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Weight Loss can be very hard for some.

When Alan came to me, he was in a bad place – not having enough sleep despite seeing many “experts”, was on the verge of losing his job and his marriage.
With immense courage he undertook the plan I developed for him using my Lifestyle framework principles .
He not only started sleeping again (from 700+ apnoea per night to under 4) … he lost > 25+ kg and got his life back.

The cost to get to below 4 per-cent.

I learned something very early on in my foray in to the sport of bodybuilding (almost thirty years ago now) and the art/sport of bodybuilding & physique artistry: the leaner I got, the harder it was to lose body-fat!

I knew pretty early on that I could just ‘clean up’ my diet a little and chop and change here and there, and drop from 14% to 8% body fat in a matter of weeks. I usually stay below 15% body-fat year round, just something I’ve done now for the last 15 years at least.

However, I also learned that when you get to single digit body-fat %, it gets even harder to lose unwanted body-fat. But, I’d get on the treadmill and x-trainer or bike in the gym a number of times in a week and drop under 10% (you can begin to ‘see’ your abdominals clearly around 9%). I keep going and then I get down below 7%. Now, to keep dropping bodyfat to 6% and then to 5% can get pretty hard, especially when you’re doing it the ‘hard way’ … NATURAL and no assistance from steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

Sometimes, the body just does not want to barge and literally stalls your progress. Let me give you a secret, it is fucken brutal to go below 5%. Very few people go ‘there’. It is a very ‘spiritual experience’ to say the least but it can also be a soul-destroying for those unprepared for the challenges.

So, there I am .. slugging away at the cardio machines on low-carbs, hypoglycemia and fearing muscle loss. Sometimes, I question – ‘what was I doing wrong?’ Isn’t a kilo a kilo? Being at 6% is quite an achievement but I wouldn’t dare boast about getting to that point if everyone else in the world would stop there too! Competitively, they don’t. Regardless of the cost, winners DO NOT stop at 6%. Just to make the Finals (Top 5) at amateur shows, you need to get to around 4%. That is just the standard that is at minimum.

The cost to get below 4% is different for everyone. That’s what I had to get down to to beat the best Natural Bodybuilders in the World at my first of two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, almost 15 years ago now. Here’s a tip: you’ll look your best but you’ll feel the worst you’ve ever felt.

Quite ironic, I know. I’ve been there many times in my life. Not a nice to be for very long. I believe, it is the closest thing you come to experiencing death, without dying.

Teaching you to love yourself better and more. That the most powerful show of self-respect is to say ‘no’. Saying no to foods that are not aligned to your desired body image is the highest form of self-respect and love.

Genetics: a gift and a curse.

In the sport of bodybuilding, like most other sports, genetics can be a gift and a curse that either propels you forward or holds you back. I didn’t have the height genetics for example to play basketball and dunk but I certainly have a healthy dose of Type IIb muscle fibres necessary for explosive power, muscle growth and size. You may never have my back and lats insertions and I may never have your biceps peak, even though we both try and train to maximum.

The thing is genetics dictates muscle SHAPE. And muscle shape is muscle shape.

My daughter appears to have taken after my wife in body shape and my son appears to have my build. No amount of training would transform one in to another. They will just be bigger version of what they already are (what steroids and performance enhancing drugs do) – a person’s strengths will be even stronger and weaknesses will be enhanced too.

So, it is similar to body fat storage and metabolism.

Here’s the thing, in addition to this covid epidemic, we also have an increasing mental illness epidemic, a broken-families/home epidemic, an obesity epidemic etc. Conservatively speaking, two thirds of modern-societies are overweight and childhood obesity is consistently rising. If you dig a little deeper, something more surprising arises. Among the developed countries, though childhood obesity has increased that much in 30 years, the bottom 50% of the BMI (body mass index) hasn’t increased at all.  That means the leanest 50% of kids across the world haven’t gotten fatter at all, but the heavier you are on the BMI, the higher the increase in obesity.

Translation: if a child has the genetics to become obese, then due to today’s societal changes (mom’s not home cooking, greater than 60% of our meals being out now, less activity, etc.) they get even heavier.  But, children who don’t have the genetics to become obese, though they live in the same culture with the same foods and temptations don’t gain weight.

Keep your pendulum swinging … because to be stuck at one end is not life-affirming
To successfully transform your body, one needs to be a better master of their internal Balanced & Breathing.

Some Genetic Differences.

Have you wondered what some of those genetic differences are?

From my insatiable curiosity of the how the human body and mind works, and my experience of helping hundreds of people over the last 3 decades, here’ a few things I have found –

I have found a few things, firstly, as children, we go through two “filling up” and two “expanding” phases in our growth.  I can readily observe this in the two pre-teen son and daughter. The amount of body fat cells our body creates is mainly genetic but also is influenced by how much we eat during that first year of life and the period right before puberty.  An individual may have 20 billion body fat cells and another may have 200 billion.  All of the hormones that cause body fat storage now have 10 times  the load for the triglyceride loading.

And what is triglyceride loading? Google it and see what you find.

Let me share an example – You’re cruising along, the diet is going great, and then you read an article on-line that says once a week you need a “giant CHEAT meal” and load up with 10,000 grams of carbs for fear of muscle loss. What do you some people do, then? Yep, you guessed it … they visit their nearest Pancake shop and eat enough to break the world record.  Obviously, this is an extreme example and the ‘carbing up’ wouldn’t really take that much at all. This is also part of the reason I tell almost every person that has successfully transformed themselves NOT to be tempted to get any information from any source, except from me. There is less clutter and noise in their heads and so, better overall progress made to their original goals.

Do you want to know why this practice is a fallacy? Well, you can certainly fill up your glycogen stores with some fruit, that’s right … a simple apple or banana. And you can refill your liver with two lemon tarts?  Here’s a fact – 350g to 500g of carbs can pack all of your muscle tissue with all the glycogen it can hold? Any more and you could seriously make yourself feel sick and very uncomfortable.

Here’s the catch: after consuming all those mountains of pancakes to your tilt, your body goes in to reverse. You IMMEDIATELY stop burning body fat.  Normal circulating amounts of insulin are three times that of glucagon – your best friend in fat loss. That’s right, your BEST FRIEND in fat loss is the opposing hormone, Glucagon. Not Insulin! That means we’re three times better at storing fat than losing it.

Not what you wanted at all, right?

It is a great feeling to do this … but make sure it isn’t your ego that is leading. Beating genetics to get a certain result is a great achievement all in itself. 
Stubbornness, well that’s ok.

Evolution favours Survival.

When it comes to evolution and your biology, your body is made to be conservative and to hang on to every ounce of fat for possible future famines. Your body is designed to Survive. It’s main concern is not how your abs look on the beach or how you look in a coat of competition tan on stage at a contest, naked in front of a thousand people. No, your body is built for survival.

So, when you’re cutting back on carbs and in a state of ketosis, or calorie-deficit, your body’s primary objective is to continuously look for ways to store fat. That is just what the body does.

Insulin is your enemy my friends, brought about by you having an unscheduled “high carb’ meal/day(s). Glucagon production stops and insulin not only shuttles glucose to the muscle, but it also tells the liver to go in to the ‘glucose-to-fat’ conversion mode. The body basically begins hording the fat. That’s right, it shields the fat and makes it very hard for you to burn this. I’ve heard all the excuses, some were –

“But is was just one meal!  But my body needed it!  But I just had one dessert!  But I even though it was three cups of rice, it was clean food!”

Your body doesn’t care – it just wants to store.  Now, if I have 200 billion fat cells and you have 20 billion, who is better at storing fat?  Who can afford more slips on a diet plan?  Certainly not me (the person who struggles to get lean at 200 billion fat cells for example).

Balance & symmetry brings you closer to harmony … to beauty …closer to infinity. Just like mathematics does

Work WITH your body, not AGAINST it.

I believe the majority of people who venture into transforming their body, work against it. They don’t work with it.

There are so many related hormonal/biochemical reasons that some people are naturally thin and some are heavy. Working against your genetics is a hard day in the office, every day.   Yes, we can do our part to gain or lose weight despite our genetics, but it’s a real slug-fest … a real battle.  I’m oversimplifying and skipping important issues to make the point, but one more factor in weight loss that has been given much play is the hormone, leptin.  Leptin is secreted by fat cells and basically, let’s you know when you hungry or full. It is the primary signal carrier for hunger/satiety.  When enough filling occurs in the fat cells, leptin is released and tells the brain that you’re not hungry.  When not enough leptin is present, hunger is the king.

As you probably know by now, there are three body types – the ectomorphs, the mesomorphs and the endomorphs, basically the skinny, the stocky and the fat types. There is a marked difference in the endomorphs (obese tendencies) versus the ectomorphs in terms of leptin.  Experimental studies show obese children deficient in leptin eat dramatically less and lose weight when leptin is brought to normal amounts.

A friend and former student/client of mine who achieved the impossible. Following the Quality Plan I designed for him and adopting my “3-legged stool’ framework, Nathan went from 125+kg to 88kg.
A massive transformation given he is leaning towards the ‘endomorph’ type.
I have not seen anyone work as hard as this man.
Very proud of what he achieved.

So, what are the lessons here?

There are four but I will just mention two. Firstly, if you have a body-type which is, you came from a family of obesity and endomorphic, then you will be ‘carb-sensitive’. If that is the case, then, you are definitely not an ectomorph and WILL just have to work that little bit harder. Sometimes, a whole lot harder. You may have to drop your carbs very low just to release fat cells and then increase the probability of using them as energy. That is difficult.. but there are tricks available. Knowing when to ‘cycle’ your carbs is essential and you will need to do more cardio and be willing to suffer more. I have had clients like these over the years and I take my hat off to them. They are real modern-day warriors.

There is little consolation when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your body transformation and weight loss. The scale can be very mean to those endomorphs. It is literally a “David vs Goliath” and where David beat Goliath and the tortoise beat the hare for these folks. You have to hang in there if you’re a ‘carb-sensitive’ individual. Hang in there … and summon all the patience you can muster. You will need it.

You will WIN this race and achieve your goal. You will kill Goliath.

Know YOU. Know your strengths. Work to your strengths. Not some of the time … ALL the time.

Until next time,

Quality lean muscle that “flows” takes time & a goal of balance & symmetry

At 4.2% at my 1st world championships. Getting to 4% body-fat was very hard, staying there was harder.

The very popular “most muscular” pose. It brings the ‘house down.’

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Decline in Honour, a consequence of our society’s drive for instant self-gratification.

You – a Father, are a Superhero, whether you know it or not.
Your children are watching you like a Hawk. Don’t be in a situation where it’s – “do as I say, not as i do”. Their young minds don’t operate like that. They DO AS YOU DO. So, up your game is you have to.

Honour is a gift we give others.

I’m writing this as I do one of my key daily habits – I’m doing “cardio” on a x-trainer and This thought just crossed my mind. It is based on one of the many observations I’ve made of life over the years.

It relates to honour.

There was a time when “honour “ meant a lot.

It meant dedication, integrity, grit and doing the right thing even under trying circumstances. Does it still have importance and appeal? With the proliferation of high profile cases (& not so high-profile friends and family), planted in the news over the last decade or two, it seems …

No longer.

Maybe it’s the age we’re living in, where no one seems to believe in pleasure delaying, in the value of patience. There is an unbelievable low patience level and it is one of the more silent but influential epidemics.

The word honour seems to have lost a lot of meaning in our culture, modern societies’ insatiable desire for instant and self-gratification.

What happened to the old fashioned- “good things come to those who wait?

When does honour mean anything? When it begins by having a perspective and view of something that is beyond & outside of ourselves. When we think of others, first… when we live to serve others, like Jesus did. Honour is a gift we give others.

This is very difficult in our culture where it is about

– “what do I get out of it?”… and NOW!

But how do children learn about honour?

Usually, children learn about it when they see their fathers & mothers act honourably themselves.

Like genuine love, honour is a gift we give someone. It involves the decision we make BEFORE we put love into action that a person is of high value. In fact love for someone begins to flow once we have made the decision to honour him or here.

As fathers and mothers we give our children the gift of honour by –

  1. extending it first to our parents (if they are still alive);
  2. helping them find value in times of struggle.
  3. recognising our parenting strengths and style.
  4. providing a healthy balance in our homes.
  5. establishing loving boundaries.
  6. building positive loyalties.
  7. offering honour to God.

I turn to a Bible quote I recall from my 8 years as an altar boy in my early childhood and it said –

“A good name is to be worth more than silver and gold.”(Proverbs 22:1).

That means you can “take it to the bank when dealing with an honourable man. Are you that kind of person? Is your word , bankable?

What do you “see?” How you perceive the world influences your reality. Change your lenses if you need to.

It not only opens doors but it opens hearts too.

I have experienced it and witnessed it too. That is something a very good mentor of mine said –

Be honourable, ALWAYS. It not only opens doors but it opens hearts as well.”

Lies, like all sins, have no degree of gravity. There’re all equal in the eyes of the Lord. A sin is a sin. Full stop! So-called “white lies” can be a slippery slope for many, as bad habits … like all habits tend to build momentum.

The entry point to anything, whether bad or good, is the first step in that direction.

The habitual slippery slope of lying will destroy your honour. Like gateway drugs, you will never comprehend how addicted you can become to much harder drugs.

A slippery slope, remember.

So, speaking to ALL fathers out there, think about what I’ve just said. Today, if you’ve just begun walking down that road of dishonour, stop 🛑!

It’s not too late to turn back now.

Your children are watching you like a Hawk and they are much more tuned in and smarter than you think. You don’t want to look them in their eyes one day, asking them to forgive or even understand why “you did it.”

Along with beauty, comes strangeness. Embrace your strangeness … your unique ness.

A major destroyer of children.

This is a real major battle for all parents, a fight against a major destroyer of children – their feeling valueless and insignificant. Every day is a battle and an opportunity for you (as a father or mother) to wage this war. Don’t ever neglect building self-worth in your children. No matter how old your children are, it’s never too late from unfolding your hands and honouring them. Consistently applying this may save the heartache of damaged relationships, and they also get a strong foundation to truly value God, themselves and others.

To you and all dads/mums/parents out there, win this war against this major destroyer of children.

Give them the gift of honour.


Don’t make it hard for your children.

Our modern-Day societies love great stories, especially ones that involve a fall from grace, a man or woman or integrity who “gets their hands dirty “.

A loss of honour. In days gone by, that would be considered worse than death. 

Our culture eats people up who break their values for short-term gains and the like. Some of these men and women were once morally upright individuals doing their best for what’s right.

Then, they slip….& its a long, long, lonely ride down … Our culture will tell your children to dishonour you, just like everyone else are. But you know, and I know and all dads out there know that your children will truly want to honour you, their father. Their superhero… their dad.

So, do the right thing, ALWAYS. Not some of the time, always.

And don’t go down that slippery slope of dishonour… and don’t make it hard for your children and you do this by consistently showing them what true honour is.

My questions to all dads – whom do you need to honour today In your life? What do you need today to restore honour to your name?

All the very best in your decisions, men of honour,

until next time,

p.

Like an FM station, just one point off gives you an irritating “shhhh…”

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other.
Choose to spend time with your kids, not ‘quality time’. Keep feeding their Sense of self-worth, every single day. Never stop Giving them the gift 💝 of honour. 

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The honourable hats of being a Father, Dad and Husband.

To think, really think .. is probably the hardest thing To do in life

I had a health scare.

Seven months before I won my 1st World Natural Bodybuilding/“Classic” Physique Title, I had a health scare. Every few minutes I would experience excruciating pain in my abdomen, especially whenever I ate something. The old experienced Surgeon (who was part of the first Medical Graduates at one of Sydney’s Top Universities & studied with an Uncle of mine) said I was lucky –

  1. The pain I felt was the closest thing any man can come to knowing what giving birth was like for a woman
  2. Less than 0.001% (or some very small number ) of the world’s population get this ailment
  3. It can be RIGHTED.

Diagnosis: the point where my small intestine & large intestine meet had folded on to each other like a sock 🧦. The pain experienced was due to the food being squeezed through each time I ate. It was an emergency & he moved me up the waiting list.

The operation was successful.

From that experience & my life experience so far… I have concluded that Nothing a man can ever do can & will compare with the pain a woman goes through during labour, along with carrying a life in them for 9 months.

Find your light to show your son/boys their way

A good Father is a little bit of a mother.

A man can never be a mother, but I recall a mentor saying – a good Father is a little bit of a Mother. Each have different primary roles and can’t completely replace the other, without causing other unwanted consequences.

No matter who you are or what you have achieved, one thing is true about life : Fathers matter deeply in the lives of their children and ultimately in the life of our communities and nations.

I believe Fatherhood is the most tragically underestimated & misunderstood modern-day issue of our culture today. It has been now, for a number of decades. Fathers & dads should be honoured & revered just as Mothers are.

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
my two children a number of years ago

Our children deserve better.

Our culture (many modern-day societies ) often mocks fatherhood in various ways – I see it regularly on TV ads over the last 2 decades where Fathers & Dads are belittled or made to look silly & irresponsible. I’ve observed & experience this first hand in playgrounds.

This should not be allowed to continue as there is nothing funny about the number of broken homes & broken lives left behind by absentee (& abusive) fathers & husbands.

Our children deserve better and more should be done in society to educate and create awareness. Society needs to continue to provide reassurance and affirm the necessary role a Father or a Father figure has in the life of each child.

It seems that our culture today is at a crossroad. There are many epidemics afflicting us, yes – the covid & obesity as examples. However, we have diverted our attention from a major epidemic: the epidemic of broken families. You don’t have to look very far … this epidemic has grown at an alarming rate & has littered our streets with broken children.

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do.
Teach them well.

The most vulnerable victims – our children.

Absentee and noninvolved fathers, who have given up their roles as leaders & mentors have taken their toll on the most vulnerable of victims – our children. Statistics about children from fatherless homes are alarming and we should be working towards reversing this growing trend.

Fathers are very important in the lives of their children and FATHERS MATTER!

A mentor told me this once a long time ago –

“Behind every successful child is a good dad “.

A good father & dad is one who provides the launching pad for strong, successful and values – driven adults into the world. Adults who them make a positive impact in people’s lives.

It is truly an honour to be given the opportunity to have the honour of wearing the Father, Dad and husband hats so far in my life. I hope and pray that one day, my two children mention something along those lines in their eulogy speech at my funeral.

God bless my children and all the children of this magnificent world and to all the fathers & dads reading this that try juggling all those very important hats : father, dad amd husband.

God bless all the children of this world and what they have had to endure because of the covid epidemic.

Amen.

p.

My beautiful daughter and I enjoying “Daddy-daughter time” on the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park in amazing Sydney, Australia.

foundations of a gritty strong character Begins in the Family … in the home …

 

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Does being a “Father” mean … being a “Man in the Shadows?”

    1. I am a Man.
    1. A REAL Man.
    This is my MUG.

An impossible task

It is an impossible task, being a parent.

Not just difficult … impossible.

To take a life from its first breath on through to maturity – to feed, clothe, educate, and all the rest. How could it be? …

What is a father’s role? I ask

If we turn to the Bible, we learn almost nothing about the man that would be cast in the role of father to the son of God. Though that infant was not part of his body, Joseph’s heart must have been stolen just as most adopted children have a way of doing.

How did Joseph do? As a dad?

Do you strive to better yourself in every way?
Are you a Leader?

Abba!

We know that Jesus made it to manhood with a very strong and simple vision of what ‘father’ meant. We could assume he learned it at least in part, from Joseph.

With his last breath, with a tormented man’s voice in the garden of Gethsemane, he shrieked –

“Abba!”

He cried out to God, not to his earth Dad, Joseph.

Jesus earth dad, Joseph, was a man of great patience & love 💓 and understanding.
A man that loved his wife, Mary, so much, he believed her story of Jesus being the son of God.
What a man… what a “man in the shadow”

Joseph, his Dad on earth, had no real purpose, it seems. The bible does not say much about him and gives very little significance to his existence.

Joseph, was simply, the ‘man in the shadows’.

In a strong way, that is the way most of society over the last centuries has evolved with regards to a mother and a father’s role in the raising of their children. Up until the age of twelve, we could assume that Jesus was guided by Mary and his earth dad, Joseph, in the shadows. Mary is elevated and rightly so.

The Bible has no account of Jesus between the age of twelve until his early thirties. There are many theories as to where and what he did but that is not the point Of this writer.

Young boys turn out just fine, it seems, even if most fathers are simply men in the shadows

So, don’t try and be a “mother” to a boy, just be YOU – a Real Man. Make him know and feel loved … unconditionally and don’t stress if you don’t think you have or cannot spend time with your boy.

God bless all you if you’re a Father and also all the Fathers and Dads out there who try their very best to be the best Role Model they can be.

For their sons … the worlds future Men and Leaders.

Until next time,

Popeye Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Paul … and the importance of being a Father even if you’re just the Man in the Shadow

Me & my son

 

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Timing is everything in life

A butterfly 🦋 knows when to fly and when to sit and feed.
Timing is everything in their life.

The Gambler
I loved listening to Kenny Rogers with my grandfather as a kid.

I particularly loved his song – “The Gambler”, some of the words something like this –

“… He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy

You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em

Know when to fold ’em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run

You never count your money

When you’re sittin’ at the table

There’ll be time enough for countin’

When the dealin’s done…”

Powerful words. Have you heard it … almost everyone on this planet has heard it at least once in their lifetime.

A genuine classic. 

Powerful, not just for poker but for building quality muscles 💪, whilst staying injury – free and the game of life, too. From what I’ve observed, Many people fail to recognise just how important timing really is. Not just the type of timing we usually think of  – catching the stock market or real estate at precisely the right time or the pass or kick in a sport. Timing is critical in lifting heavy-assed weights in the gym, like I’ve done for almost 3 decades and not get injured.

Timing is everything.

Timing is also critical for your continuous inner calculations of knowing when to bet, when to stay Put, & when to fold or give something up entirely.

Timing is improved self-mastery

Timing is … also doing NOTHING 
There are times when the optimal action is to do NOTHING, be patient. Sometimes, it can be worthwhile in the long term to take a loss now, to fold. At other times, everything you touch & decision you make “turns to gold” or allows you to grow , to expand and progress.

How do you get the “timing” RIGHT?

Timing is everything in the sport of bodybuilding, for example. You can spend 4 to 5 months preparing for a contest. If you don’t understand your “body-mind connection” as well as you should, you could miss your “peak” by a day before or after or even an hour before or after. You could suffer from a bodybuilder’s worst nightmare – being told you’ve “spilled over”.

You basically got your nutrition timing wrong and you don’t look your BEST on stage when it mattered most. Timing is everything… it is the difference between making the Finals (Top 5) and not…. like I did at two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding championships.

It can be the difference in having a child and not. The difference in getting and A and a C. The difference between mediocre and world-class.

intelligence is in plentiful supply but unfortunately, wisdom is in short-supply in our world.

 

Timing is everything in balance and creativity

What is needed is WISDOM 

In my experience and learning from other people’s experiences, I find that the worse thing to do is to be more “analytical “. You need to “QUIET” the mind… eradicate all the “noise” in your head. You need to UN-think and control your thinking.

What is needed is WISDOM.

And what is wisdom? It is knowing WHEN to do WHAT. Easier said than done.. look at the mess we humans have created in a areas of our lives and societies.

Wisdom is your ability to “be like water” as the philosopher- Bruce Lee said. You need to be hard and flexible at the right time.

Many people stubbornly hang on to their “habits”, some of which are not relevant now. They are simply unwilling to change. They have a “closed” mindset … believing change is impossible , saying –  “I’ve always done it that way “

Don’t short-change yourself. Love YOU, better.

Keep your pendulum swinging … because to be stuck at one end is not life-affirming.  Embrace the pendulum of life. 


UN-Busy your mind

My Tip: strive to QUIET your mind. UN-busy your mind. Allow your decision to “listen” to your heart
💖.

Apply WISDOM, understand the importance of timing in Making WISE decisions.

You Won’t regret it.

all the very best in your decisions ,

 

Popeye Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Paul … & the need for more wisdom in decision-making

A fridge magnet 🧲 I bought almost 20 years ago.
Practise this.

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You don’t have to finish everything …

Beauty = truth.
Create your beauty , you find your truth. If you find your truth, you find beauty.
Beauty will always be proportional (have balance & symmetry)
My goal for the last 3 decades in bodybuilding(physique artistry )

Do what you have been born to do … NOW!

The title of this blog says ‘you don’t have to finish everything … ” and I agree. Just because you’ve started something, doesn’t mean you have to finish it. For example, I think I’ve only finished reading two books in my life …from cover to cover … one was Joseph Conrad’s Classic – “The Heart of Darkness” (I’ve read many times over) and the other is …. oh, i’ve forgottten.

I’ve always applied nature’s 80:20 Principle to most things in my life and book reading is one such activity. If I get the gist of the book (some authors tend to repeat their message over and over in their chapters), and the 5 or 6 KEY things give me 80 percent of the knowledge base (the ‘essence’), I’m content.

One of the best mentors said that to me on his 82nd birthday … saying that “Paul, whatever it is that you want to do … travelling, biking or whatever … do it now, don’t wait. That time may never come. Do what you have been born to do … Now!”

I’ve never forgotten that and I have tried to apply that in my life on a daily basis. 

As I see it, your inbox will never be finished, it’s never going to be over. There will never be a perfect time to do everything. Stop thinking the ‘grass will be greener’ on the other side so stop waiting for the good stuff before you decide to …. ACT!

I believe that most men have this idea and make the mistake that one day ‘it’ will be done. They think, “If I could work enough and … hard enough, that one day, I could retire and …. Rest.” Or, they think – “One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.’Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.”

This is an error in masculine thinking, passed down for many generations. Things won’t be different … they won’t get better. It never ends. 

Here’s what you do … to get out of that thinking … that ‘rutt’ –

Make sure you continuously work at having better (more effective) communication with your significant other

Don’t believe in the myth

And what myth is that? Well, it is the myth that has been propagated in society and that is, men lie to themselves and others by believing – 

“One day when everything will be different.”

I have news for you – it won’t! Don’t believe in the myth.

Here’s what you do – DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING TO DO – that you have been ‘putting off’ for reasons such as – 

  • When your finances are more secure
  • When your children have grown and left home
  • When you finish your obligations
  • When you get that job title/promotion
  • Other

Do what you love to do, what you are waiting to do, what you’ve been born to do, NOW!

There is a Tiger 🐅 in each and every one of us.
Know when you need to bring that fella out and … when to have the cute domestic cat 🐱 there

Are you willing to do what it takes to give your gift?

In my experience and having over twenty thousands of conversations with people (mostly Men) in gyms over the last 3 decades, I have found that most postponements or procrastination are just excuses for a lack of creative discipline. 

People give excuses such as they have no money or limited resources but that is all a lie. Limited money and family obligations have never stopped a man who REALLY wanted to do something, although they provide excuses for a man who is not really up to the creative challenge in the first place. 

Do you have the creative challenge? Can you deliver? DO IT! Do IT TODAY, NOT TOMORROW. TOMMORROW MAY NEVER COME. Do it TODAY! Find out now whether you have what it takes. Are you willing to do what it takes to give your gift … your gifts and … share it with the world?

That takes courage. Courage is the foundation of everything ever ventured.

“You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Osho

 Take one hour out of your day and give your fullest attention to your gift, whatever that is … for today. Right NOW. 

Protect your mind like a true champion warrior

Don’t hope that you woman/man will be fundamentally different

They won’t be. 

That is another myth men have told themselves for generations. That one day your life will be fundamentally different, and you hope that .. one day, your woman will be fundamentally different (that goes for a woman too).

Don’t wait. 

Just assume that she’s going to be however she is, forever. If you woman’s mood or behaviour is intolerable to you then you should leave her, and don’t look back (since you cannot change her). However, if you find her behaviour or mood only a little irritating then learn to live with it.

Don’t try to ‘fix’ your woman (she is not a electronic gadget or car that needs ‘fixing’). Instead, this is what you should do –

  • Embrace and hold her (or scream or yell or wrestle for the heck of it) … and tell her that you love her when she is ‘ _____________’ that way (fill in the blank).
  • Make no effort to provide a solution or bring a stop to that which pisses you off.
  • Just love her
  • Don’t avoid the tussle with your woman and absorb her femininity in all its glory

Don’t try to fix her. That won’t end in success. What will end in success is if you simply love her because the love that you magnify may realign her behaviour.

Notice I said – ‘may’. 

Live with that. 

Believe in love 😍. Give love. Receive love. Do all thoughts & actions with love.

Your woman and the world is much alike

Your woman and the world is much alike – they will always present you with unanticipated challenges and surprises. As I see it, you have a choice:

  1. You can live it FULLY, grab every single day and give your best and your gifts and share it with the world amidst those challenges or … 
  2. Procrastinate and wait for an imaginary future which will never come. 

Aim to live a life of significance. I have found that men who have live a significant lives are men who ACTED. They were courageous and made a decision with the limited information they had at the time. They never waited: not for money, security, ease or women. 

As the late Steven Jobs said – 

“The only way to do great work is to to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Even if what you want to do is “weird “. Just Do It. So, don’t wait. DO IT TODAY!

Feel and ask your heart the question. Feel what you want to give most as a gift, to you woman and … to share with the world, and do what you can to give it … TODAY. Not tomorrow … or next month or next year or … ten years from now. 

DO IT TODAY.

Every moment waited is a moment wasted. 

Each wasted moment puts a fog on your clarity and purpose in life which is essential to living a life of significance.

Be courageous. 

Don’t Think. DO.

All the very best to you, my fellow Man,

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Muscled Monk

 

A fridge magnet 🧲 I bought almost 20 years ago.
Practise this.

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Be the oddly-shaped cornerstone of your own Masterpiece than just another brick in the wall of someone else’s Mansion

I seems we are in the midst of a revolution ..
A revolution of sorts … information, perceived freedom, mystical and empowerment … amongst many others

It’s not natural, afterall

Schooling, we were told gets you a job. But, to me, an education – self education, builds wealth.

We’ve bought into a model that taught us to embrace the system, to consume insatiably … to spend for pleasure and to separate ourselves from work. We’ve been taught that this approach works… but it DOES NOT (not anymore).

This GAP keeps us from succeeding, cripples the growth of our society, & makes us really stressed. We are all racing towards something, praising each other for being ‘busy’. What is that something? It seems “natural” to live the life so many of us live, but in fact, it’s quite recent and totally man-made.

It is not so natural, afterall.

Having a ‘growth mind-set’ is far better than having a closed one.
Be curious, Stay curious.

Big Business Controls Us

The BIG BUSINESS control us.

Most who are caught up in this ‘system’ understand this. Our schooling taught us through years of study to be the perfect worker, the perfect employee. We exist in a corporate manufacturing mindset, one so complete that anyone off the grid seems like an oddity. In the last few years, though, it’s becoming clear that people who reject the worst of the current system are actually MORE likely to succeed.

There are many examples of these quirky, weirdos who never finished college – two of which are – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They were mavericks in their thinking and not only dared to dream but … they dared to dream real big. They pursued what they loved and became very good at simplifying the complex. The magic was in the intelligence behind the thinking in taking complexity to simplicity. This is far more difficult than cramming for exams or remembering facts. 

As Steve Jobs said –

Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Classrooms have been teaching the wrong stuff. It has been reinforcing the wrong stuff for years. School teaches us Fear and it has been very good at it. Decades of school have drilled that into us …& still doing to our children – fear, fear and more fear. Fear of getting a D-minus, fear of not getting a job right out of school. Fear of not fitting in.

Don’t let that fear engulf your thinking and cloud it. Clean up your thinking, as Steve Jobs said and take a page out of his book … to work hard at simplifying the complex, whatever complexity it is that you are facing. 

Then … find your magic and … 

Move your mountain.

Good people cannot stand by and let injustice happen … which removes the key element of Freedom – dignity.

Question is does school still work or prepare you for work?

What do you remember from your school years … your university years … and/or are you still studying? I remember there being some very good teachers and some ordinary teachers. At university, I can count less than a handful of lecturers that were great teachers. Two of them, I am still friends with and in communication to this day.

What is one of our worst fears?

Yes, apparently, apart from snakes and public speaking, we hate being seen as ‘different‘. This fear is propagated in school, in the whole education system.

Here’s what more schooling does & continues  to teach people –

  • Fit in
  • Follow instructions
  • Take good notes
  • Cram for tests and dong miss deadlines
  • Don’t ask questions
  • Don’t challenge authority
  • Have a good resume’
  • Don’t fail
  • Don’t say anything that might embarrass you
  • Don’t answer back

Etc…

Question is, does school still work or prepare you for work in today’s fast changing world. I think the education system needs a big overhaul as the existing paradigm simply does not work and does very little for the individual in a fast-changing world. 

We have seen hints of alternative methods of schooling during this period of covid lock-down, but is it enough? Or, are we just going to go back to ‘how things were?” 

For me, anyway … I respect the system that we had (and still have) as it was the best system that was available but personally, I never let schooling get in the way of my education. 

Be YOU.
As YOU are.
Accept the uniqueness … and weirdness that you know you are.
Embrace YOU.
Never imitate.

Being a mis-fit, the outsider, the rebel and weirdo is a strength

Being you, and no one else but you, takes courage. Especially in a world that is continuously trying to make you someone else. Courage is the foundation of everything you can do with significance. As stated by philosopher Osho – 

“You cannot be truthful, if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving, if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot enquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence, courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Many imitate because of fear of being ostracised or being ridiculed. Seek first, to know yourself and love yourself. Self-love is a positive and productive force as it drives us to test our limits, impels us to do our best and compels us not to settle for anything less.

Be conscious of your unique-ness or weirdness and understand how you can serve the world better, with the unique strengths that you possess. I believe, being a misfit, an outsider, the rebel and weirdo is a strength in this day and age. It is less superficial and I think the world deserves and is hungry for authenticity.

Remember this: “consciousness of our strength increases it.” – Vauvenaregues (1715 – 1747).

Be you, have courage.

Those who dream … to be different … and aim to share their unique selves with the world, to help … get the love back in return.

We are what we think

Each of us a searching for beauty, for our truth, but each of us need to discover the truth for ourselves. What keeps us in the ‘dark’ is all up inside our heads:

We are what we think.

The mind is like a gushing spring and at any and every moment, we’re thinking about dozens of different things. To a large extent, we inevitably live inside our heads. This constant ebb and flow consciousness can take us to places we do not want to go and … should not allow ourselves to go.

I believe schools/colleges/universities… should teach ONLY TWO things :

  1. how to THINK 🤔 & find solutions to interesting problems/challenges. We should also be learning how to Think extensively, not intensively.
  2. Lead (this skill of leading needs to be taught … like the system has taught compliance. The world not only needs more Leaders … but also Champion Leaders. Leaders who are socially smart & responsible purpose, ability to connect & have a positive impact on society).

And I believe we need good QUALITY teachers/educators. As Malcolm Gladwell mentions in his book “Tipping Point”, the quality of the teachers have a bigger bearing on the performance of the students than the number of students per teacher. Great teachers in all areas of life are precious. Bad & lousy teachers/lecturers cause damage that last forever.

Bad & lousy teachers are dangerous but don’t blame them … get rid of them. Blame the Corporate system that still requires complaint workers who do well at Tests.

Here’s what I imagine :

I imagine a teaching facility that has sign something like this –

We teach people to THINK 💭 for themselves, to take initiative and to create their beauty … their truths, to question the status quo and to do everything with more care, more trust and more compassion. We teach our graduates 🎓 to interact with transparency and understand that more consumption is Not the Answer to social problems. We teach people to have courage in their convictions and be Leaders. To take a stand for what they believe in“

I imagine schools/colleges/higher education organised around teaching people to BELIEVE.

In themselves & realising their dreams to make  the world a better place .. & live a life of significance.

Believe.
Even if you don’t believe in anything … Believe in belief, itself.

Believe in yourself

The real foundation is to treat your ‘uniqueness’, your difference as the cornerstone to building your Mansion … not be just another brick in someone else’s building/mansion/dreams.

Keep seeking until you find what you’re looking for. When you find what you’ve been looking for, you will most probably find pain and suffering but it is in this pain and suffering that you will discover your treasures. For it is the everyday challenges that are in itself, heroic: the little battles we all fight to stay focused and do our best, to overcome doubts and fears, to keep our cool when all about us may be losing theirs. 

To truly master the art of worldly wisdom, you must win a more inward struggle, as Baltasar Gracia’n (1601-58) states – 


“First be master over yourself if you would be master over others.”

Above all else, believe in YOU … believe in yourself.

Create your own Bible and be the best your can be, always, as Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) said –

just improve yourself; that is the only thing you can do to better the world.”

I agree.

Do the right thing, always and keep your mind pure. Everyone knows this, even a five year old child. However, very few truly understands and practices it.

Schooling gets you a job but self-education, I believe, builds true wealth.

Your choice.

Cheers & Ahoy!

Yours in iron, heart, mind and muscles,

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

We all need to dream but have our feet firmly on the ground.
A strong foundation of support, unconditional love and good Life Education is critical to having a successful life.

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Headship

To lead, you need to serve … you need to spread your love … you need to spread your wings … and be the wind beneathe other wings …
Here I am spreading my wings … my lats … just like Batman’s cape

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.

It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.

Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants
Here I am with the members of my gym
Members that I served for 7 years of my life …
to be their BEST

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?

The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?

I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –

“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?

I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?

There are many good Leaders .. but not many, Great Leaders throughout history.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

Headship means responsibility to act in love

We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.

It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.

 

What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?

After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.

Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?

Bowling night out with the Men of my gym
To Lead is to Serve

Real Leadership begins in the home

A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.

I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.

This climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility in turn creates an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both partners in a marriage. Do you share the Leadership function with your married partner?

And how do you know if this is what you have?

Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).

With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog
Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve
I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.

We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.

When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

  • Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
  • Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
  • Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
  • Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
  • Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others

So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?

More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –

You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

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The Christmas Nativity Story speaks to our need for Hope

Find your light.
Light your path.
It is YOUR path.
No one can ride that path with you, but YOU.

Your “Right” to something can be very different to doing the “Right’ thing

I am a human and societal observer.

I have been since I was a child and I love it because you learn a lot, just by watching.

Permit me to make this observation: we must be very careful in speaking of our ‘rights’. I think people who constantly refer to their rights tread on dangerous ground. You see this just about everywhere you go in our modern-day, fast-paced societies.

Your ‘right’ to something can be very different to doing the right thing.

That is part of our reality, or a perception of our reality, at least.

Where the land … meets the sea …. meets the sky

The Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass

I signed up my son and daughter to take part in the Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass a few months earlier. My 8 year old son, Zachary, said that I was wrong not to assume that he wanted to participate in it. He said that he was going to church but was adamant he won’t play the “Sheppard” role in the Nativity Play.

Initially, I was angry but then realised that I was at fault for assuming I had the right exercise authority over him, simply because I was his parent. I subsequently apologised to him and said he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.

My wife, Cathy, subsequently persuaded him to play that Head Sheppard role. And he looked and sounded terrific on stage, saying his lines to Mary and the Angels (my daughter, Olivia, played the role of one of the Angels) at the time of Jesus birth. It was beautiful to see them along with other young children re-enact the scene of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ, our saviour in front of a packed out Church.

My initial failure at persuading my son to do the Shepherd role in the Nativity play also reminded me of how difficult I have found when helping people, help themselves to do the ‘right thing’ as they move towards their best selves. Despite presenting all the evidence and logical reasons for making or choosing healthier options with regards to habits, doing so is very very difficult for many.

Thank you Zachary for the reminder.

Father-son relationships take work
A lot of work

Failing as a Dad

After that heated debate with my son, I contemplated my failure as a Dad in relation to what I was observing quite readily in society – that many were referring to and claiming ‘their Right” but not necessarily considering whether they were doing “the Right” thing.

I thought about these questions: do you have the unqualified right to the respect of your children? Do you have an unqualified right to the respect of your spouse for that matter? Do you have every right to exercise authority over your children?

The answer is – No, you don’t!

You certainly DO NOT have an “unqualified right.”

You have a parental duty from God and you cannot sever that right. So, let’s ask this question: –

“Does and should a person demand his rights?”

So, I believe, God grants us ‘our rights’, but in so doing, these rights are only that, and no more … these rights are only granted to fulfil his or her duties. I know I have failed my children many times in this aspect of parenthood and especially in being a Father. I am certainly far from perfect and still very much a Work-in-progress…. in being the Best Dad I can be and also a better husband to my wife.

What do you think?

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

Duty to God, first

As parents, we automatically get ‘parental duties’ imposed on us and most of us, embrace them. It should not be forgotten that these parental duties apply towards God and to our children. Then, and only then, should we speak of our ‘parental rights’.

Duty to God, first.

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

To exercise and respect, Authority

Each generation speaks of and writes about the rebellious spirit of children and young people of the generation that comes after them. Why do think this is so?

On one hand, it is one of education, whereby I believe, the children have never learned respect for authority as their parents didn’t know better and had not exercised authority. However, on the other hand, it is very possible that these children did not learn respect for authority because the parents misused it. Or parents have completely different views of respect for authority and demonstrate this towards one another in front of the children.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who feel that you’re not respected by something your wife, husband, partner said or did. One or both parties then abuse their authority and supposed power over each other.

It is no wonder, that in life, we have so many examples of men and women, inevitably, abuse power when they attain so much of it.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Authority: a God-given Weapon

We had a major disagreement this morning – my wife, kids and I and some things were said that hurt each other. I needed ‘time-out’ to cool down so I listened to some ‘Enya”. Her musical frequencies (songs) has certainly resonated with my brain wavelengths since I first heard her musci in the early 90s.

All relationships take work and disagreements is simply what people who love each other do … very similar to building and keeping good quality lean muscle mass. You hurt the muscle area (through repeatedly lifting weights and increasing the load/hurt on the muscle over time)… then, feeding it with the necessary nutrition (love and care) and allowing the muscle/person/relationship to heal/recover and become bigger, more shapely and better.

That is a very simplified version of loving relationships.

I think I was guilty of abusing my authority as a Dad and raised my voice unnecessarily when arguing. I was wrong to do that and I demonstrated a lack of control and respect for my power in my family. Others were guilty of it too but I won’t go in to that here.

Authority should not be toyed with. A person that is given that power to wield this authority over others, should understand that it is a God-given weapon.

All who wields this Power (like us, parents), must be constantly vigilant on it’s use and abuse of it. One should always be ‘on guard’ lest you misuse it for selfish ends.

Authority, must never be exercised in an arbitrary, unreasonable manner.

The world is still crying out for more Leaders who exemplify the utmost discipline in the respect of and exercise of authority and power. Leaders that go from good to Great.

Praise the Lord!

My son, the Shepherd

Zachary’s role in the Nativity was – one of the Shepherds.

Got me thinking about the question why, the shepherds?

The announcement of Jesus birth went to the Shepherds, first. Why? I mean, God didn’t go to the Theologians or the elite? The first group would have probably consulted their commentaries and the latter, may have looked around nervously to see if anybody was watching. What about the successful, why not them?

Well, maybe, they would have consulted their calendars because they were so ‘busy.’

Instead, God went to the Shepherds. Why, I ask?

Maybe, it is because they didn’t have a reputation to protect or an axe to grind or a ladder to climb. They were simple men, who maybe, didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs are not found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.

I have seen this re-enactment play out on Christmas Eve masses many times over the years but it is only yesterday in Zachary’s role playing, my son, the Shepherd … that I asked those questions.

Like my failure to persuade my son to take part in the Nativity initially, many things in life and what we call ‘reality’ is heavily influenced in being able to communicate effectively through storytelling. The Nativity is a great story and the Bible has a collection of great stories, written by wonderful storytellers. Stories that connect and move people. Even all these centuries later, like we do today.

Maybe, we can all learn how to be better story-tellers now and for the rest of our lives to be more effective communicators.

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

Christmas is about … Hope … the vision of Life

Christmas is about many things, to different people. In yesterday’s mass, one of the 3 things he asked the members to consider was that Christmas was not just about ‘your immediate family’ but should be about others. About asking yourself what can you GIVE to others, in whatever shape or form.

I felt good that my family did give.

My wife helped encourage my children to practise sessions of the play leading up to the mass in which they gave their performance. I gave my voice as a member of the Church Choir during mass and helped set up the hall prior to mass. I was happy we ‘gave.’

Here, I am again, in the early hours of Christmas morning, giving you my thoughts … through my writing and I hope it add some value to you and your life, however, small it may be.

It is my gift to you, this Christmas Day.

Don’t give up, don’t give up on what you believe in .. . don’t give up, but use the chance to return to HOPE. Hope that everything will be better and as you imagined.

There are many good and bad things Religions of the world represents. However, the one thing that I believe Religions of the world provide is a strong pathway for the individual towards Hope. This belonging to a sense of Collective Faith is very powerful … which is reflected in Christians all around the world celebrating Christmas Day.

Hope, ultimately is all that we have in life.

Hope is ultimately, all we have in this life

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness

In church, there are moments when we are required to ‘stoop’ or bow our heads or kneel when we are talking to Jesus and God. That is what you do when you meet or are in the presence of Greatness.

Jesus was a great man, a great Leader, a great Messiah. He still is, many centuries later.

As I see it, as you go through life, you can see the world and everything it has to offer – standing tall. But, to witness the Saviour, you have to get on your knees.

So …

While the theologians were sleeping;

And the elite were dreaming

And the successful were snoring …

The meek were kneeling.

They (the Shepherds) were kneeling before the One, our Saviour .. that only the meek will see.

That is the Nativity. That is Christmas Day. They were kneeling in front of Jesus, the son of God.

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness, like my son reminded me in his role of a Shepherd in this year’s Nativity Play.

Thank you, son … for the life lessons you’ve taught me.

My prayer for my son …

I pray that from today forward, I may be the greatest example to you of someone (a Gentle Man in this case), who not only recognises and exercises authority when appropriate but also respects the power it allows me to wield.

In all areas of life, especially, as a parent.

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

 

From my family or Valentine Viking Pirates …

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Shepherd Lessons from my son’s Nativity Role

Find your strengths.
Society only rewards when you’re working from your strengths.
Work to your strengths.
Give your Gifts.
Live.
I like this hat.

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a better life, accountability, adaptation, attitude, authenticness, awareness, belief, better choices, change management, choices, creation, decisions, dreams, Energy, examined life, game of life, hope, Imagination, Jesus, Leader, leaders, leadership, life, responsibility, significance, skills, strengths, time, you, your life

What takes Leaders from “Good” to “Great”

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

The Biggest Decision 

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

I waited.

Then someone yelled out –

Making decisions!”

The others agreed – “yes, taking decisions!”

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

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

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

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

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

NO. It was a typical week.

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

The importance of good, well-run systems

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

We all have 86,400 seconds in a day.

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

If time = $,

Then …

Saving time = saving $

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s one key & relevant thing:

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

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

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

Wonderful insight in to the mind of a Great Leader

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

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

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

What separates the great leaders from good leaders?

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

Let us ask – what does a great leader do?

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

And that is fundamentally what makes them a good leader.

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

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

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

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

He said (his name was Roger) –

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

I said –

“Oh, ok!”

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

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

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

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

Beauty comes in many forms.
Great leaders stand tall and deliver
Great Leaders find their truth … their beauty and effectively communicate it
Here I am with my beautiful Schnoodle “Mr Fuzzy Cuddles” and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I just love beauty. Brings you closer to the elusive truths you search for in you life.
Truths that ultimately eliminate your ignorance.
Keep searching I say, never let the curiosity within you die.

The Great Leader is simply, Great Dreamers

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

No

Great 👍Leaders truly and authentically LEAD.

They have a way with communicating their message. 

Their VISION.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True.

Great Leaders are Adapt at listening to their intuition 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can we produce these types of leaders?

History suggests not.

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

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

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

Amen 🙏

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

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

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

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

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

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

And why?

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

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

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

Clearly, Concisely and Consistently.

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

There’s Hope for us All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Unsung Heroes 🦸‍♂️

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

Find your voice, your strengths, then …

Lead.

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

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

That’s ok

thats just life

 

cheers & ahoy!

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

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

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

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