The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is my personal message to the Class of 2022. I feel like those graduating high school and college this year have overcome more than most. These past two years have been unprecedent and uncharted in terms of challenges. And for that reason, along with plenty of others, I want to offer them both my encouragement and some meaningful advice that I hope will guide them as they move forward. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: motivation
Every now and then, we have one of those weeks that really tests us. Whether you’re in high school or a working adult, you just find yourself navigating each day like it’s a marathon after another marathon. It’s exhausting, draining, stressful, and even frustrating most of the time.
Then, you make it to the end of the week and it feels so good.
That’s basically the week I just had. I feel like this past week has been one of the hardest of my adult life. I won’t get into all the details why, mostly because it would require a book’s worth of backstory, context, and plot. I’ll just say that I found myself juggling way more challenges than most over the span of just a few days. On more than one occasion, I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to manage it all.
But in the end, I did.
I didn’t just make it to the end of the week. I actually finished everything I wanted to finish and did it with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and confidence. That just made it all the more rewarding.
I’ve had long, arduous weeks before. Sometimes, I’ve had several in a row, but this week was different. It felt like a perfect storm of issues and challenges. All sorts of factors, none of which I could control, seemed to converge on just a handful of days. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s usually very stressful.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to manage that stress. I like to think I’m better at it now than I was when I was a younger. That still didn’t make it any less draining. When I got home yesterday, I basically fell onto my bed and just laid there for a while. I also enjoyed an extra glass of whiskey, which is typically my preferred method of unwinding on Friday nights. And I can confirm it tasted that much sweeter.
I know it’s a bit cliché to say that hard work can be very rewarding, especially for those doing jobs they hate or dealing with issues that frustrate them. However, there is something to be said about making it through a difficult week and succeeding in everything you set out to do. It really is uniquely satisfying. It shows just how strong you are and how far you’ve come.
I’ll likely face other weeks like that in the future. Everyone reading this now will probably face the same. Take heed from this message.
You will make it through.
You will overcome.
You will be stronger because of it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s another glass of whiskey waiting for me.
I’ve said it before. I was not in good shape for a good chunk of my life. It’s still worth belaboring. It’s hard to overstate how poor my exercise habits were for most of my early adult life. If I hadn’t gotten serious about my health, I might have done some real damage.
That’s why I encourage everyone to make the same effort. Try to get in shape. Try to fit a good workout into your daily or weekly routine. Try to tweak your diet so that it’s healthier. It doesn’t pay off immediately, but you certainly appreciate the results in the long run.
When I say that, I also usually encourage people to avoid fitness and diet fads. A good rule of thumb is that, if you saw it on an infomercial, chances are it’s a gimmick or a scam. There’s just no way around it. At some point, you have to exercise and eat better. It’s just basic physics with respect to body mass, calories, and exertion.
However, there are some fitness trends that can help. When I started working out, everyone was calling Crossfit the greatest revolution in all of fitness. I admit I was tempted to try it. Then, like many others, I saw that it shared a few too many traits with a cult and backed off.
This brings me to the latest fitness craze, the Peloton. Chances are if you know someone who has one, they’ve talked about it. They may even treat it like one of their most prized possessions. It’s not quite on the same level as Crossfit, but its popularity is still worth noting.
Now, before I give my opinion on this latest fitness trend, I need to reiterate that I’m not a personal trainer. I’m not a professional in any way. There are people way more qualitied to give you a more informed opinion about the Peloton and any other fitness routine. This is just me, a guy who stumbled his way to better fitness, offering my perspective.
At its core, the Peloton is an exercise bike with a screen. I know its ardent fans will passionately argue otherwise, but logistically speaking, that’s what it is. It’s an exercise bike. You can find them at almost any gym. I’ve used them before. I still use ellipticals regularly because they’re better for my joints.
What sets Peloton apart is the social aspect of it. When you use it, you don’t just use an exercise bike. You link into a social network, of sorts, that offers a professional level spin class to its users. That social component isn’t just a supplemental feature, either. It’s actually one of the most important components of Peloton.
That screen it includes isn’t just a fancy tablet. It links you to other users and attempts to recreate the experience of being in an actual spin class. That experience does add to the cost, considerably. However, it’s also here where I think Peloton shows its value.
For some people, they don’t need much motivation to work out. They’re able to push themselves to do it. For a while, I certainly needed that motivation to get me out of the house and into a gym. Eventually, it got to a point where I was self-motivated. I don’t need people yelling at me to encourage me to keep pushing myself.
That’s just me, though. Some people are just wired differently. They need that yelling. They need that added bit of competitive drive. That pushes them to push themselves more than they would have on their own. That’s what Peloton can offer without having to hire a personal trainer.
It offers the added incentive of peer pressure, solidarity, and social support. Being the very social species we are, that’s powerful. We may think we’ve done enough exercise for the day, but hearing someone yell at us to do a little more can keep us going. Sometimes, that’s the difference between falling short of your fitness goals and raising the bar.
In that respect, I think Peloton is better than most fitness fads. It takes a familiar exercise machine that people have used for years and adds a social component. It offers something other than just another fancy device. It gets people involved in a community without them having to leave their homes.
Given the situation with the pandemic, I think that component is even more valuable. I still think Peloton, as a whole, is grossly overpriced. However, if you’re someone who struggles to stay motivated to get into shape, it might be worth the investment. Your health is one of the few investments in which you’ll feel the benefits in ways that go beyond your body. It’s not easy and, as Peloton’s price shows, it’s rarely cheap. However, it’s still worth doing and if Peloton helps you, then I say go for it.
It’s Monday and let’s face it. For most people with a steady job, Monday’s suck. It’s not just that the weekend is over. It’s the longest possible time between you and next weekend. Logistically speaking, it’s as bad a day as you can have that doesn’t involve going to the dentist.
I certainly felt that way about Mondays. I still do on occasion, but it was a lot worse when I was in high school. I know I belabor how much I hated high school, but it’s still worth emphasizing. I was always miserable, depressed, and despondent on Mondays. I was also insufferable to be around. I know because other people, including friends and family, told me that on multiple occasions.
Over time, I got tired of being that guy. I hated being the person people actively avoided on Mondays. The only thing that makes misery worse is spreading it to others. It can quickly become a self-reinforcing cycle in which everyone suffers. Nobody deserves that.
As such, I decided to change my attitude. It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took years. It didn’t really become noticeable until after I graduated college, but I cannot overstate how beneficial it was. If you can change your attitude on how miserable you are on Monday, then a whole lot of other challenges become less daunting.
With that in mind, I’d like to share a few tips on how to make Mondays better. Whether you’re working, in school, or retired, I encourage everyone to try making the least liked day of the week just a bit less miserable. Life is hard enough. We don’t need to go out of our way to make certain days even harder.
Tip #1: Be as positive as you can, even if you have to fake it.
Tip #2: Surround yourself with people who are positive or try to be that person within a group.
Tip #3: Start the day doing something you enjoy to boost your mood or try something new that does the same.
Tip #4: Treat yourself to a breakfast that’s bigger and more filling than you usually have.
Tip #5: Wear your favorite clothes that make you feel attractive and confident. Looking good helps you feel good.
Tip #6: Listen to music that’s loud, energetic, and upbeat on a high volume.
Tip #7: Do, watch, or listen to something that makes you laugh. It really is the best medicine.
Tip #8: Don’t look at clocks or keep track of time. Try and lose yourself in the day.
Tip #9: Talk to people and have simple conversations, but avoid topics that involve how much you hate Mondays.
Tip #10: Watch videos like this to put you in a better mood.
If you have other tips, please share them in the comments. The more we have to make Mondays less miserable, the better.
The following is a fresh entry of my daily sexy musings that was inspired by the first week of the NFL regular season. I understand it’s one of those concepts that isn’t inherently sexy, even for die-hard football fans like me. I also understand that it’s a sport that primarily appeals to men. I know there are plenty of passionate female fans, some of which I know personally, but this is the perception.
Despite those circumstances, I think there’s real sex appeal in the sport of football and I’m not just referring to the outfits worn by the cheerleaders. It’s an intense, physical sport. Love and sex can also be intense and physical. It’s just a matter of channeling it. This is my effort to channel both into a single, sexy concept. Enjoy!
The game begins. You take the field with a goal and a game plan. You know what you want. You know what you have to do to get it. There are obstacles in your way, but the rewards are more than worth it. What you want and what you seek is there before you. It’s not enough to seek it, either. You have to earn it.
It’s more than a game. It’s more than a passion. It’s a part of life. It’s a necessity, an identity, and a skill. It dominates your thoughts, evokes your strongest feelings, and drives you to strive for something greater. You don’t always get it, but losing doesn’t make you want it less. If anything, it makes you want it even more.
To achieve it, you need to work.
To work, you need to sweat.
To sweat, you need to be physical.
Most importantly, though, you need to work as a team. Alone, you can only do so much. You can still achieve plenty. To win that ultimate prize, though, you need others who will work with you. You need someone willing to put in the work, sweat, and physicality. Not every teammate will get along with you. Those that do, though, are special. With them, and only them, you win.
One win is not enough, though.
A single win is just one step in a longer journey. Many can win a single game, but only an elite few can win over the course of an entire season. Even fewer can win over the course of many seasons. Champions come and go. Dynasties rise and fall. Those that play hard and together leave a lasting legacy that inspires others to follow suit.
To make your mark, you must be willing to sacrifice. You endure the hits, take the chances, and learn from mistakes. You coordinate and collaborate, seeking guidance and growth from those who came before you. There’s never an end. There’s only a process. The players come and go, but the game continues, season by season.
The game of football and the game of love, two worlds driven by passion and grit, push us to our limits. They dare us to be greater, trusting others and sharing burdens. It is a game many play, but few master. It is a spectacle that entertains and astonishes. Sometimes, we play. Sometimes, we cheer others on. Through the feelings it inspires, we all feel like champions.
It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about that time when people start making a list of all those who ruined their holiday and how they’ll get back at them. That time has already passed. It’s a new year. It’s 2017. That means we’ve all got a clean slate so to speak. We have a chance to shake off the burdens of 2016 and make 2017 better.
It’s that very sentiment that leads many to make New Years Resolutions. I’m definitely among that crowd. For most of my adult life, especially in recent years, I’ve tried to make New Years Resolutions that will help me improve myself, my life, and all those around me.
I know it sounds cheesy. Some might not even think it’s very sexy. I think it’s an important part of being an adult, finding ways to improve yourself. Isn’t improvement supposed to be sexy? Isn’t that why women get breast implants and why men smother themselves in aftershave? Call it whatever you want. Improvement on any level should be sexy.
I know I’m not alone in making these resolutions. Around this time of year, I notice a significant uptick in crowd sizes at the gym I go to. In fact, there have been some instances where the gym is so crowded on the first week of the new year that it’s hard to get a good workout in.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, as may be the case), those crowds tend to taper off. Usually by mid-February, the crowds are almost back to normal. I think that says a lot about New Years Resolutions and how hard they are to fulfill.
I think we’re all guilty of it at some point in our lives. We make a promise to ourselves to do better or be better in some capacity. Then, for reasons that aren’t always our fault, we fail. It’s sad. It’s frustrating. It can be downright demoralizing. Unless you’re rich enough to pay someone to meet your goals for you, it’s downright inevitable.
Why is this though? Why is it that so many people fail at New Years Resolutions? Well, some of that goes back to the “caveman logic” I’ve cited many times before on this blog. In some respects, our own evolutionary biology is working against.
This isn’t just a case of our brains being wired primarily for survival and reproduction. This is more a product of our brains favoring certainty over uncertainty. Back in the caveman days, not knowing where we would get our next meal, when we would hump our mate, or whether there was a hungry bear around the corner caused a lot of stress. We needed to feel stress so that we’d do something about it. That’s just the laws of nature.
Once again, the problem with our brains is that it still hasn’t gotten the memo that this is 2017. We’re not living in caves anymore. Our wiring still confuses the uncertainty surrounding our whole weight-loss resolution with the uncertainty that comes with not knowing whether a bear will steal the meat we gathered from our last hunt.
Being so crude and blunt, reorienting our brain is like trying to cut glass with a hammer. Technically, it is possible. It’s just not very precise. Our brains are wired to avoid the distress that comes with uncertainty. That’s why it’ll fight you tooth and nail when you try to change something in your life.
I know this because I certainly had to fight it when I pursued some of my resolutions. As I documented before, my efforts to get in shape did not happen overnight. I had to slowly work my way into a healthier mindset. It took time. It took patience. It took a whole lot of frustration as well, but I did it.
In some respects, I was lucky. I had some strong motivating factors behind that resolution, namely recent health issues that some close relatives endured. That, along with getting older, helped provide incentives that my brain just couldn’t work around. Those incentives have served me well, so much so that not exercising causes me distress.
This has been the key to a lot of my resolutions. It’s not so much that I make bold promises. It’s how I go about it. I try to work my new resolutions into a system of sorts. I’ve always been a very regimented person by nature. So when I want to do something, I try to fit it into a schedule or a system that I can live by. If possible, I try to make it as flexible as possible.
A lack of flexibility in setting a goal or a system is usually the first step towards failing. I don’t like to fail. That’s why flexibility is so important. Some of that actually comes from my parents, who made it a point to make everyone flexible to deal with the daily chaos of our lives. It worked when I was a kid. It works even better as an adult.
Now I’m not saying I’m an expert in helping you achieve your New Years Resolution. I’m as qualified to be a self-help guru as I am to be starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. However, I’m not one of those late night infomercial scam-artists who will charge you a hundred bucks just to tell you what you want to hear. I prefer to keep things simple and practical.
I know my experiences with New Years Resolutions won’t work for everyone. My situation is wholly unique and it probably won’t work for everybody. I can definitely relate to those seeking a career in publishing or wanting to explore the world of superhero comics. I can’t exactly relate to those whose resolutions involve buying the perfect Ferrari or not getting mauled by a hungry cheetah.
So in the interest of not overplaying my hand or making light of the fact that I’m still an aspiring erotica/romance writer who has yet to accomplish many of his goals, I’ll try to keep my New Years advice simple and concise. It goes like this:
- Take a moment to analyze your routine/system, how you go about your day, and how well it’s working at the moment
- Highlight specific areas of that routine/system that has room for improvement and identify those areas as “blanks” that you can reorganize
- Assess how flexible you are in your current routine/system and, wherever possible, try to improve that flexibility to the greatest extent possible
- Set small, concise goals at first within the “blanks” and try to work it into your system
- Do not try to pursue more goals than you can count on one hand at the same time
- Be realistic and be willing to fail
- Above all else, learn from your failures
There, that is Jack Fisher’s unofficial guide to pursuing your New Years Resolution. It’s simple. It’s free. You don’t need a guru charging you by the hour. You just need commitment, motivation, and a willingness to try, fail, and learn from those failures. In the long run, the successes will emerge in places you don’t expect.
Also, in keeping with my admission that I am as much an expert as I am a rocket scientist, I’ll cite another more comprehensive list from the fine folks at Psychology Today. The people on this site are likely more qualified than me to assess the intricacies of self-improvement. Their article “Why New Years Resolutions Fail” offers more in depth advice that I’m not qualified to give.
Whatever advice you choose to follow, I strongly encourage everyone to pursue a New Years Resolution. We should all strive to improve as best we can with what little time we have in this world. Why not start now?