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Are you a “Butt” Man?

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton

Forgotten Muscles

Just to let you know, first up … I am a Butt Man and also a Boobs Man too, in case you’re interpreting the subject heading from ‘that’ perspective. However, I am writing about a more important issue for Men, like you and others out there … which if, unattended to, can lead to some rather unwanted health issues down the track. Let me elaborate …

You see, I’ve always loved observing people, from when I was a kid. I love observing humans in all walks of life, doing all kinds of activities and apart from a growing problem of very bad posture, many people are losing their bums.

It has become, I believe, the forgotten muscles.

People, especially men over 40 are experiencing an ever-disappearing behind or as the French term calls it – derrie’re. Matter of fact, I believe people have weaker posterior chain muscles in general. What are the ‘posterior chain’ muscles?

They are basically, the muscles that behind you, from your head to your heels – everything connecting your joints together.

Men are at risk of leaving their behinds, behind. They’re losing their butts!

Many men past 40 don’t know this but if they looked at themselves in the mirror lately, it is plain to see that the body profile has changed, and not for the better. Where has this very important muscle group disappeared to? The bum is made up of the gluteus muscles  – the muscular masses posterior to the pelvis formed by the three gluteal muscles (glutes): gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles are in each cheek.

It seems that these amazingly strong muscles have disappeared and replaced with fat. Very sad, indeed or the part that was once the butt has moved to the gut or belly for some but for many, the arse has just vanished. Does this happen for all men? Certainly not but I believe it is happening more frequently to men that have a desk-job, sitting for hours on end every day, hunched over their keyboard looking at computer screens with very bad posture.

Stand up from where you are and go look at your glutes/bum in the mirror. Feel them, tense those muscles, do they feel strong? Can you see them when you turn to your side. If you can’t, you got to do something about them ass cheeks.

Only if you’re an Butt-Man, like I am.

Progress shots of the ‘back double biceps’ pose prior to contest. Working your ‘back/posterior” muscles is key. It is a life-saving activity you can do for no one else but YOU.

Only one half

In my observations of Boyz to Men in the gym over the last 30 years, I can comfortably say that the upper body is the half of the body that they like to train. It’s as if the bottom half, the ‘other half’ does not exist. They look in the mirror and their eyes don’t seem to look at what’s below the waist, just like seeing only the ‘tip of the ice-berg’ when you see an ice-berg in the ocean.

Most men tend to put unwanted fat deposits in certain areas as they age. This is in the form of visceral fat around the mid-section and neck and chest area (“bitch tits”) and the butt or arse area. In this social media era, many men are trying to lose weight, fast and some are going about it the right way – building muscle with resistance training and combining this with balanced nutrition and cardiovascular exercises.

Problems in the arse tend to arise when they lose muscle in the bum/arse as they lose fat in that area too. Even those men who go to the gym regularly can lose bum muscle or glute muscle too. The latter is rather sad because of the rather foolish approach many men carry out their training.

The culprit: these men only focus weight training on their upper body, only seeing one half of the body. The other half (the lower half) does not exist to them. The loss of muscle in the arse/glute area is due to these men conveniently embrace dementia-related symptoms with regards to the existence of the bum.

To them, the arse does not exist.

Work your back muscles .. you may just build a cape as wide as Batman’s

Maximus and minimus is very strong

As mentioned earlier, the gluteal muscle group is made up of three gluteal muscles in each ass cheek forming a powerful muscular girdle that keeps the pelvis stable and moves the body forward. It is arguably the strongest muscle group in the body.

The glute muscles are not specifically activated and utilised by walking or running and exercises like planks and crunches don’t help either. The maximus and minimus is very strong and are engaged with exercises such as squats, lunges, hip extensions and bridging.

Single leg squats or leg presses and walking sideways helps but unless you’re a crab, it is quite pointless.

Abdominals & Thighs … for the audience. What you should work at is the back/posterior muscles which includes the butt

Exercises to boost your arse/butt size

One day in the past, sometime in the 7 year period I owned and ran my Family Boutique Gym, one of the male members yelled out from the other side of the gym saying –

“Paul, you’ve got the biggest arse I have ever seen on a man!” and joked –

“Paul and his bus” (meaning my backside).

To maintain and even build the buttock muscles, certain exercises must be technically correct. You must have patience and allow yourself to be coachable. You should focus on the functional value of performing these exercise for your overall health and strength benefit.

The aesthetic benefits should be a side-benefit not the main motivating factor (even though there are faster options available from cosmetic surgeons who suck fat out of the belly and re-inject it in to the buttocks – yuck!).

Forget that shit, speak to your Ass-Cheeks and work it like a Real Man+ by doing exercises with weights in the gym that builds these muscles up – squats, deadlifts and leg presses.

My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7 years.
All working towards being the ‘best the can be’

Emerging trend for Men

According to the American Society for Asesthetic Plastic Surgey, getting ‘butt surgery’ is an emerging trend for men. Really?! Apparently, men account for almost 10 percent of cosmetic buttocks procedures. Twenty years ago this figure was less than 2 percent.

There’s also a cheaper option available – buying padded bottom-enhancing underpants or trunks that provide a lift, like Calvin Klein’s “Body Boost Butt Trunk”, that has hidden support straps to boost the rear profile. So, men can have the appearance of a powerful behind, without doing the hard work to earn it and not having to pay thousands of dollars for surgery.

Never thought Men, Real Men … would stoop this low. But, it happens and is happening more frequently.

work your ‘back muscles’

A strong butt is a strong back and good posture

As you now know the glutes are vital to your movement and has certain sexual and aesthetic appeal. However, you may not know that these same muscles are crucial in protecting the back and lower limb joints from injury. They hold the pelvis steady and keep them aligned with the legs and the torso.

If the butt muscles aren’t strong enough they won’t do their job properly – to maintain erect posture for the upper torso and so the lower back muscles have to do extra work and this leads to chronic back pain which a lot of office workers suffer from.

This could also lead to hamstring problems as they have to work harder and overcompensate. Problems can and will also travel downwards to the knees and ankles. So, as you can see, apart from the aesthetic of a big strong butt, their role in having a strong back and good posture is key.

Back double biceps.
I had this pose covered … from top to bottom.
I won this division in the NSW Titles back in 2007.
work your ‘butt. work your back/posterior muscles

Credit Card Test

Here’s what I’d recommend to you if you feel you’ve been suffering from gluteal amnesia, go the gym and start doing the exercises that target the buttocks, namely – squats, leg presses and deadlifts. But, you’ve got to learn to improve your ‘mind-muscle’ connection and focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Always be in control and feel the muscle.

The glutes have become the forgotten muscles because most strength-training routines do not isolate these key muscles.

Here’s a little strength test for the largest of these muscles – the gluteus maximus that you could do in the comfort and privacy of your home or office. Take out one of your credit cards from your wallet and place in between your butt cheeks. Comfortable? No, it isn’t but that is not the point.

Now, squeeze those ass cheeks tight, holding the card in place and then run across the room. If those glutes cannot hold the card in place, then, Huston, we’ve got a problem … a butt problem!

Honesty test: so, how did you go? Is the card still there in your butt?

A friend of mine getting a sun tan on my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
A hot day it was. …

Don’t worry, be happy

I love that reggae song called “Don’t worry, be happy” that came out in the late 80s if I recall correctly. It is not the end of the world, if your credit card was left behind on the floor as you ran to the other side of the room.

If you have a butt problem, believe me, you’re not alone in this world. I believe most people, particularly, most Men actually have butt problems. You need to get them working well again and you can and … you will.

My son Zachary and I at a family member’s wedding. A lovely day.

Here’s my tip: get your lazy ass off the gym, ask for a more conventional assessment by a suitably experienced and qualified personal trainer and get cracking on your butt investment. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who is lazy … humans generally are … we all, are, me included.

After all, aren’t you an butt/ Ass-Man?

I know I AM!

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & being an Ass-Man and loving it!

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
my two children a number of years ago

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UN-True Gods

Keep working toward being the best YOU can be.

What and who do you idolise?

We are taught that idolatory is placing our longings for what only God can provide in the hands of a creature instead of the Creator. What and who do you idolise? Have you thought about this?

Have you thought about this – when I live for my work, or my wife, then I have made them my UN-true God. When I have failed … and I will fail… multiple times… (I can be sure that an UN-True God will be powerless at the point of my greatest cry out for help & need).

What will happen then?

Pose name: Rear Lats-Spread
You’re looking at a well-sculptured, world-class back. I built this with Trust in God first, and trust in – ME.

SHAME on YOU

What will happen is … I will experience the shame of failure and misplaced Trust. Why is trust is important? Because, it is. Read about Trust here. The authors of the Bible are very clear that dependence on an UN-true or “False” God will inevitably result in loss, pain and most horribly – shame (Isaiah 42:17; 44:9-11).

It seems that a False God will always disappoint.

Here is a story about shame .. I’m sure, each and every one of us can relate

A friend of a friend once told me that she waited for her mother for what seemed like 3 hours at an airport once. She had a wait ‘in-transit’ and notified the ‘busy’ mum about the opportunity to meet. The mum agreed two days before this was to occur.

She waited.

And waited.

She told herself not to put too much faith in her mum, for fear that she might forget and she told herself not to build up to much faith in her mum. Her mum was full of energy and vitality and had so much time for everything and everyone but …

Her.

She waited.

And waited.

Going through what she would say to her mum over and over in her head. All the things she wanted to share with her.

Time passed.

She did not come.

After the first hour, she would stop looking up to see if her mum would be there and just buried her head in her book. But, it wasn’t perfect, heck, nothing is ever perfect. So … she would hesitantly …

Look up!

Hoping that she would finally see her there, but no.

No one.

She would feel an immense wave of self-hatred and shame. The worst feeling one could feel, of all the feelings you could feel that is negative, shame is the lowest of the low.

Pose Name: Back Double-Biceps
The extent of Back Development highlights the extent of development the athlete has in the understanding of the sport of physique sculpting. Not resorting to illegal performance enhancing drugs is a choice. Building muscle the “natural “ way allows you to hang on to it, even if you don’t work out for a while.

There is no hope

She hoped.

She was looking for hope. Hope that she would connect with the Woman who was her False God – the one who could bestow or retract her life.

But THAT Idolised God … the woman she called her mum …

Failed her.

And she was ashamed.

The question is not why did she allow that to happen, the question is why do we all experience that feeling of shame at least once in our lives? Why, I ask? Why do we allow ourselves to be hurt and shamed by False Gods? They are not worth it… there is only one God and he is not a False God.

Persons must ‘open’ their eyes … open their minds.

Pose Name: Side Triceps.
One of my favourites … in my gym of 7 years. Everything we achieve in life and everyone we interact with in life, is founded on Trust.

Losing Face

Shame is the lowest level anyone can experience out of all the negative, low consciousness levels, lower than even Guilt. It is perilously proximate to death, which may be chosen out of Shame as conscious suicide or more subtly elected by failure to take steps to prolong life.

It seems, death by avoidable accident is common in this circumstance. We all have had some experience in our lives so far of .. ‘losing face’, becoming discredited, or feeling like a ‘non-person.”

We all want to be Mr or Mrs Invisible when we feel shame, hanging our heads and slinking away. In primitive societies, even in Biblical times, from which we all come from, banishment is equivalent to death. Remember Cain, the brother of Abel? He was banished.

The equivalent of death, it was.

Shame, as Freud determined, produces neurosis. It’s destructive to emotional and psychological health and feeds in to low self-esteem.

This ultimately leads to the development of physical illness. “It seems that the Shame-based personality is shy, withdrawn, and introverted.” (Dr. David R. Hawkins, Power v Force)

Do you harbour any shame from your childhood? I would suggest you work out a way to rid it from your inside, from your soul before it’s ugly head rears itself further down the track in your life.

Training efficiently and effectively under the “safety umbrella ☔️ “ helped me get to 2 x world 🌎 championships. 
The conservative approach to training is always the best way in the long term (it may take longer, ie., it took me 10 years to get to the World 🌎 stage, but I did. With all my joints in tacked. No injuries in almost 30 years of lifting weights 🏋️‍♂️ is a great record to have.

The Greatest Loss – our failure to trust … GOD

The greatest loss is the greatest shame.

And what is that ‘greatest shame?” It comes down to something I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. It comes down to Trust.

Yes, trust.

It is our ultimate failure to trust God.

What is your ‘world-view’ on trust? Is it the Bible’s interpretation of Trust, at it’s essential core? What is the Biblical version of Trust? As I see it –

Trust seems to involve a reliance on God for what seems to be the most essential to our being, to us – being human. And what is that, you may think.

Trust in God.
He is the only TRUE God

S.O.S

Well, it is fundamentally the whole-ness of our soul, our spirit. The intact-ness of it, all. One should never lose one’s soul/spirit to anything or anyone that could be considered to be a False God.

Why is the soul important?

Well, for many reasons but one reason is that anyone or anything should not be allowed to shame or disgrace or possess our soul – that quintessential core of who we are.

That ‘essence’ that will live forever … eternally with God, our True God … no matter what is done to our body, reputation or temporal security.

S.O.S

Save Our SOULS.

Please.

True GOD.

 

Cheers & AhoY!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & shame

Don’t instill shame in your kids. Teach them to have a relationship with God, the True God

Help people strengthen their resolve, internally, with their own souls
so… that nothing can tear it out.

 

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Making your Reverse Bucket List is a key to your Happiness

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

Don’t speak in absolute terms, consider relativity

Whenever my two children make a statement of definiteness like “Dad, this is the best day!”. I would say –

“That’s great, but best day … compared to or relative to what? Is it better to yesterday or last week’s or five years ago on your birthday?”

As Einstein said, every matter is inter-connected to all other matter and one cannot speak of time without considering space and vice versa. So, in effect, to speak completely about space/subject/matter, you should always include the concept of time. To do this, you have to compare it or make the subject ‘relative’ to something else/subject/event.

We’re all seeking success in life or at least our perception of what ‘success’ is. Both the Christian and Non-Christians desire success but like most things in life, success for these two groups should not be compared in absolute terms but one should consider relativity.

Success, relative to the goals.

Be YOU.
As YOU are.
Accept the uniqueness … and weirdness that you know you are.
Embrace YOU.
Never imitate.

Be not better than, but, instead – different from

The difference is in world-view or perspective.

One world-view sees only the here and now, the other sees the un-seen, the ‘make-believe’, the imagination come alive. What one’s world-view or perspective is (or to put it another way, what one believes) has a huge effect on one’s attitude and therefore, actions one takes.

Individually, God has called us to be: salt and light (see Matthew 5:13-16), servants (see Mark 10:45) and stewards (see Matthew 25:14-30).

The idea of being salt and light tells us that God wants me to be not better than, but, instead – different from.

So, the Christian may or may not have more than his neighbour, but that does not distinguish him or set him apart and be ‘different from’. In my eyes, what makes him or her – the Christian, different from the world is the absence of anxiety.

Those who dream … to be different … and aim to share their unique selves with the world, to help … get the love back in return.

The Best Pirates Treasures

The strong Christian, I believe, does not have uncontrolled anxiety that may have resulted from the loss of some material possession or not receiving something that God may have denied.

No, the Christian’s UN-anxious mind-set gives him wings.

Wings to fly when others fill heavy and weighed down with soaring expectations and desires of unbridled, insatiable success.

You see, the Christian’s treasures are not of this earth. If the Christian were a Pirate, sailing the seas of life scouring for treasures, it would be the treasures that is in undiscovered lands that are most appealing. It is treasures that are ‘too good to be true’, treasures that are only in dreams in Fairy-lands that bring unrelenting enthusiasm.

For a Christian, his or treasures is not of this earth. The world and its temporal toys do not brain-wash him. I would advise against indulging every whim and craving, for happiness is not achieved by conspicuous consumption but by keeping desires to a minimum. As the philosopher Epicurus said –

“A man is wealthy in proportion to the things he can do without.”

As I see it, the Christian prays for all but is least anxious about the tremendous uncertainty facing national and the world economy.

Like a Pirate, for a Christian, the Best Pirate’s Treasures are waiting for him in heaven.

My son’s depiction of a Pirate 🏴‍☠️ 3 years before I recommenced wearing a bandana after retiring it for almost 15 years
How did he know?

To own nothing is the beginning of happiness

Obviously, that Christian attitude is not ‘normal’ and could possibly fall under the ever growing definition of ‘insanity’ in today’s society. But, then again, years ago, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by evil spirits and needed to be burned out of them.

This attitude may not be ‘normal’ in non-Christian’s eyes and that is ok because I’d like to think of it as being not being better than, but different from. This attitude of state of mind sprouts from having a different world-view and perspective on life.

The Christian’s perspective is eternal. It is held in the hope of treasures in a far-away land … a far-away land we call Heaven. What All great Pirate and Viking dreams are made of, a place that the Viking’s call “Valhalla”.

The pursuit of that kind of happiness is like a dog chasing it’s tail or trying to catch a butterfly. You cannot slip into the same dress twice because the trend of the moment has already flowed on. As the great mad, bad and dangerous Philosopher, Diogenes says –

“To own nothing is the beginning of happiness

This different perspective on life allows the Christian to be free from worry and anxiety.

An attitude of gratitude is key to living a significant life

The material possessions of this world does not consume the Christian for the real treasures are in eternity. Maybe, this is a big part of finding happiness – so many in today’s modern societies work 60-to-80 hour working-weeks just so they can afford the latest fashion or tick off their never-ending “bucket lists”.

An attitude of gratitude is the way of a strong Christian as he or she understands that it a key to living a significant life, filled with richness beyond just the narrow-focus of material possessions and money.

I have always believed, one of the best ways to show gratitude every single day is to make what I refer a ‘Reverse Bucket List” and remind yourself by giving thanks to God for all the things, people, places and activities that you have experienced so far that make up the greatest gift given to you – your Life.

So, whether you’re a Christian or not, I think we can all benefit by creating our own individual Reverse Bucket Lists and run through them off and tick them off your list, in doing so (giving Gratitude to God , if you’re a Christian) and simply, re-living that pocket of happiness that you experienced (if you’re a non-Christian).

I’m sure the Reverse Bucket List will appeal to both the Christian and Non-Christian. No one is better … we are just different. I strongly believe, Making your Reverse Bucket List is a key to your happiness. It is one of the reasons Fijians are the most happiest people on this planet. They give thanks for everything in their life, every single day.

A good habit to learn. A good habit to have. It may just build more life in to your years. Try it, see for yourself.

Your choice, your life.

 

All the very best in your choice,

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & treasures to feed all great Vikings and Pirates

Have no doubt.
Help yourself first.
God will meet you half way …
he ALWAYS does.
All you ahve to do is: BELIEVE.

Your body is the physical manifestation of your mind. It is your ‘temple of God”.
Treat it with respect, clean it, maintain it and repair it.
Love it.
Accept Love.
Give Love.
Build the best temple you can muster.
This is a form of gratitude to God for giving you that body and life to live.

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Death of a Cubicle Worker

Bigger isn’t necessarily better but … it can smash things (like the Hulk)

Bigger isn’t necessarily better

I remember the last words my boss of almost three years say to me as I walked out of his office –

Paul, bigger isn’t necessarily better’.

I nodded at him, smiled and left. This happened a long time ago, back in 2003.

You see I had an offer to go work at one of the Top 2 Accounting & Business Advisory Firms in the world and I was leaving my role as a Senior Accountant of a 2nd-tier Accounting & Business Firm in Sydney, Australia (Top 20 in Australia).

It was exciting and even though my boss was happy for me, I could tell he was a little sad. I had handled his clients for almost three years and did a good job at it, working very hard. Heck, for about six months after I joined, my Manager upped and walked out and I was thrust in to an “acting Manager” role. I held the fort, so to speak for half a year while they looked for someone appropriately qualified and skilled.

He liked me. I was loyal and I was there when he needed me. This was reflected in my six-monthly salary review, I was handsomely compensated and was at the top of the salary range of my peers. “Not bad” I thought.

I could not foresee the future and being a candidate for the death of a cubicle worker.

Funny thing is that that piece of advice also applies to muscles and bodybuilding. The guy with the biggest muscles doesn’t necessarily win on stage in competition. That is because the guy with the most balanced & symmetrical physique with the right muscle: joint ratios and knowledge of the ‘art of posing’ is what builds a champion physique.

I’d understand that fully in my next phase of life, only a few years from where I was then …

 

Exactly.
No one can truly see the future but we can certainly extrapolate current patterns to help predict the future.

When being your Best isn’t good enough

I was hired at a newly-created level just below the “Senior” level I was at my old Firm. It was a blow to my ego, initially, as I felt that I was being demoted. I brushed that out of my mind and told myself that ‘it was only a title’.

Thing is, that initial thought bugged me right through my experience there and every other thing that bugged me just seemed much bigger than what it was. Hey, I was back at a Big Four! (My first Corporate work experience was at the largest of the Big 7 at that time – Arthur Andersen, just after graduation in the late 90s, where I spent over 2 years as a Risk Consultant).

It is now the Big Four.

Was nice to be back, or so I thought.

Let me just say that …I failed at my role. This is when I learned how being your best was not good enough.

I was going from a mid-tier to a Big Four and that was a ‘step up’ in the world, or so we believed. My first, heck, my first three months was nerve wrecking and admittedly, I found the place intimidating, cold and I was filled with fear but also a bit of excitement and loads of nervous energy.

But I had a bit of pride about it all.

I was sort of average at University. Many students had been far above me on the Dean’s list and graduated with honours and straight A’s. Not me. I had never hit any academic home-run except when I was in Primary and High School.

But that was a long time ago…. and besides, I was literally practising my social skills and building relationships and making connections in many sections of life. Skills like honing ‘small talk’ in various social situations, comfortably having conversations with people from all levels of the university and society- from the Chancellor, to having beers with Heads of Departments, to Gym Managers to gardeners. I spent a lot of that time mixing and socialising and finding out more about people as I ran a small business on the side too.

Besides there just so much to do besides study for straight As, and working on developing ‘me’ as a whole person and …. I had the energy and foresight to do that.

“What did my employer see in me? “ I used to ask myself.

They were looking for “well-rounded” individuals with experience along with brains… not just super-brains with no ‘people skills’. Ha! All that time running a business while studying and socialising wasn’t a waste after all. Apparently, many studies from major educational institutions indicate that the ability to connect with people is a key skill to have in life, a part of what is now commonly known as ‘Emotional Intelligence’.

One thing that immediately bugged me after getting that ‘newly-created’ title was I wasn’t getting much more than what I was getting at my old job.

I went from a Window Cubicle with great views to a ‘hot-desk’ and great work colleagues and a wonderful culture to something that was very different. A hot desk means that you don’t really work there and they don’t give you a permanent spot. You’re meant to be at your client’s premises, because if you are then, you’re charging your time to the client.

The firm makes it’s money that way, they had many perks. Employees loved that. I wasn’t phased.

The office was huge. An open-flat plan, comprising of a cubicle-walled jigsaw puzzle that felt like one of those boxes they make white mice run through to find the cheese.

Sometimes taking a bad photo of yourself can be very good for your own good. Just like sometimes, the greatest hurt teaches you the most.

Our Life-Controlling Mechanism

We can fill our minds with inspirational messages encouraging us to “Just do it!” or “Follow your heart!” so when we can’t do something or we recognize we aren’t good at something, we feel stuck. If we quit, that’s a problem (“Just do it! Don’t give up!”)

Sticking with it and quitting is a losing game, it is a lose-lose situation. No amount of positive affirmation can get you out of this abyss.

You feel like you’re unable to move at all.

Not able to think straight .. I felt like an imposter .. that I wasn’t good enough to be amongst the best of the best … not a good feeling to have at all.

I grinded my teeth as I slept, tossing and turning at night, and waking up with a feeling of dread in my stomach. I couldn’t handle that immense feeling of failure that kept rising and rising. Was it that I couldn’t do my job or I just lost all care about doing it? I’m not sure what happened first, my memory may have been a bit distorted.

I didn’t know where to turn.

I felt trapped.

You see, each of us have our own self-image, which kind of determines the kind of scope of person we are – it is our Life Controlling Mechanism. You see, we all have self-imposed limitations and we cannot outgrow these limits we place on ourselves.

We can only set new limits within which we must live.

Sometimes inspiration is not what you need, it is acceptance.

Acceptance so that you can move on and one day be in a position to say –

“I used to do that at one time in my life, but I no longer do”

A very powerful phrase to say. We all need to think we are making progress in life, no matter how small ‘that’ progress is. Saying ‘I used to do that?” gives you at least a perception that you’re kind of progressing in life.

Never give up.
In less than I year of leaving my cubicle in the Corporate Environment I was standing and competing against the best natural bodybuilders in the world at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships in New York, USA.
Find your strengths .. know your strengths .. continuously build your strength on strengths.
Never give up

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

Especially if you’re hard on yourself like I am.

What doorways are you trying to squeeze yourself through right now where … you know what?

You really fit just fine. You are not the problems. It is the environment that you are working in, that is the problem. If you take a fish out of water and expect it to climb a tree, it will fail miserably.

Does the environment make us believe it’s all our fault? Yes, yes, definitely yes.

We live in a world where the screws are on tight. There’s a capitalistic shrink wrap making sure everything is fitter, happier, and more productive. So sometimes the stress on all of us builds too high.

There’s no room for error.

Now, that doesn’t mean my bosses at the Top Firm were bad, they absolutely weren’t. They had lofty expectations and needed me to help. Fast! The screws were tight on them, too.

No wonder it’s such a hard lesson to learn as we’re falling that we’re okay, we’re okay, we’re okay. And maybe it’s just not about us. It simply isn’t about us.

Well, nobody is telling us that. So we always think it’s always about us.

Maybe what we need is simply – a Fresh Start.

I did.

A few years later I did what I really loved to do and that was to coach people how to be their Best – I owned and managed my Family Gym for about seven years. That failure at that cubicle job had many benefits, it spurred me on to very intense self-reflections and an identification of personal strengths. So much so, that in less than a year of leaving the cubicle world, I was competing at my first of two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, representing Australia.

Finally, this fish was in the ‘right environment’ and my Best was good enough… good enough to be one of the best in the world at my chosen activity (Top 5 in the world two years in a row, representing the country I love).

You see I’ve learned many things from that failed cubicle job experience and one of it is that it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

I wonder what yours is?

I know one thing for certain … the future of work will see the death of many cubicle workers. It already has as technology has allowed many employees to work from a distance already. Be creative and consider strategies for your future and the future of work, Now.

Never forget: BELIEVE in YOU, first.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk

Learning from the best at something, to be your best is the quickest way to get to where you’re going.
No one can teach you what they don’t know.

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Not Knowing the Unknowable

Maybe life is just a sequence of layers of energy that reveals itself to us based on the level of consciousness we attain. Just like the many layers you see here in my line-art.

Consciousness and Death

What is consciousness? How do you define it? Many have tried. Many have failed.

What is death? What happens when you die? Is reality, death? Is death more Real than reality as we know it? There are a lot of questions but not as many answers to consciousness and death.

Yes, we are accelerating our knowledge on the brain but we are furthering our understanding on the “soft” or “easy” problems. What are these easy problems, well, according to the Australian philosopher, David Chalmers, they refer to those that we, in principle, know how to solve, even if we have not yet done so.

They include perception, learning, attention and memory; how we discriminate objects or react to stimuli; how being asleep differs from being awake. All these are easy, he says, compared with the really hard problems of experience itself.

do you have more consciusness than a dog?

The Hard Problem

Not everyone agrees with the Australian.

Some claim that the hard problem does not exist, that it depends on a false conception of consciousness, or on drastically underestimating the ‘easy’ problems. The American Philosopher, Patricia Church-land, for example, calls it a “hornswoggle problem” argueing that we cannot, in advance, decide which problems will turn out to be the really hard ones.

The “hard problem” Distinctions between conscious and non-conscious processes are not addressed; consciousness is assumed to emerge at a critical level (neither specified nor testable) of computational complexity mediating non-conscious processes.

The brain will always search for meaning …

Feel your emotions.
Think through and with your heart.
Listen to your íntuition
We are not ‘thinking creatures who feel’ … but instead we are ‘Feeling creatures that think”.
We need to always remind ourselves of this.

So, what is it?

“It”, being consciousness.

This has baffled many philosophers and scientists and thinkers since the beginning of time. So, what is it?

Consciousness simply implies awareness: subjective experience of internal and external phenomenal worlds and it gives an independent view on reality, of the universe and of ourselves.

Consciousness basically defines our existence!

Some believe we will never know what consciousness is. The American Philosopher, Colin McGinn says that we humans are ‘cognitively closed’ with respect to consciousness. That is, we have no hope of understanding it, just as a dog has no hope of being able to read the newspaper he so happily carries back from the shop.

Even the famed psychologist Stephen Pinker agrees: we may be able to understand most of the detail of how the mind works, yet consciousness itself may remain forever beyond our reach.

Communication in life is like a neuron connectome.
A neuron example and its network of dentrites
One of the 100 billions neurons in your brain that make you …
who you are.
Your are your connectome

“I think, therefore I Am”

Descartes says – “I think, therefore I AM”

This implies that consciousness is only aware of itself when it assumes form. “I AM” is a statement of awareness, confessing that the capacity for experience is independent of form.

But is this so?

Those that were ‘enlightened’ throughout history have disagreed with the thinker, Descartes, stating that consciousness is beyond form and is, indeed, the very omnipotent Matrix out of which form arises. Modern Physicists (like Bohm) agrees saying, to the effect that without consciousness there would be nothing to experience “form” and could further imply that form itself, as a product of perception with no independent existence, is thus transitory and limited.

Consciousness on the other hand is ALL – Encompassing and Un-limited!

So, if form (our body) is transitory, what is death? What and where do we go in the 4th dimension? Some call it heaven. Is death our partnership with infinity? Do we (our spirit/soul/consciousness) connect with and live forever.

I. AM.
GOD?

Concept of Self

Part of the answer of what consciousness is, is aligned with our concept of self. The more limited the sense of self, the smaller the parameter of experiences is. For example, a dog or a bat “experiences” less than us and so has lower levels of consciousness.

It is one of the few real mysteries of life: –

What is the nature of consciousness and it’s occurrence in the brain and it’s ultimate place in the universe are UN-KNOWN!

So, if science cannot answer it, where should we turn for answers?

Stop. Take stock. Be like water. Adapt to the different states of life … and mind.

Death could be permanent, could be our chance to live forever

Have you ever had a near death experience or an ‘out-of-world’ experience?

I have.

That day change my life forever or rather, my perception of life changed dramatically.

I believe that there is a mystery to Life and our perception of Reality and our perception of the Universe. I mean, why do we die? So much of what we do is to stay alive – we’re born, we grow up and work hard, have a family and then … we die.

Why?

So much of life is stress, lots of worry … hard work and a lot of hurt and tears.

If we are going to die, then why do we strive so hard to be busy … and continue to be busy JUST to stay alive.

Why not JUST die?

Death could be permanent, could be our chance to live forever. It could be paradise. It could be a state of infinite happiness and joy and love.

Why do we fear death?

Maybe, consciousness knows. But we don’t know what consciousness is … so, I guess, we won’t know what death is really like. Until we die of course.

Was crucifying Jesus Christ ‘Justice’ at that time?
Is the answer to death and consciousness with Jesus? Does it with God?

Maybe our relationship with God has the answer

One does not have to look very far to feel the pain and despair of death. I have experienced my fair share over the years, losing both my grandparents in my teens and my mum when she was only 54 years old. I’m sure you’ve felt that despair and pain too.

I found that when we confront our pain and despair and begin to accept the loss, surrendering ourselves to God in our powerlessness, the pain and despair can then give way to hope.

The life and death of each of us has influence on others. “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Romans 14:8)

Jesus didn’t say much about what happened to people after they died, but he promised everlasting life to all who believed in him (which is similar to what I said in the previous sub-topic. It is interesting though, that Paul saw death as “The Enemy”, but an enemy defeated by Christ … through his resurrection.

So, I would pray –

“Father, my death and the deaths of people I love are indeed a mystery. Although I may not give up searching our the mystery, I do not want to torture myself to know the unknowable. You have penetrated and conquered it. My hope is in you; I need no more. Your saving grace is enough. “

Thank you, through Christ my Lord,

Amen.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Not Knowing what we Don’t Know has a much bigger influence on our daily life than we think

Learn more about YOU. The knowable. Don’t chase the unchaseable.

 

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To DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

The brain cannot multi-task, this is a myth.
Neuroscience shows that the brain can only TASK-SWITCH.
You CANNOT multi-task without mistakes.
Teach yourself to DO NOTHING … to SIT STILL. … to …
Just BE.

Sitting still is UN-Easy

My daughter and son are now almost eleven and nine respectively.

I have watched them grow in to enthusiastic and very curious individuals. They have the same blueprint but have very different personalities and appreciate their own uniqueness. Over the years, I have given them many challenges for their growth, in various forms – art, music, sport, mental agility, verbal wrestling etc.

When they were four and two respectively, I gave them a challenge to DO NOTHING … just to sit ‘still’. We first began with 20 seconds and kept increasing. Like any new habit, the first time was quite difficult for them, being kids .. but as time went on, they got better at it. It was the hardest thing they have had to do in my opinion and is one of the hardest things for adults to do too.

Sitting still is UN-Easy, indeed. Some cultures do this better than others and I believe many in the developed world can take a page out of the Fijian’s handbook. It is no fluke that they are the happiest people on the planet. They know when to work … and when to relax. They don’t mix the two.

Try it. How did you go?

Guess how good my children are at sitting still now? Yep, they can sit still for an hour with ease now, when they need to. Like all habits, it takes patience and practise.

People in a hurry struggle to find time for recovery, real recovery. Many look forward to their annual 4 week leave, but by then, it is too late, as you cannot escape your mind. You can only manage it better. Their minds have little time to meditate, to UN-Think, to just BE. Still. Their minds have little time to pray and their problems seem to get ‘blown out of proportion” and usually taken out of perspective.

In short, I believe people in our very fast-paced cities and societies have been showing clear signs of physiological and psychological disintegration because of many reasons. One key reason, as I see it is that we are living at a pace that is too fast for our bodies. It seems that people think that all other areas of life needs to be changed as fast as technology changes.

Nope, very bad extrapolation of ‘correlation’ if you asked me. This, I believe is the Essence of the Stress Problem in society, as this way of thinking feeds in to the ‘instant gratification’ mentality afflicting many in our modern-day societies.

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton

ACTing to Create Change

It is difficult to get YOU and your mind to be in the Present moment, to have mindful connection with the present moment. Why is that? I wrote that one way to do so is to learn to “UN-Think”.

You see, from my experience, plugging back into the present moment and connecting with our surroundings does not need to be complicated.

Being in the present moment tends to prove most difficult when we are troubled with a major life problem, loss or trauma, and no one reading this and alive, can say that they haven’t experienced these challenges.

As we all know, problems have the habit of filling our minds and taking over our thoughts to the point where we can be emotionally and mentally absent from the people around us. This is why we all need to improve our skill at being still.

You see, I believe, to do nothing and be still is an under-rated, yet, KEY life skill, as hinted in the Bible –

“Be still and know that I am God.”    

  • Psalm 46:10

But many have forgotten how to do so because they are always ‘busy’. “How are you?” I would ask … to a response of – “busy!” . Really, I ask myself.

Like all new skills, practice makes a huge difference and with perseverance, the skill becomes easier to master.

Here are a few routines you could practise to help you get back to the present moment, as part of your acting to create change

  • Apply your senses
    1. Stop
    2. Be Still.
    3. Concentrate on trying to name 3 things you can –
      1. See
      2. Hear Feel or touch
  • Grounding YOU”
    1. Stop.
    2. Be Still.
    3. Push your feet into the ground (feel that force travel through your feet into your glutes into your lower back and up towards your neck)
    4. Consciously straighten your back.
    5. Chin up and shoulders back.

STOP and RELAX
After almost 30 years of training with weights in the gym, I have found that Breathing properly is one of the Key factors in achieving the results you desire. Apart from staying alive, breathing properly allows you to focus better and when you focus better, you have improved ‘mind-muscle’ connection, you become “ONE”.

When you have better mind-muscle connection, you feel and control the weight better and when this happens, you build quality muscle better. Breathing correctly increases your self-awareness and helps you avoid injuries in the gym (part of the reason I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began weight training in the gym).

Stop and Relax

  1. Stop.
  2. Be still.
  3. Take a deep breath and count ‘one’
  4. Then breathe again ..
  5. And Count ‘Two’ in your head …
  6. Then breathe again ..
  7. And count “Three” in your head…
  8. And keep going to ten.

 

If you can focus on nothing else but the numbers and not let any other thought come in to your mind as you count one through to ten while focusing on breathing slowly and deeply, you would have gotten closer to mastering the ‘art of concentration’.

Try it. See how you feel.

Find that place where you can sit ‘still’ and ‘ do nothing’ … but just BE. For me, it is where the land meets and sea that meets the sky. I sit still and do nothing but listen and see and smell and feel. where do you go?

 Stress-Free Living

I have noticed that many expressions of spirituality have become linked to adrenalin arousal. I believe, can be very harmful. In recent times (over the last 10 years or so), many modern-day sages or ‘saints’ seem to find their peak spiritual experiences in exciting challenges or emotional catharsis.

Why?

[Many] seem to confuse adrenalin arousal with spiritual growth. If their bodies were stimulated, they then felt they were growing spiritually. If they were not stimulated, they felt nothing was happening.

Well, I’ve got news for you … it ISN’T!

The saddest thing about this kind of confusion is that it actually works against spiritual growth. People are confusing adrenalin arousal with spirituality. Many true saints of God as outlined in the Bible found their peak spiritual experiences in quietness and solitude.

Here’s the prescription for ‘stress-free living’:

“your beauty … should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet smile, which is of great worth in God’s sigh.”

  • 1 Peter 3:3-4

This truth, which was meant for wives in the original context is a wonderful secret to stress-free living.

Begin with YOU … the internal-you.

Then, worry about the external.

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & learning to DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

Have no doubt.
Help yourself first.
God will meet you half way …
he ALWAYS does.
All you have to do is: BELIEVE.

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Justice

Was crucifying Jesus Christ ‘Justice’ at that time?

Crucifying Jesus Christ … was Justice?

What is your definition of “Justice?”

When do you see it? What do you read that justifies the ‘justice’ that you perceive it to be? What about when you hear about it, are you convinced?

I think Justice is like a snake that has many skins or rather, Justice wears many styles of clothing, that springs forth in different circumstances. Robin Hood understood this and so did Raylen Givvens of the current TV series I am watching at the moment called “Justified”. The Latter is about an State Deputy Marshall with a 20th Century sense of Justice in modern-day policing. I see Timothy Olyphant who plays the US Deputy Marshall as a modern-day Clint Eastwood, fighting crime with ‘old-school’ methods and sense of justice.

Do you have certainty of your definition of Justice? Isn’t it the case that when you think you’ve figured it out, that there is always another definition, another side of the coin? Our concept of Justice today is a far cry from what society considered in the Eighteenth Century or back in the Tenth Century.

Heck, let’s go all the way back to Biblical times and assess whether crucifying Jesus Christ, God‘s only son – is appropriate Justice.

Yes, it is Justifiable but is it justice?

One way to know YOU is to understand God.
God is in you.
God is you.

Giving everyone what they need …. 

The sub-title of this paragraph (above) seems right and proper doesn’t it? But we’ve also heard the other definition –

giving everyone what they deserve” .

This also makes sense, doesn’t it? In the first definition, those in NEED are the first priority but in the second, those who work the hardest and best take the lead.

The question is – is there a possible third definition of justice, one where it is proven that giving someone (or a group) a bit more than everyone else, benefits everyone. Like for example, giving resources to the handicapped helps them to contribute to society or giving great leaders of countries, industries and societies a bigger carrot may benefit all of us.

Is that justice?

The “Factory Model” – the system created hundreds of years ago seducing the majority to fit in, follow instructions, and exchange a day’s work for a day’s pay. That was the deal our parents and grandparents signed us up for and our schools and our systems and our governments supported the deal.

But, is that system fair and more importantly, is that old system still relevant? In many countries, job growth is flat at best and wages in many industries are negative. The middle-class is at siege like never before, and the future appears dismal.

Is there justice when the educated, hard-working masses are still doing what they’re told, but they’re no longer getting what they deserve?

Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
If religion comprises rules you follow, FAITH is demonstrated by the actions you take.
Of course it is difficult. Be the Leader that you are. In your life.
but more importantly …
be the light for someone who sees only darkness.

Don’t count on the Markets for Justice

Is there Justice in the Market Place? With service and the drive to sell at the lowest price?

Markets, as they say, will tell you the price of anything …. And the value of nothing. I don’t think you can count on the markets for justice, that’s for sure. I mean are you one of the lucky people who actually paid ‘what they are really worth?” If you are, congratulations.

They say the market will tell us what the going rate is for any service? We could trust that ‘market’, couldn’t we? Does the market really measure what is deserved? It is one of the definitions of justice, isn’t it?

But, what’s the one thing we know about markets? For those of you that have done Economics 101, you will recall that all markets are temporary and ALL a quirky or imperfect.

So, what do we do then? How do we find that Justice?

What Justice would a Pirate dish out? Is it fair justice at that time? What about Robin Hood’s sense of justice, was it justified?

What is “Fair Pay?”

What is a fair day’s pay … what is fair pay? What is fair play?

Is it fair that someone gets paid twenty, thirty … hey, a hundred times more than another?

“yes,” I hear some of you say … “if he produces twenty, thirty … a hundred times as much.”

“No,” say some .. “because nobody needs twenty, thirty … hundred times as much as another.”

Another group would then say –

“Yes, if that is what other people like him/her, in the same job are getting.

I can see these three sides of the coin and totally understand each viewpoint. Is there a forth consideration? It seems that the phrase – “Fair’s Fair” begs an awful lot of questions.

One such questions is that we cannot leave it (idea of Justice) to the market.

Fair enough?

There is a Hulk in each and every one of us ….. this greater uncertainty in the world, in the ‘age of disruption’ we are living in … there is always opportunities (like all good Pirates and Vikings know and understand).
I believe there is an opportunity to actually enjoy what you do and to make a difference to your business friends and colleagues and your customers like never before.
I believe, allowing the “Hulk” in you to Un-Lock the genius within you and have been hiding all these years.
There is an opportunity to show “YOU” to the world.
What are you waiting for ?

But, the Fortune 500 companies will save us

Will they?

Well, they have taken care of many industries and it’s obedient workers for a long time now, but I’m afraid, not any more. Times are changing and many companies are failing miserably to ADAPT.

In the Age of Disruption the ONLY viable strategy is to ADAPT. (Always consider the importance of “feedback” … and most importantly, doing something about it).

Research shows that most employees today will have longer work spans than their organisation’s expected lifespan (Innosight 2016). S&P 500 company lifespan has decreased by 40 per cent since the 1980s. At the forecasted churn rate, only half of the current S&P 500 organisations will exist in the next 10 years.

This is due to rapidly changing environments, where classical or analytical approaches to management are increasingly inefficient, whereby global organisations are like slow, lumbering dinosaurs. Instead they should be employing a more agile and effective adaptive strategy to survive.

So, is this justice?

The bigger you grow, the faster you fall ( to the applause of smaller competitors?)

In the ‘age of disruption’ (which we are in now), the only viable strategy (for the individual, businesses and nations) is to ADAPT.
We must constantly adopt an “Adaptive Strategy” and improve our “Agility Ability” … just like nature has for 4 billion years now … to ultimately, survive

Where to from here?

Where to from here?

One thing is certain – our ‘sense’ of what justice is now will be very different to what it will be one hundred years from now.

I hope, that people, organisations, communities and nations of the world have leaders that inspire hope by empowering it’s people, through clear and concise messages.

Justice, like, Great Leadership … needs to be clear, concise and consistent … and have enormous agility ability or in other words – great propensity to adapt.

To increase adaptiveness, whether as a person, a business, a community, a country … you don’t need to make drastic changes. Start small, making small changes … and ‘failing forward’. Continously monitor feedback loops and mutate quickly when appropriate.

Simply stated by the great Charles Darwin –

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

Very good advice indeed.

All the very best in your application of your ‘sense’ of justice in your life,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk

 

Is there a happy ending for all – us individuals, businesses, countries .. and the world?
I don’t know … but I sure hope so

 

 

 

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