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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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Don’t chase the unchaseable

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.

Know YOU.

Being different and appreciating & developing your uniqueness can make you stand out in a world 🌎 that is very cluttered.

That is a positive thing if that is what you desire.

Know YOU (your strengths).

Love 💕 YOU (not in a narcissistic way).

Work on YOU (your talents & gifts).

Share YOU (& your strengths ) with those who love what YOU DO (by being the best servant you can) because YOU love others.

And humanity.

With care, trust and compassion.

Choose love 💕 not hate.

Always.

Now, there is a difference between positive thinking and delusional thinking. I have been like a sponge absorbing and educating myself from the University of Life, in all streams of knowledge sources – books, mentors and leaders of various fields, more books, family, friends, strangers … even more books, videos and … more books.

For almost five decades now.

Everyone and everything teaches You something.

Champions practise a lot of visualisation and simulation.
To create magic, you need to fuse the worlds of sanity (where you are) with insanity (where you dream/imagine you are, before you are).
That is difficult.
That is one of the key keys.
Don’t stop. Trying. Believing.
Keep on … keeping on. You’ll get there. Everyone always does.
Especially, if you do it with your heart. and ….
with LOVE.

Manage your funnel better

One of the skills is to squeeze out irrelevance and “bull-sh*t” as your sponge-like-brain absorbs knowledge and know-how. In other words, in the wise words of an ex-business/life mentor of mine –

learn to manage your funnel better

Here’s one maxim that was mis-leading growing up: –

“You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough.”

Now, like most people, I embraced this maxim at a young age. Along with thousands of other kids, I spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to be the next Rugby 7s star ( in my case, it was the Fijian Rugby 7s legend – Waisele Serevi, on par with New Zealand’s Johah Lomu).

Every day growing up in Fiji, we played rugby 7s and practised the “goose-step/side-step” and explosive lateral movements and ‘dance like a twinkle toe ballerina on a rugby field’ kind of play.

But, there was always someone better.

After giving 100% of my effort for most of my primary and early secondary school life, I couldn’t even make the junior Rugby Team (well, its very hard to crack a team in Fiji as there is a multitude of supreme athletisism when it came to rugby).

I was just one of the many other fans on the side-line, part of the cheer squad for the schools.

backstage with a fellow competitor
I won

Who you already are

The truth: playing a starring role for Fiji at the Rugby 7s or World Cup wasn’t in the cards for me.

I realised early that I CANNOT BECOME anything I wanted to (like I was told to believe) and that I needed to focus on building on who I already was.

Each of us, unique individuals has a greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development – all our individual development is building on who you already are.

While my story may be simplistic, in many cases, I have found (in helping people, helping themselves, find their best selves over the last two decades) is, amongst other key things – aligning yourself with the right task can make things easier.

For YOU.

Even the great Michael Jordan of the basketball courts could not become, well, the “Michael Jordan” of golf or baseball, no matter how hard he tried.

When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, it seems, extraordinary room for growth exists (just like building quality – muscle if your have the genetics for building muscle, like I do  …. Remember, I didn’t have the height gene and so never played basketball but I did have the muscle genes).

Let’s say I didn’t discover bodybuilding when I did. Say, even though I had the potential to build large muscles, quickly and I didn’t train it regularly enough, they wouldn’t develop to World Standard Quality.

However, because I discovered it in my late teens and I did work, they grew. Keeping everything else constant, if I did the work equally as hard as someone without as much natural potential, I am likely to see a greater return on my investment.

And I did.

Representing Australia at the World Natural Physique Championships in New York, USA.
Placed: 4th In the world.
Success = Preparation meeting opportunity. I was prepared.
It also includes knowing what to leave out to allow you to focus on what is important to achieve your goal(s)

Taking the I M out of IMPossible

I was one of two (the Top 2) who was picked to represent Australia at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – the two best in Australia. Imagine that story – boy from developing country, the Fiji Islands makes it all the way to compete against the best in the world at, not one, but two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships in New York, USA.

A city (New York) that is at the opposite end of development and modernity. An island boy, wearing grass skirts and living the simplest of lives beats the best in the world, with access to the best nutrition and training equipment and multi-million dollar machines and coaching.

Not a bad story I think.

You can take the “I M” out of IM Possible if you identify and work FROM your strengths.

I am living proof of this.

Result of time x hard work => multiple NSW, Australian Bodybuilding Titles and 2 x World Natural Bodybuilding Top 5 placings, two years in a row. I discovered my sport rather late … when I was almost twenty years of age.

Fluke?

I don’t think so.

The old maxim told us by well-intensioned elders of –

you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be” should be modified to accurately reflect reality as we perceive it:

YOU cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who YOU already are.

Know YOU and your talents/gifts.

Don’t chase the un-chaseable. You’ll waste the most precious gift given to you: LIFE.

working triceps in my gym

Taking the path of most resistance

Do you know what your gifts or talents are? Are you working and doing a job that is working from your strengths? You don’t know?

Well, it seems that many people go through life, living a life, not from a strengths approach for several reasons –

  • They are simply unaware
  • Unable to describe their own strengths …. Or the strengths of the people around them

Because they have been told and have been working on “ their perceived weaknesses or shortcomings” or ‘areas of improvement’ in their corporate jobs, most of their lives.

It seems that from ‘cradle to the cubicle’ we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths, and taking the path of most resistance. Why, why, why!!

Sadly, studies show that the vast majority of people don’t have the opportunity to focus on what they do best. What happens to these people? Well, they’re not their best and … they’re simply a very different person. Studies show that, for example, in the workplace, you are six times less likely to be engaged in your job.

So, when you’re not able to use your strengths at work, chances are that you :

  • Hate going to your place of work
  • Have more negative than positive interactions with your colleagues
  • Treat your customers badly
  • Tell your friends and family what an awful company you work for
  • Achieve considerably less on a daily basis
  • Have less positive and creative moments

Not ideal and healthy for you, is it?

This is why doing work that you love and working from your strengths is very important, compounded over your lifetime, given that life is the most valuable thing given to you.

side chest in the gym

Some key steps to identifying your strengths.

Ask yourself, what are you really good at? What did you like doing as a child that your kind of enjoyed and had fun doing? Is there anything that springs to mind? Did you find it easier to accomplish a certain task or activity while others struggled?

That could be a talent or gift of yours that has been laying dormant all these years.

Add time (it took me about ten years to get to my first World Championships in New York, USA) and hard work (deliberate, specific skills at your art/in my case, through education and coaching – building maximum muscle with shape and balance & symmetry and being able to show it off on stage and ‘paint a motion picture of the flow of sculptured muscle/art” ) – makes it a strength (s).

As one of my favourite business gurus said (Dr Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005):

“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong ….. and yet, a person can perform only from strength”

So, find your unique gifts and develop them into strengths.

And value the difference that YOU are.

 

You’re welcome,

 

Cheers 🍻 & ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️⚔️Muscle 💪Monk 🤔😎….& being different/wierd

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.

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.

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Exercise builds your brain power

The Brain 🧠.
The mind.
I AM.
Use this most complex tool ever created to become a better medium of communication to …. the universe, to infinite intelligence … to consciousness.
Listen to and change your body to listen to and change your brain towards balance & symmetry. A key to happiness.

To learn is to Grow

Given the fact that the body and the brain are intricately connected, why not take good care of both, I say.

I have seen amazing changes in a person’s mental health over the almost thirty years in and around gyms that I have helped people, help themselves, infuse themselves with Vitality – the ‘essence of life .

The positive changes that they have been made to their bodies, within a strategy tailor-designed for each individual, adopting my unique framework to body/mind re-engineering. As the muscles grow and the bodyfat disappears and the body shape changes towards more balance and symmetry, you see a definite change in mind-set.

A big part of the transformation process is increasing the awareness – internally and externally of the willing participant. He or she is being operated on, on the body which in effect, operates on the brain and mind, continuously ‘listening to the body’ and learning more and more about the body.

Know you.

To learn is to grow.

We do this by using the tools in my lab (the gym) – such as resistance training/weights; cardio machines and nutrition changes have caused positive, noticeable changes in their mind-set and mental health.

So, get educated (either on your own or find a suitably qualified and experienced exercise specialist/trainer) and go have your workouts… and build muscle. Your quality of life depends on this.

Champions practise a lot of visualisation and simulation.
To create magic, you need to fuse the worlds of sanity (where you are) with insanity (where you dream/imagine you are, before you are).
That is difficult.
That is one of the key keys.
Don’t stop. Trying. Believing.
Keep on … keeping on. You’ll get there. Everyone always does.
Especially, if you do it with your heart. and ….
with LOVE.

Multiple feedback loops

So, exercise and train with weights and manipulate your nutrition and continuously ‘listen’ and take notice of the multiple feedback loops your body is communicating back to you. Then, assess and respond with sufficient and appropriate actions in a timely basis. Most importantly, you have to adapt as your body (and mind) adapts and changes.

Become the best Change Agent you can be.

Learning to “listen to my body” and use the “instinctive approach “ to SMARTER training allowed me to get down to 4.2% body fat and retain maximum muscle mass – NATURALLY. Ok, I did use black coffee ☕️ (not a band ‘ illegal substance).

i became a master at reading my body’s multiple feedback loops. Essentially, understanding “me” better.

So, that should be one of your goals too – understand YOU better.

What science now knows is that the brain is flexible or plastic – more like play-doh than plasticine. Remember this: it is an adaptable organ that can be molded by input in much the same way as muscle can be sculpted by lifting barbells and dumbells.

Basically, the more you use it, the stronger and more flexible it becomes.

True?
Neuroscience is still at the level of where medicine was in the 1700s
A long way to fully understand who we are….
Who “I AM.

It’s all about communication

Everything you do and think and feel is governed by how your brain cells, your neurons, connect to one another.

You see, your brain is constantly being re-wired and it’s all about communication and how effective and efficient the communication channels are and the key messengers in all this communication are neurotransmitters that transport chemically and electrically, hormones that controls everything you do.

Exercise is the best drug you can give yourself – your body, mind and spirit. A good workout or a good run fuels your body like a drug like Prozac or Ritalin can boost you and your moods.

This is because exercise, like drugs, lifts these neurotransmitters.

Responsible for transmission of critical electrical, chemical & hormonal messages -internal communication

Balance is Key – a balanced brain is a healthy brain and a healthy brain is a happy brain

Exercise, in particular, weight-training, BALANCES these neurotransmitters that can easily lose balance and tilt your moods one way or the other. Balance is key – Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norephinepherine, which if unbalanced over time under unbalanced conditions, causes all kinds of problems.

All kinds of physical problems but also contribute to different levels of anxiety, depression and is even linked to dementia and parkinsons.

Life Tip 101(c) : Keeping your brain in balance can literally change your life, because amongst other things, a balanced brain is a healthy brain and a healthy brain is a happy brain.

Lift weights and exercise to help you, help yourself, create more balance and symmetry in your physique and what you see in the mirror looking back at you. And you need to strive for balance and symmetry in your workouts when you’re in the gym. Your body is the physical manifestation of the extent of balance happening within –

Balancing your neurotransmitters puts you more in control of your body, mind and spirt and move you more towards happiness

… to ultimately,

balance YOU!

… and balance

Your life.

Collage of some bodybuilding poses

Remember: More balance => (leads to) more happiness.

More balance and symmetry in body-shape and physique also brings your more closer to our search for beauty, for truth. We all love to appreciate beauty but not everyone can CREATE beauty. I have found that this is a beautiful way to create your BEAUTY, through balance and symmetry – WITHIN, using weights and feedback from the mirror.

Ultimately, I believe (as I have witnessed in all I have helped in over thirty years of transforming peoples’ bodies), Balance and symmetry (beauty) INTERNALLY leads to balance and symmetry EXTERNALLY – a more balanced life.

This also allows you to discover your truth.

A more happy life, because of a more balanced and more happier brain.

All the very best in your daily choices.

Your destiny hinges on the little things your do every day (there is power in habit) and all these actions depend on the desire (heart) to do so.

Choose well,

Cheers & ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & training your body/heart  … to train and balance your mind.

Your body is the physical manifestation of your mind.
Your brain is the ‘google map’ of your body.
Your brain and body is intricately connected – via electrical and chemical signals called neurotransmitters, striving to create balance WITHIN.
As we don’t have the capability of operating on our brain physically at the moment, the next best way to do so is (indirectly), by operating on your body.
You do this by changing your inputs and providing training, nutrition and rest stimulus.
And strive for ‘balance & symmetry’ in physique, which creates balance & symmetry in the brain.
Balanced and symmetrical brain = happy brain = happy life.
Your beauty.

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.

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The Golden Moment

I. AM.
GOD?

Where the land meets the sea

Letʼs imagine.

Letʼs imagine that youʼre walking and you got to the end of your walk because you got to the end of your land – and youʼre at a cliff … a place where the land meets the sea. Letʼs say youʼre looking down and you think … what if?

What are you thinking at that point? Should you stay on land or should you swim? Question is – do you love being wet or dry or do you like both (like me)? The other question is one of love or hate. Do you love your life or do you hate it?

Do you know what love is? Do you love, love?

Well, if you really understand what love is then you’re way ahead of the pack. Love is too large, too deep to be truly understood or measured or limited within a framework of words.

In a very real sense, to examine love is a futile attempt to examine the unexaminable; to know the unknowable. But that is ok, we will try anyway.

The Bible gives a pretty good definition of what love isn’t and the great thinker and poet – Kahlil Gibran wrote about it. Many have attempted to but no one has, to my knowledge arrived at a truly satisfactory definition of love.

Here’s one definition of love, that I love –

“the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”              – M Scott Peck

Is there a thing called ‘the Golden Moment?

If there isnʼt, well, there should be. We have a “Golden Ratio” popularized by a mathematician called Fibonac .. something.

But, what if there was a Golden Moment, what would your “G”-moment look like? What would you do if your G-moment was at that cliff? Choose, Land or sea?

Would you conclude that choosing sea means that you hate your life? Or, would choosing the sea indicate that you love your life? How would you define ‘life?ʼ Have you ever been at this “crossroad?” Have you ever had to decide whether you loved land or sea at the point where the land meets the sea?

My Golden Moment is where the land and sea meets the sky. Do you know where that is? That is my G-moment and it is beautiful. It is my point, my peace.

What is ‘life’ anyway? Have you thought about that? Is it reality or is it a simulation, life is just all in your mind … your imagination? Maybe, our physical world is actually a virtual world – our virtual world is our realiy. If it were, do we have any way of knowing to prove beyond all doubt? Maybe, we’re just all little pcs/tablets ‘connected’ to a mainframe or gigantic computer. Maybe, when you reach that Golden point where the land meets the sea … and you wonder ‘what if?” … maybe, you’re just an actor in a huge movie production and it is all UN-REAL. Just a magnificent simulation or parallel universe.

When you step off …. And choose the sea … you leave this simulate/make-believe world and enter the REAL world. A world which is infinite and that which has no pain and suffering?

This may be an absurd idea … but logical thinking cannot exclude it.

Stopping to reflect, is a vital key to adjust your attitude if you need to.

Other peoplesʼ pain

What if you got to this point because maybe, just maybe, you have a great sense of empathy for pain, for other peoplesʼ pain, in particular.

What if you can literally ‘feelʼ othersʼ pain? You can see their pain, even pain they donʼt realize they are putting themselves  through?

Is that a definition of wisdom? To not just be able to ‘seeʼ things but … to see through things? Is it possible that you get to this ‘point … this dot”, and you look around you, around at the world, hoping to see acts of kindness, care and love but you don’t.

All you see and feel is suffering because you can literally feel immense pain and suffering people are experiencing that is all around us and happening every single moment of the day?

Is it possible that you are just very highly empathetic and caring, that you are a person who continuously feels and has very high trust, care and compassionate levels? Superhuman even.

That extraordinary ability you have of feeling other peoplesʼ pain brings you to the edge, brings you to the brink … that it is just too much … the suffering has to stop and you are powerless to stop it. So, you keep walking until you reach the point where the land meets the sea? Is that when you stop walking?

What do you do then? This is the point at which the term you ‘die for what you believe inʼ springs from, I think.

If it isnʼt, they should change that story.

Essentially, that is what separates us humans from other mammals, say, dogs for example. That we can ‘feel’ feelings and emotions. We can feel hungry or pain and put ourselves in another’s shoes and empathise but a dog may be hungry but it cannot have the feeling of hunger.

The thing is we have access to parts of the brain but we do not … have direct access to your feelings … to feeling and no matter how hard we try to empathise with others, no person has direct experience of anyone else’s feelings.

Sad, but true … but that doesn’t mean we stop trying, is it?

Your life is a continous journey of setting, failing and succeeding in goals … until you …
kick the bucket!
Keep moving forward, I say!

Your story needs to be told

You have a story – your story, so far.

Everyone we know and donʼt know has their stories too. Dead and alive. The former donʼt have any more chapters to write in their story in this dimension at least but the latter have every chance to write the best chapters of their lives yet to live.

Read that last line again.

Let me tell you something, your story needs to be told .

By you. No one else but you.

Pick up your courage and … tell it. Youʼll be surprised at the amount of people who want to listen to your story….

So far.

Summon courage like a super hero like Superman has

Bare your own cross

I loved the sermon our Head Catholic Priest of the parish that my family have been going to for the last twenty years shared today. It was about carrying or being prepared to bare or carry your own cross.

That in life, every single person is asked (not at their choosing) to carry certain burdens. Their unique burdens. He said that we should all be prepared to bare our own crosses – our own burdens, just as Jesus did prior to being nailed to the cross that he literally bared.

It is important to note that if you are able to, reach out and …. Touch someone. Reach out and provide some help to othersʼ who may be carrying a much more heavier cross than you are handling at a certain point in your lives.

One can truly understand the suffering of a person or the burdens another person carries until he has ‘walked a thousand miles in the shoes of that personʼ

The Father asked us – the congregation to pray that more care and empathy be demonstrated to those who need it most. By sharing the weight of someoneʼs cross, you give the possibility of liberating that person.

You may just be the wind needed beneathe their wings.

Just remember though, you need to know you and know your limits. You may just find yourself being overwhelmed by carrying too much of another person’s cross. Don’t let this get out of hand because then, it may just be untenable.

You both suffer.

You may then find yourself at that Golden Moment again.

Bare your cross.
Then …
Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both

The connections that matter

In life, connections matter – in the family, between families, between friends and families, between communities and between nations.

Connections matter, the right connections, in particular. For many reasons, one of which is survival.

There is one other connection that is paramount in all this and that is the brain-body connection and even further, the connection between the pre-frontal cortex and the rest of the circuits/parts of the brain. It differs in every single person.

Fundamentally, you are your connectome (all the 100 billion neurons and 100trillion connections, that is uniquely – YOU).

But within these connections and circuits may lay answers to some of the questions that have been baffling science since the dawn of time, like –

How is the mind connected to the brain and how is the mind connected to the universe? We now know for a fact that it is. But how?

For those who feel more than others, who feel more hurt than others, there would obviously be an avalanche of hormones flooding through them because there may be an imbalance of or rather an impairment between the prefrontal cortex and their reward systems.

How?

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

Well, neuroscience shows and tells us that if these connections within the brain is impaired, then the reward systems prevents the prefrontal cortex from using its decision-making powers to put the brakes on risky behavior.

Risky behaviour like making a choice at that Golden Moment.

I will explore in more detail the importance of taking care of the connections within the greatest computer that man has known to date – the brain.

 

Your body goes where your mind goes.

But what can you do right now to help you?

Simple – get your body in shape, your mind will follow. Get in to the gym and work your muscles, that is the hard and the easy part of it. Your mind is the GPS system of your body. Iʼve always told the people that your body goes where your mind goes.

Full-stop.

From my almost thirty years of helping people, help themselves achieve a stronger, healthier version of themselves and observing thousands of gym goers … and getting confirmation from the scientific community, amongst many other things that (an impossibly obvious conclusion) –

The Body and brain are connected.

True?
Neuroscience is still at the level of where medicine was in the 1700s
A long way to fully understand who we are….
Who “I AM.”

My tip to you: Given the fact that the body and brain are intricately connected, my question to you is –

Why not take care of both?

As best as you can.

It just makes sense and may just be the most important decision that youʼll ever make in your life. Your quality of life, literally depends on it. You have the power to do something about it, and make a positive change in your life – a change that empowers you.

To live the life youʼve always wanted and imagined you’d like to live, starting first, with your mind … or your brain to specific. This is not wishful/delusional thinking, this is positive thinking as wishful thinking can be dangerous if it’s not based on reality.

Remember, science is telling us now that you are more than your genes. You are your connectome. You must make the changes in the connectome required to make the behavioural changes you hope for and find a way to bring about these changes. After 30 years of helping people, help themselves … achieve  

All the best in your choices.

Remember, keep in mind what my grandfather used to tell me in my youth –

be careful of thoughts, it determines, you actions; be careful of your actions, it determines your habits; be careful of your habits, it determines your character and be careful of your character, it determines your destiny.”

Program your mind …your thoughts  & protect it or someone or something else will program it for you.

Choose well   Cheers & ahoy!

 

The Old Capʼn Viking Pirate …. & cross-roads in life

One of my quirks … walking around places with very little clothes on .. ha ha ha !!
Here I am Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

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Push or Pull

A page out of one of my art books.
black lines on a white background or white lines on a black background?
What you see depends on how you see it.
A drawing is a balancing act of the push and the pull of a pen/pencil that you control.

 

A Poem

To wait on God is to struggle and sometimes to fail.

But that is ok, it is only short-lived, like a dog chasing it’s tail.

Sometimes the failures teach us more than the successes.

Fundamentally, it can teach us to refrain from being asses.

For failures teach us that to wait on God is not only to wait for his mercy,

But more importantly, to wait by his mercy …

For his mercy is his grace,

For his mercy allows us to see.

To see not only with our eyes, but with our heart, body and soul.

For it is through conscious heightened awareness that we become more whole.

The glory hidden in our families is the discovery that the very thing

We wait for is what we wait by!

For the Bible speaks no lie.

We cannot and should not push ourselves through to pass others by.

Learning to sit still to embrace our waiting with utmost certainty for God’s sign

Does not mean that we are less than aligned.

The success of our waiting lies not in who we are,

No.

The success in our waiting lies in who God is.

Full stop!

We should not define our existence from the reference point of ‘me’

No.

We should define our existence from the position of a good friend.

A good friend in God, who will never let you down.

It is not our strength that will pull us through to the end.

No.

Our strength will get us half way there.

But it is our faith that will allow God to meet us when it seems that everything is beyond repair, near impossible.

Have no doubt that it is God’s amazing grace and mercy that will guide and pull us through…

To the end.

Don’t push your way through life, allow God to pull you with all his Grace and un-ending patience.

Live and die with dignity.

In this world and the next.

God bless YOU.

Amen.

 

Cheers and ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & using power or force in life

Another page out of my art book.
What do you ‘see’?

True.

What do you think? Do you listen to your heart?

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Our search for Beauty.

Beauty comes in many forms.
Here I am with my beautiful Schnoodle “Mr Fuzzy Cuddles” and the beautifully designed & constructed Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I just love beauty. Brings you closer to the elusive truths you search for in you life.
Truths that ultimately eliminate your ignorance.
Keep searching I say, never let the curiosity within you die.

I love beauty.

I love truth.

I love fortitude.

I love virtue.

I love temperance.

I love the desire for all of us to be true.

To our – self.

To others.

To the wider community.

We wish to be.

It seems nobody is ever turned off by beauty. Beauty, is by definition, engaging, appealing, delightful. A lot of times, people can talk about beauty with passion but sometimes, without much clarity.

Beauty and the experience of beauty can be so personal and selfish that the act of talking about them, sometimes actually ruins them.

I believe beauty is for everyone – you, me and all. We are all searching for beauty. I think beauty is like happiness, love, understanding – it’s what the human being was made for and work towards.

The search for beauty is intrinsic to our nature.


The altar of worship.
Some find their beauty, their truth in Religion of choice.
Their search for beauty is being ONE with the ONE.
Keep searching for your beauty. Your truth.
No one else can take your journey for you, but you.
Be brave. Slay your Goliath.

In my search for beauty, I am not alone. I think we all are searching for beauty. It is part of our purpose, our purpose in life. And since it is everyone’s individual responsibility to fulfill his/her purpose, beauty, then it is also each and everyone’s moral responsibility.

What is beauty?

It could be said to be ‘the science of sensuous knowledge’. I like to look at it as the pursuit of a more beautiful life.

And how do we do this?

How do we make our lives more beautiful? We have to simply strive towards living morally.

It is as simple and as difficult as that!

Holy Shit!

Yes, holy shit indeed. Living morally? How the fu*k do we do that?! I mean, ‘live morally’, it seems like in today’s world, lying and amoral behavior is part of the way people do things. And here I am saying that part of the prerequisites to living lives that are more beautiful, we need to be morally up-right.

Be virtuous.

Shit, that sounds and feels difficult. And, the truth is, yes it is.

As I see it, the building blocks of living morally has foundations in the appreciation of something, in many cases – the appreciation of beauty. You see, when we see something we like (like something/someone that is beautiful), we get positive emotional responses (like desire, hope) which attract us toward that thing.

This appreciation of beauty via the senses then trigger our passions. Hence the connection between beauty and passion. So, the very experience of beauty (in all it’s forms) involves the perception of spiritual good and spiritual truth.

In other words, it is through beauty that we are able to trigger/fire physical reactions to spiritual reality. As creatures of both physical and spiritual dualities, we certainly have physical reactions to spiritual beauty when we feel it.

Think of a time when you heard a beautiful song and your spine tingled. I do all the time, when a particular song/tune/frequency resonates with me. With my frequency. I feel it.

The city of Sydney engulfed by lights at night.
Beautiful.
Millions flock to appreciate beauty in form … through the dazzling display of light.
Some search for their beauty through the light. They search for their ówn light/colour’.
To … light up their own world.
Their world – within, which can be dark sometimes.
We ((humans) have always been fascinated with light/fire. We are all drawn towards light, like a moth to a streetlamp.
We move towards the light., it seems to bring warmth and energy that we crave. It is innate. It is part of what it means to be human.

This deep feeling inside is a reaction, a reaction of passion – a passionate reaction in other words. It is part and parcel of the whole experience of beauty. You can also hear many songs and not feel anything. This does not give you the full appreciation of beauty, matter of fact, I’ll go as far as saying you’re not appreciating beauty.

You’re not appreciating truth. You’re not appreciating the aestheticness of the particular beauty (in whatever medium/form it is in) that is being fed into you via your senses.

The thing is, I feel that if you’re not having an aesthetic experience, you’re certainly not feeling something. If it does not resonate with your heart. You are simply not appreciating beauty.

So, it follows that the beholding of beauty can and does (if permitted to), direct our passions, which in turn, provide powerful motivators for action toward spiritual goodness and truth.

At this point, as you can deduce, we all have a moral obligation to pursue beauty. As St. Paul writes towards the end of his letter to the Philippians –

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8).

So, if someone were to ask me,

“So, why do you want to search for beauty … why do you want to experience the beautiful?”

I guess my answer would be along the lines of, “Because its’ beautiful, fool!”

I don’t need to explain my answer or justify any further.

I have a word I have for this – “Kaka!”. It means exactly that – that is just the way it is and no further explanation is needed, as I am not obligate to give you one. They (my kids) hate the word.

However, the main reason for my search for beauty is because in the search, you find truth. Your truth. You see, there is a lot of evidence around us and provided by great thinkers that have come before us. Beauty, draws a person toward immaterial truth and goodness.

Beauty, you see, motivates virtue. Motivates one to lead a virtuous life.

Beauty comes in the human form.
The nude/naked form that is sculptured is one of the most beautiful things to sit back in awe of.
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.
It is one thing to admire beauty, that is the easy part.
The hard part is to CREATE beauty. We all have the ability within us.
To create a beauty through the human form is genius.

Searching for beauty is a continuous search for a virtuous life. Perceiving spiritual truth and goodness in the appreciation of beauty inspires a passion for truth and goodness themselves.

Truth, goodness and beauty are all intrinsically equivalent – each is coextensive with the others. Like each leg of a 3-legged stool is dependent on each other to stay upright.

As John Keats wrote many years ago in his poem Öde to Urn”, I think –

Beauty is truth and truth, beauty. That is all there is on earth and ye need to know.”

I would have to agree with him.

Don’t you?

Continue your search for beauty … for your truth.

In that search, you will find that you will live a more beautiful life. One of virtue.

For virtue, itself is, virtue.

Being virtuous is reflected in a man’s conduct or actions and can be said to be his spiritual beauty.

As John Paul II put it, “All men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.”

So our goal here is simple: to tap into the synergy of energy, the mutual reinforcement , of goodness and beauty, morality an aesthetics. We have to all try to pursue beauty because that is a critical part of living well … of living a good life.

Keep searching. I know I will be.

Until next time … cheers and ahoy!!!

 

 

The Old Viking Pirate …. & thoughts of beauty in all its forms & the meaning to a meaningful & beautiful life.

Admiring beauty is easy.
Creating beauty is difficult. Beauty through – sound (music); sport (athletics); design (cars, watches, clothes); architecture (buildings); engineering (bridges)
My desire to be my best allows me to continuously work on improving myself daily (physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and socially). This search for internal beauty allows me to CREATE external beauty (in the most balanced & symmetrical physique I can design and construct).
Which is my definition of the sport of bodybuildng (done right). The principles of design, mind-body-heart enhancement; engineering construction; empathy & love; care and a sense of self-imposed purity bubble ….
brings you closer to what beauty and truth is.

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Reflection, a Key to having an Attitude of Gratitude.

Me: The Old Captain Viking Pirate

In your opinion, what is your most priceless possession?

Ok, I’m sure you will all say very different answers and none will be wrong. They are simply what you believe is priceless to you at this point in time.

I believe, that your attitude is, specifically, your attitude of gratitude is your most priceless possession. And you need to keep it in check regularly and you do this by structuring in what I refer to as ‘moments of reflection‘ to refresh, restore and/or renew your views, rejuvenate your approach and reestablish your positive focus.

This is (reflection) of your mental attitude is a very important key to your adaptation to the changing landscape in the environments you find yourself in. Do this regularly to repair the damage of wear and tear to your attitude. Life is not a sprint and sometimes we are all guilty of living as if it were. In a grand Prix race, the eventual winner isn’t necessarily the driver that just speeds endlessly and never stops. No, the eventual winner is usually the person who structures in regular “pit stop” into the race with his support crew.

Pit-stops here could be weekends, holidays or vacations that you use to stop, slow down, revive and readjust and then … move on.

You see, your attitude, is your mental position on facts or more simply, how you view things. Remember, your attitude is contagious and affects everyone who comes in contact with you either in person or on the telephone.

Your attitude is not only reflected by your tone of voice but also by the way you stand or sit, your facial expression and in other non-verbal ways.

Stopping to reflect, is a vital key to adjust your attitude if you need to.

An attitude of gratitude is the foundation of a thankful spirit & a grateful heart. There is real magic in this because a thankful spirit has the power to replace many negative worldviews.

As I reflect, I believe an attitude of gratitude has the power to replace anger with love;

Displace resentment with peace;

Supplant fear with faith;

Restore worry with peace;

Substitute the desire to dominate with the wish to play on a team;

Supersede self-preoccupation with concern for the needs of others;

Return sexual impurity with honor and respect;

Replenish jealousy with joy at another’s success;

Renew lack of creativity with inspired productivity;

Take the place of inferiorities with dignity;

And …

Replace a lack of love with an abundance of self-sharing.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Your attitude is never static, it is an on-going dynamic, sensitive, perceptive process.

The attitude you choose to display is entirely up to you. It is a choice. One needs to always take time to take stock regularly, to reflect. One needs to go through the process of self evaluation which leads to attitude renewal or adjustment. There is no other way, no escape.

Always striving to have an attitude of gratitude in everything you say and do to reduce the risk of a high “say:do” ratio or gap. Bringing these two factors in to alignment will help you immensely.

Having a positive attitude, is, in my opinion, the most powerful and priceless personality characteristic you can possess. There is no such thing as remaining neutral when it comes to attitude – you either contribute or subtract from a better personal or work environment.

The old Captain Viking Pirate at his favourite beach. Find your ‘quiet time’. Your place of peace. Here I am at one of mine.
Regular moments of reflection.

From my experience, having a positive attitude or always trying to adopt an attitude of gratitude is one of the main keys to success in any problem solving procedure or major lifestyle change or managing your transition to the many phases of life. 

Remember, life is about energy and your ability to manage energy. A positive attitude or an attitude of gratitude can certainly provide higher energy levels, greater creativity and an improved personality. Put simply, a positive helpful attitude can cause good things to happen to you. … even to such an extent where a person not considered beautiful by physical standards (someone that is ugly) can still be regarded as beautiful with a cheerful positive outlook.

Adopting a philosophy of an attitude of gratitude and consistently working towards using it in your daily life puts you in a more favourable position to win the game of life in all directions: personal satisfaction, strong relationships and success in a meaningful career.

So, how’s your attitude right now?

Stop. Reflect. Take Stock. Re-stock. Re-adjust. March on ….

 

Cheers & Ahoy!!!

 

Until next time,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & thoughts on attitude of gratitude.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Showing your kids through marrying up your words and actions is an important habit. Bestowing them with examples of embracing an ”attitude of gratitudë” in everything you say and do is one of the best gifts you can pass on. I’m sure you do already. 
Vv.

Side Chest Pose with the Top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the World.
Year: 2007
Venue: in NY, USA (representing Australia)
NOTE: I believe an áttitude of gratitude’ helped me go all the way to the top echelon in the world in my chosen sport. Being the best at natural bodybuilding requires the management of many key habits/variables (on a micro and macro level). One of the keys to my success in 2 World Championships was my habitual practise of ‘moments of reflection’ to continuously keep me going when the going got tough. And believe me, there were many instances when I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’

 

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