Expectations are dangerous

Hey everyone,

Here we go again. I think this one might be easy to agree with. Expectations and their more dangerous nature is a well covered topic. It is easy to find any number of publications covering the subject. However, why are expectations so dangerous?

Most will argue that high expectations set you up for disappointment. So many people find the fear of disappointment so suffocating that they set the bar very low to avoid it. In truth the danger is setting your expectations too low not too high.

Disappointment is a good thing, which I covered in a blog a couple of weeks ago so if you missed that you can checkout the link here: https://christopherjhillger.com/2019/06/06/disappointment-is-always-a-good-thing/

When your expectations are low, they are easily met, and on top of that you build the wrong mindset. I had this issue not long ago when I launched my third book. Due to a number of perceived problems with my previous advertising, the delays the book received, and difficulty in getting noticed in the crowded market I set my expectations rock bottom. This hurt my book’s launch since I put less effort since my expectations were low. Low expectations hurt my audience since word didn’t reach them as quickly that the book was launched. Finally it hurt myself, putting my self esteem low (which most people convince themselves is why to set the expectations low in the first place).

Had I kept shooting as high as I could imagine perhaps growth would occur when I kept leaping for it. You see, if the bar is low you won’t get far. If the goal is set high, you will probably not get there, but you’re likely to get farther than where you get when the goal is easy to achieve. If you set the expectations low, you don’t grow.

Growing is painful. It’s a fact of life. Do you remember growing pains when you were young? My oldest son complains about them nearly every day. When you face disappointment it hurts, but you learn from failure, and learning is how you grow to improve it for next time.

So set your sights high, and you might be surprised by where you land.

Until next time, may God bless you and keep you.

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Why disinterest is your greatest adversary

Hey everyone,

While writing, working at your job, going to school, or interacting with others there are many things that can make your life more difficult. Disliking the activity, people you don’t get along with, and disinterest are just a few. I would argue that the most powerful one you face is disinterest.

When you’re disinterested it causes the worst responses possible. Apathy is the opposite of love, and as such it works to remove your desire to have any connection to the activity at hand.  This couples into depression as well. I, like many other people, have mistaken depression to be a feeling of inescapable sadness. Depression isn’t always sad however, more often it is more like a lack of caring.

Not caring about something, or being disinterested, makes it exceedingly difficult to do anything. Depression is the ultimate expression of this phenomenon. Why do we have apathy then? There is a good reason for it though.

Apathy is a defense mechanism, a shield. It is hard for something to hurt you if you don’t care about it. This has great power over your emotions, actions, and interactions. As such when left out of check, it can ruin your relationships, or worse lead into a depression spiral. Getting out of this situation is easiest when you haven’t let it have control of too many parts of your life.

To conquer disinterest you must let things feel again. Your happiness doesn’t work without something sad to compare it to. To feel love you must be exposed to pain. It isn’t fun, but you must not let apathy control you. When it runs your life it only leads to depression, when you take control back you feel again and it won’t likely be pleasant. Don’t give up though, lean on your friends, family, or seek professional help. The best thing you can do is seek Jesus and a relationship with him if you haven’t already. God knows how powerful your emotions are, and will help you though the hard times when you lean on him. He doesn’t promise an easy life, but does promise you will never be alone. You can find more information on that at places like hope.org, or reach out to me or any number of Christians out there. Our purpose isn’t to judge, or ridicule, but to offer help to this broken world (remember we all are broken too).

Until next time, my God bless you and keep you.

Disappointment is always a good thing

Hey everyone,

Ever been disappointed with something or someone? You more than likely have, so have I.

For whatever reason somethings just never seem to live up to our expectations. Sometimes that causes us to lower our standards, sometimes it means voicing concern about the thing or person. Whatever you have been disappointed by in life so far, remember that disappointment is a good thing.

Ok, you’ve lost me you crazy guy. What do you mean disappointment is a good thing? It never feels good to be disappointed.

Well no, it rarely feels good to be disappointed; but that does not mean that it isn’t a good emotion to have. In fact it is a great emotion to have, about things and especially people. Ok, before you go off the deep end, let me explain.

What does it mean to be disappointed? Well, it means something or someone didn’t live up to your standards or to what you expected. Expectations and standards are things we rarely place on anything that we do not value.

You know that sports team you barely remember the name of? Oh hey, they won their last game. Do you care? No. Why not? Because you don’t place any value in them (not to say that their is no value in them, only that they don’t mean anything to you).

Your parents however are likely a different story. Whether your parent’s live up to your expectations or not, there is likely some disappointment with them your remember from growing up. Does that mean your parent’s are the worst in the world? No, and even if they are, the presence of disappointment means you place value in them, even if they weren’t the greatest.

I have been very blessed to have had such supportive parents growing up, not everyone does. But pretty much everyone has had a parent or guardian that was disappointed in them during their life (possibly they still are). This isn’t a bad thing, in fact it is the opposite. You see, the presence of disappointment means that you have value to them, that they love you.

Whether it is a person (like family, or friends), or a thing (like a favorite movie series) disappointment means that there were standards to begin with. You don’t place standards on things you do not care about, and as such a lack of disappointment in your life probably means you don’t value very many things.

Disappointment is good, and leads to you having strong emotions about that person or thing. Just remember to try and put a more constructive spin on your feedback, just like God puts in his disappointment with us. Humanity fails, on repeat, but God is always trying to give us advice in how to live our lives. He doesn’t give us some checklist, but actual feedback and purpose to our mistakes.

Until next time! May God bless you and keep you.

Monthly update time!

Hey everyone!

I’m happy to say that progress is being made on the newest book, as well as the new banner for the site!

I have a bit of editing to do on the banner, but it should be live in the next week or two. (Update: Its up now haha)

As for the current book in progress; some new scheduling of my time should get progress going more consistently on all my writing projects! So look forward to some new details in the coming weeks and months as it begins to really take shape!

Last month we looked at creativity in a number of blog posts. This month the plan is to cover two or three new topics. One of which will be: Disappointment is always a good thing. An odd statement I know, don’t worry we’ll look more into it soon.

That’s all the news I’ve got for now. So until next time, and remember don’t feed the Jacobs

Why should I be creative? and how can I become more creative?

Hey everyone,

This is the last entry on the “creativity series” of blog posts. The final two subjects were really so related I figured we would tackle them in one post. In the first two entries we defined creativity, and explained why it is important. So we know what creativity is and why it is important, but why should we strive to be creative?

Creativeness is a truly interesting trait. Creative people tend to look at the world in unique ways. For instance, you have a problem at work, no wait lets be more specific.

You need to build a presentation for your boss. The boss wants you to figure out a replacement for an aging piece of equipment, lets say a printer to keep it simple. You could just look up a few and pick a printer that matches your needs within a reasonable price. That is the direct way to replace it, but what happens when your boss asks ‘why did you pick that printer? I heard good things about x’ or something along those lines. Well that is where the presentation comes in.

Perhaps you should create a little 5 slide presentation that shows, review scores, price, capabilities, customer support options, and ease of use. All those slides would feature different graphs, like a few bar graphs to show price comparison, a line graph for review scores, etc. Now when you present that to your boss, he/she will know you actually did your homework and that a though process went into your selection. A presentation like this would be a common application of creativity in the work place. The building of something original, in order to present an idea, or thought. Also this is more likely to get you some positive points with your boss by just putting together something with a bit of creativity.

That is just one example. Creativity makes you stand out. Everyone is unique so that doesn’t really set us apart from one another. Demonstrating your ability to be creative, and use that as a positive force in your life will always make you noticed from your peers.

‘Okay, so I get why it could be helpful, so I should get me some more of this creative stuff. How do I do that?’

It isn’t easy to come up with ways to be creative if you don’t have a lot of creativity to start with. Funny enough, creativity is actually obtained only from the influence of others. Let me explain. Some people are born creative, they received it from God. Everyone else becomes creative by watching, taking note, and attempting to apply the things the creative people are doing. Why do you think more people don’t write books, creative masterful pieces of art, or design engineering marvels? Most of those people are born with a gift, but the rest of us can do it too, just not on our own.

To become more creative, you need to talk to people, read article/books written by creative people, seek artworks, look over technical designs (if you can under stand them), or even go into nature and look at a glimpse of God’s pure creativity. Creativity is born of inspiration, so everyone can get it since we all can be inspired.

As the old saying goes, great things are born of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I would argue that even though the percentages are so unbalanced that both the 1% and 99% are actually equally valuable.  Without the inspiration you just sit in the same spot spinning your wheels and not knowing where to go. Creativity is the action of taking inspiration and forming it into a use within the real world. This still leads to more work, but it is work with direction and purpose.

I hope this series helped someone out there. Next week we’ll be starting another series, I’m not completely decided on what to start. Feel free to suggest a subject and I will do some research and cover it as best I can.

See you next week, and may God bless you and keep you.

 

Next official book information!

Hey everyone!

I have been giving my next project a lot of thought this month. Among my ideas were some projects I started back in December of last year (and some even older than that). It has not been easy to choose which project to work on next. Despite this difficulty I have decided a plan of action, and I do have some details to share!

I’m happy to announce that the next book I am working on will be an all new tale with a pleasant mix of Science Fiction, and Fantasy. An exhilarating story that mixes science and magic, in ways that might challenge the way you look at the two. This stand alone Novel will place you, the reader, into the story and whisk you away on a journey that will be hard to forget!

You might be thinking: Hey, The Sage of Hytrae trilogy had some Science fiction elements in it too, what makes this different? I would say that trilogy focused more on the fantasy side of the story, but don’t worry we’ll be getting back to Hytrae eventually.

So what other details can I share? Well, I obviously don’t have a release date, I haven’t been writing this one very long after all. But I can tell you that my plan is for this book to be out by the end of summer (if all goes according to plan that is). I’m excited to share more as it develops over the next couple months!

I’m hoping to get the website updates, banner, artwork, etc. done this month as well so hopefully we’ll have something a little more fitting for a multi series/genre/novel author blog page.

Until next time, and don’t feed the Jacobs!

Why is Creativity Important?

Hey everyone, sorry this is a couple weeks behind. Anyway, here we go. I do apologize in advance, this one might be a bit more of a rant haha.

Last post we defined Creativity, in a nutshell it is the ability to create, or to present new things out of existing things. Creativity is more than just “original ideas” but rather an extension of our very selves in what we do.

The importance of creativity cannot be understated. Without it we have no voice, only echos. You see unless you are thinking for yourself you will only say, do, or think what others around you do. This is an extremely dangerous thing, and it is the crippling issue of our society today. So many of us rather not put in the effort (and creativity is a great effort make no mistake), so we follow rather than strike out for ourselves. Mimicking, or copying, might be the highest form of flattery, but it is also lazy and unoriginal.

Don’t mistake this for inspiration drawn from others, which is not lazy. In fact, when it comes from a good source it can lead to far more creativity than without it.

All humans are capable of creativity, it is not restricted to just the arts! Pioneers in industry, business, and technology are absolutely just as creative as an artist or author. Without creativity we become stagnant and do not grow as people, nor as a society. This is why I have a passion against things like “common core” or more “reformed education” as they actively stomp out creativity in every faucet that I have ever encountered it. If we do not teach our children that creativity is good, or how to be creative then we doom ourselves in only a generation’s time!

Okay, attacking “common core” is a bold move I know. So here let me give a bit of evidence for that. Lets take math for instance. Under common core we attempt to equip children with the same set of tools to solve equations, and determine the solution. That sounds like a good thing right? Well it is not a good thing at all! You see, a problem (math or otherwise) always has multiple ways to solve it. In fact in my college Calculus class I know my professor went over no less than six ways to solve a single complicated math problem (all very distinct from one another as well). I do grant that some ways to solve a problem build easier into other more complicated problems. This does not account for the fact however, that every child’s mind is different. Not teaching kids a way that their brain understands, rather than try to force them to under stand the “common core” way is not doing them any favors. It is like saying every hole can be filled with the same round peg, even when the hole is a rectangle, oval, or triangle.

What does this have to do with creativity? Everything! Don’t think for a minute that we knew how to do complicated math without creativity paving the frontier. But rather than trying to teach our children the ability to reason and think for themselves, we have them memorize tables of conversions… An ounce of creativity is worth a pound of knowledge, without creative minds we would not have learned anything about anything.

Bottom line, out of the gifts of God, creativity helps us to grow in knowledge and better know Him. Love shows us how God see’s the world and it’s people. Creativity helps us learn about everything he put into the world. We should be teaching our children to Love their enemies, because wrath belongs to the Lord. We should also be teaching our children to be creative, because success doesn’t happen by chance. In order to do new things we must think of them first. In order to think of new things we must first be creative.

I’ll see you all next week, may God bless you and keep you.

What exactly is Creativity?

So what is this Creativity stuff anyway? Is it like a secret sauce that binds a story together? Is it necessary for art to exist at all?

Merriam – Webster defines creativity as : the ability to create.

Dictionary.com expands on this in its second definition which goes something like this: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.

What does any of that really mean though? So to be creative means to not be normal? but isn’t normal actually an illusion and rather an average of the collective?

I like to use the Merriam – Webster definition, even though it’s a bit more vague. The ability to create, but how does relate to an ability really?

I mean everyone can create right? You create things every day: A schedule, a meal, excuses, etc. But not everyone is really very creative right?

The Creative Writing class I had in college was my favorite English related class I’d ever had. Why? No it wasn’t the subject matter, or the teacher was the best or anything like that. It was because I could be creative obviously, so what does that mean?

I was able to pick my subject matter, I could pick why I was writing about it, I could decided what direction to steer the reader. It was literately the addition of Choice into writing that I never had the freedom to do until that point.

Creativity is the junction of ideas, choice, and perception of the artist (in the terms of creativity we are all artists in our own way after all).

Whew. Yeah it really took that much just to tease out a definition. If your still here this is where it gets good 😉

Lets define the parts that make up creativity a bit to expand the context of what it really is.

Ideas, everyone has them. They are the start of every story, artwork, or plan. Ideas are the easy part, but creativity is an action word. As an Action word that means there is work, part of that is choice.

Choice, lets you pick. It is really that simple. Pick what? Everything, from the subject, to the direction, to the message/meaning, and more. Choice is the work, but tends to take a lot of people by surprise how hard it can be. When you stare at that blank page, piece of paper, canvas, lump of clay, or whatever, it can be really hard to decide where to start, let alone a message or meaning.

Most people think that the hardest part of writing, or even art, is actually doing the work. Putting words on the page, or paint on the canvas, etc. that is what the writer or artist does to relax, that is not the real work. The real work is direction, perseverance, and keeping on track to not change your message/meaning mid project (sooo easy to fall into that last issue).

If you know much about me, you know that I am a Christian. Since that is ingrained into my perspective you will also find my work tends to show that as well. My creativity will reflect God in it as such.

In fact the living God, Creator of the universe, is the source of all creativity. We cannot actually create anything, only transform what we see, feel or can touch. God however created all of it, including thought. Creativity is a way in which all of mankind reflects its creator. The only way we as humans show our God more is though love. After all, God is Love.

I’ll see you all next week, may God bless you and keep you.

Website Update

Hey everyone,

I know the year is already a quarter of the way over and I’ve not gotten anything posted on here to share. I’d like to say it was because I was hard at work writing, but that would be like me selling some swamp land in Arizona.

So my premier trilogy is complete! That is obviously great, and it is exciting. I started writing the first book in that trilogy all the way back in 2010. Eight years later I found myself with a complete trilogy and at least a dozen new starts of books to explore.

What’s next then?

Well, I have been exploring and seeking feedback from one of my biggest fans (my wife). I have put work into no less than three titles this year, but none of them have more than a few chapters written at this point. Without focus nothing can be achieved, if only  because you can’t see what you’re doing.

This month I am buckling down, and picking my next project to focus on (and working on it obviously). Next month I will be announcing what I am working on, with periodic updates to follow thereafter. This month I am also starting up a weekly entry into a series of blogs! (Yes, actual content for the site Yay!) Also, I am setting reminders in my phone to make sure I stay on top of this blogging thing lol.

To kick things off later this week I will be starting a series of entries about creativity. The goal of the series is to define it, explore why it is important, why you should have it, and how to obtain more of it (those kinds of things).

I can’t wait to get back to writing in full swing, and I hope that all of you are excited too. Until next time, and Don’t feed the Jacobs.

The Trilogy is complete!

Thank you Everyone!

For all the support over the years. The Sage of Hytrae Trilogy is now complete with the latest installment The Sorcerer’s Gamble (Available now at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1720324964). I would like to thank everyone who has bought or downloaded any of the books over the years! You guys are the real MVPs and have allowed me to see that not only can I finish writing a book but people can enjoy them.

 

I plan to spend the month of December exploring different writing projects. As always I will update everyone here if and when I have updates on all my writing related ventures. So far it’s been a bit of a rocky year, but I am grateful for everyone sticking through it with me.