Day: May 9, 2017

Blog: “Art of the Balanced Perfectionist”

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In my childhood and early in my career, I was often deemed the classic Type-A perfectionist; however, as I learned more about efficiency, negotiation and motivation, I’ve adopted a more balanced platform in how I approach decision-making and choices.

We’ve all heard the term “analysis paralysis,” but it’s quite surprising to see how often we still continue to get caught up in the decision-making process.  While I support that every decision deserves an appropriate amount of due diligence, the diligence should also have a direct correlation to the risk and impact of the decision being made.  To me, decision-making is an art form, similar to negotiating or debating.  There are several approaches, each right in their own way.

I no longer believe in focusing on and only accepting the quintessential “be-all, end-all” idyllic decision because it is rare that a single one exists — and it may not even be achievable when it does exist.  In those cases where it exists and is possible, the path to get to the perfect decision may also result in adverse impacts.  As an alternative, I believe it’s essential to weigh the benefits of extended analysis, research and time against a more iterative and agile process that allows for innate growth, evolution and opportunity.

As each year progressed in my career, and I began to more intrinsically trust my own judgment, I learned to balance all sides of the situation.  I still hope to achieve the right decision(s), but I stay conscious of the impact of taking too long or over-thinking the options along the way.  I also look for methods where I can evolve the decision-making process over a reasonable time frame with key steps and milestones that incrementally get me to the end game — all the while delivering some benefits rather than just once at the end. But this isn’t just about a career; it’s an approach to growing and improving each day.

I’ve come to see this as a balanced perfectionism, rather than the one and only concrete irrefutable solitary perfect decision.  It’s not an exact science — and that’s really the important piece of the approach.  If it were a science, it would be quantifiable. Yet, it’s not quantifiable; it’s subjective based on experience, communication and knowledge.  You won’t always be right — and that’s OK — but you can’t let the decision-making process paralyze you.

The energy we build and the collaboration we encourage throughout the decision-making process becomes what I call “The Art of the Balanced Perfectionist.” It’s a choice to be free and happy and to accept the limitless boundaries of that which can be achieved and that which cannot be achieved. It’s not meant to stop us. It’s meant to open the door to accept ourselves without a constant immeasurable drive to nowhere. But to replace it with a happiness associated on each positive step forward.

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Winter’s Tale

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The Winter's TaleBook Review
I will begin this review of The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare by saying a few things to keep it in context:

1. I read this play back in my junior year of college as part of my Shakespeare course. The course was 15 weeks long and held on Saturday mornings at 9am. I had no option but to take it at this time. As a junior, even though I was quite studious, I also liked to have some fun… and Friday nights were a key period of fun… I may or may not (no confessions here) have not quite turned 21 yet… but did enjoy a few drinks (that’s all I will say) on Friday evenings. And then I had to go to class the next morning.

2. In this Shakespeare course, we read 1 play each week, wrote a paper on it, and then discussed it from 9 to 12. This was a really difficult course mostly due to the advanced nature of the analysis, the ruthless professor (whom I actually was quite close with) and the time it was held. Towards the end, The Winter’s Tale was one of those 15 plays… and by the grace of every single deity out there, this was not one I had to present or do a major paper on. We wrote 5 major papers, 5 small papers and 5 journal entries. I got lucky and this was a journal entry.

3. It did not capture my attention for all of the above reasons, but also because it was a little too “out there” for me. I love most of Shakespeare’s work, but this was not one I could engage with. It was written towards the end of his career and probably one of his better masterpieces, given everything he learned over his prolific career. But the play had so many themes, sub-plots and topics, I was just a bit overwhelmed.

4. If this is the first review you’re reading from me, you should have stopped earlier and read some different ones before this one. I rarely give a 5 out, only when my life has been changed as a result of reading it. I only give a 1 out if it should never have been published. So in the scale of 2 to 4… 4 is a strong recommendation to read it and a 3 is your generally good book. I haven’t given many 2’s out either, but this one is on the border of 2 or a 3, but my memory yells at me to give it a 2. I suppose I should re-read it… but why? There are definitely other great works of literature before I’d go back to read something I didn’t much care for.

That said… I’ve given you very little in this review other than to re-count a tale of my college experience and a time when I couldn’t connect with a book. I’m sorry Mr. Shakespeare. I’m sorry book review readers. This one just fell too flat for me to even put more energy into describing all the reasons why.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Walden

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WaldenWalden by Henry David Thoreau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review
Walden, an American classic…few of us have likely read all 350+ pages, unless you were an English major. For most, perhaps 10-15 pages in high school or a college literature course introduced you to Thoreau and Walden. Famed philosopher and thinker, it’s a book that transports you to nature and the simplicity of life… helping to discover who you are, what you want and where things are going. A bit of an existential crisis, so to speak. It’s a good book. I have nothing against it, but it didn’t resonate with me as much as I’d have liked.

I tend to be character and plot-based, when it comes to literature I enjoy. The main character, besides Thoreau, was passion/life/searching… it’s not a work of fiction, tho some may take it that way. Perhaps a collection of essays, early journal writing. Blogging?

All in all, beautiful language. Great images. Lots to think about. Worth reading those 10 to 15 pages. But unless you are into philosophy, it’ll be a hard read. I’m a thinker, but not in this way. I’m glad I read the full text… and a few pages several times for comparative purposes in different courses. Take a little on for yourself.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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The Very Hungry CaterpillarBook Review
3+ of 5 stars to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a children’s picture book published in 1969 and written by Eric Carle. I am sure someone read this book to me as a very small child, but I know for certain that I had it on my shelf and looked through it around 10-years old. It’s a delight for all ages with the cute illustrations, the physical design of the book and the quirky personality of the caterpillar.

It’s a useful tool to teach young children how a caterpillar grows up, eats all the food around to get his/her nutrients, builds a cocoon and emerges as a butterfly. As a wonderful science exhibit and activity to grow your own butterflies, it can be a hands-on teaching experience too. Lovely memories and great things come from it.

It gained in popularity again when George Bush mentioned it in a speech or interview. It’s also got a few readers torn up in knots. You see, the caterpillar eats too much and gets ill and overweight, but emerges as a beautiful butterfly. People read into it, thinking kids will eat so much and become obese and sickly.

I’ll probably be hated for my next comment, but seriously? Relax. I don’t think reading this book as a child will lead to such dire consequences. Wanna know why? Because if you’re a parent or guardian, read it to your kid and explain the whole story… talk about the process of nature and metamorphosis. Discuss eating habits. Explain what real beauty is. Talk about what foods are good and what foods are bad. Show how when you eat too much, you can get sick. Teach balance. But don’t hate on a book because it seems to say “eat what you want and you’ll be beautiful even when you’re sick.” Oh, and read it with a child. Don’t just put it in his/her hands and shove them out of the way. Make it an interactive experience so the right goals of the book are understood and accomplished.

Yikes, my reviews are getting more “animated” without even using GIFs. Off to get some lunch. Perhaps a box of cookies… I think I just learned that lesson reading some reviews on Goodreads about this book. Yum!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Killing Orders

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Killing Orders Book Review
4 of 5 stars to Killing Orders, the third novel in the V.I. Warshawski mystery and thriller series, published in 1985 and written by Sara Paretsky. Another great installment, pitting VI against her own family this time. It’s gotta be hard to have an animosity within your family, especially when your parents are gone and your aunt is one of the only people left. But VI and Aunt Rosa aren’t close. Yet when Aunt Rosa is accused of counterfeiting, VI knows she has to help try to clear her family’s good name. And thus begins Killing Orders, where VI takes on the church! Ever wonder whether the church was evil? Or it could want to steal money and kill to protect it? Seems so in this little thriller… long before Robert Langdon investigated the church in Dan Brown’s famous novels, VI paved the path to a deep-rooted analysis of what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong inside the holy walls. Of course, there were others before Paretsky, but this one will stick with you. It’s a good stand-alone mystery, too, if you don’t have interest in the whole series. Writing is good, but there are a few unbelievable moments, where you will squint your eyes to believe what you’re reading. But drama is sometimes necessary in order to accomplish the goals of selling books!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Cereal Murders

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The Cereal Murders Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cereal Murders, the third book in the “Goldy Bear Culinary” mystery series, published in 1993 and written by Diane Mott Davidson. I’m a fan of this series, enjoying the charming antics of the cozy little town, the delicious-sounding recipes and the mystery fun each book includes. Another good installment in the series, it falls somewhere in the middle range of best and worst, nothing to extraordinary but nothing much of fault.

Focused on the intensity of college preparation, the students at Elk Prep, where Goldy’s son, Arch, goes to school, are preparing for college. Goldy’s sort of adopted son, Julian, is a senior there and is suddenly suspected when the school valedictorian is found murdered at a dinner. He wasn’t well liked, but Goldy discovers a web of secrets he was hiding. Then a teacher is murdered and Goldy’s starting to fear for her own life, especially when she’s uncovering more and more unexpected dirt. Her relationship with Tom Schultz moves forward as they investigate the case. The highlight: Julian. He’s always been my favorite character, and I admit, I might have a small crush on him. Ha!

Usual cozy fun. A few red herrings. A town connected underneath the surface. Marla looks out for Julian at some point. Even Arch is glad to be part of the process. Plus, who doesn’t love some cereal for a meal?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 58 – Mean

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Mean: unkind or cruel

Today’s word is mean. It took me about two minutes to decide what to blog about, stemming from a book I read yesterday evening that kept me awake for a good part of the night. The book told a story about what I can only describe as mean people… and it was mean that I lost my sleep! The book was Beartown by Fredrick Backman, and I will write up a review about it later, as I don’t want to duplicate any thoughts here. You check it out via this link.

I am not a mean person. I have done a few mean things over the course of my lifetime, but I could count them on both hands and probably still have one or two fingers available for the future. Being mean is something that’s only ever come out of me when absolutely pushed to the edge, unable to find any recourse elsewhere. They’re certainly not moments I’m proud of, but youth or anger can get the better of you at times.

I spent part of the evening thinking about what it takes for someone to innately be a mean person. Is it something built into their DNA? Is it an amalgamation of awful experiences? Is it learned by watching others around them?

Then I began wondering whether or not mean people even know they are mean. Or have they justified actions such that it feels like acceptable and normal behavior?

Let’s qualify a few examples of what I’m referring to as mean: (a) you intentionally say rude or harmful things to another person just for the sake of wanting to insult them, (b) you take or steal something important because you want it badly and don’t give a hoot what happens to the other person, (c) you physically hurt somebody just because you can, (d) you purposely set someone up for a fall to see them lose. I could go on for days here, but you get the point.

I may think of doing a negative action, letting that unkind or cruel thought ride the waves in my brain for a moment or two, but I stop myself before it ever happens. It’s just not in me to do something like that… unless it’s extreme retaliation or utter frustration and anger. But there are people who simply go about their lives with those tactics in the forefront of their mind. I struggle to understand how something like that can happen.

Do they feel remorse? Do they assume it is just a small practical joke? Are they hurting and just feel it’s lashing out? Mean is unnecessary. To people. To children. To animals. To anything. There are thousands of other options to avoid being mean.

It starts in childhood, often in school. You’ve probably seen the movies “Cruel Intentions” or “Mean Girls,” where it’s an uber-experience in being utterly unkind and awful. I think back to my own experience, be it grammar, middle or high school, and I have several examples of kids being mean. I was never one of them. But I’m not bragging or trying to pat myself on the back. I’m thinking about why it happens…

I never felt a need to demoralize or demean someone else. I’m no saint. If someone tripped, I probably giggled. If someone looked bad, I probably made a mental note and either laughed or smirked. I have a few general recollections of things like that, even 1 or 2 where a group of kids laughed at someone else, and nearly everyone joined in… but I didn’t, as I knew it wasn’t right and didn’t care about fitting in. I’m not the one who’d stand up and tell everyone else off to get their attention away from the other victim. Maybe a little bit, I might… But I would go talk to that person afterwards so (s)he knew someone around them could be kind.

For any bullies reading this, shame on you. For anyone who lets it happen and does nothing… think about your actions. For anyone who tries to stop it or is never/rarely mean… which if you’re reading something I’m saying is probably 99.99% of you… congratulations for being a decent human being and truly knowing how to be a good person…….. why am I being so Mother Goose today?

It’s one of those things I don’t accept excuses for… no matter what’s happened to you (barring extreme circumstances), it’s important to stop that behavior from passing thru you on to someone else. Phew… a little tension out before I finish writing that book review. Thanks for listening to the rant. But it fit well into the 365 Daily Challenge. It was introspective. It was analytical. And it was an important characteristic to discuss… to ensure it’s one we all stay away from.  xoxo (it’s hug time after my little vent!)

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.