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Dating at the Office – DO IT or NOT TO DO IT?

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

Providing solutions to Businesses through consultancy

My first degree at university was a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Mathematics and Physics. I love these subjects, I still do.

My second bachelor’s degree was a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Business Administration (Management). Following my graduation, I began my work as a business Consultant, working for 3 of the top 10 largest Companies in the world and others that were large Australian Companies. I loved it and ‘climbed the corporate ladder and helping companies ‘fix’ the problems they found themselves in or created.

I used to tell people that my job was no different to road rubbish collectors – part of my job was to go in and ‘clean up’ other peoples’ messes. I loved what I did and I was good at it. Very good at finding a solution to address the problem, by halting it’s progress or just minimising the consequences and probability of huge catastrophes from occurring.

I still am.

Saving companies a lot of money and heart-ache over that time. They paid good money for the advice provided too.

I spent almost 3 years for one such large Business Consulting in Sydney, Australia. It still remains as one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for. Predominantly Accountants and Lawyers with a few other ‘admin’ staff and IT and Marketing professionals. It had a great work culture, where we ‘worked hard and played hard’.

It was also where I met my wife.

Her smile stole my heart

We worked in different divisions and on different floors. I was on the 29th and she was on the 30th of one of the skyscrapers in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia.

I saw her for the first time at one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She walked by and paused, giving me the best smile I had seen in a very long while. I thought to myself – ‘wow!”.

She didn’t only have the best smile, she was beautiful too and I love beauty.

I didn’t see her again for another three weeks because I was out consulting at clients’ premises most of the time. But the Firm we worked at had terrific partners and a wonderful ‘fun’ culture. Old school with a modern twist. The Firm really got into celebrations, particularly the most famous horse race that stops the nation – the Melbourne Cup.

Everyone usually stopped work around 11am for the 3pm race.

A party atmosphere begins … alcohol flowing with lots of catered food and everyone getting in to the spirit of things. Employee and employers alike put on their best formal attire – men usually wore fancy hats and ties with their suits and the women came decked out in beautiful dresses and glamorous hats.

I loved those parties. They were some of the very best parties I have ever attended in my life so far.

A real festive mood.

Clients were invited to participate in our celebrations.

That is where I saw her again, my future wife to be.

I just love beauty.
In all its forms.
In cars and it’s design

Flirtatious versus Professional Behaviour

I think flirty behaviour and professional mannerisms don’t match. It is not a perfect fit like say, the symbol ’69’.

Even though I met my wife at work almost twenty years ago, I would advise not to date at the office in today’s world.

Here’s why.

Erotic engagements in the course of business engagements tend to be anything but simple or romantic. It doesn’t matter how exciting the initial surreptitious encounter may have been. A Gentleman put in this complicated position will be hard pressed to keep his wits about him. So would a woman.

What if the relationship goes sour? What then?

Well, the worst case scenarios have been played out in the media for a number of years now and usually involve lawyers and tonnes of hours of consultants’ time which means a lot of money.

Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
but more importantly …
be the light for someone who sees only darkness.

Private versus Professional Lives

Pessimism isn’t an attractive characteristic and is not a typical gentlemanly one. A relationship can go ‘sour’. The break-up question isn’t one to ignore when it involves a co-worker.

You’ll get asked the question by boss if he notices the two of you holding hands at the photocopier. In my case, one of the senior Partners saw us get in to the lift together several times in the mornings, and began getting  suspicious. We tried to be very careful so as to hide any evidence of our involvement, agreeing on certain ‘ground rules’ in and around the office with regards to acceptable social etiquette.

Despite us being very careful, we became the talk and gossip of the firm, amongst the fellow employees and even the Partners at Partner meetings.

But no one had evidence.

This went on for almost a year. We worked very hard to keep our private lives separate from our Professional lives and we did quite a good job at it.

Side chest pose in my gym of seven years.

Going ‘splits-ville’

I’ve been married for almost twenty years now.

It hasn’t been plain sailing but, somehow, we’ve made it work, so far. Through the good times and the bad, we’ve co-captained this viking pirate ship of ours through the varying ‘seas of life’. Always trying to keep our ship afloat, despite the different weathers that we’ve endured.

We’ve stayed afloat, mainly through belief, God’s help and hard work – individually, and together as a ‘team’. Like all good long-term relationships worth holding on to, it takes a lot of ‘Hard YAKA” as we would say here in Australia.

But not all office romances end in marriages. A breakup would likely impact on your productivity and for the two involved it’s going to make personal and professional lives miserable.

I have witnessed this first hand at the very same firm I met my wife at. Breakups can be a torrid experience and messy. People tend to leave the firm for everyone’s sake.

Everyone needs a little helping hand

Can you keep a secret?

Now, I have always believed that we are not as ‘in control of ourselves than we think.

When those sexual and love hormones flood our bodies and minds, we are completely helpless and the only way to handle it is to let ‘run it’s course’.

If you’re lucky, you would have been ‘in love’ at some point or another in your life, so you know what I mean. Modern Neuroscience also confirms this in human brain scans.

So, for those of you who decline to listen to this sage advice or your own better judgement and decide to ignite the spark you struck  in the office break room or photocopier room like I did, I ask ‘can you keep a secret?

This can, after all, be part of the attraction. It certainly added to the excitement for me and my wife in year we kept it secret.

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

Some secret office affair etiquette to keep in mind.

This list is not exhaustive by any means.

No public displays of affection; no lengthy toilet-breaks together; if the lift gets stuck on a regular basis between floors three and four with the two of you emerging dishevelled, people will talk;

And last but not least, if word gets out, be prepared to take your job termination and gentlemanly grace – no gnashing of teeth, no threats and no slamming doors.

No one can say you didn’t see it coming.

Choose well.

Your career and life depends on it.

All the very best in your decisions.

 

Cheers and Ahoy!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate and ….. secret office affairs

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. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

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

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Loving your Wife (or Husband’s) Quirks.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

After almost twenty years of being together and over seventeen years of marriage, I’ve discovered many things about what I cherish about our relationship. One of the many things that I love is my wife’s quirks. Habits that are unique to her. Its funny, but in the same manner, her most endearing traits can be (at times) my greatest frustration.

You see, Cathy is a spreadsheet and ‘to-do list’ individual who is World-Class at being a senior Financial Advisor – precise, exacting,  not some of the time … all the time. Me, on the other hand am a risk-taking, follow-your-heart kind of a person, an entrepreneur – impulsive, expressive. Kind of like a Pirate Captain.

Another quirk of mine …. my love of the sea –  the old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk

Some things in life come to you quickly and some comes slow, with time and patience. It has taken me a little while to realize that many of the fussy, overly meticulous things that Cathy does are actually acts of love for me. Her attention to detail is amazing. I couldn’t have represented Australia at two successive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, two years in a row, placing in the Top 5 in the World without her. Without her attention to detail and skill for accuracy and completeness.

In our day-to-day life, her quirks just makes life more efficient and effective and therefore more enjoyable.

For example, when I go out for grocery shopping I don’t usually make a list (I have tried making them) and I actually like trying ‘new’ things and enjoy the experience of shopping. Cathy on the other hand, prepares a list, which I don’t strictly follow. Usually. But, the point I am trying to make is that she takes the time to do the list and she does this with love.

My quirk of love for great design in – vintage cars, watches … etc

That is a quirk of hers that is fantastic but is also frustrating.

I’m sure she would say that I have quite a few quirks of my own. Things like making sure that the locks on the door is checked when I leave the home, to ensure that my wife and children are safe. She could probably write many other quirks that would most probably be embarrassing because it would make me appear very vulnerable and naked.

But not to her.

These are quirks that she has allowed me to do for all these years that I have know her. Simply because she loves me. I’m sure you could look at your quirks that your wife or husband has allowed you to get away with too.

What a wife. What a best female friend. What a woman. What a human being.

You see, my wife loves making lists of almost every thing. I don’t. That is ok. That is the “yin and yang’’ of our relationship. That is what the balance is of our ‘69’ and has contributed to the success of our almost twenty year relationship so far.

One of my quirks … walking around places with very little clothes on .. ha ha ha !!
Here I am Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

The very quirk of mine of not living by written lists is very obvious. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have them. You see, I just keep the most important lists in my head …. My heart. And I live by them.

From my perspective, the most important thing in my eyes and view of life is that … even though I am guilty of going through life without making lists, I know and she knows that … SHE is on my list of Life.

She is and always has been on my List since the first day I met her.

Everything I have ever done and everything she has ever done and wants to do, has made my (unwritten) but what I call my ‘heart list’. It may not be visible and tangible as the myriad of lists that she makes and lives by (her quirk) but the list (my heart list) is there. It is present, always. Unseen to others, but seen by me … and demonstrated in my actions and words.

That is part of what makes each of us, who we are. We are ONE but we are Separate. We are a union but we are individuals. With and without lists, we have found a way. It is neither the Right way or the Wrong Way.

It is just WAY.

OUR WAY.

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. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

I love her quirks. Always have, always will.

I hope she loves mine too. I know she does. We wouldn’t be together still, after all these years otherwise.

We wouldn’t have done it any other way.

I thank her for tolerating my quirks all these years. Bring on the next twenty years, I say.

That is my wife, my Cathy for you.

Loving my quirks and weirdness all these years.

Even the recently appearing … character … The old Captain Viking Pirate … ha ha ha !!!

 

Cheers & ahoy!!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & spouse’s loving their partner’s quirks.

My quirk to pose everywhere and anywhere

one of my many quirks – my penchant for never sacrificing form over weight in the gym & practising safe exercise technique all the time. Not some of the time.

Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals.
Connect the two. Make them one.
Vv.
Another quirk of mine : my need to teach and mentor and help, help people, help themselves find their best selves.

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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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What Men (really) Need.

A variation of the ‘back single biceps” pose … on the beach. I love the interface between land+sea+sky. Brings me closer to my ‘home’ in my childhood … in the Beautiful Paradise Islands of Fiji.
The managed combination of chaos + order => Better Life.

We have all heard about ‘that relationship’ that broke down because there was a ‘break-down in communication.” Usually, when you dig a little deeper, you find that there was communication but it wasn’t ‘effective’ communication.

And how does communication become effective?

Well, it simply comes down to the ‘feedback loop.’ Yep, the feedback loop. I like to refer to it as ‘being on the same page’ as the person(s) you’re communicating with. Effectively, having clarity on what the other person(s) are saying and ‘seeing’ things from their viewpoint.

Not an easy thing to do.

So, what is the secret? Well, as I see it when it comes to relationships and what a man needs, what it really comes down to is – a man really needs someone who simply cares. Yep, it is as simple and as complex as that. The care factor.

Not an easy thing to find, yes because it requires that person to love him and this involves a lot of work, a lot of effort, from the care-giver. Men search far and wide for this care, in all kinds of places and all kinds of things and never stop searching because it is wired in to the very life-blood of all true-blooded males.

Men will never stop searching and will do all sorts of crazy shit to experience and do almost anything … for this love … this care, because that is what they really need and they will keep searching from the beginning til the end of time.

Let me explain …

Even though it sounds simple, it masks a lot of complexity. You see, most reasonably educated persons know how to communicate. You know how to talk, send e-mails and texts but very few people know how to communicate well. What I mean is communicate effectively.

Most children learn from their parents (who learned from their parents who learned from their parents  … ) but the thing is that a lot of parents don’t communicate well or effectively, to begin with. So, you end up with people who learn from people in the foundation years of their lives who are not the best communicators and so this ineffective communication skill is perpetuated through generations.

Until someone decides to question such practices and put forward a brave new way of communicating, a way that encourages communication to be made in an effective manner, with that feedback loop.

Like most good things, it takes work and being good at it takes practice. Not just practise but lots and lots of deliberate practise (because people could become good at communicating ineffectively. What one needs to do is learn the right way and then deliberately practice the right practise.

That is how you become better at your communication skills. Perfect practise.

It is hard work, hard YAKA! (Australian term that means ‘hard work!”). There is no easy way of going about this because you need to stubbornly change or un-learn years of imprinting of bad communication learned in your early years and then …

Now this is the hard part – learning and adopting the new communication method & skills in all your daily communication. All the time, not some of the time – all the time!

Attitude is key at winning in the Game of Life.

You see, from what I have observed so far in my life, communication between a woman and a man is very different from what happens when two women talk.

It seems that when two women get together, they do a lot of explaining and restating until the other person understands what is being said. They understand one another from each other’s point-of-view.

They seem to communicate more effectively than men.

A man may say something vague, like “I don’t know, I guess, I’m just having a tough day.” After making that short statement, it is very likely, he would not add any more words. He may just drop it, so to speak. His wife or partner assumes it must not be a big problem since he didn’t say more than two sentences. However, this is where the mistake arises.

You see, she needs to pick up on the little phrase that he did say and if she really, really knows him, pick up on what he did not say as well.

It is very likely he is feeling a great loss, but he is not expressing it. Women, I feel, need to listen to the small phrases that their husbands or partners are saying and then find the right response. She needs to generate a response that is sufficient and appropriate. ]

A response that is sufficient and not appropriate is not complete. And a response that is appropriate and not sufficient is less than adequate. Her response needs to have both present – appropriateness and sufficiency.

This is a huge challenge for any person, let alone a woman.

The challenge here is developing the life skill of the power of discernment and applying the right amount of appropriateness and sufficiency in one’s response. What a challenge.

A wise man once told me that “elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do.’ This applies to many things in life and would apply in this instance when a woman tries to understand how a man communicates.

A man needs a wife or partner who cares enough to listen to the brief, sometimes weak, signals that he gives off. And then, she needs to respond, I believe, with gentle questions to draw him out, not by taking the opportunity to describe her own struggles.

But to listen, really listen.

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

In my experience with dealing with and helping people in the gyms and my line of work over the last two decades, when one spouse is drawn away by someone outside the marriage, it’s usually not that he’s being drawn away by love.

More often than not, I believe, he is drawn away because someone else show they cared.

Ask yourself how you show your man you care? Is it sufficient and appropriate for the phase of life you’re in? My grandfather used to always say “actions speaks louder than words.’ What do you think? I think it holds more than an element of truth to it.

Someone could think and say that they love someone else but not actually show or demonstrate/do the act of love. Is this love? I don’t think so.

Thinking and doing can be two different things.

What is your definition of love anyway? We tend to see acts of love all around us but what is love?

Who is the best listener you know? What is that person doing that works?

My tip: After nineteen years of being with the woman of my childhood dreams and marriage as well as helping people (couples) help themselves, help themselves over the years of owning my own gym and my keen observation in general life, I would remind you to – show you care in everything you say and most importantly, do.

Men are simple creatures, keep things simple – simply show your man you care for and about him. Don’t complicate things, keeping it simple aids greatly in contributing to more effective communication. And is ultimately the saviour of all relationships.

We have heard that love is effortless, I disagree … to love some one other yourself requires effort, a lot of effort.

Love is EFFORT-FULL!

Keep loving … it is worth it in the whole scheme of life.

 

Until next time,

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.
A place where men could share stories, their aspirations, their fears and hopes …and be listened to … without fear of retribution or ridicule.
It was these group of Mens ‘last refuge’.
I hope to bring it back one day … to the world.

Explaining the fine points of re-engineering the physique and increased self-awareness through enhanced ‘mind-muscle’ connection..

Side Triceps in the gym. … in between sets.
Building a physique that is balanced and symmetrical takes years of toil in the gym and outside the gym. There is countless assessment of all the variables that go into it … a constant assessment of appropriateness and sufficiency in relation to the key inputs that go in to mastering the iron … the art … of knowing oneself .. of knowing life.
Better. Builds. Beauty. A
Always.

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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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The Grace of Seeds.

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I have been blessed with two very beautiful, healthy children. It is truly one of life’s blessings in my eyes – the Grace of Seeds.

However, in interactions with men of all ages in gyms for over two decades now, for some men, the responsibilities of fatherhood are simply more than they bargained for. It could be due to many things.

It seems, it is not only the intrusion of a newborn child’s demands; not just the scary anticipation of financial burdens (some men tend to view it this way) – from cot to college.

Maybe, it is the realization that the ‘honey-moon’ period has finally come to an end. Things will never be the same as they imagined it to be. This can be a stark reality indeed for some men.

In addition to this, some men probably have an increased fear of the onset of family life as this would entail responsibilities of parenthood. This would ultimately mean, the feast of love with his wife will grow stale. That the wine of their love will lose its bouquet.

That their love life will fizzle out.

But this is where interpretation of what married love means to Real Men differs.

Often when a man is insecure about himself, afraid of his personal characteristics and strengths as a husband and lover, he is unable to find a reliable and relevant version of the truth about love within a marriage.

And that it is this version of truth of married love:

The love between a married couple has a special ingredient that allows for the inclusion of the love of others.

But, it seems that there are many examples all around us in today’s modern living that tell us that countless couples disagree with this position or interpretation of what married love is.

The expectation gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what they imagined’ is just too big. I have met quite a few couples over the years who choose to not have children. Very sad indeed.

I will argue one point regarding this and one point only and it is this: if the Bible makes it clear that God our Creator, made us in his image and likeness, then I believe that he (God) intended and hoped that we would be ‘fruitful and increase in number”.

So, if you choose to give life and love whether by birth or adoption, you become more of what God meant by ‘in God’s image’. This is our real slice of the ‘essence of life’, our closest chance to share – if only to a small degree – the highest attributes of God the Father himself.

This is as close to “God-like” as any person could become.

To not do so and take another path, to not offer love to our own children, the seeds that will bloom in the future. Well, personally, I cannot fathom this decision.

This is to miss one of the true meanings of what life is about. To go down this path deprives you of a taste of eternity, that is ….

The Grace of Seeds.

It is a sacrament of everlasting life.

Nourish those seeds with all the love you can muster as they will be your future – our future.

They will be the World’s Future.

And, thank God every single day for blessing you with the grace of seeds!

For posterity.

 

Until next time,

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

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing – the grace of seeds.
Vv.

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Adam needed Eve.

My son and I. Time with your children will be one of the most important investments you will ever make in your life. Choose to make it.

My son and I.
Time with your children will be one of the most important investments you will ever make in your life.
Choose to make it.

Not sure what you remember about the start of the greatest stories that were ever told but I do remember the story of the creation. Matter of fact my kids pick a story each night before bed from the bible and inevitably, they choose the story of the garden of eden at least once a month.

Adam and Eve was part of this creation story.

Most of you will know that.

One version of the beginning of life as we know it involved a man and a woman, created by God. Adam, on his own, I believe would not have worked. It may have lasted short-term at best. You and I may not have come in to existence.

It is evident Adam needed Eve!

Operating alone in life is a little unnatural. What do you think? Wasn’t there a philosopher that stated once that –

“no man is an island”. There is some truth in this.

Okay, your definition of what is natural and unnatural may be different to mine and that is fine.

I think that is how most of life should be operated – a collaboration between a man and woman, between men and women, whether it be in the corporate world on in every-day life. However, it appears that most of life has been structured in such a way that it is biased to the comfort and convenience of men.

Made for men. By men.

But I believe that the system that has worked for centuries – a system that was and has been dictated by men, for the convenience of men, may become extinct in the near future. The industrial age, the one that established our schooling, our work day, our economy and our expectations and dreams is dying.

I believe it is dying but it dying faster than you and I think but there is evidence all around us of this funeral. Look around at the various industries – the music industry, the media outlets, newspapers and journalism to name a few.

And I think that is a good thing for man-kind.

The system and protocols set up for society, for the convenience and comfort of men, whilst excellent for the Industrial Era is not appropriate for now and the future.

My son made me aware of this not too long ago.

You see, we tried to get him to go to early music lessons taught by one of the Sydney (and Australia’s) best early child-hood music teachers when he was about 3. Turned out, he was a very different child in those classes. I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t reason with him.

From the moment he entered that room, he took on a different personality – a very difficult personality. I felt that the room somehow triggered this abnormal behaviour. You see, Zachary is a little bit of a ‘stirrer’ by nature but this half hour of music was very difficult for either Cathy, my wife or me. We tried many things to manage his behaviour but nothing seemed to work.

I thought deeply about why this was happening because it only seemed to happen in that class.

Then it dawned on me that he felt reminded too much that he was a ‘kid’ when he was in those classes. The games and some of the activities were too ‘kid-like’ if you know what I mean and Zachary didn’t like to be treated like a ‘kid’. Even I felt like a kid when I was in those classes!

Because we refer to and treat Zachary like an individual and not like a ‘kid’, he expected to be treated like an individual. You see, from what he has observed in his short life so far, he loves everything about being an adult – doing work with me around the house like an adult, wearing my adult shoes, going shopping like an adult and being spoken to like an adult or at least an older child.

The Result: he behaves like an adult! Zachary likes being treated like a man or a grown-up boy. And I have to say that Olivia, my daughter loves to be treated like an older girl too. And those music classes did exactly the opposite.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other. Choose to spend time with your kids, not 'quality time'.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other.
Choose to spend time with your kids, not ‘quality time’.

So, it got me thinking about life and society in general.

Everything seems to be geared to the adults, isn’t it? Actually – most of life, matter of fact almost everything you can think of, for a very long time now has been organized for the convenience of adults, in particular – the comfort and suitability to men!

Give it some thought and let it sink in …

Work hours is structured that way and has been like that for centuries. The hours set is very suitable for men, isn’t it? The system of the industrial era allows one to have a ‘work-home-from-home’ that conveniently makes men unavailable at home for forty to eighty hours.

And when are these hours structured? During those moments at home where help is needed most. Those waking hours, where men are needed for cleaning, cooking and caring for children. Your children! So, the system still predominantly excludes one person from the ‘work-home’ and who do you think that is?

There are no prizes for guessing who that person is!

Yes, it is the woman. The mum. The female that is representing “EVE”. This is still the majority of cases in today’s world.

The question I ask is ‘why?!’ It is a choice after all, a choice every man, every woman, every family has to make. No one is going to ask you to make that choice for you. Be brave and make it yourself! Its not about whether you have what it takes; it’s about whether you choose to pursue it. Of course it is difficult to overcome a lifetime of education (and brainwashing). New habits will have to be created, and new dreams/expectations to go with them.

I believe with the exponential growth of technology and the embracing of more balanced philosophies, it is not necessary that individuals (particularly men) should be locked away in office places at the same time for hours a day.

What do you think?

I don’t think it is healthy for one thing. It is not necessary to be in the same vicinity as all your office colleagues every day of the week. You can be just as productive if not more, if you focused on what you were paid to do in the convenience of your own home. When will society realize that a lot of that ‘office time’, whilst relevant for the previous industrial era, is not necessary now and was put in place mainly for the convenience and needs of men.

It would be highly likely that ‘hours at work’ would have been very different today if it was us, men, who had to also run a home, clean, cook and take and pick up kids from school. It is not easy, believe me, it isn’t. But I believe it is a necessary and arguably the most important investment a man can make in his life: Time (not ‘quality time’) with his kids and home-life.

My children - Olivia and Zachary striking a 'front double-biceps' pose for the camera. Watch out, these Valentine Guns are loaded!

My children – Olivia and Zachary striking a ‘front double-biceps’ pose for the camera. Watch out, these Valentine Guns are loaded!

More of society, more of life should be geared toward the ‘Eve’ of the relationship.

More should be given to the woman. More should be given for the woman’s comfort, for her convenience.

More of society should be organized from a woman’s point-of-view, with more love, more care, more compassion, more flexibility. More importantly, more control over where and when one does one’s work.

There should be more personal responsibility and less ‘looking-over-your-shoulder’ work environments that still exists in many industries and in particular, the corporate world, where grown-ups are still made to feel like children in an ‘adult-like’ environment. How suffocating is that?!

How can grown adults be expected to work productively and do what is expected of an responsible adult if they are meant to feel like a ‘kid’ when at work because of the old-fashioned culture still in existence?

Over a hundred years of indoctrination of industrialism has changed the way we dream. The industrialist needs you to dream of security and the benefits of compliance. The industrialist works to sell you on a cycle of consumption (which requires more compliance) and the industrialist benefits of moving up the corporate ladder – his ladder!

But the society now is very different to what it was a millennia ago. Times have changed dramatically.

I believe that this is what society wants more of – a more balanced, more equal approach to life in all areas for both real men and women. And I also believe that this is what most men reading this and out there wants too. The winds of change has already been happening. Men and women are moving towards more of a “Adam and Eve” relationship and I believe it is very healthy and is necessary for this period in history.

If you are already in such a relationship, you are blessed.

Organizations need women more and more and should start changing archaic systems that are no longer relevant in today’s world. Women provide the balance to men, the balance that men need. This should be reflected in all areas of life – a genuine Adam and Eve approach. An approach that respects the importance and power of connection – between human beings, in particular the equal time-sharing both parents have in raising their children.

It began that way many, many years ago in beautiful story-telling about a garden of Eden – with Adam and Eve. We, society, need to return to this but this time with the understanding that Adam needed Eve. 

I am blessed I have my Eve – my wife, with equal Captaincy on our ship in the journey through our sea of life. I know I need my wife like Adam needed Eve.

Here’s hope to a better future … by turning back to the future.

All the best for 2016!

 

Until next time,

Me and my children - carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

Me and my children – carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

Find what you love to do. Then, go do it!

Find what you love to do.
Then, go do it!

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