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Reflection, a Key to having an Attitude of Gratitude.

Me: The Old Captain Viking Pirate

In your opinion, what is your most priceless possession?

Ok, I’m sure you will all say very different answers and none will be wrong. They are simply what you believe is priceless to you at this point in time.

I believe, that your attitude is, specifically, your attitude of gratitude is your most priceless possession. And you need to keep it in check regularly and you do this by structuring in what I refer to as ‘moments of reflection‘ to refresh, restore and/or renew your views, rejuvenate your approach and reestablish your positive focus.

This is (reflection) of your mental attitude is a very important key to your adaptation to the changing landscape in the environments you find yourself in. Do this regularly to repair the damage of wear and tear to your attitude. Life is not a sprint and sometimes we are all guilty of living as if it were. In a grand Prix race, the eventual winner isn’t necessarily the driver that just speeds endlessly and never stops. No, the eventual winner is usually the person who structures in regular “pit stop” into the race with his support crew.

Pit-stops here could be weekends, holidays or vacations that you use to stop, slow down, revive and readjust and then … move on.

You see, your attitude, is your mental position on facts or more simply, how you view things. Remember, your attitude is contagious and affects everyone who comes in contact with you either in person or on the telephone.

Your attitude is not only reflected by your tone of voice but also by the way you stand or sit, your facial expression and in other non-verbal ways.

Stopping to reflect, is a vital key to adjust your attitude if you need to.

An attitude of gratitude is the foundation of a thankful spirit & a grateful heart. There is real magic in this because a thankful spirit has the power to replace many negative worldviews.

As I reflect, I believe an attitude of gratitude has the power to replace anger with love;

Displace resentment with peace;

Supplant fear with faith;

Restore worry with peace;

Substitute the desire to dominate with the wish to play on a team;

Supersede self-preoccupation with concern for the needs of others;

Return sexual impurity with honor and respect;

Replenish jealousy with joy at another’s success;

Renew lack of creativity with inspired productivity;

Take the place of inferiorities with dignity;

And …

Replace a lack of love with an abundance of self-sharing.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Your attitude is never static, it is an on-going dynamic, sensitive, perceptive process.

The attitude you choose to display is entirely up to you. It is a choice. One needs to always take time to take stock regularly, to reflect. One needs to go through the process of self evaluation which leads to attitude renewal or adjustment. There is no other way, no escape.

Always striving to have an attitude of gratitude in everything you say and do to reduce the risk of a high “say:do” ratio or gap. Bringing these two factors in to alignment will help you immensely.

Having a positive attitude, is, in my opinion, the most powerful and priceless personality characteristic you can possess. There is no such thing as remaining neutral when it comes to attitude – you either contribute or subtract from a better personal or work environment.

The old Captain Viking Pirate at his favourite beach. Find your ‘quiet time’. Your place of peace. Here I am at one of mine.
Regular moments of reflection.

From my experience, having a positive attitude or always trying to adopt an attitude of gratitude is one of the main keys to success in any problem solving procedure or major lifestyle change or managing your transition to the many phases of life. 

Remember, life is about energy and your ability to manage energy. A positive attitude or an attitude of gratitude can certainly provide higher energy levels, greater creativity and an improved personality. Put simply, a positive helpful attitude can cause good things to happen to you. … even to such an extent where a person not considered beautiful by physical standards (someone that is ugly) can still be regarded as beautiful with a cheerful positive outlook.

Adopting a philosophy of an attitude of gratitude and consistently working towards using it in your daily life puts you in a more favourable position to win the game of life in all directions: personal satisfaction, strong relationships and success in a meaningful career.

So, how’s your attitude right now?

Stop. Reflect. Take Stock. Re-stock. Re-adjust. March on ….

 

Cheers & Ahoy!!!

 

Until next time,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & thoughts on attitude of gratitude.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Showing your kids through marrying up your words and actions is an important habit. Bestowing them with examples of embracing an ”attitude of gratitudë” in everything you say and do is one of the best gifts you can pass on. I’m sure you do already. 
Vv.

Side Chest Pose with the Top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the World.
Year: 2007
Venue: in NY, USA (representing Australia)
NOTE: I believe an áttitude of gratitude’ helped me go all the way to the top echelon in the world in my chosen sport. Being the best at natural bodybuilding requires the management of many key habits/variables (on a micro and macro level). One of the keys to my success in 2 World Championships was my habitual practise of ‘moments of reflection’ to continuously keep me going when the going got tough. And believe me, there were many instances when I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’

 

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Saying No … to say, Yes.

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

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

He’s my young Warrior Viking Pirate Prince.

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

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

Initially I responded – “Kaka!”.

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

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

They hate that word. I use it sparingly.

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

This particular question from Zachary, was a right question.

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

After reflection, I called him back and said –

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

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

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

Preparing him for the changing post-feminite landscape

First impressions matter.

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

We all have a blueprint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is this important?

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

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

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

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

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

 Being the BEST Dad and Father you can be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a better life.

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

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

That takes time … and hard work/YAKA!

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

Thank you Zachary, for asking that right question.

 

Ahoy & cheers my friends …

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

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age gentlemen. Men that understood that manners matter.

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

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Worshipping Work.

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

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

Interesting climb to say the least.

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

This may be pathological but it may also be idolatrous!

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

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

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

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

Many.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple nothingness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work is one of God’s gifts to us.

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

Or whatever Higher being you want to call God.

Choose well.

It is your life after all.

 

Yours in iron, muscles and nuggets of wisdom,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate

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

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

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Praising your Wife.

In Darling Harbour, Sydney for her sister’s wedding.

Is your wife perfect for you?

My wife, Cathy is perfect for me. She always has been and we have been together for almost twenty years now.

We met at our place of work in the city, she worked on the 30th floor and me on the 29th. We worked for the same Consultancy & Advisory Firm but in different divisions. We all remember the first time we saw/met our wives, don’t we? I’m sure you can tell me your story of how you met your wife.

Mine, well, it wasn’t something fancy, it happened while I was using the photocopying machine. Yep, I fell in love with her smile in one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She gave me the best smile I had received from anyone in a long while … she smiled from the heart.

Working there was a funny time and one of the reasons was that we tried to keep our relationship secret for about a year. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept getting caught together in the lifts and outside of work – in the city streets or cafes or even on University grounds (as my wife was completing her undergrad degree while she worked). Other work mates used to wonder if we were an item but had no evidence and we later heard that it was even included in the board meeting discussions by the Partners of the Firm.

It was a funny and great phase of our lives together.

Enjoying another habit of ours – eating at a holiday resort in beautiful paradise Islands of Fiji, where I was born and spent my early youth in.

During that period of courtship before marriage, we had more ups then downs. We still have our ups and downs and fights but I think we both knew in the first phase of our relationship that we would wind up married, best friends and partners for life.

Well, I sort of knew earlier on that we were ‘on the same wavelength’ in many facets of our being. I just shared this little story with my two children over dinner recently. The story of how their mum (my wife) and I both went out independently and without any knowledge prior to the fact that we went on the same day and bought a cd of the singer ‘Enya’. We then showed each other what we bought that evening and were both surprised that we did the same thing on the same day without saying a word.

We did this in the first year of our relationship. There were many other instances.

Freaky?

Nope, Quantum Physics says that everything is essentially comprised of waves and frequencies and so … we were figuratively and literally on ‘the same wavelength’ and have been (on most things) ever since.

She has a lovely sense of humour and is very thoughtful, with a thousand other beautiful traits. We enjoy each other and we enjoy life (for the most part).

In a big part and phase of our lives, she was in the background. For example, when I changed careers and pursued my passion of attaining “Peak Performance” in every area of life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally … and helping people. I didn’t like the way I saw Personal Trainers/Gym Trainers training people when I was in the gym and thought that I could do much better and give people what they deserve: a more efficient, more effective and most importantly, the most safest way of training and transforming a physique …. using my knowledge and experience to that point.

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

She had always been in the background in the phase of life that took me to two World Championships in the Sport I love, Natural Bodybuilding, my drive to be not just the BEST in my suburb, my state, my country … but my hunger to be the BEST in the World. I may very lousy trying to be the best in the world at say, Basketball (that would be wishful thinking/delusional thinking) because I was ‘slightly under 6 feet and I couldn’t dunk).

But in the sport of Bodybuilding, I could beat anyone (I thought) on that stage, just like a boxer could beat anyone in the ring in the same weight category. I was born with the right genetics and so had a competitive advantage, just like a tall person playing basketball has a competitive advantage in playing basketball.

My competitive advantages : I was always abnormally strong and fast and the same muscles that made me fast (the Type 2b ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres) as I learned in my studies of the human body, was also responsible for building quality, lean muscle mass.

Within a year of leaving the Corporate World to pursue my passion of helping people, help themselves, achieve something they care about …  with no ‘Plan B’ … I found myself competing in competitions. I found myself beating the best in my city – Sydney, then I found myself beating the best in my State – NSW. I didn’t stop there … I thought I may as well compete against the best in my country and I did.

I placed 1st runner-up in the Middle Weight NSW Titles and qualified for the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships where the Top 2 of each weight category qualified. I represented Australia and placed in the Top 5 (beating the guy who beat me in Australia in the Australian Titles) in the World two years in a row in the sport. The Sport I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.

 

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Leading up to that point I was an Accountant, managing a team of young clerks, Accountants and reporting to the CEO.

I had a lot of dreams (and still do) and of them was the dream of doing what I loved to do: to help people, help themselves be the best version of themselves. I knew I knew how and that I had developed my own unique philosophy and techniques “best bred” from all the great champions that have been in the Sport of Bodybuilding for over hundred years. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the most famous of legends.

It was difficult initially but I also believed I could achieve it, that it wasn’t wishful thinking … that I could beat the best in the world in my sport … that I could see myself standing with the best in the world because I believed in me. Luckily, she believed in that dream too. More importantly she believed in me. I developed a quality plan and I (with her help) executed the plan with quality. My years of developing plans for consulting jobs for large corporate clients was very useful here.

She was always there when I lived and breathed the running of my gym and helping everyone that I considered to be my Extended Family of members that just happened to be my gym members.

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

Her work was not as visible and maybe, to some people, not as important. But, my efforts and results would be nothing without a wife like her. What most people don’t realise is that something is as real and true in my family (I have two beautiful kids and a dog now) as it is in almost any man’s family:

What our wives do and have done is much more valuable in terms of eternity than anything we could ever do.

Ten years from now my name may appear in the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame or maybe Australia’s too. That may be part of my legacy. I am still a fan of the sport and almost all sports. I don’t get up on stage competitively like I used to but I still watch and cheer along with every other fan.

But my wife, Cathy’s accomplishments, unknown to most people, will be honoured for eternity. What she has done and is still doing for our family. She’s been there for my children in the early years of their lives … almost been the father and mother to them, when I spent years leaving the house very early (before 5am) and getting home late (after 9:30pm) when I used to run a gym for 7 years.

I just love this photo of my wife.

That is a phase of life I will always remember and appreciate. She was superhuman because she got help from no one as the gym and my extended family of members and my goals to be the best in the world took up my time and energy.

In the last number of years of this phase of life, she has learned to ‘fly’ again after having kids. She is now in the foreground and flourishing in her career as I take a backseat and invested my time in the children and develop other ideas that I see opportunities for.

I am excited for her and her growth in this phase of her life.

To all you men reading this, be and give the support your wife/woman needs and learn to adapt to the different phases of life.

God reminds me that yes, she is my wife and mother of our children and key part of my family but she is also Cathy Valentine – an individual, separate, looking for growth and progress in her being.

Husbands, be the wind beneath her wings. Sit back and see her fly … and go ‘wow!’

Thank God for all your blessings, which should always include your wife.

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

Here we are … my beautiful wife and I.
at a dinner party.

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

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Fairness in Love?

Fairness begins with Self. Side chest pose in my gym of seven years.

Do you believe in love?

Do you believe in lasting love?

You’d have to agree with me when I say that we don’t get lasting love by chance. Before I go any further, I want to let you know that I don’t believe in chance or coincidences.

Everything – good or bad, is meant to be, when you make decisions for the best and ultimately to not bring harm to anyone else in the long run. You may hurt someone in the short-term but foresight is a gift, and you may see the benefit for the person in the long-term.

Sometimes, as my grandfather used to remind me – you have to be ‘cruel to be ’kind’ or in his other words of wisdom, give ‘tough love’. People suffer a little bit in the short-term for lasting long-term benefit.

So, lasting love does not come by easily, it takes work – simple, pure hard work. In Australian lingo we say – “Hard YAKA!’, if you believe it is worth it.

Hard work strongly involves working at fairness.

How do I know?

Well, I believe in genuine, authentic relationships. I mean I have many, many acquaintances but only a few very good friends. People I can call friends for twenty, thirty or even forty years. And there are a few new ones too.

Friendship, real, genuine, long-term friendship of any kind takes time and work, hard work.

And really good friends, friends that ‘hear what you say but also hear what you don’t say’, now these are hard to come by. But, they do.

I spent a lot of time with one of my many male mentors for the first 18 years of my life – my grandfather: Mr Garrett Bola William Valentine.

I used to sit there, when he was alive and listen to him (who was like a dad to me) and his one very good friend tell stories and reminiscing of their youthful days. I loved listening to those stories. I thought of my grandfather when writing this because it seems his loving friendship and bond he had with his friend to his last days were based on an enduring friendship.

A friendship that lasted over fifty years.

A relationship, a love-affair between two men, two humans, that, I can only assume, took a lot of work and Hard Yaka. It did not just happen by chance. Certainly not.

Side triceps in my gym of seven years.

A loving, lasting relationship of any kind, needs fairness.

In a romantic one, however, unlike my grandfather’s Bromance, the ‘romance’ can keep love alive for a shining season but unfair love will freeze by late autumn as the relationship goes through the seasons of life, so-to-speak.

Do you argue fairly?

One needs to remember to stick to the facts and don’t make personal attacks on your partner, especially ones that are generalised over a number of years? I believe fairness is at stake in every conversation, in every sharing of duties, in every argument.

In this day and age where there is an ‘opinion epidemic’ whereby people think offering their opinions willy-nilly, left, right and centre is acceptable. These opinions are heavily biased and are not thought out from ‘both sides of the argument. So, arguments are not done in a fair fashion.

We need fairness in our trust. Trust of one another.

In romantic love, we need fairness in our talk. Our communication. Experts say that our nonverbal communication accounts for almost 60 percent of the total message. Tone of voice, for example – the way we say things – makes up 35 percent of the message. The actual words we say account for only seven percent of the total message.

I know I can get very passionate and animated when I speak and so there is always fluctuations in my tone of voice and sometimes this can come across as aggressive. I do struggle with hiding my emotions sometimes and am still trying to manage and control them even now.

If I am angry, you will know it, just as sure as you will know when I am happy. My eyes and face are the windows to my heart, my soul.

So, as food-for-thought, think about the ways you and your spouse/partner communicate without using words. These are all important factors of communication but the most important question is how effective is your communication with your loved one/partner?

In my experience, it isn’t fair to use words that violate a person’s feelings or betray a person’s confidence. Refrain from saying things to personally attack the other. Stick to the facts and in saying that, the immediate or facts of a recent example.

We need fairness when we divide the chores in family life.

We need fairness when we decide who goes out to work for a living and who stays home to mind the children, in the different phases of family life. What phase of life are you or you and your partner/husband/wife in?

“So, when is love fair?” I hear you say.

Well, from my experience, I believe that –

  • Love is fair when it builds up both the lover and the beloved;
  • Love is fair when it increases both and diminishes neither;
  • Love is fair when it brings lovers close but still lets them separate when appropriate;
  • Love is fair when it nourishes both and leaves neither hungry for more;
  • Love is fair when it respects the boundaries of the other person’s selfhood;
  • Love is fair when it delays our most legitimate desires to meet our loved one’s needs;
  • Love is fair when it does not use ancient and forgiven wrongs against us;
  • Love is fair when we don’t selfishly accept current, immediate self-gratification at the price or expense of the other’s pain.

What do you think, is the above statements fair statements on what fair love is?

What do you think is a “fair” balance of closeness and separateness in your marriage?

What do you think is ‘fair’ behaviour when you are disagreeing?

Oh love … oh fairness fairy.

We seek your guidance.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

 

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk.

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all. The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home.
Relationships based on fairness, trust, care and compassion.

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

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Practise Perfect Posture – your life depends on it.

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Change your philosophy, change your life. Vv.

You see it everywhere you go. We all hear about it and we know someone who has it, but have you ever asked the question if you’ve got it too?

Bad posture, that is.

I think it is and has been a growing problem of modern societies today and I would claim, it is now at epidemic proportions. I believe it is a more costly problem to society than the well-known obesity epidemic that is gripping us.

But no one is talking about it, and yet, it is all around us! Everyone needs to practise perfect posture.

One of my key goals for twenty five years and one of the many reasons I love weight training is it allows me to continuously sculpt and design my ever evolving, dynamic physique towards better balance and symmetry. It never ends. Your body is never static, it is always changing.

I constantly apply my ‘adaptive strategy’ approach for this dynamic and complex environment/system that is the human body/mind/ heart and soul.

That is part of what I do and have done with the hundreds and thousands of students I have taught over the years. Design an improved version of themselves – they become a walking, talking, sitting, sleeping, living piece of art in motion with better balance and symmetry.

I help move people away from hate towards love. That is the essence of design, in my case, designing a new body – a new YOU. Incidentally, striving for improved balance and symmetry in my tailored programs, adopting my framework, indirectly and directly converts bad posture to good posture.

One of the many hidden benefits of my custom design bodies programs.

Good posture is needed for balance, symmetry and a healthy body. Take a look around – everyone that you see at the bus stop, on the train, on the street and even at home. If you’re brave enough, take a look at yourself. What is your posture telling you? Is it ideal? Can it be improved?

What you will see, is what I have stated in my first three sentences here – real impressive figures are few and far between. I look around and symptoms of the aged (like bad posture) is inflicting the young school children.

It is depressing to say the least. How did society get to this stage?

Not sure why children are being affected with this at such a young age, maybe because stooping low would gain more acceptance with friends. Standing straight, with good posture may offend someone, it may give an air of cockiness or a holier than thou perception.

Maybe. I don’t know, I was not one to succumb to peer pressure in teen years.

Sure, parents and carers notice this early on-set age-related ailments adopted by their teenage children. They must ask them to stand up straight but it seems that this habit is ‘set’ in by the time they arrive in their 20s. The poor posture is established and almost irreversible.

Sad, truly sad.

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Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals. Connect the two. Make them one. Vv.

The years of continuing bad posture has resulted in the less-than-ideal situation the aged population is suffering from now. A lot of people are living longer but spending the last twenty to thirty years after sixty five with delibitating posture and increasing immobility. Increase immobility leads to reduced sense of self-worth and increasing levels of mental diseases and worse.

We’re all getting older by the second, yes but could I suggest that we slow down the ageing process by firstly becoming aware of our posture every day. Everyone shouldn’t be too concerned with ‘living longer’! I think it is a sales gimmich, everyone should be aiming to:

“grow younger, not older!”

“Growing old” is a decision, afterall. A MIND-SET.

Is this possible? You bet ya!

First stage of any form of self-improvement is to increase your awareness. Then, consciously (in this case), you need to take ACTION – try to improve your way of standing, of walking and sitting.

I believe that correct posture helps manage stress and keeps us healthier. Poor posture on the other hand can have an adverse of effect on the internal organs, causing numerous aches and pains. The compound effect of this as we age results in the reduction of mobility which is an affliction of the aged population now.

I believe in striving towards ‘balance and symmetry’ of the body, through sufficient and appropriate weight-training, coupled with a sensible diet, stretching and cardiovascular exercise. The body works as one and you’re made up of a chain of muscles that are constantly contracting and extending. When one part of your body is out of alignment, the other areas are also off-set. The domino effect then takes hold.

A big mistake people make is thinking that the body will correct itself. No, it won’t! The body will grow to the shape and posture they consistently adopt and practise every single day.

Think about it – the more you slump, the more you lose flexibility so you not only move older, you FEEL OLDER and you APPEAR OLDER!

Now, why would you want that for yourself?! Aren’t we all aiming to ‘off-set the on-set’ of ageing as best we can?

I’ve said it before that a prerequisite for the elusive balance and symmetry (and health ) of the body (and mind, dare I say) is good posture. I will go as far as saying that a person who consciously carries him or herself with a proud upright posture is more likely to come across as a fit, energetic, and even a more attractive and hence more desirable individual.

Yes, you read that right!

Having a good posture makes you MORE ATTRACTIVE!

If this is the case, why aren’t more people doing it? Because it takes effort – it takes work and deliberate practise because to achieve good posture, you need to make a habit of checking your posture and correcting it if necessary.

It can be hard work.

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Fine-tuning the ‘mind-muscle’ connection through intense posing. Hold!

A few things to consider to help you work towards your ideal good posture:

  • Is your butt sticking out too much that it causes a sway in your appearance?
  • Is your shoulders slumping forward causing your scapulae to stand out like wings in your back?
  • Do you balance evenly on you feet?
  • Do you round your back when eating at your dinner table?
  • Do you tilt your head to one side when using a computer or while writing?
  • Do you allow your head to stick out in front of your body?

I truly believe that posture can reveal as much about a person as his/her face does. Poor posture can make you a billboard of insecurity and old age. Why add to the effects of gravity? Everything will sag in time – don’t accelerate the process, gravity does not need help!

I also believe that it is every human being’s ultimate responsibility to take care of themselves and do everything they can to slow the ageing process and the effects of gravity. This amazing, unrelenting force is tugging at you and me this very moment!

One way that is within your control and that you can fight this force is to have good posture.

If you want to instantly improve your attractiveness, you don’t need to run to plastic surgery or put on tonnes of make-up, work on your posture. Attraction is the greatest factor in love. It’s hard to relate easily to a man or woman you find unattractive. We all enjoy relating to attractive people.

I’ll say it again – posture is one key ingredient to this attractiveness.

So, you see, posture is the one thing we can all improve almost instantly. In time, you can then work on other significant changes.

Here are my top 3 tips for you to adopt to work towards good posture:

  • Quit overeating, over-drinking and smoking
  • Start exercising regularly – three to four times per week
  • Consciously check and correct your posture throughout the day

Then ….

When you walk, practise perfect posture and … walk as if you were seven feet tall!

I know I do (even though I am ‘slightly under six feet tall’).

Best of vitality to you!

 

Until next time,

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

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Eating and drinking in excess this Christmas and New Year can help you lose weight – a lot of weight!

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.

Muscle is precious. Build muscle then, do everything you can to preserve it.

Don’t believe the headline – eating and drinking in excess this Christmas will not help you lose weight!

But I am making a point as to how we can become needlessly fearful (because of all the conflicting views out there) of exercising with weights or eating certain foods or doing just about anything.

Everyone seems to have an ‘opinion’ these days with the proliferation of social media and a lot of these views have insufficient and inappropriate evidence (scientific) to back them up. This applies to almost everything, but especially, weight/fat loss and exercise and eating and drinking, because well, we all do these activities, more or less.

It seems that everyone is suddenly an expert.

Anyone can show how, by selectively citing some scientific research and blowing it all out of context, you can build a case for any argument, including the subject heading that I have used.

If you have a small amount of scientific nous, it is super easy for someone to give an opinion and by selectively citing some scientific research (based on some ridiculously small sample) and blowing it all out of context. You see this quite regularly on mainstream media as the ‘sensationalism’ of these stories sells ratings.

Below is the start of my view on fat loss and body re-engineering …

If you need to lose fat leading up to the festive season and summer (in some parts of the world – like Sydney, Australia) – build muscle. Naturally. Full stop!

There are countless weight-loss programs on the net and every where you go and read. Terrific for increasing awareness. However, fat-loss plans and weight-loss plans that don’t include strength training, fundamentally, rob the body of muscle.

Now, you don’t want to do something that robs the body of muscle because the process of ageing does this anyway. Ageing, is partly, by definition, the deterioration of muscles due to the reduction in protein synthesis.

Weight-training to build muscle ‘off-sets the on-set of ageing’. It is the potion of youth. It keeps people younger, longer. I know, because I have witnessed these people who seem to look and act five, ten, fifteen and twenty years younger.

The common denominator: they build muscle!

I’ve always told everyone I have ever helped over the last two decades that every kilogram of muscle is a fat burning dynamo! Yep, a fat-burning dynamo.

If you compare your body’s metabolism (the rate at which it ‘burns’ calories) to that of an engine of a car, when you build lean body mass (muscle), you increase the engine size and power of your body. Your car engine (metabolism) goes from, say, a 1.8l engine to a 4.0l or even an 8.0l engine over time.

Muscle loss reduces calorie requirements, makes fat loss more difficult, and creates increased obstacles to the maintenance of a lean body, once the excess fat has been lost.

Fundamentally, your ‘life-force’ (or vitality) will be sucked out of you and you will literally feel like cr&p! Every single minute of every single day. Now, why would you or anyone for that matter want to feel like that every single day. I could and still can’t understand why people still do this to themselves. Instead of doing ‘life-affirming’ actions, they instead do ‘life destroying’ actions.

Not smart. Not sustainable.

Put simply, and to sum up – always remember, to help maintain a lean body, build muscle.

It is as simple as that!

However, like some philosopher once said, “the easy things are also the hardest things to do”.

So, don’t think. Do!

If you can dream and imagine a much more improved physical version of you and believe in executing a plan to get you there, by all means go for it!

With 8 x Mr Olympia - "The King", Ronnie Coleman. Now, this man built and carried on his frame an unbelievable amount of muscle - 300lbs worth of it!

With 8 x Mr Olympia – “The King”, Ronnie Coleman. Now, this man built and carried on his frame an unbelievable amount of muscle – 300lbs worth of it!

And don’t worry if you have never entered a gym in your life or you haven’t done anything since your late teens or early twenties. It is never too late to start.

Regardless of your age, or how out of condition you may think you are at present, I believe it is never too late to start an exercise program. The power to decide rests in your hands (literally when you start lifting weights in a gym to help the person in the mirror – YOU).

You can transform your fitness and muscle strength at any age, along with your appearance, and health. I believe this is important because from my observations as a coach over the years, when people’s image improves, their performances improves too. Feeling good about yourself is an important part of being a well-balanced human being.

Make that choice – for you or a loved one. Make that choice to help you so that you can enjoy not just a long life but a good quality life by lowering the risks of early on-set of age-related physical and mental diseases. Respect and love the most important person in the world to you – YOU, first.

That way, by default, everyone gets the best of you, too.

You have one life, make the most of it all the best in the choices you make. No one else can make them for you, so choose well.

To assist in the quality of your life right now, consider improving on these:

  1. Eat – well composed, portioned meals, more frequently. If it is green leaf (and not a frog), include it in your meals.
  2. Water – drink adequate levels of water daily. An average adult should aim for 3L per day.
  3. Move – a combination of weight training, cardio and stretching done two to three times per week.
  4. Enjoy yourself – don’t forget to have fun and laugh at least once a day.
  5. Socially engage with your community in person.
  6. Get, learn and apply the basics (of life) right so that YOU can ….

Muscle is precious. Build muscle, then do everything you can possibly to do to preserve what you have. You will thank your lucky and wise stars as you age.

Don’t accelerate the ageing process as age does it for you anyway. Build muscle, as if your life depended on it (and it does). Build muscle as it is your personal preventative insurance against age-related diseases as your life ticks on … tick, tock, tick, tock!

Then, watch your energy, mental state and vitality soar to new heights and ….

Live, really live.

Until next time,

Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you. Vv.

Be the best you can be for you, first, then by default, everyone gets the best of you.
Vv.

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