I remember sitting with adults when I was a kid, Listening to their stories. They would say –
“Paul, why don’t you go and play with your cousins & friends outside”
I would reply –
“No, there will be time to play with them later”
I’ve listened to hundreds of other people’s stories when I owned & managed my Family Gym for 7 years.
I love 💕 telling stories.
I believe there is power in storytelling.
It begins in the home.
It begins in the Home…. Practising the art of Storytelling, that is.
Home is where the foundation of storytelling starts. I recall listening to my dad & his close friend’s tell stories around the Kava bowl. In the home, I got a strong 💪 foundation… Of a past that lends my existence a place, a sense of belonging, a historical context.
Home is where stories get passed on for generations. I have continued with this 💝alentine tradition. My two kids can retell the stories I tell .. because they have heard them countless times. And as my daughter says –
“Dad, it keeps changing all the time”
And I say –
“Aaaahhh… yes, my dear … that is where facts and imagination fuse in the optimum place”
Home is where I was told that I am built like & physically intelligent like my grandfather, Ben Valentine. A powerful & skilful National heavyweight boxing champion, going undefeated for 3 years in his prime.
Home is where I heard stories of my quirkiness from early age & my creative & innovative nature in my early youth. I heard stories of my country of birth through the filter of my own genealogy.
Struggles, family migrations, family triumphs, as well as ancestral successes & failures were taught to me through the history of my 💝alentine Family.
In my Home now, it is a place where I build my own legacy: through my love 😍 for history & storytelling, I have shared & will share more stories I was told in my youth with my children.
Always, adding my generation’s story to this 💝alentine Novel in progress. I’ve always believed the REAL histories of families aren’t the records of births, deaths & marriages. No, to me …
… they are the stories told after dinner, while having chocolate or dessert. So full and satisfied.
For i have learned many things so far, and one important one is the importance of LEGACY.
Legacy is fueled by US… in our family. It is fueled by ME. And all this evolves from our history… our family stories passed down …
Is there anything we read, hear or see ‘the truth’ anymore? THere are so many lies propagated in the media in today’s world. There is one truth – if a lie is being told and repeated enough .. the lie will eventually be believed to be a truth.
What is the truth when it comes to the covid-19 virus? There are many questions that should be asked and no question should be left out and put in an “out-of-the-question “ basket. With so much information at our fingertips, and most contradicting one another, one of our biggest risks is is our inability to sieve through the bullshit to …. Find the Truth.
I just don’t know what to believe anymore. One minute, one ‘expert’ says one thing … another minute, another expert says something else. Even the so-called experts and professional analysts cannot agree on the truth. They usually speak from their own self-interest and try to sell their ‘version of the truth’.
What have we learned in the aftermath of this pandemic?
A question I ask is – why has the containment of this virus 🦠 done already … like six months ago? Why has it taken so long?
What have we learned in the aftermath of this pandemic?
What has each individual country learned and what have we learned as human beings? One obvious thing is that the biggest threat to our existence is not something huge like a war or terrorist acts… it is the very very small (viral or bacterial) that we should be more fearful of. We should be more scared of the INVISIBLES … of what we CANNOT SEE with our naked eyes than … what we CAN SEE.
If you look at probabilities, there is a high probability (greater than 90%) that the virus originated from the Wuhann Lab, in China. The likelihood that the virus originated from “a Lab” is high. Then, it follows that, the likelihood that it originated from the Wuhann Lab is very high.
A question we should be asking is – was there a prior epidemic of this virus … that has allowed this current viral strain to be very effective in spreading? If it came from the Wuhann Lab, what were the protocols/internal controls used at the time? Why was this allowed to happen? On the other hand, if it wasn’t the Wuhann lab, we should be told that it wasn’t. If it was from nature, we deserve to be told. If it was from another lab, we need to know that , too. Why aren’t the governments giving us answers to these questions?
In other fields, say, in manufacturing, if a machine worker narrowly misses death when using a Machine or only loses a limb or his/her life, most businesses would do everything possible to NOT LET that happen again. In a factory setting, they would put up clear signs, get employees further training, counselling, boundaries indicated, protective gear and so forth…
And why? It was a “lucky break “ and control measures put in to mitigate the worst situation (losing a life) does not happen again in the future.
Why weren’t the voices that were raised in concern or this virus back in 2015 not listened to and taken seriously? What protocols were overlooked leading up to this pandemic? Why was the process off-shored to China? Did our current systems allow this? Who was responsible for this system at that time? Why hasn’t people brought to justice yet? Who is responsible for this pandemic? Governments collectively?
Is this going to be another case of INFLUENZA?
… and we will not find a cure and eliminate it but will just have to live with it.
Will it become part of our new “normal “ like the influenza virus has become? Living with the FLU virus has been a huge cost to governments and nations. Imagine the cost of living with the Covid forever? The cost to people’s well-being and the economy will be astronomical…& possibly incalculable.
** Here’s the thing:the ABILITY to ELIMINATE the disease goes down the longer we delay to have EFFECTIVE RESPONSES… to take control of its spread. It will be too late when large numbers of people catch this disease and their mutations and selections will result in adaptations that we just could not possibly manage.
Then we’ve got a HUGE PROBLEM!!
Medicine has come a long way. Yes, it has. The pertinent question is … is this going to be another case of influenza? I feel it will be.
If you look back in history, you will find that hospitals were dangerous places in the 18th century. One eminent Victorian surgeon commented that –
“a patient laid on an operating table … is exposed to more chances of death than the English soldier on the field of Waterloo.”
18th century medicine was not very effective. With all our advances in technology and medicine, can we say that 21st century medicine is ‘effective’ in it’s management of covid?
In the 19th century, Mary Wortley Montagu went back home with the smallpox inoculation/vaccine from Turkey but had a difficult time finding Doctors who would share this with people, given many were not willing to destroy a significant stream of their revenue. Even if it was for the good of mankind. Doctors were looking out for their own self-interests.
After the French Revolution, patients with similar symptoms were grouped together in wards. Doctors started to recognise and treat illnesses as ENTITIES in themselves rather than regarding complaints as being inseparable from individuals.
Is this happening in today’s world? Are beds and access to medical treatment going to be a “bidding war?” will the beds And medical professionals only be given to those with money as it was back in the 19th century?
Medicine … using vocabulary of the Military.
Also, in the late 19th century, medicine started using the vocabulary of the military, referring to diseases and germs similar in concept to enemy invasion.
Words like breakthroughs, defeats, and destruction and “let’s fight this”. Nowadays, they use phrases like ‘we’re in this together’. Like many other scientific metaphors used in the past, these images operated both ways:
Reflecting how illness was conceived
Affecting how foreigners should be treated
Back then, wealthy nations tried to defend themselves against infectious immigrants just as bodies had to be protected against viruses or microbes. This analogy was used. Question is – is it still being used today?
You see, diseases had usually been blamed on foreigners and this case of covid is no different. It also provides new grounds for rationally explaining old fears.
And what are these “old fears?”
Prejudices against race and cleanliness could now be given a “scientific label”. This was utilised by many wealthy nations back in history. Is it still being used now?
Is this one way of the government setting up a screening program to assess citizens health? Are our DNA (through swabs) just another way of science and governments finding out more about each individual? How can this be used against us?
Could the increased awareness through advertising, as “medical security “ really patchy vetting procedures … say, to allow rich immigrants easier process into more wealthy nations? Is this simply a tool to help curb unwanted immigrants?
Governments have had a history of controlling diseases by curtailing individual freedom… which is the same objection given by anti-vaccination supporters.
In science, often what seems straightforward in the labs proves quite complex outside the labs.
Over a century ago, Robert Koch, the German bacteriologist, shot to fame for identifying the organism responsible for Industrial Europe’s biggest killer – tuberculosis (TB).
Even though Koch proved that nobody could catch TB without first, being exposed to the TB, he was unable to explain why only about 10 % of people became infected. What sort of rates exist for the covid? Apart from age, are certain races more at risk?
During Koch’s time, it was found that the “Cure rate” for TB, proved lower than had been hoped. The enemy agent (similar to the covid strain identified today), had been identified but it seemed to leave many potential victims unscathed. Back then, many concluded that many individuals were somehow tainted in advance or had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible to getting covid.
Over one hundred years later, society has learned to “live with the disease “ – TB, that is. TB was, only recently, given an identity as a contagious disease that circulates in squalid city slums. A mark of inferiority rather than aesthetic vulnerability.
At one time, to contract TB, was to invite scorn… it was a matter of shame… making it out to be that patients had been picked out rather than innocent victims of neural microbes.
TB was as bad a stigma as contracting syphilis, blamed on prostitutes. Society attitudes stayed this way until towards the end of the 20 th century. Cancer became the new TB…. The big C that could not be mentioned by name.
Given how long it has been for us to respond to the covid strain and managing it, it is highly likely that, we won’t find a cure … but instead, just learn to live with disease, like we did with TB, over the last one hundred years.
A lot of deaths.
A quick reference on Google on world-stats indicates that as of 9th July 2021, there were a little over 4,000,000 covid-related deaths, with the USA heading the tally with > 623,000, followed closely behind by Brazil at 530,000 and then India at > 400,00 and so on. Australia has just under 1,000 deaths. So, there has been over 4 million deaths in just over a year since it began.
A lot of deaths.
In 1999, the American Institute of Medicine published a landmark investigation called “To Err is Human”. It reported that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of preventable medical errors.
Lucian Leape, a Harvard professor put it higher (at 120,000 in America alone) estimated that a million patients are injured by errors during hospital treatment.
In 2013, a study done & published in the journal of patient safety put the number of premature deaths associated with “preventable harm “ at more than 400,000 per year (in America, alone). Compare this to the number of deaths caused attributed to Covid and it is comparable. But, no one is alarmed at this knowledge because not much is said about it and so not much is known about it, by the majority of people.
Preventable harm included –
Dispensing wrong drugs
Injuring patient during surgery
Operating on the wrong part of the body
Peter J. Pronovost, professor at Johns Hopkins school of medicine testified at senate pointing out that the deaths was equivalent of two jumbo jets falling out of the sky every day for an entire year! Comparing and saying –
“Every two months, 9-11 is occurring.”
Can you imagine, news headlines repeating information of deaths caused by the crashing of two jumbo jets EVERY DAY! It would cause utter chaos .. that could lead to an up-rising. Possibly. The public has lost a lot of trust in the medical systems and are turning to alternative medicines in droves. Question is why has it got to this point?
Why do we tolerate these numbers …. These stats in preventable harm in this area of life when we would not tolerate it in any other sector? We don’t tolerate the covid-related death toll numbers, so, why has the medical profession knowingly or unknowingly, hid this information from the public … year after year?
Upon further study, you will find that the numbers put preventable error in hospitals as the biggest killer in the United States – behind only heart disease and cancer. Can you imagine that?! Third highest!!
And these are just numbers for the USA, what about when we add all the other numbers from other countries? What sort of numbers would that total to? Highly likely be greater than the 4,000,000 reported deaths relating to covid.
This Affects ALL OF US.
But those numbers are incomplete and definitely higher now.
However, it is not just the number of deaths that should alarm us, there is also the non-lethal harm caused by preventable error. Back in that 2013 study, this equated to about 1000 preventable deaths AND 10,000 preventable serious complications per day …
The problem is not a small group of crazy, homicidal incompetent doctors going around causing havoc. Medical errors follow a normal, bell-shaped distribution.
They occur most often not when clinicians get bored or lazy or malign, but when they are going about their business with diligence and concern … but these mistakes STILL happen!
Imagine the flow-on negative effect it had on the patient, their family and friends, their community and wider.
The Biggest Risk right now, as I see it…
Strong Social connections allow for a better and longer life. There are decades of evidence from communities suffering the reverse phenomenon: the gradual loss of social ties.
A study by James House, published in the journal SCIENCE concluded that social isolation is as dangerous for health as obesity’s, inactivity and smoking. The evidence was as strong as in the landmark US government report that in 1964 officially linking smoking with lung cancer.
The House report says that social isolation is actually more dangerous than lack of exercise and obesity. This is the biggest risk right now, as I see it … in most western societies- deaths exacerbated by social isolation due to covid restrictions.
This is probably the single most powerful behavioural finding in the world.
Social isolation is indeed a death sentence!, I believe, as much a threat to iur survival as hunger, thirst or pain. If individuals are deprived or it – “human contact” (as imposed by covid restrictions), the extreme case is we can start to become attached to innanjmate objects. This is demonstrated by Tom Hank’s character on the movie CASTAWAY, who has a meaningful relationship with a volleyball he calls Wilson.
Will this pandemic lead to increased purchases or innanimate objects for companionship? More sales for the IT industry?
Lesson: this AFFECTS ALL of us.
Why do so many mistakes still happen?
Well, I will leave that for a future blog.
So many questions still left unanswered, about our past … our present …. And our future.
But, as they say …. That is JUST LIFE.
You can choose to enjoy your ‘one life’ and worry about what YOU CAN CONTROL … and NOT WORRY about what YOU CANNOT CONTROL.
May God continue to shower his blessing on you and your family and loved ones,
When you’ve done something wrong and/or have wronged someone, you firstly need to take FULL responsibility for it.
You repent because you realise that, that inexcusable wrong can be judged or forgiven. Inexcusable wrongs can never be understood and overlooked. Fake Repentant people seek and beg for forgiveness, with no thought of deserving it.
Yes, you read that right, they don’t deserve it.
That is not fair – to the person that has been wronged and not fair for the person who has wronged.
To gain trust back, perpetrators need to own their “inconvenient truth” (to borrow a phrase from US Vice President Al Gore).
Truly Repentant people are people who finally understand God’s amazing grace. When you truly seek repentance, know you need only to confess to experience the forgiveness from God Almighty.
Forgiveness is ALWAYS there in infinite supply.
Recently, I got into a very big argument with my wife of twenty years. It was probably the biggest blue we’ve had in our time together. It involved her and my family. To get straight to the point, I was an Asshole … well, okay, I was a HUUGGE Asshole! I even called myself one during the fight.
Alcohol was involved. Correction: excessive alcohol was involved.
On reflection, it is quite obvious that I was being a selfish prick! Yep, you read that right. I was being a thoughtless spouse. And here I was imagining that on my deathbed, my children and wife will remember me for many things but for mostly being the most THOUGHTFUL human being they have ever known.
After this incident, that dream/imagination may not manifest into reality. I fucked up, and my selfish choice was not “thoughtful “. I simply fucked up!
You see, whether we are adulterers or thoughtless spouses (like me, in this instance), the problem with all of us is one of perspective. Instead of thinking of our thoughtlessness (in words or actions/deeds) as INEXCUSABLE SELFISH CHOICES, we stubbornly regard our interpersonal failures as UNDERSTANDABLE MISTAKES. Understandable mistakes, can you believe that?! It comes down to a small but significant factor of perspective, or the way we view something.
And in my recent case: I clearly made a selfish choice and my perspective was NOT the right one.
Seek to understand first.
I’m not one for giving excuses or listening to excuses, but during and after that big argument, I found myself giving excuses. It just rolled out of my tongue and the strange thing was that I was fully aware of this roll-out while it was happening. And here’s the catch: I did not stop this conveyor belt of excuses.
When I reflect, I realise that excuse-making has been a part of almost every area of life that has humans participating. Excuse-making has been a natural tendency in people since, I guess, Adam blamed Even for eating the apple and … Eve blamed the Snake for persuading her. It’s been around for a long while.
I guess, without some form of self-justification, we are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, just as we truly are … not necessarily, the image the mirror reflects.
Now, based on how I argued in that fight, the standards I adhered to fell very short of God’s standards. My actions and words deserved punishment.
I read somewhere that a wise person seeks to understand before wanting to be understood.
That is something I need to improve in my life. What about yours?
Joy evolves from misery.
When we really look at ourselves in the mirror and truly see ourselves as we are, would we accept our status as sinners.
And what are sinners? Sinners, like me, are worthy of judgement. We are powerless to improve ourselves … and are humbled that our best deeds provide no defence.
That is how Joy evolves from misery. Throughout my experience and learning from other people’s experiences, I’ve learned that those who make themselves naked and vulnerable and basically more human, are the ones who get the most trust.
Or at least, get part of or most of the lost trust back.
It is through the process of embracing genuine nakedness, humility and vulnerability, that you find your AUTHENTIC SELF.
I believe, moving closer to your authentic self is not only where life BEGINS but also …. Where JOY blooms and your GROWTH CONTINUES.
Now, as a Physique Artist, I regularly strip down to a pair of “g-strings” on stage, under very strong lights to display the ‘flow of muscles’ … and ‘paint a picture of moving art’, using my sculpted physique, from my heart … to the hearts of the audience.
It is one of the closest you can get to being naked, humble and vulnerable. By being vulnerable, humble and exposed, I find you allow yourself to be more open and transparent. This is important for any relationship. For me and my wife, this is vital. Always has been.
I am an “open book” and this nakedness, this humility, this vulnerableness, demonstrates to her that that I have nothing to hide ( or an impression anyway).
Now, allow yourself to strip yourself of EGO and wear your “G-STRING of YOUR SOUL”. That takes COURAGE. Seek Courage… for without courage, no great achievement is every attainable.
For me, in all my most important relationships, Trust is vital. It is one of the key foundation stones of my 21 year relationship with the most important woman in the world to me- my wife.
Did you have a father that invested a great deal of time and energy in to your life? Or was he in the shadows … or almost never around.
In my 7 years of owning and managing my Family Gym, I came to really know men from all backgrounds and status in society. My gym membership was about 70% male.
Over time, I came to notice correlations and strong causation between their behaviour as grown men and their relationship with their dads in their childhood. It didn’t matter which race, culture or status, there were some strong connections.
Happy Men & Not-so-happy Men.
Do you consider yourself a “Happy Man?”
Who are the happiest Men in society? Not by any kind of horizontal segmentation but as a species – “male”.
I think there are Happy Men and the not-so-happy men in our modern-day societies.
Experience has indicated that the men who are the happiest and most content in the masculine role today are those whose fathers put in the time and effort in their upbringing. And continue to do so.
I’ll refer to them as the “Happy Dads” in society.
These Happy Dads had dads who were around to begin with. Dads that were committed to maintaining a positive, nurturing, encouraging relationship with their sons. These Fathers of Happy Dads provided that secure foundation and supported their sons in their ups and downs.
The sons (Happy Dads) had support from their Fathers with their careers and decisions they made and acknowledged their achievements.
These Happy Dads had dads that were just “there for them”. No excuses, full-stop!
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
That consistent loving time spent with their sons (not “quality “‘time), paid off … in time. These Father’s sons, who the the Happy Dads of today are, I believe, among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our modern-day societies.
Are they increasing? Are they easily recognised?
Does he look like you? Your friend, maybe?
I believe these well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers is and has been on the decline. They could be safely said to be in the “minority “.
Normally, I would say that in a democratic society, the majority should rule. In this instance, I believe that this minority should rule … these men should be the norm and not rare and abnormal.
We need these types of men … Happy Dads … to flourish again and increase.
What do we do? How do we go about this?
I believe it is up to me, you and … all the current dads/fathers reading this and out there with young sons… to commit to these young impressionable souls.
The majority of men today are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm and validate them at some level … or all levels.
These sons (who are now fathers/dads/husbands themselves), are left with a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear & anger. A lot of these men never had a choice in having their father in their lives as the mothers decided to bring them up as single parent.
I believe a big percentage of These adult sons are the angry men of our societies.
We need to stop rearing angry men.
If you’re part of the minority that is, the Happy Men, congratulations 🎉! Go and give your old man a hug and tell him you love him…. and just give him thanks for being there for you through your tumultuous years of youth.
Passing on the instructions of good decision-making to my daughter is fundamental to my role as her father. Much guidance is given by the Bible.
Wisdom stems from the discipline of Character.
I also ask myself the question of what is the GOAL of a Father’s advice to his children?
It is clear to me that the Goal of a father’s Godly instruction MUST be spiritual and must stem from the insight learned in Proverb’s WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE or UNDERSTANDING.
But, I don’t believe this wisdom is from Academic Achievements measured by membership to University boards or clubs or some Ivy League College. No, I believe this “wisdom” goes beyond scholastic wins. It goes to a place few dare to go.
That place is – MORAL RESPONSIBILITY. Getting there is difficult. Staying there is far greater a challenge.
Like Father – like son.
The Power of Discretion and Discernment.
It ALL boils down to decision-making, the mastery of this Art. Many Leaders and would-be leaders spend years at universities trying to learn the many tools that assist and help them make decisions.
To live prudently means to make decisions that are NOT based a whim or changing appetite but knowing right from wrong. This is the skill and power of discretion or discernment. Exactly what the Bible, Proverbs prescribed.
Whenever I make a decision in my children’s presence, I have a “walk-through “ how I arrived at that decision (s). I let them know the THINKING 🤔 BEHIND THE INTELLIGENCE. I mention the KEY components like – the initial assessment of risks; the consequences it could lead to if not addressed with mitigating controls; the probability/likelihood of the consequences occurring (with and without mitigating controls) and the possible impact, to self and others.
And then factoring in what my heart ♥️ & soul tells me too.
Such instruction DOES NOT presume that the child somehow already knows what’s best. So, if you’re thinking of having kids or have very young kids, I believe that parents need to instruct and educate them from the earliest years.
They must be shown, trained and taught to tell the truth rather than lies; to respect the property of others rather than take for themselves; that harming anyone else is unacceptable;
And … to hold and RESPECT THE MIRACLE OF LIFE... whether it is flora or fauna or human, in respectful and highest regard.
All the very best in your decisions, big and small and may God continue to shower his blessings on you and your family and cherished ones.
cheers & ahoy from beautiful Sydney, Australia!!
* Dr. of Muscle/Energy Aesthetics & 💝itality/❤️Ove *
Children need a good framework to build their character on. Your instructions as a parent and the guidance given in Proverbs in the Bible are great tools ⚒️ to harness.
Think 🤔. To Really think, does not only involve the brain 🧠. It involves the mind, the heart ❤️, the spirit and the “essence of life” – 💝itality. It includes the blessings of Wisdom.
I AM. I an Entrepreneur of IMAGINATION. Through Mastery of Self, I am able to be an Agent of Creative Destruction to allow the release of new ideas … new thinking … and a new Meaning. Meaning is the NEW MONEY.
Building a Physique of high quality dense muscle that is balanced & symmetrical on a human being takes an high understanding of striking a balance between control and creativity.
Successful Businesses now and in near future need leaders who understand HOW to strike a balance between control and creativity in organisations…
.. if they are to survive and thrive. Business Leaders need to think like Physique Artists ... like designers.
”Businesspeople don’t need to understand designers better. They need to be designers.”
– ROGER MARTIN, dean, Rottman School of Management
Here’s how the principles of physique artistry can be used in the Corporate World.
Believe. Embrace Creative Destruction. You never know what you’ll discover.
What it takes.
My sport found me at 19.
It was and is the hardest sport an individual can participate in. The sport name is : bodybuilding. The great Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most famous bodybuilding champion and has done and still contributes to the wellness & fitness industry.
I like to refer to it as : Physique Artistry.
To master the “Art” you need to master – YOU.
It is the fusion of science 🧬/engineering and art(design/creativity).
I got to the Top of my sport. Representing Australia to two consecutive world 🌎 NATURAL bodybuilding championships in New York, USA.
It was a 10 year goal (To stand on the world stage against the best in the world). I developed and managed the best execution of a 10 year plan. I achieved (& exceeded) the goal in that time by making the Finals (Top 5) in both championships.
It took /takes a lot to build muscle.
It took much much more knowledge to Sculpt a “physique “. One that leans towards “ better balance & symmetry “. Consistency, focus, persistence and belief got tested in the journey towards my best. It took learning to“listen” to the myriad of feedback signals the human body and mind Gives you, positive or negative feedback. Being “in-tune” with yourself is key 🔑 to success in this sport.
Sticking to the plan and making changes based on feedback signals ⚒️ I have (the mirror, the scale, energy levels …) where and when necessary to changing circumstances was part and parcel of the journey. It was science 🧬 & art constantly fused together. It is one of the reasons I love the art/science of physique artistry – it feeds in to my thirst for learning.
I know “what it takes.” A big part of this is the “connection “ I have with me … and my enhanced listening /detective abilities of the myriads of feedback my body gives me.
One of my Top 3 Physique Artists of all time. Balanced & symmetrical ==> beauty. And when you CREATE your beauty my friend is … When you discover your TRUTH.
Tomorrow’s Organisations need to create a culture that supports feedback and embrace creativity and “Imagine BETTER”.
In creating a physique that is worthy to represent your country against the best in the world, you need a very good understanding of balancing Control and creativity.
As a physique artist I am constantly tearing down the old me … designing the new me, from within… I have to continue to let my imagination and heart lead me. I am constantly trying to IMAGINE BETTER.
That is what business leaders of tomorrow need to be: Entrepreneurs of Imagination. By testing and exceeding our own personal limits, can society’s horizons be expanded and enriched. That is the way all civilisations innovated .
As Fredrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) said –
“ whoever must be a creator always annihilates”
As a Champion Physique Artist I need to not only continually monitor what can be controlled in the “micro-environment “ but also the macro-environment. All this is balanced with the creativity and freedom needed to “push-boundaries “ in training and nutrition.
Excelling in physique artistry requires you to continuously assess actions and evaluate feedback from your body. You need to embrace feedback, whether it is negative or positive and constantly ‘tweak’ existing or create new processesses to and environment that is very dynamic and rapidly changing.
“Creativity is the manifestation of the playful spirit of a creator having fun.”
As a Physique Artist, I see the whole body as one but I see it as having many moving parts. An important task I have to do is ensure that all the parts ‘flow together’ and are in ‘harmony’ in an ever-changing environment. Depending on feedback received and assessed, I will be able to have the courage to try new things or ‘new ways’ and still achieve the desired results or better. and ‘getting it right’.
In organisations, there are lot of different parts/divisions and they need to all work together, in relative harmony and effective communication in these relationships, between these divisions is the key.
All good and effective feedback has a strong 💪 foundation of strong 💪 relationships. Feedback should come from someone the recipient respects and has built a good relationship with.
In my experience, for feedback to be most effective, however, it helps that the parties involved need to see the persons as “people” first and foremost instead of titles & roles. This allows people to let their guard down and feel comfortable to take risks and fail. It is the ‘fear of failure’ that stalls new ways of thinking about doing things and this is emphasised by some organisations in bad performance reviews.
Freedom to be vulnerable is a contributor to creative thinking. This freedom is not encouraged by many organisations. Those that do encourage this freedom and build processes and systems that encourage and foster creative-thinking idea formulation will increase their chances of remaining competitive in fast-changing, increasingly uncertain world we live in.
Just like I have done for many many years as a physique artist and an entrepreneur.
These are Key ingredients for successful creative thinking & innovative behaviour.
Keep your dreams alive . Snd if you’re going to dream … Dream BIG. You serve no one by being and thinking small. Think BIG!
Get your hands dirty, to find the diamond.
A key part of effective organisations is having well-oiled processes that are aligned with the overall mission of the organisation (make profit, increase market share etc). This is the same for building a Physique that is beautiful, that is, ‘flows’ with balance and symmetry. A physique that exudes great design.
There are many Systems for feedback that I use with physique artistry. One of my key systems, I call it the “3-step to showing my diamond💎 to the world“:
mining ⛏– how I manage (mix n match all the variables – how much cardio, how long, what type? Best food combos ? ). Organisations need a process of how employees are to voice grievance with others . Maybe write down “why”. Here’s where you “get your hands dirty “.
2. Re-fining : making sure that I make the right substitutions at the right time (from the larger goal … to monthly and weekly and daily goals). This is where the bulk of my time is Spent – in the beginning when working through the process of setting goals.
Organisations need to separate the “facts”‘from emotions and “he says” – “she says”. Leaders and participants in this “feedback “ process, needs to Spend time here. Refining.
3. Defining: once my goals (micro & macro employees should have the ability to re-write what they wrote initially after learning about all the other information in the two stages. This is a stage of reflection. How can you do or say things better?
Processes of feedback could be done this way, for example.
In their book, “Thanks for the Feedback”, Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen stressed that feedback is about the quality of relationship, as I mentioned earlier –
“Feedback isn’t about the quality of the advice or the accuracy of the assessments. It’s about the quality of the relationships, your willingness to show that you don’t have it all figured out, and to bring your whole self – flaws, uncertainties, and all – into the relationship.”
It is the formula I use to project manage my building of muscle & the design & creativity I apply. I need to keep introducing these principles to encourage muscle growth and burn fat.
I love this quote. Increasing your awareness is parameters to having clarity and success in your life. SEARCH. Become the BEST ‘searcher’ you can be. One day .. you may find ALL the answers you’re seeking for YOUR questions to give ‘meaning’ to your life. A wonderful book says – “Seek and ye shall find; Ask and ye shall receive.” True.
Feedback: Food for Champions. Organisations to allow “feedback” to be seen as “Opportunities to learn”.
That is exactly the approach I take when listening to the various feedback loops my body gives me – the micro and the macro: I always see it as an opportunity to learn.
I see all feedback as “food for champions “.
Personally, I’ve Always had a “feedback – seeking behaviour. I subsequently found out that it is a self-regulatory trait in learning & orientation. Probably explain why I’ve always believed in learning from someone who “has skin in the game” in every key area in life.
To me, it is part of a “Champion mindset “. Being eternally curious like me, demonstrates an awareness of feeling psychologically safe enough to proactively seek out feedback with the intention for self-improvement.
Organisations and its leaders need to emphasise a “learning environment “ instead of one based on fear. Evolving a “Culture of Learning’ is key to success and emphasising the importance of having a ‘growth mind-set’. Having a growth mind-set is part-and-parcel of being a great Physique Artist.
But, bear in mind there are no perfect learning people, even if you have a close-to-perfect feedback system like the human body.
To dig deep, you have to dig deep. To find “YOU “, you need to Mine … for your diamond 💎…Re-fine YOU… and then Define … your BEST YOU.
Feedback is essential to enhancing effectiveness and creativity but the feedback process needs good design.
There are no perfect feedback systems. All business people need to be good designers.
Most adults are wired to fear failure. It’s drummed into people by our archaic outdated education systems.
Organisations suffer because staff are afraid to take risks as there isn’t an environment that encourages this. In physique artistry, it’s important to feel the freedom to take “calculated risks” on key aspects that will have a dramatic effect on your final outcome.
just like I need to create the right environment, an environment that encourages an anabolic response from muscles 💪, an organisation needs to create a culture where failing is not the focus.
Businesses will need leadership has the ability and fortitude to experiment with novel combinations. This inspiration-centred approach will inevitably have many mistakes but the journey from innovation to commodity is so swift that individuals and organisations must be relentless if they are to remain competitive.
For a organisation, The question is what should you do with the failure? What can we learn from it? A great physique artist learns to have a strong 💪 “connection “ with his self … it is a strong relationship, one based on experimentation, process and reflection and assessment (using the mirror is a key component – the mirror does not lie).
As Trevor Baylis, INVENTOR said –
“The key to success is to risk thinking unconventional thoughts. Convention is the enemy of progress. As long as you’ve got slightly more perception than the average wrapped loaf, your could invent something.”
That is, what organisations need to do through the feedback process : to focus on the human connection… the relationship and building that “emotional labour”. Developing and going through the process of reflection and “looking in the mirror “ and actually asking the RIGHT questions:
why do they do the things the say they do?
Is there a better way?
What are their intrinsic values ?
Are these values tied to their purpose
How are they giving value to their loca & global communities.
Most Innovation and inventions and breakthroughs come from reassembling existing ideas in new, creative ways.
I love Trees. Be like a Tree. Let go of old ways of doing things … like trees let go of their leaves … each season to allow for new fresh ones (ideas) to evolve.
Neurons that wire together, fire 🔥 together!!
The leaders of tomorrow’s successful organisations need to create and maintain an environment that fosters support for risk-taking and creativity.
This will lead to innovation.
The organisation needs to encourage vulnerable behaviour, openness…. this evolves from More trust, more care and more patience. And this should come from the top and filter down through all the levels of the organisation.
The culture is to be fuelled by a change of thinking … a re-wiring of the brain🧠 to create a way of thinking that does not fear failure. And not just with words or “window-dressing “. It should be authentic.
The environment should be one that fosters “Champion Feelings and Champion Thinking. An organisation that focuses on feedback being a learning experience and opportunity, like a good physique artist does with his self.
Lesrning to have Champion Feelings and Champion thinking is Something that all employees can learn to be better at. This is encouraged with feedback processes that is there to enhance learning. Organisations where employees are allowed to be themselves and be comfortable being vulnerable.
Build your bridge from where you are to … where you desire to be. A lot of times, it pays to get help from an experienced builder… who “walks the walk” ..& not all “just talk”
Mr Vulnerable, where are you … come out, come out … wherever you are!
In much of today’s modern society, allowing oneself to be vulnerable is not something that is encouraged. There are “pockets of this kind of behaviour “ here and there, but on the whole, It is frowned upon.
Men should never show weakness and vulnerability. It requires a lot of courage from employees (especially men). What is needed is undying support from leaders of the organisation.
As we know, learning can be painful (and i have learned many painful lessons lifting weights in the gym). The key thing is to allow yourself to learn to be better at “being comfortable being uncomfortable “.
Learning, like muscle growth, needs stimulation and involveschange snd adaptation. It is the process of adaptation that new muscle grows (.new exercise techniques to maximise growth). In businesses, change and adaptation happens when it wrestles with new ways of doing things and continually asking questions.
Questions that forces them to question the way they do things, Even what they think is “what’s best” or “correct “.
Here’s something I learned along the way to the Top of my sport of Physique Artistry:
“You have to be willing to be wrong! That is what leaders of tomorrow’s organisations should be focused on to foster environments that encourages more creativity.” And why is Creativity important? If you’re not exercising creativity, you may as well be dead.
“To cease to think creatively is only slightly different from ceasing to live.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Less fear, happier employees, more creativity. Better productivity? Better profits? Is there a strong correlation, at least?
I know there is.
I’ve got – not one, but two world championships Trophies 🏆 & medals 🏅& have designed and run several successful businesses to prove it.
Quality lean muscle that “flows” takes time & a goal of balance & symmetry
The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺
On the other end of the spectrum.
In a past phase of life, I was a Business Advisor and Corporate Consultant to a number of multinationals. I specialised in “cleaning up other people’s messes” and correcting accounting treatment errors and assessing Risks for companies. I enjoyed the relationship management side of things.
In one particular consulting firm, I went to one of the Firm’s many corporate functions. It was the usual shit, people talking about trivial unimportant things like the weather. In this particular function, one of my colleagues on a similar seniority level to me approached me and said –
“Paul, I can tell you don’t want to be here. I’m the spectrum of connections, everyone here would be on one end … the “superficial end, and you, my friend… you’re all the way on the other end of the spectrum.”
I said –
“you’re right. I’m leaving. Goodbye.”
I took my tie off and left the function.
I resigned from that role, not too long after that. … buying a gym and operating other businesses of interest.
Friends that workout together … stay together? Some of the family of gym members that called my gym ….. our gym .. their gym. Lovely people in a lovely phase of life.
Old-school Gym with a modern twist.
In one phase of my life, I owned & managed Australia’s Longest-running Gym at that time. I poured my heart & soul into it… I ran it like a Family.
The gym was old-school traditional with a lot of history. For example, the great 7 x Mr Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger trained in this gym when he was Mr O (the @mrolympiallc was held in Sydney, Australia in 1980, which he won, after a 5 year lay-off). He even took a few famous photos in this gym, of him, going through some of his poses.
Frank Zane, arguably one of the most aesthetically built physique artists during his prime worked out here. He won the “super bowl of bodybuilding “ – the Mr Olympia Title three years in a row (1977 – 1979). He had visited that place and a few other greats, too. The Dumbells we used and many of the machines were the same ones we used back in the 70s. We used the weight-training equipment that Champions used.
But, my gym was not about the equipment and the fancy lights, it was about the people. People passed 15 other gyms because they wanted to be part of this special gym. They wanted to be part of my extended family. I was very proud of the culture I created, of the love that we all shared.
I liked to say that it was an “old school gym, with a modern-twist “ … and I was the modern-twist.
They knew that I CARED. And gave them the results/needs they were looking for.
My grandfather used to always tell me when I was a kid –
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Very true indeed.
That challenging, yet beautiful phase of my life came to an end 6 years ago, when I sold it.
My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7 years. All working towards being the ‘best the can be’
A few things to be aware of when choosing a gym.
A few notes on gyms –
If you’re a beginner (in weight training), look for a good gym. A gym that caters to your needs. There are many types of gyms today – big, small, studios and out-door gyms. It depends on your preference. Before choosing a gym, evaluate things like – cleanliness & hygiene; whether they have lockers or not (most modern gyms do); the condition of equipment – you don’t want holes in upholstery and they should be well-maintained; the Equipment Manufacturer (some manufacturers are better quality than others; $$ (your budget) – if you’re looking for just weights & cardio then you don’t need to pay extra; the friendliness & authenticity of owner – Do they have “skin in the game?”
Now, why should you take advice about gyms from someone like me. Well, it’s simple: I have and have had “skin in the game” and still do. I have walked the walk before I can talk the talk”. You should always apply this approach with anyone offering you advice in any field, especially if they call themselves an “Expert”. I’m sure you do.
Gym Extended Family Members enjoying a day of Lawn Bowls. We had some great lawn bowls events over the 7 years.
Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies) It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category
How to eat an elephant, yep, That was something my most valued business/life mentor taught me when I first met him.
He asked me one day, he said –
“Paul, young man, how do you eat an elephant?”
Now, that was a question i just couldn’t answer at that time. I said what any 30+ year old would say –
“Fuck if I knew!”
Then, he said something that I always recall when I take on a big project – patience.
“One mouthful at a time, young man … one mouthful at a time, until you’ve eaten that whole elephant.”
There are many elephants in our lives – ourselves, our children, our careers and so forth. One such elephant for me is my son, Zachary. A vibrant, energetic & curious young boy, evolving at a very fast rate. One of my tasks as his dad is to love him, unconditionally. No matter what, always being the wind beneath his wings when he decides to fly.
To keep fueling his curiosity and provide relevant boundaries that allow him to grow and stretch and possibly shift.
It’s New Year’s Eve and I sit and reflect on many moments in my life so far. Christmas came and went and for my family, prayer snd devotion is always a constant reminder to give gratitude through grace, even in times of heightened joy & excitement.
A few months old … in our Family gym I owned & managed for about 7 years. He has no recollection of this period of our lives.
The Basics of almost every field are a vital foundation of Mastery of that field. For example, in physique artistry, it is the basic lifts of – squats, deadlifts and bench presses. In football, it’s being able to catch and pass an oval ball with speed and accuracy in almost any conditions.
In our roles as fathers & dads, teaching our sons to take responsibility early in life will prepare them well for the workplace in the future. I believe two kinds of responsibility should be emphasised:
Zachary has always had a soft spot for knives & swords since he was a baby. I thought 💭 id introduce him to wood carving and help transmute that endless energy & enthusiasm for it into something creative: WOOD CARVING.
I did a bit of this in my childhood with my good mate kindie friend, Dr Manoa during weekend sleepovers at his parents place. We used to carve out creations from discarded pieces of wood.
Dr Manoa and I today. Friendship that’s been strong since kindergarten. Now, a Top Legal advisor to Governments, worldwide.
Patience & care was harnessed in this creative exercise.
A sword from a piece of discarded wood.
My son did his first carving & created his first sculpture: a sword 🗡 from a piece of discarded wood.
Achievement: showed that he could FOCUS 🧘 intently on something else other than Nintendo & Minecraft. Also learned that little strokes with the knife 🔪 gives better control and accuracy.
Result: he started & finished a mini-project and experienced a sense if satisfaction in that. He Created a thing of beauty with his own hands. Was happy with what he produced. I was very impressed with his focus and final output.
He earned 2 hours of entertainment after that.
Little strokes create beauty … just as much as little strokes fell big trees.
Zachary carved a sword 🗡 from a discarded block of wood.
Possible repeat of The Dad in the future? Of 2 x World Champion NATURAL physique artist titles?
Time will tell.
Oh well … it’s a start for him in the art of sculpture. Maybe, one day he will sculpt his body with different tools 🛠(Dumbells & nutrition) to build a world -class NATURAL physique.
The greatest warriors: TIME & PATIENCE (It took me 10 years of physique artistry sculpting to have the BEST NATURAL physique in the world).
A 10 year goal of sculpting the Best Natural physique art. Took me 10 years to achieve this. Patience & mastery of instrument.
The most important and most valuable art he works on is “art of/sculpture of the mind “. Believing that there is Power in the Mind. Believing in the Power of his mind….& that that power comes from God. To understand that there are many forms of power – financial power, horse power, Political power etc. but the most important of all is WILL POWER.
The power to go beyond and achieve what was originally thought of as IMPOSSIBLE. as I tell him and his sister, to …
He helps those who help themselves. He meets ALL believers, half way … in their journey towards realising their desires.
I pray that God continues to shower his blessings on you and your loved ones, those you care & value the most… in 2021 and ….
Cheers & ahoy to YOU wherever you are in this place world
The old cap’n Viking Pirate 🏴☠️ & his gritty Viking Pirate 🏴☠️ prince attempting wood carving foe the first time.
Enjoying Kayaking together in Sydney’s beautiful seas
Admiring ‘beauty’ in design and sound …. and getting in touch with our feminine side: Beauty and truth. Be the role model you want your future leader to be. A big responsibility, yes … but take it. Like a man, a Real Man. All the very best I’m with you.
What actually drives us to DO what MATTERS to us most?
What is it that actually drives us to implement what matters to us most? What do you think? Hunger? Love?
In my experience, it would have to be something that would make you feel more alive, independent of the opinion of others or outside metrics of success. Once you’ve established that, you should then ask yourself the question –
“why haven’t I begun it, yet?”
Personally, I’d like to continue to increase my awareness and most importantly, continue to build my COURAGE/boldness reserves & continue to live a life true to myself, not the life others expects of me.
“And why courage?’ you may wonder.
Well, because without courage, nothing great is ever achieved.
As Vincent Van Gogh said –
“ What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything.” “
It’s What you need to do. Work at summoning up your courage.
What do you think you would need to do, to Just DO IT?
What is magic to/for you? Do you create magic and use the magic WITHIN YOU.
Sometimes, you just need to Get out of your own way!
To do this & implement it successfully & enjoy the process, you will need to learn (and un-learn irrelevant things) to be more agile. IN order to achieve this and be engaged by it, I believe (for many people) … sometimes, you just need to … GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY!
Learn to work with who YOU ARE, BETTER. … build on your strengths and based on the value of your work has provided & will provide … by Limiting your options to ONLY the – “Top 3” so that making quick decisions is easier and …
… allow YOU to move from the Intangible (dream) … to the Tangible (physical form).
So that you can say (at your death-bed) that –
“I tried to honour at least some of my dreams along the way, as I lived my life.”
Appreciate your Uniqueness. if your uniqueness makes you weird, so be it.
Boldness has genius, power & magic in it. DO IT NOW… tomorrow may never come.
Keep fuelling that courage of yours because … I believe, COURAGE/boldness is the greatest tool for realising your/our dreams…. and bringing it into our physical reality.
Many years ago, I bought a fridge magnet a year before realising one of my physical goals/dreams – to be the BEST in the world at my chosen sport of NATURAL physique artistry/bodybuilding almost 15 years ago now. As most of you know, I realised and made that goal a reality … and that goal and those words on the magnet resonates with me…
NOTE: it was exciting & scary to represent your country against the best from other countries in the world and be bold and confident enough to compete and make the Finals (Top 5) in the world.
The magnet (photo attached ) still sits on my fridge and had a quote that Goethe said –
A butterfly 🦋 knows when to fly and when to sit and feed. Timing is everything in their life.
I loved listening to Kenny Rogers with my grandfather as a kid.
I particularly loved his song – “The Gambler”, some of the words something like this –
“… He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done…”
Powerful words. Have you heard it … almost everyone on this planet has heard it at least once in their lifetime.
A genuine classic.
Powerful, not just for poker but for building quality muscles 💪, whilst staying injury – free and the game of life, too. From what I’ve observed, Many people fail to recognise just how important timing really is. Not just the type of timing we usually think of– catching the stock market or real estate at precisely the right time or the pass or kick in a sport. Timing is critical in lifting heavy-assed weights in the gym, like I’ve done for almost 3 decades and not get injured.
Timing is everything.
Timing is also critical for your continuous inner calculations of knowing when to bet, when to stay Put, & when to fold or give something up entirely.
Timing is improved self-mastery
Timing is … also doing NOTHING
There are times when the optimal action is to do NOTHING, be patient. Sometimes, it can be worthwhile in the long term to take a loss now, to fold. At other times, everything you touch & decision you make “turns to gold” or allows you to grow , to expand and progress.
How do you get the “timing” RIGHT?
Timing is everything in the sport of bodybuilding, for example. You can spend 4 to 5 months preparing for a contest. If you don’t understand your “body-mind connection” as well as you should, you could miss your “peak” by a day before or after or even an hour before or after. You could suffer from a bodybuilder’s worst nightmare – being told you’ve “spilled over”.
You basically got your nutrition timing wrong and you don’t look your BEST on stage when it mattered most. Timing is everything… it is the difference between making the Finals (Top 5) and not…. like I did at two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding championships.
It can be the difference in having a child and not. The difference in getting and A and a C. The difference between mediocre and world-class.
intelligence is in plentiful supply but unfortunately, wisdom is in short-supply in our world.
Timing is everything in balance and creativity
What is needed is WISDOM
In my experience and learning from other people’s experiences, I find that the worse thing to do is to be more “analytical “. You need to “QUIET” the mind… eradicate all the “noise” in your head. You need to UN-think and control your thinking.
And what is wisdom? It is knowing WHEN to do WHAT. Easier said than done.. look at the mess we humans have created in a areas of our lives and societies.
Wisdom is your ability to “be like water” as the philosopher- Bruce Lee said. You need to be hard and flexible at the right time.
Many people stubbornly hang on to their “habits”, some of which are not relevant now. They are simply unwilling to change. They have a “closed” mindset … believing change is impossible , saying –“I’ve always done it that way “
Don’t short-change yourself. Love YOU, better.
Keep your pendulum swinging … because to be stuck at one end is not life-affirming. Embrace the pendulum of life.
UN-Busy your mind
My Tip: strive to QUIET your mind. UN-busy your mind. Allow your decision to “listen” to your heart 💖.