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Dr. Adisa A. Alkebulan I Associate Professor in Africana Studies
My Definition Of Success | Success for me is when you evaluate your life and are able to determine that you’ve made a valuable contribution to the lives of others on a consistent basis. For me, it’s not how much fame and fortune you can accumulate but how you function in society and in the lives of others. It’s also how you live your life. I don’t mean from a religious standpoint but from an ethical stand point. Do you uplift or tear down? Do you condemn or celebrate? This is what success means to me. What contributions have you made to the world?
My Highlights | I am most proud of the work that I’ve done all over Africa. For nearly 15 years, I have been working with community organizations on a variety of projects and programs aimed at dealing with the challenges that African people face. I’ve worked with community organizations on issues of literacy, poverty, healthcare, homelessness and I can go on and on and on. It is a daunting task but that is what I am most proud of.
The Difference Between Good And Great | I think people who are great at what they do, are great because they love doing it. Because they have a passion for it. Rather that passion is driven by their love for it or their sense of obligation drives their greatness
Dealing With Doubt | I still deal with fear and self-doubt. I’m my own worst critic. That’s something that I don’t think I will ever completely outrun. But the key is to not let it cripple you. We cannot allow our fears to determine our chances or opportunities in life. We can’t let fear and doubt prevent us from doing the work that needs to be done in our communities and in the world. Fear and doubt is a part of life. We just can’t allow it to defeat us. When I was writing my dissertation, I feared that I may not have been a good enough writer and that my dissertation adviser was going to tear it apart. It also made me question whether or not I belonged in graduate school. For a fleeting moment, I wondered if I should perhaps abandon the program. But I didn’t allow that doubt to cripple me. I pushed forward and completed a project that to this day I am tremendously proud of.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I am typically inspired by historical figures. Specifically those who were Afrocentric or who embraced Black consciousness. It’s something about not only their courage but their unapologetic African consciousness, their pride that lights a fire within me. Malcolm X, Molefi Asante, Kwame Nkrumah, Steve Biko
Balancing high performance with happiness and contentment | I can honestly say that I have not struggled with happiness. Happiness of course comes and goes but generally I’m happy with the work that I’ve done and the direction my life has taken. But those of us who are a part of any kind of struggle or movement are never content. Contentment is a death nail. Once one goal is achieved we must move on to the next. Once we become content, we become complacent and dispassionate. So I am never content and do not seek contentment in a general sense.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Never defend the indefensible.
Advice On Building Wealth | I would try to encourage them to look beyond riches. Or at least re-define what wealth means. The accumulation of wealth enslaves us, colonizes us, imprisons us. But if we define wealth in terms of the relationships we create and maintain or the good that we bring into the world, then I will heap praise upon you all day. We cannot value material wealth and humanity at the same time. The accumulation of wealth more often than not has been at the expense of humanity and the common good.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | At the end of the day, I want to be remembered by the type of life I lived and the things I’ve tried to accomplish. I want people to remember my character and my commitment to humanity. I want to have touched peoples’ lives in a positive way. I want others to continue the work that I have done, to build upon it and improve it.