Enjoy it While You Can

“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.” General Chuck Yeager

 

When it comes to life, there are many statements people regularly say. However, one statement that I often hear is “enjoy it while you can.”  This exact phrase may not be used, but the concept will be; life changes so embrace the good days…today.

Life is an endless change.  We change careers, vehicles, homes, states, and even our shoes.  We upgrade, downgrade, swap, or exchange.  It seems to never end.  However, as one thing comes to an end, we always reminisce.  We love to remember the ‘old days’ and think about how great they were.  We think to ourselves: “if only I could be there again.”  Although the memories are sweet, we tend to forget to focus on something of great importance.

We forget to enjoy the moment we are in!  There are a million reasons to celebrate today.  Looking back at the past and all the nostalgia that comes with it takes away from the beauty we have in our lives today.  There are many moments that we take for granted.  Many times we should be thankful and happy with where we are.  But we aren’t.  We just search for all that is wrong with our lives and never focus on all that’s right until it has already passed.

This week I want to challenge everyone to see what is good in their lives.  Look around and make a small list.  You don’t have to physically write one, just make mental notes.  Do that and watch how much your perspective on life changes.

 

 

 

James A. Lovejoy

 

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5 Powerful Ways Goal Setting can Improve Your Life

“Begin with the end in mind.”  -Steven Covey

 

Goal setting is something that can change your life.  It is typically the first thing someone does before achieving anything worthwhile.  They fuel dreams and aid in personal betterment.  The following are five powerful reasons why setting goals can and will improve your life.

 

  1. Time Management

Setting a goal gives you direction.  Direction that pushes you to take better control of your time.  You learn to schedule more effectively as you progress in achieving this goal, otherwise it may never be met.  Time management becomes a necessity.  You may not be an expert time manager at first, but over time you will learn.  I found that the more goals I set the better my time management skills became.  In addition, having effective time management made my life less stressful.  Like most things, I started small with my time management, like checking the mail every other day instead of daily. Yes that seems simple, but after finding many little ways to save time, I began to gain hours each day to work towards my own goals.

 

  1. Achievement

People strive for achievement in almost everything they do.  Even though the reasons behind the effort may not be the same, the desire is usually there.  Setting goals is one way to effectively achieve something.  If you do not set a goal, you will just blindly throw darts at whatever may be in the path. Sure you might hit something worthwhile, but the odds are not in your favor.  You have to set your mind on a goal, in order to accomplish it.  One of my current achievements I am working towards is finishing my Bachelor of Science degree.  I narrowed down my vision to better direct my actions towards obtaining this tremendous achievement.

 

 

  1. Keeps YOU on Track

Staying on track isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  You get tossed around and “something always pops up”.  Basically, things almost never go according to plan (If they do for you, tell me your secret).  Setting a goal and continuing your efforts towards the completion of that goal, literally keep you on the track.  It doesn’t allow the things in life that typically distract you to continue to distract you.  FOCUS.  I have had unexpected bills and situations pop up that required my immediate attention; but since I have a goal set (Bachelor of Science) I stayed on course.  You’ll see how easy it is to stay on track when you set a goal.

 

  1. Makes you decide what you want

Setting a goal makes you think.  It makes you wonder.  Heck, it may even make you dream.  However, one thing is certain; setting a goal is a great way to determine what you actually want.  By setting a goal you have to think about what it is you truly want to accomplish.  That will vary largely from person to person.  Furthermore, when you think of a goal for yourself, you will consider multiple variables such as your values, your beliefs, and your future.  You have to imagine where you want to be and what sort of goal corresponds with that.  You wouldn’t want to study art if your ideal goal was to become an automotive engineer.  They don’t correlate very well.  Of course not all goals are going to have such a large impact on your life.

 

  1. Motivation

Goal setting motivates people at their core.  A goal gives you purpose.  That purpose then gives you drive.  It pushes you to focus your efforts.  Your life will change, as will your goals but the motivation to achieve these goals will never go away.

 

What are some of your goals?  Are your goals professional or personal?

 

 

James A. Lovejoy

 

Don’t forget to like the post and subscribe to my email listing.  It’s the fastest way to know when there is new content.  I promise I won’t spam your email. Something you want to learn or hear about?  Send me a message or email.  Further get involved in the conversation below.  I love hearing everyone’s thoughts!

Why Your Mindset Matters

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”  – Henry Ford

Many people think.  Surely there is more behind such a vague opening statement?  And in actuality there is.  There are a million different ways to think about things:  “right ways,” “wrong ways,” “good ways,” “bad ways.” What does that have to do with you right now?  Well let me help you understand how thinking can change the way you look at things.

As mentioned, thoughts are very complex and a lot of different variables go into them.  But to simplify it, we are going to say there are two basic levels.  You can have positive thoughts or negative thoughts.  I noticed that both types of thought have a large impact on my life, and I would even argue that they affect you as well.

As the quote from Henry Ford above states, you are essentially the product of your thoughts.  Meaning thoughts play a large role in your day to day activities.  Say you are running a 5k and decide, that no matter what, you are going to run the whole time and finish.  Your mind and all of its mysterious power ensures you WILL run the whole time and finish.  You may have thoughts such as “I am getting close only a little further, keep pushing” or “I will have plenty of time to rest after I complete this 5k”.  Both thoughts are positive and both thoughts inspire you to finish.  In essence the more positive you are about finishing that 5k, the more reasons your brain will give you on why you can finish it.

On the contrast, having negative thoughts can have the complete opposite effect on you. Having negative thoughts for the same 5k run would warrant you to stop running and just “take it easy.” Thoughts like “I cannot finish this race, I am not good enough” or “My legs are tired, my back is sore, and I am out of breath”.  Negative thoughts are like cancer, they produce more negativity, spread quickly, and are dangerous if left unchecked.  Once in your head, you need to work towards recognizing them in order to break the negative thought cycle.

So how can you break these thoughts and become more positive?  Well you do it the same way you learn to do anything else.  PRACTICE!  You cannot simply just change these thoughts overnight.  You need to practice being positive every single day. Whether it’s by writing positive quotes, listening to positive music, meditation, or most importantly hanging around positive people.   You need to identify the negative thoughts inside your head and crush them with the power of positivity.  Pay attention to how your thoughts affect your actions and take notes if you need to (I know I needed to at first). There are an infinite amount of ways that you can work on positive thinking, and I highly suggest trying a wide variety of them.  It helps you determine what works for you, because, as we all know, what works for you may not work for somebody else.  But once you begin to acknowledge the fact that you have these thoughts, as well as, control over these thoughts you can change them.  The best, and also my favorite, part about all this is that it can be related to every situation you will ever go through in life!

So remember to keep those negative thoughts in check!  Find a way that works best for you and stick to it.  The method I currently use to accomplish this is by paying attention to my thoughts to ensure they are positive.  I have been practicing and am still experimenting with different methods myself.  If I feel as if I cannot accomplish something I work on determining the root cause.  If I determine the cause is negative thoughts, I work to change my outlook and mindset.  For me, this is still a work in progress with a long ways to go, but I know it will be well worth it.  So in closing I just want to ask you:  What kind of mindset do you want to have in your life?

 

 

 

 

James A. Lovejoy

 

Don’t forget to like the post and subscribe to my email listing.  It’s the fastest way to know when there is new content.  I promise I won’t spam your email. Something you want to learn or hear about?  Send me a message or email.  Further get involved in the conversation below.  I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

How Failure Helps YOU Succeed

The world we live in today is a world where failure is frowned upon.  When you fail at something, people have a hard time trusting you to complete that task in the future.  It sometimes gives you the feeling that you’re not good enough.  But let me tell you something about failure.  It propels you to success.  It pushes your boundaries.  It makes you the best damn you that you can be.

Google’s definition of failure is “the lack of success,” but that is only true if you make it true in your head.  Sure society doesn’t reward failure.  You’ll never miss the buzzer beater shot and win a basketball game or miss an important business deal and get paid.  Basically you will never “fail” and “get ahead.” But is it actually true?

 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

 

Many people do not like the idea of failure, myself included.  However, failure is something that should be embraced.  Something that you can use to mold yourself into the person you want to become.  Essentially, failure is life’s greatest teacher.  Children do not try to walk one time, fall down, then decide “oh maybe walking isn’t for me, maybe I will just crawl my whole life.”  Children persevere.  They stand up take a step and fall down.  They bump into stuff and fall over.  In spite of all that, they try again. What they do best is getting back up.  They try and fail in a continuous cycle until they are able to walk without falling.  They simply walk around without the slightest thought of the many struggles they had prior.    If children can utilize their failures to better themselves, why can’t adults?  The truth of the matter is that we can and we should.

Personally, I have failed many times and many times I have felt frustrated and wanted to quit. Trust me, there were times that I did quit.   Looking back now, I don’t regret failing at those things, I regret quitting because of the thought of failing again.  I didn’t persevere; I simply gave up. Now I’ve come to terms with those failures and have changed my thoughts on failure.  Today I embrace that I am stronger than I once was because of failure.  You can also embrace failure.

You’re going about your day reading this blog, likely thinking to yourself of something that you’ve failed at.  As you think of it, that something might still irritate you.  Don’t let it.  Change your thoughts to capitalize on failure.  Use failures to propel you into a lifelong success story.  Success takes time.  Nothing worth having is ever easy to obtain, because if it was, every single person in the world would have it.

One of the hardest parts that comes with failing is maintaining a positive attitude.  It’s hard to fail and remain positive.  However, remaining positive is essential.  By allowing that failure to define you, you allow your mind to make excuses as to why you shouldn’t succeed.  If you let go of those toxic thoughts and reshape your brain into thinking there are more chances, you will eventually achieve!  Your mind will come up with solutions instead of problems leading you to success in the area that you once failed at. Success will be that much sweeter.

 

 

 

 

James A. Lovejoy

 

Don’t forget to like the post and subscribe to my email listing.  It’s the fastest way to know when there is new content.  I promise I won’t spam your email. Something you want to learn or hear about?  Send me a message or email.  Further get involved in the conversation below.  I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

Angel Flight

My original plan for the week was to write a follow up blog on personal finance and how credit scores can give you an advantage.  Instead, I want to focus on something more close to my heart that happened on Monday July 10th.  A military KC-130 aircraft with 16 military members on board had crashed.  The accident happened approximately 4 P.M local time in Mississippi and included 15 Marines and 1 Navy Sailor.

This story is close to my heart for many reasons but for two prominent reasons.  The first reason being, I lost a family member while she was serving in the Army.  The second being that I, myself, am part of the C-130 community as a C-130 mechanic in the Air Force.  I wanted to express my condolences for the situation at hand.

As many people do not know, when an aircraft crashes (military or civilian) an investigation is launched.  The investigation is led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and aided by the owning agencies and aviation experts.  These investigations are extraordinarily thorough. They cover what happened and determine the “probable cause” of the accident.  But what these investigations do not explain is the heartache that comes with such a tragedy.  The heartache that is instilled in the family of the loved ones involved. The pain they feel as they hear the news of the incident was likely immense.  A pain that they will slowly learn to live with, yet never forget.

16 people were on board that aircraft.  16 people that raised their right hand and made the decision to serve the United States of America.  Those 16 individuals had families, friends, coworkers, and many other people that cared about them.  People they brought joy, happiness, laughter, memories, and most importantly love to.

Being in the C-130 community, I may have never known these people, but I feel deeply saddened by such a catastrophic event.  I just want to personally thank each and every one of the people that serve alongside me in the United States military and further ask that everyone keep these 16 members and their families in your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

James A. Lovejoy

 

**  For those that don’t know, an Angel Flight is the flight that is used to carry Military Members home after they have passed away in the line of duty.  It is flown by a C-130 and offers a salute by shooting flares in the shape of an angel for the fallen.

How to get YOURSELF out of Debt!

So maybe you just graduated college and have some student loans.  Or maybe you have a car loan and some excess credit card debt that has collected.  Or maybe you just simply didn’t have a good grasp on your financial situation (don’t worry most of us don’t).   But now you’re in a much better position financially to pay off your debt.  And your curious on how.

Well for starters, if you can avoid further debt, do so.  This will help tremendously when paying off your current debt.  The next thing you should do is create yourself a basic budget.  It doesn’t have to be complex.  You can even scour Google in order to find a premade outline.  One I like to use is from Moneysmart.Gov.AU.  From there I just search basic budget.  I use premade budgets, because while I have a good financial sense and understand how to do my own, it just saves me time. Once you find/ create yourself a budget the next steps fall in line fairly easily.

After determining your budget and your monthly bills you need to start paying off your debt.  The way that I did this was by paying the minimum on all my debts.  Wait what?!  Yes the minimum on all of your debts.  This prevents them from going to a collection agency and shows debtors that you are paying on your loan, which will save your credit score.

The next thing you want to do is pay any extra money you have each month to the least dollar amount debt item you currently have.  This money should be found after you create your budget.  For example if you have a credit card debt of $500 and a car loan of $10,000.  You will simply pay the minimum on the car loan and the extra money you have each month towards the credit card.  This puts you in a position to pay the least interest and pay it off faster.

After paying off your credit card is, funnel 100% of the money, that you were using to pay off the card, towards that to the next highest debt you have.  Using the example above, this would mean that if you paid $100 a month on your credit card, after it is paid off you would funnel that $100 to the minimum you are already paying on your car loan each month until it is paid off.  This method works for multiple debts. Start with the smallest debt then worked my way up to the largest debt. Eventually, assuming you don’t continue to borrow money, you will be debt free.

This is the exact method that I used in order to pay off over $28,000 in debt. I would know from my personal experience.  I paid off my car, motorcycle, cell phone and credit card in less than 3 years, while still saving and attending college full time.  Luckily, I was able to receive a decent amount of scholarships and only had to pay around $4,000-5,000 out of pocket every year.  But using this method I was able to save enough to pay everything down to 0 as well as continue my education.  It wasn’t easy and like any normal person I would make slip ups and buy things I didn’t need or take the occasional vacation.  That is normal and it happens to everyone.  As long as you pay attention to your long term goal you will achieve it!!  Good luck everyone!!

 

Something you want to learn or hear about??  Comment below?  Have another perspective on how to lower your debt let me know below as well!  I love hearing from you.  Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you like the content!!

 

 

 

James A. Lovejoy

Personal Perseverance

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” -Calvin Coolidge

 

Unfortunately due to a large workload this week I was unable to write content that is suitable to my standards.  Thank you for the understand and in the mean time let this quote on perseverance sink in for the week.

 

James A. Lovejoy

Emotional Intelligence? What is That?

When talking in terms of how “smart” a person is typically, only one thing comes to mind… “Someone who does well in school or has a high IQ”.  But is that accurate?  Well as I’m sure you can imagine the answer depends on the desired result.

So if you are the type of person who enjoys going to school and learning new things.  Things such as math and science.  And are good at them then you may have a higher IQ than normal.  But what does that mean?  Well it simply means that you’re on average “smarter” than the total population.  But smarter in what ways?  Well you’re likely better at problem solving using the logical portion of your brain.  You may be able to fully solve the amount of fuel needed for an aircraft to take a long 8 hour flight. Calculating the different variables, which include wind speed and direction, aircraft weight, and other aerodynamic forces that an aircraft may encounter.  But if your brain is not wired in that way there is STILL HOPE!!

Google’s definition of Emotional Intelligence is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”.  Summed up this means being self-aware.  But why does this matter?  Well it matters because being self-aware is what helps many of the most successful people become successful.  In fact, J.D. Rockefeller is a perfect example of an emotionally intelligent businessman.  J.D. Rockefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil Company in 1870.  This company controlled over 90% of the oil supply in the United States during its peak!  But do you think Rockefeller was the one that decided where to dig for oil?  Where to distribute?  How to refine the oil?  If you’re thinking ABSOLUTELY NOT then you are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

Rockefeller was a very “smart” man there is no denying that.  But he made most of his money with the help of others.  He understood how to speak to others in a way that motivated them to want to help him, as well as, themselves.  He would work with people and listen to all sorts of advice on what to do next with the company.  Rockefeller had a tremendous hold on emotional intelligence.  He understood how to motivate people and used his interpersonal skills to build an empire!

So now you’re likely wondering how you can be more emotionally intelligent?  Well for starters just knowing about emotional intelligence is huge step!  Since you are aware that it exists, you can now start to take steps in honing your skills.  One way I choose to master these skills was through reading and reflection.  There are many great books out there on emotional intelligence and self-awareness.  Two I recommend are Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman, and How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Both books offer valuable insight on a wide variety of issues.  And as for reflection, I would just suggest you schedule some downtime in your day to reflect on who you are, where you are headed, and where you want to be.  So now the question from the first paragraph comes back.  What is your desired result?

 

 

 

Make sure to sign up for more great content! New post every Saturday!

James A. Lovejoy

The Average Millennial (Part 2)

So as mentioned last week (A Millennial Today Part 1), there are many different resources available for Millennials (and others) to use in today’s society.  I’m sure many of you reading this are curious.  Curious as to what these resources are and how they help you.  You want answers, we all want answers.  Never before in history has such a wealth of information been so readily available to the public.

Being a millennial means that we grew up transitioning from books to the internet.  They both are advantageous.  However the internet offers many unique advantages.  Advantages that we as millennials don’t take advantage of all too often (yes even including me).  We take advantage of the fact that if we are curious about something we can just “google it”.  We take advantage of the simplicity of how the internet and search engines work.  But we seem to forget to take advantage of the most important part.  The resourcefulness it offers.

How can one take advantage of the resources at the palm of their hand?  Well it’s really quite simple.  Looking up a recipe as mentioned last week is one way.  In order to utilize your resources to their full capacity you have to know what you want.  If you are looking to start a new business you can scour the internet to determine if your idea is unique and practical.  You can also determine the chances of success.  To do this one would simple just “google” your idea to determine both its uniqueness and other similar companies.  This will help determine the plausibility of your idea in a relatively cheap manor.

If it is determined that your business plan is plausible you can then start the research on how to begin this business.  You can start with the background work to determine what would be required. Then you can market your business on social media.  But why on social media?  Well it’s simply because people use it.  According to Zephoria Digital Marketing there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users.  And that is just Facebook alone NOT including other social media platforms!  In fact that is how I am currently advertising THIS EXACT BLOG PAGE!! You can and should use the resourcefulness found on the internet through every process of starting a business.

In short there are resources available both online and in person.  But there is no shortage of information available to us as millennials.  There are pages and stores and information everywhere on the internet.  If you just formulate your idea of what you want and utilize the tools that almost every single one of us have you can do anything that you dream of!  And I know it sounds strange and it sounds scary and trust me it is, but it is oh so worth it.

 

The possibilities for Millennials are ENDLESS in today’s society so get out there and work towards making your mark!

 

James A. Lovejoy

A Millennial Today (Part 1)

So what does it mean to be a millennial in today’s society?  Does it mean that I am entitled?  Does it mean I have it easy?  Does it mean that I will be guaranteed success?  Well in short no it does not.  Living in the world today means that you have opportunity.  Never before has such an abundance of opportunity been so prevalent.

So what opportunities do we have that other generations did not have growing up one might ask?  Well the answer to that is both simple and complex.  For starters we have this beautiful thing called the internet.  Never before has so much information been as readily accessible as it is on the internet.  I get it “What does the internet have to do with me James?”.  I can already hear the question, before I even post this.

Well this means that there has never been a better time to be ALIVE!  One can simply look to an app or the internet to find out whatever information they want!  Say you want to know how to make banana pancakes.  Look it up and seemingly out of thin air a recipe appears.  Sure this is a simple example that we all know but YOU, yes YOU can and should apply this same concept to achieve whatever it is that your trying to achieve.

In short there are so many resources out in the world today for Millennials as well as other generations to use.  Tap into your creative side and use them.  Times are changing and opportunities exist.  But success will not be achieved unless you work towards it.

 

James A. Lovejoy