Charles “Chazz” Scott: Teaching Youth To Overcome Adversity Through Positive Thinking
BE Modern Man: Charles “Chazz” Scott
Cyber defense engineer, motivational speaker; 27; executive director of Positively Caviar Inc.
As the executive director and chief creative optimist of Positively Caviar Inc. based in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, I lead a passionate team that focuses on empowering, inspiring, and motivating all human beings, with a special emphasis on youth, to instill mental resilience by way of intentional positive thinking. To accomplish our mission, we host our signature B.U.I.L.D.(Being Unique While Learning and Developing) self-empowerment workshops, high-intensity speaking engagements, and develop positive digital media that have served over 5,000 workshop attendees and followers. Our fun, interactive, and science-centric informative workshops introduce youth to the importance of optimism and how it affects their emotions, decision making, well-being, and future.
I am also a full-time cyber defense engineer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In this role, I also function as a technical advisor responsible for helping to attract, identify, and recruit minority cybersecurity professionals and engineers.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
I’ve had quite a few struggles, especially as it relates to running a nonprofit. Starting a business of any kind will make you question yourself during times of adversity. One of my mentors told me that being “an entrepreneur is one of the closest experiences to death humanly possible.” You are essentially vulnerable every single day while trying to bring your heartfelt ideas into fruition despite the naysayers and numerous disappointments.
A couple of years ago I started to question the mission and objectives of our nonprofit because of the discouragement and disappointments I was facing regarding my full-time job, obtaining support and nonprofit grants, and just downright not believing in myself. Additionally, I did not do so well on a recent organizational presentation to a mental health clinic and potential donors. I began questioning my abilities as a speaker, writer, and leader. My negative self-talk–about my life, my nonprofit, the value of positive thinking, and my career–was terrible, and I felt like I couldn’t combat it. I stopped going to the gym, reading, waking up early, and began binge-watching TV for hours. I was paralyzed by my fears and insecurities.
I knew I couldn’t live like this. I started to see the effects of how my negative self-talk carried over into my relationships. I wanted to change the internal dialogue within myself to shift my focus toward helping others, and I knew I the only way I could do this was to go to work on myself–mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So, I did just that. I started eating more fruits and vegetables, meditating, reading inspirational books, and developed a rigorous morning routine that made me unstoppable. As I started meditating more, I began to uncover unconscious behaviors that were ultimately influencing my decisions. One of them happened to be realizing that I resorted to binge-watching TV shows only during times when I was avoiding a fear that I needed to overcome. I was suffering from analysis paralysis and I didn’t even know it. It took some time, but I ended up turning a very dark moment in my life into rocket fuel to take me to the stars. Still, to this day I will never miss a day of my morning routine of meditating, reading, and running.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
My greatest role model is my late grandfather, Ackneil M. Muldrow. He had such an impact on just about every aspect of my life. He was a very well-respected businessman for the city of Baltimore who worked tirelessly to uplift underserved communities and help economically disadvantaged businesses gain access to capital. He was on more boards of directors than I could count. Additionally, he was one of the very first individuals to participate in the Greensboro sit-ins while he was in undergrad attending North Carolina A&T. The synchronicity in his life, his tenacity in helping people, his selfless spirit, and tireless work ethic allowed him to rise to his highest self in business and in life. He taught me to never give up, helped me secure my first internship at a civil engineering company in high school, exposed me to the importance of ownership, and showed me the importance of selflessly helping others.
He passed in late 2018. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him. I model my life every single day because of how he lived. He would have been so proud of my selection for this award from BLACK ENTERPRISE, because of what this magazine meant to him and the black community he passionately fought for.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
The best advice I’ve been given was from one of my mentors, Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, who is the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). While attending high school, when I was still trying to discover myself and my purpose, he said this: “You are older than you think you are.”
This one quote added urgency and instilled purpose into my life. As a high schooler, you think you have the rest of your life to figure it all out. This could not be the furthest thing from the truth. As I grew older, I began to really see just how fast life can move. I was hungry to make a name for myself. I began mapping out my entire life–from attending Hampton University, summer internships, and obtaining my master’s degree. This one statement allowed me to internalize that you can’t just wait around for things to just happen in life, you have to map it out and attack it with everything you have.
WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?
Meditation has led to a lot of my success. Setting my intentions in the morning has created moments of synchronicity in my life that continue to let me know I am on the correct path of my life journey. It’s provided me guidance that can only stem from sitting in a room at 4:00 a.m. with no phone, no distractions, and absolutely no social media. In these moments, I am able to train my mind and direct it toward thoughts that support my life. Our brains are like muscles; this was my time to exercise my brain to ensure it is performing at an optimal level. In these quiet moments, I combat my ego, insecurities, and fears. Spending time with these attributes and getting to know them every single day allows me to begin to use them as an advantage, and not my downfall. Meditation has allowed me to stay in the fight longer when adversity arises and take the experience and emotion objectively for what it is. I don’t lose control when things may not go the way that I planned. All of this stemmed from just 15 minutes of meditation a day.
Your life depends upon your internal dialogue with yourself. Control your mind, and you will control your life. Meditate, read, and exercise, if you can, every single day to leave nothing on the table that God wants you, and only you, to bring into the world. Remember, your life will move in the direction of your thoughts and words. Speak victory, not defeat!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
I absolutely love being the underdog. As black men, we are the underdog in America. Mentally, we are bombarded subconsciously with information to support a false narrative about ourselves. This not only influences society but also makes us question ourselves. Every black male suffers from the internal conflict within one’s self of how we perceive ourselves and how the world perceives us. The media portray us to be violent, lazy, and selfish. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Our perceptions about our lives and how others see us can either lead to our downfall or lead to our rise. I chose the latter. We were taught to harm one another and unconsciously told not to believe in ourselves, and even taught that our black skin makes us inferior. Every single day when I wake up in the morning I make a conscious choice to battle these perceptions and lift my family, friends, and community in any way that I can. We can love, we can express our emotions, we are not broken, we are mentally strong, and we can provide for our families. We are passionate, driven, and, most importantly, selfless.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.