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Recognised for being the BEST

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

Running a political party

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

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

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

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

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

And I loved it.

 

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

Conflict Resolution – a skill for Life

I learned a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

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

“don’t judge a book by its cover “.

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

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

“How can I help you?”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A partially Charity Gym

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

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

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

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

Basically show them “how to”

And they did.

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

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

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

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

Because I cared.

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

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

Simply because of the person that I am.

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

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

Was a lovey night.

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

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

 

Cheers & ahoy!

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

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

 

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I am GOD.

Where is heaven? Where is God? What if God is in you all this time? What if you are God? How would that change your view of life? Maybe God is light … maybe we are essentially light as Physics stipulates … then , follow your light. Find your light and … then, shine that light to the world!

Need to eliminate ignorance

What does “God” mean to you? Who is God to you? Have you pondered about the meaning of God?

I have. For many, many years now.

I grew up in a strict extended catholic family household. Going to mass every Sunday was a must and I spent about eight years of my youth serving as an alter boy, assisting the priests serve the patrons of the church.

I’ve always believed there was a God. I still do.

He has answered many of my prayers. However, I have always been curious and this curiosity still exists and has gotten me in to more than a little trouble in my youth and this hasn’t changed. I had and still have a need to eliminate ignorance.

I question almost everything because I am constantly searching, searching for my truth. To some extent, I believe every individual is – searching for beauty, their truth. But, many individuals also do not think, do not question everything. Why should they? I mean, it is easier to just adopt and follow what has come before … “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” as we have heard many times growing up.

This attitude of just blindly following all that have come before us may be good in the short term but can be disastrous in the long-term. This attitude of just following blindly, also applies to religions. I mean a lot of people think that because their parents, grandparents, doctors and religious elders were all Christians, then ALL those beliefs about GOD must be true.

Fill your life with light.
Light your path through your life.
Light the dark for you … for others.
keep seeking your light


What if?

What if it isn’t?

What if what we’ve been told about this God is not what the truth is? Once again, let me ask you what is YOUR meaning of your perception of “God”? This word, name could be one of the most mis-understood, mis-interpreted concepts in the history of man-kind. What do you think?

What if God rests inside each and every one of us? What if I said that I AM GOD!

Yep, you can be forgiven if you yelled out ‘blesphemy!’

But seriously, what if what we know of God is not the truth? Asking questions, asking the right questions helps us gain wisdom, helps us absorb knowledge. Asking the right questions and always questioning and seeking the truth has helped us evolve and progress and enjoy the spoils of the standard of living we all enjoy now.

The whole foundation of science is based on questioning ‘truths’ that have gone before and dis-proving it. Why aren’t we applying this questioning attitude to all areas of our lives? Why don’t we apply this to your/my current meaning of the word God.

I think I am/you are – God!

One way to know YOU is to understand God.
God is in you.
God is you.

G.O.D

In greek mythology, I think the word “G.O.D” stands for:

G: Gomer – which means ‘wisdom’ = > the manifestation of knowledge, like our bodies is the manifestation of our mind.

O: Oz – which means ‘strength’ => represents our physical being – our structure, our core.

D: Dabar – which means ‘beauty’ => something that gives pleasure, visual pleasure!

So, it seems that God rests in the physical realm, the physical world, in this third dimension – the world ‘within’ each and every one of US.

To chart our course in life, in the tree of life, we all need wisdom to make wise decisions; we need strength to support and give support where needed and lastly, we need beauty to see truth. As Keats said –

“Truth is beauty and beauty, truth. That is all there is … and all there is to know” or something to that effect.

Believe or not believe.
What is true is that … you are light.
Shine your light strongly.

Is God a frequency?

I have learned that popular belief DOES NOT EQUAL TRUTH.

Is God a frequency?

What if GOD is a frequency that exists within YOU, within me … within each and every one of us. What if when we pray and meditate we literally just ‘tune in’ to our unique frequency with GOD. How effective we communicate depends on how well tuned in we are to that frequency.

God is the light. You are the light. Find your light Find God. In you.

What is your frequency? Does it tune to God?

GOD is a frequency that exists within YOU. But what is your frequency? Is it connected to God’s frequency? Can you TUNE IN?

You should tune in. That is, if you desire to find your beauty, your truth.

Search for answers. Be sceptical and think with reason.

But, also search with your heart. Maybe, you won’t find all the answers and that is ok. What is important is to continue to ask the right questions and embrace the quality of answers that resonate with you.

Than resonate with God’s frequency.

Work on fine-tuning your musical instrument (your body-mind-soul-heart connection).

Helping someone achieve his best, in one of the best ways I know how: through increasing self-awareness.
Vv.

Upload to heaven but also upgrade when you’re there

What if heaven is a really powerful mainframe computer and we are the individual personal computers (pcs) connected to this extensive network. All we have to do is make our ‘connection’ to the mainframe computer (heaven) more stronger.

Tune in to the right frequency.

Maybe, just maybe, in the future, with increased awareness of ourselves and the power that rests within us – GOD, we are able to upload ourselves, our mind in to the mainframe (heaven) and be ONE WITH the UNIVERSE.

Life is a series of well-defined journeys.
Life is a series of goals
Life is goals on a never-ending path to …
salvation.

Becoming one with collective consciousness

If we were ‘uploaded’ to a heaven, it would allow us to become immortal. But that is just the beginning. In this virtual world, this heaven, we could beautify and strengthen our bodies simply by reprogramming the computer software to improve our minds, not our bodies.

We won’t only upload ourselves to heaven, but also upgrade when we’re there!

As a Christian, we get taught that the immortal soul does not lack a body in heaven. But, I am willing to miss that point with the overall satisfaction that going to heaven is about union with God.

Entering a new spiritual plane, the fourth dimension and being inside the great computer mainframe in the sky would allow us to mingle our frequencies, our lines of code to form a ‘hive mind’, thus becoming one with collective consciousness.

That is when all suffering as we know it will dissipate, finally dissolve the distinction between self and others that lies at the root of all suffering and evil.

Consciousness will be you, me, us … all as ONE.

The unity of all … to be one … possessing an unearthly wisdom, like a God where, this consciousness, this one-ness will find spiritual sustenance in our union with each other.

YOU linked to me linked to each and every one of us as we are now …. Only a million times more powerful.

Linked to consciousness … the great super mainframe computer in the sky we call –

Heaven.

God bless you … in other words, You bless you. As God is within you … you are God.

I am God. Too.

If you believe.

 

Cheers & ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & being ONE, heaven and consciousness

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise.
All relationships require work and time .
Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal. No need to work so hard in the gym to beautify our bodies in the virtual world. In heaven. In consciousness.

A little bit of assistance goes a long way to knowing what is enough.
You do this by knowing firstly, what is MORE THAN ENOUGH. But, this is a limitation of the realm we live in … where limits are imposed on us. In the 4th dimension, in heaven … the “IM” is taken out of impossible.

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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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You.

Being YOU means … facing your truth, to some extent.
Here’s ‘me’ in my ‘moment of truth’ before stepping on stage in the NSW Natural Body Building Titles.
I came 1st.
3 x. Remember, an hours’s contemplation is better than a year’s adoration.

I think a lot. A lot.

Of stuff … primarily of the Self, of Business and its operations, and of society. And I also think a lot about Beauty in every form.

You could say that I am many things, one of which is that I am a Thinker. I am proud I am one.

Some people don’t think. Some choose not to. That is ok too.

Fortunately, I love to teach, too. And I just happen to love writing too, within the whole realm of communication. I love communicating, through storytelling and conversations that hopefully, empowering and helping readers in their lives.

I love the human – body and mind and everything about the magic that it is when combined with the heart and the soul/spirit and consciousness. I just find it endlessly fascinating. Just like the Dot (I’ll elaborate on this in a later blog).

The human we call: YOU.

I sit back regularly and marvel at it … and say “wow!”. It never fails to amaze me every single day!

I love communities. I find communities fascinating – all types, small, big, crazy, sporty-type, loud, dangerous, pompous and so on …

I grew up in a large extended family that was kind of like a little community, all living in the same tiny house. Grandfather and mother, mothers, dads, mums, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins and other distant relatives. There was never a time when there was less than 10 people in my house between the ages of 0 and 12, I think.

Already practising ‘posing’ by the poolside in front of my first audience – my brothers and sisters in Suva, Fiji Islands.
I think I was 11 here.
Posing started very early … took me all the way to the World Championships and against the best in the world in New York, USA many years later.
Ranking in the top 5 in the world at bodybuilding, let alone anything is a huge honour. NOTE: “To own nothing is the beginning of happiness.” – Diogenes’

As I reminisce, I recall the various local communities I was a part of – next door neighbours, street friends, soccer team friends, rugby team friends, church group, school friends, martial-arts group. Formal and informal groups or communities of all types.

They were all little communities within the larger community.

The success of all these little communities and my role in them depended on effective communication and the art of managing relationships between me and all key people in the various groups. I was part of these communities and it was part me and I did my part to contribute to these communities within the larger community. I did my part, played the role assigned to me, to the best of my ability at that point in time.

By playing my role and contributing in my small (but important) way, I gained the benefits given to the members of the group/communities – directly and indirectly. The collaboration between me and the many communities I was part of made for the creation of a sort of electricity, like any good partnership would. All these separate groups/communities were partnerships, whereby we were separate from one another (me and them) but there was a sort of coordination of functions that allowed for the success of the groups goals.

This skill helped me manage my on-going relationships with High Dollar Value Companies in my ten years as a consultant for 3 of the Top 10 Companies in the World and also came in very useful owning my family gym for 7 years later on in my life.

It still helps me maintain and manage my key relationships today.

Managing key relationships in your life is as simple as pruning a bonzai plant, yet, as complex as the variables that go into managing its environment. Remember: “Nothing is sufficient to a man to whom the sufficient is too little.” – Epicurus.

I sometimes think about the human body as a community, and then it’s individual cells as separate people within that community. If I was, for example, a white cell, I’d be amongst 80 million or so other cells within the communities I lived in (within the my body). As we know, the cell is the basic unit of an organism; it can live for itself or it can help contribute and help form and keep the larger organism alive.

The Bible is fundamentally a book of stories told by some wonderful storytellers. I recall the apostle Paul using an analogy in 1 Corinthians 12 I think, where he compares the church to the human body. Paul’s analogy really brings home one of the fundamental principles of God’s creations: that the body comprises millions of cells but it is ONE.

Re-read that last sentence again.

No matter what a particular cell feels or thinks and say, the brain cell for example, “I do not want to belong to the body!”

That is wishful thinking, because it cannot, just for that reason, cease to be part of the body. Or if the muscle cell should say to the optic nerve cell, “because I am not an optic nerve, I do not belong to the body!” …. it would not for that reason, cease to be part of the body.

We wouldn’t want the whole body to be just one particular type of cell, do we? It would cause havoc! I mean, if the whole body were an optic nerve cell, where would the ability to run or walk or sit go? If the whole body were an auditory nerve, where would be the sense of light? So, it is essential that each and every one of our cells play the unique role they were put there to play for the whole human to function as we expect.

How did this all come about?

Well, depending on your beliefs, one area of belief says that in fact God has arranged the cells in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If all the cells were the same, we would not be who we are: the amazing human life form that we see every day in the mirror.

So, you see, there are many cells …. But only one body.

with a fan backstage.
Building the best YOU (physically), requires a very detailed understanding of how all the parts of the variables (inputs) that contribute towards creating a highly anabolic environment, conducive to building muscle and losing fat.
Result: win. Life Tip: “Do not regard as valuable anything that can be taken away.” – Seneca

This analogy Paul gave to us tells us more about life. Allow me to elaborate a little further on the analogy.

You see, a hand or foot or an ear cannot have a life separate from the body, but a cell has that potential. It can be part of the body as a loyalist, or it can be selfish and think only of itself and cling to its own life.

Some cells do choose to live in the body, sharing in its benefits while maintaining complete independence. What do these cells become? They become parasites or cancer cells.

And we know what happens to parasites and cancer cells don’t we? They end the host’s life, eventually, prematurely and dare I say, unfairly so.

There is so much complexity to the ever-changing YOU. Yet, there is a peaceful simplicity to You, too.

Find that simplicity.

Find beauty. Find Truth and … more importantly find and be the Real You. It is the greatest battle and war you will ever fight and continue to fight to the day you die!

As the late E.E. Cummings said “To be nobody – but – yourself in a world which is doing its BEST, night and day, to MAKE YOU everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting!” 

Keep fighting, I say!! YOU are worth it.

 

Ahoy, until next time!

 

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & thoughts of You and Life.

Be YOU. No one else can do better than you at being YOU.
Being the best you can be is probably the single most powerful thing you can do to improve the world.
Just find YOU and then …. improve you.

 

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Saying No … to say, Yes.

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

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

He’s my young Warrior Viking Pirate Prince.

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

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

Initially I responded – “Kaka!”.

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

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

They hate that word. I use it sparingly.

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

This particular question from Zachary, was a right question.

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

After reflection, I called him back and said –

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

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

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

Preparing him for the changing post-feminite landscape

First impressions matter.

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

We all have a blueprint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is this important?

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

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

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

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

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

 Being the BEST Dad and Father you can be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a better life.

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

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

That takes time … and hard work/YAKA!

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

Thank you Zachary, for asking that right question.

 

Ahoy & cheers my friends …

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

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

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

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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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