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I’m not a good Father.

You – a Father, are a Superhero, whether you know it or not.
I tell my kids that when I FUCK UP (and I do)… it is my human side that fucks up (5%) of me. The other times, I’m simply Super.

Finding the Silver Lining in the clouds.

As loving parents, one way we can honour our children and build value into their lives is to help them see the positive gain in troubled times, finding the ‘silver lining’ in the clouds. Do you find yourself doing that as a parent?

Whether we like it or not, before they leave our homes, our sons or daughters may experience moments or even days of doubt, discouragement, loneliness, disappointment or depression. That is all part and parcel of living and being fully human.

They may be betrayed by a friend, fail to get into the school or university the desired or the profession of their choice. You can reflect on your life or like I have, learned from other people’s (parents in this case) – that children could experience being dumped later in life by a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse, or perhaps experience the disabling results of experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

And with each experience their child suffers, Mums and Dads feel the aftershocks in their hearts … have you felt that? Teaching them the necessary skills of how to respond to these life events and help them overcome these hurdles (if they do happen) is a big part of being a parent.

Teaching and ensuring they understand the life-skills necessary to move forward in life. If I don’t, I would feel like I’m not a good Father.

We all fall and fail in life. The main thing to focus on is picking yourself back up and …
Trying again.
That’s how most babies learn how to move from crawling to walking … and then to running …
and beyond.

Not wrong to avoid pain.

It is certainly not wrong to avoid pain when we can.

But it is wrong to deny problems, ignore them or try to explain them away or ‘push them under the carpet’. I come from a family line of confrontationists but my wife, on the other hand, come from one that ‘pushes things under the carpet’. No one says a bad thing if relates to ‘family’. With my family (extended), if there was a problem with someone or something, people raise it and bring it ‘out in the open’. They speak and ‘thrash’ the issue out amongst themselves and in many cases, individuals run out of words and let their hands/fists ‘do the talking’.

Did I tell you I come from a line of athletic sportspeople, with a strong emphasis on boxing? Anyways, I do. I grew up getting taught how to ‘box/fight’ from professional/semi-professional boxers. I was taught a ‘3-step’ method by my grandfather when I was a child and it has almost never failed me in street fights in my youth.

There are pros and cons of both methods of management of the issue – avoiding confrontation or seeking confrontation. The real skill is in assessing which issue is worth pursuing so as to bring less harm in the short and long term. Especially for your children and your relationship with them.

Most people take a lifetime to learn that art, if they ever do.

The interesting thing is that my wife has learned to be more confrontational and I have learned to be less. We have both learned something from each other. Finding that ‘mid-point’ is the true challenge.

That is one thing I am grateful for, for being married for almost two decades now – that we’ve both helped one another become better people, spiritually.

My wife and kids

Life is difficult and often unfair.

One of the all-time great truths is that ‘life is difficult and often unfair’.

The better we are at seeing through trials to what they can produce in our lives and our children’s lives, the better able we’ll be able to provide calmness, assurance and genuine love to our children, even in the midst of trying times.

In fact, trials have the capacity to bring strength, maturity, courage, genuine love, righteousness and perseverance to those who are willing to be trained by them.

Those are some of the qualities (along with others like patience and integrity, care and compassion) that work to re-enforce in my children and our family household. It is these intangible qualities in life that I hope my childrens’ character are built on.

Especially when the going gets tough in life, which an inevitable part of life. Not matter what happens, I tell them I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE in them and WILL ALWAYS be in their corner. With these weapons, I encourage them to go out and give it a Try and … DO THEIR BEST. And even if they fail, that’s ok, because most people would not even try.

I teach them the most important thing – COURAGE, to attempt the ridiculous/weird or absurd. For nothing great or impossible ss achieved without courage. As M.C. Escher said –

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.”

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

What you fear will materialise.

I did a form of Martial Arts called Tae-Kwon Do for about eight years in my youth and achieved multiple Black Belts in that art, by the time I was 19 years old. Martial Arts is a kind of dance, with an opponent. You learn how to dance with your opponent(s) by using their energy and body patterns with and against them to ultimately get them ‘off balance’.

That is one of the keys to being a Father/wife or parent in this life – striving to keep a sense of balance, even as chaos reigns around you. One must remain calm and respond, rather than react to external stimulus that has the potential to ‘knock you off’ balance.

The very things we fear might happen to our children can make them stronger people, depending on their response and our response to their difficulties.

I strongly believe the key to remember as parents is – our children do as we do … not as we say. So, as a responsible parent, becoming a better manager of you – yourself, is an Key component.

Being the BEST YOU, is the building block on which your whole family, especially your kids will, model their behaviour off…when you hear people say –

He or she (referring to your child/ren … is a “chip off the old block’

Every experienced parent knows that bad behaviour in a child rarely happens with no previous signals and no past incidents of disobedience or defiance.

There are always signals of trouble ahead. I always tell people, be more aware of yours surroundings, they speak to you … you usually see the clouds before the storm hits, for example. Alert fathers and mothers notice such signals (in the child/children) in time to intervene and prevent the youngster from skidding into serious mistakes …

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.
Children teach you better conflict resolution skills


Real Wisdom.

Your wisdom in controlling your youngster is one of the best measures of how much you really love and value her. She knows this, whether she has said so in plain words or not. My grandfather was such a parent for me in my childhood. I was blessed I had such a strong and morally upright Real Man to model myself off.

Children need to know that their mother should have a hand in controlling her/him too and her/his father should have an equal share in the job. In my family, my wife and I clearly and repeatedly say that we are co-CEOs in our family. Mummy has certain strengths and daddy has too. For example, when it comes to sternly communicating standards of behaviour, I communicate this very effectively so I do it more often.

Your personal examples are very important, too, along with your rules.

You won’t be able to sell her/him (your children) any double standards on the important issues in life. She or he will come much closer to following what you do and what you believe than what you say about these issues.

Your daughter or son does not have to believe that you are the wisest man in all the world to consider you as a good father. She or he does want to be able to come to you with important questions about life. She needs to see that you are learning and growing, too, that you are open to new ideas, new concepts.

That you have a growth mind-set and embrace change that is relevant and readily adapt.

The future Valentines with the talented Miss Ruby.

Teaching the hearts and minds that are learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

Being a real father to your children is one job that no one else can ever do as well as you.

Good fathers deserve their full share of top praise, for they are helping to build the loftiest cathedrals in the universe: the hearts and minds that are learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

 

Hanging out
They love making fun of me these days

Happy Father’s Day to all the responsible fathers reading this and beyond. Let’s not forget all those fathers who have come before us or have left prematurely. May God bless their souls

Enjoy your day and have fun,

Paul

 

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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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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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The QUALITY of your Network is more important than your Quantity. Here’s why –

Who are ‘you?”

The Lifeblood of connecting 

Everyone wants to be rich. Right? Not you? Well, you’re special … 

Do you have a million dollars in cash laying around, what about a billion dollars? No, I didn’t think so, many don’t. Would be nice though, wouldn’t it?

What is ‘connecting’/networking” to you?

It would mean different things to different people. I’ve learned over the years that ‘good networking begins with the ability to start and carry on a good conversation.” We all have strengths and some people are better at ‘connecting’ than others. That is a strength of mine, has always been.

I don’t think anyone would get far in this world if you can’t make eye contact, act confidently, and engage in an intelligent conversation punctuated with give-and-take, back-and-forth dialogue. It begins with Trust, and the only word that describes trust, is, priceless. You can’t buy trust at any price but over time, with patience, you can earn that priceless trust. 

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – if people you connect with, like you and they believe in you, then they will trust you, and if they trust you – then they may buy from you.

The lifeblood of connecting and the nurturing of relationships, stems from networking. Networking, to me, is your life skills and social skills combined with your business skills. Business pleasure done before and after regular work hours. …& during hours too (lunch meetings). 

There is life and happiness in sadness. Find it.

Good things come to those who have patience

To me, the ability to make conversation is an important part of nearly every relationship we have in our lives. The ability to engage in ‘small talk’ (have a listen to my tips in an early video), speaks volumes for you and leads to communication that deepens the relationship. 

So, “what you can do today?” you may be thinking

Here’s a place you could start from – try and perform one small act of kindness today without the expectation of getting something in return. Maybe pay for the coffee for the person who is standing in line behind you at the coffee shop? What can you do to brighten up someone’s day today?

In my experience, good things come to those who have patience and take consistent, persistent actions toward what they want or desire. They make committed decisions … decisions they ACT on. Just like what I’ve learned about building good Quality muscle with balance and symmetry. You need patience, above everything.

And do the right thing all the time, and respect will be yours. Believe in your heart that what you’re doing that the actions you’re taking is the best you can do – for yourself, first, and for others second. And always tell the truth. Here’s the thing about truth – no truth, no nothing. Full-stop!

I certainly understand the proliferation of social networking sites these days – they’re sprouting up everywhere. I also understand how it can help advance our careers (some of us) and help us meet like-minded individuals online.

But is it really good use of your time

I am very conscious of my time (just like many of you are) and I could see how a great deal of time spent on social networking sites can be unproductive and many times, online interactions are often superficial and unimportant. For me, I have a certain about of energy and I don’t like expelling it for less than life-affirming actions. I have seen that company mission statements mean nothing when the people they work for them are treated with disrespect. 

Let me ask you a few questions: are we really more connected today with all these technological gadgets and applications? In my mind, being ‘virtually’ connected and personally connected are two entirely different things. Sure, we need both in today’s world, but I would caution that the quality of your network is more important than your quantity. 

The jury is out on this one. Time will tell.

Believe in you. In what you have to offer to help people, help themselves achieve something they care about. Be persistent.

Reach out and touch someone

I’d rather have 200 ‘live’ people than 2000 “friends’ on Facebook.

Just like I approach adding and retaining QUALITY muscle, I retain ‘old school’ principles but add a ‘modern twist/flavour’ to muscle growth and sculpture. When it comes to networking and building quality connections in today’s high-tech world, you need to combine the new technology with the ‘old-school’ way of connecting. 

And how do you do this?”

Well, you can’t build muscle by thinking about or reading about it … you actually have to go and reach out and lift the weight and feel the muscle. Same for quality relationships, you need to go and ‘reach out’ and touch someone (I love that Noiseworks song “Reach out”). 

I’ve been in and around gym for almost 30 years now and have had over 30,000 + conversations and this is being conservative. I particularly had multiple conversations for 12 to 18 hour days, 7 days a week, with people of all ages and from all backgrounds in the seven years that I owned and managed my Family Gym. I probably have listened to more stories from individuals than the average person alive today has in the 100 year lifespan. 

I’ve offered my ears and shoulders to lean – on and cry on. I’ve wiped their tears, I’ve given them unsolicited hugs. I’ve offered good advice for free and I’ve made phone calls that many would not do. I’ve shared stories and made them laugh during their sad days and I’ve reminded them of the good times they had; I’ve driven to their homes and personally knocked on their doors to see if they were ok; they were pleasantly shocked and grateful for they weren’t in a very good place at that time; I’ve been the clown when I needed to be to infuse people with happiness and vitality … and also showing them that it’s ok not to take life and themselves too seriously all the time. 

Read that last paragraph again. 

I have mentioned ways in which I believe I worked very hard to be a source of comfort and strength and wisdom for the members of my Family Gym and others connected to my businesses. It was about building Quality Relationships, not superficial ones. What they were, are, what some people refer to as “random acts of kindness” (when no one is watching or awards given out) that you do, simply because you care about them. They nurture relationships and some develop in to quality and convey to others what it means to be a good friend. 

Like many things in life – like sex and chocolate and clothing … quality is better than quantity.

Do the Right thing, not some of the time .. but all the time.

Be an Active Listener

It is difficult to make connections but it is often more difficult to make important connections. The least understood element of connecting is that it’s a two way street. Yes, we always want to connect with someone else but the more important question is – do they want to connect with you?

What is your idea of being a ‘friend?” A Business/Life Mentor told me a long time ago that – 

Connecting is really all about being nice. Your friendliness is partly your ability to engage and your willingness to give Value first.” 

When you combine the attributes of niceness/friendliness with engagement and value, you will develop powerful connections that lead to RICH relationships. 

For some, the talking part of a relationship comes easy but there is another side of the equation in any relationship worth keeping and that is being a good listener. Do you think you’re a good listener? Staying engaged as an ‘active’ listener is very hard work because you need to stay focused and not let your mind wonder. I believe that as you become better at listening, you also improve your ability to win friends and influence others – and perhaps avoid a misunderstanding that can set relationships back years. 

I have seen this happen. Don’t let it happen to you. Focus on becoming a better listener, an Active Listener. 

I am a far better listener now than I ever was in my life, thanks in part, to my years of owning my own gym business. It’s easy to get complacent but I remind myself every now and then to be attentive when someone tells a long-winded story (like my 9 year old son … can he tell stories, must take after his Dad, ha ha ha!)

If you aim to be a top-notch connector or networker, it is essential that you become a more improved active listener.

If you don’t get what you want … learn why and seek another solution.

Powerful connection

The more people who are attracted to you, the MORE solid your connections you’ll make. Here’s a question – think about your most powerful connections right now. Make a list of four or five of them (Hopefully, you have that many)). Next, to each of them, write a sentence or two about how they have helped you, and how you would like them to continue to help you. Then, write a sentence or two about how you have helped them. 

Here’s an example of a powerful connection I have – Through my adding value to one member of my gym over six months, I was one connection away from the most Powerful Man in the world at one time – Mr Barack Obama. This man that came to me to help him, help himself be his best self was part of the President of the United State’s inner sanctum and advisory/support team. He was the best at what he did and was head-hunted by the Obama’s to help manage part of his 2nd term Presidential campaign because of the help he gave the Clinton’s prior to that. So, effectively, the value I gave to my client (and now friend) was (and still is) a very powerful connection to have, as it is only one connection to President Obama. 

Now, make a list of four or five people that you would love to meet because they could help your personal growth. Ask yourself, how can you give value, first. I have found that if you make yourself valuable, and memorable, people will desire to make you part of their network. Also, in my experience in helping people, help themselves over the last 3 decades, the important thing is just that: make sure you’re prepared to help someone else get better whether it is a one-to-one meeting or a networking event. 

The question you have to ask yourself is this: How can I help people, help themselves to achieve something they care about? That has been my mantra in helping people, ‘build their bridges’ over the last three decades. I’ve asked myself how can I make people better as a direct result of connecting with me? Now, this should be done with care. What I mean by this is that, you can use this strategy to connect with anyone, anywhere, and not just use it as a strategy to connect at a networking event.

Find your superpowers. Know your superpowers. Work to your superpowers (strengths)

Not everyone is a connection

I have learned that not everyone is a connection, and each person you meet is a valuable lesson in the art of connecting and networking. In my experience, when you begin to give value to the world, somehow the people you affect will find a way to tell you. Even if it takes a couple of years. I have experienced that many times over the years.  

We have been told that it’s ‘who you know that matters’. I don’t fully agree with this. I believe it’s ‘who knows you, that really matters’ in the long-term.

Realise this – the first stage of being liked and connected to is the person you see in the mirror when you look at it. As Dr Benjamin Spock said –

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

The person needs to be be loved, before he/she can give love. Then, give, first. Easier said than done some times, but to get what you want … you must give of yourself first – without measuring. 

Believe in yourself. Dig in and ‘get your hands dirt’ and become the person you aspire to be … a person of performance and ‘getting shit done!’

Sit back, thank God … and think to yourself ‘wow!”

Hope you found this helpful to you and your business,

 

Yours in iron, mind, heart & muscles,

Paul e Valentine

There is a Lion in you .. in every one of us. Find that Lion and overcome your fears … fears of rejection, fear of failure, fear of what others think of you. Believe in YOU.

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Having “Common Sense” is weird but is a KEY to being a Leader

Have courage. common sense. ability to reason. Like ALL Great Leaders.

The New Style is yesterday’s ‘weird

The new style is yesterday’s weird … let me elaborate as I story-tell …

I played and excelled at many sports but chose the sport of Bodybuilding or Physique Artistry, just like the greatest Bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I thought he was weird (abnormal compared to the majority of people). People thought I was weird because of my sport choice Almost 30 years ago now. They thought that – “once-upon-a-time” but not anymore.

Everyone knows who the most famous bodybuilder of all time is – Governor, movie A-lister, Humanitarian and great-all-round human, Mr Arnold Schwarzennegger. Now, over 250,000+ people flock to the Arnold Sports, USA Festival every year and, this is all over the world., even one here in Melbourne, Australia.

We’ve been in a Fitness revolution and every “Tom, Dick & Harry” wants to be bodybuilder. It no longer is weird to go the the gym and lift Weights ‍♂ and train to look your best.

Funny how definitions of weird changes over time.

never forget this

Weird could be “insanity” or ‘vision’

Very religious and spiritual people could be considered “weird” by many too. Someone driven to achieve an IMpossible goal because he/she has a dream but no one else “sees” it , but them. Weird could be insanity or vision. For example, if an entrepreneur has an idea and …. Succeeds, people say he/she is a visionary, but if it doesn’t, they say the person was insane (& so weird).

Genuine Leaders/Great Leaders & Champions of industry & different areas of life fall into this category. They create & innovate … bring about or manifest into the physical reality.

They SEE “what CAN BE”, instead of just “what IS”. This could be considered wierd by some who can’t visualise or even try to simulate possibilities.

The list of what is “weird “ and what isn’t could go on forever. We can just agree to disagree, as it seems it is a matter of opinion anyway.

I think  whether you think  you’re weird or not, does not really matter. There will always be people who would disagree with you. What’s most important is that being “wierd” is a key part of being a Leader. Yes, almost all great Leaders share many common traits, one of which of being weird.

Weird or not, ALL Leaders need to have “common sense” and not get caught up on whether or not you or people think your weird.

The warrior of love 💓
It takes courage to be Leader, to have the Strength to take on more than you ever thought possible.
The most important Power of all.

Many people are scared of what other people would think of them.

Many people are scared of what other people would think of them, instead of ‘fear of failure‘ as many believe. I never have, thanks to my grandmother who raised me. She would ask me when I hesitated because “other people were watching” and say –

“Do they feed you?”

I would reply – “no”

“Do they clothe you?” She would ask

And I would say “no”

Then, she would say – “then don’t worry about it … now go Out there and put on a performance they won’t forget!”

And I would. I’ve had her voice in my head all my life. Has never failed me … I don’t suffer from “nerves” like many people do. Now, this could be considered weird.

Take a stand … a stand of what you believe… IN… and know you have support of the angels

Common sense isn’t ‘common’ anymore

Real Leaders simply have common sense . One of the main reasons I say this is that , as a human being – YOU, me & everyone … we can agree that the ONLY thing that we’ve got going for ourselves is –

  1. the ability to reason
  2. your common sense

What I mean is that if you don’t know a “dip of horse  sh%t “ from a “dip of vanilla ice-cream”, you’ll NEVER MAKE IT as a Leader.

Whether you’re weird or not. That is a cold but hard fact! It seems common sense isn’t common anymore.

People ask – “why?” … I /My curiosity continually askS “why not?”
Seek possibilities… always

YOU

The hardest thing to do is also the “weirdest “ thing to do: to just be “you. But, this could be the greatest thing you may ever accomplish in your life …

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson-

This, ultimately, takes courage. Do you have “what it takes?” To be weird. It brings you closer to love . Being truly “you” and not an imitation of someone else … may be weird , but that also means that you have tonnes of courage (unlike many, who speak it but don’t actually DO it).

But having courage is the beginning and foundation or everything you will and can achieve in life … that is work h achieving.

“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

So I say be courageous… be weird but ultimately, be YOU. However, that opens up another question – Do you know ‘YOU?”

I mean if Scientists agree that despite having come a long way with advances in Science & Technology and the world around us but still think ‘who we are (our minds), is a baffling mystery. Question remains: Who are you?

Cheers to being weird!! & Cheers from Sunny  Sydney, Australia

Best of Vitality to you tribe members.

Yours in iron, pockets of thought-energy & muscles ,

Paul e Valentine

**Personal Life & Lifestyle Doctor**

Valentine Vitality THINK TANK

ME.
In Tiger form.

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To DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

The brain cannot multi-task, this is a myth.
Neuroscience shows that the brain can only TASK-SWITCH.
You CANNOT multi-task without mistakes.
Teach yourself to DO NOTHING … to SIT STILL. … to …
Just BE.

Sitting still is UN-Easy

My daughter and son are now almost eleven and nine respectively.

I have watched them grow in to enthusiastic and very curious individuals. They have the same blueprint but have very different personalities and appreciate their own uniqueness. Over the years, I have given them many challenges for their growth, in various forms – art, music, sport, mental agility, verbal wrestling etc.

When they were four and two respectively, I gave them a challenge to DO NOTHING … just to sit ‘still’. We first began with 20 seconds and kept increasing. Like any new habit, the first time was quite difficult for them, being kids .. but as time went on, they got better at it. It was the hardest thing they have had to do in my opinion and is one of the hardest things for adults to do too.

Sitting still is UN-Easy, indeed. Some cultures do this better than others and I believe many in the developed world can take a page out of the Fijian’s handbook. It is no fluke that they are the happiest people on the planet. They know when to work … and when to relax. They don’t mix the two.

Try it. How did you go?

Guess how good my children are at sitting still now? Yep, they can sit still for an hour with ease now, when they need to. Like all habits, it takes patience and practise.

People in a hurry struggle to find time for recovery, real recovery. Many look forward to their annual 4 week leave, but by then, it is too late, as you cannot escape your mind. You can only manage it better. Their minds have little time to meditate, to UN-Think, to just BE. Still. Their minds have little time to pray and their problems seem to get ‘blown out of proportion” and usually taken out of perspective.

In short, I believe people in our very fast-paced cities and societies have been showing clear signs of physiological and psychological disintegration because of many reasons. One key reason, as I see it is that we are living at a pace that is too fast for our bodies. It seems that people think that all other areas of life needs to be changed as fast as technology changes.

Nope, very bad extrapolation of ‘correlation’ if you asked me. This, I believe is the Essence of the Stress Problem in society, as this way of thinking feeds in to the ‘instant gratification’ mentality afflicting many in our modern-day societies.

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton

ACTing to Create Change

It is difficult to get YOU and your mind to be in the Present moment, to have mindful connection with the present moment. Why is that? I wrote that one way to do so is to learn to “UN-Think”.

You see, from my experience, plugging back into the present moment and connecting with our surroundings does not need to be complicated.

Being in the present moment tends to prove most difficult when we are troubled with a major life problem, loss or trauma, and no one reading this and alive, can say that they haven’t experienced these challenges.

As we all know, problems have the habit of filling our minds and taking over our thoughts to the point where we can be emotionally and mentally absent from the people around us. This is why we all need to improve our skill at being still.

You see, I believe, to do nothing and be still is an under-rated, yet, KEY life skill, as hinted in the Bible –

“Be still and know that I am God.”    

  • Psalm 46:10

But many have forgotten how to do so because they are always ‘busy’. “How are you?” I would ask … to a response of – “busy!” . Really, I ask myself.

Like all new skills, practice makes a huge difference and with perseverance, the skill becomes easier to master.

Here are a few routines you could practise to help you get back to the present moment, as part of your acting to create change

  • Apply your senses
    1. Stop
    2. Be Still.
    3. Concentrate on trying to name 3 things you can –
      1. See
      2. Hear Feel or touch
  • Grounding YOU”
    1. Stop.
    2. Be Still.
    3. Push your feet into the ground (feel that force travel through your feet into your glutes into your lower back and up towards your neck)
    4. Consciously straighten your back.
    5. Chin up and shoulders back.

STOP and RELAX
After almost 30 years of training with weights in the gym, I have found that Breathing properly is one of the Key factors in achieving the results you desire. Apart from staying alive, breathing properly allows you to focus better and when you focus better, you have improved ‘mind-muscle’ connection, you become “ONE”.

When you have better mind-muscle connection, you feel and control the weight better and when this happens, you build quality muscle better. Breathing correctly increases your self-awareness and helps you avoid injuries in the gym (part of the reason I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began weight training in the gym).

Stop and Relax

  1. Stop.
  2. Be still.
  3. Take a deep breath and count ‘one’
  4. Then breathe again ..
  5. And Count ‘Two’ in your head …
  6. Then breathe again ..
  7. And count “Three” in your head…
  8. And keep going to ten.

 

If you can focus on nothing else but the numbers and not let any other thought come in to your mind as you count one through to ten while focusing on breathing slowly and deeply, you would have gotten closer to mastering the ‘art of concentration’.

Try it. See how you feel.

Find that place where you can sit ‘still’ and ‘ do nothing’ … but just BE. For me, it is where the land meets and sea that meets the sky. I sit still and do nothing but listen and see and smell and feel. where do you go?

 Stress-Free Living

I have noticed that many expressions of spirituality have become linked to adrenalin arousal. I believe, can be very harmful. In recent times (over the last 10 years or so), many modern-day sages or ‘saints’ seem to find their peak spiritual experiences in exciting challenges or emotional catharsis.

Why?

[Many] seem to confuse adrenalin arousal with spiritual growth. If their bodies were stimulated, they then felt they were growing spiritually. If they were not stimulated, they felt nothing was happening.

Well, I’ve got news for you … it ISN’T!

The saddest thing about this kind of confusion is that it actually works against spiritual growth. People are confusing adrenalin arousal with spirituality. Many true saints of God as outlined in the Bible found their peak spiritual experiences in quietness and solitude.

Here’s the prescription for ‘stress-free living’:

“your beauty … should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet smile, which is of great worth in God’s sigh.”

  • 1 Peter 3:3-4

This truth, which was meant for wives in the original context is a wonderful secret to stress-free living.

Begin with YOU … the internal-you.

Then, worry about the external.

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & learning to DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

Have no doubt.
Help yourself first.
God will meet you half way …
he ALWAYS does.
All you have to do is: BELIEVE.

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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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Recognised for being the BEST

Recognition for being the best at something by society is special. It is something each and every one of us continue to search for in our lives.
Here I am with one of my signature poses at the 1st World Natural Bodybuilding Championships I competed in, representing Australia.
They only reward the Top 5.
I made 4th.
Not bad for a boy from the Fiji Islands who not only dared to dream… but to Dream BIG.

Running a political party

Most of you know that once upon a time, I owned and managed a Family Gym for about 7 years, a gym that was me .. and me, it.

It was like running a political party with many factions/sub-groups within sub-groups in the party and I was the Leader/Prime Minister.

We had many sub-groups – policemen/women; ex-police vice – commissioners; ex-inmates; Italians; Greeks; arabs; South Americans; Pacific islanders; Irishmen; Englishmen; Americans; Canadians; French; Germans; Africans; South Africans; dads; mums; athletes; plumbers; electricians; designers; accountants; chairpersons of and senior executives of banks; lawyers; engineers; politicians; powerful businessmen; construction workers; builders; rubbish collectors; … you name it.

We had them. A great cross-section of Australian society. They all belonged to my extended family – of love 💓 (hence, 💓alentine).

And I had to ensure that each sub-group worked well with each other & most of the time they did. But it took work… a lot of work.

And I loved it.

 

A night out with some of the Gentle. Men in my Family Gym.

Conflict Resolution – a skill for Life

I learned a lot.

Chief among them was – The art of negotiations and collaboration with anyone. I was a connector and connected people. I got warring groups to “get along” … that it was ok to “agree to disagree” (luckily there were few and far destructive disagreements). I learned that you can disagree with someone and not feel threatened or does not mean that you hate that person.

From biker gang Bosses and their members to retired citizens … I found myself constantly diffusing problems and potential problems.

Naturally, one of my major strengths now is: Conflict Resolution.

If I can’t provide a solution, I will definitely know someone, who knows someone… who can.

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.
Children teach you better conflict resolution skills

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Despite there being so many differences I also learned that we all have more in common then we think … if you –

“don’t judge a book by its cover “.

Very difficult indeed for many but that is what I did … and still do.

I welcomed anyone and everyone in to my gym, with a smile and a question that has stayed with me til today –

“How can I help you?”

The members that were courageous enough to walk through my doors to seek help were .. got my undivided attention. They were invited to be in my extended family if they chose to … and I treated and see them like that ‘til today, even though I don’t speak to many of them since I let the gym go.

My grandfather taught me many things, one of which is not to judge anyone based on the person’s image. And … give people a second chance. Leave the judging to God.

We had a 70:30 ‘split’ between males and females, with age ranging from 90 year old to my son at that time (between 0 and 2 and half years old). Members came from up to 20km away (& drive past 15 other gyms to get there) …and from all levels of society.

We had members from all levels of society … from one of the Top 200 wealthiest people in Australia at that time to some of the less fortunate in the neighbourhood.

This latter group made my gym operation very ‘un-business like’ because I try to do the right thing whenever I can, which is to give people access to my gym facilities even if they didn’t have any money to pay.

 

Gym members of all ages and sizes came to my Family Gym.
They even stopped by to say hello before their High School Formal

A partially Charity Gym

So, my gym was very much a partially Charity gym as I would help almost every person that made their way up the stairs if they made the decision to help themselves. I gave a lot of the members a platform to launch their best selves (many who could not afford to pay their gym membership or coaching. I would help them and never turn anyone away).

I could not & did not turn any person away because I just can’t (when you put yourself in their shoes ), and empathise, you automatically open your arms (even though it goes against everything you learn in your business degree about making $ )

And … expect nothing back. You just GIVE and … Give …&

Provided they genuinely wanted to and would allow me to help them, help themselves.

Basically show them “how to”

And they did.

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym
Relationship take time to develop .. just like an Oak Tree needs time to grow

In the years that we entered the Community Business Awards (I think we entered it 3 x) and won our ‘Health & Fitness” category in one year and was finalist in the other two years.

It was certainly a very proud moment for my wife, Cathy and I as it was voted on by the many local communities that make up the Northern Beaches. We were recognised for being the Best at what we did and were the best gym in the Northern Beaches, Sydney, Australia.

Confirmation that the community of people at large agreed with and appreciated mine and my staff’s efforts to provide a vehicle to help people, help themselves … find something they care about.

Because I cared.

I’m content I … “took a stand back then. For 7 years I did. A stand for what I believed in … that every person, irrespective of their background or place in society, should have access to the best help they can get.

My members knew they did,. They didn’t just have any gym owner and coach to guide them, no, they had me, a 2 x World Natural Bodybuilding Champion to help them, help themselves move towards something they cared about. And I enjoyed every challenging minute of it. Even though, it costed me $$$ and thousands of hours of free gym membership and knowledge and ‘know-how’ so people could help themselves.

Simply because of the person that I am.

Giving. I gave them my knowledge and ‘know-how’ … my life and contributed to making the world a better place, by empowering one person at a time.

We received the award from the honourable Government Minister, Miss Bronwyn Bishop.

Was a lovey night.

Lovely memories … of once upon a time … and it is very lovely to say –

“I used to …. do a certain thing at one point in my life .. but I no longer do”

 

Cheers & ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & a period of time when I used to own and manage a beautiful, one-of-a-kind’ Family Gym

Receiving the Local Small Business Award from the government minister in Australia – Mrs Bronwyn Bishop
Category: Best Gym in the Northern Beaches – Health & Fitness category

 

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