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365 Challenge: Day 165 – Push

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Push: to exert force on (someone or something), typically with one’s hand, in order to move them away from oneself or the origin of the force

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You will always encounter a roadblock or a deadline where you need to simply push through until you find a solution or achieve the goal. Sometimes it’s easy, but it can also be difficult. Maybe you have the pressure being forced upon you by someone else, or perhaps you’ve given yourself a deadline to get something done. Knowing your limits is key to success. But failing to see your potential might prevent you from reaching it more than you know. There is time to push yourself even if it feels scary.

Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is meant to turn your world upside down a little. Have you ever thought to yourself that you can only get so much done in a specific period of time? Or scheduled a goal that is realistic and reasonable, yet feels like it’s not enough? When I assigned myself the deadline to finish writing a first draft of my second book, Father Figure, I assumed 3 chapters per week could be written and edited. When I did the math, I ended up with a 9/30 deadline. Then I scheduled a vacation from 9/17 thru 10/1, which meant that completing Father Figure needed a new deadline. Scary thoughts.

But I told myself I could push through it and complete the first draft by 9/16, then let it sit for two weeks while I was away. Both the novel and I needed some time to relax, find our heart and prepare for a vicious round of editing. So I upped it to 4 chapters per week and re-set the deadline to 9/16. I got this. I’m good under pressure. For some reason, I felt the need to push myself a little harder. I love these characters. I breathe the air that they breathe right now. And I wanted to spend more time with them. Push. Push. Push. Through it, I kept motivating myself.

As you’re aware from last Friday’s status update, I decided to give myself a goal to finish 6 chapters this week and next week so that I could be done writing a first draft by 9/1, and then spend the first half of September editing it. I finished 6 chapters today at 12 noon, meaning I met the deadline I had doubled in half the time I’d planned. And then I said…. go for it. I pushed harder and wrote another chapter this afternoon, leaving me only 5 more to go before I can say it’s done. If I were a betting man, which I am known to be, I think I’m capable of pushing myself to write those 5 chapters tomorrow and Friday so that I have a first draft of the whole book by the end of this week, leaving me 3 full weeks to edit before I leave on vacation.

No, I am not bragging. I promise you. I have no idea how the quality is despite my faith in the quantity I am capable of delivering. But there is a great lesson here… sometimes it’s okay to push yourself. When you push yourself, you learn how far your boundaries can truly be tested. This doesn’t apply for all situations, all people and all times. But when you have a passion and a goal, and you can skim a few minutes off of all the things that steal your time away, imagine the capabilities you can unlock within yourself. I couldn’t keep up this pressure 24/7 every day of every year. But when things line up in the right way, we are all capable of pushing ourselves towards a safe and secure path.

It’s your life to choose what you want to do or how you want to live it. When you push through a little bit of pain and worry, sometimes you find the gold at the end of your own rainbow. I’m keeping this post shorter than usual today because I’m pushing towards my goal to complete this novel by the weekend. If at any point I feel the quality is truly suffering or I’m in any sort of pain (physical or emotional), I’ll back down. But if I can do this in an environment where I have friends and family to catch me if I fall, then it’s all the more reason to give myself the push I didn’t know I needed. That I didn’t know I deserved. Thank you to everyone for believing in me. I appreciate you.

A push to help a friend, or shove to knock him down? You decide!

Now it’s my turn to believe in you. What can you do to push yourself in the next few days towards achieving one of your goals — in a safe and secure environment — to see how strong you really are? I have confidence. So should you. Let it roll…

 

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 164 – Work

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Work: mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment

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As I began preparing my Sunday post for the next round of jobs, I realized that I never covered what the concept of a job means. I found something I had drafted in part awhile ago, realizing it was apropos to dust off and release as a clean and new version to stimulate our 365 Daily Challenge discussions. For most of us, jobs exist to provide money to meet the basic staples of life:  food, water, shelter, warmth, etc. For some of us, jobs aren’t a requirement (That’s not me!). We may have a significant other, parent or spouse who pays the bills. We may be retired or amassed an income of wealth where work is no longer necessary.  We may be too sick to work.  For those of us who work because we need to “put the roof over our head,” there is an extreme variance between selecting a job we like and selecting a job we do not like.

Our jobs are generally chosen early on in life… or at least the general type of job or industry we will work in.  When we finish school (be it grammar school, high school, college or graduate work), we enter the workforce in some fashion.  Many of us choose — and are lucky enough — to go to college for 4 years right after high school.  By my fourth year, I was tired of school and wanted to enter a true workforce.  And I did, but I never went back for a graduate degree, which I do regret in many ways and find myself contemplating whether I should do so now.

Regardless, by choosing college, we choose to enter a certain type of workforce where we are in the business world putting in a typical 8 to 9 hour day, 5 days a week and the occasional night or weekend overtime requirements… (ok, for me it’s more like 12 hours a day and way more than occasional nights and weekends — but that’s an entirely different thread from this one.)

Whether we’re in technology or finance or sales or marketing or human resources doesn’t matter.  What matters is that there is a fairly routine expectation of putting in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay.  Our pay grows as our experience and commitment grows. It’s up to each individual person to find their own work-life balance, at least in the USA where they like to work you to the bone!

But what if it’s still just a job.  We may have good days. We may have bad days. Sometimes the unsettled feelings we have can go on for years.  We can blame the culture of the company, or we can blame ourselves for staying for so long.  We can blame our family for living in the same place, making it hard for us to want to move somewhere else, or we can blame society for making changes and transitions too difficult.  We can blame a lot.

And that’s probably part of the issue.  We really should only blame ourselves.  And blame only goes so far.  We can choose to leave. We can choose to move on. We can choose a different path.  Yet we haven’t always done so generally for fear of losing money or not being busy.

So I started thinking… do we know what will make us happy in a job?  We’d all like to think so, but are we really sure…  Is it about the hours?  Is it about the pay?  Is it about the people?  Is it about the volume?  Is it about the benefits? Well, actually… shouldn’t it be about the actual work?  Shouldn’t it be about tasks that we enjoy doing?  Shouldn’t it be in an industry we relate to?  Shouldn’t it be about something in which we have strong interest?

The answer is  generally “yes” for most people; it is undoubtedly “yes” for me. Some folks want a job that is different from all the things they need or choose in their life simply to have variety or to not get too invested or attached in any one single thing.  For most of us, it needs to be something we have passion for.  Passion not in an obsessive way. Passion in a way where we enjoy doing the work all day and although the day is over, we want to go home and get away for a bit because we know it will be there again the next morning and will continue to keep us happy.

Back to blame…  we can’t blame others for not letting ourselves get to that “yes.”  We have to make the plan. We have to prioritize all the steps and pieces. We have to weigh each item and possibly decide some needs won’t be met immediately.

If we keep telling ourselves this and thinking beyond the immediate perimeter, we will eventually start to believe.  But it’s hard. And it always will be unless we keep at it every day until it becomes part of our routine and experience. We need to get away from blaming, complaining and getting frustrated.   We have to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and accept all the decisions we need to make to move forward.

I chose to follow my heart last year around this time and left a very promising career in technology (you’ll hear all about it in Sunday’s post) to become a writer (which you’ll hear about in the following Sunday’s post). It’s not easy. It’s scary. But there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t realize how grateful, lucky and happy I now am.

How have you chosen your jobs or made the changes necessary to get in the driver’s seat for your career? What’s next in your occupational world?

 

 

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 88 – QuestMaxGoaly

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QuestMaxGoaly: to question how to achieve the maximum goals throughout your life, searching for a fair balance across all the things which bring you happiness and showcase the best you possible

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{Aside: This is NOT a made-up word. It’s in the new dictionary I previously wrote. So there. Deal with it. Go find your own QuestMaxGoaly and don’t complain to me if you haven’t come across this word before. Every book reader or blog reader should know it by now, and well, if you don’t, then we shouldn’t be following one another. I mean, seriously, it’s a very famous word to some one!}

I’m doing something a little different with today’s 365 Daily Challenge post. As I looked over a list of characteristics, nothing appealed to me. I couldn’t choose a word, so instead, I’m just going to blog about a topic on my mind and hope that an appropriate word sums it all up in the end. Let’s chance it! {Aside: As you can see, I did stumble across the word.}

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What’s on my mind this morning is “how does one go about their day to get the most done in the shortest amount of time possible?” in terms of achieving their goals, feeling accomplished and/or doing something they love versus what they have to do… so a few thoughts on my day and then the usual questions to the group.

It’s fairly ordinary for me to wake up a couple of times each evening, thinking about what I need to accomplish the next day. It’s not always that I’m extraordinarily busy and can’t sleep; it’s just that I spend a lot of my time considering the best approach to getting things done throughout the day.

A few examples:

  • Blogging & Social Media
    • When I first wake up, I grab the phone from my night-table to peruse whatever notifications or messages have arrived overnight. Given I’m chatting and communicating with people from all over the world, I’m not too surprised to find there are usually hundreds of things to read. Sometimes it’s comments on my posts, likes or new follows to review and respond to, or requests to connect. Then I scroll through all the feeds to see what my friends have all posted so that I can read their messages, like their posts, or comment on what they’ve had to say.
    • Sometimes, 30 minutes has passed and I haven’t gotten out of bed. Other days, I stand and read them on my phone while the coffee is dripping and I’m making Ryder’s breakfast. On occasion, I’m 2 hours into trying to get through everything, feeling like I’ve lost so much time and accomplished nothing “tangible.” So what’s the best alternative?
    • Things on my mind:
      • Should I limit my viewing time in the morning?
      • Do I save everything for at night when I’ve finished all my other obligations?
      • Do I try to catch-up throughout the day and respond as I have time?
    • This is one of those areas where it would be an interesting productivity study to see which would be the ideal approach to utilizing social media and my blog to connect with other people without wasting time through repetition of seeing or reading the same things over and over again just trying to find the new content. It’s not unlike managing one’s email accounts, now is it?

  •  Cleaning
    • I feel the same way about cleaning the apartment. I’m currently in a mode where roughly every two weeks, I’m doing a thorough cleansing, e.g. vacuum, dust, sweep and polish the floors, scrub the bathroom, wash the kitchen appliances… and in between, laundry and changing sheets and towels. With a dog who sheds a lot, there’s often flying fur about, which drives me a little cuckoo. The whole routine takes about 5 to 6 hours, but I literally do nothing but clean. I don’t stop for meals. I don’t answer the phone. I don’t take a break. So it gets done. But in between, I’m constantly wiping down counters, light upkeep in the bathroom or an extra load of laundry, etc. Is this the best approach? Do I really need to be this clean? Who will judge me when the end comes? You didn’t clean enough, no soup heaven for you!

  • Reading and Watching TV
    • My two favorite hobbies. I have a stable of shows that I watch and don’t often just sit and surf the TV. If I need to watch something and I have nothing recorded, I’ll look for a movie or a new series. But I rarely just randomly sit to watch something. Same with books. Always a backlog of things to read between series I love, ARCs coming up or things on the TBR.
    • But often, I find myself tired or busy with everything else, these kinda get pushed to the bottom. I supposed that’s the right approach, as there are obligations and requirements which come first, then the fun stuff. Right?

So… I think that’s my point today… when I think about how to go about my day life, how to choose the things to take up each of the 24 hours 110 years (yeah, I’m living a long time), how many of us actually consciously think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it… for example:

  1. What drives your choices each day? Family? Religion? Desire? Money?
  2. Our purpose (ignoring religious views) cannot be to fill up 24 hours with tasks, right? We should reserve time for the ability to do nothing.
  3. Do we work to earn enough money to pay the bills and afford a few hobbies, such that we can maximize our free time to enjoy the things we love to do?
  4. Is it OK to choose to achieve less in a job than you are capable of so that you can have more flexible “you” time?

My initial answer is that it’s all about balance; and balance is a different proportion for everyone. I believe these questions are heavily on my mind, as I think about how to apportion my day so that I achieve something on all the levels I want to reach and not just what I’m supposed to do per expectations. We all feel this way. We all have responsibilities based on the choices we make, e.g. married or not married, kids or no kids, live on our own or with someone, travel or stay put. We also have our own limitations, e.g. types of jobs, illness, age, etc. It seems to me the most important thing out of all of this (again, forgetting about religious beliefs), is to consciously save time every day to think about these things and evaluate where you are in regard to where you want to be. Either that… or you’re all thinking:

So… the real question back out to you: Do you ever take time to think about how to order the things in your life and the time in your day to ensure you are accomplishing everything you want to, e.g. weeding out the things that just waste your time, choosing you over what everyone expects you to do, changing the stuff that you realize doesn’t belong being there?

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 48 – Generous

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Generous: showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected; showing kindness toward others; larger or more plentiful than is usual

Everyone is generous at some point in his or her life; however, we are also stingy from time to time. It’s often a matter of what’s being asked of us, our level of available resources and our mind-set. I’m no exception, but I will say outright that I am not as generous as I should be and want to be. And it’s something I need to work on.

For the purpose of today’s post, rather the cover examples of how I’ve been or not been generous, I’d like to discuss why it is people often struggle with being generous. It comes down to a few key things — in my opinion:

  1. Fear: It is easy to be afraid to do something. Perhaps you feel you don’t have enough money or time to share, so you hold back rather than lend or donate. Or maybe when you’ve been too generous with someone in the past, they’ve taken advantage of the situation. (No judgment here; each person should determine what is best for for him or herself, or how to handle relationships with others).
  2. Laziness: Often, we want to be more generous, but don’t make this a priority because we forget to think about it. (Again, no judgment; we are all aware of our own selfless level of thinking about things outside our own realm).
  3. Unknowing: I’ve found people are unsure of how to be more generous or knowledgeable about the ways they can actually follow through on it. (Double again, no judgment; we’re not always shown or taught the way to find these options on our own).
  4. Exhaustion: At the end of the day, we’re so busy focusing on the things we NEED to do, we forget the things that we SHOULD do. That said, there is an argument for saying being generous is a NEED and not just a SHOULD. (Yup, you guessed it about judgment… sometimes we just have no energy left, I get it).

I’m sure there are other reasons, and perhaps they don’t fall into 1 of these 4 categories in the most appropriate way, but that’s where I’ve gotten to in my head on this topic. Let’s look at ways to improve how we are doing in these areas:

  • Fear
    • Determine why you are afraid and either confront it, remove the roadblock or ignore it and move forward. Don’t stall or freeze by doing nothing.
    • If it’s fear of being taken advantage, find ways to limit the impact back on you. Or choose to be generous with others and not with that person if for some reason (s)he always takes advantage of it.
    • If it’s fear of doing something on your own, i.e. volunteering somewhere, find a buddy and go with someone else the first time.

  • Laziness
    • Make a note, send yourself an email or leave a reminder on your calendar to find 15 minutes a week where you do something for someone else — not just yourself.
    • Associate something you love to do with a method for being generous. If you have a secret ice cream fetish and go every Tuesday night, tack on 15 minutes to (1) buy a cone for someone else (if you can afford it), (2) clean up some garbage in a park on the way to the ice cream store, (3) donate books to a shelter for someone to have the ability to read.
    • Find something you love to do and figure out how to share it with someone else who doesn’t have access to it as easily as you do.

  • Unknowing
    • Ask your friends, colleagues or acquaintances.
    • Look it up on the internet.  You obviously have access if you’re reading this post (not meant sarcastically!). Find something local that would work for you.
    • Drive or walk around your neighborhood and see what is already there — or what’s missing. See how you can be of help.
    • Think about your relationships… is someone is need of a friend a little more often? Could you buy someone lunch once a week if you know they are struggling financially to support him or herself?

  • Exhaustion
    • Schedule it. Block out 30 minutes a week, an hour a month, whatever works for you. Make it part of the routine, not something you do if you have free time.
    • Start small. Increase as you can. Don’t take on too much at first.
    • Save coins you don’t use until it adds up enough to buy a cup of coffee, a meal or a coat for someone else.
    • Take a break from the things you don’t need to do every minute… don’t clean for 3 hours one day, only use 2 hours and save that last 1 hour for someone else who needs your help. Your house won’t fall apart. Another person can pitch in that last hour.

Here’s the deal (yikes, I’m sounding direct in this post when I really mean to just think aloud)… I have done maybe 10% of the things I just suggested. I’m not as generous as I should be. And just sitting here typing this kinda cements it for me. It’s time I became a bit of a better person. So my commitment to YOU — I will take on 2 new things (from what I’ve listed here) in the month of May. And I’ll report back to you (hold me accountable please) to review it. The good, the bad and the ugly.

With all that said, do you know of any other reasons besides these four (4) items that contribute to our lack of generosity with others?  I’m flat out ignoring the fact that some people just don’t care to help others or be considerate. So reject that one!

Whether it’s giving more time, spending more money or being more open-minded, what stops you from being more generous? Or… tells us how you are a generous person and offer some suggestions on how we can be even better. Thanks!

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. 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 41 – Rich

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Rich: having a great deal of money or assets; wealthy

It seems I now wake up with the 365 Daily Challenge as the first thing on my mind. How interesting in both a good and a bad way. Today, I waffled between “rich” and another characteristic, which I will save for another time. I could be rich with love, or rich with friends. Rich with health, or rich with intelligence. But today I want to talk about being rich with money. And before you start thinking I’m bragging… I am not talking about being rich right now. When I first started this challenge, I planned to cover traits or things I had, as well as ones I want. And today is going to be all about wanting to be rich.

I’ve probably stirred up one of two, possibly both, thoughts in you right now. And trust me, I’m feeling the same. “Money is the root of all evil” versus “I need and want all the money in the world.”  Today will be about why I’d want to be rich. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on why it’s bad and how it could lead to problems. Perhaps another day it will be an appropriate blog post. For the next few minutes, it’s all about the good things and not about the consequences or issues that go hand-in-hand with having lots of money.

One of the motivating factors in my life has been to earn as much money as possible, without completely stressing out or killing myself. And for a number of years in my corporate position, I climbed that ladder trying to move higher and higher to get each promotion and add a salary boost. It was great and I often am right in my element in those conditions. But “why” was always on my mind… and as I reflect, I think it’s a fairly simple answer: If I were rich, I wouldn’t worry so much about money and I’d be able to just do the things I want to do without fear of it running out some day.

If I were rich, I’d like to think I’d be the kinda guy who would use it wisely. I wouldn’t throw money around on flashy things. Of course I’d buy that mansion, improve my wardrobe, vacation in amazing locations and eat at really expensive places. But that would be a very small piece of my life. I won’t deny I want those things. And I won’t sit back and say I’d help the rest of the world and give a lot away. Of course that would be part of what I’d do. But how… why… where… that’s why I’d dream of being rich.

As shy of a person as I am, I thrive on helping and connecting with other people in settings where I feel comfortable and safe. If I were rich, I’d pick something every day/week/month (whatever is the right frequency) and execute it myself. I wouldn’t open a foundation to help certain groups of people… well, maybe I would as something someone else runs because it’s a good thing to do… but what I mean to say is that I’d drive the use of the money in ways that allow me to use the time with clear focus and care.

I’d buy a collection of books, set up a travel schedule and bring them to key places across the country/world where I could read and interact with children in need, sick folks in hospitals or even those who simply can’t afford to buy books. I’d want it to be an intimate experience where I know I’m helping and can see the benefits for someone else. Of course I could do this now, every so often, thru a volunteer experience, but to be able to do this every week in different parts of the world would mean I couldn’t be working, hence I’d need to be rich to not have to worry about all that other stuff (bills, expenses, etc.) Being able to use money for a good reason without just giving it away or paying someone’s medical bills (all good things to do) has a separate value that feels exceptional to me. Imagine knowing a group of children have never read Peter Pan or Charlotte’s Web… and you bring together 3 or 4 people who put together a little play, dress up, read to the kids, talk about the author, explain the lessons, apply them to each of lives… show them what a farm is, connect it to how farms produce food for us, bring in a sample of vegetables they’ve never had or seen…

I’d setup a small learning center where every month we’d have a new topic and invite people in free of charge to learn about key things in our lives. Everything from history to languages to survival guides. With real life people who know all about the topic, lived it or had connections to it. Things people need to see and do, that you can’t get from a museum or reading online on your own. Create the connection between speaker and listener in an educational and fun way. Do something more than just volunteer for an hour or give the basics and walk away. Mentor. Teach. Coach. Bond.

I’m sounding a bit like Pollyanna… but I often look around me and think… we’re doing this in small increments, but it’s not enough. And yes, I do volunteer now on occasion and practice this in much smaller ways. It needs to be bigger and more robust. But I’m not rich and can’t just take a chance on a new career like that… I’m not that big of a risk-taker. But if money were no object, I believe I’d be able to live in a way that would help so many people directly… not by handing out money or loans that often never go to the right places… but by doing things with my time to change the world.

And that’s why I’d want to be rich. Yes, I’d enjoy the frills that come with it, but I promise it wouldn’t be my focus. There is a career in here somewhere. Perhaps I need to become more entrepreneurial. Or take a risk somewhere with a security blanket. Any rich people out there wanna help out? 😛

Would you want to be rich? Tell me why or why not…

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 38 – Passive

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Passive: accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance

Passive is a tricky word. We’ve adopted it across so many aspects of our lives. Passive meaning we do not stand up and fight in a war. Passive meaning we prefer to relax and rest more than rush around. Passive meaning we are lost in thought. For today, I plan to focus on my energy level, which means I am much more passive than I am active.

There are lots of people out there who are energized by running around all day, constantly involved in something and unable to sit still. Folks who get up super early (4am?) to find the time to accomplish all their goals. Those who can survive on 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night. And some who must be doing some physical activity throughout most of their day. That is NOT me. But it isn’t all that bad.

I’ve always required 7 to 8 hours of sleep per evening. I can survive on less, even for a few days in a row, but I’m a bit listless and slower than usual. Productivity and quality probably decrease in all that I do, so I know my limits and try to put myself into bed around 10pm each evening, read for 30 to 60 minutes to relax and fall asleep somewhere between 11 and 11:30. I am not a quick sleeper… it takes a while for me to nod off. I’ve never been able to nap. I’m usually awake between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning, without an alarm, as my body says “let’s start the day.”

I’m good with about an hour of exercise each day. I try to walk if I need to handle any errands, or when traveling on my way to/from work where possible. But when I’m done with work or errands, or socializing at meals or events, I am a passive person. I much prefer to be sitting in a chair / couch / bed, where I am reading, writing or watching TV. By no means am I lazy. I certainly go out to do things, take trips, try new opportunities, play with the dog (he likes to run around the apartment in circles… therefore so must I, it seems). Generally, I could sit for 8 to 10 hours keeping myself busy without feeling the need to get outside and go for a jog, run off to the sports center to play tennis or plan a trip to climb some mountain. I’d rather go walk about a museum, drive through and stop at view points, or poke my head in a few stores for an hour and call it quits for the day.

Some of you are thinking… wow, he’s boring. Yes, probably true. But it’s part of who I am. My brain or body don’t need constant physical stimulation, as they’re both content to express creativity and action in my head. When I am flying in an airplane or in a long car ride, even up to 8 or 10 hours, I can go without needing to stop for any sort of break or even getting out of my seat. Part of me thinks it is “mind over matter,” meaning I can tell myself “this is your plan for the next 8 hours… no need to try to change it.” And then I am capable of sticking closely to it. Of course, this isn’t always the case… and sometimes on a weekend when I have no plans on a Saturday or a Sunday, I get a little stir crazy. Then it’s time to take the dog for a walk, find a store to dash into or look for a friend to go out and do something different.

I certainly wonder how these affinities develop in people. Of course DNA and health have a large factor in it, but how much of one’s upbringing defines how passive or active they are in their activities? Is it about availability of money and time? Or is it about how much you’ve been forced to do as a child that determines what you want to do in your future? Do you choose these behaviors yourself or do they develop as a byproduct of those around you?

I am an only child, so I often spent time alone. I had friends and saw them a lot. But rather than go play hoops on the driveway or climb a tree, I stayed in my room to read or watch TV. It may have contributed to me being shy, I’ll acknowledge that part of the impact. I was a really good child, never asking for things or to be entertained, so my parents never felt the need to yell “go outside and play,” just so they had a moment’s peace. They certainly pushed me every so often to be more active and get outside, but only when they thought I was spending too much time shut up in my room.

If I had a child, it would be about balance. I don’t agree with setting up activities all day and evening long for your kids to be busy. Whether it’s 50/50 or 60/40 (either direction), alone time is important to help develop your analytical skills, as well as build your ability to learn things other than what someone else forces you to focus on. I’d limit the amount of reading, TV and computer time, ensuring at least an hour a day was some sort of physical activity. Maybe even an hour a day of some group activity or sport. Weekends would be 1 down day and 1 up day, meaning they’d go to some cultural or community event, but also need to focus on the whole eat/pray/love theme.

When I started this post about 10 minutes ago, I never intended to discuss parenting styles, but I let the words take me where they did today. And if I were to interpret what I’ve written, I’d say perhaps I’m being a little too passive in my own days. I should challenge myself to try something new every month, get out at least once per weekend to some physical activity other than my normal trips to the gym, and I should probably join a group (book club, writer’s group, museum or community thing) to help expand my self-imposed limits.

How often are you out and about versus home and relaxing? Do you find yourself with 15 minutes of free time on a normal day or 3 hours of free time? How do you balance it all? What’s your preference? For those who can’t just sit still, what’s happening in your mind and body when you just need to bounce?

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 31 – Impartial

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Impartial: treating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just

At a quick glance, is there any reason for someone not to be impartial? Isn’t fair and just the right way to live, part of the American Constitution (for international readers, I’m sure there is something a bit similar for you, but not always, I suppose…)?

It’s often hard for people to be impartial. We have favorites. We have anger. We have revenge. We have loopholes. We have a very disparate set of rules that vary from person to person, family to family, house to house, city to city, state to state and country to country. But for most of us, it’s what we strive to accomplish in all that we do. I’m sure there are moments when we wish for someone to win, maybe talk up someone more than another person in the hopes they get the job, boyfriend, girlfriend, house, car, etc.

In today’s post, I will discuss being impartial when it comes to my immediate responses to things, people or situations. I’m not focusing on when people are judgmental, racist or biased. I’m looking at pure state of mind without seeing the specific decision in front of them.

For example, can you walk into a situation without pre-conceived notions about how you will react? If two people are fighting, and you know one of them, do you automatically decide whether they are guilty or not guilty based on past experiences with them? Or can you forget everything you know, starting from scratch, listen to both sides and weigh in with an impartial mind? If you hear that someone likely hurt another person, do you immediately think the person is guilty, or do you want to hear his/her side of the story before determining your reaction?

For me, I battle these thoughts all the time. No matter how confident I feel in a decision, there is always a lingering “what if” in my mind… and I can never 100% commit to a feeling or thought. Sometimes it’s a big enough concern that I tell whomever I’m discussing it with what the lingering concern is and why… other times, it’s trivial enough that I don’t feel the need to explain why there’s a bit of doubt.

Regardless, being impartial should be an automatic given for all of us. No matter the situation, we should have the ability to look at the entire end-to-end picture, big and small, and then come to a reasonable conclusion. Sometimes, it’s simple and you can take turns, alternate or split something so that it ends up being equal. Often, it’s not and you have to communicate and share your thoughts so that the full exposure can occur.

I would have made a good mediator. I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I hope to understand why they chose to do something, not just think about the impact it had on me. I believe in fairness and equality. My mind doesn’t think of other ways. If there are two people and two of something, each gets one. If the two objects are not of the same size, then I look for ways to make it as fair as possible. If two people have a story, but differ on the details, I need to hear both and then work with them to see if they can figure out why they each saw it differently.

If one child typically is the poorly behaved one, and an incident occurs with another kid, I wouldn’t assume it was the poorly behaved one. Nothing is that obvious. That said… you can have an opinion, a bias, a judgment, but shouldn’t we do our best to ignore those in the beginning and try to be as impartial as possible? If there’s minimal time, yes, an educated guess or prior research would come into play… but when there’s available time and opportunity, use it wisely. Be impartial.

I feel preachy today. Perhaps I’m annoyed about some things I listened to on the news while having lunch. Or maybe I have such a hard time understanding people who aren’t impartial, it’s fueling my words today.

I think what I’m most trying to say about myself here… and the way I believe people should be… is that we should always have an open-mind. Try not to be judgmental (and just wait… that’s going to be the topic in a few days… and I have been known to be judgmental!). We should never have a boundary that prevents us from considering the alternative. Never may be a harsh word. Some laws and rules should not be broken. There’s a set of standards we should all follow. This isn’t about religion or politics or spirituality. It’s about recognizing as people, we’re evolved enough to know better.

When my time’s up, the biggest hope I could have is that I know I always did my best to listen and consider things outside of my own opinion. I may still choose my original thought, or to believe I am the correct one… but it’s my responsibility to be impartial and look beyond the limitations of my own knowledge. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way over the years.

Rant done. Thanks for not hanging up!

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.