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Northern grad pens self-help book: Book details personal story, how to ‘bounce back’ from challenges

By CHRISTIE BLECK

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Everybody has problems, although some have more — or bigger — troubles.

The basic fact, though, remains the same: Everybody has problems.

People have various ways of getting through the tough times, but 2001 Northern Michigan University graduate Travis Neville has discovered his means to “self-optimization,” and has written a book about it.

Titled “The Jossman Method: Conquering Life’s Transitions,” the book details Neville’s personal story and how he bounced back from life challenges.

The description of the book on Amazon reads as follows:

“Travis Neville is just your average Joe. He has both wildly succeeded in life and gone down in spectacular flames, but the ups and downs have made for a memorable, lesson-filled journey.

“While rebuilding his life from scratch after being divorced and losing his career and home, Travis created a personalized method to ensure happiness. By outlining specific, easy-to-achieve behaviors that any regular, flawed person can accomplish daily, the author uses the lessons he learned the hard way to help others find productivity and fulfillment.”

An English education major at NMU, Neville always wanted to write a book.

“The Jossman Method” deals with the difficult things that people go through, and highlights his “points system” to mitigate stress and society — and lead a fruitful life at the same time, he said

“I know I want to be able to achieve and accomplish every day,” Neville said. “I know that’s going to make me feel good.”

Good thoughts have their benefits, he said, but he wants to put those good thoughts into action.

“I wanted to be able to look back and say: ‘I did this,'” Neville said.

Behaviors and actions, if performed daily, add up.

They can be as simple as working out or eating well, or even just helping somebody; Neville said one of his good deeds is snow-blowing his neighbor’s driveway.

“I always feel good when I make a phone call to my mom or dad,” he said.

He also coaches football for free and brings food to the local Humane Society.

“Volunteering is one of the chapters,” Neville said.

On a deeper level, most likely, is beating fear.

However, Neville doesn’t plan to back down from that emotion, and even will face rejection if that’s the case.

“Fear is never making decisions for me in my life,” he said.

Neville said he uses a lot of his experience to describe various points, but tries to bring it all back to the reader.

Each chapter has a section for notes so people can write down things that pop into their heads.

The book title contains the name “Jossman,” which Neville said was the road he grew up on in downstate Ortonville. It’s also a metaphor, with behaviors serving as trees along the road.

Neville said he wrote the book — his first — in about three weeks.

Although it didn’t take him a long time to write it, the book resulted from the tough times in his life, with 2012 being a particularly challenging year.

Neville went through a divorce that year, and police caught him with marijuana in his home — when he was a high school teacher in downstate Sturgis.

According to an article in the Sturgis Journal, Neville was arrested by deputies from the LaGrange County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department.

“That happens, you’re not a teacher anymore,” Neville said.

So, his entire life imploded, with his family, career and hobbies disappearing within a two-week span.

“Looking back now at that time, what did I do to get through that?” Neville asked.

He eventually came up with his points system.

Neville’s “comeback” appears to have worked for him.

He owns Contractor Placement, a recruiting firm for construction workers based in downstate Grand Blanc. Through his company, Neville said a company can get a plumber, for example, when it needs one in a hurry.

It’s a good feeling, he noted, to make money while putting people in new jobs. His position also affords him some lifestyle flexibility.

“It’s awesome,” Neville said. “I loved being a teacher, but I work out at home. I work out when I want to.”

He’s not sure if he’ll write another book, but the theme in “The Jossman Method” will remain the same.

“If something real bad happens, it’s an opportunity,” Neville said.

That opportunity, he noted, brings with it a chance to improve a person’s life.

“It’s a great chance to make yourself so much better,” he said.

It also can spring from optimism and the belief that people are making it through life pretty well already, and no matter what happens, they’ll be fine.

“Learn to trust the future you,” Neville said. “I really like that idea. It’s a stress reliever.”

The book, published by Atlantic Publishing Inc., based in Ocala, Florida, is available for $18.95 on Kindle and $19.95 in paperback from Amazon Prime.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net