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Be the oddly-shaped cornerstone of your own Masterpiece than just another brick in the wall of someone else’s Mansion

I seems we are in the midst of a revolution ..
A revolution of sorts … information, perceived freedom, mystical and empowerment … amongst many others

It’s not natural, afterall

Schooling, we were told gets you a job. But, to me, an education – self education, builds wealth.

We’ve bought into a model that taught us to embrace the system, to consume insatiably … to spend for pleasure and to separate ourselves from work. We’ve been taught that this approach works… but it DOES NOT (not anymore).

This GAP keeps us from succeeding, cripples the growth of our society, & makes us really stressed. We are all racing towards something, praising each other for being ‘busy’. What is that something? It seems “natural” to live the life so many of us live, but in fact, it’s quite recent and totally man-made.

It is not so natural, afterall.

Having a ‘growth mind-set’ is far better than having a closed one.
Be curious, Stay curious.

Big Business Controls Us

The BIG BUSINESS control us.

Most who are caught up in this ‘system’ understand this. Our schooling taught us through years of study to be the perfect worker, the perfect employee. We exist in a corporate manufacturing mindset, one so complete that anyone off the grid seems like an oddity. In the last few years, though, it’s becoming clear that people who reject the worst of the current system are actually MORE likely to succeed.

There are many examples of these quirky, weirdos who never finished college – two of which are – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They were mavericks in their thinking and not only dared to dream but … they dared to dream real big. They pursued what they loved and became very good at simplifying the complex. The magic was in the intelligence behind the thinking in taking complexity to simplicity. This is far more difficult than cramming for exams or remembering facts. 

As Steve Jobs said –

Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Classrooms have been teaching the wrong stuff. It has been reinforcing the wrong stuff for years. School teaches us Fear and it has been very good at it. Decades of school have drilled that into us …& still doing to our children – fear, fear and more fear. Fear of getting a D-minus, fear of not getting a job right out of school. Fear of not fitting in.

Don’t let that fear engulf your thinking and cloud it. Clean up your thinking, as Steve Jobs said and take a page out of his book … to work hard at simplifying the complex, whatever complexity it is that you are facing. 

Then … find your magic and … 

Move your mountain.

Good people cannot stand by and let injustice happen … which removes the key element of Freedom – dignity.

Question is does school still work or prepare you for work?

What do you remember from your school years … your university years … and/or are you still studying? I remember there being some very good teachers and some ordinary teachers. At university, I can count less than a handful of lecturers that were great teachers. Two of them, I am still friends with and in communication to this day.

What is one of our worst fears?

Yes, apparently, apart from snakes and public speaking, we hate being seen as ‘different‘. This fear is propagated in school, in the whole education system.

Here’s what more schooling does & continues  to teach people –

  • Fit in
  • Follow instructions
  • Take good notes
  • Cram for tests and dong miss deadlines
  • Don’t ask questions
  • Don’t challenge authority
  • Have a good resume’
  • Don’t fail
  • Don’t say anything that might embarrass you
  • Don’t answer back

Etc…

Question is, does school still work or prepare you for work in today’s fast changing world. I think the education system needs a big overhaul as the existing paradigm simply does not work and does very little for the individual in a fast-changing world. 

We have seen hints of alternative methods of schooling during this period of covid lock-down, but is it enough? Or, are we just going to go back to ‘how things were?” 

For me, anyway … I respect the system that we had (and still have) as it was the best system that was available but personally, I never let schooling get in the way of my education. 

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

Being a mis-fit, the outsider, the rebel and weirdo is a strength

Being you, and no one else but you, takes courage. Especially in a world that is continuously trying to make you someone else. Courage is the foundation of everything you can do with significance. As stated by philosopher Osho – 

“You cannot be truthful, if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving, if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot enquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence, courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Many imitate because of fear of being ostracised or being ridiculed. Seek first, to know yourself and love yourself. Self-love is a positive and productive force as it drives us to test our limits, impels us to do our best and compels us not to settle for anything less.

Be conscious of your unique-ness or weirdness and understand how you can serve the world better, with the unique strengths that you possess. I believe, being a misfit, an outsider, the rebel and weirdo is a strength in this day and age. It is less superficial and I think the world deserves and is hungry for authenticity.

Remember this: “consciousness of our strength increases it.” – Vauvenaregues (1715 – 1747).

Be you, have courage.

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

We are what we think

Each of us a searching for beauty, for our truth, but each of us need to discover the truth for ourselves. What keeps us in the ‘dark’ is all up inside our heads:

We are what we think.

The mind is like a gushing spring and at any and every moment, we’re thinking about dozens of different things. To a large extent, we inevitably live inside our heads. This constant ebb and flow consciousness can take us to places we do not want to go and … should not allow ourselves to go.

I believe schools/colleges/universities… should teach ONLY TWO things :

  1. how to THINK 🤔 & find solutions to interesting problems/challenges. We should also be learning how to Think extensively, not intensively.
  2. Lead (this skill of leading needs to be taught … like the system has taught compliance. The world not only needs more Leaders … but also Champion Leaders. Leaders who are socially smart & responsible purpose, ability to connect & have a positive impact on society).

And I believe we need good QUALITY teachers/educators. As Malcolm Gladwell mentions in his book “Tipping Point”, the quality of the teachers have a bigger bearing on the performance of the students than the number of students per teacher. Great teachers in all areas of life are precious. Bad & lousy teachers/lecturers cause damage that last forever.

Bad & lousy teachers are dangerous but don’t blame them … get rid of them. Blame the Corporate system that still requires complaint workers who do well at Tests.

Here’s what I imagine :

I imagine a teaching facility that has sign something like this –

We teach people to THINK 💭 for themselves, to take initiative and to create their beauty … their truths, to question the status quo and to do everything with more care, more trust and more compassion. We teach our graduates 🎓 to interact with transparency and understand that more consumption is Not the Answer to social problems. We teach people to have courage in their convictions and be Leaders. To take a stand for what they believe in“

I imagine schools/colleges/higher education organised around teaching people to BELIEVE.

In themselves & realising their dreams to make  the world a better place .. & live a life of significance.

Believe.
Even if you don’t believe in anything … Believe in belief, itself.

Believe in yourself

The real foundation is to treat your ‘uniqueness’, your difference as the cornerstone to building your Mansion … not be just another brick in someone else’s building/mansion/dreams.

Keep seeking until you find what you’re looking for. When you find what you’ve been looking for, you will most probably find pain and suffering but it is in this pain and suffering that you will discover your treasures. For it is the everyday challenges that are in itself, heroic: the little battles we all fight to stay focused and do our best, to overcome doubts and fears, to keep our cool when all about us may be losing theirs. 

To truly master the art of worldly wisdom, you must win a more inward struggle, as Baltasar Gracia’n (1601-58) states – 


“First be master over yourself if you would be master over others.”

Above all else, believe in YOU … believe in yourself.

Create your own Bible and be the best your can be, always, as Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) said –

just improve yourself; that is the only thing you can do to better the world.”

I agree.

Do the right thing, always and keep your mind pure. Everyone knows this, even a five year old child. However, very few truly understands and practices it.

Schooling gets you a job but self-education, I believe, builds true wealth.

Your choice.

Cheers & Ahoy!

Yours in iron, heart, mind and muscles,

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

We all need to dream but have our feet firmly on the ground.
A strong foundation of support, unconditional love and good Life Education is critical to having a successful life.

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The QUALITY of your Network is more important than your Quantity. Here’s why –

Who are ‘you?”

The Lifeblood of connecting 

Everyone wants to be rich. Right? Not you? Well, you’re special … 

Do you have a million dollars in cash laying around, what about a billion dollars? No, I didn’t think so, many don’t. Would be nice though, wouldn’t it?

What is ‘connecting’/networking” to you?

It would mean different things to different people. I’ve learned over the years that ‘good networking begins with the ability to start and carry on a good conversation.” We all have strengths and some people are better at ‘connecting’ than others. That is a strength of mine, has always been.

I don’t think anyone would get far in this world if you can’t make eye contact, act confidently, and engage in an intelligent conversation punctuated with give-and-take, back-and-forth dialogue. It begins with Trust, and the only word that describes trust, is, priceless. You can’t buy trust at any price but over time, with patience, you can earn that priceless trust. 

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – if people you connect with, like you and they believe in you, then they will trust you, and if they trust you – then they may buy from you.

The lifeblood of connecting and the nurturing of relationships, stems from networking. Networking, to me, is your life skills and social skills combined with your business skills. Business pleasure done before and after regular work hours. …& during hours too (lunch meetings). 

There is life and happiness in sadness. Find it.

Good things come to those who have patience

To me, the ability to make conversation is an important part of nearly every relationship we have in our lives. The ability to engage in ‘small talk’ (have a listen to my tips in an early video), speaks volumes for you and leads to communication that deepens the relationship. 

So, “what you can do today?” you may be thinking

Here’s a place you could start from – try and perform one small act of kindness today without the expectation of getting something in return. Maybe pay for the coffee for the person who is standing in line behind you at the coffee shop? What can you do to brighten up someone’s day today?

In my experience, good things come to those who have patience and take consistent, persistent actions toward what they want or desire. They make committed decisions … decisions they ACT on. Just like what I’ve learned about building good Quality muscle with balance and symmetry. You need patience, above everything.

And do the right thing all the time, and respect will be yours. Believe in your heart that what you’re doing that the actions you’re taking is the best you can do – for yourself, first, and for others second. And always tell the truth. Here’s the thing about truth – no truth, no nothing. Full-stop!

I certainly understand the proliferation of social networking sites these days – they’re sprouting up everywhere. I also understand how it can help advance our careers (some of us) and help us meet like-minded individuals online.

But is it really good use of your time

I am very conscious of my time (just like many of you are) and I could see how a great deal of time spent on social networking sites can be unproductive and many times, online interactions are often superficial and unimportant. For me, I have a certain about of energy and I don’t like expelling it for less than life-affirming actions. I have seen that company mission statements mean nothing when the people they work for them are treated with disrespect. 

Let me ask you a few questions: are we really more connected today with all these technological gadgets and applications? In my mind, being ‘virtually’ connected and personally connected are two entirely different things. Sure, we need both in today’s world, but I would caution that the quality of your network is more important than your quantity. 

The jury is out on this one. Time will tell.

Believe in you. In what you have to offer to help people, help themselves achieve something they care about. Be persistent.

Reach out and touch someone

I’d rather have 200 ‘live’ people than 2000 “friends’ on Facebook.

Just like I approach adding and retaining QUALITY muscle, I retain ‘old school’ principles but add a ‘modern twist/flavour’ to muscle growth and sculpture. When it comes to networking and building quality connections in today’s high-tech world, you need to combine the new technology with the ‘old-school’ way of connecting. 

And how do you do this?”

Well, you can’t build muscle by thinking about or reading about it … you actually have to go and reach out and lift the weight and feel the muscle. Same for quality relationships, you need to go and ‘reach out’ and touch someone (I love that Noiseworks song “Reach out”). 

I’ve been in and around gym for almost 30 years now and have had over 30,000 + conversations and this is being conservative. I particularly had multiple conversations for 12 to 18 hour days, 7 days a week, with people of all ages and from all backgrounds in the seven years that I owned and managed my Family Gym. I probably have listened to more stories from individuals than the average person alive today has in the 100 year lifespan. 

I’ve offered my ears and shoulders to lean – on and cry on. I’ve wiped their tears, I’ve given them unsolicited hugs. I’ve offered good advice for free and I’ve made phone calls that many would not do. I’ve shared stories and made them laugh during their sad days and I’ve reminded them of the good times they had; I’ve driven to their homes and personally knocked on their doors to see if they were ok; they were pleasantly shocked and grateful for they weren’t in a very good place at that time; I’ve been the clown when I needed to be to infuse people with happiness and vitality … and also showing them that it’s ok not to take life and themselves too seriously all the time. 

Read that last paragraph again. 

I have mentioned ways in which I believe I worked very hard to be a source of comfort and strength and wisdom for the members of my Family Gym and others connected to my businesses. It was about building Quality Relationships, not superficial ones. What they were, are, what some people refer to as “random acts of kindness” (when no one is watching or awards given out) that you do, simply because you care about them. They nurture relationships and some develop in to quality and convey to others what it means to be a good friend. 

Like many things in life – like sex and chocolate and clothing … quality is better than quantity.

Do the Right thing, not some of the time .. but all the time.

Be an Active Listener

It is difficult to make connections but it is often more difficult to make important connections. The least understood element of connecting is that it’s a two way street. Yes, we always want to connect with someone else but the more important question is – do they want to connect with you?

What is your idea of being a ‘friend?” A Business/Life Mentor told me a long time ago that – 

Connecting is really all about being nice. Your friendliness is partly your ability to engage and your willingness to give Value first.” 

When you combine the attributes of niceness/friendliness with engagement and value, you will develop powerful connections that lead to RICH relationships. 

For some, the talking part of a relationship comes easy but there is another side of the equation in any relationship worth keeping and that is being a good listener. Do you think you’re a good listener? Staying engaged as an ‘active’ listener is very hard work because you need to stay focused and not let your mind wonder. I believe that as you become better at listening, you also improve your ability to win friends and influence others – and perhaps avoid a misunderstanding that can set relationships back years. 

I have seen this happen. Don’t let it happen to you. Focus on becoming a better listener, an Active Listener. 

I am a far better listener now than I ever was in my life, thanks in part, to my years of owning my own gym business. It’s easy to get complacent but I remind myself every now and then to be attentive when someone tells a long-winded story (like my 9 year old son … can he tell stories, must take after his Dad, ha ha ha!)

If you aim to be a top-notch connector or networker, it is essential that you become a more improved active listener.

If you don’t get what you want … learn why and seek another solution.

Powerful connection

The more people who are attracted to you, the MORE solid your connections you’ll make. Here’s a question – think about your most powerful connections right now. Make a list of four or five of them (Hopefully, you have that many)). Next, to each of them, write a sentence or two about how they have helped you, and how you would like them to continue to help you. Then, write a sentence or two about how you have helped them. 

Here’s an example of a powerful connection I have – Through my adding value to one member of my gym over six months, I was one connection away from the most Powerful Man in the world at one time – Mr Barack Obama. This man that came to me to help him, help himself be his best self was part of the President of the United State’s inner sanctum and advisory/support team. He was the best at what he did and was head-hunted by the Obama’s to help manage part of his 2nd term Presidential campaign because of the help he gave the Clinton’s prior to that. So, effectively, the value I gave to my client (and now friend) was (and still is) a very powerful connection to have, as it is only one connection to President Obama. 

Now, make a list of four or five people that you would love to meet because they could help your personal growth. Ask yourself, how can you give value, first. I have found that if you make yourself valuable, and memorable, people will desire to make you part of their network. Also, in my experience in helping people, help themselves over the last 3 decades, the important thing is just that: make sure you’re prepared to help someone else get better whether it is a one-to-one meeting or a networking event. 

The question you have to ask yourself is this: How can I help people, help themselves to achieve something they care about? That has been my mantra in helping people, ‘build their bridges’ over the last three decades. I’ve asked myself how can I make people better as a direct result of connecting with me? Now, this should be done with care. What I mean by this is that, you can use this strategy to connect with anyone, anywhere, and not just use it as a strategy to connect at a networking event.

Find your superpowers. Know your superpowers. Work to your superpowers (strengths)

Not everyone is a connection

I have learned that not everyone is a connection, and each person you meet is a valuable lesson in the art of connecting and networking. In my experience, when you begin to give value to the world, somehow the people you affect will find a way to tell you. Even if it takes a couple of years. I have experienced that many times over the years.  

We have been told that it’s ‘who you know that matters’. I don’t fully agree with this. I believe it’s ‘who knows you, that really matters’ in the long-term.

Realise this – the first stage of being liked and connected to is the person you see in the mirror when you look at it. As Dr Benjamin Spock said –

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

The person needs to be be loved, before he/she can give love. Then, give, first. Easier said than done some times, but to get what you want … you must give of yourself first – without measuring. 

Believe in yourself. Dig in and ‘get your hands dirt’ and become the person you aspire to be … a person of performance and ‘getting shit done!’

Sit back, thank God … and think to yourself ‘wow!”

Hope you found this helpful to you and your business,

 

Yours in iron, mind, heart & muscles,

Paul e Valentine

There is a Lion in you .. in every one of us. Find that Lion and overcome your fears … fears of rejection, fear of failure, fear of what others think of you. Believe in YOU.

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A few thoughts from the mind of an Authentic Physique Artist: The Life of Love

A slight variation to the common ‘back double biceps’ compulsory body-building pose.

Vanity

We all know when muscle is being used for vanity, 

It’s hard to understand if you’re uninitiated; 

It’s dense and vague. It’s fake and impersonal;

It’s formal and cold or it’s false breezy.

It’s heavy on ego and light on substance,

It’s loud about ends but quiet about means;

It’s complicated and un-caring;

It dwells on the process not the people … the audience,

It’s passive and does not connect with or opens the hearts of others;

As an artist, I am committed to reflecting on the messages that come through my heart, rather than relying merely on my technical ability in the art medium i choose;

My Physique artistry offers me the creative opportunity to find metaphors and express myself through the medium of muscle dance in slow-motion;

With a belief that, we humans are drawn like moths to a flame whenever we witness physical brilliance – when brain, mind, and body operate together with singular grace as is sometimes evident in sports, dance, craft, or music.

We can all readily appreciate beauty in all its forms and far few take the time to search for their truth.. and create their beauty from within. I have found mine in Physique Artistry and this living project is always a work-in-progress.

Quality lean muscle that “flows” takes time & a goal of balance & symmetry

Create from the heart

As a Physique Artist, you are blessed to be able to manifest and share the beauty of the spirit of love that dwells within us;

Thus, the outer form becomes kind of skin for our deeper surrender to the inner, living reality;

When the Physique Artist allows the creative process to find its voice and clarity, purified by the right intentions, then only are we freed from our more personal ideas and desires and … 

We can then simply focus on what is concealed inside … manifested in our physique as we bring it to the surface … and give it Life;

This is the same for all authentic artists – painters, musicians, designers and so forth;

Drawing on a multiplicity of capabilities, some of which are primordial in their simplicity.

Those that take the ego route, find that they don’t create from the heart

This takes time and a mountain of patience.

Instead, others choose to use the thinking mind as the ultimate source of power,

And as stimulating as it can be – face losing something wonderful in the process – 

Losing something wonderful, mysterious and transformational that moves us beyond our mental understanding alone … because this creation comes from the heart,

And, is, from my three decades of experience, anyway … that moves us towards the ultimate energy that creates the universe;

So, when we only use the ego and the thinking mind, we risk losing ourselves … and ultimately, losing everything;

An authentic Physique Artist is privileged to be a messenger who reflects and reveals the creative power that is hidden within all of us, in a display method to force one to submit, even temporarily;

But, when we allow our ego to master our true selves then …

They are like fine ways to say nothing much at all while taking a long time to say it.

Like good politicians do;

Learn more about YOU. The knowable. Don’t chase the unchaseable.
The physical manifestation of the image you hold vividly in your mind is created from the heart with the tools in (and out) of the gym. My place of meditation, my church rests within me.

Leave your ego at the door

An inauthentic Physique Artist, builds and shows muscles but intends not to include but instead, exclude it’s audience;

Instead of leaving your ego at the door, muscles like these means to deter it’s audience, not really inviting them in;

Such muscle demonstrations is caution and self-interest, run amok;

It’s roots go down to fear and, deeper still, in some cases, to an instinct for keeping hold of one’s secrets… of what, I don’t have a clue.

Countless examples of this is prevalent on today’s social media, feeding the ‘selfie-obsessed’ culture, pampering to a growing ego problem;

Good muscle displays need to transcend ego …. To transcend selfishness … transcend self-interest and needs to face fear or … 

It needs to rise above fear; 

Sportstars (like the great Lebron James) & many others in other sports regularly strike a “front double biceps 💪 “ (which is one ☝️ of the traditional bodybuilding poses). They do this to indicate strength, courage and overall “winner” attitude. A far cry from what it represents in the sport of bodybuilding/physique artistry

The best thing you can do to help the world is … to continuously strive to be the best you can be, for you first, then for everyone else.

Achieving a well-balanced physique should be understood for what it is: a masterful fusion of art and science.
One should improve once’s “BODY Smart”knowledge. this takes time and deliberate practise.
Top 5 in the world, two years in a row at a sport I love ain’t too shaby for an city boy from the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji
If YOU think you can and you BELIEVE YOU CAN … YOU CAN.

It must, within the limits of professional care and perceived and political reality,

Speak plainly to its viewers, aiming to say as much as possible as silently as possible, through the ultimate in non-verbal communication,

With the human masterpiece that is the sculptured Living Human Physique,

Giving pleasure to an audience, that sees the human form in all it’s beauty, 

The beauty, of which part was … the journey of the spirit … with the on-ongoing pursuit of expanding and enriching the individual towards finding his truth and …

With an understanding that the spirit of love moves us beyond time and space to help set us free in a beautiful forest of creativity where we can engage in the dance of life.

Authentic Physique Artistry is bodybuilding with the fusion of art and science, in it’s true sense, with the glue being the heart of the creator;

Communication to the hearts of viewers non-verbally in the most economical poses manageable;

A Good physique artist is like a passionate photographer … he understands the link between heart and mind … between thinking and doing … and the balance & symmetry communicated with the manipulation of light and shadows with extreme angles. He is a “David Copperfield of Muscle Illusion”.

Good physique artistry must be everything that fearful, ego-filled, self-interested posing is not –

It must be humane, plain, active, informal, concrete, elegant and specific.

A Physical Artists’ posing display must have a voice, without uttering a word. 

It must have heart, balance and beauty communicated with harmony and care;

It must, have,  above all, excude the … 

Life of Love.

Collage of some bodybuilding poses .. presenting my physique art to the audience in my gym

Beauty comes in the human form.
My favourite Physique Artist of all time.
It is a living masterpiece.
On display, from a masterful poser/artist, the human body exemplifies beauty and truth rolled in to vibrating ball of flow of muscle.
The hard part is to CREATE beauty. We all have the ability within us.
To create a beauty through the human form is genius.
Everything matters, however, small it is.
GIGO for their minds:
If you want to create champions and leaders , feed them daily champion & leadership thoughts.

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Care/Neglectful & how it relates to Building bigger muscles & relationships

Balance & symmetry brings you closer to harmony … closer to infinity


Balance & symmetry 

Here’s how weight training for muscles 💪 with balance @ symmetry as a goal can be likened to a solid caring relationship.

When you train with care, your sets are sound (theoretically, principally & logically), unambiguous & smooth.

I have always believed that the care you take with what you do (in & out of the gym) is a virtue of every great Bodybuilding champion & leader. This also applies to anyone who is passionate about something or someone. 

Do everything with care. Don’t hurt others & most importantly, don’t hurt YOU

Purpose ambiguous or uncertain 

In contrast, neglectful training is carelessly made: your sets are awkwardly executed; your choice of exercise is dodgy & your number of repetitions of each set is awry; your logic faulty or difficult to understand; your purpose ambiguous or uncertain.

This leads to countless unnecessary premature injuries. And in the relationship side, people get hurt and you get hurt too by saying and doing things with less care and compassion that they needed. 

I say, “unnecessary” because I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began training with heavy weights in the gym.

“How?! You may wonder. Well, it is not because of ignorance. No, there are many key factors .. one is simply learning from all the greats that have come before me … learning from other people’s experiences and being humble enough to be more coachable.

The latter (neglectful training) is what I observe with the majority of trainees in the gym.

Learn to be a better builder.. to build your bridge from where you are to where you desire to be. It can only be done with care, trust & compassion. Three things that this world needs more of

That kind of care

The moral: take THAT kind of care, even though you’ll think you don’t have to (especially if you want that relationship with that special someone to last). And if you’re not handicapped, take extra care.

I’ve always believed that everyone should keep these two primary goals in mind when trying to build good quality muscles 💪

  1. control
  2. Feel

It takes courage 

It takes courage to be patient, to forego instant gratification for long-term benefit. It takes courage to do the Right Thing. It takes courage to do what the majority are not doing. It takes courage to Lead.

As a mentor told me –

You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Our ability to string a few sets of exercises together without difficulty may blind you to the many other ways of stringing them together …

BETTER.

Your relationships you value most can be better . You deserve better.

Try the “care philosophy “ next time If you’re not already doing it.

Get in touch with me in 3 months and let me know how it went for you.

Thank you

yours in iron, mind and muscles 💪,

Paul e 💝alentine

A mentor told me once – “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Me & Glenn. One ☝️ or the hundreds of members of my Family Gym I once owned & managed for 7 years. They came (& drove past up to 15 other gyms in some cases…  because I cared. I gave them “results with care” (my slogan)

Quality lean muscle that “flows” takes time & a goal of balance & symmetry

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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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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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11.5 KEY Life Lessons I’ve learned in my life so far …

Do you believe in Love at first sight?

ONE. GIVE people more than then they expect.

Go the extra mile. Do it with a smile.

Human nature (especially in the Western World), teaches us to “Take”. We are constantly taking, taking things in life, for granted and by doing this philosophy of taking, we are intentionally Taking from Themselves.

If you’re a Christian like I am, you will know that the Bible teaches that to receive, you have to GIVE. You can give, in many ways – financially, emotionally, intellectually, your time etc.

I believe, your greatest GIFT to others and the world is your Attitude. Having an Attitude of Gratitude’ (by giving Thanks), you connect yourself to the magic in the universe and ultimately receive everything you desire in life.

One must deliberately think and feel Gratitude, there is no other way to tap in to the abundance but first, you must give.

I like the point where the sun looks down where the land meets the sea meets the sky. My Golden Point. Do you have yours? Where?

TWO. Don’t believe everything you hear or read.

Reality is what you perceive it to be, not what others tell you it is. If you don’t think so, just watch a really good magician or illusionist change your reality right before your eyes.

Also, spend all you have and sleep all you want.

Continuously helping you become the best you can be … BEGIN help by helping yourself.
Then,
Reach out and touch someone … be the light for someone who can only see darkness.
Help them see ‘beauty’ .. see their truth.
Help them manage their insanity with sanity … their chaos with order.
Pray.

THREE. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been with a woman who said she just wanted to keep talking to me from the very first time she met and hear my voice. I think that is one of the best compliments I have ever had.

I feel the same way about her and we have been together since we first laid eyes on each other twenty years ago.

As you get older, their conversation skills will be as important as any other.

Thank you, my darling wife and dear life friend, Cathy for the last twenty years of talking and conversing.

A lovely time out on the ski slopes.

FOUR. When you say, “I love you,’ MEAN it.

I’ve heard it and so may, have you. People who rattle off the phrase ‘I Love you’ but, you know they don’t really mean it as their actions to match the words.

From my experience, love is worth the risk.

It is quite simple, if you say it, mean it.

Don’t abuse that phrase.

To pursue your SHIT and never achieving it is far better than never having a go at your SHIT and living with regret forever.

FIVE. Live with each other for at least six months before you get married.

About eighteen years ago, my girlfriend at that time (my wife now), asked me to move in with her. After two weeks of deliberation, I called her up and said –

“why not, let’s just do it”

We were both a little scared. It was new territory for both of us. We agreed that we would give it a try for six months. If either of us or both didn’t like living with each other, we would call it quits and go separate ways.

I heard couples breaking up because they pressed the toothpaste from different ends. Apparently, the little mosquitoes irritate you more in life.

Almost twenty years later, we have beautiful memories with two beautiful children and a dog.

The six months was a key moment in our relationship.

Thank you, Cathy for agreeing with me to do this all those years ago.

Travelling the uncertain seas of life together.
Love is worth the risk.

SIX. Believe in love at first sight.

I know some people don’t believe in this and try to analyse their future love partners based on other logical reasoning like income, status, intelligence, looks, height etc

They’re all important, yes they are.

I believe they are not as important as listening to your intuition in choosing a partner. This usually involves illogical reasoning and matters of the heart, which is tied to your eyesight and seeing love before your eyes.

It is a beautiful thing.

I’m still with my wife from the first time I laid eyes on her in the Photocopying/Fax Room at our place of work, in the year 2000. We were Business Consultants working for a Top Advisory Firm in Sydney, Australia.

She gave me the best smile I had ever seen and I believe I saw her heart smile to me, through her eyes.

I fell in love, then and my love for her has grown every day since.

What do think YOU see in the mirror?

SEVEN. Don’t laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams, don’t have much.

What are dreams?

Dreams tell dreamers what could be as opposed to what currently is. Dreams are essential to creativity and innovation and achieving goals.

What are goals?

They are ‘dreams with a deadline.’ Everything begins and ends in the mind, starting with your imagination/dreams. As a mentor once said –

If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.

I used to tell people that if I made that person I see in the mirror better than, last week, than last month, than last year … in ten years I will be on the World Stage, standing and competing against the best in the world.”

Within ten years, I stood on stage against the best natural bodybuilders at that time, representing Australia. A Big Dream, come true. I repeated the feat the following year for good measure. As a great mentor once said –

“If you think you can, you’re right … you CAN.”

Don’t ever laugh at another person’s dream, no matter how far-fetched it is.

My ten year dream. Achieved. Twice.
Believe in YOU. Have a Quality Plan and then Work that Quality Plan

EIGHT: Great love and great achievements involve great risk.

It is worth it, if you desire it so.

Life, is many things and one of them is – life is a big exercise in Risk Management.

Remember: No Risk, No nothing.

Wonderful insight in to the mind of a Great Leader

NINE. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

Smiles should be traded in, like the Stock Market.

Those who smile often and readily, should get credits of some sort from society. Smiling makes everything a little better, unless you’re the Joker and going up against Batman.

Everything is going to be alright.

Smile.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona
Smiling is a habit of mine. … a contagious habit I must add.

TEN. Disagree with people, if you must but don’t hate them.

It’s ok agree to disagree and still like someone.

In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling and personal judgements. Leave judgemental comments to God or people who have a profession as a Judge.

Shit happens. Stand your ground. Don’t be afraid.

Exactly.

ELEVEN point (.) Five: Spend time alone. Learn to enjoy your own company.

I enjoy my own company.

Do you?

You can be alone, but you are not necessarily lonely. Many people cannot stand being alone with themselves. It can be the most difficult thing for some people to do, the thought of spending time with themselves, with their own minds, with their inner-thoughts is just not ‘cup-o-tea’.

Spending time alone can be beneficial in more ways than one. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time initially, you can simply start small and slow.

The important thing is to Start.

My time alone produces my version of magic.
My Fine-line drawing paper art.
The fusion of chaos & order … that point where I dance with peace.

This is a list of only 11.5 Key lessons from my life so far … ‘0.5″ because the list is not exhaustive.  Many other lessons you can choose to learn as you travel through life. The skill is in identifying the relevant ones with appropriate sufficiency.

All the very best in your choices,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Life lessons/hacks (11.5 Key) so far …

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk and his pirate dog – “Mr Fuzzy/Fussy Cuddles”

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a better life, accountability, adaptation, attitude, authenticness, awareness, balance, belief systems, better choices, Change Agent, choices, consciousness, decisions, dreams, Energy, examined life, game of life, gratitude, habits, Imagination, life, listening, long-term perspective, love, man, perspective, real man, reflection, self improvement, self love, self-respect, significance, taking action, time, trust, truths, Vitality, you, your life

Become a most UN-Common Man

UN-Common to communicate (non-verbally) to an audience and try to connect and Move them

Whom do YOU “see?”

When you look in the mirror, whom do you see? Do you see someone you’d like to know? Do you see someone your parents wanted you to be? Do you see someone your church ministers, Someone your teachers, your boss, your husband or your wife or your friends wanted you to be?

What about YOU …. when YOU look in the mirror, whom do you see, do you ever see anyone that YOU wanted to be?

What do YOU see in the mirror?

Is there something more?

Like many Men have done before us, is this all there is to “Life?”

Do we just go to work, hoping and striving so hard to build our “empire” … for ourselves, for our wives (or husbands) and our children, our legacy?

Like Roman Legions have … from dust to dust?

If you’re anything like me and (I guess, the Common Man), have you ever wondered – “is there something more to life or is this it?  Do we work as hard as we can to build our empires for your wives (or vice versa) & … to give our children more than we’ve had before?

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona
Is there MORE to life? What does the conscious brain do that the Unconscious cannot?

As Good as IT Gets

Is this it … go to work, earn the bread, watch Tv & look at screens, go to bed …. Is this as good as it gets?

Sunrise, sunset…& before we know it we’re ready to “kick the bucket?”

Life, they say, is no dress rehearsal, and even if you’re the most giving person in the world, there still is no martyres “Hall of Fame”.

Each of us has this ONE CHANCE every single day … to view each day as our Super Bowl!

Play each day like it is.

Be YOU, no one else but the UN-Common Man.
Even if it means, you’re a little weird.

New Year’s Resolutions

Time waits for no one, as we’ve been told as we count down to the New Year.

Many of you will be embarking on 2020 New Year’s Resolutions and …. Many of you will realistically fail within the first two weeks (based on studies done on New Year’s Habits)

Human’s views of the nature of time has changed over the years. It was only up until the beginning of the last century that people believed in absolute time, that is, that all good clocks would agree on the time interval between two events.

There is “an arrow of time” and as time became ‘personal’, time was then viewed relative to the observer who measured it. Then, there is “imaginary time” (one of my favourite views), espoused in quantum mechanics. Here, Imaginary Time does not have one defined arrow of time.

Imaginary time is indistinguishable from directions in space, whereby, if one could go forward in imaginary time, one could turn around and go backwards.

However, when we look at “Real Time”, there’s a big difference between the forward and backward directions, as we all know. Today is the last day of 2019 (New Year’s Eve) and the questions I ask relating to time, are –

  • Where does this difference between yesterday and today and tomorrow – the past and the future, come from?
  • Why do we remember the past and not the future?

The laws of science, funnily enough, DO NOT distinguish between the past and the future and the past is different to the present and the future partly because of the relationship with entropy (ageing for instance) or disorder with time (a good example of the arrow of time).

It doesn’t matter how you view time, understand that having a keen awareness of the value of time is vital to living a good and successful life. Time, once spent, is gone from our lives forever.

Also, understand that Life is fundamentally about “Energy Management”, not “Time Management.”

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

Traits of the UN-Common Man

I love the pre-fix: “Un.”

I use it a lot with my kids. When they say something, I add “un” and tease them with the opposite. For example, they tell me that “I’m wrong” … and I say, “you mean – UN-right?” They hate it.

But, you’ve got to learn to love the “Un” pre-fix when it comes to you being the best YOU can be, to be the UN-Common Man.

The UN-Common Man understands the mortality of their bodies and are able to age gracefully. They tend their “gardens’ (their bodies & mind) like sensitive horticulturalists instead of one-shot profit planters.

The Un-Common Man does not accept death as the final gun in the game of life.

The Un-Common Man does not fear death.

Every habit takes time to lose and adopt. My studies in Neuroscience shows that it can take between 21 days and 275 days to break or adopt an old/new habit, respectively.

So, don’t rush it and expect change over-night, that is unrealistic. Believe me, I know, because a big part of what I have done to help The thousands of people, help themselves, achieve something they care about was through Change of Habits.

Try adopting these new little habits of the traits of the Un-Common Man, as part of your New Year’s Resolution to learn to become the most Un-Common Man you know –

  • Takes the time to LOOK – really look … at flowers and the beauty in the every day
  • Takes the time to LISTEN – really listen … knowing that he may not be able to listen one day
  • Takes the time to PLAY – really play … knowing that he will only be able to play with his children for a short time
  • Takes the time for OLD PEOPLE … knowing that they appreciate time better than most

A man needs to allow himself to be coachable to help him, help himself navigate the challenges he faces in the Sea of Life.
To find his/her path in life

Your Greatest Coach

YOU need to get that person you see in the mirror to develop the winning habit – of having Champion Thoughts.

BEGIN with the right thoughts, & then … continue loving each day , as if it were your last…not to let yesterday or tomorrow, use up today;

NOW is the key word …

To Plan it NOW… to want it NOW, to Dream it NOW, to DO it NOW. ….

& have a vivid image of the person you’d like TO BE.

Allow yourself to be your Greatest Coach & fan …and …To love  Yourself and most importantly, GIVE all the love You CAN TODAY

Try that

And become the most UNCOMMON Man. … you can be. You will thank yourself one day and possibly thank me, too.

Have a great New Year’s Eve and all the very best to you and the fulfilment of your dreams in the next decade

Thank you for reading

 

Cheers & ahoy!

The old captain Viking Pirate ‍☠️ ⚔️Evangelist muscled monk …& becoming the most UNCOMMON Man

Achieving a well-balanced physique should be understood for what it is: a masterful fusion of art and science.
One should improve once’s “BODY Smart”knowledge. this takes time and deliberate practise.
Top 5 in the world, two years in a row at a sport I love ain’t too shaby for an city boy from the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji
If YOU think you can and you BELIEVE YOU CAN … YOU CAN.

Never give up.
I took me 10 years to reach the top of my chosen sport in the world.
Never give up

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Headship

To lead, you need to serve … you need to spread your love … you need to spread your wings … and be the wind beneathe other wings …
Here I am spreading my wings … my lats … just like Batman’s cape

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.

It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.

Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants
Here I am with the members of my gym
Members that I served for 7 years of my life …
to be their BEST

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?

The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?

I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –

“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?

I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?

There are many good Leaders .. but not many, Great Leaders throughout history.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

Headship means responsibility to act in love

We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.

It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.

 

What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?

After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.

Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?

Bowling night out with the Men of my gym
To Lead is to Serve

Real Leadership begins in the home

A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.

I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.

This climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility in turn creates an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both partners in a marriage. Do you share the Leadership function with your married partner?

And how do you know if this is what you have?

Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).

With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog
Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve
I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.

We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.

When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”

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

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

  • Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
  • Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
  • Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
  • Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
  • Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others

So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?

More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –

You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

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