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After almost 3 decades of training in the gym, here are my Top 3 Tips to “get going” again

Work on strengthening the spirit within. It is part of the foundation of love – the unknowable.


Beginning the journey for anything worthwhile achieving is never easy … but you’ve got to Start – Just DO IT (I’ve always loved this NIKE slogan … so powerful). 

Taking the initial step toward redesigning your body can be an empowering experience.

And if you manage to do what so many can’t – stick with the plan after that initial burst of enthusiasm wears off – you’ll also discover that it’s one of the smartest things you’ve ever decided to do.

I remember my first time, over 30 years ago.

I was scared. Plain & simple. And I don’t like being scared, matter of fact I don’t let any fear get the better of me. I tend to face my fear head on since I was a kid (probably why I sorted out issues with “bullies” in school, a lot of times letting my “fists do the talking “).

But I was simply (& admittedly, embbarresingly scared.

Scared of the clanging & banging of iron & metal on metal. Scared of the big looking men (mostly male dominated at that era). Scared of all the strange looking machines.

When I walked out of the gym that 1st day, I told myself that I would learn as much as I could get my hands on (the internet was in its embryo stages ). So I got my hands os many library books on the human body ‘ muscles & nutrition & anything resembling bodybuilding.

I was a sponge & took a whole semester to learn as much as I could (along with my studies in my first commerce university degree).

Abdominal/thighs pose at the Asia-Pacific Australian Natural Bodybuilding Championships.
Placing: 2nd in Australia.

Education precedes motivation

I’ve always believed Education precedes Motivation.

So, these notes are written for you in mind .. picture this : –

It’s day one of your bodybuilding journey . Embarking on a journey, your journey into bodybuilding is no small endeavour: you deserve props just for making the decision & moving forward.

After 30 years here are my Key/primary points – (useful tenets/nuggets of wisdom you can keep in the back of your brain).

Use them as “❤️alentine Guiding Principles “.

Should you ever lose your way along the road to strength, health & your best body, these principles will help you get back on track quickly.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby – Phil Waugh.

🌴❤️Principle #1: Listen 👂 to your body.

Your body & brain 🧠 are in constant talk. How often your brain chooses to listen determines how well your body will respond to what you ask for.

It is not a two-way communication (equal) pathway though.

Latest neuroscience suggests that it is mostly a”1 way street”. The body sends 80% of messages to the brain 🧠(via the Vagus nerve).

Good bodybuilders listen to their bodies better than anyone on earth.

Get in touch with different types of pain when you exercise. There’s two types-

i) the dull, mild pain that comes from working a muscle that isn’t used to being worked. This pain means, “Rest your body, let it repair itself, then continue strengthening it.”

ii) Then there’s the sharp, strong pain that comes from pulling a muscle, twisting something the wrong way, or worse. This means, “Put down the weight & walk away!”

Knowing the difference between these two kinds of pain can make a world of difference in your training.

Note: I have not had any major injury in over 3 decades of weight training. It is important to teach yourself the ‘tortoise approach’ or the conservative approach to training as I have found that this is the most efficient and effective way to achieve long-term, sustainable results and stay injury free as you age.

Here’s me doing my favourite pose at the World Championships.
Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Make your Being and your Doing – ONE.
Vv.

🌴❤️Principle #2: Prepare for Pressure

Your biceps & chest will grow (mine certainly did). As soon as these do, you will also receive attention from your peers who not only admire your newfound courage.

They will also secretly wish you don’t have so much of it.

Just be aware.

The next time you decide to say “no” to that slice of cake 🎂 at your best buddy’s roommates cousins’s birthday in order to stick to your diet, expect more than one person to try to talk you into having “just one bite.”

Understand this one thing about human beings – people do not like being reminded of their blunders/weaknesses.

When you don’t eat that slice, you’re helping to bring out guilt feelings in those who do.

People hate feeling like that.

However, it has nothing to do with you – remember that!

Stick to your guns 💪 and, if people persist,ask them direct to their face , why don’t they support you in abstaining from the sweet treat.

Fortunately, my friends back in my university under-grad days were quite supportive.

Keep it simple.
Be the best version you can be of YOU, for you – first.
This way, everyone gets the best of you too.
Vv.

🌴❤️alentine tip #3: endure the Doubt.

You WILL experience doubt, at some point along your journey.

There is no doubt about that.

You will question your dedication & get discouraged by slow gains. You may even wonder about finding time to train.

Heck, I almost threw in the towel several times over the last 3 decades. Many times, I’ve asked myself what the fcken hell was I doing not accepting a party 🎉 invitation when so many great people & good & drinks would be there.

There are countless doubtful thoughts 💭 that little voice over your shoulder, saying, give up man, you won’t achieve it.

And then I think about one of my many mentors life tips to me –

Remember, the heart 💔 ALWAYS precedes the mind.”

Interpret that however way you want. Apply these 3 principles to your thinking & life and keep building momentum in your daily habits that contribute to your overall goals.  

Now, go get back on the horse and ride him like you’ve never ridden him before … go to the gym and lift those weights and help those muscles, help you … feel the ‘essence of life’, Vitality … & Have a great day and life …

Cheers & ahoy 🍻!!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Island 🌴 Muscle 💪 Monk 🏴‍☠️❤️alentine …& getting back on track 

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

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Three minutes too late

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’. The key to making and keeping any relationship is effective communication. This is easier said than done. It requires work … a lot of work.

That awkward moment after you say ‘hello’

Its all about connections.

Life is.

So is the operations of your brain, in what is called the connectome.

In my years as owner and manager of my family gym for seven years, many things contributed to having a ‘family’ culture within it. A big factor came down to not just the connections but the quality of connections. Between the members and most importantly me and the members and the various sub-groups within the membership.

It was akin to being the Prime Minister and leader of a party, with many factions within that party and also the existence of an powerful opposition leader and his party. An interesting, fulfilling and wonderful learning experience.

Whenever a new person walks in to the gym, I train my staff to greet them politely and to simply say “how can I help you?” What I find is the important moments following that initial interaction is that awkward moment after you say ‘hello’.

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

Three minutes too late

We’ve all been there.

With the potential friend or the new boss. Your brother’s new girlfriend or just an attractive stranger at a party. I guess from my perspective there are two scenarios with social situations –

  • Make a good first impression
  • Just want to be liked

Three minutes too late or so following that awkward interaction that we reflect on and feel and think of what we should have said, instead of what we had said.

Would you take a magic pill if it would get your through that awkward phase after saying hello? Would you take it?

Find your light.
Conversations can take many turns. Key is to stay focused on a few lines of thought at a time.
Multi-tasking is a myth.

Drifting off

Have you drifted off after meeting someone for the first time?

What do you do? I think we all have found ourselves in situations, supposedly in deep conversation but we’re no longer listening to the other person and generally start talking to ourselves.

We basically, start drifting off.

 

Thinking thoughts like –

“What on earth was he thinking combing his hair into that hairstyle?”

“Am I making a positive first impression?”

“what am I going to take for lunch tomorrow?”

“geez, what’s that song’s name you hear on the radio this morning?”

“who the person you came with is talking to”

 

Staying focused on the person(s) you’re having a conversation with is key to connecting. Best.
And stay tuned alert to changes in topics but keep your destination clear in your mind.

The power of Focus

In my experience with owning and managing a gym for seven years and managing the relationships I had with the members in that time, there were many variables but I believe the key was focus.

The power of focus, in particular.

I interacted with members and listened to and talked to members from 5:30am when the gym opened all day until the gym closed at 9:00pm. When I was there, I was there. I was present. In every interaction I had with each and every member, I gave them my full attention (even when I was talking to multiple people).

The most important key to building rapport and trust in any relationship with someone … with anyone is focus.

That is the Power of focus.

This really helps in “connecting” with people – giving them the respect they wish for and giving them our full attention, however difficult that may be.

 

Focus on one thing at a time if you want to maximise results and chances of getting the result you want.
Connecting with people also depends on your ability to focus.
Giving them trust and respect.

The power of focus allows you to achieve results that you strongly desire. My power of focus allowed me to reach and place in the Top 5 of the World in Natural Bodybuilding in two consecutive years. Here’s a little formula for you: –

** Focus (mind-set/attitude) + Effort (hard yaka/work) + heart (feel) + visualisation (imagination) + sumulation (deliberate practice) =====> put in to a quality plan + quality implementation ====>> Results/Success **

Here are 4.5 key things I use when I want to focus on the person I am with –

1). Don’t judge

I just don’t have a habit of judging people. Period. I leave that to God, that is not one of my roles. However, I don’t mind a good debate and agreeing to disagree after hearing what the other person has to say first.

Putting aside any preconceptions and biases in thinking and having an “open mind-set/growth mind-set”, I allow the person I’m with to experience total focus.

Multi-tasking is stressful.
THe brain CANNOT multitask, it can only TASK-SWITCH.
Be kind on yourself and FOCUS on one thing at a time and …
do it once and do it well.

2)Find the excitement in someone even when they appear to be ‘boring’

Yes, this can be very difficult. Very difficult indeed. Especially, when you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to be having for your next meal or the episodes you still have left to watch on Netflix Game of Thrones.

All you can do is – try. Just try.

Give them your full attention and listen, really ‘listen’. What I mean is listen not only with your ears but your body (facing the person), your hand gestures not crossed, your head and eyes looking in to the person. And your heart, your heart should be listening too.

Then, find out something about the person that you find exciting and ask them, and hope that they would love to talk about that thing too.

Try. For God’s sake, just try.

Feel and practice feeling good positive, winning thoughts
Find something interesting in the person you’re talking with

3) Be part of the action and conversation

Especially in a group situation – ask questions about what happened and who was involved and what fears were felt and so forth.

Don’t stay silent, even if you have to nod your head, say a few ‘ahums’ and basically put forward a body-language that is agreeable.

It pays off in the long run.

Don’t stress out in social functions.
They are just human beings and make mistakes just like you
You should only be stressed if you had to connect with lions in a cage or gorrillas.
Relax. Your performance and ability to communicate effectively depends on this.

4.5)Mirror, mirror

Try to mirror or match the other person you’re talking with.

What is it, well, in effect, matching or mirroring is doing the same as the other person. This could be the same body language – she raises her glass and so does everyone else or same nod of the head.

Mirroring doesn’t only include body language, we also make similar sounds – sort speak in harmony with the other person, like “aha … aha, yeah” when we hear them say it.

So, in this world that has multiple communication platforms and social media that allows for increased connections, … is increasingly built on connections, it is not the number of connections that matter or continuously creating more connections in your network. No, I believe it is the quality of connections that matter most.

It is about getting back to the basics and doing the basics properly. Reminds me of building and keeping quality lean muscle mass and training with the basics in the gym. Nothing fancy and not trying to include every new ‘fad’ exercise in your repertoire’.

Whether consciously or not, and it is usually “not”, when we are connecting with someone or keen to get on with them, we adopt similar postures and movements. And when this happens the other person is more likely to assume that our thoughts and emotions are similar so they tend to feel warmer towards us, almost regardless of what we are actually saying.

I experienced this every single day in the gym for the seven years that I owned and managed my own. It didn’t matter who it was, how old the person was, level of education or what level of society they came from, matching and mirroring body language helped me ‘connect’ with them better.

Don’t force it, just ‘go with the flow’ so-to-speak. And relax, don’t over do things.

You’ll be just fine.

Practise thinking winning thoughts.

Practice does not make perfect

No, Perfect practice makes perfect, was what one of my early coaches would tell me.

In other words, there is always an optimal way or right way of doing something very well. Understand what it is, learn it and then deliberately practice it – that way – ALL the time.

Not some of the time.

So, practice some of these key communication points in the mirror. Do it every day. Simulate some of the conversations you may have with people in social situations. Imagination is key … if you can ‘see’/imagine yourself doing something and acting in a certain way and you have practiced the right form/technique/way, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will make a great first impression and make a lot of connections.

Simply because people will be drawn to you and your mannerism.

First impressions, matter. Remember: You never get another chance to make a first impression.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & why first impression is important in making you connect better.

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym
Relationship take time to develop .. just like an Oak Tree needs time to grow

Connections with humans of all ages is important for one’s own personal development.
Try it.

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

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What takes Leaders from “Good” to “Great”

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

The Biggest Decision 

I once started a speech on the first day of a course I was teaching on “leadership” many years ago to a group of senior managers by asking them what lay at the heart of their job.

I waited.

Then someone yelled out –

Making decisions!”

The others agreed – “yes, taking decisions!”

“Ok, I said … this is a three day course , why don’t you all come tell me on the last day and share with everyone what your biggest decisionof the week was and we’ll discuss it”

On the last day, the senior manager that first spoke on day one, embarrassingly said-

“ I thought about it and … I didn’t actually take anything that could be considered a big decision “

It was interesting but the other managers also agreed that they hadn’t taken anything that would be classed as a “big decision “

“Was it an odd week, then?” I asked them

NO. It was a typical week.

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

The importance of good, well-run systems

As I sit here in one of my local pubs enjoying the Rugby 🏉World 🌍Cup games with beer 🍺, I reflect on my experience and think 🤔

We all have 86,400 seconds in a day.

What and how we use those seconds for matters. Time is all we have and all we’ll really have while we are breathing. Good, well-run systems saves time (due to efficiencies and effectiveness controls built into the systems).

If time = $,

Then …

Saving time = saving $

I spent about ten years of my life working as a Risk Consultant for Major multinationals. A big part of what I did was learn all their key systems and compared them to world best practices and wrote up detailed reports /recommendations for senior leaders and boards for their large multinationals. 

Sometimes the comparison was relevant, and sometimes it wasn’t.

I enjoyed this and many parts of the many hats 🧢I wore when dealing with these high-paying and high-demanding clients. What I found was that corporations that had well designed and well-run systems in place were great for senior leaders.

Those that didn’t have these key systems running smoothly and/or didn’t have the desire or inclination to implement improvements to their existing key 🔑systems, spelled disaster for the poor leaders put in charge. In a lot of cases, these poor leaders were actually much better as leaders than the lucky leaders that were put in charge of companies that had systems that were “well-oiled”/well-run systems.

I learned many things in my experience with these medium sized & large corporations. They learned a lot from me & my recommendations for improvement too. That ultimately impacted in their bottom-line improvement goals.

Here’s one key & relevant thing:

When it comes to leaders and leadership, a well-run system or processes make life much easier for them – the leaders.

The truth as I see it is : Leaders don’t truly or only , or even mostly, take decisions in well-run systems. They’re simply lucky and if they have most of the other competencies and behavioural traits that good leaders need to have, they will be held up in high regard.

It doesn’t matter where – in the corporate environment or on the sporting field or in the family home. Well-run systems gives the leaders the freedom to NOT make big decisions.

Wonderful insight in to the mind of a Great Leader

What do great leaders do that make them better than the “good leaders”

I’ve met and read a lot of and about good leaders in all walks of life – business, church, sports, human relationships etc

I’ve also met great leaders and from my experience.

What separates the great leaders from good leaders?

Well, firstly, we’ve established that leaders DO NOT have all the answers but always see a problem as an opportunity to find a solution.

Let us ask – what does a great leader do?

Good leaders spend quite a bit of time picking the people who pick the people who do make the decisions. Yep, that is what “good” leaders do.

And that is fundamentally what makes them a good leader.

There was a friend & board member of one ☝️of the largest Insurance Companies in Australia 🇦🇺& the world 🌎training in my family gym.

My family gym that I owned and managed for 7 years of my life.

He was the husband of an existing client of mine. A lovely guy, very straight up and very astute. Was part of his job of “making decisions” for the direction of the corporation. His area was Corporate Risk & Compliance.

I asked him once – “what do you do… what do you spend your time doing?”

He said (his name was Roger) –

“I spend a lot of time picking the people who pick the people who do make the decisions.”

I said –

“Oh, ok!”

He said that he spent a lot of time picking the Heads of departments or divisions and then … waited five years.

“Alright” I thought 💭, so that is interesting. But what if you did not have five years? We’ll leave that question for another time.

So, to me, good leaders spend quite a bit of their time making decisions , important but trivial decisions in the whole scope of the game they’re playing (business or sport or religion…)

That’s well and good for “good leaders” but what makes a “great leader “ I thought 💭

Beauty comes in many forms.
Great leaders stand tall and deliver
Great Leaders find their truth … their beauty and effectively communicate it
Here I am with my beautiful Schnoodle “Mr Fuzzy Cuddles” and the 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.

The Great Leader is simply, Great Dreamers

GREAT Leaders don’t spend their time picking people. No, Great Leaders – Of Countries, of large corporations, of religions …. they don’t spend their time making trivial (but important decisions)

No

Great 👍Leaders truly and authentically LEAD.

They have a way with communicating their message. 

Their VISION.

They understand that the human brain 🧠works best with images … with their imagination.

They are GREAT at communicating their message /vision clearly, concisely and consistently.

They manage those “3 Cs “ better than anyone else , better than the just “good leaders”.

So, I have found that Great Leaders –  Sporting Captains if teams, Chairmen or Presidents it Prime Ministers if countries etc …. they are very effective at communicating their mission/message.

But not just communication masters, no, more importantly, they are Masters at re-packaging old products and selling them differently.

Yep, they are great effective communicators because they put old facts into new bottles, they dream up new names for problems , they imagine new possibilities… of re-painting an old picture /problem.

They are great at re-conceptualising the familiar so that new solutions pop up! They simply ask a different and RIGHT question.

True.

Great Leaders are Adapt at listening to their intuition 

Dreamers change the world 🌎 and are adapt at listening to their intuition when making decisions.

Great Leaders are Born, not made. Some would like to argue otherwise but it is a losing argument from all angles.

There are many over the centuries and since man kept records.

One such great leader is – Mahatma Gandhi. He turned a resistance movement from active to passive. As a result , he made it invincible.

Former US President- John Kennedy was similar – was not a great decision maker by any means but was a Master at selling his dream, his imagination of a better nation … of a better world.

There are many others but not as many as good leaders. The latter at outnumbers the former, 1000,000: 1.

The world needs more Great Leaders but why doesn’t the many Top Management schools worldwide churn them out? Why don’t the Best Business Schools train more and create more Great Leaders?

Can we produce these types of leaders?

History suggests not.

But this is exactly what nations need, what Champion sporting teams need. it is what humans really desire in Leaders.

I fear though, that, based on the lack of frequency of great leaders over history, business schools and education institutions can only produce a little, if it is actually there.

I believe Great Leaders are Born, they are not made. Good leaders can be created/trained/made but will never be great.

Amen 🙏

Learn from Jesus, he was a Great Failure. A Great example of a Great Leader

If you wrote out Jesus CV, I think 🤔it would read like a failure … a huge failure.

Jesus was a Big Failure , yep, just like you and me.

Yep, he fucked up in many ways then you and I and everyone we know put together.

He failed – yes, but did he change the world 🌎– a BIG YES!

What was great about him ? Despite his history of not making decisions and giving very few commands and despite actually doing very little, he was GREAT.

And why?

How did this guy, dreamer change the world 🌎? How did this man with wild imagination do it?

Well, we now know that he was a Master of “painting the same picture” but with a different coat, different and better, kore appealing colours .

He was clear on his vision, his powerful imagination & intuition and was a Master as communicating that message to his followers

Clearly, Concisely and Consistently.

He was a great failure but was the Master at the 3 Cs. Made him one of the Greatest of all Great Leaders that ever walked the face of this earth.

There’s Hope for us All

If Jesus, one ☝️of, if not, the greatest leader that ever lived had a CV that read like a failure, there is hope for us all. Ok, maybe not you, but I know and believe there is hope for me and people like me. 

Re-tell your story with a different brush and paint the same picture with different colours. Re-package the same product in better, more appealing ways just like the hugely successful KFC does.

Simply , consistently communicating their message/core product (fried chicken & fries) in new packages.

Become the Master of re-packaging you, your product, the same old message in different bottles.

It’s worked for centuries and it will work today.

So, there’s hope for us all – for the rest of us. It is not our dull CV that will be remembered but the stories and pictures we re-package and tell others.

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

The Unsung Heroes 🦸‍♂️

There are many unsung heroes out there… you may be one, I’m certain of it.

Find your voice, your strengths, then …

Lead.

With authenticity, with conviction and with Vitality and …. know that not all heroes wear capes

Most heroes are unsung and unappreciated and are normal guys and girls just like you and me

That’s ok

thats just life

 

cheers & ahoy!

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Muscled 💪monk 🤔😎🦸‍♂️

Me and my family of extended family of members.
I created an environment to replace something I was missing living in a busy, big city like Sydney: the intimacy and connectedness of a truly local and extended family feel that I grew up with in my youth in Fiji.
I missed my éxtended family’ and this served my needs and the members needs too

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’.

  1.  

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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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