feedback

365 Challenge: Day 209 – Tidy

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Tidy: arranged neatly and in order

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Every once in a while, it’s good to cleanse your mind and body — to tidy up in a way that makes everything feel better. Nature feels the same way. Since this is the first weekend I’ve been home in nearly a month, it’s time to clean up the outdoor plants and trees, which have nearly all lost their summer flowers. But it also means I must take an inventory to know what spaces are available for a few fall colors to brighten the place up. Tidying up the outdoors in the natural world will give me a good break away from editing my books. My 365 Daily Challenge message is brief again today, as it takes a lot to recover from being out of a routine for so long.

Just like you need to tidy up the physical spaces you live in, you also need to tidy up your mind. As I clean up the terrace today, and prepare for its next season, I will also prepare myself for big changes in the next few months. While my days may not be very different, my novel will officially be out for public review. There will be some negative feedback along with the positive comments; such is life. Even with a thick skin, being judged, or being told something isn’t as good as you think it is, can hurt. But it’s a good hurt when you can turn it around to make improvements in your craft. The important lesson for me, and for everyone who shares part of himself or herself with the world, is to keep tidying your mind — so none of these thoughts sit for too long, nor overstay their welcome.

Negative feedback is often the impetus we all need for taking a giant leap in the right direction for change to occur. Learn to use it wisely and not let it get you down.

 

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.

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365 Challenge: Day 172 – Me

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Me: used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself as the object of a verb or preposition

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Some people are born without any selfish bones in their body or thoughts in their mind. Many are absolutely incapable of thinking about other people, reserving every moment of the day for themselves and themselves alone. I’m willing to bet that a majority of people out there fall somewhere in between on this scale of extremes. I know I certainly do, hopefully somewhere right in the middle, but definitely aware of the times when I am too focused on myself, feeling like ‘it’s all about me.’ Having a healthy ego or confidence in focusing thought or action on yourself is a good thing when managed properly. But there needs to be a fair balance, which is why today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is ‘me’ and comes, of course, with suggestions for a change in our approach to each day. I’m sure you ask: “Will this guy ever shut up about himself, always with advice?”

I’ve decided to institute a NON ‘me’ day each month, rotating it into my schedule so that I purposely focus on other people and not myself. I think it will do wonders for my outlook and humility to see and understand things from other people’s perspectives — and not just my own. It certainly won’t be easy, at least not the way I have this planned in my mind, but I believe it’s important.

I’ll share a few examples but am ultimately curious what others think of this exercise, as well as how they handle things in their own life. The most obvious illustration I can share is my WordPress blog: ThisIsMyTruthNow and the 365 Daily Challenge. It was created as a way to help me identify what I wanted to do in the future and as a method to connect with people from around the world. When I choose the word each day, I relate it something specific about me and my life. Many wonderful people comment on it each day, and we have an interactive dialogue regarding how the word fits in both of our lives. It’s a great tool to get to know someone, but there is a downside. Shocker, I know!

The discussion and online friendship is being kicked off because I started talking about myself. Not because we randomly met and began a conversation about something other than either one of us. On the flip side, I try to read everyone’s blog that I follow to learn more about them; sometimes I have little time to comment, and there’s just a “like” after I’ve read the post. While that’s fine for most days, given how busy we all are, I think it’s important to learn more about other people and build on relationships by clearly focusing on other people and their blogs. What I’m planning to do is pick 1 day a month where I have a very tiny post to cover the 365 Daily Challenge, which will reduce the time I would have used for both writing my post and responding to comments. In its place, I plan to respond to as many other blogger’s posts from that day that I can fit in.

The comments will be all about them and their post. Not me or how I felt about it, but something to let the blogger know the value they’ve brought to the table. It might be hard, for instance, if it’s a book review we both read. How do I comment without indicating how I felt about the book? But isn’t that the point sometimes? Your feedback, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, should be about the person who wrote the post sometimes too, not just your own opinion. {Aside: I am not referring to when someone comments on my post — it’s ALWAYS been an equal balance about both of us, so please don’t change how you interact with me — this is just about how I want to change my interaction on other people’s blogs!}

It’s only fair to spend time focused on that person and their words without introducing your own experience as the primary response. I’m not saying this is how it should always be, but it’s a healthy exercise to train ourselves to stop being so “I” and “me” in our responses. Sharing experiences often leads to a strong relationship, I fully agree, which is why I wouldn’t do this all the time. But picking 1 day a month where I focus only on the other people in my life seems like a fair thing to do. And it’s not only online in my blog or my social media connections. It should be everywhere. For instance…

Phone conversations. I want to pickup the phone to ask others how they are doing. Focus on what’s good or new, or sad, in his/her life. See if I can do something to help them or brighten their day. Hopefully no one interprets this as me saying I’ve not done this before, as I definitely do think and focus on other people. But as we get busy, we often forget a bit of our manners, falling into traps of relating everything back to ourselves and our own experiences. I think it will be a great way to re-energize and engage with someone who maybe felt a little distant lately, or in need of a pick-me-up in the form of a good conversation about their life with a friend they hadn’t chatted with in a while.

I’d apply the same to letting someone else choose where we went for dinner or what TV show we picked to watch that evening. It’s often the little things in life that go a long way, especially as we all get busier and use technology to do the work for us, rather than good old-fashioned intimacy between real-life people. I’m generally aware of balancing the conversation equally among both parties, but not always. This is simply a way to ensure I’m being less selfish, more open and bringing about a little positive change across other people’s life. You never know when someone needs a bit of extra attention, but even more important, when they deserve it. The world is too small (sounds kinda funny, huh?) and life is too short (really, it is) to not put in the effort that might make it a better place for someone else.

How about you? Do you find that you talk about yourself more than you should? Do you have tools and tips and tricks to balance out your interactions? Share with ME please!

 

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.

365 Challenge: Day 170 – Feedback

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Feedback: information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement

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Feedback is often hard to accept, especially when someone suggests that you change something you are doing. Not many people are open-minded enough to truly look at the advice in a way that removes their personal feelings or emotions. It’s a process and learned skill that takes many years to fine-tune in order to make the best of the situation.

When I was younger, I had a hard time accepting any sort of feedback — either good or bad. I had a habit of immediately feeling threatened, which often resulted in my opinion of the person who had been sharing his/her thoughts suddenly being knocked down a few pegs. I often thought I was always right and that other people didn’t understand me. It’s a common reaction to hearing any sort of potential negative response, even if it’s presented as constructive criticism. This carried over into my first few years as a manager of employees. When it came to review time, I tended to mark someone higher than they were in fear I’d hurt their feelings. After the second round of performance appraisals, it suddenly dawned on me: if you don’t tell the person what’s wrong, it will not get any better. And if it doesn’t get any better, then it will become an even larger problem that you try to cover up because you missed it the first time. Wrong Reaction!

Feedback is important, whether it’s positive or negative. There are tons of studies on the right way to present it, as well as the wrong way. Since I’m not going to include intelligent reports here, because I’m lazy, this is really only my opinion. But I’m certain it’s right. {Aside: Shh… I told you earlier, I no longer think I’m always right. I now know it! OK… just kidding, in case you’re new to my blog and don’t yet fully understand my brand of humor…} I try to balance the positive and the negative feedback when I critique other people’s efforts or share an opinion on what they have chosen to do. I do it for a few reasons, but mostly it’s because that’s how I like to receive feedback.

No one is perfect. Everything can always be a little bit better. Doesn’t mean it should be. But there’s room for improvement and it often takes another set of eyes to shed light on it. No matter how many times I taste a meal that I’ve made over and over again, there is something I can do to make it even better. As much as I re-work a paragraph in my novel to the point I feel like it’s brilliant, there is another way of saying the same thing that is just a little bit better than my draft. These are good things. Not bad things. Life is not about achieving perfection. It’s also not about achieving “good enough,” in case that’s where you thought I might be going. It’s about finding the middle ground where you, as the creator or the person doing the task, can feel pride and joy over your accomplishments.

As I matured and researched the ways to give and receive feedback, I found my own happy medium for the approach. I share all the things I like. I share a few things I see that could be received differently (either positively or negatively) by others with a different perspective. I share a couple of things I’d suggest doing in a better way. But I also explain why, how I could be wrong and how I could be right. It’s not my decision and I’m not the authority, but it’s my personal opinion and only something the receiver should “take into consideration.” It goes hand-in-hand with my own belief not to intrude in someone else’s life for any reason. I will tell them if I think they’re doing something that could hurt them or another person, but beyond that, it’s unfair to put my expectations on another person’s life, beliefs, choices, actions or opinions. Feedback is simply a way of sharing an alternative way of doing something.

When you ask for feedback, it’s imperative that you go into it knowing you might not like the responses you get back. If you can’t accept that, maybe you shouldn’t ask for feedback. I’ve chosen on occasion not to ask for feedback because I wasn’t ready to hear the constructive criticism. It was about me. Not about the person sharing his/her feelings. That’s the important part — you have to be in a place to both share and receive the feedback, as it’s not a one-way street. When someone says “I didn’t like this because of “x” reason, it needs to be explored. Perhaps through discussion, one of both parties involved will change their opinion by learning additional information. This is why I generally prefer interactive feedback, as it is a chance to give a full-circle review and discussion so that feelings may be less hurt, ideas may be more open and change might be better accepted.

Now that I don’t have a ‘boss’ looking over my shoulder every day, I have to ask for feedback, as opposed to receiving it through normal or natural means. It can be hard to ask someone to give you honest feedback, but if you don’t have the strength to ask for it, then you might not have the strength to receive it. As I move forward with getting my edits back from the publisher next week, I am realizing that is my next real round of feedback. It’ll be the last stop before the novel is completed and put in the hands of readers to decide how and when to review my work. And that will bring another whole round of feedback, which could be good and it could be bad. It took me a while to accept it, and I’m still not 100% comfortable, but I know if it goes poorly, there will be something to learn from it that needs to be considered before I move forward with another step.

When I get to the crux of it all, the secret to accepting feedback is learning how to give feedback. Once you find the words to tell someone how they are doing, you also learn how to interpret when someone is sharing feedback with you. The key is to listening, not just hearing what they say. Recognize the words. Understand the choices they made with how they told you. Figure out what it means from your perspective and their perspective. And in the middle somewhere, sometimes closer to them, sometimes closer to you, is an answer where you can feel pride and joy.

How are you at accepting feedback? Sharing your opinion with others? Do you balance the good and the bad? Or do you tend to shy away from anything negative?

 

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.

What’s a Spoiler??

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My friend Mischenko has started an amazing conversation about spoilers in book reviews. You should definitely check it out… so many comments already from all her followers. Great perspectives in this post. Nice job! #spoilers #bookreview #awesomepost #reading

ReadRantRock&Roll

Spoiler is typically defined as a person or thing that spoils something, but it’s not that easy is it? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about spoilers when it comes to book reviews. On Goodreads, there are people that will straight up lash out on others for including spoilers in their reviews, but just what exactly is considered a spoiler?

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I recently reviewed a book and compared my review to somebody else’s review on the same book and they had many labels for spoilers that I really didn’t consider spoilers at all. It made me reflect on my review writing and I’m questioning if I’m giving out too much information about the content.

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Blog: 350 Book Reviews on ThisIsMyTruthNow

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After I finished looking at all the updates on Goodreads, WordPress and my other social media accounts this morning, and posting today’s 365 Daily Challenge blog, I began writing up a few reviews for books I’d read in the past. When I finished, I realized I’d written 350 book reviews in the last 9 months. I was shocked I’d gotten that far already. Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for reading and providing feedback on all the reviews. I’m about 75% complete with finishing prior reads and hope to finish by the end of June. Below are some statistics as well as a link to the Book Review section here. This will help give you some insight into the different authors, books and genres I’ve read in case you want to go poking around in previous posts.  Thank You!

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Welcome to my collection of book reviews. My favorite genres are thrillers and historical fiction. I’ve broken the categories into the following 11 genres: (1) children’s literature, (2) classics [pre-19th century], (3) cozy mystery, (4) fantasy & science fiction, (5) general fiction, (6) historical fiction, (7) non-fiction, (8) other & about TV shows, (9) thriller & suspense fiction, (10) young adult fiction and (11) alternative fiction.

As May 2017, there are over 350 book reviews on my blog and website, ThisIsMyTruthNow. Within each menu, you will find all the books I’ve written a review for organized by genre. I first post the book review on Goodreads and then send it over to this site, where I explore more about the genre, book series and authors. Since I only started publishing book reviews in October of 2016, I have been trying to catch up on everything I’ve read to date. As a result, there are two types of book reviews being posted.

Book Review Type 1 – Full & Detailed

  • For any book I’ve read since I started this website and blog in mid-2016, there is a full and detailed book review containing the following items: author, title, genre, rating, year published, overview of the story, initial thoughts, characters, strengths, areas for improvement, similar books by this author or another author, why I chose the book and some final thoughts. There are also pictures and graphics to help provide a fun and informative review.

Book Review Type 2 – Short Summary

  • Although I have a good memory when it comes to books and authors, I can’t possible remember everything about all 500+ books I’ve read in the last few decades. For anything before 2016, if I don’t have a vivid recollection, I have a shorter version of the review with some general thoughts, the good and the bad of what I remember, ratings, and some recommendations on similar items. These are generally only 1 paragraph long and do not have pictures or graphics.

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Thanks for stopping by and perusing the site. If you aren’t sure which genre the book falls into, you can also search by author in the next menu category called “Genre/Author/Series” or you can enter the book into the “Search” box on the main home screen. If you have any feedback, please share… I love to hear from everyone, as well as get book recommendations. To see my profile on Goodreads, click here.

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. <i>Note</i>: 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.

365 Challenge: Day 65 – Eager

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Eager: wanting to do or have something very much, keen expectancy or interest

Early on in the 365 Daily Challenge, I chose the word “curious” as a characteristic. “Eager” borders on the same meaning, but I am going to take it in a different path today. Shocking, I know… where is that consistency?

Although the 365 Challenge began as a way for me to bring interesting content to my blog, as well as explore different parts of “who I am,” the way I continue to choose the characteristic word could change with each arc of the challenge. A few examples with the last day of the week words:

  • In the first 5 weeks, it was one of my genealogical origins or ethnicity, which offered an opportunity to comb the internet for the stereotypical traits for that country.
  • In the second 5 weeks, we covered an A to Z list of various things I hate, love, fears, food, and as a hint, this Sunday’s final one will be: places that make me smile.

For the first 10 weeks, I’ve chosen all the words. I’m shocked that it’s 10 weeks on the weekend. It’s gone so quickly! But it’s also been really interactive and enjoyable.

And now… it’s time to turn the heat up a little… and I’m eager to hear some suggestions from all of you.  I’m completely open with where to go next, but the people-pleaser inside of me wants to bring content and topics that are relevant for everyone involved. You don’t have to read these posts, but for those of you who are, (1) Thank You and (2) What do you want to read about?

A few ideas mulling around in my head for choosing the characteristic word of the day:

  • Professions: choose professions I’ve had or want to have and discuss why or who I admire in those roles
  • Colors: choose colors that represent me and explore what it means or says about me
  • Quotes: Experiment with a word in a quote that means something and blog about the author, its meaning and how it applies to us
  • Cities: List the cities I’ve lived in, what was going on in my life around that time and what I loved or didn’t love about the place
  • Open to any other ideas… I just picked 4 that easily came to my mind in less than 30 seconds

I chose “eager” today because I’m keenly interested in not only meeting my own goals with the 365 Daily Challenge, but also taking the content in directions that engage in more conversation, commentary and fun. It may even become less about a “trait” and more a “noun” or “fact” that has some importance to me and to you. The goals are still the same, but the path to get there should never get static.

But most of all, I’m eager to see what brilliant topics we come up with. So put on your thinking caps as we’ve got 5 days to come up with the new twist for next week’s 365 Daily Challenge!

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.

{Aside} Rating On Goodreads Before You’ve Read It.

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A very wise, important and thought-provoking post about rating books before one even reads them. Thanks to Bentley for sharing this on his blog… I am re-posting it for others to read.

Book ★ Bastion

Fair Warning: Unpopular Opinions Incoming!

I’ve been debating writing this post for quite some time now. I’ve titled it “Unpopular Opinions” for a reason. I’m fully expecting this to spark a bit of discussion and yes, disagreements, but given that we’re all civilized people with strong opinions that are all worthy of merit, I felt more and more compelled to share my thoughts.

I wanted to talk today about the state of Goodreads; in particular a disturbing trend I’ve been witnessing of people maliciously rating books before they’ve actually read them.

For the record, I also take issue with people rating upcoming books that they’re looking forward to 5 stars before the book has even been published, but that’s really not what I want to focus on here. Yes, that equally skews the ratings of any book, but I think it’s more pressing that we talk about the…

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