On Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, it finally happened. A convincingly unbreakable record held for 38 years was broken, and a new record was set that is on-going. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am talking about LeBron James becoming the All-Time Leading Scorer of the NBA regular season.
Basketball is my favorite sport. Although I was not good enough to make an organized team until joining a summer intramural league in college, I watched basketball on tv since maybe three (maybe before then). You could say I have been a part of basketball culture my whole life. Not just on the court, but I also follow my favorite NBA players off the court as well. And with the evolution of social media my algorithms seem to fix itself on the NBA players of old, present, and new.
Then there’s LeBron James. A man who lived up to the hype before suiting up for his first NBA career game. A man who revolutionized the game, a one-of-a-kind who will be hard to duplicate. What amazes me the most is he’s 38 years old playing like he’s 23. Very few players made it to 20 seasons. LeBron, on the other hand, is in his 20th season as we speak playing like he has 10 more in him.
What has LeBron James new record setting milestone taught me during this Black History Month of 2023? The answer comes in the form of a question. It is what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve greatness in your career, hobby, passion, etc.? You see most of us talk about it but never put in the effort to get started while some of us live in it but don’t have the discipline to get to the next level. Others have luck with little effort and plenty of representation while the remainder actually master their craft.
I have been following LeBron’s career for some time now. What he does during the offseason in preparation for the upcoming season proves why he reaps the benefits of his labor. Luck, namesake, and representation has little to do with how he made it to number 1. I see persistence, discipline, knowledge, understanding, purpose, and evolution in his possession.
This milestone has taught me no obstacle is impossible to conquer when you have the drive to succeed. Despite the odds, we can achieve the impossible whether it happens in our youth or old age. Sometimes we have to make moves that better our chances for success in this life.
Another lesson I have learned from this milestone is failure is inevitable, but no matter how many times we lose to it, we get back up and keep trying until something good happens. With each failure, we must learn and evolve. And even after victory, we keep going to setting new records for the next generation to witness. We know our limits and work with them to reach the ultimate goal of success. Maintaining that tunnel-vision focus that blocks all doubters and critics, how much are we really willing to sacrifice to be the best at what we do?
It has been two months since I posted a new blog. Two months since I unintentionally took a leave of absence from what I love to do: writing and blogging.
It just happened, no real explanation to it. Commuting to work every day I thought about my next series of blogs, but never got a chance to sit and write them down. I don’t know, my best guess is life got busier, and writing took a backseat in my mind.
One would think after the success of my last blog “A Think Piece of Sunday #4: If I Told You One of Your Biggest Blessings was a Rejection, Would You Believe Me?” I would post more frequently. Catching the next wave before the wave I was riding settled, but that did not happen. One of the downsides of when your side hustle is not your main hustle, time.
Please note I had no personal issues during my absence. In fact, my time away has been great! Spending it with family and friends, running behind my son, visiting a new city (thank you for a great time, Raleigh and Apex, NC), attending a Lizzo concert with my wife and family in Atlanta, celebrating Halloween with matching family costumes, learning new things, all of this served as a much-needed getaway. Not a getaway from blogging, but a getaway from my normal Monday through Friday. Time used to enjoy other parts of my life.
Although blogging and writing was not included during the last two months, I had it on my mind daily. Now, I am back! The pencil and notebook are here, the laptop is ready, and the brainstorming is forecasted to be strong. My dedication has been revived to a new level. I am excited to share with the world more of my thoughts and perspectives. I still want to see how far I can go with this blogging. Crafting every part of its future success, it’s the ambition in me that drives my passion for writing.
As I close out this quick blog, I want to thank you all for the follow. I am so excited I have 50 subscribers in my first year of blogging, I thank you all. Please feel free to like and comment on any blog post I have. Share with others that you know. And if you like what you see on my site and want to come along on this journey…join The Book of Think Pieces family by subscribing. Have a great Sunday.
What is a blessing? The best definition I found comes from Vocabulary.com where it defines a blessing as “…a prayer asking for divine protection, or a little gift from the heavens” (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/blessing, 2022). In the Bible (NIV Version) 2 Corinthians 9:8 reads, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
We can never receive enough blessings. Just being alive and well is a blessing we should never take for granted. But what if I told you one of your biggest blessings in life did not come in the form of money, acceptance, or healing, would you believe me? What if I told you one of your biggest blessings once came in the form of rejection? Yes, REJECTION! Let me spell it out…R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N.
Rejection is not wanted, but it is a part of our lives just as much as acceptance. No one applies for anything hoping to be rejected. If we knew the outcome would result to this, the odds of us applying would be exceptionally low. Each one of us have been rejected from something in our lives. A relationship, friendship, job offer, promotion, school, anything that helps better our lives. Receiving a rejection often triggers sad and regretful emotions, the feeling of not being good enough especially at the time it happens. It can linger in our mind for days, weeks, months, even years wondering if our worth is qualified to move on to the next level in life. We put our best efforts into getting an acceptance only for rejection to tear our hopes and confidence down.
Take it from me, I have had my fair share of rejections in life even when I needed the acceptance more than the others applying for the same position. Growing up in a hometown where “who you know” had more value on receiving an offer than your skillset and character, I wondered if I had bad luck when it came down to getting offers to better my life and increase my experience. I could not get a job as a teenager despite applying to countless jobs throughout the county, I ran for leadership positions and lost by landslides, not making the cut to join teams to build teamwork experiences, etc. I started to question if I really had what it takes to make it in the corporate world. Then I graduated college only to struggle to find a job during the recession era of America. I had the experience and did everything advised to avoid being unemployed after graduation, but none of that experience helped me during that time. Rejection letter after rejection letter, I began to question if my college degree was worth the years put in since I was not receiving the benefits of earning a degree. I even questioned if I did not do enough in college. Despite the hardship of rejection, it molded me to become a stronger person. I learned valuable life lessons from the experience that high school nor college taught me. I gained skills and character that not only helped me receive a job offer, but also learn how to maintain the blessings from acceptance.
Switching gears here. Rejection can be disguised as a blessing that comes in the form of protection tying in our faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This means faith is believing something good will happen although you have no clue if that good will come. If good does not come, then faith will convince you that good will eventually come. It may not come how you envisioned it, but the rejection can protect you from the unseen dangers the acceptance never told you about. It is optimism about the future on overdrive. Protection is minimizing the chances of a tough situation that may cause hardship, hurt, or harm physically, financially, and/or mentally from happening in the future by understanding the dangers of a current event based off evidence in the past.
Like a devasting storm that destroys a town. After the storm does its damage, there is a cold period that follows. A feeling of loss and confusion looms over the town wondering how they can recover after the storm, and what will it take to improve the infrastructure. Suddenly good people come to aid of the town after receiving news of its devastation. Before you know it, the town has rebuilt itself better than before the storm. Should another storm happen, the people are more prepared than before. Rejection works in a similar matter when we take the time after it to heal and learn from it. It hurts at those moments and may leave you feeling lost, confused, and down, but there is an unexplained peace that follows.
That is why we must be very mindful of each acceptance. You ever applied for a job, worthless got the acceptance offer, started working the job and a few months in, the job does not satisfy you as it did when you originally started? At some point the money does not matter because your happiness does not align with the job. You find yourself stressed and angry about your job now that you know the truth about it. Anything that goes wrong on the job amplifies your dissatisfaction. Before you know you are back on the hunt for another job. What happened to that good feeling you had when the acceptance first came?
Sometimes acceptance can be fabricated to lure you into a trap. “Accept this job offer. You will earn a livable wage, have a great work/life balance, work with a wonderful staff, and become a valuable member of this team.” That is all you may read before signing the offer letter but read a little deeper and you may discover what is promised may not be reality. Sadly, you may not discover it until you are working at the job. And that is how acceptance can be. An outsider looks at acceptance as a better opportunity from what they currently have. Acceptance will convince you everything will be better, and you got it because you were the most qualified. If we fail to investigate what we are signing up for, we may miss signs that this acceptance is something you should pass on. Before you know it, your acceptance may cause more hardship than what the opportunity was worth.
I am not encouraging rejection. If offered an opportunity in something you worked hard for, I recommend taking the chance. What I am writing is rejection does not always mean failure or giving up on our dreams. We always see rejection as bad; it can be a blessing in disguise. Remember, a blessing does not always come in the form of money, health, or good fortune. Oftentimes, it comes to use as protection. Not just protection from harm and danger, but protection from unseen dangers that may present itself in the future or even protection for our own wellbeing. Sometimes we take on opportunities when we were not prepared and end up more stressed than before the offer was made. Viewing rejection as “God knows what’s best for us” will save us from opportunities that cause more harm than help and life lessons. Allowing rejection to work in our favor can open doors we never knew we were capable of walking through. The main goal is to not allow rejection to make us feel like we are unworthy to success. We should use it as a learning tool to understand why this opportunity that did not work is good and to learn more about ourselves and what we are capable to manage.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me say this again. We love to celebrate milestones here at The Book of Think Pieces no matter how big or small it maybe. It takes courage to share your work with the world, so each milestones builds onto our encouragement. It encourages us to keep blogging, keep promoting our work, don’t give up. That major milestone is coming one day, but for now, let’s celebrate every milestone like we won a championship.
The newest milestone to add to the list is 100 likes! It took a year and almost a month to reach this milestone. With more followers, 20-something blog post, an iPhone, and advertising each blog through social media with no actual page, it’s safe to say this particular milestone means I am doing something right with this blogging.
Most important, I did not reach this milestone on my own. YOU, yes YOU, made this possible. My wife and son who are my inspiration to keep writing. My extended family’s who support me. My friends, coworkers, and subscribers. Thank you all for reading and liking my work.
After 100 likes I believe promoting my work has become easier. At first I had to give myself a “you can do this” pep talk just to share on Facebook. Too focus on the “what ifs” I would often delay sharing when all I needed to do was share and send. I put too much emphasis on writing a caption thinking this would capture my followers attention. Now, after I finish a blog, I keep my captions short with a link. The right people will click and like. And…Twitter played a big part to promoting my work. #Writerslift and #bloggertribe really came through. It helped me network with other bloggers and content creators in return for support of their work.
Still growing, still learning, but most importantly, enjoying the blogging journey. Closing out I encourage all content creators to not get discouraged when your best does not get likes. Keep working hard, and one day you will see your hard work has finally paid off.
As I sit here on this balcony outside of Atlanta, GA at 10:56 am listening to Tony! Toni! Toné! song titled Anniversary, my writing senses began to go off. It’s the absolute perfect moment to write a blog. The temperature outside before 11:00 am is 73. The Sun is shining with plenty of clouds in the sky, no rain in the foreseeable future. Several large trees are standing tall adding shade to where I am sitting. You can hear its leaves sounding from the light breeze that gently sways the trees from left to right. Down below, a row of smaller trees maybe no more than 5 feet tall act as a fence separating the homes from the outside.
This is a blissful moment. I am off work today and vacationing for Memorial Day Weekend. No hustle and bustle from its demands. Just me, my family, my music, laptop and the beautiful weather we are experiencing. The only thing missing right now is a frozen coffee, caramel frozen coffee if we are being specific, and brunch. Not to mention I keep staring at the following image:
As I type this blog from my new iPhone while listening to Apple Music’s Classic R&B radio station, I asked myself, “What will I blog about today?” It needs to be something peaceful and tranquil, something to represent being thankful. It also needs to be something quick before this perfect opportunity closes! So, I went to my WordPress homepage and noticed I missed a notification. I clicked on it to see two or three days ago I missed my one year anniversary of registering my site, The Book of Think Pieces, to WordPress!
Wow! I have officially been a blogger for over a year now! Who would have thought? The planning, time, and effort I put into blogging has been a joy. I would not trade it for the world! Reflecting back over the year of blogging I have come a long way. The cheap notebook with an even cheaper mechanical pencil reminds me of the humble beginnings. The blogs I wrote in that notebook at home and while on breaks at work gives me peace and visions of how successful I am becoming. Yes, I am still growing, learning, taking free courses to perfect my craft. I still have plans to keep blogging because I have so many ideas and stories I want to share through this site. As the views and followers continue to come, I am very thankful for each and everyone of you for being apart of this journey. I wish I could do this full-time, but I love what I do for a living outside of writing just as much. Maybe one day there can be a way to combine the two, who knows!
Seeing this achievement gives me even more inspiration to keep writing and pushing the limits one blog at a time. I thank you all once again for visiting my blog. And as they say on TV…
Once again, I cannot thank you enough for the views, love, support, and subscriptions to The Book of Think Pieces. This blogging journey has been enjoyable, and I have not hit one year yet! Sure there were some ups and downs, a few setbacks, delays, and plenty of writer’s [bloggers] blocks, but I kept going. I kept seeing the good in this blogger’s world and used it as motivation to keep writing. To Kenya, the country, thank you for your views. Then to #writerslift, #writingcommunity, #blogging, and other creative writer’s hashtags on twitter, I thank you! I did not forget about you previously.
So, after reaching the 1000 views milestone, what is next for The Book of Think Pieces? What do I have in store for the views and subscribers?
…Well, the answer is simple. I will keep writing, keep hustling. I will think of more content to blog about. As I mentioned in my previous blog After 1000 Views1I have to keep blogging because I love to write and keep my main audience engaged. I may write about something that creates a debate, or I may write about my experiences. Maybe write a fictional short story or two. But most importantly, I want to do this because writing is my hobby. I want to keep being original. As I gain more followers, I want to support my fellow bloggers. Most importantly, I want to share my work through promoting online.
I thank you all again for the views! I attempt to inspire and uplift my viewers through blogging. I also like to give my viewers a unique perspective about several topics. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great day. Stay great and stay positive. Remember, there is only one you in this world, and you only have one life to live, so make the most of you and take care of yourself along this journey we call life.
Be on the lookout for my next blog post coming soon…thank you!
We at The Book of Think Pieces like to celebrate every milestone. Why? Because small wins lead to a major victory. When this blog was just an idea I knew one thing was certain, I enjoy writing. It’s a craft I developed in the third grade. Keeping a journal from time to time and making long post about thoughts, I knew this was a hobby turned passion.
Life came fast when the Covid-19 Pandemic became official. While working in my primary career as a Quality Assurance Analyst, I wanted to start a side hustle based on a hobby. I have seen peers do it by selling products they make or start something online like a podcast, so I asked myself what am I good at that can work as a side hustle? A year before the pandemic I had a small stint as a public speaker. My primary job’s human resources department asked me to speak to a group of local fifth and sixth graders at their career day about myself, why I went to college to major in Chemistry, my job, and what I do on the job on. After that ended, I spoke at two high schools at their annual career days.
My public speaking days ended when enforced restrictions increased to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Thinking to myself I knew I enjoyed writing but do I have the confidence to share my work to an online audience? Do I have the online influence to have a continual audience? That’s where I thought about starting a blog. It was just a simple idea from my wife and plans to start a podcast that I decided a blog with a little podcast-like influence may work for me as a side hustle. With her support, I began planning this blog a few days after Christmas 2020. Purchasing a cheap notebook and mechanical pencils from the dollar store I wrote my first five blogs. From there I set up meetings for myself to create, research, and organize this blog. I was set on a mission to turn my hobby into a side hustle.
And from my first blog post in June to today, almost nine months later, here I am still blogging with 1000 views and counting. And I thank each and every one of you for your support! Without you taking the time to view my post, I would be just another side hustler who started something but did not finish. I have grown as a blogger since the first post. My confidence is restored, and my blog is growing as we speak. So, I thank you. I must say it was not easy. Fighting self-doubt was a mountain I had to climb with encouragement hoping things getting better. With that being said, here are some things I learned after 1000 views:
“Enjoy blogging because you love to write, not because you’re looking for views.”
Words said by a wise woman, my wife. Once my blog was up and running, I was writing to blog as a hobby. I must admit the analytical side of me began to take over. For a short time I became too obsessed with the numbers. I was checking the stats daily to see if I gained views. When the numbers increased, I was cool. I fed off that energy to continue thinking of topics to write about. However, like anything in life, what goes up must come down. When this happened, I became too focused on self-promoting by over sharing my blogs on my social media pages hoping each virtual friend and family member would click on the link. And if I did not get the views I thought I should I have I would post again. It became a nightmare trying to keep up with blogging while maintain my life outside of blogging in hopes that I would see 1000 views off one post.
“The number of followers and friends you have on social media does not equal to more views.”
Ok, so I have a decent amount of Facebook friends and Twitter followers. What can I say? I joined Facebook when you had to have a college email to join. During that time, I had been active in groups and work with people who wanted to be Facebook friends later, and like any ordinary person during this time, I accept it. Now many of my Facebook friends are family members (I come from a large family) and hometown people. Throw in colleagues from over the years, my college friends (my original Facebook friends), in-laws, and distant relatives…and now the number grew to where it is today.
And you know what happened? Those numbers did not turn into views. I did not exceed the number of followers and friends I have on social media on a single post like I wanted. Thinking maybe I was going about this wrong, I began to wonder if I had the social media influence to gain large amounts of traffic to my site. But, like most side hustlers would say, it may take years to gain a large audience. This leads to my next lesson learned:
“Focus on your main audience”
And your main audience are the day ones. In my case it is family, close friends, and fellow bloggers who follow and post similar content. Attracting a large audience is not easy at all. The problem is it will be impossible to please everyone. You begin blogging for likes, views, and followers, but eventually it can lead to a lack of substance because you will become too concerned with pleasing the crowd. One day you will blog about things you like or what you are passionate about, but when the audience disagree with you blog you will spend more time trying to maintain a large audience rather than blogging because you enjoy it.
By focusing on my main audience, I discovered not only do I enjoy blogging and writing more, but I also do not overly concern myself with views. I do not feel pressured to meet a schedule of when to blog. Focusing on myself and my main audience makes blogging easier and less stressful. It is an undescribed boost of confidence knowing I have a main audience who supports me rather than blogging for views. #WritersLife.
“You cannot piggyback off someone else’s side hustle”
I have side hustling friends, family and colleagues. Their side hustles consist of selling homemade goods, working a second job, afterschool classes, ride sharing, some type of virtual assistant, and others; anything to make extra money.
Here’s me. When this blog I started to gain attention I figured I could “piggyback” off the a few of my colleagues success in their side hustle. I saw how people were willing to pay whatever they could to support their business. I figured if I told them about my free site maybe I would receive the same support. The keyword is maybe. And how did that turn out for me? Let’s just say maybe 10 of those people actually subscribed.
Maybe I was not aggressive enough when promoting my blog or perhaps the same people are not really interested in reading a blog whether it is free or not. I had to learn is my side hustle is not theirs so I cannot except the same people to be as supportive because I know or work with them. Instead, as I mentioned above, I had to continue blogging because writing and blogging is something I enjoy doing.
“It’s ok if my blog is not specific.”
When I told people about my blog, they asked this same question. “What is your blog about?” My replay would be the same scripted line I rehearsed since the beginning, “I don’t know. It’s my thoughts or whatever I feel like talking about.” Audiences like specific blogs. Most blogs out there are just about travel, fashion, food, lifestyle, music, parenting, religion, tv and movies, politics, sports, motivation, and the list goes on. My blog, on the other hand, tends to dabble in different topics because that’s how I designed it. Online blogs warned about this type of blogging because it may not attract a large audience, and I respect that. However, I am fine with my blog not being made for a specific audience. I consider it a free thinker’s blog where I share my perspective on various topics and hope to get feedback.
“The views will come. Be patient.”
Regardless of where I am, one thing I am confident about is the views will come. Yes, through one year and 10 post there were times I wondered if I had it. Putting my post out there for the world took courage, but the views did always add up. Some blogs were homeruns, meaning I posted it and the views exceeded my expectations. Many of my blogs were base hits which tend to be my average. Some blogs struck out meaning I posted it, but the views did not meet my expectations. Instead of feeling down the complements I receive from family, close friends, and fellow bloggers who I do not know personally but we support each other makes me not focus on the views.
As I end this blog, I would like to thank God for making this possible. My wife who supported my dream from day one. My office assistant, my son, who plays while we are at work. My family. When I told them I started a blog, they subscribed with no hesitation. My close friends who subscribed to my blog within the first 10 blogs, I thank you all for that. Then, I cannot forget about all the subscribers, the likers, the commenters, and readers who have provided continual supporters to my blog. I thank you all and wish you the best in your future endeavors!
It is that time of year again. Yes, it is tax season, but I am not talking about that. It is annual raises and promotions season. This year, however, is different. You worked hard all 2021 to be the best employee you can be. You took on extra assignments, put in overtime, and went above and beyond to prove you deserve more than a raise. All year fellow employees praised your work ethic, and finally after putting in the hard work all 2021, you feel that promotion coming.
The day has finally come. You are sitting in the boss’s office as he or she tells you how great of an employee you are, and the organization is happy to have you on board. After minutes of talking, you notice the boss said nothing about a promotion. You get nervous wondering if the job is giving them out this year. Then, you receive the raise, but no promotion. What happened? You do not want to ask what went wrong because it maybe frowned upon and hinder future promotions.
Feeling a little disappointed you go home to forget about it. Remember, with The Great Resignation of 2021 and employers struggling to find help, it is great to be in an organization who gave some raise. Everything is fine, and you are at peace with it. “Next year will be better.” You tell yourself. “I need to work harder.” Then, you log into Facebook and see someone got the promotion you rightfully deserved. Mixed feelings begin to circle your mind as you replay your year at work to see where it could have failed. “Did I do something wrong? Where can I improve? I am happy for this person, but when will I get mine?”
If you are reading this and no one has told you, just know I am here to say that you are doing an excellent job! You, yes you, Champ! You are not the only one to get excluded from an advancement. We have all been there, overlooked sometime in our lives for someone who did not put in nearly as much effort as you did.
You are closer than anticipated. It may not be tomorrow or next year, but just know your day to excel and not fail is coming. Continue to strengthen your character and build on your growing profile. Count everyday as a victory. You woke up this morning, you are reading this blog and comprehending what I wrote. You have money in your account despite the rising prices across the US, you have health despite the doctor’s report. You are a champion of the little things that we often take for granted. Every small victory count towards a major win. So what if you did not get that promotion, just know one is on the way. Keep working hard and fitting in where you are most wanted. So what if you are living paycheck to paycheck. With hard work and a little financial management, you will one day be able to achieve financial freedom. So what if you do not have the Instagram body and likes, you are noticed by the people who know and care about you. Who cares if you did not lose thirty pounds last year. If you can walk a mile without getting tired, just know that is a small victory leading up to a 5k run.
Just remember, you are an everyday winner! No one can take that away from you. Focus on being a better version of yourself and working towards your goals. It will all pay off in the end. Trust and believe. Be encouraged!