American culture is obsessed with happiness; the pursuit of it being one of our founding principles. It is, then, an elusive goal when one’s first memories are of anger, anxiety and conflict. With these as his founding principles, Roc was determined to rise above poverty, crime, violence, and hopelessness by any means at my disposal.
His memoir Inner Demons: Blazing a Path to Happiness is the story of how the most negative and destructive aspects of his personality were the most useful weapons against enemies; real and imagined. On his way to “victory”, he soon discovers his truest desire to be loved and the challenge/responsibility of being worthy of the love he wished for himself.
ABOUT INNER DEMONS
At 40, Rahmaan (Roc) Mwongozi took pause and reflected on his life to date. A systems analyst by trade, as well as by nature, Roc was eager not only to analyze his life internally but also to offer his journey as a case study in the human experience – leading him to write his debut book, Inner Demons, with a raw and gritty transparency. While the particulars of our lives may vary according to circumstance, Roc knew, we all face universal challenges, as part of the human quest to cultivate a successful, meaningful, and authentic life.
At the heart of systems analysis is the awareness of relationship, where one recognizes not only all the moving parts and the big picture, but also their position in relation to each other and to oneself. So it’s no surprise that Roc’s book reads like a love story and is, at the core, about relationship – to and between self, family, friends, lovers, work, community, and society. Offering Roc’s own relationship web, and thread of choices within that web, as a model of how to honestly face a problem, ask smart questions about it, and follow the trail of answers to the optimal solution, Inner Demons storytelling weaves together a blueprint for self-analysis and problem-solving, applicable to diverse situations in life and business.
In his own case, Roc’s problem-solving and “no excuses” mindset enabled him to avoid the trappings of his East Oakland neighborhood, where poverty, gangs, violence, and drugs took many down the rabbit hole of despair. Keeping his distance and planning his escape, Roc paid attention to where the power and resources lay, then went after them with gusto – leading him to an MBA degree, work with Fortune 500 corporations, and ultimately, the good life in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Roc now leverages his power, influence, and platform to foster a community of cutting-edge artists and thinkers, who are not afraid to grab life by the lapel and “go there.”