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Know your Limits (Life within Limits)

Simply simple.
In Life, try to be the Best YOU can be … to be the light … the star that is ALWAYS there
but truly reveals itself when darkness comes & surrounds us.
We all need mediums/messengers of Light … to show us the way.
Be the Light the world needs.
Today. Not tomorrow.
For …
tomorrow may never come.

Most successful sportspeople not only accept rules and limitations, they accept and play within boundaries. I believe they need them.

In fact, I believe sportsmen and women are free to perform at their best only when they know what the expectations are – with their roles as an individual, as part of a sporting team, their position with the sporting club, their fans, the sporting body and the world at large.

The sportsperson – male or female performs at their best, when they are crystal clear on where the limits stand, their limits or boundaries are. For example, I have been to the top of my chosen sport of natural bodybuilding, representing my country Australia at not one, but two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in New York, USA. I placed in the Top 5 in the World in both World Championships.

You see, on a personal level in striving for excellence and Peak Performance in my Sport and to do this with Real Freedom, I had to know what my limits were – physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and socially …  and how far I could possibly take myself on a genuinely ‘natural’ way. Natural meaning I chose not to resort to steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

That was my personal limits within the sport which has stretched the limits of human possibilities and being the honest sport that it is – you can “see it’ when some one is on something. Unlike cycling and many other sports cultures, for example in when a famous Lance Armstrong denied, denied, denied … for a decade.

So … personal limits and limits imposed on us externally, need to be set, communicated and clearly understood by all participants in the game or games in and within Life, in general.

I see this as a Biblical principle that also applies to life, but it seems to be a principle our modern-day society as a whole has forgotten.

After almost 5 decades I have learned many Truths (from experience, from patient wise mentors and from spending hours and hours reading & learning and un-learning), so …

Consider this truth: You cannot enjoy true freedom without limits.

Heck, we all need limits and boundaries (that is what rules, laws and regulations are there for) to help us individually, and as a group, community and society function smoothly. The key words here are limits, boundaries and smoothly.

Take the recent example of a certain elite athlete, here in Australia (there are quite a few examples in the history of Sport where athletes have communicated in one way, shape or form). He sent a tweet that paraphrased a passage straight out of the Bible. He has been castrated by all sides regarding this, I think very unfairly. It seems there was a ‘break down in communication’. The limits & boundaries was not clearly communicated by those ‘in Power with Titles’.

You see the titled are powerful. This is yet another example (but with huge consequences) at play of the ineffectiveness of communication. People/parties communicate but they don’t do it effectively. And how do we get communication to be ‘effective’. Well, as the famous Management guru stated – there needs to be a ‘feedback loop(s)’ Basically, people/parties need to be ‘on the same page’ when communicating.

In this case, the limits and boundaries ‘permitted’ with the use of social media were probably not established and so this ‘grey area’ does not get addressed.

Representing Australia at the World Natural Physique Championships in New York, USA.
Placed: 4th In the world.
Success = Preparation meeting opportunity. I was prepared.

As I repeat, take the recent example of the extremely gifted and hard-working elite athlete – Mr Israel Folau. He plays one of the main football codes, called Rugby Union and has represented Australia in over seventy games against International Teams over the years.

An amazing achievement considering he has crossed football codes three times and been a success at all these codes when some players have played just one and never made it to the top level of anything, let alone, that one.

Totally committed, he originally played Rugby League, playing and winning at club level, state level (played State of Origin) and the Australian Kangaroos (where he represented Australia many times, making Australians feel like “winners” whenever the team won) and played at the highest levels.

As some of you, Australian Sports Fans would recall, he also switched to Australian Football League (AFL) for a while to develop other skills in his arsenal, like his aerial awareness involving jumping high in the air to catch footballs as well as enhancing his already super spatial awareness skills. This aerial skill is one of the many skills at his disposal that sets him apart from the other current Rugby Wallaby Players.

This proud, very talented and hard-working dual Australian Representative at the most highest levels has brought so much joy and entertainment to the sports-mad citizens of Australia over the last decade. He has been under fire recently for posting on a social media account a paraphrase of a passage right out of the Bible.

Right out of the Bible and he is being crucified and treated like a criminal on the media, by the media. Is Australia a Christian country? I don’t understand how and why he – a decorated Australian Citizen who has represented Australia at the highest levels of multiple sports is now being treated similar to that of a criminal.

Like many genetically gifted athletes that have come before him, Israel Folau has stretched the boundaries or limits of the particular sport he plays and has played, beyond what was thought possible. Adding to the awe and entertainment value of the Sport for the Sports fans, the paying fan, the paying public.

Geniuses – in this case, a Physical Genius moves the limits … the boundaries of apparent possibilities to places the general public, the audience never thought was possible.

It is these geniuses (in all fields of Life for that matter), that are responsible for challenging the ‘status quo’, the acceptable level of play. We accept and understand it when he does something ‘miraculous’ on the field of play but do not understand when he makes a statement that tests the perceived limits of society at large.

Demonstrating leadership on the rugby field is one thing for ex-Waratah & Australian Wallaby Captain Mr Phil Waugh.
Being the Champion Leader that he is, Phil continues to embrace and learn secrets towards bettering himself.
Off the field in post-rugby retirement. A proven leader on and off the field. A champion Leader is one who leads with heart and one who continuously strives for change. But more importantly, learn the skills necessary to adapt to change.
That is part of what I teach.

We’ve got to understand though, that challenging the status quo requires commitment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting your ideas, your beliefs on the line.

He has done just that. Put forward views that are written in the Bible. The Bible – the best story book ever written, by amazing storytellers. He took a few lines out that storybook, I mean he could have taken a few lines out of Dr Seuss books and got in to trouble too. Would Israel have got in to trouble if he had followed Dr Seuss’s advice? For your information –

Dr Seuss, enjoyed a successful advertising career before becoming a children’s author. Dr Seuss was many things and he was a social critic and he was fundamentally, a trouble-maker, an instigator, a leader. Throughout his career he encouraged kids to take risks and make their own decisions.

He wanted kids to be Leaders, Leaders who believed in something. He called on kids to respond with civil disobedience against anything that threatens to suppress their imaginations. He praised spontaneity and daring and a healthy disrespect for authority. He encouraged kids to THINK for themselves and continue to ask questions…. specifically, the Right Questions.

One needs to be aware of his limits (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally), the limits of the sport he is in, the limits, the limits in he relationships he has, the limits to his mortality.
This ALL needs to be communicated effectively between all parties involved.

From one perspective, Israel did something Dr Seuss encouraged – thinking for oneself and believing in something . That belief is something Israel has in droves. It is quite simple: Israel is simply a Leader.

He has his followers, his tribe. In today’s world there are tribes everywhere now, inside and outside of organizations, in public and in private, in non-profits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection.

Governments and Political Leaders are aware of this phenomena and it is Real, very Real. If you think Sport is not intricately linked to Politics and Big Business, Science and Religion, you may as well live under a Rock! Just read up on the last 4000 years of history and you’ll see the connections.

Like I said earlier, Israel Folau is a Leader.

Leadership is not about being Mr Popular (even though this helps). Leadership, as HBR May/June 2017 Issue stipulates that there are four behaviours that Top Leaders need to be successful at leading (this is leadership that is bestowed on Financial Leaders). They are a mix of key ingredients: decisiveness, the ability to engage stakeholders, adaptability and reliability. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach but focusing, they say, on these four key attributes separates the Best from the Rest.

What about qualities such as – compassion, caring, trust, integrity and honesty and such? Based on ‘cut-throat’ business stakes, these qualities are not key. It was interesting to learn that 100% of low-performing CEOs/Leaders in the sample studied scored very high on integrity and 97% scored high on work ethic. However, in the financial world of the Fortune 500 companies think otherwise.

Good for business, it seems but not much good for other areas of life that require True, passionate Leadership.

In life, without leaders, there are no followers.

Tribes are about faith – about belief in an idea and in community. His followers ( I would think the Christian Community) are grounded in respect and admiration for the Leader (Israel) of this new tribe and for other members as well.

So, my question to you is, do you believe in what you do? Every day? Can you honestly say you do?

I believe Israel does – not only does he believe in the Sport he plays – Rugby Union at the moment but he also shows belief in his Religious Faith. He is simply a man of faith, of belief and of passion. He ‘wears his heart on his sleeve’ and is as authentic as it comes. He does not shy away or try to make everyone happy and love him. He is true to his beliefs. What is wrong with that, I ask?

To lead is to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
This develops, amongst other things – GRIT.
An essential ingredient of all Champions, all Leaders and most importantly, all Champion Leaders.

“How was your day?” is a question I have always been fascinated about and I believe is a question that matters a lot more than it seems. You see, I believe that someone like Israel, being the Leader on the field (and now showing Leadership off the field) is one of the few human beings who really like their jobs.

How do I know? Well, it turns out that the people who like their jobs the most are doing their best work, making the greatest impact, and changing the most. That certainly describes Israel’s on-field performances every single time he takes the field. He is a ‘cut-above’ the rest.

You see, Leaders, real Leaders change the most – changing the way they see the world, certainly, but more importantly, changing the world. We can’t say that much for many so-called Leaders running countries today, Leaders we call Politicians.

By challenging the status-quo, Israel, funnily enough could be considered a ‘heretic’ because of his Christian Beliefs. This used to be the complete opposite less than hundred years ago. They used to burn individuals at the stake, drown them, denounce them, ignore them and hang them from the rafters.

Some of them were people went against the Church at that time, people who ‘didn’t believe in Christian teachings’.

Not any more.

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
4th in the World in something you love isn’t too shaby for an Fiji Island Boy… who dared to not only dream … but to DREAM BIG

Now, heretics are invited to speak at business conferences. Heretics get elected to Parliament and Congress. Heretics make a fortune when their companies go public. Heretics not only love their jobs; they get a private jet too.

Societies around the world are not burning heretics, they are celebrating them. Let me remind you of a few heretics/Leaders: Bill Gates; Larry Page; Steve Job and the list goes on….

Then, why are the media in Australia putting this heretic through the grinder?

Now, it seems, Israel, the strong Christian believer, is made out to be a heretic in this day age. Where are all the Christian supporters? Everyone is quiet and looking to ‘point that finger’ because everything is tied back to Big Business getting their way. Huge corporate interests and influence tied to dollars.

That is business they say, that is Capitalism at work. Fine, but remember, there is also many delusions of Capitalism too. But I’ll save that for another blog.

True Leaders develop Leaders.
Here we have former Australian Rugby Wallaby Captain – Mr Phil Waugh, allowing himself to be led and coached to help him, help himself … find his best self.
Leaders have belief, they have faith but most importantly … they have hope.
That tomorrow will be better than today.

I’m gonna go ahead and say it … I strongly believe that heretics, like Israel are the New Leaders.

Israel, this mighty Athlete, is suddenly a heretic. Yes, but this new type of Leaders are propping out all over the place, all over the world. Suddenly also, heretics , troublemakers, and the change agents aren’t merely thorns in our side – they are the key to our success.

And Governments and Politicians know this because people are looking for that Leader, they are tired of ‘fence-sitters’. They want Real Passionate Leaders. They want to believe again. They want faith… they want hope …. They want a Religion (and not necessarily spiritual) to follow. It is already happening.

The Tsunami Tides of change is coming, if it hasn’t already began.

The thing is a lot of people don’t see this as genuine Leadership from a Leader because most people have been trained all their lives to avoid it. Leadership is many things to different people but to me, and I think to many out there …  Leadership is about creating change that you believe in.

We often resent rules because they limit what we can do. Yet without the rules that define a football game, for example, you can’t play the game, let alone enjoy it. The same thing is true in life.

To live and enjoy the freedom we have in Australia, we have to live by the rules of society. To live life to its fullest and truly enjoy it, we need to understand and abide by the rules God spells out in the Bible. God isn’t out to spoil our fun; he knows that life without limits results in anarchy and misery.

It would seem that this Sports Star is “suffering for Being a Christian” and this is mentioned in the Book of Peter, 12 – 16.

It’s only when we have absolute limits that we can be truly be free to enjoy the best life has to offer. Why don’t many other thousands of Christians speak out like Israel? Well, it is simply because of fear.

Fear is an emotion, no doubt about it. One of the strongest, oldest, and most hardwired. In every single human being. And what, my friends, can overcome all fear? Faith or belief. This is because faith or belief leads to Hope … and this is what overcomes fear.

This is not about the “Religion” he believes in, no, this is about the Religion that is currently the norm (and probably has been for a long while now). The Religion here I am referring to is not the spiritual type, no, this religion on the other hand, represents a strict set of rules that Rugby authorities has overlaid on top of our faith. This religion supports the status quo and encourages us to ‘fit in’, not ‘stand out.’

We have all kinds of Religions surrounding us – not just the Capital – R religions like Catholicism or Judaism. There’s the IBM religion of the 1960s, for example which included workplace protocols, dress codes, and even a precise method of presenting ideas. There’s the religion of Amazon and Google as the modern-day giants that they are.

The media love to glamorise the rare downfall of the heretic who doesn’t quite make it, which is what is happening to Israel at this present time. You see we’re already primed to hear about the person who got into trouble, who lost his job, his house, his family – his business – because he had the hubris and audacity to challenge the status quo.

And since we’re eager for this news, we notice it the few times it happens. Israel’s apparent ‘mistake’ is great for the news empires. They know they have the masses’ attention.

You see, Israel, like many heretics that have come before him, have talked himself out of fear. I mean, I’m sure the fear is still there, but it’s drowned out by a different story.

A different story that he tells himself.

In this case, I presume it’s the story of success, of drive, of doing something that matters. Whatever comes of the case against his beliefs, I know one thing:

Israel is more engaged, passionate and more powerful and happier than most and I think he has a tribe that he supports (and that support him in return).

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Israel is a Leader.

Real Leadership is rare because few people are willing to go through the discomfort level required to lead. At this point in time, and in this era, Heretics like Israel must above all else – believe.

Education through a perception of the truth.
Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement.
Funny thing is that the process also applies to relationships and response.
Vv

Challenging the status quo (as it is in regards to freedom of speech in today’s modern societies) requires a commitment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting your thoughts on the line.

Leadership is choice. It’s a choice to not do nothing!

Israel chose to lead and he is curious to see who will follow him, who will be part of his ‘tribe’. Maybe, just maybe this is just a case of curiosity. Israel has let his curiosity get the better of him. He has been wrestling and managing perceived tensions between his religion and something else … wrestling with it (for a while maybe), through it and then finally expressing his views on it.

Bam!! There it goes on Twitter. Just like that … his elasticity point has been reached and broken!

Can and should we consider his views to be fundamentalist in nature?

Maybe.

But, what we’re seeing in today’s world is that fundamentalism really has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with an outlook, a worldview, regardless what your religion is. Through his actions as a leader, he attracts a tribe that wants to follow him. This tribe has a worldview that matches the message he is sending.

Tribes are voluntary and I think great leaders don’t try to please everyone. Great leaders don’t water down their message in order to make the tribe a bit bigger. Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever

So, all the best to you Mr Israel Folau.

Your fate rests in the hands of people put their by the society we live in, established and limited by the rules that have been put in place to govern us.

Let’s wait and see what happens.

Will certainly set a precedent for things of a similar nature in the future. Will common sense (which isn’t very common anymore) prevail?

Until next time,

 

Ahoy!

The old Captain Viking Pirate ….. & his thoughts on limits, perceived or real, sports stars and society and Life in general.

Change your philosophy, change your life.
Vv.

Infusing ‘the essence of life’ (Vitality) in to my attentive pupil.
Student/apprentice who is ready to be coached, to be enlightened.
Simply because he/she believes in what I believe in.
I have coaching conversations that produces results, fuelled by a by-product called “Positive Energy”

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Worshipping Work.

How many hours do you work? 30, 40, 50 … maybe 80 hours per week?

If you do, congratulations. I’ve spent a bit of time in the Corporate world working very long hours and ‘climbed the ladder’ so to speak for a number of years, almost 10 years to be exact.

Interesting climb to say the least.

Many workers today are sacrificing themselves for work or rather on the altar of work. In my years in Corporate consulting I saw a lot of things. Good and no-so good. I saw many tolerate hugely harmful symptoms such as anger, chemical dependencies and loneliness in a what seemed to be a blind pursuit of self-fulfillment through career success.

This may be pathological but it may also be idolatrous!

What I mean by this is that, if you’re a Christian, you’ll understand and agree that such a person worships his or her career as though it were a god.

Yes, I understand the importance of work but I think for many, work has been taken a bit too far. Like all idols, work is impotent in the face of true human need. Not sure if you’re familiar with a passage out of Psalm in the Bible (I spent 8 years as an altar boy, assisting Priests in the Big Catholic Cathedral in Suva City, Fiji Islands). Well, 115:4-7 puts it:

Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats.’

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am preaching to you because I am very far from a priest. I just quoted a relevant text from the Bible. To get the story straight, I have to admit that I have been very guilty of putting ‘work before everything else’ in many phases of my life.

Many.

My version of the Hulk Pose. Sometimes we all need to ‘smash’ hard, old, bad habits to embrace growth and fulfillment by simply saying and acting ‘no’. Have no fear … like the Incredible Hulk,

When I ran the gym for 7 years for example, I never took leave and I worked consistently between 12 and 18 hour days every day for 7 years. Now, if that isn’t idol worship, I don’t know what is. So, what I am saying is that I am no better than you, I have travelled in the same boat and been ‘in your shoes’. I am just sharing a perspective of what we’re all battling in our lives: this work-life balance.

Back to that passage, what do you think it means? Yes, if you feel it sort of spoke about the powerlessness of idols, you’re correct. That is exactly what the psalm is trying to make us aware of and to take sufficient and appropriate actions, that work as an idol is just as powerless as an idol itself.

I think it also says that those who worship work as an idol are defenceless in the face of true need… as another passage/psalm states –

“those who make them will be like them, and so will all those who trust them. (115:8).

I have spent a lot of time with men of all ages, ranging from teens to men in their 90s. I enjoy spending time with men of all backgrounds and socio-economic status. My shoulders has been a pillow for many grown men to cry on over the years of owning my gym. Those moments spoke volumes.

Take ‘time out’ to reflect about where and what you’re worshipping.
Going on a holiday to Fiji is a great way to maybe, find some answers … and courage to act to change your perspective on life … for the better.
Work, but don’t worship work. There is a huge difference. That difference could be your relationship with you, your close family & friends … & could mean your life.

I have sat with grown men, exceptionally powerful men in business (I once had one of the top 200 wealthiest men in Australia secretly training in my gym and whom I called a friend). I learned a lot about business and property investments from him as I helped him, help himself become his best self. I’ve had grown men weep on my shoulders (luckily I have pretty solidly wide, muscley shoulders to hold down the weight of their heads and tears).

They shared their tragic stories. Some with so much success’ in the financial world but with personal lives shattered, others with families in shambles. Some with their character de-based or their business in doubt, their circumstances out of control.

At some point, I look into their eyes and I see an emptiness for a brief moment in time. The emptiness tells me that all their professional accomplishments, all the machinery of their companies, all their wealth they worked all their lives for …. Is of no help at all. It amounts to nothing.

Simple nothingness.

On a beach in the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji … where I was born and spent my early youth in.
The Fijians understand and live and breathe “Fiji Time” very well (& use it when appropriate/needed)  … and is the way of life … Fijians are some of the world’s hardest and smartest workers but …. they never to worship work like an idol. They only worship one God – Jesus Christ. Full-stop! ‘Take a page out of the Fijian’s Book of Life.’

I see nothingness in their eyes … their souls, as they say the ‘eyes are the windows to the souls’. I have seen many souls in my time. And I have travelled with them, helping them, help themselves find their way out of the depths of despair.

They were in deep trouble and their god (work) is impotent. Of no help in time of need.

I have grieved with such men (and to a little extent, women).

They have chosen the wrong God. How much do they have to lose to realise the emptiness, the sadness. There is power in simply saying ‘no’. The power of no. Use it, if need be.

Of course, I also respect the fact that the same thing could happen to me (and it has in the last 25 years and could happen to anyone).

Work is one of God’s gifts to us.

The problem arises, I feel, when we begin to worship and serve it rather than … the true God, God himself … and Jesus.

Or whatever Higher being you want to call God.

Choose well.

It is your life after all.

 

Yours in iron, muscles and nuggets of wisdom,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate

Front double biceps at my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
Enjoying the sun and the creator that it is.
Be not like the moon, be like the sun.
Take time out of ‘work’ to enjoy your surroundings.
Vv.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup
Go the Wallabies & Fiji! Not excessive time at work/worshipping work allows you to invest your time in to your children. This is one of the best investments you will ever make. Remember this: less time spent with your children when they are young ==> more time in their late teens/early 20s … getting them out of trouble. It will cost you more in time and $$ and heart-ache too. Choose well … and be proactive, do it now.

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More love to you.

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What was the main thing that drew men to our saviour, Jesus Christ?

I have always thought about this.

I mean, Jesus had so many qualities.

Yes, he was a brilliant leader of men.

Yes, he spoke with authority and flair.

Yes, he did miraculous and amazing deeds but what was the main thing that drew so many people to him?

I think it was the thing that they would have witnessed in his actions and words. The thing that was emblazoned on to his face and that came from his heart. The thing that emanates from his stories told to us in the bible.

I believe it was simply – his love and compassion. Jesus Christ was the epitome of love and compassion.

Choose to embrace him in your life (if you haven’t already). Open your heart to him and enter his. Love him and be loved.

Try to imagine looking at life through his eyes. Notice the difference. Make changes in your life, if you need to, for a better you. Don’t underestimate the power of positive change, no matter how small.

Start with forgiving yourself and loving yourself more. Value YOU. Allow love to fill you up in more each and every day and spread it.

All the very best in your dreams of a better you and best of luck in your strategy (New Year’s resolutions) towards a better version of you. Seek strength from Jesus and God for perseverance of self-improvement in all areas of your life.

Believe in God. Believe in you. Believe that God believes and loves you, no matter what and no matter how many times you fail. He will catch you if you fall and he will pick you up again… and again … and again….

All you have to do is ask for his love, his help and he will fill you with the courage and might.

To try again.

Also, remember: Quality plan + quality implementation = quality result. So, plan your work and work your plan.

Happy New Year and Best of Vitality to you and your loved ones!

More love to you, this New Year’s and beyond.

 

Until next time,

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