be operating in the world with the mind of Christ.
Click this link for the full article: http://brothaonline.com/Editions/FebMar12/Kingdom-Business-Paul-Wilson-Jr.html
I wrote this post a few years ago on my Passion in Action blog. So in honor of Valentine's Day I decided to dust it off and repost it here. Enjoy!
One of my favorite sports in high school was flirting. Yes, you read correctly - flirting. I say this, because it was all a big game that everybody played. Fortunately, it was fun, mostly harmless, puppy love child's play.
While that kind of behavior was ok back then, once I got older I realized it was time to put away childish things. What was innocent flirting in high school took on a whole different tone and meaning once I became an adult. Flirting now had greater expectations and consequences attached to it. I had to be much more careful and flirt "at my own risk."
How does this relate to your dreams? Some people are content to only flirt with their dreams because they are unwilling to make the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual investments that are necessary to pursue and accomplish big dreams.
What does flirting with a dream look like?
Does any of this sound familiar to you as it relates to flirt-only, surface-level relationships? How about as it relates to pursuing and accomplishing one's dreams? This type of behavior is similar to relationships when people flirt with one another for long periods of time without eventually making a commitment, because they are unwilling to devote themselves to a meaningful, significant, and accountable partnership.
Some of the reasons why people do this in relationships are the same as why they do it with their dreams:
This well-known quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson applies to relationships and dreams. "Perpetual Flirters" don't realize they will never be able to experience the joy and depth of love if they never take a risk of being with someone that could cause them a depth of pain. Likewise, you will never be able to experience the depth of joy and fulfillment from accomplishing your dreams if you never embrace the risk of experiencing deep disappointment and discouragement that may happen if you don't accomplish your dreams.
Stop flirting with your dreams! Take the plunge. Jump in head over heels. Pursue it with all your heart and don't hold anything back. Commit to staying the course, especially when it gets hard - because it inevitably will. It will be well worth the risk no matter what happens!
Most of the world knows by now that Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday. The outpouring of sympathy and sentiments has been what is expected for who may have been the greatest singer of all time. She was given a wonderful tribute last night at the Grammys. And in countless news stories, interviews, and programs people are expressing shock, dismay, sadness, and a multitude if other feelings.
This is an extremely sad story of a wonderful talent who met with a tragic end to her life. However, the question has to be asked: Why do people seem to respond differently when a superstar dies unexpectedly than when a "regular" person dies unexpectedly?
One reason I believe this mindset exists is because secretly in the hearts of "regular" people lives the same distorted perspective that lives in the heart of many superstars. It's the human tendency - and for many a conscious choice - to chase the dream vs. The Dream Giver (God).
I can't say this is what happened to Whitney Houston, but this is what happens to a lot of people in our society. Actually this mindset is nothing new. It was actually addressed by God in Deuteronomy 8 when He admonished the nation of Israel before they entered their promise land. He told them that life was about to get really good. And when it did, they had better not forget the One who made it happen, or else it would cause them to lose everything.
Why is it so important that you don't pursue your dream at the exclusion of the Dream Giver? When seasons of attention, fame, and stardom pass, and it seems like your dream is now fading from memory instead of flowing into your future, what will you have to hold on to? Whether you are in front of big crowds or not, when the Dream Giver is your focus, you will have the foundation, inspiration, and direction for the next adventure of your life. Transitions don't have to be tragic, they can be triumphant.
In today's cult of celebrity, as exhibited by the Grammys and other award shows, people are worshipped for their talent and exploits as much as if not more than God. When that happens, celebrities are ascribed glory that should only be given to God. In Hebrew the word "glory" originally means "weight" or "heaviness." Humans were not created to carry the weight of God's glory, only to reflect it. When the weight and pressure of carrying the glory of man-made fame, i.e. having to keep pleasing people or shocking them so you stay relevant in their minds and wallets year after year, people eventually crack under the pressure. They end up doing things they felt was necessary to temporarily or permanently escape the pressure of their lives.
No matter how we have idolized them, superstars - like all of us - are frail human beings who eventually will break down if enough pressure is applied. The list is staggering of those who "died too soon" over the last couple of years (or even the last 40 years) under tragic circumstances that involved drugs and/or alcohol:
James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights. He loves to bless His children with amazing talent that blesses the world. What He doesn't love is when His children worship the talent - their own or someone else's - more than they worship Him.
So let me ask you, are you chasing the dream or the Dream Giver?
I am very excited to make 2 very "B.I.G." announcements today. The first is that for a limited time I am selling my book Dream B.I.G. in 3D available for the price you choose to pay. Proceeds from your donations will go towards faith based, purpose centered entrepreneurship training programs for unemployed, underemployed, and misemployed, such as S.E.E.D.S. Builders. I am so passionate and committed to seeing people's lives changed that I'm willing to take this risk. So whether you have $1, $10, or $100, we will gladly accept what you choose to invest in 1 million of those who need help the most right now.
My other B.I.G. announcement is that Dream B.I.G. in 3D is now available as an ebook. So whether you have a Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony, Kobo, or just about anything else, you can get this ebook for only $4.99. Just go to www.dreambigebook.com to order it today and you will be helping to rebuild people, families, and communities through faith based entrepreneurship empowerment.
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 speaks clearly about the incredible benefits of investing your resources into somebody's life:
"Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."
Even if you don't want it for yourself, purchase this book for someone that you know needs insight into their purpose, encouragement for their journey, or ignition for their passion. Make a B.I.G. difference in somebody's life today.
Thanks in advance for your support!
Good news came out today from the U.S. Department of Labor about the job market that unemployment hit a 3-year low in January. And the expectation is that it will continue to improve over the coming months. Also in a related story earlier this week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report with its predictions of what will be the greatest and least job growth areas over the next 20 years. It's easy to see how this information is relevant to those who are looking for traditional work, but what do these numbers represent for entrepreneurs?
Just as this information helps people know which growth areas to pursue for jobs, it also lets entrepreneurs know which industries and companies have money available to spend for goods and services. Whether it be in healthcare, energy, professional services, or retail, companies will be not only looking for employees to produce, but also other sources of ideas and productivity from outside contractors, freelancing, and temp work.
Entrepreneurs sometimes need to search for strategic opportunities in places that aren't always obvious. With the job market improving, ask God to show you where the open doors are for you to bring dynamic solutions and value that will generate significant revenues for your business.
How might the changing job market impact or benefit your business?
On Passion in Action yesterday, I had a chance to interview Karlyn Henderson, CEO and Managing of Poimena Consulting, who has designed an impactful coaching program to facilitate women in the marketplace who desire to excel and live their dream career. Like many women seeking promotion, Karlyn’s idea of achievement included personal, professional, and spiritual success. With zeal to be the best, she sought leadership roles in corporate America. However, quickly learned, she needed guidance to soar. After receiving winning mentorship, strategic direction, and empowering confidence, Karlyn excelled into leadership roles by learning value of leadership, as well as personal development plan, compiling a support team, conquering fear, overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors, and discovering self.
Click here to watch to full interview.
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Amos Johnson Jr.
Brotha Online Magazine
Business as Mission
The High Calling