a better life, accountability, action, adaptation, ageing, anger, anger management, asking questions, attitude, authenticness, awareness, balance, Beliefs, better choices, breaking points, care empathy, caring, change management, choices, courage, decisions, Energy, examined life, fairness, game of life, grace, happiness, hulk, life, love, man, mid-life crisis, needs, path, perseverance, perspective, real man, reflection, respect, responsibility, risk, saving, self improvement, self-image, self-respect, significance, spirit, synergy, time, trust, truths, you, your life

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I ask God to help me be the man my son hopes to be when he is older.
I’m far from perfect but I get up and try every single day … to be the man I want him to be.
And I have no doubt he will … because I have God on my side/in my corner.

Men.

We’re interesting creatures.

Simple, yet complex.

I like to refer to us all, as the simple-complex man, individually.

Women, do you agree?

Mens’ needs are simple. I grew up in an large extended family and I heard a lot of things said by many different people I lived with during my first 12 years of my life. One thing I heard one of the older women was –

“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’

When I reflect on that now, there is a partial truth, actually more than just a partial truth in that statement. You see, men need a few basic needs (like being fed with warm, proper nutrition) and we’re satisfied. Well, I think most Real Men would be. I also think that men, Real Men, are torn between two extremes, like a Dr Jekyll and Hyde or Harvey Two Face from the DC Universe.

Let’s run through a few needs or what I refer to as ‘matters of the heart’, as I see it. If we run through the basic psychological needs like – to know and be known, to love and be loved by others, there is one that stands out. I can honestly say and I honestly believe that men, Real Men need deep, caring relationships with other men.

Enjoying a little ‘biceps workout’ with my very good Aussie friend of almost 20 years now.
A best man in my wedding.
Every man needs at least one good male friend in his life.
Just one.

A have a handful of very good male friends. One, I spent a day and half with as he passed through Sydney, on his way to South America for a week long conference, attended by represented by 60 countries, including the USA and Australia. He is a United Nations Legal Advisor. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, over 40 years ago. We share dreams and sorrows. We ‘open up’ to each other and hug in public. We lean on each other during tough times but also celebrate during wins.

I have another friend, the very first friend I made on my first day of University almost 30 years ago at the start of my first degree (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). He lives only a suburb away from me and we meet up regularly for coffee and ‘debrief’ almost every week. We make time for each other.

I also have another friend I meet up every quarter that I have known for the last 20 years. We share our fears, our successes, our failures and our dreams. We share feelings. Just the way men should feel comfortable doing with other men. He got a divorce 5 years ago, it was difficult period for him. He’s in another chapter in his life.

I also have a few other friends scattered throughout my existence that have travelled with me in different phases of our lives. All there for a specific reason, upon hind-sight.

The point is, men need other men for deep, caring relationships. Like I need these men.

My very first friend at University on my very first day almost 30 years ago.
Lives just a suburb away for the last 20 years.
Catching up for a coffee and chat and digging deep in our relationship.
Man-stuff!

Yep, you read that correct. And you don’t have to be gay to want that (not that I have anything against being gay or anything like that). No, just talking purely on a ‘needs basis’.

You see, in my experience with males I call my friends and my love of observation and being around mostly men in the last 30 years of visiting the gym, I can deduce that Men need strong, caring relationships with other men. Relationships that allow a man to speak freely about things going on in his life. It is vital to their existence and sense of being and purpose. It is vital to their sanity and management of energy.

It’s to this level that James instructed Christians, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). I believe that a man who doesn’t have at least one other man to who he can be accountable regarding failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

Yep, you heard me – masculine anger!

And how does this arise?

Well, from my observations and dealings with mostly men in the different phases of their lives, I have seen that the angry man in our society seems to be caught between mythical masculinity on one side and true masculinity on the other.

You see, the man feels the pressure to achieve, to earn, to conquer, to win and so forth. Yes, but he also feels the silent pressure to do all these things on his own. Now, that is a lot of pressure, and just like many things in life, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Men all handle pressure differently and have different stress tolerance levels.

Apart from the pressure just mentioned, a man, a Real Man also feels the NEED to love and to nurture those he loves. He also has the need to be loved and nurtured by those who love him.

This is where so many of us go a bit askew and out of line.

Askew, when he tries to reconcile or balance the two needs of love.

The man, the Real Man is constantly torn between two extremes of character, like Harvey Two Face or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He is torn between being invincible and being vulnerable. He is torn between being aloof and being involved and present. He is torn between being self-serving and selfish and being of assistance.

This confusion and imbalance caused by the constant juggling act between character extremes drives a lot of men crazy, which I believe contributes to the high levels of male suicides every year. The roots of this conflict sends up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

This has got to be stopped or at least managed better.

What we need is a gym like the one I ran for 7 years, in every suburb. A place where men can go and just connect with other men. A place where men can love and be loved, unconditionally. A place where every man came there with the honest purpose to help the ‘man in the mirror’ and to connect with other like-minded men who are there for the single purpose of bettering relationships.

With themselves and with other men.

This gym will be predominantly for men. For Men Only. Men need this (and this has nothing to do with sexism). This is about survival of the male species, of what it means to be a man. Today and tomorrow. Consider this: more men die now from suicide in Australia then women die from breast cancer.

Shocking truth: Men suicide rate in Australia!

A last real Man’s Domain: a gym like mine, where everyone knew your name and were happy you came.

Sit back and watch the men that we produce … within families, within communities .. within states … within countries and the … future world.

These will be men with much more balanced characters that will one day make decisions when they will be leaders of tomorrow. Decisions that we hope will be rooted on the foundation of what they have learned while – loving other men and being loved by other men.

Give it two decades.

We will create not only make Champions out of these men, but more importantly we will help form the foundations of Champion Leaders.

I will be smoking my cigar-filled pipe by then, sitting back and thinking “wow!!”

That is life. What a wonderful life and world this is.

Amen.

 

Until next time …. cheers to all YOU Real Men out there … never stop believing in YOU … keep on keeping on … Stay alive, it’s worth it!!

Ahoy & cheers!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on the battle within most men

Me & some of the Men of the Gym I ran for 7 years … getting together for a simple eat & meat men-bonding session
Simply because men need this.

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’.

Standard
a better life, action, asking questions, authenticness, awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, caring, choices, christian, decisions, Energy, examined life, faith, game of life, genuineness, God, grace, hope, life, long-term perspective, love, path, respect, significance, spirituality, truths, your life

A life of significance.

_O7A6309_C

If you are a regular reader of my messages, you will notice that I think a lot about life and I am constantly asking a lot of questions from life. I admit, I am a student of life.

My years of interacting with thousands of people in gyms, including seven years when I owned my own gym, I have learned a lot about life from other people’s experiences(OPE’s) and stories.

A question I have always asked is what does it mean to live your life, in particular – to live a life of significance? I feel that this is one of the most important aspects of a life well lived. What do you think? I think if I remember correctly, it was the writer Henry Thoreau that said something to the effect that he was afraid of coming to the end of life and finding that he had NOT LIVED.

I think Henry meant, coming to the end of your life and realising that you have not lived a life of significance. That was a genuine fear of his. Now, I am tempted to say that I am not genuinely afraid about anything – but that is not true. One of my main fears is insignificance. I am afraid, to put it simply, of living a life that does not matter. I admit I am afraid of leaving the world exactly as I entered and found it, no different for my having been here.

To not live a life of significance.

What about you? Is this one of your fears? Have you had a chance to think about this question in your journey through life so far?

From my observations of life so far, I have noticed that a lot of people think that “having lived” means experiencing a lot of adventures or a lot of fun and experiences or indeed – acquiring a lot of money. I think otherwise. I think these peoples’ perception of what it means to ‘have lived’ is slightly distorted and are missing the true significance of what it entails in my eyes.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings. Vv.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings.
Vv.

Along with spending about eight years in my early youth as a Catholic altar boy, assisting priests in church masses and bible readings, I’ve spent countless hours of listening to hundreds of stories through OPE’s, and am also a keen observer of life. I believe, this common modern-day definition of living has nothing to do with ‘having lived.’ The usual things people seek to guarantee importance in their lives – typically money, fame, power – just don’t last.

Money, fame and power don’t work very well and yet, generation after generation are still blinded and brainwashed to believe that they are the answer. History is littered with countless examples that it is a lie, short-term  and inauthentic.

These false drivers – money, fame and power all come to an end. Often, during the person’s own life, and certainly thereafter.

“So, how do you live a life of significance?” you may be thinking.

Instead of the individual’s endless pursuit of more money, fame and power, I believe living a life of significance comes with filling your life with things that last forever.

“And what are these things that last forever?” you may now be asking.

Well, these things that last forever are essentially VALUES. Yep, values! And what is the greatest value of all? Love! Put simply, you need to fill your life with love and lots of it! Love casts out all fears.

What is love? At this stage in your life, you would highly likely have some idea of what it is. Well, one definition is that it is an emotional attachment to the good things of life. So, fall in love with traits such as honesty, integrity, justice, goodwill, forgiveness, truth, grace and yes – success.

I think ultimately, you continue to live in hope in the joyous expectancy of the best, and invariably the best will come to you. Through God’s blessing.

It follows that to live a life of significance, you need to fill your life as much as possible with these values, attitudes and actions. So, start with trying to make someone else’s life a little better, using the God-given talents and strengths you have been given. This is a great start to significant living, as you have done something that lasts forever – in that person’s (his or her) heart.

Something that is eternal. A gift from you.

That impact you had on that individual or individuals is eternal because people are the only part of this world that will last forever …

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be. With my guidance

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be.
With my guidance

As we are constantly reminded daily by media, today’s modern world is filled with many threats – many imagined, some real – threats to our sense of security and safety. Today, more than ever before, you need to be in the right relationship with God. This is the ultimate security, the only true safety as he is the beginning and the end – God, as you know is the perfect giver of love.

If you are a Christian you will believe that God was there before the beginning and he has no end. He has known our fears and sufferings.

Life plays no favourites. God is life, and this life-principle is flowing through you at this moment, as you read and think upon these words. Believe that through him, you will be set free…. to live a life of significance.

Before I go, remember that you owe nothing to anyone in this world except love. In it’s simplest form, love is basically wishing for everyone what you wish for yourself – health, happiness and success (in that order) and all the blessings of life.

This is my wish for you, your family and your friends.

All the best in your choice of how to live your one life.

 

Until next time,

B&W3284

Standard
awareness, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, children, choices, decisions, Energy, eternity, examined life, game of life, God, grace, life, long-term perspective, love, marriage, parenthood, parenting skills, perspective, real man, relationships, successful marriage, your life

The Grace of Seeds.

_MG_9765

I have been blessed with two very beautiful, healthy children. It is truly one of life’s blessings in my eyes – the Grace of Seeds.

However, in interactions with men of all ages in gyms for over two decades now, for some men, the responsibilities of fatherhood are simply more than they bargained for. It could be due to many things.

It seems, it is not only the intrusion of a newborn child’s demands; not just the scary anticipation of financial burdens (some men tend to view it this way) – from cot to college.

Maybe, it is the realization that the ‘honey-moon’ period has finally come to an end. Things will never be the same as they imagined it to be. This can be a stark reality indeed for some men.

In addition to this, some men probably have an increased fear of the onset of family life as this would entail responsibilities of parenthood. This would ultimately mean, the feast of love with his wife will grow stale. That the wine of their love will lose its bouquet.

That their love life will fizzle out.

But this is where interpretation of what married love means to Real Men differs.

Often when a man is insecure about himself, afraid of his personal characteristics and strengths as a husband and lover, he is unable to find a reliable and relevant version of the truth about love within a marriage.

And that it is this version of truth of married love:

The love between a married couple has a special ingredient that allows for the inclusion of the love of others.

But, it seems that there are many examples all around us in today’s modern living that tell us that countless couples disagree with this position or interpretation of what married love is.

The expectation gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what they imagined’ is just too big. I have met quite a few couples over the years who choose to not have children. Very sad indeed.

I will argue one point regarding this and one point only and it is this: if the Bible makes it clear that God our Creator, made us in his image and likeness, then I believe that he (God) intended and hoped that we would be ‘fruitful and increase in number”.

So, if you choose to give life and love whether by birth or adoption, you become more of what God meant by ‘in God’s image’. This is our real slice of the ‘essence of life’, our closest chance to share – if only to a small degree – the highest attributes of God the Father himself.

This is as close to “God-like” as any person could become.

To not do so and take another path, to not offer love to our own children, the seeds that will bloom in the future. Well, personally, I cannot fathom this decision.

This is to miss one of the true meanings of what life is about. To go down this path deprives you of a taste of eternity, that is ….

The Grace of Seeds.

It is a sacrament of everlasting life.

Nourish those seeds with all the love you can muster as they will be your future – our future.

They will be the World’s Future.

And, thank God every single day for blessing you with the grace of seeds!

For posterity.

 

Until next time,

Me and my children. Children gives you a hint of eternity. A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Vv.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing – the grace of seeds.
Vv.

Standard
a better life, attitude, awareness, Beliefs, better choices, caring, choices, compassion, Energy, game of life, grace, self, self improvement

Real Magic.

Believe. Believe in YOU. Believe in GOD. Believe in belief, itself! Vv.

Believe.
Believe in YOU. Believe in GOD.
Believe in belief, itself!
Vv.

Being grateful and thankful for your blessings is one of the most liberating thoughts you could have in today’s world. Everyone or at least, every Christian should practise a spirit of gratitude.

It is an attitude, an attitude of mind.

Magic exists, yes it does. You don’t have to travel to exotic countries to witness it. You don’t have to look for a magician to see it either. Matter of fact, you don’t have to look very far at all. You see, I believe Real Magic exists and it lies in every single one of us, you included, but it is based on a choice – your choice.

The choice of attitude you embrace.

There is real magic in having an attitude of gratitude. There is real magic in a thankful spirit.

“How?” you may be thinking.

Well, from my observations of life in my first forty years on this earth, the Real Magic of a thankful spirit (an attitude of gratitude) is that it HAS THE POWER TO

  • replace anger with love;
  • choose belief over fear;
  • choose peace over worry;
  • choose to play part of a team than the desire to dominate;
  • replace self-preoccupation with the concern for the needs of others;
  • choose an open door to forgiveness over guilt;
  • replace jealousy with happiness at another’s success;
  • generate inspired productivity over lack of creativity;
  • replace inferiorities with dignity;
  • choose power over force

and the power to choose an abundance of self-sharing over lack of love.

I’m sure you can think of many others too.

Explaining some of the finer points of training to Vicky during my 'coaching conversations' with my students. Better athletes train smarter.

Explaining some of the finer points of training to Vicky during my ‘coaching conversations’ with my students.
Better athletes train smarter.

This to me is what real magic is and it happens every single day in the lives of everyday people. Without any media coverage or fan-fare. This is where the real magic happens – in every person’s individual choice to have a thankful spirit. This is what the real human spirit is and what the spirit of humanity is all about.

This magic resides inside each and every one of us.

A thankful spirit and an attitude of gratitude is one of the many things that the world needs more of. I believe it allows individuals to be appreciative and content with what they have in life and to make the most of what they’ve got. I believe, being content, genuinely content, brings one closer to the elusive ‘happiness’ that everyone seems to be chasing in life.

This real magic (attitude of gratitude) has the power to empower individuals and can change each individual’s world for the better. In turn, the whole world becomes a better place. Every human benefits.

The magic rests in all humans, it rests in you and me. The only catch is that every individual has to take responsibility to make a choice, a choice to be endlessly grateful. A choice to release his or her ‘magic’ to the universe.

Do magic, Real Magic! Release the magician in you to the world if you haven’t already done so.

Choose well.

Before I go, I have to express my gratitude in you taking the time to read this message. I truly am grateful and I hope you are enriched in some way and it has a positive impact on your life.

Best of vitality to you!

 

Until next time,

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. Vv.

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self.
Vv.

 

 

Standard
a better life, attitude, awareness, Beliefs, dreams, Energy, God, grace, hope, love, success, you

Release your seeds of greatness.

Your seeds of greatness lies within you. Look. Build. New Start. Vv.

Your seeds of greatness lies within you.
Look. Build. New Start.
Vv.

The most important lesson I have learned in my life so far in the spiritual realm is that God is so gracious that he accepts me, my failures, my personality quirks, my irritants, all my faults and all – unconditionally.

Certainly a definition of what true love is. Unconditional.

Apart from my beautiful wife, he knows me better than anyone else in the world. For most of you reading this, you would probably be a high-achiever in your life and still probably striving for excellence in all areas in your life. Reaching for what you imagine yourself as being perfect, while knowing and accepting that this is an impossible ideal, you keep striving for it anyway.

Simply because that’s how you’ve always been. Very competitive. Worked hard. Studied hard. But, if you’re anything like me, deep down in the dark recesses of your mind, there is a voice that is telling you that ‘you’re always be a failure’ when it comes to being ‘perfect’.

What gives me solace is the thought that God’s love and grace is unconditional. God will love me anyway, no matter how many times I tried and failed. Knowing this quietens my mind. It fills me with a great sense of peace, calm and security in this ever-changing modern world.

In this constantly evolving and changing modern world, I trust that God’s love for me is un-changing, like a rock! Unconditional. With this belief and faith, nothing is impossible because no matter what happens, no matter what hurdles you face, whatever the outcome, you know that God’s grace and love is with you – unconditionally.

It is the absence of unconditional love in this world that is one of the main contributors to the prevalence of poor self-image among men and women, boys and girls. Very sad indeed. It seems that despite there being more people to communicate with, there are more people who are lonelier than ever.

But, I reach out to you in this message that if you have this faith in God about his unconditional love for you, then, follow your dreams and make a plan to build your bridge towards it. Know that God will meet you half way on that bridge and help you get there, if that is what he means you to achieve.

Stop listening to all those voices telling you since you were a kid what you can’t do and start believing and realizing that you can do more than you ever thought you could do.

With the belief and faith of God’s unconditional love, let nothing hold you back on whatever dreams you wish to realise. Pursue your dreams with the hunger of a starving tiger. Know that you are a part of man-kind and have been designed in the image of God.

This image is designed for accomplishment and is built for success. Believe in belief itself. Believe in your belief in God’s unconditional love for you. Believe too, that all that you ever needed to succeed lies within.

Within YOU.

Within YOU lies your seeds of greatness. Release them.

It’s the right time. It’s your time. Give those seeds the nutritious environment it needs to grow. Grow in to the success that you deserve.

With God’s unconditional love and grace.

Amen.

Until next time,

Believe. Believe in YOU. Believe in GOD. Believe in belief, itself! Vv.

Believe.
Believe in YOU. Believe in GOD.
Believe in belief, itself!
Vv.

Belief in God and belief in myself helped me twice rank in the Top 5 in the world in my chosen sport. No belief, nothing! Don't stop believin' in YOU and God. Vv.

Belief in God and belief in myself helped me twice rank in the Top 5 in the world in my chosen sport.
No belief, nothing!
Don’t stop believin’ in YOU and God.
Vv.

Standard
a better life, balance, belief, courage, Energy, grace, gracefullness

Grace.

A 'coaching conversation' with Brad, while taking a rest break between exercise sets. Helping Brad, help himself, achieve something he cares about and become more of who he wants to be. Through belief, hope and effort + heart.

A ‘coaching conversation’ with Brad, while taking a rest break between exercise sets.
Helping Brad, help himself, achieve something he cares about and become more of who he wants to be.
Through belief, hope and effort + heart.

Are you graceful?

Do you consider yourself a man or woman of grace? If you do, that’s great, you’re way ahead of the majority. I read somewhere recently that there is a never-ending worldwide shortage!

What does it mean to be ‘graceful’?

I would think graceful means balanced, elegant, subtle, effective and possibly artistic. A graceful person gets things done, but does it in a way that is beautiful and you would be happy to have him or her repeat it.

A graceful person raises the standards of everyone close by, forcing everyone to the top, not to the bottom. A graceful person is the person we cannot live without, the one who makes the difference.

There is no such thing as being born graceful. It’s not a talent, it is a choice! Only one person could have that exception and that is Jesus, our saviour.

Jesus’s birthday is only one night away now and it got me thinking….

What a beautiful and graceful man Jesus was – a man that was the epitome of grace. Do you think you know him or do you know the celebration of his birthday more – Christmas Day?

It’s not easy knowing Jesus, not easy at all. He has very high standards, especially relevant in the modern-day’s world where there appears to be none in many areas of life. I say, be prepared to stumble if you want to get to ‘know’ him, as I think everyone who ever tried has stumbled, and more than once I think. I know I have.

But what do you learn when you fall or fail, you learn how to pick yourself back up faster, don’t you? So, don’t be afraid to fall or fail. Pick yourself up and try again and find a better way.

Knowing Jesus means that you have to be disappointed when he doesn’t meet your wrong expectations. Notice I said ‘wrong’ expectations.

Knowing Jesus may also spur you on to become something or someone you thought you could never do or be. Achieving the seemingly impossible.

Through his help, the impossible is made possible. Don’t stop believing!

He will remind you in various ways of how much you need him. And you do.

Knowing Jesus is a little like building muscle – he breaks us to pieces so that he can put us back together again, but this time in his image – his grace. Just like muscle, you need to break it to pieces so that you can nourish it and allow it to repair and grow. A definite fusion of chaos and order.

All Christians are work-in-progress, all under construction. I know I am. However, the most powerful thing for a Christian is the unwavering belief that Jesus, the son of God, born on Christmas Day – is our saviour.

Christmas Day is many things to many people but like I said in the previous blog post, Christmas to me is everything. Christmas is life. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the world’s saviour. That, even in this fast-paced, ever-changing world, there is something that is un-changing. Something that we hang on to courageously.

We humans, we Christians, still have the courage to hang on to the belief that Jesus is still needed. Courage to believe that he was born on Christmas Day and died not long later but he will also come again.

Christians (and non-christian’s) insistence on celebrating Christmas could also be interpreted as an outward expression and belief that we (the world) still hungers for Jesus grace and hope.

Let’s pray that the world increasingly gets filled with more people like him, filled with grace. People the world just can’t do without.

May you be filled with grace this Christmas.

 

Until next time,

Feeling the 'essence!' Believe. Believe. Believe! Make the impossible, possible!

Feeling the ‘essence!’
Believe. Believe. Believe!
Make the impossible, possible!

Standard