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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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Saying No … to say, Yes.

Beauty comes in many forms. Look at this exquisite beauty at an art show I went to. This Bonsai Tree is produced with constant pruning and shaping. A little like shaping a young male in to not just a Man but a Gentleman. It takes time, a lot of patience and high skill levels. I sit back and go “wow!”

My son is growing up in to a fine young man. He has a Tom Hanks character inside that young Arnold Schwarzennegger tough exterior already and he is only 8. He’s tough but tender when appropriate. Understanding yet stands his ground and confronts when required.

He’s my young Warrior Viking Pirate Prince.

He made me aware recently of a habit of mine. Good or bad, you decide. He said –

Dad, why is it, that you always say no when I first ask you for something… and then a little later change your mind and say yes?

Initially I responded – “Kaka!”.

This is a term I created to be all-encompassing.  A term that gives me an ‘out’, my little exit strategy if I ever get caught in a corner with my childrens’ endless questioning. To be used when I was just too tired to give them an answer or when I didn’t know the answer (which was very regularly) and I didn’t want them to know I didn’t.

Instead of saying ‘just google it”, I came up with my ‘made-up Fijian’ word which I said meant – it is just the way it is! I am not obligated to give an answer and this is where the conversation ends. Full stop!

They hate that word. I use it sparingly.

Then, I got thinking. I asked myself that same question, that great question he had asked me. Why Paul? I’ve always told my children from when they were able to speak, to not be afraid to ask questions and to question everything, even beliefs, behaviours, my actions and the way I do things, history and so forth. However, I’ve always reminded that the most important thing to do is to ask the right question.

This particular question from Zachary, was a right question.

Initially, I didn’t have an answer. I was stuck, in that corner no one likes to be. He got me. Gee … zus, and he was only 7 years old. What other questions is he going to be asking me as we progress through life I thought? Scary stuff! Luckily, I coined that ‘get out of jail’ term pass – kaka. Phew!

After reflection, I called him back and said –

“well, son, if I said yes first off and then said no later, you would be quite unhappy, wouldn’t you? You would probably think I’m cruel. But, if I say no first because when I do and then change my mind … to say yes, you won’t be disappointed and would most probably think that I am a nice dad. A nice man, that I am.”

I told Zachary my son, that this habit of mine was to ensure that I allowed myself time to reflect and think about my decision. This would make sure that, whatever decision it was, that I always came across as a Real Man … a Gentleman that I wanted to be, always. A role model that he, my son, would copy his behaviour off. A template for him to build on.

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot. Shaping a young male in to a man, a Gentle Man is very much like building good quality lean muscle within the walls of balance & symmetry. Requires patience, a lot of skill and dedication to truth, with tonnes of love.

Preparing him for the changing post-feminite landscape

First impressions matter.

That is what we have heard all our lives. Even more so now. I want my son to understand that, I think he does already. Fairly or unfairly, people are going to judge you to be a gentleman or not within the first minute or two of meeting you. Having a template, a blueprint of good manners is important.

We all have a blueprint.

My blueprint … a template evolved (and continuously evolving) that is a cross between relevant ‘old school’ traditions that I still retain from my English Gentleman Grandfather and skills honed by me in these modern times. Skills that he, my father & grandfather would not know and didn’t have to because they lived in a different era, with values and practises that were relevant to that time.

Just like the way I train in the gym, a fusion of ‘old school training methods, combined with a modern twist”. I want my son to learn the old fashioned chivalry combined with a modern respect for women. I want to make sure that he puts the ‘gentle back into the man’ and keep it that way for his future. A future that will be embracing change at a pace that I or previous generations of dads would have never faced.

I need to prepare my son (and daughter) as best I can to believe in himself first, an important step to becoming a gentleman and that knowing that the real meaning of the saying “it’s ok to be a man’ is that men are capable of many dimensions. In other words, to be proud of who he is.

Putting the gentle back into man means nurturing the classic male qualities of kindness and thoughtfulness, patience, compassion and trustworthiness. A man that embrace intimacy qualities simply because he chooses to. A True Gentleman with manners does not have to have feminine qualities. No.

A true gentleman understands that manners matter. He is aware of social etiquette. I want many things for my son, and one of the important ones is that I hope make him conscious of this – in the way he looks, sounds and acts around others.

We all need a bit of guidance and reminder of what and why we are a man. It takes effort and the desire to be made aware. Manners in a Man, Matters. The great thing is that manners can be improved through increased awareness and practice.

Why is this important?

Because the landscape for men has been changing and has been changing very fast in the last decade or two. Men are very confused and unsure in many things, prime example is on how they are expected to be a man – a Real Man.

I want my son to grow up understanding good knowledge of manners and etiquette because it just makes for a better world and also because it paves the path to manhood. Being a man requires a certain amount of experience and knowledge.

I want Zachary to know that it is one thing being a male but it is a totally other thing to be a man, a gentleman. Granted, today the social landscape is not what it used to be when I was growing up as gender roles have blurred and continue to change dramatically. Many things have changed.

I want my son to embrace this change but be prepared for it. I want him to be a successful gentleman in this new landscape. A landscape that requires him to know how to act, how to dress, how to talk and how to date.

A man needs to allow himself to be coachable to help him, help himself navigate the challenges he faces in the Sea of Life.

 Being the BEST Dad and Father you can be

He is learning this from me, every single day. That is the pressure and responsibility that us men (with young children) and the men in society at large have. Helping create the New Men and beginning with teaching them the new etiquette. I have to admit, it is a little daunting as I tell them that I am their Flawed Hero, their Less-than Perfect Dad.

You see, from where I sit, saying no … before I say yes is only one piece of the puzzle of what it means for my son to grow into a modern day Real Man with relevant old traditional values with a modern twist, needed for survival in today’s world. A world currently filled with many confused post-feminite, re-constructed, new-age so-called men! Not Real Men, far from Real Gentlemen.

I remind him of what my father used to say to me ‘action speaks louder than words!’’ Yes, indeed. I want Zachary to understand that it’s one thing to say we need to change how we act, but it’s another thing to do it! A very necessary ingredient to successful body re-engineering journeys that I have helped people, help themselves achieve over the last 20+ years.

To get quality results in anything, one has to not only have  a clear goal but develop a quality plan and most importantly, ensure a quality implementation of the quality plan. A ‘scatter-gun’ approach will not give you the desired results.

Etiquette, after all, is more than knowledge, it’s a product of well-rooted self-confidence. That is probably one of the greatest gifts any dad or father can impart to their sons – that of self-confidence. They don’t learn this at school or the sporting fields, they learn this at home.

Children, like seeds need a lot of guidance and nurturing as well as the freedom to grow. However, with more freedom comes more responsibility. Teaching them life etiquette helps them manage their sailing better.

With regards to being a gentleman, I know that how we feel about ourselves is often how we present ourselves to others. You see and hear about it every single day. If you honestly believe you can excel at a job or in a game of football then the confidence will show when you talk to your boss or take a penalty.

People and society notice and reward good etiquette, demonstrated through appropriate self-confidence. Good manners matter!

So, there are many things I hope and wish my son will be and skills he would have practised through good behavioural habits. When channelled in to the right mediums, habits can be life-changing.

For a better life.

My ultimate wish for him is to have a fulfilling life of significance. I’m sure it is the same thing our dads had for us and I’m sure all you Dads and Real Men reading this feel the same as well. We’re all ultimately helping to mold the future Leaders of our world when we’re old, frail and silver. And not fall in to the trap of ‘do as I say, not as I do” philosophy that some of the previous generations of men have passed down. This is one that need to be put aside.

The skill all us Dads need to develop is the skill of continuously questioning beliefs passed down to us and filtering out bulls*it and values that are not relevant and life-affirming for this era. And the most important skill of discerning between what is helpful and what isn’t, based on relevance.

That takes time … and hard work/YAKA!

Let’s hope they are great examples of Real Men, men who have simply practised putting the gentle back in to man and have learned to say no … pause .. … then say yes.

Thank you Zachary, for asking that right question.

 

Ahoy & cheers my friends …

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on being a Real Gentleman

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 gentlemen. Men that understood that manners matter.

Give him the scaffolding in your son’s life to help him, help himself find his light. To allow him to build & live a life of significance. With a foundation of good etiquette/manners.

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A Happiness KEY: Be naked, exposed and vulnerable.

bw3140

In the heat of battle at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, NY, USA. Me (4th ranked) and competitor (3rd placed) striking a “Triceps Pose”. You couldn’t get more naked than this on stage, under bright lights for an audience you can’t see (because of the blinding lights). They say public speaking is human beings greatest fear. I disagree. Try getting up on stage in no more than your undies and communicate NON-VERBALLY … & MOVE an audience with your body, not your words … through the expression of the nude sculptured human form in motion. A fusion of art & science … in motion. A synergy of energy. Now, this is the epitome of being naked (not quite but close), exposed and vulnerable…. in the physical form.

A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.

I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?

They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.

If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!

Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.

Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.

It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.

Happy moments with two long-time members of my gym – in my gym of all ages: 70s, 60s, 50s and I was in my 30s then.
The first gym that I ever stepped foot in, in my late teens. A gym that I said I would own one day. A gym that was me and I was it. A gym that I loved.
Was a place … that was always happy members came … a place where everybody knew your name … a place where it was ok to just be YOU.
I accepted ALL – peoples’ good and bad … it was not a place to be judged.
That was and is not my role. My role was to simply provide the environment and leadership required to encourage members to flourish.
Because they believed. They believed in what I was trying to do. For ALL to benefit. Remember: BELIEF ===> FAITH ===>HOPE.
The vision of my gym: the way gyms should be around the world. There should be my gym in every suburb in the country .. in the world. To bring each community closer … to bring each suburb together … to bring each state together … and the people of the country together. As ONE. This is SYNERGISM: the ability to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, through effective communication and ‘know-how’ of combining seemingly disparate elements. Great Leaders do this – WELL. Very similar to building a World-Class Physique where all the individual muscle groups ‘flow’ together to produce a masterpiece of beauty (balance & symmetry). For all to appreciate. Like an orchestra.

Why is that so, I ask?

Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.

So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a key to happiness.

There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.

This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.

Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.

I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.

There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.

You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.

Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!

And why is this so?

Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.

Believe. Believe in something. Belong to a religion, any religion. Why? Because most Religions AMPLIFY Faith.
This is why human beings invented religion. It is why we have spiritual religions and cultural religions and corporate religions and sporting religions. Because Religion gives our faith a little support when it needs it.
Religion at its best is a sort of mantra, a subtle but consistent reminder that belief is ok … and that faith is the way to get where you’re going.
Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.

Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.

If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!

However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.

There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.

This is what is meant by being naked.

Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.

So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.

A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).

Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.

A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.

So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.

This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.

You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.

Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
If religion comprises rules you follow, FAITH is demonstrated by the actions you take.
Of course it is difficult. Be the Leader that you are. In your life.

So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions. Learn to be more empathetic. This will take time, if you’re not wired that way. That’s ok. Be patient.

Believe. You will get there. Compassionate, trusting and caring – all elements of empathy.

To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.

Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!

 

Until next time, Ahoy!!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & tips on being closer to happiness

The symbol for Christianity – the Fish.
Do you have a symbol that you like, that resonates with you… with who you think you are.
I love the DOT ===>”.” I’ll write a future blog on this point (pun intended)
What is yours?

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