365 Challenge: Day 222 – Goodness

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Goodness: what I’ve found through so many people via this blog


Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word and message is another short but very powerful one: Goodness. I have found such incredible honesty, generosity, kindness and strength from so many people via this blog and other social media accounts. Between a few dozen people suggesting new 365 words to those willing to take a chance on reading my first novel, the individual acts of goodness are amazing. I am grateful to everyone and just wanted to say so in a public manner in a very small way. There will be more gratitude to come as I organize my days, plans and next steps with everything going on.

It costs nothing. It provides a smile. It’s the purpose behind all we do. When you have a choice, why not do the right thing? That’s what crosses my mind 99% of the time, and in that 1% when I struggle to follow goodness, it almost always backfires in my face. I’m glad it does because it teaches me a valuable lesson each time. Thank you to everyone who has chosen to be good. You also have permission to smack me if I’m doing or saying something that isn’t spreading goodness. We all need that wake-up call from time to time.

I’m very excited to start using all the new words everyone has provided. I’ve got the next few days planned out between lists, alerts and Ryder Rants, but on Tuesday, it’s time for the first word suggestion! Have a great weekend.


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. 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 43 – Mentor

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Mentor: an experienced and trusted adviser, to advise or train someone

A few interesting thoughts occurred to me as I sat to draft today’s 365 Daily Challenge. One, I awoke thinking about something entirely different from the daily characteristic. Two, how many traits are there to describe oneself without being redundant, repetitive or superfluous. Ha, aren’t I funny?

Three, it doesn’t have to always be a characteristic, i.e. it could be a noun that offers certain images or feelings which I’m ultimately trying to represent. And so today, I will veer a little bit and offer up a word that means a lot to me. And perhaps it will be a useful mechanism in the future for these daily posts. I have at least a dozen other traits in mind, but some I’m saving for a certain day or time period.

Back to the word “mentor.” I wrote a post about being a mentor on my professional website (https://jamescudney4.com/the-6-key-elements/mentor/), where I keep pertinent information for anyone who may stumble upon me and consider me for a consulting position. It very much applies to today’s post. That said, in this post, I will try not to duplicate what I’ve already noted, but instead indicate why being a mentor is something I already am on some levels, as well as something I would like to expand and showcase in the future.

What I admire about a mentor is his/her genuine interest in sharing the knowledge gained to those in an inner circle. To me, there is a difference between a mentor and a coach, friend, adviser, boss, et al. A mentor, usually long-term, is (1) someone who has amassed an expansive amount of knowledge and experience in certain areas that demonstrate (s)he is qualified to be a mentor and (2) someone who develops intimate relationships and bonds with the individuals being mentored above and beyond a brief exchange of advice.

A mentor is someone you can talk to who has a well-rounded amount of knowledge about you, too. I wouldn’t classify it a mentor relationship when you’re reading someone’s books or attending their seminar to improve your own skills. It’s not having a conversation with your boss about the next step in your career. It’s not feedback from a more established writer to help you get your focus back on a specific chapter or task when they don’t know anything about your work. It’s about continuous conversation, outside of normal “work-related” activities, where you engage in introspective and enlightening discussions about the topic you are being mentored in and decide on a path together, that seems logical, and focused on your future.

An adviser can tell you about things you need to consider for next steps, but that seems more temporary to me. What I like about the mentor relationship is that it seems more permanent. Sometimes life-long, sometimes only a few years; it all depends on circumstances, need and location. The key is a solid foundation, commitment and depth of connection between the two people involved. Both need to want it to work and not in a fleeting manner. It’s picking up a phone and talking about where you are today and where you want to be in 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades. And then reflecting in that future period how it turned out.

I’ve been privileged to have two true mentors in my lifetime thus far. Both came through my professional career in technology. I still consider myself friends with both, even though our lives are more separate now. I often pick up the phone and chat when I want to discuss something important about me, my choices, my decisions, my options, et al. It’s not like calling a friend and asking for advice, although we also do have that kind of a relationship. But when the format is as a mentor, it’s very clear and distinct from casual friendly conversation about “how was the trip,” “what’s new with the family,” “did you see that play?”

I hope to be a mentor one day. I’ve had the beginnings of this develop with a few people, but not enough that I would call myself a true mentor – yet! I’m on that road tho, as it is part of a cycle where I’ve been blessed with the relationship and want to give back in the same way. It also makes me feel better than most anything else in normal, every day life. To know that I can share common thoughts, goals and dreams with someone else, watch the growth and changes, and see the end results is a very rewarding experience.


I read a post last week about being a mentor, and it reminded me I haven’t been focusing on this as much as I should be. Thank you to that blogger (you know who you are if you are reading this!) for the reminder. You’ve put a spindle back up on the stairway guiding me on this journey. And what I should be focusing on is finding a mentor to help me with deciding my next steps as well as ensuring those around me know I’m open to helping someone else in the same way. Now to figure out what it is I’d be good at…

And while I’m working on both of those options… how about you? Any good examples of a mentor relationship you’d like to share?  How does it make you feel when you’ve been successful? Or even when you haven’t been?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and 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.

365 Challenge: Day 23 – Short

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Short: measuring a small distance from end to end, lasting or taking a small amount of time

Today’s characteristic has many meanings, all of which can be negative or positive, depending on, of course, what action or noun it is being applied to… to help keep this post short (oh, I am funny!), I’m only going to consider it when discussing my height. And since you really can’t tell from any pictures you’ve seen of me, the answer is… drum roll…

I’m 5’7″ tall, which by most means places me in the short category. Per Wikipedia, the average male height in the U.S. is 5’9″ tall. So short it is… but when you take a step backwards and consider the whole spectrum, I’m really not too far off the middle average. And depending on the crowd of people I’m with, I can still be one of the taller ones. Generally, I feel a little shorter than most people around me, so this isn’t a surprise.

Why is it good?

  • I easily fit into smaller spaces.
  • I just miss hitting my head on the airplane and train upper storage bins.
  • I can hide more easily.

Why is it bad?

  • I can’t see the main stage at concerts, theatre shows, movies, etc. Someone’s head is always bobbing in my way.
  • Clothes never fit right. Smalls are too small and mediums are too big. Shirts always fall too far below my waist. And then I need to go custom for some things or just accept it will always look a little too tight or baggy.
  • People assume you’re weaker or less intimidating. (I’ll ignore this for today as I’ll be posting another day about my strength — I spend lots of time in the gym, so I’m a solidly-packed little powerhouse).
  • I can’t reach the top shelf in the kitchen and refuse to take the extra 30 seconds to get a step stool. So I hop up on to the counter, bang my knees, and then grab whatever I need. And putting it back on the shelf is a whole lotta craziness. If it’s not glass, I’ll throw it in the hopes it makes it safely. I tend to have good aim from years of baseball as a kid.

I’m sure there are more reasons why it is good and why it is bad, but I wanted it to be the first things that come to mind. I’m trying to keep these posts down to less than 30 minutes per day so that I’m using my time wisely. And finding clips, images and formatting is not always easy!

If I had a option to change, I’d want to be a few inches taller, perhaps 6′ feet tall.

  • It’s a round number which I like.
  • It easily rolls off the tongue.
  • I’d rather have my clothes fit more accurately, as it helps with shopping and appearance.
  • I’d be able to reach most things with less impacts.

While appearance isn’t always the primary driver for me, it absolutely is in this case. Even though being taller would help with some things, my preference comes from vanity and less from practicality.

What would you choose?  Taller, Shorter or Exactly the way you are?  Come on, Goldilocks… start sharing!

365 Challenge: Day 10 – Pragmatic

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Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations

To set the record straight, I consider myself pragmatic. But I’m an evolved pragmatician – yes, I think I coined a new word, just deal with it – who seeks not only to find the most practical way to get from point A to point B, but to avoid World War III along that path, as well.

People who handle things in a pragmatic manner are often accused of being inconsiderate of the softer side of an approach… now there’s a line for those volatile Irish worth fighting over (see post from Day 7 so you know I’m being funny here…)! But it’s true. There’s a fine balance to being practical and pragmatic versus incorporating a good, old-fashioned bit of thoughtful insight to ensure your actions don’t overlook the potential for a negative reaction from those affected by your direct manner. And a lot of disagreements or misunderstandings happen as a result of people thinking it’s easier and quicker to do one thing, rather than take the time to prevent any possible impacts on someone’s emotions.

Spouse A is on a business trip, has a long day at work and needs to get a bunch of overtime completed before they can end their day and let their mind relax. Spouse B is used to spending time with Spouse A during most evenings. Spouse A wants to work until they are completed and more free to catch up. Spouse B wants to spend some time on FaceTime or the phone when they get home from work, rather than wait until Spouse A is finished much later in the evening, because Spouse B is planning to go out to the movies and won’t be able to pick up the phone to chat later on. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Do you get the work done and then add in some fun? Or do you balance it along the way knowing the stop/start may result in you losing your momentum and having to work even longer than you planned?

Yeah, I know… your head is exploding, probably thinking: (a) he’s blowing this out of proportion, (b) not all spouses like to spend every evening together and would welcome the break, (c) do both at the same time… but think about it…

When I say I’m pragmatic, it’s because I take each situation, figure out the parameters, what I know and don’t know, then make an educated guess as to my decision on the best course of action. This is usually the most appropriate way of handling the situation, but in some % of those instances (no, I have no clue what it is), the information you don’t know might be the information that will change your path to enable you to make the more pragmatic choice. If you don’t know the other spouse isn’t available later, then your choice isn’t the best one.

Is pragmatic as “cut-and-dried” as the right way and the wrong way, or is it more a meandering path itself that changes based on the inputs you receive along the way? If you only have part of the information, you don’t have enough input to make a decision; so there’s inherent risk. Do you stop everything and wait until you have all the right information? No – that would not be pragmatic. It would hold progress back for what may or may not be influential data.

So what do you do?

I don’t know… what makes you think I do? JUST KIDDING.

Pragmatic is good for some things, but not for others. Choose when to be pragmatic. Be pragmatic about things and objects. Perhaps not about people. People require communication, inputs/outputs and time to think and react. Actions that minimally affect people are the core area to apply your practical nature.

Build a project plan. Write out the known facts. Prepare a quick overview of the risks. Have a back-up plan. Do those things when you are weighing options and making decisions.

But don’t be pragmatic about relationships. Apply multiple techniques to solving those questions and challenges. For example, it would be practical to move in together with the person you are dating to save money (of course, after you’ve known one another for a long enough period to ensure you think you’re compatible and will handle it). But what if your social/moral/religious values tell you it’s not acceptable to live with someone until marriage? What if you live hours from one another and this would impact your careers? Those decisions require input from tons of angles.

For me, being pragmatic is about some level of appropriate due diligence and analysis, making an informed decision and understanding the impacts and probable outcomes. Paint the room yellow or beige if you don’t know whether you’re having a boy or a girl. Ha! That’s a bad example because I’d be assuming blue is for a boy and pink is for a girl. How about you pick 5 colors that specialists all agree are good for a baby’s room, and then you put all 5 in a hat and whichever one you select, you choose as the paint color… No hurt feelings. It’s all colors that both parents (or just you if it’s only you) originally thought would work. And then you aren’t consciously applying a color based on gender or “normal” expectations. 😊

In my own case, RIGHT NOW, it would be pragmatic for me to go to bed because I am tired this evening and this post is meandering more than it should. But it would also be pragmatic for me to finish it because I am heading out on a 4-day vacation on Wednesday and need to write a few extra posts to cover the next several days so that I stay on track with the 365 Day Challenge. I intend to have flexible time while I’m out of town without a formal schedule, but this challenge is still important to me.

End result: Write the 4 additional daily drafts tonight. Review and edit them in the morning with fresh eyes. Then set them up to release each day while I’m away.

See… I know what I’m doing! ZZZzzzzzz…

Morning Follow Up:  I only wrote 2 of 4 last night. Went to sleep. Woke up. Edited a bit. Ready to post! Finish the rest today before I leave for the airport.

365 Challenge: Day 3 – Consistency

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Consistency: conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness

Consistency is important to building relationships and trust. If you exhibit erratic behavior, it might result in someone lacking a clear expectation of how you will react or act, therefore believing you are potentially unreliable. I strive for consistency in all that I do. It’s different than being repetitive or a perfectionist (although I am told I am the emblematic perfectionist on steroids! I, however, disagree: I don’t take steroids and can’t help if I have a super power).

Consistency is demonstrating that you have a methodology in how you go about your activities and thoughts, thus projecting a model behavior that earns someone’s trust and confidence. It’s not having coffee every morning at precisely 7:03 am. It’s far from wearing a matching tie and shirt to work each day. It’s not the opposite of spontaneity either. The end result is that others believe you will generally respond in a certain manner, thus allowing some level of prediction in how the events will unfold. It’s not smiling one morning when it rains, and yelling the next when it rains again.

I’d say that I’m about 90% consistent in most areas of my life.

  • I look down at a set of steps before I embark on the path; it’s a learned behavior that helps ensure I don’t trip over something (or my own feet); that said, I’m generally very adept at maintaining balance and judging my walking abilities. Except that time I walked into an open window and nearly cut my eye brow off. (Grr… all your fault, Mom! NOT MINE.)
  • I will immediately see a glass as half empty rather than half full. Eventually, I come around, but pessimism edges out optimism 51 to 49!
  • I wash my hair and face before I wash my body. Top to bottom – gravity rules!
  • I won’t reveal my opinion first before anyone else. Not because I lack confidence. But because hearing others allows me to consider other options, thus rounding out what I really think of a situation.

When does the 10% kick in?

  • I’m not going to just run to the edge of a cliff and dive into the water without taking in the surroundings. But I will jump off it just for the heck of it sometimes, even though I’m not a good swimmer and can’t be sure there aren’t rocks just below its surface.
  • Boredom sets in and the conscious thought is to try it alternative way #2 and not primary way #1. Yikes, I sound like a Borg. (Star Trek species… but they probably wouldn’t admit that, so epic fail here.)
  • Recognition that the consistent choice hasn’t reared the intended goal and I go with the opposite to see if I reach an alternative solution.

Nonetheless, I view consistency as a characteristic I use to judge others. I tend not to be comfortable around people who are random or act unusual. Consistency is that feeling of being curled up in a blanket by a warm fire with a cup of cocoa sitting near your grandmother who is baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch. It’s a baseline I can use as a starting place from which to determine the best next step or path.

Consider Robert Frost’s 1916 poem “The Road Not Taken,” if you don’t mind going on this little journey with me. The general interpretation is the quintessential “what if” scenario where people try to figure out if they made the right choice versus just doing or accepting either option. If you are consistent, you may consistently spend minutes, hours, days thinking about which option to take. If you are consistent, you may consistently choose the first option presented to you (e.g. the closest, the shortest, the most scenic – whatever your normal preference is…). BUT…

What if your consistency is based on your gut instinct? I’ve found that in the 10% of times when I am supposedly inconsistent, I’m acting on some internal adrenaline change. A built-up knowledge base, hidden beneath the surface, which acts on my behalf when I’m unfocused or disinterested. Do I find those unusual and abnormal decisions character-weakening or strengthening?

Strengthening… because if I live 90% of life being consistent, that hidden 10% reacting to something new and different is still based on 90% consistency, thereby offering a higher chance of success. It would take some climactic event to truly alter the intrinsic values and thought-patterns I’ve assembled over the years.

That said… the challenge I see here is how to exponentially expose the 10% to newer and alternative options which I can analyze and consume, leading to even stronger depths. I want to and should keep the 10%, but their contents should not be static; they should grow with each new, learned set of behaviors.

Way too psychological. Simply said: Be sure the consistency is challenged from time to time; don’t let spontaneity become the only way you’ll take a risk. Even an educated one.