a better life, accountability, action, adaptation, asking questions, authenticness, awareness, beauty, better choices, caring, change management, choices, compassion, Energy, examined life, fairness, friendship, game of life, happiness, hope, life, long-term perspective, long-term strategy, love, marriage, perseverance, relationships, responsibility, successful marriage, trust, your life

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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a better life, ageing, attitude, awareness, change, change management, Energy, game of life, life, mid-life crisis, needs, perseverance, relationships

Mid-life Crisis.

Hello!

Sacrifices

One of the wisest men I have ever been mentored by, my good friend – Dave ( a fellowship member of Menza) told me once that “Nothing Changes but form.”

Do people change. Of course they do. But, change according to what? And … what is your perception of change?

Got me thinking.

What is a “worthwhile sacrifice?”

A four year undergraduate degree at a prestigious university? An apprenticeship with a famous chef? Sweeping the floors of a multi-national conglomerate just to “get in?” All these sacrifices and those like these change the person – some for the good and some for the bad.

If you’re in a relationship, like I am – in a relationship with this woman for 19 years now. It sounds like a lot but it is nothing compared to her grandparents who lived to their 90s and were such beautiful people.

Time (& space), as Einstein said is relative. So, basically, nineteen years, in the whole scope of the time spectrum, is put simply – nothing!

So, what do you do with marriages that go through periods where there is ‘rough seas’ as they co-captain their ship through the ‘sea of life?’ I know for a fact that over the years, I have carried my wife (& was the stronger one) and in other times (like the whole of last year), she was the STRONG ONE & carried the weaker one – me.

Sailing through the sea of life, will inevitably produce tough times, it’s just foolish to think that you won’t encounter bad weather & monstrous waves in the depths of the sea of life. Foolish.

It is in times of trouble that, you just hang on to each other, because it is easy – very easy to lose one another. You need to go ‘above and beyond’ your call of duty in seeing that the weaker partner gets through that rough period ok. Everyone responds differently to unexpected rough weather & no one is immune to it.

Change is a certainty in life. Life is about change, if you’re not changing, you’re not living. But the rate of change differs between individuals. I think it was the great science thinker – Stephen Hawkins – that said “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’ I agree.

The woman and man need to adapt to the changing stimulus (phase of life) because it is in the process of adaptation that new growth is experienced & felt. So, don’t be afraid to sacrifice old philosophies and adopting a new, evolved one, in order to provide the glue that keeps them together.

Needs

Owning a family gym for six years has taught me a lot of things about life – in fast forward. In those six years I helped, with my programs, helped people transition through the sticky phases of life – teens to man-hood; the troubling 20s; the ambitious 30s; the ‘lost hope’ 40s; the care-free 50s; the uncertain 60s & the content 70s and 80s.

If you reach the 90s, its highly likely you’re on your own to celebrate your 95th birthday because everyone you ever knew is …. Six feet under.

Now, I have concluded, in my experience and my small sample of men and women in my lab (my gym), that part of the reason people stay together in marriage is because their needs are being met.

At first glance, that idea seems to be self-centered and selfish. Maybe it is. Just maybe, we ALL have the ‘selfish gene’ in us, like the aetheist Richard Dawkins proclaims. Good on him & his followers.

Marriages that last, include couples who WORK hard at it. Marriage, that is.

I believe they have a deep sense of commitment, a desire to stay together, and an ability to express affection as they understand each other’s needs and … I believe, specifically work at meeting those needs.

That is paramount. The meeting of these needs at various phases of life. It is never static, always continuously changing.

Understanding & meeting your mates/husbands/wife’s/ partner’s needs is a powerful way to serve your mate and strengthen your marriage.

So, what are you waiting for (if you’re married) …… go make your spouse her favourite warm drink (coffee?) & do it with love & care. Thank you.

Romance

What is romance?

I’ve never really understood what it is. I mean, I have done something in the past that I didn’t think was special, and I was thanked for being ‘so romantic.’ There are other few times where I thought I was trying to be romantic and got the cold shoulder.

I’m still confused and I’m a Mr Valentine?!

All these years later, I still don’t know what is to be romantic. I’m sure a lot of males out there do (and that is great) … but I struggle with being romantic.

I think romance should be done daily, in the little things that we do for each other, that won’t make a romance novel – like making your husband a cup of his favourite coffee or giving him hug when he least expects it. It does not take much to please a good gentle man and make him happy. Taking care of mozzies (mosquitoes) daily, not this ‘once-in-a-blue moon’ party shi*t@!

Romance, as I see it, is built upon qualities that each partner (hopefully) showers on each other, Some of them are –

  • Meeting each other’s needs;
  • Being tender;
  • Considerate & sensitive;
  • Thoughtful & …
  • Listening

Listening is very important. If you’ve been together for a long time then you should know him quite well so in addition to listening to what he says, try to listen to what he ‘does not say.’ Now that takes listening to a level that only very close ‘best friends’ tap in to.

Emotional Connections

What happens when man enters his mid-life years? I have a fair idea because I have seen and helped many-a-man transition through this phase of the many phases of life.

One thing that comes to fore is the feeling (from the mens’ perspective) that they are being ‘mothered.’

But, from my sample of hundreds of men over the last two decades, I can conclude that men DO NOT WANT A MOTHER. Women, do you know what they want?

They want a GIRLFRIEND. They don’t want a mother to make them feel like they are ‘one of the children.’

No!

They want a girlfriend.

Now, for a woman to become a girlfriend to her husband, I believe (from my observation of life), she NEEDS to develop spontaneity.

Now, what does this mean … well, let me take that previous statement back. I think there is no such thing as spontaneity because a person has to have the thought – first, before any action is executed.

It may mean (for the wife), assuming a younger outlook on life, or a younger approach to the relationship. She should think in terms of how a younger woman would act around her husband.

She should, above all else, show admiration and affirmation to the extreme …. & dare I say it, ACT MORE FLIRTATIOUSLY.

Little things matter. But what makes you do the little things (I call these the ‘mosquitoes’ in life), whether positive or negative? Have you every thought about this? You may have heard people say ‘willpower.’ I have news for you, it is not willpower. Willpower means forcing yourself to do something you don’t really want to do. This is a never-winning game for you.

You cannot keep forcing yourself to do something if you don’t really want to do it. Period.

So, no, it is not willpower that drives your actions, but your ATTITUDE.

Attitude shows itself in everything you do – actions speaks louder than words, as we have been told when we were a child. So true, your attitude determines both your simplest and most complicated actions – from the way you carry yourself to the way you deal with hard times.

And a man going through a mid-life crisis phase … is a hard time. Let’s not kid ourselves, it is not funny at all.

So, for the partner we need to embrace this phase – not with willpower, not with determination or controlling your attitude and feelings. No. You need something more stronger, something that is at the heart – the breathing source of your attitude.

You need to re-discover this energy source to give you that ‘edge.’ And what is this source, well, it is simply your ‘philosophy’, which is a fancy word for the way you see yourself and the way you see the world. It is your philosophy that feeds your attitude.

Attitude is everything in life.

Your attitude is never static, it is changing all the time. And as your attitude changes, your feelings also change. Your philosophy is the secret that lies behind the puzzle of fate or destiny. So, to summarise –

A positive philosophy ==> positive attitude ==> positive actions ==> positive results.

A negative philosophy obviously does the opposite effect. Remember the “Ripple Effect” … well, it works both ways!

To manage this phase your partner/husband is going through you have to change yourself. And how do you do this? Well, your change yourself by changing your philosophy. BUT, you have to be willing to change or ADAPT & change if your want to change what’s happening in your life, your philosophy or how you see things must change.

And, very importantly ….

Don’t bring up the past in a negative sense. One of the quickest paths to success (I believe) is to get out of the past. Sure, its smart to review mistakes and unhappy events because that helps you to make better choices in the future. However, keep it swift.

Review, understand and take responsibility for the errors you’ve made (and we all have our fair share of mistakes/errors … no body is perfect, right?) But, don’t even spend too much dwelling on this even. Just use the past as a tool to do things differently in the present and, most importantly ….. MOVE ON!

So, invest your ‘emotional labour’ towards emotionally connecting to your partner/husband and realise that other things in life are not as urgent as they seem.

They can simply WAIT.

It is time to give your spouse your time and attention (before it is too late).

Please understand that this is just my initial thoughts, nothing more, nothing less. There are obviously many other reasons (when compounded over time) provides a leathal dosage of destruction.

Don’t’ let that happen to you. I will embrace it if it ever happens to me.

Amen.

Best of VITALITY to YOU.

 

P.e. Valentine.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain, Mr Phil Waugh.

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Resolve.

Assisting Phil achieve something he desores and cares about. Vv.

Assisting Phil achieve something he desires and cares about.
Vv.

What do you think about most of the time? Every day.

What is your answer to this question? The great motivational thinker and speaker – Earl Nightingale said that –

“we become what we think about most of the time.”

What do you think, is there an element of truth in that statement? Well, what do you think about, most of the time?

If you don’t have an answer to that question, that’s ok, it probably changes every day. What’s important is not that you have an answer, no, what’s important is that you RESOLVE to desire and seek solutions by asking the right questions.

What is important as far as your success is concerned is that you have the desire to want change for the better. To resolve is the first step towards the successful achievement of any worthwhile goal.

You need insatiable desire to win and genuinely be unsatisfied with the status quo. You need to have courage to keep those desires burning and keep fanning those flames, despite the many failures you have had in the past. You need to keep thinking those thoughts that will get you there, every step of the way. This applies to all areas of life.

Your desire, your window to your soul should yell out to the world that you want something special for you – in spite of your past failures. In spite of your blood line or home life. You simply need the desire to win! Better still, if you could … travel into the future, what would your legacy look like? The quality of life in your family tree for generations to come will hinge on the choices you make with your family today.

This is why I have always believed that one man/woman can make a difference. A difference that will be magnified over time.

Striving towards the best version of you is a very worthwhile goal. Desire. Seek. Get. Vv.

Striving towards the best version of you is a very worthwhile goal.
Desire. Seek. Get.
Vv.

I hate to use the word ‘motivation’ because it is one of the most mis-used terms in the modern language. It is over-franchised, exaggerated, over-promoted and greatly mis-understood. People have asked me countless times over the years how I motivate people that I help.

I usually reply by saying that I don’t do that – that I don’t motivate people. The motivation comes from with each person. I just provide a vehicle (my unique framework to body re-engineering) to help them achieve their goals more efficiently, effectively and safely.

You see, everything you do (which stem from the thoughts you have), everything we all do, whether positive or negative, intentional or unintentional is the direct result of motivation. So, you need to be careful what you think, every day.

Motivation comes from ‘within’. It is a force, a burst of energy that moves us to action and is not external, it springs from inside you.

You need to summon great motivation to keep on your path, despite past failures, doubts and naysayers. Remember, history is littered with many greats that turned past failures in to successes, for example, the great Winston Churchill was a very poor student but look at what a great leader and speaker of men he became.

Psychology tells us that you can only really be motivated by two things:

  • Desire
  • Fear

They are poles apart. The first is positive and the second is negative and lead to opposite destinies as fear looks at life through the prism of the past and desire looks to the future.

Viewing life through the lens of desire, you are less likely to look at risks as restrictive. You will see risk as opportunity and will not fear the penalty of failure. This is because your dominant thought, the thoughts you think about mostly, is to be better and you desire better.

To win.

I’ve always believed fear should never be used as a reason for quitting; it is only an excuse! Most importantly, from my experience and from my observations of other people’s experiences, you should never be afraid, to be afraid.

Experience the emotion (being afraid), summon the courage and do what you are supposed to do anyway, that will help you realise your desire, your goal.

Another thing I have learned is that if you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. The opportunity may slip from under your nose – seize it while you can. Mountains may never be climbed, seas un-chartered nor happiness ever achieved if you waited for everything to be ‘just right’.

Ultimately, when the going gets tough…. The tough gets going as the saying goes. Never quit on life but most importantly, challenge yourself and strive to ‘win over yourself’ when the going gets tough. Like I sometimes remind my clients – “when it gets harder, you get tougher!”

Side Triceps.

Side Triceps.

Please don’t confuse what I am talking about with the seemingly insatiable desire in many parts of modern society that seem to associate drive, motivation and initiative only with materialism and materialistic power and gain. No, far from it.

What I am talking about is simply ‘personal achievement’ and the honest pursuit of individual excellence. This desire comes with the help from above, from God. My family includes in our daily prayer, the request to God to help us, help ourselves be the best we can individually be – for ourselves, first, and then for everyone else.

Putting aside any thought of material gain for a second, there is a certain pure personal pleasure that only comes with achieving the difficult. To do this, history has shown us that all winners have a very high level of motivation. Just like any other skill, this is something that can be learned and made in to habit, with effort.

So, eliminate doubt. Success is not reserved only for the talented. Talent is over-rated. Don’t think success is only reserved for those with high I.Q or for the rich and famous. It is not even in the best equipment, not even in ability.

Ultimately, success comes down to you and your thoughts and what you think about every day. You become what you think about mostly, as Earl Nightingale said many, many years ago.

You have one life and you have one important choice – to build your life around desire rather than fear. So, choose well, my friend. Like I alluded to earlier, out of desire comes the most important driver and that is ‘energy’. This to me, is part of my overall philosophy of life and that is Life is about energy management. The extra energy to make an extra effort, to ‘go the extra mile’ is a vital key to success.

It is through the increased energy for your desire that you keep the drive and motivation, focus and persistence. It is through the extra energy that you develop ‘grit’.

You find that energy by looking within with God’s help or your spiritual side, not without.

So, there is no time to waste, make haste and make big plans, not little ones. There is magic in your thinking. In particular, there is magic in thinking big.

From me to you – Mr/Ms/Mrs Big, RESOLVE to re-align your daily thoughts towards your desires, not fears and ….. THINK BIG!

All the best in your journey through your life.

Until next time,

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Side Chest pose. Placing: 4th.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Dreaming big and thinking big helped me twice represent Australia against the best natural bodybuilders in the world at that time.
Side Chest pose.
Placing: 4th.

back double biceps In the thick of competition. Placing: 2nd Asia-Pacific Championships.

back double biceps
In the thick of competition.
Placing: 2nd Asia-Pacific Championships.

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Do it WRONG to learn to DO IT RIGHT.

I like this hat.

I like this hat.

Experience, matters.

I’ve always believed no experience in life is ‘bad experience’, in absolute terms. Even bad or unfortunate experiences. There is always something you can take away from it. Something you can learn. Something that would add value to your life in the future or possibly now, however small it may be.

I also believe that life is too short to try to get your experience with everything ‘first-hand’. It is better to learn from the experience of others. Seek appropriate coaches. Relevant mentors. If you’re lucky enough to. You could certainly cut the learning curve by a significant amount in anything you set out to accomplish. You don’t have all the time in the world. You could save time. Save your life for more important choices.

Save – you, perhaps?

When my daughter, Olivia, was old enough to hold a colour pencil in her hand she enjoyed drawing on paper, cardboard. Everything really. Scribbling everywhere and anywhere, with no structure.

No boundaries. No beginning, no end. In her young brain, she thought she was doing it – right. That’s all she knew, with regards to colouring, at that point in time.

One day, I decided I would get her to colour in pictures a little bit better. To change her perception of what she thought she was doing right. I felt I had to teach her the ‘basics’ of colouring. But, what was the basics of colouring?

I thought about the final output (a coloured-in picture) and what colouring was made up of. It was obvious. It was an accumulation of closely set straight lines. So, that was it: a straight line. I had to teach my daughter how to:

1. draw a straight line
2. become better at drawing a straight line

I mentioned this to my wife, and she had some reservations about what I wanted to achieve. I sat down at the table like I normally do with my children and said “Olivia, I would like you to focus on one thing only today, when we draw”.

She said “what dad?”

I replied: “I would like you to just draw lines”.

“Just lines?” she queried.

“Yes. Just lines”, I said.

So, I drew an outline of a square on a blank A4 paper. I then proceeded to show her the fundamentals of getting the best possible result from colouring. I said, firstly, lets:

1. Sit up straight with proper posture.
2. Must be comfortable with balance.
3. Relaxed and focused.

I drew a line from one end of the square outline to the other. Then did another line. And repeated, and repeated and repeated. Until the whole square outline was a shaded in square. I told her how the repeated start and stop of a straight line creates colour, texture.

The object (the square) was now ‘coloured-in’.

I told her how it was important to learn how to draw a straight line and be clear on where the start and stop of the line begins and ends. That, just like in many things in life, a picture or drawing may have boundaries. She needed to be aware of them and stay within them.

Also, that if she practiced drawing a defined straight line – repeatedly, she would become better at colouring-in.

She was excited. Excited about the challenge.

I drew her several shapes to colour in with straight lines – another square, a circle and a triangle.

I then asked her to try drawing the straight lines as I had just done. To fill in the shapes. One by one, she did. Tentative at first and unsure of its correctness, she made those first few lines. I kept encouraging her to keep going. She was a little afraid to get it wrong.

I told her not to be afraid. That it was ok to get it wrong. I told her to aim to ‘stay within the line’ of the square, circle and triangle. She needed to focus on ‘filling in the gaps’.

She got it wrong. Again and again and again.

She threw hands up in frustration and stormed away. A few times. I sat there and asked her back. “Lets try again, sweetie. You’re getting better. Its ok to do it wrong. You need to do it wrong to learn to do it right”.

She returned. She did. Multiple times. She did learn to do it right.

It seems this is the same for most endeavours in life requiring skill. Talent alone is not enough. Learning the basics. Repeating perfect technique with deliberate practice builds up to something others may refer to as genius in a particular area.

For example, a rugby player that does not practice basic skills such as catching and passing will not get very far. A violinist that does not practice the basics of her instrument, with deliberate structure and purpose won’t get to the next level. A gym enthusiast that does not learn proper exercise techniques of the basic exercises in the gym would highly likely not get the results he or she desires and increase risks of injuries.

Olivia is a champion colouring in kid, now. She colours in with the skill level of kids far beyond her current age. She is very proud of the pictures she very astutely does. I am very proud of the work she does too.

She wasn’t afraid to do it wrong to learn to do it right. She faced her fear of getting it wrong.

That’s my definition of courage. Facing fear, no matter how small it is.

She got past her frustration. She put in the work. She deliberately practiced those lines. She did the basics, in this case – she learned how to draw a straight line, better than she had ever done before, not some of the times, but all the time. She accepted that ‘close enough’ is ‘not good enough’.

She learned to let go of the ‘almost right’ line to make room for the ‘better line’. Just like in life, some of us have to learn to say ‘no’ to the good to be able to say ‘yes’ to the best.

So, dear readers, remember, when things in life get a little bit more complicated and overwhelming, like it usually does, learn to keep it simple.

What do I mean by this? Well, ask yourself what are the ‘basics’ of the situation/task at hand? Then:

Learn proper execution. Repeat. With Deliberate practice. Persevere and persist.  

Whichever area of life it is. Become the best you can be at the basics. The compound effect of the basics, executed excellently, in any area of life produces the best work. The best ideas. The best innovation. The best sporting teams. The best businesses. The best of everything.

You can go further … become the best you can be at the ‘basics of life’. Smile more. Say ‘hello’ more. Laugh more. Give more. Love more. You can identify many others.

Once again, don’t be afraid to do it wrong to learn to do it right and never be afraid to ask for help. From someone who ‘has been there’ and ‘done that’.

Then, ask yourself how much of your 86,400 seconds of your daily life do you put aside to become better at the ‘business of LIFE’? That’s right – the business of becoming a better human being – a better YOU. I’m not referring to your work or your business. Or your profession.

No.

I’m referring to the business of life.

Your life.

Until next time,

_MG_9957

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Every great building structure has a great foundation.

Relaxed.

Relaxed.

Every great sporting team has a great foundation – they do the basics, well. Not some of the time – all the time.

Every good professional, say, an Accountant, understands the basics of the Accrual Accounting System and applies the principles consistently. Always. This allows for complete, timely, accurate, reliable data that when analysed with other information (past and present) allows for better decision making. For the future.

This helps build a great business.

In all of my body re-engineering programs, tailored for all individuals, I stress the importance of building a good foundation, encompassed in the first “A” of my “Triple A” to Life philosophy of self-development. The ‘A” I am referring to is: AWARENESS.

I stick to the basics and get my pupils to perform them properly all the time. Most of them do. Old school training with a modern twist.

In this phase of my life, I spend a lot more time with my two kids now then I used to. I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to share these years these formative years with them. To help them and funnily enough, they help me a lot too.

They help increase my awareness. Of myself. Of them. And of the external environment.

This increased awareness (thanks partly to them), has got me thinking about the importance of laying a great foundation for them. Just like a great building. To help them build the loftiest buildings in the universe: their young minds and hearts, which are learning at super-speed, trying to make sense of their lives and learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

This, I believe is the most important foundation each and every dad out there can help lay in their children: to build the greatest building (positive influence) in their hearts and minds and trying to make the world a better place.

Part of this laying of the foundation for them is to give them a clear understanding of one of the all-time great truths: that life is difficult and often unfair. Whether we like it or not, our sons and daughters may experience doubts, discouragement, loneliness, disappointment. Failure. They may be betrayed by a friend, not succeed in getting in to the university or profession of choice. Be dumped by their girlfriend or boyfriend.

Just like you, I know I will feel the hurt in their hearts too …

But this is all part of building a great foundation. You see, as I see it, we should not go out of our way to look for pain but we should certainly avoid pain when we can (with one exception when you’re in the gym feeling the ‘pump’ in your working muscles).

We should not just explain away moments like these – these trials and tribulations they may likely experience. They are an essential part of foundation building for a great building that they will call ‘their life’. These trials represents the capacity to build strength, maturity, courage and genuine, authentic love. It builds perseverance and resilience.

My role as a parent is relatively new. I am still learning. I know one thing, though is that as a parent, the better we get at seeing our children through these difficult times, through these trials, the better the bond. These trials will help us identify what they can do in our lives and our children’s lives, the better able we’ll be to provide stability, calmness, assurance and genuine love to our children. Even in the midst of a storm. Their trying times.

As a parent I know I have made mistakes along the way, so far. But I embrace the role with all my heart, mind and soul. Every experienced parent understands that bad behaviour in a child rarely happens with no previous signals, incidents. There are usually early signs. We just have to be aware.

I still remember hearing my grandfather say to my grandmother when referring to a relative of mine when I was a child, “be careful, you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile”.

So true, when you’re a parent.

As a parent you need to stay alert. You’re forced to increase awareness. To notice behavioural changes early and be ready to intervene in time to prevent the youngster from skidding in to serious dangerous waters ….

It is essentially ‘risk management’ and depending on the incident, an appropriate assessment of the behaviour needs to be made as to the short-term and long-term risks. Appropriate ‘intervention controls’ need to be implemented to mitigate the likely consequences likely to happen if not addressed.

Simple? Not quiet. But you have to try as a parent.

I believe, a parent’s wisdom in controlling their youngster(s) is one of the best measures of how much you really love and value her or him. The child knows this whether they say anything or not. I know my daughter does. The young boy or girl understands that his or her mother should have a hand in controlling her too. Matter of fact, both parents need to play this role – in equal share.

Children learn so much from their parents. I have found that I needed to improve my own personal standards when my children appears on the scene. Your personal examples are important and so are your rules. My wife and I have established a few rules already in our household. I get caught out sometimes, when my daughter notices ‘double standards’ in what I tell them to do and what I do. For example, I always say that a shirt has to be worn whenever we are seated at the table for a meal.

Sometimes … I get reminded by her. “Dad, aren’t you forgetting something?”

“And what would that be, young lady?” I would reply.

“Your shirt”, she would state matter-of-factly.

This little point makes me think of the bigger message. The message is that – you won’t be able to sell your children any double standards on the important issues in life.

And you shouldn’t.

I have concluded that they will most likely follow what I DO and what I BELIEVE than what I SAY ABOUT these issues.

Stop trying to be the BEST DAD in the world. Be the best dad you CAN BE. Be YOURSELF. That is all your daughter or son NEEDS: the REAL YOU.

Their REAL FATHER.

You see your children does not need to believe that you are the wisest man in the world or the strongest, to count you as their father. No.

I believe that the REAL FATHER they NEED is a MAN who they can approach for answers on the important questions in life. They also need to see that you are still a ‘work-in-progress’ but that you still have the hunger to learn and grow too.

That you make mistakes too. And its ok.

They need to see that you are not narrow-minded and ‘set in your ways’. They NEED to see that you are not afraid to learn and embrace new ideas, new concepts, new paradigms, new philosophies.

Summed up in my “third A” to my “Triple A to Life”:

Adaptability.

Be the best parent you can be.

Until next time,

Front double biceps

Front double biceps

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adaptation, body, Body shape, diet, eating, Energy, Fitness, Goals, habits, life, mind, perseverance, perspective, planning, respect, you

Eating right actually takes less time than you think.

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Yes, you read that correctly.

In my experience, eating right can actually save you time. Save you life.

This is the first week of Spring here in Sydney, Australia and parts of the world. People are getting out their spring/summer clothes from the cupboards and are feeling a little down because they can’t squeeze in to them like they remembered they did last year. It can be quite de-motivating for some. Maybe – you?

If you have been reading my prior blogs, there is one blog where I state that imagination is key to the achievement of any worthwhile goal or goal you place value on . So, when setting your goal, of body re-shaping use your imagination. Yes, use your imagination to visualize how you would like to look by summer. This is a very important step – ‘seeing’ yourself as you imagine yourself to be. Having a clear understanding of your destination (refer to earlier blog:Don’t be a rudderless ship).

The more vivid the picture of your destination is in your mind and the more it connects with your heart, the more drive and focus you will muster. And, with the help of “Coach Bob” (incidentally, that little voice on your shoulder, we can call Coach Bob, to start your steam train again …. Hoot … hoot … slowly towards your goal). Just like a steam-train, getting started in your body transformation goals, getting those wheels cranking is the difficult part.

But when you pick up momentum, you, just like that steam train can smash through whatever obstacles that lay in your path. To smithereens! Because you have Coach Bob (momentum) on your side.

Here we go again. Its easy to put off things, to procrastinate. Don’t. Don’t leave it for December, it will be too late. Start now. Find your plan (or get help from the relevant professional) and work your plan. You don’t want summer time and Christmas to roll around and you not feel happy about the way you look in you clothes, now, do you? Or you can just buy bigger clothes to hide it all. Up to you.

I have said this before: no matter what your exercise goals are, eating healthy (well-compositioned meals), can help you achieve them faster. And right now, time is ticking and time is not your friend as we have just hit Spring. But, the question you’re probably thinking is how are you supposed to spend time preparing healthier meals. You barely have enough time to hit the weights, how are you realistically supposed to find time to watch what hits your plate? Right, I hear you ….

Eating right is actually easier than you think.

How so? Well, in my more than two decades in the health and fitness industry and helping hundreds of people around the world. It is one truth I have discovered. They have learned that, too. You can save more of your life. Here’s how …

I believe that spending a few minutes a day making the right decisions about your nutrition could save you from spending twice the time in the gym or four times as much time on the treadmill or aerobics. How so, Paul, you may be asking?

Well, you see, it typically takes less time to prepare a healthier meal than it does to work off the extra calories you would eat if you didn’t spend time watching your diet. Makes sense? Yes, it does! Think about it.

You have 86,400 seconds of your life everyday to live, the way you choose to. But, my question is why would you spend more of those seconds sweating and exercising (and for many enthusiasts doing group classes – smelling intense body odour in small bacteria-infested rooms). I pity these folks and their poor, poor nostrils. If you do like it, God bless you. Applying my tips could mean you spend less time doing those classes. Smelling those arm-pits. That would be good for you and your nostrils, wouldn’t it?

Ok, it isn’t always easy predicting how much time you’re going to have each day to pay attention to your nutritional habits. It isn’t easy. I realise that. Still, there is a smarter way you can make sure you’re getting the most from what ever number of seconds you can use each day.

What if I told you that there are ways to change your daily eating habits without making major sacrifices in your diet. What are you thinking now? For many people, they have tried everything, and ‘nothing works’ is a common frustration. What if I told you that these changes are very real and can be implemented in to your “all-day” eating routine. And the great thing is that you could implement these changes anytime you wanted to?

In the next series of blogs, I will be sharing with you my top 10 tips to successfully making changes to your daily eating habits with sustainability in mind. Changes that you can sustain forever. These Valentine Top Ten Tips only takes a few hundred seconds (a few minutes) to master, but I believe, when implemented, they can take months of unnecessary hard work off your schedule, provided you follow them each day.

This is the real challenge for you: Unlearning old habits that are not aligned with your new, ‘imagined self’ and learning these new habits, my Top 10 tips. Successful change is and can only be brought about through improvement in your self-regulatory behaviour . This is heavily dependent on the power of your imagination.

How much time do you have a day to apply these tips? How much time can you spare? Can you spare 30 minutes in your day or 1800 seconds of your 86,400 seconds? We will do a little maths exercise and count the amount of time each of these tips will take out of your day, starting with Tip # 1 in this blog. Doing all ten these tips would take less than 30 minutes tops each day. Yet they can give you everything you need to maintain a balanced diet. That’s not much time, is it?

It’s going to save you spending your valuable life, your valuable seconds, thinking and exercising unnecessarily to undo what you unknowingly – did in the first place!

How good is that?!

These tips are not meant to create more stress in your life, it is meant to help make your life a bit more manageable, a little less stressful, when it comes to eating a balanced diet with sustainability in mind. It is about making the best of whatever time you have. Allow me to show you how.

My Top Ten Tips will cover all main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in-between. We will begin with the first meal of the day – breakfast. So, I will go through your day, from sunrise to sun-set and piece together a sustainable, efficient and effective schedule for melting off fat, building muscle and having increased daily energy towards reshaping your body, not tomorrow or next week. Right now.

Summer/Christmas/New Year’s here you come. You – only better!

Sunrise – you rise.

Tip #1: DO NOT Skip Breakfast.

It should consist of a mix of the 3 basic macro-nutrients: carbohydrates (oats), protein (eggs – 3 eggs/1 yolk) and a little fat (avocado, peanut butter, almonds).

Estimated time spent: < 5 minutes.

Why not skip Breakfast, you may be thinking? It is one of the best advice our parents and grandparents have given us when we were children. Missing this very important meal creates more hunger later on and increases your risk of ‘bingeing’ and taking in more calories than you truly need in later meals. With no food in your stomach, your body’s response is to take in whatever calories you ate the night before – and whatever you eat later on and … bingeing at lunch and like many reading this – at dinner. Just before bed.

Result? Guess what? All these ‘extras’ TURNS INTO UNWANTED BODY FAT! Yes, around the gut ( as some call a ‘spare tyre’) for most men out there after they turn 30 and deposits around the butt and legs for the ladies. Very de-motivating indeed. Not exactly what you want, is it?

So, I insist, make this first tip if you’re skipping breakfast a part of you life. Make it your first habit to master: take 4 minutes when you wake up and eat a meal for breakfast but make sure that it combines all macro-nutrients. You will get sustainable energy all day long and lower your desire for extra calories from other food to provide energy later.

This is a very good rule of thumb you should apply for every meal during your day. Ask yourself – do I have a good mix of carbs, protein and a little fat.

Use my ‘I see with my two eyes’ method. Look at your plate, ensure the macro-nutrients take up space on the plate in this ratio:

P:C:F = 0.4:0.5: 0.10. ( where P = Protein; C = Carbohydrates; F = Fats)

Homework: Lets keep adding the time needed to apply each tip I share in successive blogs and see if it requires you to spend less than half an hour of your day.

Let me prove to you using numbers (minutes spent) that Eating right actually takes less time than you think over the next month or so.

You’re now Aware. Apply Action. Adapt accordingly.

Repeat. Make it habit. Make this one change. Repeatedly, with enhanced self-regulatory behavioural change. Repeat.

Believe.

My triple A approach to the development of Self.

 

Until next time,

Relaxed with dumbells.

Relaxed with dumbells.

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adaptation, Beliefs, courage, dreams, Energy, faith, Goals, hope, Imagination, life, long-term perspective, mind, perseverance, respect, time, you

Why Not?

Relaxed.

Relaxed.

I love my children.

I love spending as much time as I can with each of them – Olivia and Zachary. I am very fortunate that in this phase of my life I am able to do just that.

Give them my time – my life. Just like other dads do, too.

Olivia, Zachary and I love doing many activities together. Building things using leggos is one such activity.  My son teams up with me and we construct, bust down, re-build and re-construct the best castles we can dream up with the limited pieces of leggo pieces we have. Olivia is a champion builder now. Better than me already. They both are. She’s so good, that her constructions are very elaborate and above all – ‘stable’. That’s her thing – it has to be stable.

“Dad, she says, a castle is better to be stable than just pretty, aye dad?”

“Uhumm … yep, to some extent, that is true. You don’t want strong winds to blow it away now, do we? Like most important things in life, we need strong foundations. We all need to have our rocks in life.”

I try my best to encourage them to use their imagination and play ‘pretend’ games. Even though there is a limit to how many leggos they have, each time we build, they create something new. No creation is ever the same.

And when run out of leggo pieces, my daughter asks what else. I say lets pretend even more. Olivia gets so excited and so does Zachary. I start it off by saying ..

“Just pretend … that your castle has wings …. Large wings and it can fly …. Fly up in the sky and the wings are so large that the castle can take us all in it .. and …

My daughter interrupts me and then asks “But dad, castles can’t have wings, can they?”

I thought about what she said and I wanted to tell her the truth but I thought that a little un-truth, a little lie would be the best thing for her and her brother right now. I wanted them to continue their ‘make-belief’ world. Heck, if I had one wish I would want their ‘pretend world’ to not come to an end.

Let them run wild and far with their imagination. Keep dreaming. See what they come up with. Encourage them to ‘see’ what others cannot, what I can’t.

With no restraints. No rules. Their world where anything is possible. Where castles have wings … large wings. Enough to carry mum and dad and them away in to the skies. Forever.

I told her that her castle can have wings. Anything she wanted would be given to her. Any power she wanted. Anything she imagined, no matter how ridiculous it may be, would be granted. There were no rules. No one to tell her what could and could not be done. She was the boss. The creator.

Olivia stopped me again and said: “but dad, castles can’t have wings?”

I told her “why not, Olivia. Why can’t Castle’s have wings? I told her not to just ask “Why?” but also consider “Why not?” and then her story-telling of her make-belief world started flying. She imagined all sorts of things. All sorts of possibilities. I was in heaven just listening. Listening to their debates. Their possibilities.

Wow, I enjoy the storytelling my kids share with me!

She didn’t argue with my lie. Only I knew, that I lied. A lie that castles had wings.

But that lie was enough for her to continue her dreaming, her storytelling. Her ‘pretend-world’. I thought telling her a little lie was better than telling her the truth. She will eventually find out the truth but in her time. In her time.

They can find out other little small lies society tells them as they journey through their lives. But, in their time. Things like Santa Clause. Like the Tooth Fairy. Like the Easter Bunny.

These little lies (and there are many in life) are important to every child. Every person who was once a child. It encourages their imagination to run wild. It gets them to question possibilities. It gets them to not just ask “why?” but instead to also ask “why not?”.

Why not? Why not create a castle with wings? Why not travel to the moon? Why not be a better you? Why not make a more fuel-efficient car? Why not choose to eat a healthier meal option just because you respect and love yourself a little bit more today than you did yesterday? Why not go to sleep early tonight and say no to a ‘big night out”? Why not strive to be a better person from this hour forth? Why not make time to go to the gym at least twice a week? Why not take care of your beautiful self better?

Why not, not why?

Look back at your life. The way I see it, it seems that up until six years old, we get lots of encouragement. But by the time we reach our teens, we get discouragement from everyone and everything we experience in life. By the time most of us kids get to working life, young adults appear to have been drained of courage and have lost most of their enthusiasm – that sparkle that allows a person to choose to adopt positive thinking everyday.

Why?

I believe one of the reasons is that not enough of us humans are asking ourselves “why not?”. A lot of people have lost belief in striving for a better life. A better self. They have lost belief in themselves. Enthusiasm and courage has been sucked out of them.

Also, partly because they’ve stopped asking themselves “why not?”

Its not too late people. Its not too late to do something about it. Its not too late to try to lose ten or so kilos. Why not? Its never too late to start dreaming again. Its never too late to start believing in yourself again. Why not try harder? Why not keep going? I’ve seen it with the very old and the young alike. That is the only thing that gives you hope:

Believing in a dream … make it your dream … to believe in the question of telling you and asking yourself the question of “why not” …. Be your BEST you can be – for yourself and … while you’re on a roll, why not be the BEST YOU CAN BE for others too!”.

Don’t wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured. It may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed. Walking on the moon may never have happened.  Don’t allow fear to make you quit. Never quit on life. You’ve got to win over yourself. Never settle for defeat. Never stop striving to being the best you can be, in every sense of the word.

Have you hitched your wagon to a star? Why not?

It seems that there is a philosophical movement that exists that associates drive and initiative solely with materialistic power and gain. There appears to be an ever-growing obsession focused on the accumulation of non-essential personal possessions.

This should not be confused, I think, with personal achievement and the pursuit of individual excellence. Disregarding all material gain, I believe there is a pure personal pleasure which comes from achieving the difficult or the unusual. Whatever it is that it is.

The magic rests in everyone of us. Yes, it rests in you too. The enduring power that has moved you and will move you, again, comes from inside. Yes, inside you.

Success is not just reserved for the talented. It is not in the high I.Q. Not in the gifted birth. Not in the best equipment and technology. Not even in ability.

Success in anything, I believe is hugely dependent upon drive, focus and persistence. The extra energy required to make an extra effort – to go the ‘extra mile’ –  to try another approach – to ask ‘why not” do something a little bit different, a little bit smarter – to concentrate on the desired outcome – is, I believe, the secret to achievement. To win, in your unique journey through life.

The magic is this: ATTITUDE.

A wise man once said: “Its your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude in life”.

Apply. Adapt accordingly.

See how the next four decades pan out for you. Choose well.

And when you start dreaming again, you might as well dream BIG. It takes the same amount of focus!

As another wise person once said: “Make no little plans: they have no magic to stir your blood to action – instead make big plans, aim high in work and hope.”

Ask yourself – “Why not?

 

Until next time,

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