Self-Refinement

It’s one thing to complain and do nothing.
It’s a better thing to appreciate and not complain.
It’s an ultimate thing to self-refine, be a doer, and appreciate without complaining.

EJay’s blended self-refinement books (2 series: Ahead of the Game and In the Game) are: designed to heighten self-awareness and accountability, and serve as inspiration to focus on what you are able to control.

  • Ahead of the Game: Practical Application
  • Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking 
  • In the Game: Life
  • In the Game: Relationships
  • In the Game: Careers and Executives

Read the first few pages of these books at no cost via the eBook links on the right

Ahead of the Game: Practical Application

Quick Pitch:
Ahead of the Game: Practical Application is a self-refinement tool filled with inspiration for young adults to apply what they have learned. It is complemented with thought-provoking chapter questions and uniquely infused with a colorful fictional story. Ahead of the Game: Practical Application is a perfect book for middle and high school students, and adults who want the best for our young people. Straight talk; 4/5-hour read. 105 pages.

More Details:
EJay’s Ahead of the Game: Practical Application is a bold inspiration of knowledge seeking and application of learned information. Blooming with candor, her forthright context and anecdotes are cleverly blended into a burst of relatable and fundamental lessons proceeded by stimulating questions that ensues self-reflection – a self-reflection of choices. Marbled with critical choices to apply lessons learned and to make something of their lives, Ahead of the Game: Practical Application inspires young people to be the difference maker in their own lives.

EXCERPTS from Ahead of the Game: Practical Application

– Chapter 3: Subject to Necessity
Subchapter – Science
Like in science, people desire to know. They want to know why and how. Using the why and how components of science, we can explore, explain, and even change the unknown.
. . .
Continuing with its pertinence, the true substance is in the how, not the why. That is because:

    1. The why may never be answered;
    2. The why could be irrelevant or a lie; or
    3. The how is simply more important than the why.

Some Whys verses their Hows:
Why1: Why doesn’t anyone love (or like) me?
How1: How can I love myself, care about myself, and accept myself, even when it seems that no one else does?

Why2: Why are things like this? I hate it!
How2: How can I influence the change I want to see?

Why3: Why are some teachers harder on some students than others?
How3: How can students be receptive to guidance from teachers who show that they care?

Why4: Why do some girls have babies just for someone to love them back?
How4: How can young ladies be educated to know that even love from a child is not guaranteed long term?

Why5: Why do some boys think that having sex with many girls makes them a man?
How5: How can young men be educated to know which qualities truly make them men?

Why6: Why does it seem that filling prisons is more important than ensuring that every student graduates from high school?
How6: How can each young person focus on graduating from high school and staying out of trouble no matter how many prisons and jails are built?

Why7: Why does unfairness (racism, favoritism, injustice, bullying, etc.) exist?
How7: How can people collaborate on common goals to help make effective changes?

– Chapter 5:  What’s the Rush?
Enjoy your childhood. You have probably heard that before. JYep! Here we go again, because it’s true. Do not be in a rush to become a grown-up. You cannot turn back the hands of time to relive your childhood.
. . .
Being an adult has its perks, but the role of a grown-up is tough with a lot of responsibilities and sometimes heartache. As an adult you are responsible for yourself. You have to earn money (honestly, one would hope) to pay bills and to maintain the lifestyle that your parents afforded you or the lifestyle that you most desire.
. . .
Now imagine being a parent. It might look easy, but it’s not. You have the huge responsibility of providing for your children and raising them. With no rule book for parenting, you do the best you can with what you have.

– Insight: Final Check-In
Noah looks at Javier. “Can I ask you something, man?” “Yeah.”
“Why didn’t you defend yourself when that jerk kicked you? I saw him do it when you were picking up your books off the floor. Bo ain’t nothin’—weak.”
Too embarrassed to look at anyone, Javier drops his head and shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know.”
“If that punk messes with you again, I got your back,” says Mitch.
Skye rubs Javier’s shoulder. “It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I was bullied too.” He looks up at her. “That’s how I met Lacey. She stood up for me and convinced me to tell my parents. We met with the school counselor.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, really. And the girl ended up getting suspended.” Skye smiles at Javier.
“Remember, you matter.” He cheers up and smiles back at her.
“I know I matter,” says Lacey. “I told my parents that I think I like girls.”
With Mitch and Javier glancing at each other in shock, Skye asks Lacey, “What did they say?”
“Nothing at first. But they’ve been open minded. We started having family night every Saturday. It was my idea. We talk openly about everything!”

– Chapter 6: You Matter
You matter. You matter regardless of your environment and what you have or do not have. Despite what you have been through or what you are going through, know that you matter. You matter to the people who care about you and support you. You matter to the people who want to see you succeed. Ultimately, it is imperative that you matter to yourself and to seek help when you need it.
A few Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, because you do matter. Your future matters. Your life matters.
  • Knowing that you matter, care about yourself and love yourself.
  • Whatever your story is, you are not alone. Someone else has either been through it or is going through it too.
  • Maintain your support system [the people who have shown you that they have your best interest at heart and do not ask for anything in return, except for you to always do and be your best for yourself and your future].

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Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking

Quick Pitch:
Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking is a mature continuation in the Ahead of the Game blended self-refinement book series. It’s crafted for anyone with a forward-thinking mindset, people who are rethinking their lives, and people who mentors others. AotG: Forward Thinking is uniquely infused with a vibrant fictional story and complemented with thought-provoking chapter questions. The straightforward life tips encourage a forward-thinking approach to life to make the most of it. Straight talk; 4/5-hour read. 87 pages

More Details:
EJay’s Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking is an illumination of self-reliance to inspire young adults to think beyond the here and now and to plan ahead. Its bold perspective provokes independency with a straightforward illustration of awareness and choices that excite self-discovery and encouragement to take advantage of everything that life has to offer. Embodied with empowerment to live life to its fullest without regrets, Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking inspires critical thinking beyond today and to plan their lives decades ahead while enjoying life.

EXCERPTS from Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking

– Chapter 1: What is Ahead of the Game: Forward Thinking
It’s likely that parents f#ck up the first part of their children’s lives, and young people f#ck up the other half themselves. With this in mind, what do young adults really have to lose thinking ahead to maximize the richness of their lives?
“If I knew then what I know now . . .” These words are often spoken by adults after they get it—after they reach the stage in their lives where things become crystal clear. Ah, yes, the sweetness of clarity. Clarity of knowing who you are. Clarity of feeling comfortable with who you are. Clarity of who truly supports you. Clarity on preparing for what lies ahead. Clarity of knowing exactly what you want in life. With all that clarity and the self-reliance to make it happen, getting it ensues.
. . .

– Reality Check-In I
“I concur,” Aunt Lennox says. “Patience is a virtue. A lot of young people want what they want when they want it, but life doesn’t work that way. Well anyway, my advice for now is to be selective about who you have kids with. You don’t want to end up like me. Two kids by two different men and didn’t marry either of one them. Eventually, I met a good man. It took me a while to appreciate the good ones.”
“All of that is true. And to help you figure some things out in life, try to start by getting to know yourself,” MiMa encourages the young adults.

– Chapter 6: That’s Life!
Accept the inevitable in life and work toward preparing for it as much as possible. You don’t know exactly what will happen; however, you can prepare for what is bound to occur.
. . .
A couple of the thought-provoking chapter questions from Chapter 6: That’s Life!
Babies do not ask to be born. Children don’t choose their family, situation, or environment in which they are raised. However, adults do have choices. Adults can think about certain things before having sex and before deciding to have kids to make choices that are best for them and their children:

  • How will I protect myself from STIs, and how will I protect myself if I am not ready to have children?
  • What reasons do I want to have children?
  • How will having a baby change my life, especially if its unplanned?
  • What do I have to offer our child(ren), other than love?
  • How will we support our child(ren) financially?
  • How will we help set our child(ren) up for success?
  • How will I ensure stability for our child(ren) in case of divorce, separation, or the non-marital relationship ends?
  • If something tragic happens to one or both of us, who will care for our child and with what monies?

What reasons do you want or do not want to have children?__________

Unfairness is real and a part of life—it’s a part of some people’s everyday life. While unfairness is a reason that some people have it tougher than others, it isn’t a reason or excuse to give up or to not work toward goals.
Keeping in mind that you can’t change other people—you can only control your reactions—what are some approaches for how you handle different types of unfairness? __________

Time does not stand still for anyone. Everyone will reach retirement age, if they are fortunate enough to see it, however, not everyone will be financially stable as they become more and more seasoned.
What’s your plan to secure your financial status as an aging adult? __________

– Final Reality Check-In
“The most important life lesson I learned was the difference between a debit card and credit card,” Zique follows. “A debit card is ‘enjoy now; pay now.’ A credit card is ‘enjoy now; pay on time later or suffer later.’ And if you can’t afford to pay a bill, then don’t make that bill in the first place. That’s why I’m debt-free, and I expect to stay that way.”
“Show off,” Skye teases.
Zique smiles. “Hey, it is what it is. Not all people know it, but we all have choices and options in life.”
“You’re right!” Jackson rubs his chin and says, “My huge life lesson was to be smart when it comes to women, because some of them are snakes! Let’s just say I learned to flush my protein and take my condom with me if I’m at her crib. That way, desperate, clock-ticking women won’t have my DNA to freeze for later scheming. The woman for me is going to have to earn my trust.”
Uncle Collin, Zique, and Jackson hold up their cups. The ladies smile because they know Jackson’s assessment is accurate. PaPa glances at Skye, Jackson, and Zique.
“From everything y’all have said today, it sounds like the three of you finally got it! I’m really proud of all of you.”
Big smiles stretch across the faces of Skye, Jackson, and Zique. “Thank you!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the Game: Life

Quick Pitch:
In the Game: Life—uniquely infused with a poignant fictional story and complemented with thought-provoking chapter questions—is an adult blended self-refinement tool designed to help people get what they want out of life by looking at life from different angles. Of the many angles to look at life, In the Game: Life offers seven. Straight talk; 4/5-hour read. 102 pages.

More Details:
EJay’s In the Game: Life is an adult self-refinement tool designed to help people get what they want out of life by looking at life from seven different angles. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe or solution for life; however, there are unique responses that are decorated with distinct components, self-personalized by individuals. Infused with a promotion of self-awareness, discipline, accountability, and resiliency, In the Game: Life imbues a sense of empowerment—inspiration to get the most out of your life by taking advantage of what you can control.

EXCERPTS for In the Game: Life

– Chapter5 Guaranteed Happiness
  Angle 4: Self-Care
What does it mean to you to be in a happy place no one can penetrate?
We start out being happy as young children, then things change. It seems the more we experience life, the more our happiness takes a pounding. It gets to the point where we begin to put things into perspective. Sooner or later, all we want to be is genuinely happy!
. . .

– Reality Check-In II
. . .
Skye says, “The latter of what Zique said for me; I learned the hard way that superficial relationships get you off track—they’re futile. Lacey has always been a genuine friend. Then, I reconnected with Noah, Javier, and of course, Mitch.” Skye blushes while looking at her husband.
Mitch smiles at Skye [his wife], then directs his attention to Livy.
“I’ve sat here and watched you post at least a dozen selfies and comments in less than an hour. Don’t let your smartphone be smarter than you; it can be used for more than pics, social media, texting, and frivolous conversations. And think about what you get out of everything you do.”
An attentive Livy says, “That makes sense. I never thought about it like that.”
Mitch asks Livy, “You know the golden rule, right?”
“What? Do unto others…”
“Not that golden rule, this one: The one who holds the gold makes the rules. The gold can be anything; it’s whatever is important to you, things you value. If you value your phone, don’t let it dictate your life; you set the rules. I have no problem letting calls roll to voice mail, and I leverage social media for business; I keep it professional.”
“Got it! So what do you value?” Livy asks Mitch.
. . .

– Chapter 6 Benefits of Your Time
Angle 5: Realism
Considering everything you do each day, what are the benefits you gain?
. . .
Identifying personal benefits from all that you do and desire is a matter of realistically looking at everything as a whole.
. . .

– Chapter 7 Driven
Angle 6: Perseverance
What does making your desires a reality mean to you?
. . .

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In the Game: Careers and Executives

Quick Pitch:
In the Game: Careers and Executives—uniquely infused with a luminous fictional story and complemented with thought-provoking chapter questions—is an adult blended self-refinement tool that offers useful tips to spark critical thinking for personalized career cultivation and navigation. Straight talk; 4/5-hour read. 108 pages.

More Details:
EJay’s In the Game: Careers and Executives is an adult self-refinement tool that offers useful tips to spark critical thinking for personalized career cultivation and navigation. This self-refinement tool extends inspiration and encouragement to determine what you want for your career and go for it! An inspirational ride brimming with self-awareness and accountability, In the Game: Careers and Executives unfolds into perseverance for deserved attainment.

EXCERPTS for In the Game: Careers and Executives

– Reality Check-in I
A healthy debate occurs before the social group meeting starts, middle of the debate. . .
“Dang, Skye! You act old for twenty-nine. You pity people too much,” twenty-seven-year-old Jackson tells his cousin, Skye.
“People need to get off their butts and get a job! Men and women in the military risk their lives for our freedoms, so working is the least we can do. It’s a blatant disrespect not to.”
“How can everyone work without a fair opportunity or be able to save without fair pay?” Skye emphatically voices.
“Not having a higher education doesn’t mean that people are uneducated or unintelligent, nor does it mean they’re not trainable. Things don’t have to be so damn hard to the point where people feel hopeless or can’t get ahead. Some people do try hard to make it, working for themselves or for someone else.”
“And some do nothing,” Jackson snaps back. “They don’t want to work. They don’t increase their knowledge. They don’t try to change the way they think. They won’t even get a better circle of friends. But they blame everyone else except themselves. They’re just stuck in self-pity mode.”
Skye asserts, “I’m not disputing that fact, but the ones who choose to work should at least be able to get a decent job. Working forty hours a week with no extra money to save or invest just isn’t fair. They deserve financial security too.”
“Cry me a river,” says Jackson.
“The reality is the world doesn’t owe anyone anything, and most of us have to work hard for what we want. Let the sense of entitlement go, try spending less time on mindless stuff or trying to live someone else’s lifestyle, and spend more time learning about your options.”
Skye rebuts, “You need to be more compassionate. Young and seasoned adults are competing for the same jobs. Maybe executives and the people we vote into office should try living on minimum wage. They wouldn’t make it a month. They’re supposed to be a voice for all people, because everyone isn’t privileged, be it money or knowledge.”
“Oh, privileged like you were,” says Jackson.
. . .

Chapter 2 Getting What You Desire
As the largest stakeholder in doing what you want for a living, what reason would you not be the primary investor?
. . . We can gaze at ourselves in the mirror with mere thoughts of our desires, or we can be a doer, putting actions behind our desires and words.
. . .

– Final Reality Check-In before chapters 6 (Effective Leadership) and 7 (Executives)
. . .
Lacey sips her orange juice. “Not everyone wants to grow their career, but for those who do, they should be able to without malicious interference. It’s like bosses can give every excuse that someone isn’t promotable, or every reason a person they want to see succeed should be promoted.”
“Sometimes people’s careers stall because they rejected someone’s sexual advances or refused to go along with sabotaging someone else’s career to get ahead . . . all types of foolishness,” adds Mitch. “It boils down to their character as people in leadership positions.”
Skye fervently voices, “A workplace should be just that, a place of work. A safe environment where people can perform proficiently and fairly grow their career with the support of the leadership team. People, especially those in leadership positions, should leave their hatred, prejudices, jealousy, or whatever at home and abide by the company’s core values. Aunt Lennox, tell them about your bad experience with that wicked boss you had.”
Mitch puts his arm around Skye [his wife]. “Baby, you are definitely passion enough for all of us.” Everyone smiles.
“Hey, forward progress starts with passionate people.”
Lennox looks at Skye and glances at the others. “Before I moved into management, I had one bad experience with a good outcome. That boss was not a nice person. She was the epitome of malevolence, from her demeanor to the comments she made to me. She even told me I didn’t have what it takes to be a manager when I expressed interest in becoming one. The next thing I knew, she told me I had sixty days to find another position. I later found out that she hadn’t gone through HR.”
Lacey stares incredulously. “What?! I’ve never heard of anything like that before.”
Lennox continues, “It happened, so I did just that! . . . It was one step down, but I was able to regrow my career and my money. My new manager was my champion. He mentored me along the way. He was an effective leader.”
Skye passionately expresses, “Workplace bullying is real, just like sexual harassment and discrimination are.”
. . .

– Chapter 6 Effective Leadership
What differences do you make as an effective leader?
Effective leaders are self-engineered. Sure, some people are natural-born leaders. Everyone has an innate talent. We choose to either perfect our natural talents or to acquire talents, consciously critiquing the outcomes of our tireless efforts with the goal of continuous self-improvement. And anyone can present leadership qualities. However, not everyone with leadership qualities holds a title of authority, and not everyone in a position of authority is an effective leader. When you choose to be an effective leader, you will be. Leaders are able to exert effective leadership through self-evaluation and conscious efforts to frequently make a difference.
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In the Game: Relationships

Quick Pitch:
In the Game: Relationshipsuniquely infused with a dynamic fictional story and complemented with thought-provoking chapter questions—is an adult blended self-refinement tool that extends direct insight into relationships to help people enhance the relationships they care about and value, beginning with the individual in the mirror. Straight talk; 4/5-hour read. 118 pages.

More Details:
EJay’s In the Game: Relationships extends direct insight into relationships to help people enhance the relationships they value, beginning with the individual in the mirror. Sparkling with an elaborate mix of self-awareness and accountability glazed with self-empowerment, In the Game: Relationships serves as an adult self-refinement tool for building, maintaining, and strengthening different types of meaningful relationships.

EXCERPTS for In the Game: Relationships

– Chapter 2: Building Rich Relationships
What is the foundation of your rich relationships?
. . . For this content, a rich relationship is defined as a genuine relationship that remains resilient and reciprocal, built on a sound foundation.
. . .

– Chapter 3: Maintaining Rich Relationships
What reason is there to work hard in your relationship when you don’t have to?
. . .

– Chapter 4: Pivotal Point
Shit happens! Relationships are not perfect. That’s because no one is perfect. We’re human, therefore, we are fallible, and people have feelings. Thus, conflict is inevitable. The true richness of a relationship is revealed and its pivotal point is set by people who address their concerns.
. . .

Reality Check-In II (before Chapter 5: Committed Ones)
. . .
Lennox chimes in, “You can’t truly commit to one person when you’re occupied with multiple people.”
“Exactly! I can’t stand when men are still friends with their exes, especially when they don’t have kids together.”
Onyx shakes her head. “I tell them, ‘If she’s that good of a friend, then that’s who you need to be with instead of me.’”
Matt challenges, “So Onyx, what you’re saying is, you don’t trust your man.”
Onyx clarifies, “I’m saying it takes two to tango, and it’s the women I don’t trust. Some women are sneaky, conniving, slithering snakes, always with a motive, especially if he’s with someone else. Like she can’t find another hero for the day to change her tire or fix something around the house. Men need to be smarter. Stop making yourselves available to women, especially the ones you’ve had sex with, when you’re dating someone else.”
“Well, I’m not down for cheating or sexual arrangements. We’re only going to have sex with each other,” declares Julia.
“I just have to find a man who wants to commit first.”
“Same here,” says Onyx. “Damn, it’s like we’re cursed with noncommittal men.”
Content with what she has, a blushing Skye glances at Mitch [her husband]. “We’re blessed with good men too. Some of us just don’t know how to recognize a good man, especially if he doesn’t come in the package we want. I’m blessed with a full package.” Skye says, “All right, this question is for the guys. Why does commitment scare men so much? Be honest!”
Without hesitation Javier blurts out, “We enjoy our freedom! And women try to take that from us, acting like they own us. All that keeping-tabs crap is annoying. Calling, texting, and direct messaging… ‘Where are you?’ ‘When will you be here?’ ‘What are you doing?’”
Javier adds, “Some women expect too much and give too little, trying to suck up my money and keep theirs. Contribute something other than sex. It’s like, what else you got? Can I get a cooked meal? A massage? Pay for dinner and vacation sometimes. And I avoid three types of women: gold digger, kept, and unhappy. They are never satisfied. They’re draining with no substantial contributions.”
“Whoa!” blurts Julia.
. . .

– Chapter 7: Making Amends
Knowing that tomorrow is never promised to anyone, what reason would you not make amends with the living?
. . .
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