Over the years I have listened to many individuals. Listened to their stories.
Over the years I think I have had in excess of twenty thousand conversations with people of all ages. From teens to ninety-year olds.
Over the years I have had many coaching conversations. In these coaching conversations, I have helped increase individuals awareness of how their perception of events in their lives either propel them forward or hold them back.
I have listened to others and the way in which the stories they tell ourselves have the power to hold us back or propel us forward.
As an example …
The bottom line is that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if my hearing hadn’t been terrible when I was young. Neither would you.
This is why taking the time to properly frame our narratives and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves can be so critical.
The first turns your past into an anchor, while the second turns it into the wind that fills your sails and keeps you moving forward.
Is there some piece of your story, personal or professional, that you’ve been able to reframe in a way that moves you forward, instead of holding you back?
Wonderful question for all to ponder. I’m one of the most self-aware person you will ever meet, but that is nothing new to me as I have been this way since I was a kid (from the adults who knew me in my youth).
Cowboy 🤠 House.
Here’s one I’d like to share – I was raised by my grandparents as my biological Dad died when I was 4 years old, trying to save a person from downing … and was overpowered by the victim and drowning with that person). My biological mother was only 16 and had a choice to have an abortion but I thank her and God that she didn’t.
Her decision to give me life has allowed me to not only live but to do what I do – predominantly, helped people, help themselves building their bridges from where they are to where they desire to be over the last 3 decades.
Anyways, I grew up in a large extended family – grandparents, grand uncles and aunties, uncles, aunties, cousins and siblings and … visitors and extended family visiting.
My home was always full and was always noisy. Our neighbours used to call our home – the “Cowboy House”.
We didn’t have much of anything – food (there were no less than 10 people to feed every single day … and I do not know how my grandparents managed to do this), didn’t have much material possessions (my grandmother used to sew my school uniforms) … but the home certainly had a lot of love.
There was a lot of storytelling and sitting around talking almost every night. It was just part of the home … part of the culture.
Because there was so much noise, most kids would not be able to concentrate/focus. But, I told myself way back in early Primary School that I will teach myself to study/do school work/read in … noise.
My teachers couldn’t understand how a kid (me) could get Top Academic Results every year.
Most kids/people need peace and quiet to FOCUS, so we are told. “How does Paul do it?” I would over hear some teachers say. In my adult life, I have continued to learn/read/focus in any environment, no matter how noisy or ridiculous is.
Focus on what you can control
I remember my grandfather telling me many things (he was a very wise man) … saying something to the effect –
“Paul, focus on what you can control … and do the best with what you’ve got … don’t be part of the problem, always be part of the solution”.
I’ve always applied that in my life, not focusing on insufficient resources and constraints .,. But on HOW I can do better with what I have. That philosophy along with many others, has helped me create the life I’ve always imagined and realise short-term and long-term goals.
Growing up in an family environment that had very limited resources (except for love … the home was always infused with LOVE), has allowed me to almost always have an overall attitude of personal optimism and enthusiasm.
I completely understand the psychosomatic relationship – psyche and soma – mind and body … better than most (hence sculpting a Physique worthy of representing Australia at 2 x World Natural Physique Championships and placing in the Top 5 in consecutive years).
I am fully aware of how the body is the physical manifestation of the mind or in other words, the body expresses what the mind is concerned with. I’m a strong believer that life is many things … and one of which is that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy…. That you usually get what you expect.
My ‘tough’ upbringing has allowed me to develop a healthy self-expectancy and eliminated all forms of excuse from my vocabulary as … I expect to win, almost all the time. I have no doubt the so-called ‘luck’ is the intersection of preparation and awareness.
Life … a very real game but not a gamble.
I look at life as a very real game .. but not a gamble.
Part of what I have done over the last 3 decades is help people, help themselves build their bridges. I have learned and taught many things. It seems that every individual tends to receive what he or she expects in the long run.
From my experience and deducing from other people’s experiences in my life so far … it would appear that you may or may not get what is coming to you, or you may or may not get what you deserve – BUT YOU WILL nearly always get what you expect.
As someone who has mastered the art of body re-engineering (building muscle and reducing body fat to < 4%), believe me when I say, there is an intricately close connection between your mind and body … a negative thought can cause your ‘look’ (that you get judged on) to go from excellent (Top 5 and finalist) to awful.
I’ve learned and mastered much of the ‘mind-body-heart-soul’ interface connections and one important one is this – mental obsessions have physical manifestations. Basically, you BECOME WHAT YOU FEAR – you get what you expect – you are that which you expect to be!
Here’s the thing – since all individuals are responsible for their own actions and cause their own effects, optimism then, is a choice.
Choose well, my adult friends.
Optimism, Enthusiasm, Faith & Hope.
What is needed is : continual fueling of – OPTIMISM, ENTHUSIASM, FAITH & HOPE.
Each is a synonym for – having a HEALTHY SELF-EXPECTANCY.
So, my question to you (if you’ve made it this far) is –
1. Do you have a healthy self-expectancy about things in your life?
2. Do you expect the best for you – in life and as a way of life?
3. Do you look at problems/constraints as opportunities?
With regards to question 3 above, try this little exercise and let me know your answers –
Make a list of your KEY problems/constraints –
> the ones that block your professional and personal fulfillment.
> Next, write a one-or-two sentence definition of each problem/constraint.
Now, rewrite the definition, only this time view it as an opportunity or exercise to challenge your creativity and ingenuity (some refer to it as ‘re-framing’).
Here’s a tip: view the solution as you would if you were advising one of your best friends.
So, where does your thoughts stand in relation to your Self-Expectancy now?
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,
My biological mum had me before she turned 16. She had a choice to have an abortion but chose to give me life. Being so young and incapable, her parents (my grandparents) decided to raise me as their own.
Because of the societal norms at that time, I now understand that my grandparents adopted me as their own, in every sense of the word. They were the best Parents any kid could wish for. My “mom” (grandmother) died when I was 12. It felt like the end of the world to me because she was the word to me.
She was caring, compassionate and loving 🥰 & very strong (usually welcoming in strangers and the homeless. She would clean them, clothe them, feed them and give them a place to sleep for a short while … and give them a little help on their way.
Some of the Strangers we helped, would return, sometimes years later, to offer money and thanks for her (& my grandfather’s unsolicited care & hospitality when they had hit a “rut”). I recall seeing the turnaround in the individuals and the impact my humble grandparents and their kindness gave them.
A whole new lease of life.
My grandmother was my first role model of a loving & strong independent woman. I really loved her full body massages she gave me to wake me for school almost every morning. This is where my penchant for hugs 🤗 & kisses originated. I thank her for that.
In my pre-teens, my biological mother’s sister (my Aunty) stepped in and assumed a “mother” role for me. She showed me a second type of strong woman. She was a woman’s woman.
My Second Mum: the Ambitious Career Woman.
She wasn’t too lovey-Dovey like my mum # 1. She was very ambitious and career-focused and very risk-averse. Very strategic and almost always chose a conservative approach to many things. Her thing was – “don’t rush life, Paul”.
Two things were important for her – good education and making money. She was very successful and raised me in very rich surroundings in my teens. I learned and experienced life through very wealthy lens and feel very fortunate to have done so. Not many children grow up in a 3 car-garage, 3 storey 6 bedroom mansion with a pool. My bedroom even had its own bathroom and walk-in wardrobe.
I only got to know my biological mum after an uncle broke the “news” to me two weeks before my Final Exams at High School. We had a heated argument and he let out the “truth”. In hindsight, Not the best time. I wish he had waited until I had finished my exams before telling me that the first 17 years of my life was a lie. That my grandma was not my mother and that my “older sister “ was in fact, my real mother!
I was shattered. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing .
I locked myself in my room for a whole week… trying to come to terms with this bomb 💣. I cried a river in my room…. Everything I ever knew … about my family … about my life … was a lie. Who could I trust? Why is this happening to me? I was angry at everyone… they all played a part in the lie.
It had a significant effect on my High School Results. Negative. I was aiming to be in the Top 10 but I failed. I think I made the Top 20. In the whole scope of life, the mark I got didn’t matter. I still got to do what I wanted to do at University.
That was a first. Me, getting to University in my immediate and extended families. The ceiling in academia was High School… but I raised it … and still raising it.
It’s been almost 30 years since I learned of this truth. Along the way, I learned that many other individuals have experienced similar situations. Some famous like Jack Nicholson, who only found out that his older sister was in fact, his mother. He only find out in his late 30s when a reporter dug up his background for a story on him.
In many cultures, especially in Polynesian cultures, “step in”. Grandparents generally stepped in to protect the child and give them every opportunity to succeed. They did. I got all the love and attention any child could have. I am very grateful for the unconditional love life they gave me.
They were my parents and friends & family and schools & teachers and anyone I ever interacted with all played their roles.
You could say my first 17 years was a lie.
That’s ok. Every family has their “secrets” and “skeletons in the closet”. What are yours? Do you have any? Is your whole life “the whole truth & nothing but the truth?” Is the truth better than living a lie? What if living the truth disadvantages you more? Would you then choose to live a lie? If you had the choice?
My Third Mum: the Risk Taker. Biology Matters.
The choice was made for me. Her choice to give me life rather than get an abortion.
And it was made with love snd for my benefit and protection. An unselfish choice by my biological mother in playing her role as my “older sister “.
It was only in my later years that I realised how amazingly courageous and unselfish she was to live in the same household as me … and stop herself from playing the “mum” role to me.
I had many arguments with her and told her off on many occasions. I would see her run into the bedroom, close the door and I’d hear her crying. She wouldn’t cry in front of me or argue with me.
Remember, she was my older sister to me. Little did I know then … who she REALLY WAS. This is the Mum that didn’t always make decisions logically because she usually made it with her heart. She was a “thinker”, the most academically gifted of all her siblings. A rebel, a risk-taker.
I buried my biological mum in 2011, 3 months after my son, Zachary was born. Like my grandmother, My biological mum, Margaret, died from cancer within 3 months of being diagnosed. Aaaahhh… the Circle of Life, as they say.
She did not live long but she epitomised what courage is to me. What a brave woman, who lived & died, with integrity & dignity.
THE OLD HAS GONE, THE NEW HAS COME!
The Bible has been a big comfort for me all my life. It gave me strength in those years (18 – 22) that I refer to as my “lost years “. It was always a source of inspiration and strength for me … in the many times I needed courage.
We have been gifted not only from our genetic background but also by the environment in which we were brought up. Each of us were formed by all the people who have made an impression on us.
From the people who gave us affirmations (like my grandparents did for me) to the people who put us down or belittled us. The former types gave us a positive view of other human beings and the latter, a view that fed our uncertainty about ourselves and … others…
Genesis 1 relays a story that God created living things to bring forth according to their own kind. So, not only are we likely to look like our parents but it is likely that we will embrace life’s challenges just as our parents did.
“So God created man in his own image.” (Genesis 1:27)
So, i/we were not only created in our parents image but also in God’s.
Yes, we all have our past (and even if part of it was not lived in truth like mine), take comfort that we also have God (if you’re a Christian). I spent 8 years as a Catholic Altar boy in my early youth and one phrase that sticks in my mind is –
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the NEW HAS COME!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This verse has always given me comfort. Especially, after I learned of certain truths at 17. I get Comfort in knowing that the curses and the distortions and sins of previous generations does not hold me back. That it does NOT MAKE ALL “ME”… that I can release the OLD… to make room for the NEW.
We are Built in God’s image. Something that I can … we can ALL use as a springboard to being the BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES.
Yes, We are trapped with our old us … the past experiences… and the good (& imperfections in genetics 🧬 passed down to us) ….
With the knowledge and belief that we, as Christians, are also created in the image of God, gives all of us I mmense COURAGE…. And hope … and belief… that we have a huge capacity to change!!
You are unique! Believe it so…. And you can change!! We ALL CAN!!
But, this is not easy and TAKES COURAGE and … a lot of WORK! In my experience, You MUST TAKE CHARGE of your life! You must stop saying –
“I’ll always be the same … I’ll never be different “
Instead, you should begin saying –
“I CAN be different because of God’s love 💕 working in me.”
DO NOT FEAR CHANGE especially if the change is to make you all that God wants you to be.
When you decide to Invite Christ into your life, know that you have been re-born… snd the Holy Spirit will guide you.
I know I have been “re-born “ many times … in my life, so far. When I reflect, I was very fortunate to have been influenced by three strong & courageous women. They were all different and they were women who loved me differently but all had strong values & principles.
I may have lost two Mums, but there still remains one. Something many cannot say. I will continue to love this Mum that is still alive today….and the other two Mums are always with me in spirit.
Thank you God. Amen.
Ask yourself for God’s guidance and he will answer.
My gritty Viking Pirate Prince – Zachary, is never too far from me. My role as his dad and father in shaping him in to the Man I imagine him to be be is the most important project I will ever undertake. The same applies to my daughter.
A Few Good Men
I loved the Rob Reiner directed movie – “A Few Good Men”, released in 1992. It starred some of Hollywood’s A-Listers like – Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, Cuba Gooding Junior, Demi Moore and so forth. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), a US military lawyer, defends two US marines charged with murdering a fellow marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The needle of suspicion, thus, points to a colonel (Jack Nicholson).
Throughout history, long before the marines or SAS or FBI or special forces … God had always been looking for a Few Good Men:
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9a).
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30a).
God, give us Men. Real Men.
God give us Noahs: Someone to whom you can trust your mighty plans;
God give us Abrahams: Men who are willing to leave home and homeland to follow your call;
God give us Josephs: Men who would rather endure prison than violate one of your commands;
God give us Moseses: Men who are willing to stand as your mouthpiece against the most powerful leaders in all the world;
God give us Daniels: Men who would rather face a lions’ den than compromise their faith;
Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do. Teach them well.
Who are the Real Men?
Have you seen them around?
Let’s name a few that have come forward and ‘spoke out’ and been chastised and ridiculed and effectively ‘tried by media’ before even having a fair trial. To me, they are Men who stand up for what it right … who stand up against Injustice in any shape or form. They are men who stand their ground, even if it means they stand alone. It is for unselfish and most loving men.
Here are a few Men that could be modern-day Noahs, Abrahams, Josephs, Moseses and Daniels: Colin Kapernick; Israel Folau; Quaid Cooper; Russell Brand; Jordan Peterson; Mike Tyson; Mohammad Ali; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King; William Wallace; Luke Sky Walker; Han Solo; The Lord of the Rings; Aragorn; Frodo; Marty McFly from Back to the Future; Bruce Wayne.
Can you name some?
Time spent with your young man is NEVER bad use of your time.
Boys To Men
Do you remember that smooth Men Group called “Boyz 2 Men” that was around in the 90s? I loved a few of their songs, they were very talented singers.
There name gives us a clue to what God gives us. He does not give us Men, he gives us boys …. sons.
The reality is that God DOES NOT give us men – he gives us boys.
To us, as parents, he gives us the task of forging these boys into men.
To help equip us for that task, God has provided the book of Proverbs, which is largely the advice of a father to his son …
Father’s Day is just around the corner for us here in Australia. I look forward to it every year for many reasons. One is seeing the creativity my children demonstrate on that day. I having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I have children and have the opportunity to play my role as their dad/father and love them unconditionally.
Beauty = truth. Create your beauty , you find your truth. If you find your truth, you find beauty. Beauty will always be proportional (have balance & symmetry) My goal for the last 3 decades in bodybuilding(physique artistry )
Do what you have been born to do … NOW!
The title of this blog says ‘you don’t have to finish everything … ” and I agree. Just because you’ve started something, doesn’t mean you have to finish it. For example, I think I’ve only finished reading two books in my life …from cover to cover … one was Joseph Conrad’s Classic – “The Heart of Darkness” (I’ve read many times over) and the other is …. oh, i’ve forgottten.
I’ve always applied nature’s 80:20 Principle to most things in my life and book reading is one such activity. If I get the gist of the book (some authors tend to repeat their message over and over in their chapters), and the 5 or 6 KEY things give me 80 percent of the knowledge base (the ‘essence’), I’m content.
One of the best mentors said that to me on his 82nd birthday … saying that “Paul, whatever it is that you want to do … travelling, biking or whatever … do it now, don’t wait. That time may never come. Do what you have been born to do … Now!”
As I see it, your inbox will never be finished, it’s never going to be over. There will never be a perfect time to do everything. Stop thinking the ‘grass will be greener’ on the other side so stop waiting for the good stuff before you decide to …. ACT!
I believe that most men have this idea and make the mistake that one day ‘it’ will be done. They think, “If I could work enough and … hard enough, that one day, I could retire and …. Rest.” Or, they think – “One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.’Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.”
This is an error in masculine thinking, passed down for many generations. Things won’t be different … they won’t get better. It never ends.
Here’s what you do … to get out of that thinking … that ‘rutt’ –
Make sure you continuously work at having better (more effective) communication with your significant other
Don’t believe in the myth
And what myth is that? Well, it is the myth that has been propagated in society and that is, men lie to themselves and others by believing –
“One day when everything will be different.”
I have news for you – it won’t! Don’t believe in the myth.
Here’s what you do – DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING TO DO – that you have been ‘putting off’ for reasons such as –
When your finances are more secure
When your children have grown and left home
When you finish your obligations
When you get that job title/promotion
Do what you love to do, what you are waiting to do, what you’ve been born to do, NOW!
There is a Tiger 🐅 in each and every one of us. Know when you need to bring that fella out and … when to have the cute domestic cat 🐱 there
Are you willing to do what it takes to give your gift?
In my experience and having over twenty thousands of conversations with people (mostly Men) in gyms over the last 3 decades, I have found that most postponements or procrastination are just excuses for a lack of creative discipline.
People give excuses such as they have no money or limited resources but that is all a lie. Limited money and family obligations have never stopped a man who REALLY wanted to do something, although they provide excuses for a man who is not really up to the creative challenge in the first place.
Do you have the creative challenge? Can you deliver? DO IT! Do IT TODAY, NOT TOMORROW. TOMMORROW MAY NEVER COME. Do it TODAY! Find out now whether you have what it takes. Are you willing to do what it takes to give your gift … your gifts and … share it with the world?
“You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”
Take one hour out of your day and give your fullest attention to your gift, whatever that is … for today. Right NOW.
Protect your mind like a true champion warrior
Don’t hope that you woman/man will be fundamentally different
They won’t be.
That is another myth men have told themselves for generations. That one day your life will be fundamentally different, and you hope that .. one day, your woman will be fundamentally different (that goes for a woman too).
Just assume that she’s going to be however she is, forever. If you woman’s mood or behaviour is intolerable to you then you should leave her, and don’t look back (since you cannot change her). However, if you find her behaviour or mood only a little irritating then learn to live with it.
Don’t try to ‘fix’ your woman (she is not a electronic gadget or car that needs ‘fixing’). Instead, this is what you should do –
Embrace and hold her (or scream or yell or wrestle for the heck of it) … and tell her that you love her when she is ‘ _____________’ that way (fill in the blank).
Make no effort to provide a solution or bring a stop to that which pisses you off.
Just love her
Don’t avoid the tussle with your woman and absorb her femininity in all its glory
Don’t try to fix her. That won’t end in success. What will end in success is if you simply love her because the love that you magnify may realign her behaviour.
Believe in love 😍. Give love. Receive love. Do all thoughts & actions with love.
Your woman and the world is much alike
Your woman and the world is much alike – they will always present you with unanticipated challenges and surprises. As I see it, you have a choice:
You can live it FULLY, grab every single day and give your best and your gifts and share it with the world amidst those challenges or …
Procrastinate and wait for an imaginary future which will never come.
Aim to live a life of significance. I have found that men who have live a significant lives are men who ACTED. They were courageous and made a decision with the limited information they had at the time. They never waited: not for money, security, ease or women.
As the late Steven Jobs said –
“The only way to do great work is to to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Even if what you want to do is “weird “. Just Do It. So, don’t wait. DO IT TODAY!
Feel and ask your heart the question. Feel what you want to give most as a gift, to you woman and … to share with the world, and do what you can to give it … TODAY. Not tomorrow … or next month or next year or … ten years from now.
DO IT TODAY.
Every moment waited is a moment wasted.
Each wasted moment puts a fog on your clarity and purpose in life which is essential to living a life of significance.
Don’t Think. DO.
All the very best to you, my fellow Man,
Cheers & Ahoy!
The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Muscled Monk
A fridge magnet 🧲 I bought almost 20 years ago. Practise this.
I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.
It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.
Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants Here I am with the members of my gym Members that I served for 7 years of my life … to be their BEST
Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?
The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?
I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.
What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?
I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –
“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”
How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?
I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?
Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies) It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category
Headship means responsibility to act in love
We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.
It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.
Headship means responsibility and initiative.
Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”
He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.
So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.
What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?
It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?
After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.
Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?
Bowling night out with the Men of my gym To Lead is to Serve
Real Leadership begins in the home
A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.
Real Leadership, begins in the home.
Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.
I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.
Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).
With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).
Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership
Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.
We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.
When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”
Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
Traits of a True Leader
Here are some ways you can become a True leader:
Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others
So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?
More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –
You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.
All the best to your Headship Role in life.
Cheers & Ahoy!
The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader
Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.
Find your light. Light your path. It is YOUR path. No one can ride that path with you, but YOU.
Your “Right” to something can be very different to doing the “Right’ thing
I am a human and societal observer.
I have been since I was a child and I love it because you learn a lot, just by watching.
Permit me to make this observation: we must be very careful in speaking of our ‘rights’. I think people who constantly refer to their rights tread on dangerous ground. You see this just about everywhere you go in our modern-day, fast-paced societies.
That is part of our reality, or a perception of our reality, at least.
Where the land … meets the sea …. meets the sky
The Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass
I signed up my son and daughter to take part in the Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass a few months earlier. My 8 year old son, Zachary, said that I was wrong not to assume that he wanted to participate in it. He said that he was going to church but was adamant he won’t play the “Sheppard” role in the Nativity Play.
Initially, I was angry but then realised that I was at fault for assuming I had the right exercise authority over him, simply because I was his parent. I subsequently apologised to him and said he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.
My wife, Cathy, subsequently persuaded him to play that Head Sheppard role. And he looked and sounded terrific on stage, saying his lines to Mary and the Angels (my daughter, Olivia, played the role of one of the Angels) at the time of Jesus birth. It was beautiful to see them along with other young children re-enact the scene of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ, our saviour in front of a packed out Church.
My initial failure at persuading my son to do the Shepherd role in the Nativity play also reminded me of how difficult I have found when helping people, help themselves to do the ‘right thing’ as they move towards their best selves. Despite presenting all the evidence and logical reasons for making or choosing healthier options with regards to habits, doing so is very very difficult for many.
Thank you Zachary for the reminder.
Father-son relationships take work A lot of work
Failing as a Dad
After that heated debate with my son, I contemplated my failure as a Dad in relation to what I was observing quite readily in society – that many were referring to and claiming ‘their Right” but not necessarily considering whether they were doing “the Right” thing.
I thought about these questions: do you have the unqualified right to the respect of your children? Do you have an unqualified right to the respect of your spouse for that matter? Do you have every right to exercise authority over your children?
You have a parental duty from God and you cannot sever that right. So, let’s ask this question: –
“Does and should a person demand his rights?”
So, I believe, God grants us ‘our rights’, but in so doing, these rights are only that, and no more … these rights are only granted to fulfil his or her duties. I know I have failed my children many times in this aspect of parenthood and especially in being a Father. I am certainly far from perfect and still very much a Work-in-progress…. in being the Best Dad I can be and also a better husband to my wife.
What do you think?
Believe or not believe. Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!) Choose.
Duty to God, first
As parents, we automatically get ‘parental duties’ imposed on us and most of us, embrace them. It should not be forgotten that these parental duties apply towards God and to our children. Then, and only then, should we speak of our ‘parental rights’.
Duty to God, first.
Bare your cross. Then … Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both
To exercise and respect, Authority
Each generation speaks of and writes about the rebellious spirit of children and young people of the generation that comes after them. Why do think this is so?
On one hand, it is one of education, whereby I believe, the children have never learned respect for authority as their parents didn’t know better and had not exercised authority. However, on the other hand, it is very possible that these children did not learn respect for authority because the parents misused it. Or parents have completely different views of respect for authority and demonstrate this towards one another in front of the children.
I’m sure there are many of you out there who feel that you’re not respected by something your wife, husband, partner said or did. One or both parties then abuse their authority and supposed power over each other.
It is no wonder, that in life, we have so many examples of men and women, inevitably, abuse power when they attain so much of it.
With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.
Authority: a God-given Weapon
We had a major disagreement this morning – my wife, kids and I and some things were said that hurt each other. I needed ‘time-out’ to cool down so I listened to some ‘Enya”. Her musical frequencies (songs) has certainly resonated with my brain wavelengths since I first heard her musci in the early 90s.
All relationships take work and disagreements is simply what people who love each other do … very similar to building and keeping good quality lean muscle mass. You hurt the muscle area (through repeatedly lifting weights and increasing the load/hurt on the muscle over time)… then, feeding it with the necessary nutrition (love and care) and allowing the muscle/person/relationship to heal/recover and become bigger, more shapely and better.
That is a very simplified version of loving relationships.
I think I was guilty of abusing my authority as a Dad and raised my voice unnecessarily when arguing. I was wrong to do that and I demonstrated a lack of control and respect for my power in my family. Others were guilty of it too but I won’t go in to that here.
Authority should not be toyed with. A person that is given that power to wield this authority over others, should understand that it is a God-given weapon.
All who wields this Power (like us, parents), must be constantly vigilant on it’s use and abuse of it. One should always be ‘on guard’ lest you misuse it for selfish ends.
Authority, must never be exercised in an arbitrary, unreasonable manner.
Zachary’s role in the Nativity was – one of the Shepherds.
Got me thinking about the question why, the shepherds?
The announcement of Jesus birth went to the Shepherds, first. Why? I mean, God didn’t go to the Theologians or the elite? The first group would have probably consulted their commentaries and the latter, may have looked around nervously to see if anybody was watching. What about the successful, why not them?
Well, maybe, they would have consulted their calendars because they were so ‘busy.’
Instead, God went to the Shepherds. Why, I ask?
Maybe, it is because they didn’t have a reputation to protect or an axe to grind or a ladder to climb. They were simple men, who maybe, didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs are not found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.
I have seen this re-enactment play out on Christmas Eve masses many times over the years but it is only yesterday in Zachary’s role playing, my son, the Shepherd … that I asked those questions.
Like my failure to persuade my son to take part in the Nativity initially, many things in life and what we call ‘reality’ is heavily influenced in being able to communicate effectively through storytelling. The Nativity is a great story and the Bible has a collection of great stories, written by wonderful storytellers. Stories that connect and move people. Even all these centuries later, like we do today.
Maybe, we can all learn how to be better story-tellers now and for the rest of our lives to be more effective communicators.
Me and my children. Children gives you a hint of eternity. A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Vv.
Christmas is about … Hope … the vision of Life
Christmas is about many things, to different people. In yesterday’s mass, one of the 3 things he asked the members to consider was that Christmas was not just about ‘your immediate family’ but should be about others. About asking yourself what can you GIVE to others, in whatever shape or form.
I felt good that my family did give.
My wife helped encourage my children to practise sessions of the play leading up to the mass in which they gave their performance. I gave my voice as a member of the Church Choir during mass and helped set up the hall prior to mass. I was happy we ‘gave.’
Here, I am again, in the early hours of Christmas morning, giving you my thoughts … through my writing and I hope it add some value to you and your life, however, small it may be.
It is my gift to you, this Christmas Day.
Don’t give up, don’t give up on what you believe in .. . don’t give up, but use the chance to return to HOPE. Hope that everything will be better and as you imagined.
There are many good and bad things Religions of the world represents. However, the one thing that I believe Religions of the world provide is a strong pathway for the individual towards Hope. This belonging to a sense of Collective Faith is very powerful … which is reflected in Christians all around the world celebrating Christmas Day.
I pray that from today forward, I may be the greatest example to you of someone (a Gentle Man in this case), who not only recognises and exercises authority when appropriate but also respects the power it allows me to wield.
In all areas of life, especially, as a parent.
Merry Christmas to you and your family,
From my family or Valentine Viking Pirates …
Cheers & Ahoy!
The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Shepherd Lessons from my son’s Nativity Role
Find your strengths. Society only rewards when you’re working from your strengths. Work to your strengths. Give your Gifts. Live. I like this hat.