Jamaal Eubanks has spent a lifetime helping young people get beyond the adversity going on in their young lives to turn their dreams into reachable goals. Now, he’s written a book – “The Determination to Succeed” – to show them how learning to deal with adversity – and overcoming it – is an important skill.
“We all deal with adversity; we can’t escape it. As we deal with that adversity, we all have the opportunity to choose how we respond to that adversity,” Eubanks tells Madison365. “Do we respond to something negative with more negativity or do we take those situations and figure out a way to make it work for us?”
“The Determination to Succeed,” a book that he has been working on for a few years, has just been released. The book, Eubanks says, is about perseverance and resilience through the lens of self-reflection.
“The book talks about how one of my goals was to play college basketball. And I remember having this conversation with somebody that I looked up to in the community about that and they told me I should give up on that dream and focus on something else,” Eubanks says. “So I could have taken that advice and ran with it because that was somebody I looked up to in the community.”
Instead, Eubanks, who would go on to earn an undergraduate degree from Huntingdon College and two master’s degrees from Edgewood College, ended up working harder and proved that person wrong. “I made sure what I wanted actually happened,” he says.
Eubanks is the founder of Eubank Solutions LLC, which provides an array of services that focus on at-risk youth between the ages of 11-21. He also co-created a youth mentorship program, Pivotal Transition, that focuses on giving Black youth the tools to look beyond tomorrow. Pivotal Transition helps kids with everything from back-to-school supplies, student aid scholarships, clothing, and helping hands to get through the ups and downs of life.
Eubanks’ motto has always been “Fuel or Crutch,” an idea that he has imparted on numerous youth through mentoring and interactive motivational workshops. The #FuelorCrutch movement Eubanks started focuses on positivity and overcoming adversity in a neverending effort to become great.
“The Fuel or Crutch aspect of what I was doing is actually one of the first chapters in the book,” Eubanks says. “The book took me about three years to write with all of the editing and formatting. It’s the story of perseverance and resilience through the lens of self-reflection and it uses me as an example.”
The title is from one of Eubanks’ interactive speaking workshops is titled “The Determination to Succeed,” a three-part series that focuses on the end game of success with an emphasis on the mental toughness, perseverance, and resilience needed to overcome obstacles and adversity to obtain the ultimate goal.
There are activities at the back of the book to really get the reader to personalize their journey to success. “So after you read and go through my ups and downs there are opportunities at the end to put yourself in place in the activity where you can write things that you experienced or you did in that same position to figure out how to make it work for you,” Eubanks says.
The photo on the cover of “The Determination to Succeed” is pretty cool, too – it’s a picture of Eubanks teaching his actual younger self.
“I’m giving my younger self advice based upon what I know now,” he says. “And that really is a picture of me – I believe I’m in the third or fourth grade. My mom had never actually seen that picture before and she asked who it was.
“When I first moved back to Madison I had a conversation with one of my former teachers and she was telling me how proud she is of me and all of the things I was doing. She told me I would be a great teacher someday,” Eubanks adds. “We took a picture together and she ended up sending it to me a few months before she passed away. When I was trying to figure out what the cover of the book should be, I remembered that picture of me sitting at the table doing work.”
Who exactly is the book for?
“That’s been the toughest part for me and part of the reason why it took so long to get out – everybody kept telling me ‘you gotta have your target audience’ and ‘you gotta know who the book is for,’” Eubanks says. “This book is really for everyone. I had somebody who read it who told me that they could see how it works for somebody who is 12, 30 and 50.
“The target age for the book is probably for a person aged 12 to 24,” he adds, ”but I believe this is a book for everybody.”
Eubanks is looking forward to The Determination to Succeed book signing and release party this weekend. There will be music by Terrence Thompson and photos taken by Vernon Brown.
“Launch party will be Saturday at Penn Park from 5-6:30 p.m. I will have some books on hand to sell and will be available to talk about the book and answer questions and sign for anybody who wants it or grab a photo op,” he says. “It’s just a good time to celebrate an accomplishment.
“I am really hoping that for somebody reading this book that it really triggers something within themselves or maybe they can see themselves in a relatable situation or be able to use some of the tools to make it work for them,” Eubanks adds. “I want people to come out of reading this book inspired, motivated and able to put some of the things to use. I hope it just makes a world of difference for them.”
To order a copy of “The Determination to Succeed,” click here.