DUBAI (Dec. 13)–With a fortnight to go before we close out another year, many have begun to reflect on the challenges of 2012 and the opportunities that lie ahead in 2013.

It’s been a year mixed with blessings and disappointments, but in spite of some of those sad days, I remain thankful for life, which I intend to live more abundantly as the calendar flips over in the next couple of weeks.

As I reflect on the past 12 months, I remember the inspiring words of the late Jamaican professor Rex Nettleford, who often encouraged Caribbean people to believe in themselves in spite of our former colonial masters stripping many of us of our identities.

I was blessed to interview him on more than one occasion, either on the airwaves of 1190 AM WLIB radio in New York or at Caribbean conventions. I recall his strong faith in the “creative intellectual genius of the Caribbean.”

While emancipation removed the shackles from our ancestors’ hands and feet, our minds remained enslaved. We did not trust each other, we did not believe in ourselves. In the words of one of our Caribbean musical giants, we were not emancipated from mental slavery. Nettleford came to teach us by shining the light on the numerous examples of creative Caribbean intellect.

As I traverse the world, Caribbean and African people are on the move, dominating their various fields of endeavor, from Formula One racing to cricket, from business to academia. All things are possible once we believe, and these successes against the odds ought to encourage us to dream and dream big in the new year.

They ought to encourage us that while we might still have to work harder, being Black has its privileges too, giving us a line of ancestors from whom we can draw daily inspiration.

However, we will need to remove those mental shackles that rob us of achieving our full potential, and apply discipline–the bridge between thought and accomplishment–in order to achieve success.

We can make it if we try. In fact, we already are making it, so it’s time to stop complaining about the system and claim our inheritance in 2013.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Nuff said!