a better life, art, authenticness, awareness, beauty, change management, chaos, consciousness, decisions, Energy, examined life, game of life, gracefullness, Imagination, love, mind, mind-muscle connection, order, responsibility, risk, self, self discipline, self love, skills, time, training, trust, you, your life

Creativity evolves from a state of child-like innocence

Find YOU.
Find clarity.
Find Life.

Art in a state of child-like innocence 
I have always enjoyed art and creating stuff since I was a child in pre-school (& also loved mathematics & science ).

I do art in many forms- sculpture of the human physique; photography, sketching; fine-line art of beautiful building architecture; trees 🌳 and nature and just simple – lines and dots.

In year 7 I recall my High School Art teacher 👩‍🏫, a lovely woman called Mrs Frost, teaching us the basic approach drawing ✍️… beginning with lines and visualisation of the subject you would like to draw and then you draw. Writing a story had an “outline” first before ever beginning to write.

The High School Senior Art Prize was given to me that year, to the surprise of everyone and dismay of all the school seniors (usually the school art prize was given to seniors- year 11 and 12s). Not that year. That year a little nuggety year 7 won it.

As a young 12 year old, I won the High School’s Senior Art Prize
Never was achieved prior to that day or since.
Art from the Heart 💓 always resonates with the hearts ♥️ of others

It wasn’t that I was the hardest worker or the most talented.

As I reflect, I believe I won because my art came from my heart 💓, rather than technical ability because I had not done as many hours at drawing as the seniors in the school by that time.

I simply taught myself to surrender to my inner muse and followed as freely and truthfully as I was capable of doing at a that time. I was not and did not allow myself to be influenced by a preconceived notion of what the piece of art will/would be.

I just played and did art in a state of child-like innocence then … like I have done since and still do, today.

Only I’m better at it.

Maybe life is just a sequence of layers of energy that reveals itself to us based on the level of consciousness we attain. Just like the many layers you see here in my line-art.

Open up to your inner creative power

You see, when you tap into the source of your immeasurable creativity, it will bring more joy and satisfaction to your everyday life.

You need to allow yourself to open up to your inner creative power. When you do, believe me… it’s like nothing you’ve ever felt. This increased awareness of the power that has formed the universe is felt … as you align and identify with the energy of creation itself.

This deeper source that IS THERE within YOU … will them inspire you to dream and to create.

I love 💓 love stories. Don’t you?

What if I said that I believe creativity is awakened by love … that it is a spiritual love story. A spiritual journey too.

I feel that This spirit of love 💕 has always moved me (since consciously deciding this back in year 7) and moves me today (& if you try it regularly) .. it will also do to you.

A Good physique artist understands the link between heart and mind … between thinking and doing … and the balance & symmetry communicated with the manipulation of light and shadows with extreme angles. He is a “David Copperfield of Muscle Illusion”. Just like a good photographer.

This Mysterious Thing

Ultimately, we are formed by a relationship with ourselves (not relationships with others as society tells us so, even though this is critical and relevant).

Ultimately, it is this relationship with ourselves that allows us to open up our hearts ♥️ to each other, to others … and express the beauty that we are.

You will … we all will … discover the creative path in our own unique ways.

I recall loving the study of the genius of D.H Lawrence in English studies in senior High school . He spoke of this “mysterious thing “ that we all hunger for … from life and so desire more creativity

He wrote –

“Men are not free when they are doing just what they like to do. They are free only when they are doing what the deeper self truly desires “. And to reach within to realise the nature of that self, takes some deep diving”

If GOD is in everything then, I Am God and you are God. We are all God. So, Having a relationship with yourself means having a relationship with God.

Work on improving this relationship. If this relationship improves, other relationships improve too.

Yours in iron, mind, heart 💓 & muscles 💪,

The old captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ muscled 💪monk 💭

I love Fine-line artwork.
I let my heart lead my mind … not the other way around
… to produce an image that is a fusion of chaotic & orderly lines … with control & feel

Continue to strengthen your relationship with YOU. The beauty within you will transmute into a creative expression if you give yourself the freedom to do so

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

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

Sitting still is UN-Easy

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

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

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

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

Try it. How did you go?

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

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

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

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

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

ACTing to Create Change

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

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

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

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

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

“Be still and know that I am God.”    

  • Psalm 46:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop and Relax

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

 

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

Try it. See how you feel.

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

 Stress-Free Living

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

  • 1 Peter 3:3-4

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

Begin with YOU … the internal-you.

Then, worry about the external.

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

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

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

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Headship

To lead, you need to serve … you need to spread your love … you need to spread your wings … and be the wind beneathe other wings …
Here I am spreading my wings … my lats … just like Batman’s cape

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.

It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.

Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants
Here I am with the members of my gym
Members that I served for 7 years of my life …
to be their BEST

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?

The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?

I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –

“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?

I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?

There are many good Leaders .. but not many, Great Leaders throughout history.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

Headship means responsibility to act in love

We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.

It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.

 

What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?

After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.

Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?

Bowling night out with the Men of my gym
To Lead is to Serve

Real Leadership begins in the home

A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.

I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.

This climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility in turn creates an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both partners in a marriage. Do you share the Leadership function with your married partner?

And how do you know if this is what you have?

Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).

With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog
Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve
I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.

We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.

When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

  • Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
  • Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
  • Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
  • Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
  • Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others

So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?

More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –

You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

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Three minutes too late

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
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 males’. The key to making and keeping any relationship is effective communication. This is easier said than done. It requires work … a lot of work.

That awkward moment after you say ‘hello’

Its all about connections.

Life is.

So is the operations of your brain, in what is called the connectome.

In my years as owner and manager of my family gym for seven years, many things contributed to having a ‘family’ culture within it. A big factor came down to not just the connections but the quality of connections. Between the members and most importantly me and the members and the various sub-groups within the membership.

It was akin to being the Prime Minister and leader of a party, with many factions within that party and also the existence of an powerful opposition leader and his party. An interesting, fulfilling and wonderful learning experience.

Whenever a new person walks in to the gym, I train my staff to greet them politely and to simply say “how can I help you?” What I find is the important moments following that initial interaction is that awkward moment after you say ‘hello’.

Communication in life is like a neuron connectome.
A neuron example and its network of dentrites
One of the 100 billions neurons in your brain that make you …
who you are.
Your are your connectome

Three minutes too late

We’ve all been there.

With the potential friend or the new boss. Your brother’s new girlfriend or just an attractive stranger at a party. I guess from my perspective there are two scenarios with social situations –

  • Make a good first impression
  • Just want to be liked

Three minutes too late or so following that awkward interaction that we reflect on and feel and think of what we should have said, instead of what we had said.

Would you take a magic pill if it would get your through that awkward phase after saying hello? Would you take it?

Find your light.
Conversations can take many turns. Key is to stay focused on a few lines of thought at a time.
Multi-tasking is a myth.

Drifting off

Have you drifted off after meeting someone for the first time?

What do you do? I think we all have found ourselves in situations, supposedly in deep conversation but we’re no longer listening to the other person and generally start talking to ourselves.

We basically, start drifting off.

 

Thinking thoughts like –

“What on earth was he thinking combing his hair into that hairstyle?”

“Am I making a positive first impression?”

“what am I going to take for lunch tomorrow?”

“geez, what’s that song’s name you hear on the radio this morning?”

“who the person you came with is talking to”

 

Staying focused on the person(s) you’re having a conversation with is key to connecting. Best.
And stay tuned alert to changes in topics but keep your destination clear in your mind.

The power of Focus

In my experience with owning and managing a gym for seven years and managing the relationships I had with the members in that time, there were many variables but I believe the key was focus.

The power of focus, in particular.

I interacted with members and listened to and talked to members from 5:30am when the gym opened all day until the gym closed at 9:00pm. When I was there, I was there. I was present. In every interaction I had with each and every member, I gave them my full attention (even when I was talking to multiple people).

The most important key to building rapport and trust in any relationship with someone … with anyone is focus.

That is the Power of focus.

This really helps in “connecting” with people – giving them the respect they wish for and giving them our full attention, however difficult that may be.

 

Focus on one thing at a time if you want to maximise results and chances of getting the result you want.
Connecting with people also depends on your ability to focus.
Giving them trust and respect.

The power of focus allows you to achieve results that you strongly desire. My power of focus allowed me to reach and place in the Top 5 of the World in Natural Bodybuilding in two consecutive years. Here’s a little formula for you: –

** Focus (mind-set/attitude) + Effort (hard yaka/work) + heart (feel) + visualisation (imagination) + sumulation (deliberate practice) =====> put in to a quality plan + quality implementation ====>> Results/Success **

Here are 4.5 key things I use when I want to focus on the person I am with –

1). Don’t judge

I just don’t have a habit of judging people. Period. I leave that to God, that is not one of my roles. However, I don’t mind a good debate and agreeing to disagree after hearing what the other person has to say first.

Putting aside any preconceptions and biases in thinking and having an “open mind-set/growth mind-set”, I allow the person I’m with to experience total focus.

Multi-tasking is stressful.
THe brain CANNOT multitask, it can only TASK-SWITCH.
Be kind on yourself and FOCUS on one thing at a time and …
do it once and do it well.

2)Find the excitement in someone even when they appear to be ‘boring’

Yes, this can be very difficult. Very difficult indeed. Especially, when you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to be having for your next meal or the episodes you still have left to watch on Netflix Game of Thrones.

All you can do is – try. Just try.

Give them your full attention and listen, really ‘listen’. What I mean is listen not only with your ears but your body (facing the person), your hand gestures not crossed, your head and eyes looking in to the person. And your heart, your heart should be listening too.

Then, find out something about the person that you find exciting and ask them, and hope that they would love to talk about that thing too.

Try. For God’s sake, just try.

Feel and practice feeling good positive, winning thoughts
Find something interesting in the person you’re talking with

3) Be part of the action and conversation

Especially in a group situation – ask questions about what happened and who was involved and what fears were felt and so forth.

Don’t stay silent, even if you have to nod your head, say a few ‘ahums’ and basically put forward a body-language that is agreeable.

It pays off in the long run.

Don’t stress out in social functions.
They are just human beings and make mistakes just like you
You should only be stressed if you had to connect with lions in a cage or gorrillas.
Relax. Your performance and ability to communicate effectively depends on this.

4.5)Mirror, mirror

Try to mirror or match the other person you’re talking with.

What is it, well, in effect, matching or mirroring is doing the same as the other person. This could be the same body language – she raises her glass and so does everyone else or same nod of the head.

Mirroring doesn’t only include body language, we also make similar sounds – sort speak in harmony with the other person, like “aha … aha, yeah” when we hear them say it.

So, in this world that has multiple communication platforms and social media that allows for increased connections, … is increasingly built on connections, it is not the number of connections that matter or continuously creating more connections in your network. No, I believe it is the quality of connections that matter most.

It is about getting back to the basics and doing the basics properly. Reminds me of building and keeping quality lean muscle mass and training with the basics in the gym. Nothing fancy and not trying to include every new ‘fad’ exercise in your repertoire’.

Whether consciously or not, and it is usually “not”, when we are connecting with someone or keen to get on with them, we adopt similar postures and movements. And when this happens the other person is more likely to assume that our thoughts and emotions are similar so they tend to feel warmer towards us, almost regardless of what we are actually saying.

I experienced this every single day in the gym for the seven years that I owned and managed my own. It didn’t matter who it was, how old the person was, level of education or what level of society they came from, matching and mirroring body language helped me ‘connect’ with them better.

Don’t force it, just ‘go with the flow’ so-to-speak. And relax, don’t over do things.

You’ll be just fine.

Practise thinking winning thoughts.

Practice does not make perfect

No, Perfect practice makes perfect, was what one of my early coaches would tell me.

In other words, there is always an optimal way or right way of doing something very well. Understand what it is, learn it and then deliberately practice it – that way – ALL the time.

Not some of the time.

So, practice some of these key communication points in the mirror. Do it every day. Simulate some of the conversations you may have with people in social situations. Imagination is key … if you can ‘see’/imagine yourself doing something and acting in a certain way and you have practiced the right form/technique/way, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will make a great first impression and make a lot of connections.

Simply because people will be drawn to you and your mannerism.

First impressions, matter. Remember: You never get another chance to make a first impression.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & why first impression is important in making you connect better.

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

Connections with humans of all ages is important for one’s own personal development.
Try it.

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

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What takes Leaders from “Good” to “Great”

My son’s depiction of a Pirate 🏴‍☠️ 3 years before I recommenced wearing a bandana after retiring it for almost 15 years
How did he know?

The Biggest Decision 

I once started a speech on the first day of a course I was teaching on “leadership” many years ago to a group of senior managers by asking them what lay at the heart of their job.

I waited.

Then someone yelled out –

Making decisions!”

The others agreed – “yes, taking decisions!”

“Ok, I said … this is a three day course , why don’t you all come tell me on the last day and share with everyone what your biggest decisionof the week was and we’ll discuss it”

On the last day, the senior manager that first spoke on day one, embarrassingly said-

“ I thought about it and … I didn’t actually take anything that could be considered a big decision “

It was interesting but the other managers also agreed that they hadn’t taken anything that would be classed as a “big decision “

“Was it an odd week, then?” I asked them

NO. It was a typical week.

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

The importance of good, well-run systems

As I sit here in one of my local pubs enjoying the Rugby 🏉World 🌍Cup games with beer 🍺, I reflect on my experience and think 🤔

We all have 86,400 seconds in a day.

What and how we use those seconds for matters. Time is all we have and all we’ll really have while we are breathing. Good, well-run systems saves time (due to efficiencies and effectiveness controls built into the systems).

If time = $,

Then …

Saving time = saving $

I spent about ten years of my life working as a Risk Consultant for Major multinationals. A big part of what I did was learn all their key systems and compared them to world best practices and wrote up detailed reports /recommendations for senior leaders and boards for their large multinationals. 

Sometimes the comparison was relevant, and sometimes it wasn’t.

I enjoyed this and many parts of the many hats 🧢I wore when dealing with these high-paying and high-demanding clients. What I found was that corporations that had well designed and well-run systems in place were great for senior leaders.

Those that didn’t have these key systems running smoothly and/or didn’t have the desire or inclination to implement improvements to their existing key 🔑systems, spelled disaster for the poor leaders put in charge. In a lot of cases, these poor leaders were actually much better as leaders than the lucky leaders that were put in charge of companies that had systems that were “well-oiled”/well-run systems.

I learned many things in my experience with these medium sized & large corporations. They learned a lot from me & my recommendations for improvement too. That ultimately impacted in their bottom-line improvement goals.

Here’s one key & relevant thing:

When it comes to leaders and leadership, a well-run system or processes make life much easier for them – the leaders.

The truth as I see it is : Leaders don’t truly or only , or even mostly, take decisions in well-run systems. They’re simply lucky and if they have most of the other competencies and behavioural traits that good leaders need to have, they will be held up in high regard.

It doesn’t matter where – in the corporate environment or on the sporting field or in the family home. Well-run systems gives the leaders the freedom to NOT make big decisions.

Wonderful insight in to the mind of a Great Leader

What do great leaders do that make them better than the “good leaders”

I’ve met and read a lot of and about good leaders in all walks of life – business, church, sports, human relationships etc

I’ve also met great leaders and from my experience.

What separates the great leaders from good leaders?

Well, firstly, we’ve established that leaders DO NOT have all the answers but always see a problem as an opportunity to find a solution.

Let us ask – what does a great leader do?

Good leaders spend quite a bit of time picking the people who pick the people who do make the decisions. Yep, that is what “good” leaders do.

And that is fundamentally what makes them a good leader.

There was a friend & board member of one ☝️of the largest Insurance Companies in Australia 🇦🇺& the world 🌎training in my family gym.

My family gym that I owned and managed for 7 years of my life.

He was the husband of an existing client of mine. A lovely guy, very straight up and very astute. Was part of his job of “making decisions” for the direction of the corporation. His area was Corporate Risk & Compliance.

I asked him once – “what do you do… what do you spend your time doing?”

He said (his name was Roger) –

“I spend a lot of time picking the people who pick the people who do make the decisions.”

I said –

“Oh, ok!”

He said that he spent a lot of time picking the Heads of departments or divisions and then … waited five years.

“Alright” I thought 💭, so that is interesting. But what if you did not have five years? We’ll leave that question for another time.

So, to me, good leaders spend quite a bit of their time making decisions , important but trivial decisions in the whole scope of the game they’re playing (business or sport or religion…)

That’s well and good for “good leaders” but what makes a “great leader “ I thought 💭

Beauty comes in many forms.
Great leaders stand tall and deliver
Great Leaders find their truth … their beauty and effectively communicate it
Here I am with my beautiful Schnoodle “Mr Fuzzy Cuddles” and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I just love beauty. Brings you closer to the elusive truths you search for in you life.
Truths that ultimately eliminate your ignorance.
Keep searching I say, never let the curiosity within you die.

The Great Leader is simply, Great Dreamers

GREAT Leaders don’t spend their time picking people. No, Great Leaders – Of Countries, of large corporations, of religions …. they don’t spend their time making trivial (but important decisions)

No

Great 👍Leaders truly and authentically LEAD.

They have a way with communicating their message. 

Their VISION.

They understand that the human brain 🧠works best with images … with their imagination.

They are GREAT at communicating their message /vision clearly, concisely and consistently.

They manage those “3 Cs “ better than anyone else , better than the just “good leaders”.

So, I have found that Great Leaders –  Sporting Captains if teams, Chairmen or Presidents it Prime Ministers if countries etc …. they are very effective at communicating their mission/message.

But not just communication masters, no, more importantly, they are Masters at re-packaging old products and selling them differently.

Yep, they are great effective communicators because they put old facts into new bottles, they dream up new names for problems , they imagine new possibilities… of re-painting an old picture /problem.

They are great at re-conceptualising the familiar so that new solutions pop up! They simply ask a different and RIGHT question.

True.

Great Leaders are Adapt at listening to their intuition 

Dreamers change the world 🌎 and are adapt at listening to their intuition when making decisions.

Great Leaders are Born, not made. Some would like to argue otherwise but it is a losing argument from all angles.

There are many over the centuries and since man kept records.

One such great leader is – Mahatma Gandhi. He turned a resistance movement from active to passive. As a result , he made it invincible.

Former US President- John Kennedy was similar – was not a great decision maker by any means but was a Master at selling his dream, his imagination of a better nation … of a better world.

There are many others but not as many as good leaders. The latter at outnumbers the former, 1000,000: 1.

The world needs more Great Leaders but why doesn’t the many Top Management schools worldwide churn them out? Why don’t the Best Business Schools train more and create more Great Leaders?

Can we produce these types of leaders?

History suggests not.

But this is exactly what nations need, what Champion sporting teams need. it is what humans really desire in Leaders.

I fear though, that, based on the lack of frequency of great leaders over history, business schools and education institutions can only produce a little, if it is actually there.

I believe Great Leaders are Born, they are not made. Good leaders can be created/trained/made but will never be great.

Amen 🙏

Learn from Jesus, he was a Great Failure. A Great example of a Great Leader

If you wrote out Jesus CV, I think 🤔it would read like a failure … a huge failure.

Jesus was a Big Failure , yep, just like you and me.

Yep, he fucked up in many ways then you and I and everyone we know put together.

He failed – yes, but did he change the world 🌎– a BIG YES!

What was great about him ? Despite his history of not making decisions and giving very few commands and despite actually doing very little, he was GREAT.

And why?

How did this guy, dreamer change the world 🌎? How did this man with wild imagination do it?

Well, we now know that he was a Master of “painting the same picture” but with a different coat, different and better, kore appealing colours .

He was clear on his vision, his powerful imagination & intuition and was a Master as communicating that message to his followers

Clearly, Concisely and Consistently.

He was a great failure but was the Master at the 3 Cs. Made him one of the Greatest of all Great Leaders that ever walked the face of this earth.

There’s Hope for us All

If Jesus, one ☝️of, if not, the greatest leader that ever lived had a CV that read like a failure, there is hope for us all. Ok, maybe not you, but I know and believe there is hope for me and people like me. 

Re-tell your story with a different brush and paint the same picture with different colours. Re-package the same product in better, more appealing ways just like the hugely successful KFC does.

Simply , consistently communicating their message/core product (fried chicken & fries) in new packages.

Become the Master of re-packaging you, your product, the same old message in different bottles.

It’s worked for centuries and it will work today.

So, there’s hope for us all – for the rest of us. It is not our dull CV that will be remembered but the stories and pictures we re-package and tell others.

Bare your cross.
Then …
Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both

The Unsung Heroes 🦸‍♂️

There are many unsung heroes out there… you may be one, I’m certain of it.

Find your voice, your strengths, then …

Lead.

With authenticity, with conviction and with Vitality and …. know that not all heroes wear capes

Most heroes are unsung and unappreciated and are normal guys and girls just like you and me

That’s ok

thats just life

 

cheers & ahoy!

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Muscled 💪monk 🤔😎🦸‍♂️

Me and my family of extended family of members.
I created an environment to replace something I was missing living in a busy, big city like Sydney: the intimacy and connectedness of a truly local and extended family feel that I grew up with in my youth in Fiji.
I missed my éxtended family’ and this served my needs and the members needs too

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
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 males’.

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adaptation, attitude, God, parenting, parenting skills, path, skills, strengths

Unique WAYS.

Guess where we are? The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background - at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Guess where we are?
The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background – at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Every individual is unique. No two persons have the same finger print nor voice frequency. Every person has their own individual characteristics that make each of them – them.

It was only tonight that my wife mentioned that she was having a little difficulty coming to terms with the changes she has been observing with our daughter. These changes were testing her patience.

I told her that I believed that the optimal way is to allow our daughter to grow and discover her own possibilities. It is a continuously evolving process. We shouldn’t, as parents force our own biases and preferred philosophies on our child without embracing the uniqueness that makes up that child first.

I believe our parenting styles should not be too static and inflexible. Both parties to any successful relationship needs to negotiate slack. A constant push and pull tug-o-war.

We, as parents need to be better listeners, in particular, we need to listen to what our children ‘do not say’. In other words we should become more aware of our ‘children’s’ unique ways and adopt and adapt our parenting styles accordingly.

I think this is the meaning of the line regarding the process of raising your child (parenting) somewhere in proverbs in the Bible, something along the lines of –

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

As I see it, the ‘way’ is determined and ultimately pre-determined by God. It is unique to the child, to each of us (all God’s children). Way could also be another term for ‘path’ or ‘road’ I would think.

Metaphorically at least, I think this word ‘way’ relates to a ‘characteristic’.

So, it would follow that you, as a parent need to train your children according to his or her individual, unique characteristics – his or her WAY. This is difficult, I know but it is the best way, the optimal way.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

If you believe there is a God or higher being (whatever you call it), then, you would see my argument here, that as parents, we cannot entertain the notion that each of our children is like a lump of play-do that we can mould to our desire. They each have a significant input in to their moulding process too.

Each child already has a unique stamp. This unique stamp is given from this higher force, this God. A pre-determined pattern – stamp. It is a GOD DNA.

I love observing my children and increasing my awareness of the strengths of both of them. My daughter, for example, is quite artistic and showed the aptitude and interest in colouring and drawing and writing very early in her life. My son, on the other hand is quite innovative and mechanically inclined.

He has already been showing strong signs of ‘thinking outside the square’ since he was 2 years old.

Each child has their own ‘way’. Their own unique characteristics. Their strengths.

Have you observed the differences in your children? Perhaps you were from a home of several children. May be one of you siblings was creative, another, practical. One may have been academically intelligent; another just average or didn’t finish High School. One of your brothers may be out-going and another sibling could have been withdrawn.

This is the ‘way’ that each and every one of us is created to make you uniquely – YOU.  We didn’t just all roll out of a assembly line like the mass—produced products flooding the world every single day. We all have our own unique WAYS.

Each child, each individual is created and hand-crafted by none other than, God. But my wife and I are not alone in this department because most parents reading this would have had issues with their children as they pass through the various stages of development.

The key to survival in all areas of life is adaptation.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend - Ruby. They just adore one another.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend – Ruby. They just adore one another.

It is no different with the raising of children. Parents should treat this relationship, like any good, long-term relationship. You need to adapt to the ever-evolving child as he or she develops, it is a very dynamic process. Yes, your patience will be tested greatly (and you will test you child’s patience too), but always fall back on the philosophy of adaptation.

Based on what I have observed from life and what I have just said above, I think a lot of parents make 2 major mistakes in the raising of their children:

  1. Using the same parenting approach with all their children.
  2. Compare their children to other children.

These two major and serious mistakes stem from parents not making themselves more aware of each child’s uniqueness, from not knowing each child better. From not hearing what each child is ‘not saying’. From not understanding each child’s strengths and limitations.

Possible Solution: it is pivotal that all parents observe and understand the unique characteristics (strengths) in each of our children. The earlier, the better.

The acceptance of this tailor-made, handcrafter master-piece philosophy that represents each individual child can certainly make parenting more meaningful and wise. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to parenting. Find a shoe that fits.

Embrace each child’s uniqueness. Take sufficient and appropriate actions to change your parenting style to facilitate the child’s way or characteristics or strengths. You need to have the courage to adapt your parenting style accordingly. It requires an attitudinal change. Watch them grow up in to the citizens of the world you imagine them to be.

At the pool with my munchkins - Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me. Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids). Become aware of their strengths-their way.

At the pool with my munchkins – Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me.
Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids).
Become aware of their strengths-their ways.

Pray (if you’re that way inclined) that their future is their WAY and is built on their WAYS (strengths and characteristics).

The thing is, correcting these parenting mistakes could have profound implications on your childrens’ future. Although people certainly do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests (supports the God DNA belief).

Even more recent research is suggesting that the roots or our personality might be visible at an even younger age than was originally thought. The study revealed that a child’s observed personality at age 3 shows remarkable similarity to his or her reported personality traits/characteristics at age 26.

So, one of the responsibilities of parents is to identify the way or characteristics of each child, to find the areas where each child has greatest potential to develop strengths. Then go and do just that to realise their potential.

Deliberately tailoring parenting to each child is important because it allows each child find ‘their own unique way’. Too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction, the wrong path, the wrong way. They go not only from cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.

This truth, unfortunately, is all too common.

So, adapt your parenting and correct the two parenting mistakes I highlighted above. Help your son or daughter find their way, based on their strengths not their weaknesses. This increases their chances of reaching their potential.

You see this regularly in sports. Great coaches of winning sports teams understand this and coaches each member of the team differently. The coach is a master at getting each team member to ‘work to his strengths’. This helps realise not only the individual’s potential but also contributes to the team’s overall effectiveness.

Change NOW to help your children NOT take the path of most resistance (working on their weaknesses and trying all their lives overcoming deficits). This is a waste of life but is the path of a great majority of people.

Just like your children, everyone has their WAY, their unique ways – what is yours? Are you working to your strengths? Why not?

Food for thought.

All the best.

Until next time,

My Unique WAY. Working to my strengths. Vv

My Unique WAY.
Working to my strengths. Are you working to yours?
Vv

 

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