a better life, action, adaptation, attitude, awareness, better choices, care empathy, caring, change management, chaos, choices, decisions, Energy, examined life, game of life, habits, happiness, intimacy, life, listening, long-term perspective, love, man, marriage, needs, relationships, spirit, successful marriage, synergy, truths, you, your life

What Men (really) Need.

A variation of the ‘back single biceps” pose … on the beach. I love the interface between land+sea+sky. Brings me closer to my ‘home’ in my childhood … in the Beautiful Paradise Islands of Fiji.
The managed combination of chaos + order => Better Life.

We have all heard about ‘that relationship’ that broke down because there was a ‘break-down in communication.” Usually, when you dig a little deeper, you find that there was communication but it wasn’t ‘effective’ communication.

And how does communication become effective?

Well, it simply comes down to the ‘feedback loop.’ Yep, the feedback loop. I like to refer to it as ‘being on the same page’ as the person(s) you’re communicating with. Effectively, having clarity on what the other person(s) are saying and ‘seeing’ things from their viewpoint.

Not an easy thing to do.

So, what is the secret? Well, as I see it when it comes to relationships and what a man needs, what it really comes down to is – a man really needs someone who simply cares. Yep, it is as simple and as complex as that. The care factor.

Not an easy thing to find, yes because it requires that person to love him and this involves a lot of work, a lot of effort, from the care-giver. Men search far and wide for this care, in all kinds of places and all kinds of things and never stop searching because it is wired in to the very life-blood of all true-blooded males.

Men will never stop searching and will do all sorts of crazy shit to experience and do almost anything … for this love … this care, because that is what they really need and they will keep searching from the beginning til the end of time.

Let me explain …

Even though it sounds simple, it masks a lot of complexity. You see, most reasonably educated persons know how to communicate. You know how to talk, send e-mails and texts but very few people know how to communicate well. What I mean is communicate effectively.

Most children learn from their parents (who learned from their parents who learned from their parents  … ) but the thing is that a lot of parents don’t communicate well or effectively, to begin with. So, you end up with people who learn from people in the foundation years of their lives who are not the best communicators and so this ineffective communication skill is perpetuated through generations.

Until someone decides to question such practices and put forward a brave new way of communicating, a way that encourages communication to be made in an effective manner, with that feedback loop.

Like most good things, it takes work and being good at it takes practice. Not just practise but lots and lots of deliberate practise (because people could become good at communicating ineffectively. What one needs to do is learn the right way and then deliberately practice the right practise.

That is how you become better at your communication skills. Perfect practise.

It is hard work, hard YAKA! (Australian term that means ‘hard work!”). There is no easy way of going about this because you need to stubbornly change or un-learn years of imprinting of bad communication learned in your early years and then …

Now this is the hard part – learning and adopting the new communication method & skills in all your daily communication. All the time, not some of the time – all the time!

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

You see, from what I have observed so far in my life, communication between a woman and a man is very different from what happens when two women talk.

It seems that when two women get together, they do a lot of explaining and restating until the other person understands what is being said. They understand one another from each other’s point-of-view.

They seem to communicate more effectively than men.

A man may say something vague, like “I don’t know, I guess, I’m just having a tough day.” After making that short statement, it is very likely, he would not add any more words. He may just drop it, so to speak. His wife or partner assumes it must not be a big problem since he didn’t say more than two sentences. However, this is where the mistake arises.

You see, she needs to pick up on the little phrase that he did say and if she really, really knows him, pick up on what he did not say as well.

It is very likely he is feeling a great loss, but he is not expressing it. Women, I feel, need to listen to the small phrases that their husbands or partners are saying and then find the right response. She needs to generate a response that is sufficient and appropriate. ]

A response that is sufficient and not appropriate is not complete. And a response that is appropriate and not sufficient is less than adequate. Her response needs to have both present – appropriateness and sufficiency.

This is a huge challenge for any person, let alone a woman.

The challenge here is developing the life skill of the power of discernment and applying the right amount of appropriateness and sufficiency in one’s response. What a challenge.

A wise man once told me that “elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do.’ This applies to many things in life and would apply in this instance when a woman tries to understand how a man communicates.

A man needs a wife or partner who cares enough to listen to the brief, sometimes weak, signals that he gives off. And then, she needs to respond, I believe, with gentle questions to draw him out, not by taking the opportunity to describe her own struggles.

But to listen, really listen.

Education through a perception of the truth.
Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement.
Funny thing is that the process also applies to relationships and response.
Vv

In my experience with dealing with and helping people in the gyms and my line of work over the last two decades, when one spouse is drawn away by someone outside the marriage, it’s usually not that he’s being drawn away by love.

More often than not, I believe, he is drawn away because someone else show they cared.

Ask yourself how you show your man you care? Is it sufficient and appropriate for the phase of life you’re in? My grandfather used to always say “actions speaks louder than words.’ What do you think? I think it holds more than an element of truth to it.

Someone could think and say that they love someone else but not actually show or demonstrate/do the act of love. Is this love? I don’t think so.

Thinking and doing can be two different things.

What is your definition of love anyway? We tend to see acts of love all around us but what is love?

Who is the best listener you know? What is that person doing that works?

My tip: After nineteen years of being with the woman of my childhood dreams and marriage as well as helping people (couples) help themselves, help themselves over the years of owning my own gym and my keen observation in general life, I would remind you to – show you care in everything you say and most importantly, do.

Men are simple creatures, keep things simple – simply show your man you care for and about him. Don’t complicate things, keeping it simple aids greatly in contributing to more effective communication. And is ultimately the saviour of all relationships.

We have heard that love is effortless, I disagree … to love some one other yourself requires effort, a lot of effort.

Love is EFFORT-FULL!

Keep loving … it is worth it in the whole scheme of life.

 

Until next time,

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all.
The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home.
Relationships based on fairness, trust, care and compassion.
A place where men could share stories, their aspirations, their fears and hopes …and be listened to … without fear of retribution or ridicule.
It was these group of Mens ‘last refuge’.
I hope to bring it back one day … to the world.

Explaining the fine points of re-engineering the physique and increased self-awareness through enhanced ‘mind-muscle’ connection..

Side Triceps in the gym. … in between sets.
Building a physique that is balanced and symmetrical takes years of toil in the gym and outside the gym. There is countless assessment of all the variables that go into it … a constant assessment of appropriateness and sufficiency in relation to the key inputs that go in to mastering the iron … the art … of knowing oneself .. of knowing life.
Better. Builds. Beauty. A
Always.

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a better life, ageing, attitude, awareness, change, change management, Energy, game of life, life, mid-life crisis, needs, perseverance, relationships

Mid-life Crisis.

Hello!

Sacrifices

One of the wisest men I have ever been mentored by, my good friend – Dave ( a fellowship member of Menza) told me once that “Nothing Changes but form.”

Do people change. Of course they do. But, change according to what? And … what is your perception of change?

Got me thinking.

What is a “worthwhile sacrifice?”

A four year undergraduate degree at a prestigious university? An apprenticeship with a famous chef? Sweeping the floors of a multi-national conglomerate just to “get in?” All these sacrifices and those like these change the person – some for the good and some for the bad.

If you’re in a relationship, like I am – in a relationship with this woman for 19 years now. It sounds like a lot but it is nothing compared to her grandparents who lived to their 90s and were such beautiful people.

Time (& space), as Einstein said is relative. So, basically, nineteen years, in the whole scope of the time spectrum, is put simply – nothing!

So, what do you do with marriages that go through periods where there is ‘rough seas’ as they co-captain their ship through the ‘sea of life?’ I know for a fact that over the years, I have carried my wife (& was the stronger one) and in other times (like the whole of last year), she was the STRONG ONE & carried the weaker one – me.

Sailing through the sea of life, will inevitably produce tough times, it’s just foolish to think that you won’t encounter bad weather & monstrous waves in the depths of the sea of life. Foolish.

It is in times of trouble that, you just hang on to each other, because it is easy – very easy to lose one another. You need to go ‘above and beyond’ your call of duty in seeing that the weaker partner gets through that rough period ok. Everyone responds differently to unexpected rough weather & no one is immune to it.

Change is a certainty in life. Life is about change, if you’re not changing, you’re not living. But the rate of change differs between individuals. I think it was the great science thinker – Stephen Hawkins – that said “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’ I agree.

The woman and man need to adapt to the changing stimulus (phase of life) because it is in the process of adaptation that new growth is experienced & felt. So, don’t be afraid to sacrifice old philosophies and adopting a new, evolved one, in order to provide the glue that keeps them together.

Needs

Owning a family gym for six years has taught me a lot of things about life – in fast forward. In those six years I helped, with my programs, helped people transition through the sticky phases of life – teens to man-hood; the troubling 20s; the ambitious 30s; the ‘lost hope’ 40s; the care-free 50s; the uncertain 60s & the content 70s and 80s.

If you reach the 90s, its highly likely you’re on your own to celebrate your 95th birthday because everyone you ever knew is …. Six feet under.

Now, I have concluded, in my experience and my small sample of men and women in my lab (my gym), that part of the reason people stay together in marriage is because their needs are being met.

At first glance, that idea seems to be self-centered and selfish. Maybe it is. Just maybe, we ALL have the ‘selfish gene’ in us, like the aetheist Richard Dawkins proclaims. Good on him & his followers.

Marriages that last, include couples who WORK hard at it. Marriage, that is.

I believe they have a deep sense of commitment, a desire to stay together, and an ability to express affection as they understand each other’s needs and … I believe, specifically work at meeting those needs.

That is paramount. The meeting of these needs at various phases of life. It is never static, always continuously changing.

Understanding & meeting your mates/husbands/wife’s/ partner’s needs is a powerful way to serve your mate and strengthen your marriage.

So, what are you waiting for (if you’re married) …… go make your spouse her favourite warm drink (coffee?) & do it with love & care. Thank you.

Romance

What is romance?

I’ve never really understood what it is. I mean, I have done something in the past that I didn’t think was special, and I was thanked for being ‘so romantic.’ There are other few times where I thought I was trying to be romantic and got the cold shoulder.

I’m still confused and I’m a Mr Valentine?!

All these years later, I still don’t know what is to be romantic. I’m sure a lot of males out there do (and that is great) … but I struggle with being romantic.

I think romance should be done daily, in the little things that we do for each other, that won’t make a romance novel – like making your husband a cup of his favourite coffee or giving him hug when he least expects it. It does not take much to please a good gentle man and make him happy. Taking care of mozzies (mosquitoes) daily, not this ‘once-in-a-blue moon’ party shi*t@!

Romance, as I see it, is built upon qualities that each partner (hopefully) showers on each other, Some of them are –

  • Meeting each other’s needs;
  • Being tender;
  • Considerate & sensitive;
  • Thoughtful & …
  • Listening

Listening is very important. If you’ve been together for a long time then you should know him quite well so in addition to listening to what he says, try to listen to what he ‘does not say.’ Now that takes listening to a level that only very close ‘best friends’ tap in to.

Emotional Connections

What happens when man enters his mid-life years? I have a fair idea because I have seen and helped many-a-man transition through this phase of the many phases of life.

One thing that comes to fore is the feeling (from the mens’ perspective) that they are being ‘mothered.’

But, from my sample of hundreds of men over the last two decades, I can conclude that men DO NOT WANT A MOTHER. Women, do you know what they want?

They want a GIRLFRIEND. They don’t want a mother to make them feel like they are ‘one of the children.’

No!

They want a girlfriend.

Now, for a woman to become a girlfriend to her husband, I believe (from my observation of life), she NEEDS to develop spontaneity.

Now, what does this mean … well, let me take that previous statement back. I think there is no such thing as spontaneity because a person has to have the thought – first, before any action is executed.

It may mean (for the wife), assuming a younger outlook on life, or a younger approach to the relationship. She should think in terms of how a younger woman would act around her husband.

She should, above all else, show admiration and affirmation to the extreme …. & dare I say it, ACT MORE FLIRTATIOUSLY.

Little things matter. But what makes you do the little things (I call these the ‘mosquitoes’ in life), whether positive or negative? Have you every thought about this? You may have heard people say ‘willpower.’ I have news for you, it is not willpower. Willpower means forcing yourself to do something you don’t really want to do. This is a never-winning game for you.

You cannot keep forcing yourself to do something if you don’t really want to do it. Period.

So, no, it is not willpower that drives your actions, but your ATTITUDE.

Attitude shows itself in everything you do – actions speaks louder than words, as we have been told when we were a child. So true, your attitude determines both your simplest and most complicated actions – from the way you carry yourself to the way you deal with hard times.

And a man going through a mid-life crisis phase … is a hard time. Let’s not kid ourselves, it is not funny at all.

So, for the partner we need to embrace this phase – not with willpower, not with determination or controlling your attitude and feelings. No. You need something more stronger, something that is at the heart – the breathing source of your attitude.

You need to re-discover this energy source to give you that ‘edge.’ And what is this source, well, it is simply your ‘philosophy’, which is a fancy word for the way you see yourself and the way you see the world. It is your philosophy that feeds your attitude.

Attitude is everything in life.

Your attitude is never static, it is changing all the time. And as your attitude changes, your feelings also change. Your philosophy is the secret that lies behind the puzzle of fate or destiny. So, to summarise –

A positive philosophy ==> positive attitude ==> positive actions ==> positive results.

A negative philosophy obviously does the opposite effect. Remember the “Ripple Effect” … well, it works both ways!

To manage this phase your partner/husband is going through you have to change yourself. And how do you do this? Well, your change yourself by changing your philosophy. BUT, you have to be willing to change or ADAPT & change if your want to change what’s happening in your life, your philosophy or how you see things must change.

And, very importantly ….

Don’t bring up the past in a negative sense. One of the quickest paths to success (I believe) is to get out of the past. Sure, its smart to review mistakes and unhappy events because that helps you to make better choices in the future. However, keep it swift.

Review, understand and take responsibility for the errors you’ve made (and we all have our fair share of mistakes/errors … no body is perfect, right?) But, don’t even spend too much dwelling on this even. Just use the past as a tool to do things differently in the present and, most importantly ….. MOVE ON!

So, invest your ‘emotional labour’ towards emotionally connecting to your partner/husband and realise that other things in life are not as urgent as they seem.

They can simply WAIT.

It is time to give your spouse your time and attention (before it is too late).

Please understand that this is just my initial thoughts, nothing more, nothing less. There are obviously many other reasons (when compounded over time) provides a leathal dosage of destruction.

Don’t’ let that happen to you. I will embrace it if it ever happens to me.

Amen.

Best of VITALITY to YOU.

 

P.e. Valentine.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain, Mr Phil Waugh.

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a better life, accountability, asking questions, attitude, belief systems, better choices, change, change management, desire, dreams, Energy, Fitness, game of life, Goals, habits, hope, Imagination, responsibility, self improvement, you, your life

Everything starts with a thought.

Everything starts with a thought … I thought/dreamed/imagined being on the World Stage in natural bodybuilding 10 years before it became reality.
Belief in God and belief in myself helped me twice rank in the Top 5 in the world in my chosen sport.
No belief, nothing!
With your thoughts and energy channelled in the direction of your goal, don’t underestimate what you can achieve in ten years.
Vv.

We are told that mankind is living longer than ever before in our modern history. The question I like to ask is how much of this ‘extended life expectancy’ gives more joy, better quality of life? Or is it fuelled by the ever-increasing reliance on the many drug stores opening up around the place selling and hooking people on to the scores of products that are supposed to help people. Supposed to help people eliminate ailments such as stomach aches, relieve heart burn, stop diarrhoea, cure headaches, lose weight, overcome skin problems, bad breath, hypertension and fatigue. You name it – there is a drug that will ‘fix’ the problem.

Is this what the human race has evolved to? Is this how far we have come as a race, even after all the scientific and medical progress that has been made in the last fifty years? I wonder, sometimes, how we came to be the way we are now? When I take a long hard look around, I am not impressed. I heard on the news or radio recently, that for the first time in mankind’s history, the current younger generations are more likely to die before their parents do. This is very sad if you asked me.

Statistically, children – yours maybe, will not live to the age of their parents (you) will likely live, simply because of their inactive lifestyles and poor eating habits.

Here’s what I have learned after close to twenty five years of training and living a lifestyle of a natural bodybuilder: Good health and good intellect are the two greatest blessing in life. If you are born with health, as most of us have, you have one of the most important life-enhancing traits within you – HOPE! If you have hope, you have everything and you can quote me on this.

When people lose hope, they lose the will to live.

The essence of life is: vitality, the life-force of life!

Without health, where is the joy in life, I ask you? I have found that maybe due to the pressures of ‘the way things have always been done in the past’, everyone is forced in to doing things that they have been brainwashed to thinking they should do. People work very hard in whatever profession they find themselves in and try to know everything there is to know about the subject. They become ‘experts’ in their area of expertise. All for the purpose of making money, commonly making the mistake of thinking money is everything – the be-all and end-all!

Many strive to be experts at everything else external, and yet are not experts at the most important thing: themselves.

This is where I beg to differ on all levels – from the philosophical all the way to the practical. Money and the hunger for more and more of it at the expense of everything else is very unhealthy and leads to unwanted disaster, sooner or later. Unfortunately, many do just this to satisfy the insatiable desire to acquire valuables they have been brainwashed into thinking by marketers, they should get because it adds to them as a status symbol.

Remember this: there is no wealth like health. Your health and fitness are way more important. Wealth cannot buy health. Wealth without health is a mockery. The healthy labourer in my opinion is better than a sick millionaire.

But you can, you have a choice to do something about it. Not tomorrow, today – now!

Why? Because your life is the most valuable thing given to you. When you make the decision to prioritise YOU and your life, you have a change of thought. Everything begins with a thought. When you make that decision to help YOU and don’t take life for granted, you choose your health. And when you have health, you have that most elusive thing of life, that intangible thing that some people have, that thing that is the essence of life: vitality.

I think it was Samuel Johnson, the English literary genius that said –

“To preserve health, is a moral and religious duty, for health is the basis of all social virtues. We can longer be useful when not well.”

Great words. So true. Have you questioned how moral you have been to YOU?

I don’t care how old you are, it does not matter. Whether you are man or woman, tall or short, fat or thin, young or not so young, my advice from my heart, is I hope you generate the DESIRE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND – TODAY! Change your mind to help that person you see in the mirror, help him or her move towards the healthier, fitter person you imagine yourself to be.

Implant that desire with a thought, a thought to help the most important person in the world to you: YOU!

Here, Ex-Australian Rugby legend Phil Waugh using a ‘thumbless grip’ in a Smith Machine to do Bench Presses.
Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Look around us, it is estimated that all the knowledge accumulated in the 20,000 years to 2003 is doubled every two days since then. Information, technology and knowledge has increased exponentially and the combination of exercise/weight training and good nutrition is better understood than ever before. But why is the world suffering from an obesity epidemic? Well, I feel that, sadly, millions and millions of people are still not following a sensible path to ensure lifelong health and fitness.

People are creatures of habit and unfortunately it is more difficult to lose a ‘less-than-ideal (bad)’ habit then it is to adopt a good one. So much energy and effort is put in to hanging on to and justifying the need to retain a bad habit(s). If all that energy was transmuted in to focusing on and taking up good habit(s), we would have less preventable problems in the world.

Unfortunately, human beings are more reactive then proactive.

Why are millions not making the right choices given the knowledge and information available to them? A strong contributor is the increasing need for newer and modern technology and its use. These newer platforms of social media – facebook, twitter, text messaging, video games, increasing use of apps, all have one thing in common: they all encourage physical inactivity.

When I was growing up, I remember spending most of my waking hours after school with friends in the neighbourhood. We were always expanding physical energy with different games out on the streets.

Here’s another truth: what you eat today will be walking and talking on you tomorrow!

We’re all getting older by the second, yes, but some depreciate faster than others, mainly because of lifestyle choices. Today you may be relatively young but youth is always fading.

There are no guarantees in life, but if we choose well (health and fitness), we can live our days with healthy activities to get us near to perfect health, fitness and physique as possible.

If you have read this far, then it tells me that you are serious about making a change in your lifestyle. What I have always cared about with everyone that I have ever helped over the last two decades is their current physical condition and state of mind. This is exactly what I am concerned about with you, today.

To begin your change, your journey, you need to desire to change your mind as everything begins with a thought. But effort alone is not enough, you also need to dream, you need to liven up your imagination and set yourself some goals. What is a goal anyway? It is a dream with a deadline.

You need to sit back and take a few minutes out of your busy day and ask yourself if you’re worth it? Do you believe that your life is valuable enough so that the rest of your life (from this point on) could indeed be the best years. Can you picture, imagine your remaining days? Maybe you’re so busy in your daily life, you haven’t given it much thought.

One thing I have always been fascinated about is life but in particular – people. I am a watcher of people, always have been and always will observe others with burning curiosity.

Now, you may be asking yourself, okay Paul, where do I begin?

Well, you need to take stock of the most important thing you will rely on: your state of mind, in particular – your motivation. Being motivated is a wonderful gift and a lack of motivation is a hard nut to crack, so to speak!

Here’s what I tell most, if not all that have ever come to me for help: Find a quiet moment in a private room in your home that has a full length mirror. Lock the door and take all your clothes off. That’s right, everything. Now, just look at the image of you reflecting out of that full length mirror. Just stand there and don’t do anything but look. Absorb your full glory for 30 seconds. Don’t flex your arms or smile. Don’t even think about sucking in that gut. Relax that tummy and now….turn to the side. No sucking in, let it all hang out! Now, what do you see?

This is the REAL YOU! Happy?!

Need more motivation? Angry? Now, you have all the motivation you need. How could you let this happen to your body? You were born with the greatest gift of all: physical health.

Now, ask yourself this question: do you value YOU, do you value your life? Are you going to continue as you have to this point? Clogging your arteries, adding layers of fat to every part of your body, risking ill-health, aches and pains and an early grave – increasing your overall life risk?

Or … are you going to choose great health and fitness for the rest of your life?

Everything begins with a thought and where you end up in life, begins and ends in your thought.

Watch your thoughts. Choose well, my friend.

It’s your life, after all and the rest of your best years of your life depends on this choice.

All the very best in your choice.

 

Until next time,

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets.
A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’.
Effort + Focus + heart + visualization + simulation [Quality Plan + Quality Implementation] ===> Quality results.
Vv.

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a better life, action, attitude, authenticness, awareness, balance, beauty, Beliefs, change, choices, courage, Energy, game of life, genuineness, man, perspective, real man, responsibility, self improvement, self-respect, symmetry, your life

Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior, Tom Hanks interior.

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
Top 5 Natural BodyBuilder in the world.

I love observing life and society and everything around me. I am a student of life. In recent years (last ten to fifteen years or so), I have noticed that men are forgetting or maybe do not know or are unsure of what it means to be a Man anymore.

A Real Man.

I have a few theories about how this has reached a growing and worrying societal problem now and for the future, but I won’t go in to that in this blog. No, I’m going to dance with the idea of what a Real Man is or should be.

What should the mark of a Real Man be?

Status in society? Richness in money? Accumulated financial wealth? Power? A tattoo, maybe? I’m sure you’ll have your opinion and definitions.

One word: GRIT.

I believe this is one characteristic of a Real Man. And a sub-set of this word Grit (along with resilience, unrelenting, solution-oriented etc), is simply “toughness”.

But it does not end there.

What is more important than toughness? It is exercising the RIGHT KIND of toughness. Anyone can be tough and we all are at various points in our lives but not many people can call on the right kind of toughness at the right time.

Now this takes skill, this takes effort and work and deliberate thinking and practise to get it right. Now, this characteristic is the foundation of a Real Man . It is the building blocks of what it means to be a Real Man.

It feeds in to his strength of character.

But that is only half of what a real man is.

The other fifty percent should be intimacy, gentleness. Don’t you think so?

Put together, you have what I refer to as a possible definition of a real man. He has an Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior (toughness) and a Tom Hanks (gentleness) interior.

How should we go about attaining these two qualities of a Real Man?

Well, I believe each man should strive for ‘balance’. Everything comes down to balance – internally and externally. So, every man should consciously strive for balance with both qualities.

Knowing when to be tough is as important as knowing when to be tender.

The wise man has the power of discernment and knows when to exercise either. The art in the dance through life is in developing this power of discernment towards balance.

Balance is achieved when a man stops trying to be someone else but the man that is truly reflected through the eyes he sees look back at him in the mirror. A man needs to just be himself and believe in the Holy Spirit or his inner-self, his Real Self and not be afraid to let him out. To let him be vulnerable.

The more vulnerable you become as a man through increased positive self-awareness, the more ‘Real’ you become. The closer you get to becoming more authentic, more of a Real Man.

A man cannot just choose Toughness and no tenderness or only choose to be gentle (and a gentleman) all the time and not be tough. No, this leads to confusion with his self and also with his woman and every person around him. Simply, because he is not clear on his role as a man and what it means to be a Real Man.

A Real Man is partly defined by having both these traits continuously intertwined in his daily life. At home and at work and play. It is a never-ending, dynamic complex fusion of chaos and order to produce something unique: the Real Man.

Being just tough results in a man being cold, distant, intolerant, unbearable and impatient. What we’ve all been brought up hearing society (mainly angry women) refer to “All Men are As#holes! “. Very unfair because not all men are like that.

But, being tough and tender brings about something different, something elusive. It makes a man appear closer to what I refer to as beauty.

And why do I say that?

Well, being tough AND tender … results in gentleness, thoughtfulness and being considerate. The man is more attuned to the principles of nature which is harmony.

Being tough and tender brings you closer to the elusive balance and symmetry of life. Brings you closer to what I refer to as ‘beauty’. I love formulas and mathematics so here is a little formula for you, based on my hypothesis of what a Real Man is:

Tough + Tender => Balance + Symmetry ==> Beauty!

So, all you men reading this, ask yourself if you can be beautiful. If you strive towards balance and symmetry in these two strengths of character – toughness and tenderness, you run the risk of being referred to as a ‘beautiful man’.

And why not, the word beautiful should not only be reserved for women, cars, sculptures and paintings and flowers. No, men too can be beautiful.

Being referred to as beautiful is worth the risk because I believe a beautiful man is a Real Man.

Work on your beauty and not be just a “Gentle-man” or “Tough-man”, no, work towards being a Beautiful-Man.

A Beautiful Man is A Real Man!

Until next time,

Explaining the principles of training within my programs.

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If.

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Have you ever experienced immense sadness?

I have. Many times.

Have you ever felt deep, deep sadness? If you have, you are truly blessed, for I believe it is one of the paths to joy, true joy. Yes, I know it is strange but I truly believe it is one of the many paths to joy even though it may be the strangest.

Every one of us is searching for our truths, our individual truths of our perception of reality. We’re all searching for freedom – freedom from work, freedom to financial security, freedom from all forms of fear … all forms of freedom.

Many don’t realise that in order to move closer to freedom, you have to be aware of and accept where you are. Many people don’t see or even realise that they are prisoners and keep themselves that way as if they were blinded by their own ignorance. Ignorance to the existence of the higher force or God.

They are blinded by their ego in their self-imposed prisons, effectively making them prisoners in their own worlda.

These self-imposed prisons of pride are filled with self-made men and women determined to pick themselves up over and over again as they fail. It does not matter what they did, who they did it to or where they will end up; the only thing that matters is that ‘I did it my way” as the classic Frank Sinatra song goes. We could put some blame of this egotistic behaviour on old Frank.

We’ve seen and we all know these prisoners – they’re everywhere, you could be one of them! You’ve seen the alcoholic who won’t admit he has a drinking problem or that woman who refuses to talk to anyone about her fears. Or what about that businessman who vehemently rejects all help even when his business is crumbling.

Yes, perhaps, to see such a prisoner, maybe all you have to do is look in the mirror.

I believe one of the biggest and most profound words in the English language is the two letter word “If”. Why? Firstly, because it is a decision point, a place where you have to make a decision and not sit on the fence.

Another reason that I like this word if is that it is the essence of what I am writing here in this blog. What do most prisoners do? Most don’t admit failure, they don’t accept responsibility. It is the same for the prisoners of pride we see all around us, every single day. Admitting failure is exactly what all prisoners find it difficult to accept.

If only he or she admitted failure ….

Education through a perception of the truth. Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement. Vv

Education through a perception of the truth.
Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement.
Vv

Because of pride, many people deny they have any weakness even if there is evidence to the contrary all around them. Being a prisoner of pride blinds you to pretend you are right when you know you are wrong. To admit failure, to know what deep, deep sadness is, is one of the most courageous things a person can do.

This courage makes you ‘see’ again. This courage to accept failure and responsibility allows you to experience true joy again. True joy that can be had by experiencing the exquisite sorrow of sadness.

You experience genuine sadness by accepting your mistake, taking responsibility, admitting failure.

So, like I say to every young male that walks in to the gym, if their goal is to build good, lean quality muscle, one must ‘leave their ego at the door’. This also applies to your search for truth, your truth.

Your truth that will ultimately set you free from your prison – your prison of pride.

Become Aware. Take Action (acceptance and forgiveness). Adapt. My Triple A Approach to continuously develop oneself – there is no ‘standing still’, no neutral point. If you’re not progressing in life (however so minute), you’re regressing. So keep evolving towards your best you can be for you first, and then for everyone else.

The power rests in your hands if you want to be released from your prison. Release that Prisoner Of War (P.O.W) today! These three letters can mean other things depending upon one’s experiences and attitudes.

As you know, life is uniquely individual through the eyes of each beholder. So, if we choose the right attitude and if you repent and say sorry and if you released yourself from your prison, you could assign those three letters a different meaning …. “Psych of Winning”, of a continuous positive mind-set, every single day. This, funnily enough is a possible definition of ‘enthusiasm’.

So, be more enthusiastic for and about everything in life. Today, tomorrow starts today as everything you do today, is ultimately for tomorrow.

Here my friends and readers is one of the gems/secrets of life – turning that prison sentence in to another type of P.O.W. Such an individual is someone understands the principles of winning in life, and who can apply those principles to benefit himself or herself and loved ones. Adopting the psychology of winning will help you feel good, think constructively, look great, and expect the best.

If you do this, never forget this next single point for the rest of your life – it makes very little difference what is actually happening, it’s how you, personally, take it that really counts!

Put simply, basically it is how you respond to situations.

So, you see, I like the word if as it helps people decide. The decision you make on your definition of “P.O.W” you want to use, ultimately depends on your perception of your truth, the attitude you choose. And, as you know, it’s not aptitude …. But attitude that is the criterion for success in this Game of Life we’re all in.

If you change your attitude, you will win at life. Attitude is the answer

Like I said earlier, I like the word if.

 

Until next time,

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

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Your daily elevator ride.

Bodybuilding is not about how much weight you can lift. It is about creation and constant re-creation of a better YOU. It is about change and constantly embracing change.

Bodybuilding is not about how much weight you can lift.
It is about creation and constant re-creation of a better YOU.
It is about change and constantly embracing change.

Changeless change.

I like that phrase, something I have coined which means: to change within change – to have an effect of not changing. To remain constant for certain things in life. Certain things like – your values, your principles, your integrity, your dignity, your belief in the goodness of humanity for example.

We have been told that nothing stays the same, everything changes – we change and age, people around us change and age, nature changes, life changes. It seems that way for almost everything.

Change is good – for the most part.

I believe it is in every one of us – like a ‘worked’ muscle, we all have the desire to grow and develop into stronger, more powerful versions of ourselves, in essence – to change. It is in every one of us, the desire to prosper, to become better and strive to find the elusive happiness while we are here on this beautiful earth.

However, making the decision to change for the better can be very hard. Matter of fact, it could be just like having your daily elevator ride – mentally. It seems that we can consciously work towards moving ourselves upwards to a better place with our thoughts and actions and then, bam!

Some thoughtless person in your life keeps pushing the ‘down button’ and then your mental elevator ride lets gravity take you down. Sometimes, at speed. It can be a constant daily battle in your head. Even when you’re physically still, you’re having your daily elevator ride.

Don’t give up, don’t despair. Keep pressing the ‘up button’ and aim for the top – your version of the top. There will always be negative people everywhere, there will always be nay-sayers, and is just a part of life.

Part of what I do is help people become better versions of themselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually and am very successful at it for over two decades now.

"Back Double Biceps" in the heat of competition! Change from the gym to the stage is quite significant with management of key variables being extremely important. Placing: 2nd in Australia

“Back Double Biceps” in the heat of competition! Change from the gym to the stage is quite significant with management of key variables being extremely important.
Placing: 2nd in Australia

I’ve always believed that it takes a lot of courage and discipline and strength to say ‘no’ to foods and drinks at your mouth, foods that are less than ideal. Saying no is one of, if not the highest form of self-respect. Yes, that is real courage but I believe that it takes a lot more courage and discipline and strength to stand guard and protect the doorway of your mind.

This is the most important protective measure you can adopt – to stand guard to your mind, to stand guard to the doorway of possibilities. To protect the doorway to your potential.

Most of us have a protective side, I know I do. I’ve been told that I am very protective over my wife and my two children. I’m sure you’re very protective of your loved ones too. I don’t blame you.

However, I believe, before you can truly protect others, you need to protect yourself, in particular, you’ve got to stand guard and protect your mind – from negative people who press the ‘down button’ in your daily elevator ride.

So, keep moving – up, whatever gradient you’re travelling at! Keep changing for the better to be the best you can be – for you, first, then for everyone else like I tell my children almost daily. Remember, we never completely stand still, we’re either moving and progressing towards how we imagine ourselves to be or we regress to our former self.

Whichever direction you take, remember that you only have one life and ultimately, you’re responsible for everything – the questions that you ask and all the answers that you get, the incomplete information of which you will base your life decisions on.

To achieve goals in any endeavour, most people would say you need two key ingredients:

  1. Plan
  2. Implementation

I disagree. You need to precede those two ingredients above with the word – “Quality”. Yes, my formula is:

“Quality Plan + Quality Implementation => Quality Result (Goals Achievement)”

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World.

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport of Natural Bodybuilding, here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World, placing in the Top 5 two years in a row.

To get these two key ingredients, every person should go through three stages of development:

  1. Increased Awareness
  2. Developing Actions (sufficient and appropriate)
  3. Continuously Adapt (using a self-adaptive/self-tuning habit)

It is quite a complex process but as you can see above, I have attempted to simplify the complex. Ultimately I simplify to Amplify. Every journey of change, begins with a single step towards your destination.

Try adopting my “Triple A Framework”  (above) to self-development/change.

While you’re on your journey towards your best self or any worthwhile project, continuously stand guard to the doorway of your mind. Always. Be the best bouncer/doorman to the club that is your mind you can be and don’t let ‘potential threats’ in to the club in the first place.

Get better at managing your funnel better. As someone once said – “the business of life is not business, it is about learning how to live”. Become the best student of life you can be and learn how to live better. Learn how to better filter out people and activities that do not add value to your life but instead continue to press the ‘down button’ as you travel in your daily elevator ride.

That way you can enjoy your daily elevator ride and have more movements upwards than downwards and live a life filled with celebrations (of success through failures and experiences), not collections (of material possessions).

 

Until next time,

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships - New York, USA. Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion. Me - 4th placed in the world Competitor beside me - 1st place and World champion Right: My Team Partner and wife - Cathy.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing backstage with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Left: Me – ranked 4th in the world
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Abdominal/thigh pose with the top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the world in 2007.

Abdominal/thigh pose with the top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the world in 2007.

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a better life, accountability, adaptation, attitude, awareness, better choices, chaos, choices, Energy, responsibility

Blind spot.

 

Another view of the "front-double biceps' pose.

Another view of the “front-double biceps’ pose.

After the Lord, I’m first of all accountable to my wife, Cathy. I know and believe I can depend on her to tell it like it is. I believe it is the same for her too – she is accountable to me, after the Lord.

God always works through Cathy to affirm or negate whatever may surface (whether opportunities or obstacles) in my life. Spiritually, I am accountable to God – have always been and always will be.

What about you? Who holds you accountable? We all need someone to whom we can pour out our deepest thoughts and headaches ….

For those of you that drive, you are familiar with that part of your vision that is a ‘blind spot’, an area that cannot be seen in your line of sight. Just like this, we all have blind spots in our lives too. Areas in our lives that hinder our spiritual growth and personal development but what sets these areas apart from other areas is that – in these areas, we cannot see.

For example, you may re-act to someone in anger that is actually verbally abusive or rude. You may find justification for your reaction but another person may help you understand that responding with kinder words and tone might illicit a positive response from the person.

Accountability is very important. In almost every area in life – on all levels individually, community, state, country and the world level. Accountability is a foundation of trust and trust is a critical component of any meaningful relationship.

The world needs more trust. The world needs more accountability. Without individual self-control and accountability there can be no enduring liberty or freedom in our societies.

We can only be free only as long as we can use freedom responsibly and being accountable is a part of this – on every level of human existence, from the street cleaners to Sports Stars, to Olympians and all the way to leaders of governments.

Side Chest.

Side Chest.

As you know, if we are not accountable to someone else, we may never understand why people reject our advice or us because we do not understand the full consequences and implications of our actions. This is being true to ourselves – taking control, accepting responsibility.

I’ve always believed that feedback, any kind of feedback is an essential contributor to growth – in all aspects of life. Someone once said “Feedback is the food of champions!”. I have to agree with that. It is consistent with nature.

For a lot of people, getting feedback can be an uncomfortable experience. You would know if you have sat through performance appraisals for employers.

On a personal level, we must learn to accept constructive criticism of ourselves if we wish to take positive actions to adapt and grow. That way, we set ourselves better to overcome problems and hiccups as we journey through life.

There is a passage in the bible (I think from proverbs) that says –

“Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates corrections will die.”

Life is a continuous flow of feedback loops, which when embraced, allows for growth (order/new life) from temporary chaos (feedback).

We’ll all die someday, yes this is a certainty, but it would be wise to be aware of your ‘blind spots’ well before you kick-the-bucket. This may help you ‘see’ better and live a more fulfilling life, while you’re still alive. Responsible self-control and accountability is the path to mental health, and frequently, to physical health as well.

Be accountable. Be accountable to you, to your God and to at least one other human being you trust. Embrace and learn to accept feedback, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

I’ve always told my students in my programs over the years that we must learn to be ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ even if it is just for a short time. Getting feedback and digesting it is uncomfortable. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable when it comes to being accountable and embracing feedback.

It builds grit!

47 year old Chris looking and feeling better than he did in his 20s. Living my Triple A Approach to Self-development using my "3-legged stool" framework. Self-tuning using my adaptive strategy towards being his best S. Achieved through being accountable to me.

47 year old Chris looking and feeling better than he did in his 20s.
Living my Triple A Approach to Self-development using my “3-legged stool” framework.
Self-tuning using my adaptive strategy towards being his best S.
Achieved through being accountable to me.

Use feedback (positive or negative) to continuously grow and adapt towards the best version you can be of no one else but – YOU. The feedback allows you to see your blindspot(s).

Be the best you can be – for you, first, then for everyone else. Being accountable and taking responsibility for your actions is part of being the real you, being human. Being accountable and discovering your blindspot(s) is also about being a winner.

Winners get behind the wheel, firmly in the driver’s seat. Winners take control of their thoughts, their daily routines, their goals and their lives. Winners embrace feedback for improvement. They create their own horoscopes and astrological forecasts. They spend their time Winning … knowing they have no time to Lose.

Be the winner that you are!

Best of vitality to you.

 

Until next time,

Ghana female sprint champion being accountable to me to help her achieve her goals. Vv.

Ghana female sprint champion being accountable to me to help her achieve her goals.
Vv.

Being accountable has allowed me to achieve the highest level in the sport of Natural Bodybuliding. Accountability is a critical component of achieving results and goals in life. Vv.

Being accountable has allowed me to achieve the highest level in the sport of Natural Bodybuliding.
Accountability is a critical component of achieving results and goals in life.
Vv.

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