Very Smart Brothas  and Panama Jackson really dove in here. Most people don’t ask the “why.” For those of you from similar backgrounds as mine, I hope you can relate and share some of these thoughts on how people can channel the bad experiences and pain into passion and purpose. Send this article to any young man who wants to get into finance or VC and tell them to check this blog post out!

VSB: What do you think it is about you personally that has enabled you to create opportunities for personal success and then excel in them? You said pain fuels your passion, but at some point, the pain has to subside, right? What keeps you focused and moving forward?

RW: You ever go to a party and see someone who looks like they aren’t supposed to be there having the best time? That’s me. After seeing three of my six closest friends die or get murdered in my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, I realized the odds were against my survival. Every day was like a gift; I feel like I am not supposed to be here.

After I learned how prayer, meditation, consciousness, focus and the power of my thoughts helped create a way out of no way, I continued to use those tools to drive opportunities and my career forward. It didn’t stop “once I made it out of the hood.” Then it was like, how do I transition from Wall Street to venture capital? How do I go from a $10 million fund with Nas to a $100 million fund with Manhattan Venture Partners? How do I take everything I learned and give it away for free? The pain never goes away; you learn to manage and channel it.

VSB: That’s a very interesting perspective. Useful, too. So there’s a lot of power of positive thinking and self-actualization techniques you use?

RW: Yes, all the time. Society has become very efficient in devaluing people of color; you have to be proactive in re-establishing your consciousness and purpose.

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