Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy End of the Year, interneters!

I'll be returning with new, positive blog posts on Monday Janurary 6, 2014. I hope all of you are taking some much needed relaxing time as 2013 comes to an end.

Take this week to smile more and come up with resolutions for the new year :)

Being happy and prepared is just two of many-many ways to live a positive life.

Be safe, eat your favorite foods, and see you next year,

--Author Jason Jack

Monday, December 16, 2013

Author Jason Jack's 'Year in Review 2013'!

Author Jason Jack here, interneters, with a recap of my posts from this past year.

If you're joining me today, hello!

I'm an author of many books and a positivity advocate. My vision for this blog, since its inception months ago, was to help people smile more, look at the brighter sides of life, and to be stronger. Going forward, I have a lot of different ideas to continue to make this happen :)

Looking behind us, however,  is just as important as looking forward. By looking at the past we can learn from any mistakes we made and improve upon all of our weak spots. The good thing about life is that we have the option to grow from our downturns, and today, I plan to exercise that option by going over my posts from 2013. Ready?

Posts From the Past

9/27/13 Happiness
9/30/13 Taking Control
10/7/13 Success Envy
10/13/13 Excuses
10/21/13 Critiques
10/28/13 Fear
11/4/13 Importance of Positivity
11/11/13 Accomplishing Goals
11/18/13 Over Reliance/Waiting For Others
11/25/13 Warm & Fuzzies
12/2/13 Spend or Save
12/9/13 Risk and Rewards

That's a lot of blogging! And that's only counting my main posts. So, here is what I've learned over the last 12 weeks. I hope it provides those who blog or want to blog with even the slightest of insight :)

What I've learned from writing this blog on a weekly basis is to focus on a single topic. This gives the piece depth, focus, and clarity. It also limits the complexity of any given post.

I've also placed a one hour time limit to write and edit the blog. This ensures I don't ramble on and on, forcing me to be ever more careful with my word selection and train of thought. Restrictions are the lifeblood of high creativity some might say. I say it really helps to narrow in on the topic at hand!

Break up text, create more paragraphs than you feel you need, and bullet point as much as you can for the sake of the reader. This is something I am always aware of while writing. It is something I can approve upon while still being creative with. Large chunks of text are fine for many but for some, it's a tad too daunting. The good thing? Whether the text is broken up or not, there's the same amount of content just easier to read :)

Write about what matters most to you--write about what makes you feel passionate. The easiest posts to write have been the ones that have been closest to my heart. Granted, everything I write about here has meaning to me, but I often find my scheduled blog topic derailed by a situation I find myself dealing with in life.

My Success Envy, Critiques, and Excuses blogs were all formed by real life scenarios and exited my fingertips with passion. My goal moving forward is to find more of these topics. At the very least, I'm thinking about personalizing the blogs with tales from my life where they feel natural. That is, add personal anecdotes when they fit in :)

 And I will always stay true to myself. With that said, I'm going to write about what I want to write about. I have a vision, a mission statement, for this blog, and it's to spread a positive mindset. This blog may not be for everyone, I don't know everything, and I write what I know with an ever malleable mind. I'm open to change and willing to adapt, but I will always try to spread happiness :)

Finally, I've learned to keep on writing with consistency. Every Sunday night/Monday, I write this blog. It may come late Sunday, early Momday or late Monday, but it will come on one of those two days. Keeping a pattern, schedule, rhythm is pivotal in making both good and bad habits. If done wisely, we can all fill our lives with good habits. For me, keeping my writing schedule open but solid is important given my other priorities of life.

So . . .

I learned a lot from my first twelve weeks of consistent blogging. And I plan to only improve going into next year. By looking over my past posts, I was able to pinpoint quite a few elements I wanted to approve upon and others I wanted to continue and refine. Without the past, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes so hindsight and evaluation is vital to growth and happiness.

To all of you bloggers, writers, readers, interneters, thank you for reading me. I hope I was able to add even a little value to your life for that is what I strive to do :)

Have a safe and happy holidays and a happy new year!

Until next year, keep the positivity.

--Author Jason Jack
(I'm an author of adult and children's books, a positive advocate, and lover of sweets [to my detriment at times]. What you just read is a snip-it of my ever evolving, very malleable philosophy of life based on experience, conversations, and years of studying. If you get anything out of reading my words, I hope it is to think and be positive :)

You can visit him at

Friday, December 13, 2013

5 Ways To Have A Positively Warm Winter (2013)

Author Jason Jack here, interneters, with 5 ways to have a warm and comfortable winter. Let's go :)

1. Eat warm foods
The best way to feel warm from inside out is by eating warm foods. There's nothing better than a cup of warm tea, coffee, or hot chocolate throughout the day to keep you feeling warm, so always remember to keep your traveling mug with you (check out your local dollar stores for inexpensive mugs and warm drinks!). You'll also feel less cranky and a few degrees warmer after a bowl of soup for lunch/dinner. Eating warm will go along way in providing winter smiles.

2. Layer up!
During the cold months, it's always better to wear more layers than you actually need. If it gets too warm throughout the day (at work or what have you) you can always take one or two coats off. If you under dress, well, then you're in for a deep freeze.

For the last week, I've found myself going out wearing a long sleeve shirt over an undershirt, a long-sleeved hoodie over that, and a thick winter jacket over that! And when I go out tonight, I'll be wearing two pair of socks and pajamas beneath my pants :) I hope you'll layer up the clothing, too.

3. Blanket cake
There's nothing like a blanket cake in December. When lying down for a nap, for the night, or just for relaxation purposes, grab all of the blankets you can find. Take your blankets and layer than over you one after the other in the fashion of a layered cake with the thinnest first. Tuck the blankets close to ensure maximum heating potential and you're all set for victory! PS: Those with spouses or children, don't forget to share the warmth ;)

4. Move away from the windows
This time of year, you'll want to stay away from these transparent panes. They tend to be the weakest link in terms of letting cool air in. But, with a little Google research, solid insulated windows are easier to find nowadays and "pay for themselves" overtime if they're within your budget.

If you are one with furniture or beds close to a window, you might want to consider rearranging your rooms for the season--think of it as redecorating and have fun with it :)  If not, you can always layer up and blanket cake to keep warm.

5. Heater, heater, heater
Lastly, use a heater. Better yet, use a space heater. If you're simply trying to cool your bedroom at night, slap on that space heater for an hour before you go to bed and turn it off when you're reading to catch those z's. For larger families or for other rooms, you may consider putting the heater on for about an hour or so as well.

Heaters tend to cost more since they're trying to warm a larger space whereas space heaters tend to cost less since they're heating a smaller area. Whatever you choose, you'll stay warm this winter, guaranteed :)

These are the ways I'm planning to stay warm this winter, how about you? What ways do you stay warm during the cold months? Let me know in the comments below! If I had to add a sixth tip, it would be to stay in doors! 

Have a warm and positive Winter, everyone!

Until next week,
-Author Jason Jack

Monday, December 9, 2013

Author Jason Jack on "Risks and Rewards"

Author Jason Jack, what do you think about taking risks in life?

If something in your life isn't working out, try something else.

There is no set path for us whether it concerns our jobs, scholastic endeavors, or way of life. And there is no reason to stay in a belittling situation or one that doesn't emphasize the strong and talented people we know we are inside.

Let's change.

Let's find a new career by searching Google, Yahoo, the Yellow pages, the weekly Classifieds. Let's start spending an hour a night learning a musical instrument. We could even buy new fruits and vegetables we never tried before during our weekly/monthly shopping trip.

And we might like the change. After all, with great risk comes great rewards. True, there is a probability of failure, but even failing is beneficial! When we fail we learn what not to do again. That new veggie taste like dead rodent to you? Well, how else would you know how your taste buds would react unless you tried it? Now you know :)

There is little to no drawback of taking risks for the sake of bettering your life in order to improve your "board positioning". Get your pawns in the right places then check the king by surprise--take those risks in hopes of getting better gains that will lead you closer to your life goals.

Some people may find safety in the life they created but safe does not necessarily equate to happiness. For those of you who have one or two "responsibilities" you might want to keep in mind a few things.
  • Be responsible in your risk taking. If you need to pay rent and have no savings, don't quit your job just yet. At least not until you have that shiny new job up locked down!
  • Do research and be prepared for what's to come. If taking that new dream job requires you to take less pay then alter your spending habits to make it happen.
  • Keep positive and have objective expectations. The type of thoughts we have shape who we are. If we stay positive about our risk taking, then we will have positive outcomes. It might take a day, a month, a year or more for our risks to come to fruition, but as long as we don't expect immediate results (generally, very few things happen at immediate speed in this world) and keep our expectations in check, we will succeed :)
So . . .

Really, there is no reason to live a unhappy life. As long as we take responsibility for our lives and the way we are living, we can make a change. We can take risks and explore new and different paths that'll lead us to a better life.

No one is forcing us to eat poorly, hang around downers, or to stay at a dead end job. And if someone is, take a stand. Educate yourself and go out and search for the life you know you deserve. Use whatever resources and means you have available to you and never be ashamed of what you don't have. Go to the library and use the free internet and wealth of resource materials. Network at local business meetings, art and craft fairs, and tomato festivals. Ask questions. Go. Do. Be more.

Take those risk, reap those rewards, and never stop. You'll be better for it.

Until next week, 

(I'm an author of adult and children's books, a positive advocate, and lover of sweets [to my detriment at times]. What you just read is a snip-it of my ever evolving, very malleable philosophy of life based on experience, conversations, and years of studying. If you get anything out of reading my words, I hope it is to think and be positive :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

5 Ways To Have A Positive Holiday Shopping Trip (2013)

Author Jason Jack here, interneters, with 5 ways for you to have a positive holiday shopping trip. Let's go :)

1. Know What You Can Spend (AKA What's Your Budget?)
Stay upbeat by allotting a max budget for your shopping season, and STICK TO IT. You'll save yourself from being disgruntled compared to if you didn't have a spending budget. Live within your means and you won't have to worry about a stacked credit card bill or unexpected payments in the future.

2. Know Where You Are Going
Map your destinations for easy travels. This is especially important during the holiday rush where there are way more people on the roads, increasing traffic and possible accidents, and an abundant amount of shoppers in stores. Long lines and congested shops are things we can't control, but creating a list of stores we want to go to will limit the unnecessary, "Where should we go next?" and kill wasteful trips to places we end up not buy anything at all.

3. Know What You Are Going to Buy
Tying closely in with know where to shop is knowing what you are going to buy. This is arguably one of the most important steps to having a positive shopping experience. Window shopping and perusing is for the rest of the year, being a laser pointed shopper is a must during the holiday rush. More people shopping means more demand which means less product for the majority. If you don't know what you're getting, it may not be there when you do. Always be prepared beforehand.

4. Don't Forget Your Money!
I've done this maybe once or twice before and I tell you, it's not fun. Standing in line, making it all the way to the cashier with your lovely loot, only to realize you left your wallet or debit card at home is the opposite of positive. Always remember to bring your allotted money with you whether it's in card or paper form for the most seamless transaction and upbeat shopping experience.

5. Just Don't Go Shopping
Yes, the best way to have a positive shopping experience is not to shop at all :) If you were to go, I have you covered with the four tips above. But in reality, things/toys/objects are just things and they'll be there next week. Or, a newer model will come out in a couple of months. If you lived without a new electronic, book, or purse yesterday you can live without it today. Why get stuck in long lines, spend money you can put elsewhere, and endure the hostile crowds when you can be realizing at home? Whatever you choose, choose what's best for you :)

The holiday shopping season is an interesting time of the year. Just experiencing it is a delight for some, for others it's a lightning storm of bad. But whatever our unique perceptions of this time of year, we can conduct ourselves in a prepared manner and do what's best for us whether we shop or not.

What places will all of you be shopping? Or are you sitting this year out? I've done a little of both :)

Until next time, have a safe and positive weekend!
Author Jason Jack

Monday, December 2, 2013

Author Jason Jack on "Spend or Save"

(Note: Welcome back, interneters! I hope all of you had a safe and fun Thanskgiving. I postponed my Friday blog given the holidays, but we're back today with some more positive advice. Enjoy!)

Author Jason Jack, I really want to buy something--should I spend or should I save my money?

We ought to live like we'll live until we're 100.
We ought to live like we'll die tomorrow.

We ought . . . to do both?

These premises might sound as though they contradict one another (and they may at times) but to better out lives we must find a balance between living for today and living for tomorrow.

Balancing Act: Responsibilities VS Leisure

To find this mysterious balance that'll help us choose between a $1,000 "toy" and a diverse stock portfolio investment worth the same amount, we need to look at prioritization.

  • What needs to be financially taken care of now that'll affect/impact your way of life?
  • Is it objectionably more important than your intended "toy" purchase?

In lamens terms, for example, do we have to pay rent this month? How much is our rent? Let's say $950. Including rent, let's say our total monthly bills are in the range of $1500. BUT, we really want that new purse worth $1500 or both the new XBox and PlayStation worth the same total. What to do?

You must ask yourself are the toys more important? It might sound silly, someone selecting a purse or plaything over rent, but it happens. I've seen people, know people, and given financial advice to people, about their lack of financial prioritization. They select leisure purchase over paying their rent, registration, and even buying groceries for their child!

But it's not always something big that replaces a rent payment or utility bill payment. Purchases add up: a new DVD here and there, an Amazon purchase, a Starbucks trip, eating out now and then.

It takes no time to spend a lot of money, and a lot of time accruing it.

The people I've met wish they had a better life in which they could spend money without thinking of the consequences. The secret? They can have that life now--all it takes is a little bit of consistency and determination until spending within our means becomes second nature.

As the Wise Person Said, Spend Within Your Means!

To ensure a life without regret or anxiety of back payments and late bills, we must live within our means. And spend within our means. Pay the rent, pay those bills, put what you can (if any) into savings, buy some food, and then allot some play money. Living within our means does not mean we won't treat ourselves, buy gifts for friends, or be able to go to that fancy restaurant we've been wanting to go to. It just means we pick and choose what we can given the amount of play money we have left in any given time period.

Have $100 at the end of the month to play with after savings, bills, and groceries/necessities? Go wild! Want to buy something worth $200? Save your play money for two months. It's that easy.

And the fun thing about a majority of purchases--excluding limited releases--we don't have to have them now. And even concerning limited releases or movies, we don't need them either.

Take it all away, all of the toys and distractions, and we'll be fine. They're nice, but we can live without a world of material possessions. Let this be your mantra when you're itching to make that purchase in lieu of paying that phone bill. Just think of the debt and wasted money you'll accrue on late fees or backpayments due.

It's wasted money. Just remember, waste not, want not.

SO . . .

Use your money wisely. Use it however you want, but please understand there is a fine balance between living financially for the present and the future. If we use a little prioritization and foresight, we can have the things we want now while building a bad-debt free, nest egg'd, comfortable environment for the future. We'll also save us cash, but more importantly, it'll save us from a lot of headaches and a handfull of anxiety.

Until next time, be wise and enjoy your week!

--Author Jason Jack
(I'm an author of adult and children's books, a positive advocate, and lover of sweets (to my detriment at times). What you just read is a snip-it of my ever evolving, very malleable philosophy of life based on experience, conversations, and years of studying. If you get anything out of reading my words, I hope it is to think and be positive :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Author Jason Jack on 'Warm & Fuzzies'

Author Jason Jack, I feel nice and warm inside--what's that all about?
The warm and fuzzies is a feeling, a positive sensation, and what better week to talk about good vibrations than Thanksgiving week :)

The W and Fs (The Warm and Fuzzies)

W&Fs make us feel comforted and reassured. It may make our stomach have the sought after butterfly feeling and give our faces smiles. We'll be more affectionate and friendly and just overall more positive than without them.

How do we get these wondrous feelings, you ask? They come quite naturally:

  • You'll feel them when you're sitting around the dinner table piled with Thanksgiving food, while you eat and share stories with your family.
  • You'll feel them the first time you lay eyes on your new born child, the wonder and amazement of the little joy in your hands.
  • They'll sneak up on you just a little bit every weekend, Friday after work, or Saturday morning because you know you can sleep in. Have a lazy day.
  • The moment you share a kiss with someone you are attracted to and then again when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with that person
  • You'll get them on Christmas morning and when you find something unexpected waiting for you--presents, gifts, and love
  • Those W&Fs will come when someone does a nice gesture or goes out of the way to make you feel important, needed, wanted. Especially if you're having a crummy day.
  • And you'll get them when you smell your favorite food, listen to your favorite band, and read your favorite book
  • But most importantly, we'll feel warm and fuzzy the moment we realize every second is a chance to be better, to do more, and to succeed even greater than a second before :) Life is opportunity.
As you can see, the W&Fs can come from anything that triggers a pleasant response inside of you. I feel warm and fuzzy after a long day of work, when my body is almost too weak and tired to move, and I jump into bed knowing I was productive during the day.

I feel good when it's cold but I'm curled up beneath the warm blankets all snug and cozy, when I'm reading a book in the Fall and I can hear the water pour outside of my window, and whenever an exciting movie, game, or book is released (that I have been waiting ages for) is in my hands.

So . . .

Live life with a positive mindset and truly appreciate all of the moments that make you warm and fuzzy inside. And try to make every second a tingly moment by understanding how amazing it is that we our here, alive, in a shared world--are existence is an amazing thing of hope and the chance to do better.

These good feelings are what helps us move forward and feel positive about life so it's only natural for us to strive to create more of them. Let's all be thankful for them :) I'm feeling warm and fuzzy right now just writing this!

For all of those celebrating Thanksgiving, and for those of you who aren't, I hope you'll all feel good inside and out this coming week. Because, what's life without a little bit of W&Fs?

Until next week, safe trips and travels!

--Author Jason Jack

Thursday, November 21, 2013

5 Ways To Have a Positive THANKSGIVING

Author Jason Jack here, interneters, with 5 ways for you to have a positive Thanksgiving! Just in time, too. Turkey Day looms ever closer.

1. Make sure you're Turkey isn't alive
If your Turkey's gobbling, there's a problem. You don't want to find out the frozen turkey you bought at the grocery store was really a cryogenically frozen one waiting for its moment of thawing. That'd screw up any Thanksgiving!

Now that that's out of the way, onto some real advice :)

2. Shop early, don't be a sucker
One sure fire way to enjoy Thanksgiving with a smile is to buy your food early. Like, this weekend. I can speak from experience, shopping the day before IS NOT fun. No rolls, no Turkey, limited gravy, no corn, and just a few boxes of stuffing lined the shelves of the grocery stores I visited. I felt like a sad vulture circling through empty aisles. Save yourself a headache and keep positive by buying early.

3. Plan, plan, plan!
You have family coming over in ten minutes and everything looks good except you find out you haven't started cooking the pies and your spouse forgot to cook the gravy and mashed potatoes. Doh!

A positive Thanksgiving is one that flows with as little fuss as possible. This weekend, plan out when you are going to wake, and who is going to do what, come next Thursday. Assign tasks and make a list of everything that needs to be cooked. A well thought out day is a happy day (with minimal errors, your family and stomach will thank you later!)

4. Sleep is for our well being
Sleep. Don't underestimate this powerful five letter word. Get a good nights rest Wednesday, do some breathing exercises if you have to, and clear your mind. Thank of all of the food, the family, and the happiness that is about to come your way.

There is nothing to worry about. You planned ahead, you shopped ahead, tasks have been assigned, and so on. All you have to do is close your eyes and count sheep. You'll be well rested for the big day and have a cheery demeanor to go along with all of your energy.

5. Eeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaat! 
You can't be positive on Thanksgiving without splurging on the food you worked tirelessly to make, so you might as well enjoy it. Stock that plate with rolls, gravy, corn, sweet potatoes, sweet pickles, veggies, cranberry sauce, pie, ham perhaps, and of course Turkey! There's nothing more satisfying than seeing your friends and family do the same. Don't forget to unwind and enjoy yourself.

I hope these five things will help you enjoy your Thanksgiving much more :)

So . . .

What are you going to do for Thanksgiving? Staying local or traveling? And how about that Black Friday, huh? Now that it has officially oozed its way into Thanksgiving, what's it going to be? Shop, eat, or both?

Until next time, have a safe and positive weekend!

--Author Jason Jack

Monday, November 18, 2013

Author Jason Jack on 'Over Reliance/Waiting For Others'

Author Jason Jack, what do you think about waiting for help/over-relying on others?

Have you ever heard someone say that they don't know how to do something because they haven't been shown? Like, set a clock or get a car wash at a gas station?
As if it's the responsibility of others to show them which sets themselves up for failure when no one comes along to provide assistance?

They're life just isn't as fulfilled because no one came along to show them how to do something. Known or not, they're effectively saying their lives are other people's responsibilities.

I hope we can all hold hands at this point (well, digitally hold hands) and agree that--for the most part--this way of thinking is cancerous to our well being, growth, and our mental states.

When we stop taking responsibility for our lives, we tend to stop caring and achieving. But there is a saying . . .

The Saying

"Don't expect anything from anyone".

My spouse told me this, and this simple five word sentence has changed my life for the better. I was never a die hard "waiting for others" type, but I did have expectations. And these expectations of others were beginning to negatively affect my positive mindset. But, when my better half told me not to expect any help or anything form other people, all of my worries and anxiety washed away.


My train of thought went something like this: 

  • If I stop waiting/expecting others to do something for me, I will no longer spend time thinking or "wallowing" in those negative emotions, doubts, and thoughts.

That is, if you get rid of the negative catalyst in your life, there's room for the positive. And it worked for me!

  • If I stop waiting/expecting others to do something for me, it would allow me to have better time management and be able to do more things.

That is, instead of waiting for others, you're using that wait time to actually learn what you need to learn, do what you need to do, and grow.

Waiting for others to help you is actually counter productive when you can use that time to help yourself!

  • If I stop waiting/expecting others to do something for me, I will become a harder working knowing my success and self growth is solely up to me.

That is, if you understand you're the only one responsible for your lot in life--and your goal is to achieve big, as I hope it is--you will work harder to achieve your goals. The other option is to do nothing and that isn't progress.

SO . . .

The goal here is to teach yourself what you need to know, be proactive and learn that skill that you need for your next obstacle in life, instead of waiting for others to come along to do it for you. We are all capable of this because we have the strength. We must believe it.

Be driven. That is your mantra for this week, and the next, and the next :)

Me Versus the World?

It is important to lower your expectations of others and to not wait on that mystery person to show you how to do things in life. You'll be of a better mindset, happier, and more productive. But that is not to say there won't be people that will help you. It is equally important to ask questions of others, network, and socialize.

People are important, and so are those closest to you, and you will find those you can count on, but everyone has their own lives to live. Even our parents and spouses won't be available every minute of every day to show us the way, so it's inevitably up to each of us to get up in the morning and take on the world with positive fervor.

We'll learn more by doing so. We'll be better people. And we'll no longer have to wait for it :)

Until next week, start doing!

--Author Jason Jack

Friday, November 15, 2013

You Gotta Learn Something! 5 Things I Wanted to Share 11/15

Author Jason Jack here with 5 things to share with you this week! Let's begin!

1. On Size Doesn't Fit All (what works for one thing won't work for everything)

It'll do us better--and humble us in some occasions--to remember that every situation is different, every person, place, and artistic expression is not the same, and requires a personal/unique approach to handle each one. Each situation needs to be treated independently for the best results. We can't keep trying to fix everything by stuffing the same rectangle block into different shaped holes.

2. Focus on what you have and not on what you don't

We are in control of our goals. We our in control of our actions. And we all have the same 24 hour day. It'll give us less headaches and stress if we focus on what we do have and what we can accomplish with it than what we don't. It'll also make us more productive (why waste time dwelling over things that don't matter/outside of our control?) Let's pour our energies in the places that need it the most!

3. Share your Dream

No matter what you're trying to achieve, it's going to take more than just you to make it a reality. Whether it's simply customers buying your product or your coworkers, family, and friend's daily support, other people are needed. So, we might as well share our dreams to the ones that truly support us and help lift them upward as we soar. Support them in their endeavors, offer help where you can, and promote them. When one succeeds in his or her dream, we all succeed!

4. MEDIA: Clever Ideas!

I just watched The Purge, a movie about a future America that hosts an annual event one time a year (The Purge) which legalizes and allows every act of crime for one night, 12 hours. It's a truly haunting idea. At least for me, the idea was more powerful than the movie and where I would have gone with it, but it had my creative mind turning.

I also started reading James Finn Garner's Politically Correct Fairy Tell and Bedtime Story series. A great idea about giving "logical" reasons and "politically correct" explanations to events in our beloved children tales. James does a good job at making his PC Fairy Tales flow like the ones of the past and has given me an idea for a similar, unique take on PC Fairy Tales :)

5. Be brave and try new things. You'll surprise yourself when you find something new that you like!

What did you learn or want to share this week? I hope all of you have a nice weekend, stay safe, and enjoy the remaining days of 2013!

Until next week.

--Author Jason Jack

Monday, November 11, 2013

Author Jason Jack on 'Accomplishing Goals'

Author Jason Jack, how can I accomplish my goals?

A lot of people in this world have a hard time figuring out what they want to do with their lives (a topic for another day), and when they do, they tend to have an even harder time figuring out how to accomplish their goal. This may or may not be you, but perhaps you know a person or two who you could consider a "life long soul searcher".

I would like to present a question to help those continually searching, and the hopefully lost, on their paths to excellence. Ask yourself, then, "what do I want to accomplish?"

It starts with that. It's as simple as that.

But before we move on, I want to present the outline to 'Accomplishing Goals'. Here it is :)

  1. Ask Yourself, What do I want to accomplish?
  2. Answer the question
  3. Research and Practice
  4. Immerse Yourself
  5. Don't Give Up!

What do I want to accomplish? Well, what do you love to do?

There is no right or wrong answer to what you want to do or accomplish. You need to ask yourself what it is you would like to do. And saying "I don't know" is not an answer! If you like reading, there are careers out there for you. If you enjoy staying active, there is a wealth of careers available to you as well.

Make a list of what you like to do. Go ahead, do it. The list can be as long as you like. Include your hobbies, activities you do for fun, and things that make you happy.

You must start with a solid foundation of what you like and love to do. Then, we can move on to the next step.

Research Your Heart Out!

To reach your goal, you need to understand your goal. And that requires the fun that is research!

Let's say you love shopping and you also enjoy telling your friends the awesomeness of the new fashion line or electronic gadget. You are so in love with buying and telling, you decide you want to tell the world your opinion on products, and you want to create a YouTube series on product reviews.

You already found out what you want to accomplish, now you must research. Luckily, there is a near infinite amount of resources at your disposal.

I included my go-to favorites (just exchange what you what to accomplish with "video creation" in the examples below):

  • Books: Buy books or go to the library to find books on making YouTube videos.
  • Internet: Search the web for anything that has to do with video creation
  • Videos: Watch video tutorials either online or on DVD concerning video creation
  • Podcast: Search the web for podcasts that talk about creating YouTube videos
  • People: search the phone book or online directory to find people near you that can help with video production
  • Social Networks: Scour Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. for valuable experts and peers that share your love for video creation. Be polite, but pick their minds!
  • Library: Visit the library to check out books on video creation; ask the librararins
  • Visit Institutions: And take trips to places that do video creation

The idea is to think of all the possible resources you have at your disposal and use them to their fullest.

Furthermore, immerse yourself in whatever it is you want to accomplish. Read about it, think about it, watch videos, listen to podcasts, talk to your peers, and compile all the information you can--eat, sleep, and poop what you love to do (but do not shirk your other responsibilities!).

And while you are doing this, it is important to start doing what it is you want to do.

-I repeat, start doing what you want to do!-

If you want to be a pro baseball player, go outside, grab a few buddies, and work on you batting skills. Do this as many times you can a day, a week, a month, and so on. If you want to make videos as I stated above, point that webcam/smartphone at your face and start recording. Now!

With the information that you're learning, along with your active experience of doing, you'll get better. You'll improve and begin actively stepping towards your main goal. Practice makes perfect, and practice bears results.

SO . . .

Just keep at it until you make it. Keep learning, keep practicing, and keep looking for new opportunists to attain knowledge and to apply yourself to your goals.

Always remember that people only fail when they stop trying or when they give up on themselves. But, that's not you. Don't give up, because you're on the road to success. The road may be one day or one mile, one year or ten miles, but as long as you keep slugging away, you'll accomplish what you set out to do.

You'll accomplish your goals. One step at a time.

Until next week.

--Author Jason Jack

Friday, November 8, 2013

You Gotta Learn Something! 5 Things To Share

Author Jason Jack here with 5 things I wanted to share with you this week!

1. Tomorrow really is a new day

I was thinking about how to be even more excited about the next day coming, and it hit me while I was watching a YouTube show: just think of tomorrow as a day with yet fulfilled promises. Tomorrow could be the day you succeed at the important goals in your life, make a new friend, be randomly selected to win a million bucks. Tomorrow is a chance to be and do better. And because what happens the next day is always a mystery, it's always exciting to see what comes.

2. BOOK: The Husband's Secret--what an awesome sounding plot!
A woman's husband left her a letter with his deepest darkest secret, a secret that will change her life forever, to be read after his death. The only bad part? She finds the letter while her husband is still alive! Duh-duh-duh! I don't think I do the synopsis justice, but I just found out about this book at my library and I can't wait to read it. Check out Amazon if you want to read the full synopsis. I wished I thought of this!

3. Embrace
It's important to show love to those that matter in our lives, including those that live thousands of miles away, who we don't see on a daily basis, or we don't interact with often. Send those that matter a text, an email, a funny picture, a hand written letter, or even a care package (those are fun to make, trust me!). Just remember to embrace those that matters in you life. It's important to foster those positive bonds that helped make you into the person you are today.

4. SHOWS: Excited for Marvel?
I love the Marvel cinematic universe (as the internet calls it). You know, Iron Man movies, The SHIELD television show, Thor movies, and the Avengers. And I was pleased to hear that Marvel is producing 4 new shows for Netflix, 13 episodes each, each based on a different character: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones. If you are a Marvel fan, this is exciting. If not, check out Jessica Jones wiki entry. Its compelling stuff.

5. A situation is only as bad as you make it out to be . . . but there are exceptions
Life is hard, but we don't have to make it harder. You spill a glass of milk, clean it up instead of wasting your energy on sulking, yelling, being angry, heightening your anxiety levels and so on. Cleaning that spilled glass will save you more time and energy than reacting negatively to it. And I get it, there will be times you'll feel those not so good emotions pop up. That's when you analyze them, question them, take a deep breath, think of what matters in the moment/the consequences of your feelings, and move on. The more we know about ourselves, the better we can control our emotions and the less wasted energy and time we'll expend :)

Take care and be safe this weekend. I hope all of you learned something this week.

Until next time, interneters!

--Author Jason Jack

Monday, November 4, 2013

Author Jason Jack on the "Importance of Positivity'

Author Jason Jack, what do you think about keeping a positive outlook?

For new and old readers of my blog, I'm all about striving to keep a positive mindset. And with each new post, I try to keep that positivity going.

Thus, I believe remaining upbeat makes life so much easier!

Really, now, there is so much negativity in the world. People complaining, berating, judging, name calling, badgering, insulting . . . . the list of negative things we read in out news headlines and in our daily lives is mind boggling and is such a downer :(

That's why it is important--no, VITAL--that the supporters of staying positive champion the cause of spreading a happy mindset. Let's spread smiles like it's the new thing to do :)

Because, when you're happy, you're alleviated of stress, you're not debilitated by grim outlooks or the tenuous fear of tomorrow, and you're able to focus on the here and now. You're grateful for the moment, and you enjoy life. What could be better than a happy no stress life?

There's no need for insults when you're positive because you have no room for insecurity, hate. There's no room for anger because you want yourself and others to succeed in life. All life is productive and fulfilling. This is what we strive for, I hope. I know this is what I strive for.

And there are going to be days where we all feel like crap, that tomorrow's not another day to do better but to do worse. And on those days, we deal. We let ourselves feel that burden we create in our minds, then we conquer it and move on. It is important to understand those negative feelings in order to get stronger, to grow, to get past whatever it was that was holding you back. Once you have that understanding, positivity is on the other side of the door.

I do, however, think it's harder for some people to stay positive than others. For those people, find peace. Burden yourself with the task of delving into the deepest part of your anger, hate, dark emotions with the mindset of conquering them. You will not be held back in life because of a seeded hatred. You will over come it. You are strong.

For those who are positive, you know how good it feels to wake up and understand how lucky it is that we're even alive. You know how awesome it feels when someone laughs, smiles, the small joys in life. This world will be a much better place if we were all smiling. Or, at least trying :)

SO . . .

Let's strive for greatness, happiness, and an overall positive mindset. Let's give others the benefit of the doubt and not yell, be cautious but help those in need, and focus on the good instead of bathing in the bad. I won't stop until a headline article such as "child helps elderly couple across the street" isn't gawked at because it's a rare/niche occurrence, but until it is an everyday thing.

The world will be better for it. You will be better for it. At least, I think so. But hey, that's just me being positive :)

Until next time.

--Author Jason Jack

Friday, November 1, 2013

You Gotta Learn Something! (4 Things to Share This Week!)

Author Jason Jack here, interneters, with 4 things I wanted to share that I've experienced this week! Because, you gotta learn something!

1.Spend time with Nostalgia
It feels good to return to the activities, television shows, games, or other activities that put smiles on our faces from back in the day (or when we were younger--search YouTube for old commercials, music videos, and television show intros). When you're working for the future, don't forget to spend time with the past. You'll be happier for it!

2.Treat yourself every now and then
Just because today isn't "promotion/graduation" day doesn't mean you can't treat yourself. Have a candy bar after a long day of work and take a nap or a play a game after running errands for the day--stay happy with a treat, big or small, everyday; doing so will keep your happiness momentum going throughout the entire week.

3.Halloween's awesome!
Horror movies. Costumes. Halloween themed EVERYTHING on the internet. Candy, sweets, horror themed game content . . . parties, friends, family, movie marathons! For kids or adults, this is one great holiday. Because, who doesn't like to dress up as their favorite character and eat candy?

4.Failure Today Doesn't Mean Failure Tomorrow
If you haven't succeeded to the extent you wanted now doesn't mean you won't succeed the next day or a week from now. Learn from today's downfall, figure out how to avoid them in the future through intense research, hindsight, and experience. Honestly, with continued perseverance and determination, the ones who fail today only succeed tomorrow. Because failures make us smarter, better, stronger :)

Stay positive this weekend, and be safe!

Until next week.

--Author Jason Jack

Monday, October 28, 2013

Author Jason Jack on 'Fear'

Author Jason Jack, what do you think about 'fear'?

Fear is a choice.

If you take anything away from watching Will and Jaden Smith's sci-fic epic, After Earth, it is this.

But is it true? To some extent, I'd say yes. Fear often feels like a reaction, an uncontrollable response to an outside stimuli as opposed to a conscious decision to be afraid. For example, you see a dog. The dog starts barking, growling, then runs at you. You are afraid not by choice but because the situation demands it from you. And, perhaps, your fear is the one thing that's going to keep you from freezing in that moment. You reactive fear will make you turn around and run.

But the film makes a distinction between fear and threats. Threats are real, fear is not. With this in mind, the dog is the threat and the fear is your own creation. And if we follow this train of thought a tad more, we'd find that perhaps we can control our fears.

And I think it's important to control those fears that immobilize us. How do we go about doing this, then?

Simple: Education and experience. The two 'Es'. The easiest way to dissolve fear is to educate yourself of what you fear and/or experience it for yourself. The latter is often not the best way to overcome extreme fear (of death, war, famine, etc.) in ones life, but it can help in certain instances. Let's put the two Es into action.

Example 1, Education:

Marsha Williams is afraid of guns for no other reasons than they can be used to kill you. No one has told her to be afraid, and not everyone is afraid of guns. She has created the fear in her own mind, thus she has the ability to control it. one day, she goes into a sporting store and almost has an anxiety fit just passing by the hunting section filled with rifles. And in this moment she realizes she has let her fear become debilitating. That day, she chooses to control her fear. To get rid of it.

She scours the internet for information on guns, watches YouTube videos, reads pro and cons of gun ownership, goes to the library and checks out gun manuals and pricing guides, and eventually visits to a local gun shop. When she's ready, she takes her oldest son to the shooting range and gets a chance to feel the gun firing in her hand, gets used to the weight of it. Overtime, she starts feeling at ease and going to the shooting range with her son becomes a realizing, bonding event. The duo of mother and offspring even take a self defense class to learn how to disarm a gun from someone else.

Through a thorough self education process, she has been put at ease. Fear was choice she decided not to take.

 And when the stranger on the street asked her for her wallet, brandishing a gun, she was not immobilized by fear by the sight of the pistol. No. She simply used the knowledge she had and disarmed the man without further incident. 

Example 2, Experience:
For less extreme, simpler fears this is the easiest way to overcome what scares you. If you are afraid of driving and all the education in the world is not calming you, go driving in a controlled environment with an experienced driver. And not just once. Stay in that controlled environment for months if you have to until you feel calm. Until you understand the vehicle, its limits, and what it does. For those who are afraid of rain, step out side the next time it showers. Just go out on the porch and watch it. Take baby steps. Place a finger underneath the showers, then a toe. When you're ready, place a hand out and eventually your entire body and choose not to fear the water from above.

The Third Way to Control Fear, The Most Powerful?

The most powerful way to choose not to fear is to notice that you are afraid and to simply stop. Yes. Just stop. Understand that your fear is irrational and perhaps detrimental to your well being and just stop. Our minds are powerful enough to do it, to change on a whim with conscious effort and repeat performance. Years ago, I realized I would bite my nails. Not a fear, sure, but a habit I wanted to choose to stop doing. I was educated by why I should use nail cutters instead and then I made it a point never to bite my nails again. The impulse was there, at first, but whenever I felt the need to bite, I told myself not to. The same can be done with fears.

So . . .

Whenever I'm afraid I might fail, I remind myself the fear is in my head. I'm not really failing as long as I'm trying, learning, doing. And neither are any of you. We must tell ourselves to stop, explain to our inner selves we can think more positively. We don't have to fear. We don't have to let things scare us, and as long as we strive to be rational, better versions of ourselves from the moment we wake up to the moment we rest, we can control our thoughts. We can control our fears.

Because, fear is a choice. And we will not choose to fear.

Until next time.

--Author Jason Jack

Friday, October 25, 2013

You Gotta Learn Something! (6 Things To Share+Longest Hashtag Ever!)

Yo, interneters! Author Jason Jack here, and I want to share with you 6 important things in my life from this past week! You gotta learn something, right? ;)

1. Always keep your vision intact!
You will have trouble finishing a project if it doesn't resemble your initial vision. Take reviews and critiques into account, but do not let them sway you from your vision. Or, risk DOOM! ;)

2. Take time (off) for yourself. A.K.A, permission to "couch potato"
All work and no play? If you work hard, then you deserve to rest hard. Take a nap when you can, clear your mind. It's important to refresh yourself to keep you full of happiness, stamina, and the creative energy to go forward.

3. REMINDER: Don't forget what you love
I know you are all working hard to achieve your dreams, to be financially well off, to save the world, or to provide for your family. But, don't work so hard that you have no time for those things. Allot time to enjoy the end goal . . . right now! Spend time with your family, go outdoors, play those games, whatever it is, do it. Remember, tomorrow is never guaranteed so prep for the long run, but play today.

4. A lot of people end sentences with the word "at"
Where are you at? Or, where you at? Where did you park the car at? At at? And so forth :) #TeamStopPuttingAtAtTheEndOfTheSententeceWhenItDoesn'tNeedToBeThere
(longest hashtag ever!)

5. Sandwiches: The Quickest Food on the Planet
From experience, it's not cool when you forget you have to be somewhere at a given time thirty minutes before you have to be there. But, if you're hankering for a meal before you go, make a sandwich. It only took me 46 seconds which left me twenty something minutes to wash up, clothe up, and head out.

6. It's Magic!
If you've never played what could be considered as the granddaddy of modern playing card games, you should try playing Magic: The Gathering (MTG) :) It's a fantasy themed card game for beginners to pros. You use creatures and spells to fight your opponent (any one with a Magic deck) until he or she goes from 20 to 0 life. Google Magic, YouTube Magic/MTG/Magic The Gathering :)

Prepare to have your weekend taken over by card gaming fun!

Have a nice weekend, and see you next week!

--Author Jason Jack

Monday, October 21, 2013

Author Jason Jack on 'Critiques'

Author Jason Jack, what do you think about 'Critiques'?

The job of a critic/reviewer is to inform potential consumers the value of a particular piece of content and do so in an unbiased manner.

In an ideal world, this would work. But, it's sad to see so many reviewers with agendas.

  • Some see themselves as "professionals" and by definition, review harder in order to show off their "skills".
  • Others will review content not for what it is, but what they want it to be (for example, reviewing an action movie as a comedy thus lowering that movies review score).
  • And even others don't even do enough research about what they are reviewing!

You have to be unbiased for people to believe in what you are saying, to give you accreditation. If someone believes you are purposely siding, they may not trust you. This is why publicly traded companies are required to have external audits--they must have someone outside the company audit their financial statements. They must use an UNBIASED representative to make sure the data is objective and not tampered by bias or judgement (Sorry! My accounting background came through today ;) )

It may sound like a no-brainer, but critics must review the content they are reviewing. I have some examples when this did not happen.

ZombiU, a zombie-survival horror video game released in 2012 for Nintendo's Wii U home console, was panned by video game websites. Why? These reviewers weren't reviewing the game as a slower paced, suspense game (the definition of the survival horror genre where ammo and weapons are sparse and you can die at any moment) but as a first person shooter which is commonly known for its faster paced shooting game-play and excess of ammunition in comparison.

Fun fact: Gamers have rated ZombiU much higher than "professional" reviewers in part because they knew/accepted the genre of the game.

If you read the reader reviews of J.K Rowling's book The Casual Vacancy, you'll see many people are biased and are reviewing it as if it it was a spiritual successor to the Harry Potter series just because the same author wrote it--these reviewers aren't critiquing it for the book being itself, a no-no in my book (You don't dismiss a new date because they don't have the same hair color as your ex, do you? I hope not!)

The moment you say something is bad because you didn't like it is the line that separates your opinion from your review. Your review can include your opinion, but not affect the objectiveness of it. For clarification, I may not like a cover of a magazine (opinion) but that does not mean the cover is not well done, has great composition, and uses a balance of colors (review). I think the Grand Theft Auto series is a well made production with great voice actors, writers, and good music (review) but I personally don't enjoy the series too much (opinion). Some people confuse these two, opinion and review, thus lowering a product's "score" and perhaps its sales.

Know what you're reviewing! Current reviewers for the newest Pokemon game strategy guide are rating it low because it lacks a comprehensive listing of the Pokemon in the two games. But the product description never mentions the book having a listing, the guide itself doesn't mention a listing, and not including a listing has been the norm for the past couple of games in the series. In addition, Nintendo has been selling the Pokemon listing guide separately for a while. It not being included should have been expected at this point for fans, and if it wasn't, once more, the product description does not say a listing is included.

Reviewing an item negatively for not having something you wanted is like buying a house expecting it to be fully furnished and its not (and never) was advertised to have, buying a hamburger and being disappointed when it doesn't have a scoop of ice cream on it when that would never happen, or reviewing a drama movie when it was advertised as drama, all of the commercials promoted the drama aspects, and then panning it because it didn't have any comedy!

We all need to do our research, read product descriptions, and be fully aware before we review. We also have to stop reviewing things for what they AREN'T. Don't review an eBook as an interactive app, don't review a hamburger as a piece of salmon, an economy car as a luxury, a horror game as a first person shooter, one book by an author for another.

Each item we review should stand alone on its own merits, and we shall judge it based on what the product offers, whether it does what the creator intended it to do, without bias and with little of our opinions affecting are rational mind.

Because, for the majority of this "I need it now world" we live in, reviews can make or break products. Scores, arbitrary or not, will matter to a select group. And that group may decide to withhold their purchase based on a number or amount of stars a product received.

And those sales *may* be what keeps that creator above the poverty line.

SO . . .

Take reviewing seriously by being honest but unbiased. Understand there is a living person on the other side of the product page (again be honest but be civil--no need for harshness). Or, do what I do and only review products you find "Good" to "Exceptional". I don't have enough time in any day to go out and purposely put down someone else' work. Honestly, that's what I think. Sure; a turd's a turd, but when I want to know if a product is worth my time and money, I do my OWN research. I look at my own tastes, likes and dislikes, for the final verdict. I'll read reviews, I make check scores, and comments, and whether friends like them, but at the end of the day, I look to myself.

I bought ZombiU because I like survival horror games, and it turned out I loved it! I can't wait to read The Casual Vacancy, and I love the Pokemon strategy guides for what they are.

Just remember, when you're eating that orange at lunch today, don't pan it because it's not an apple, enjoy it for what it is.

Until next time.

--Author Jason Jack

Friday, October 18, 2013

You Gotta Learn Something! (5 Things I Learned This Week)

Yo, interneters! Author Jason Jack here, and I want to share with you 5 things I learned this past week (and important things I already knew)! You gotta learn something, right? ;)

1. Do want YOU think is fun.
As long as you aren't affecting another person, violating any laws, without harming yourself and respecting you and this world around you (phew!) have fun with your life. Life is long but it can also end short. We might as well spend the available time we have on things we love to do (just remember to pay the bills and take care of responsibilities first!).

2. REMINDER: Let's all create things, not just consume them!
The world is a beautiful place with endless amounts of media and services for all tastes. We should enjoy them, but we should also dig deep and add to the pot with our unique talents. Because if we don't, it would be a waste of talent and a disservice to the world ;)

3. Go out and learn what you don't know! Stop waiting!
No one is going to serve you a plate of knowledge and success. It's up to you, and you alone, to find it, make it, create it for yourself.

4. Budgeting is very fun!
Trying to maximize limited resources is probably one of the most fun and engaging things you can do ( really!). It's a puzzle, it's a problem waiting for you to solve--food shopping with a limited budget, shopping trip with limited gas, and so forth. Budgeting is a nice brain-intensive workout that can change stressful situations into something fun, as long as we look at it as a challenging activity. 

5. We're alive. That's a miracle. And it's also enough.
We should all think about this the next time we complain about mundane things (cell phones, clothes, electronics, etc.) we have or don't have. WE-ARE-ALIVE! It's mind blowing we are all here, sharing the same world, together! So, let's remember to stay positive even in the darkest of moments. We'll be better for it :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Author Jason Jack on 'Excuses'!

Dear author Jason Jack, what do you think

 about excuses?
When you see someone that has something you want, is successful in a way you yearn for, is just plain awesome to a degree you which to achieve AND THEN you say something like . . .

  • Well, he went to college so that’s why he’s smarter than me.
  • She had the training, that’s why she knows how to do it and I don’t.
  • He doesn't have to drive as far as I do so that’s why he’s not as tired as I am.
  • She’s so full of energy because she doesn't have to work the night shift.
  • Excuses why someone has something you want, excuses why someone has something you want to achieve, excuses why you (dear I say) are simply existing while others are living.

If you EVER find yourself dismissing another persons’ achievements (or what you perceive as achievements/accolades) or making excuses why you can’t be the best/richest/healthiest version of yourself, STOP STOP STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP doing so right now!

Do not wait for success, go out and hunt it, grab it by its tail, and look it in the eye until success begs to be in your life. No one is going to give you the keys to the kingdom, you have to find them yourself by learning, educating yourself, staying in a positive mindset EVEN when things get rough, while consistently moving

SO . . .

Stop making excuses when you can be using that energy and time on ascending to the next level of your life.

Get ahead by going online and doing research to get that degree. Wake up twenty minutes earlier. Don’t eat past seven at night in order to lose those extra pounds. Save an extra five dollars per pay check to build your nest egg. Whatever you want to achieve, start small and over time, that small snowball will become an avalanche of goodness you can be proud of.

And on that day, let others make up excuses. Let others wait for success. You’ll be too busy having it.

Until next time.

--Author Jason Jack