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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I ask God to help me be the man my son hopes to be when he is older.
I’m far from perfect but I get up and try every single day … to be the man I want him to be.
And I have no doubt he will … because I have God on my side/in my corner.

Men.

We’re interesting creatures.

Simple, yet complex.

I like to refer to us all, as the simple-complex man, individually.

Women, do you agree?

Mens’ needs are simple. I grew up in an large extended family and I heard a lot of things said by many different people I lived with during my first 12 years of my life. One thing I heard one of the older women was –

“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’

When I reflect on that now, there is a partial truth, actually more than just a partial truth in that statement. You see, men need a few basic needs (like being fed with warm, proper nutrition) and we’re satisfied. Well, I think most Real Men would be. I also think that men, Real Men, are torn between two extremes, like a Dr Jekyll and Hyde or Harvey Two Face from the DC Universe.

Let’s run through a few needs or what I refer to as ‘matters of the heart’, as I see it. If we run through the basic psychological needs like – to know and be known, to love and be loved by others, there is one that stands out. I can honestly say and I honestly believe that men, Real Men need deep, caring relationships with other men.

Enjoying a little ‘biceps workout’ with my very good Aussie friend of almost 20 years now.
A best man in my wedding.
Every man needs at least one good male friend in his life.
Just one.

A have a handful of very good male friends. One, I spent a day and half with as he passed through Sydney, on his way to South America for a week long conference, attended by represented by 60 countries, including the USA and Australia. He is a United Nations Legal Advisor. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, over 40 years ago. We share dreams and sorrows. We ‘open up’ to each other and hug in public. We lean on each other during tough times but also celebrate during wins.

I have another friend, the very first friend I made on my first day of University almost 30 years ago at the start of my first degree (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). He lives only a suburb away from me and we meet up regularly for coffee and ‘debrief’ almost every week. We make time for each other.

I also have another friend I meet up every quarter that I have known for the last 20 years. We share our fears, our successes, our failures and our dreams. We share feelings. Just the way men should feel comfortable doing with other men. He got a divorce 5 years ago, it was difficult period for him. He’s in another chapter in his life.

I also have a few other friends scattered throughout my existence that have travelled with me in different phases of our lives. All there for a specific reason, upon hind-sight.

The point is, men need other men for deep, caring relationships. Like I need these men.

My very first friend at University on my very first day almost 30 years ago.
Lives just a suburb away for the last 20 years.
Catching up for a coffee and chat and digging deep in our relationship.
Man-stuff!

Yep, you read that correct. And you don’t have to be gay to want that (not that I have anything against being gay or anything like that). No, just talking purely on a ‘needs basis’.

You see, in my experience with males I call my friends and my love of observation and being around mostly men in the last 30 years of visiting the gym, I can deduce that Men need strong, caring relationships with other men. Relationships that allow a man to speak freely about things going on in his life. It is vital to their existence and sense of being and purpose. It is vital to their sanity and management of energy.

It’s to this level that James instructed Christians, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). I believe that a man who doesn’t have at least one other man to who he can be accountable regarding failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

Yep, you heard me – masculine anger!

And how does this arise?

Well, from my observations and dealings with mostly men in the different phases of their lives, I have seen that the angry man in our society seems to be caught between mythical masculinity on one side and true masculinity on the other.

You see, the man feels the pressure to achieve, to earn, to conquer, to win and so forth. Yes, but he also feels the silent pressure to do all these things on his own. Now, that is a lot of pressure, and just like many things in life, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Men all handle pressure differently and have different stress tolerance levels.

Apart from the pressure just mentioned, a man, a Real Man also feels the NEED to love and to nurture those he loves. He also has the need to be loved and nurtured by those who love him.

This is where so many of us go a bit askew and out of line.

Askew, when he tries to reconcile or balance the two needs of love.

The man, the Real Man is constantly torn between two extremes of character, like Harvey Two Face or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He is torn between being invincible and being vulnerable. He is torn between being aloof and being involved and present. He is torn between being self-serving and selfish and being of assistance.

This confusion and imbalance caused by the constant juggling act between character extremes drives a lot of men crazy, which I believe contributes to the high levels of male suicides every year. The roots of this conflict sends up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

This has got to be stopped or at least managed better.

What we need is a gym like the one I ran for 7 years, in every suburb. A place where men can go and just connect with other men. A place where men can love and be loved, unconditionally. A place where every man came there with the honest purpose to help the ‘man in the mirror’ and to connect with other like-minded men who are there for the single purpose of bettering relationships.

With themselves and with other men.

This gym will be predominantly for men. For Men Only. Men need this (and this has nothing to do with sexism). This is about survival of the male species, of what it means to be a man. Today and tomorrow. Consider this: more men die now from suicide in Australia then women die from breast cancer.

Shocking truth: Men suicide rate in Australia!

A last real Man’s Domain: a gym like mine, where everyone knew your name and were happy you came.

Sit back and watch the men that we produce … within families, within communities .. within states … within countries and the … future world.

These will be men with much more balanced characters that will one day make decisions when they will be leaders of tomorrow. Decisions that we hope will be rooted on the foundation of what they have learned while – loving other men and being loved by other men.

Give it two decades.

We will create not only make Champions out of these men, but more importantly we will help form the foundations of Champion Leaders.

I will be smoking my cigar-filled pipe by then, sitting back and thinking “wow!!”

That is life. What a wonderful life and world this is.

Amen.

 

Until next time …. cheers to all YOU Real Men out there … never stop believing in YOU … keep on keeping on … Stay alive, it’s worth it!!

Ahoy & cheers!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on the battle within most men

Me & some of the Men of the Gym I ran for 7 years … getting together for a simple eat & meat men-bonding session
Simply because men need this.

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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Know your Limits (Life within Limits)

Simply simple.
In Life, try to be the Best YOU can be … to be the light … the star that is ALWAYS there
but truly reveals itself when darkness comes & surrounds us.
We all need mediums/messengers of Light … to show us the way.
Be the Light the world needs.
Today. Not tomorrow.
For …
tomorrow may never come.

Most successful sportspeople not only accept rules and limitations, they accept and play within boundaries. I believe they need them.

In fact, I believe sportsmen and women are free to perform at their best only when they know what the expectations are – with their roles as an individual, as part of a sporting team, their position with the sporting club, their fans, the sporting body and the world at large.

The sportsperson – male or female performs at their best, when they are crystal clear on where the limits stand, their limits or boundaries are. For example, I have been to the top of my chosen sport of natural bodybuilding, representing my country Australia at not one, but two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in New York, USA. I placed in the Top 5 in the World in both World Championships.

You see, on a personal level in striving for excellence and Peak Performance in my Sport and to do this with Real Freedom, I had to know what my limits were – physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and socially …  and how far I could possibly take myself on a genuinely ‘natural’ way. Natural meaning I chose not to resort to steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

That was my personal limits within the sport which has stretched the limits of human possibilities and being the honest sport that it is – you can “see it’ when some one is on something. Unlike cycling and many other sports cultures, for example in when a famous Lance Armstrong denied, denied, denied … for a decade.

So … personal limits and limits imposed on us externally, need to be set, communicated and clearly understood by all participants in the game or games in and within Life, in general.

I see this as a Biblical principle that also applies to life, but it seems to be a principle our modern-day society as a whole has forgotten.

After almost 5 decades I have learned many Truths (from experience, from patient wise mentors and from spending hours and hours reading & learning and un-learning), so …

Consider this truth: You cannot enjoy true freedom without limits.

Heck, we all need limits and boundaries (that is what rules, laws and regulations are there for) to help us individually, and as a group, community and society function smoothly. The key words here are limits, boundaries and smoothly.

Take the recent example of a certain elite athlete, here in Australia (there are quite a few examples in the history of Sport where athletes have communicated in one way, shape or form). He sent a tweet that paraphrased a passage straight out of the Bible. He has been castrated by all sides regarding this, I think very unfairly. It seems there was a ‘break down in communication’. The limits & boundaries was not clearly communicated by those ‘in Power with Titles’.

You see the titled are powerful. This is yet another example (but with huge consequences) at play of the ineffectiveness of communication. People/parties communicate but they don’t do it effectively. And how do we get communication to be ‘effective’. Well, as the famous Management guru stated – there needs to be a ‘feedback loop(s)’ Basically, people/parties need to be ‘on the same page’ when communicating.

In this case, the limits and boundaries ‘permitted’ with the use of social media were probably not established and so this ‘grey area’ does not get addressed.

Representing Australia at the World Natural Physique Championships in New York, USA.
Placed: 4th In the world.
Success = Preparation meeting opportunity. I was prepared.

As I repeat, take the recent example of the extremely gifted and hard-working elite athlete – Mr Israel Folau. He plays one of the main football codes, called Rugby Union and has represented Australia in over seventy games against International Teams over the years.

An amazing achievement considering he has crossed football codes three times and been a success at all these codes when some players have played just one and never made it to the top level of anything, let alone, that one.

Totally committed, he originally played Rugby League, playing and winning at club level, state level (played State of Origin) and the Australian Kangaroos (where he represented Australia many times, making Australians feel like “winners” whenever the team won) and played at the highest levels.

As some of you, Australian Sports Fans would recall, he also switched to Australian Football League (AFL) for a while to develop other skills in his arsenal, like his aerial awareness involving jumping high in the air to catch footballs as well as enhancing his already super spatial awareness skills. This aerial skill is one of the many skills at his disposal that sets him apart from the other current Rugby Wallaby Players.

This proud, very talented and hard-working dual Australian Representative at the most highest levels has brought so much joy and entertainment to the sports-mad citizens of Australia over the last decade. He has been under fire recently for posting on a social media account a paraphrase of a passage right out of the Bible.

Right out of the Bible and he is being crucified and treated like a criminal on the media, by the media. Is Australia a Christian country? I don’t understand how and why he – a decorated Australian Citizen who has represented Australia at the highest levels of multiple sports is now being treated similar to that of a criminal.

Like many genetically gifted athletes that have come before him, Israel Folau has stretched the boundaries or limits of the particular sport he plays and has played, beyond what was thought possible. Adding to the awe and entertainment value of the Sport for the Sports fans, the paying fan, the paying public.

Geniuses – in this case, a Physical Genius moves the limits … the boundaries of apparent possibilities to places the general public, the audience never thought was possible.

It is these geniuses (in all fields of Life for that matter), that are responsible for challenging the ‘status quo’, the acceptable level of play. We accept and understand it when he does something ‘miraculous’ on the field of play but do not understand when he makes a statement that tests the perceived limits of society at large.

Demonstrating leadership on the rugby field is one thing for ex-Waratah & Australian Wallaby Captain Mr Phil Waugh.
Being the Champion Leader that he is, Phil continues to embrace and learn secrets towards bettering himself.
Off the field in post-rugby retirement. A proven leader on and off the field. A champion Leader is one who leads with heart and one who continuously strives for change. But more importantly, learn the skills necessary to adapt to change.
That is part of what I teach.

We’ve got to understand though, that challenging the status quo requires commitment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting your ideas, your beliefs on the line.

He has done just that. Put forward views that are written in the Bible. The Bible – the best story book ever written, by amazing storytellers. He took a few lines out that storybook, I mean he could have taken a few lines out of Dr Seuss books and got in to trouble too. Would Israel have got in to trouble if he had followed Dr Seuss’s advice? For your information –

Dr Seuss, enjoyed a successful advertising career before becoming a children’s author. Dr Seuss was many things and he was a social critic and he was fundamentally, a trouble-maker, an instigator, a leader. Throughout his career he encouraged kids to take risks and make their own decisions.

He wanted kids to be Leaders, Leaders who believed in something. He called on kids to respond with civil disobedience against anything that threatens to suppress their imaginations. He praised spontaneity and daring and a healthy disrespect for authority. He encouraged kids to THINK for themselves and continue to ask questions…. specifically, the Right Questions.

One needs to be aware of his limits (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally), the limits of the sport he is in, the limits, the limits in he relationships he has, the limits to his mortality.
This ALL needs to be communicated effectively between all parties involved.

From one perspective, Israel did something Dr Seuss encouraged – thinking for oneself and believing in something . That belief is something Israel has in droves. It is quite simple: Israel is simply a Leader.

He has his followers, his tribe. In today’s world there are tribes everywhere now, inside and outside of organizations, in public and in private, in non-profits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection.

Governments and Political Leaders are aware of this phenomena and it is Real, very Real. If you think Sport is not intricately linked to Politics and Big Business, Science and Religion, you may as well live under a Rock! Just read up on the last 4000 years of history and you’ll see the connections.

Like I said earlier, Israel Folau is a Leader.

Leadership is not about being Mr Popular (even though this helps). Leadership, as HBR May/June 2017 Issue stipulates that there are four behaviours that Top Leaders need to be successful at leading (this is leadership that is bestowed on Financial Leaders). They are a mix of key ingredients: decisiveness, the ability to engage stakeholders, adaptability and reliability. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach but focusing, they say, on these four key attributes separates the Best from the Rest.

What about qualities such as – compassion, caring, trust, integrity and honesty and such? Based on ‘cut-throat’ business stakes, these qualities are not key. It was interesting to learn that 100% of low-performing CEOs/Leaders in the sample studied scored very high on integrity and 97% scored high on work ethic. However, in the financial world of the Fortune 500 companies think otherwise.

Good for business, it seems but not much good for other areas of life that require True, passionate Leadership.

In life, without leaders, there are no followers.

Tribes are about faith – about belief in an idea and in community. His followers ( I would think the Christian Community) are grounded in respect and admiration for the Leader (Israel) of this new tribe and for other members as well.

So, my question to you is, do you believe in what you do? Every day? Can you honestly say you do?

I believe Israel does – not only does he believe in the Sport he plays – Rugby Union at the moment but he also shows belief in his Religious Faith. He is simply a man of faith, of belief and of passion. He ‘wears his heart on his sleeve’ and is as authentic as it comes. He does not shy away or try to make everyone happy and love him. He is true to his beliefs. What is wrong with that, I ask?

To lead is to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
This develops, amongst other things – GRIT.
An essential ingredient of all Champions, all Leaders and most importantly, all Champion Leaders.

“How was your day?” is a question I have always been fascinated about and I believe is a question that matters a lot more than it seems. You see, I believe that someone like Israel, being the Leader on the field (and now showing Leadership off the field) is one of the few human beings who really like their jobs.

How do I know? Well, it turns out that the people who like their jobs the most are doing their best work, making the greatest impact, and changing the most. That certainly describes Israel’s on-field performances every single time he takes the field. He is a ‘cut-above’ the rest.

You see, Leaders, real Leaders change the most – changing the way they see the world, certainly, but more importantly, changing the world. We can’t say that much for many so-called Leaders running countries today, Leaders we call Politicians.

By challenging the status-quo, Israel, funnily enough could be considered a ‘heretic’ because of his Christian Beliefs. This used to be the complete opposite less than hundred years ago. They used to burn individuals at the stake, drown them, denounce them, ignore them and hang them from the rafters.

Some of them were people went against the Church at that time, people who ‘didn’t believe in Christian teachings’.

Not any more.

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

Now, heretics are invited to speak at business conferences. Heretics get elected to Parliament and Congress. Heretics make a fortune when their companies go public. Heretics not only love their jobs; they get a private jet too.

Societies around the world are not burning heretics, they are celebrating them. Let me remind you of a few heretics/Leaders: Bill Gates; Larry Page; Steve Job and the list goes on….

Then, why are the media in Australia putting this heretic through the grinder?

Now, it seems, Israel, the strong Christian believer, is made out to be a heretic in this day age. Where are all the Christian supporters? Everyone is quiet and looking to ‘point that finger’ because everything is tied back to Big Business getting their way. Huge corporate interests and influence tied to dollars.

That is business they say, that is Capitalism at work. Fine, but remember, there is also many delusions of Capitalism too. But I’ll save that for another blog.

True Leaders develop Leaders.
Here we have former Australian Rugby Wallaby Captain – Mr Phil Waugh, allowing himself to be led and coached to help him, help himself … find his best self.
Leaders have belief, they have faith but most importantly … they have hope.
That tomorrow will be better than today.

I’m gonna go ahead and say it … I strongly believe that heretics, like Israel are the New Leaders.

Israel, this mighty Athlete, is suddenly a heretic. Yes, but this new type of Leaders are propping out all over the place, all over the world. Suddenly also, heretics , troublemakers, and the change agents aren’t merely thorns in our side – they are the key to our success.

And Governments and Politicians know this because people are looking for that Leader, they are tired of ‘fence-sitters’. They want Real Passionate Leaders. They want to believe again. They want faith… they want hope …. They want a Religion (and not necessarily spiritual) to follow. It is already happening.

The Tsunami Tides of change is coming, if it hasn’t already began.

The thing is a lot of people don’t see this as genuine Leadership from a Leader because most people have been trained all their lives to avoid it. Leadership is many things to different people but to me, and I think to many out there …  Leadership is about creating change that you believe in.

We often resent rules because they limit what we can do. Yet without the rules that define a football game, for example, you can’t play the game, let alone enjoy it. The same thing is true in life.

To live and enjoy the freedom we have in Australia, we have to live by the rules of society. To live life to its fullest and truly enjoy it, we need to understand and abide by the rules God spells out in the Bible. God isn’t out to spoil our fun; he knows that life without limits results in anarchy and misery.

It would seem that this Sports Star is “suffering for Being a Christian” and this is mentioned in the Book of Peter, 12 – 16.

It’s only when we have absolute limits that we can be truly be free to enjoy the best life has to offer. Why don’t many other thousands of Christians speak out like Israel? Well, it is simply because of fear.

Fear is an emotion, no doubt about it. One of the strongest, oldest, and most hardwired. In every single human being. And what, my friends, can overcome all fear? Faith or belief. This is because faith or belief leads to Hope … and this is what overcomes fear.

This is not about the “Religion” he believes in, no, this is about the Religion that is currently the norm (and probably has been for a long while now). The Religion here I am referring to is not the spiritual type, no, this religion on the other hand, represents a strict set of rules that Rugby authorities has overlaid on top of our faith. This religion supports the status quo and encourages us to ‘fit in’, not ‘stand out.’

We have all kinds of Religions surrounding us – not just the Capital – R religions like Catholicism or Judaism. There’s the IBM religion of the 1960s, for example which included workplace protocols, dress codes, and even a precise method of presenting ideas. There’s the religion of Amazon and Google as the modern-day giants that they are.

The media love to glamorise the rare downfall of the heretic who doesn’t quite make it, which is what is happening to Israel at this present time. You see we’re already primed to hear about the person who got into trouble, who lost his job, his house, his family – his business – because he had the hubris and audacity to challenge the status quo.

And since we’re eager for this news, we notice it the few times it happens. Israel’s apparent ‘mistake’ is great for the news empires. They know they have the masses’ attention.

You see, Israel, like many heretics that have come before him, have talked himself out of fear. I mean, I’m sure the fear is still there, but it’s drowned out by a different story.

A different story that he tells himself.

In this case, I presume it’s the story of success, of drive, of doing something that matters. Whatever comes of the case against his beliefs, I know one thing:

Israel is more engaged, passionate and more powerful and happier than most and I think he has a tribe that he supports (and that support him in return).

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Israel is a Leader.

Real Leadership is rare because few people are willing to go through the discomfort level required to lead. At this point in time, and in this era, Heretics like Israel must above all else – believe.

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

Challenging the status quo (as it is in regards to freedom of speech in today’s modern societies) requires a commitment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting your thoughts on the line.

Leadership is choice. It’s a choice to not do nothing!

Israel chose to lead and he is curious to see who will follow him, who will be part of his ‘tribe’. Maybe, just maybe this is just a case of curiosity. Israel has let his curiosity get the better of him. He has been wrestling and managing perceived tensions between his religion and something else … wrestling with it (for a while maybe), through it and then finally expressing his views on it.

Bam!! There it goes on Twitter. Just like that … his elasticity point has been reached and broken!

Can and should we consider his views to be fundamentalist in nature?

Maybe.

But, what we’re seeing in today’s world is that fundamentalism really has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with an outlook, a worldview, regardless what your religion is. Through his actions as a leader, he attracts a tribe that wants to follow him. This tribe has a worldview that matches the message he is sending.

Tribes are voluntary and I think great leaders don’t try to please everyone. Great leaders don’t water down their message in order to make the tribe a bit bigger. Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever

So, all the best to you Mr Israel Folau.

Your fate rests in the hands of people put their by the society we live in, established and limited by the rules that have been put in place to govern us.

Let’s wait and see what happens.

Will certainly set a precedent for things of a similar nature in the future. Will common sense (which isn’t very common anymore) prevail?

Until next time,

 

Ahoy!

The old Captain Viking Pirate ….. & his thoughts on limits, perceived or real, sports stars and society and Life in general.

Change your philosophy, change your life.
Vv.

Infusing ‘the essence of life’ (Vitality) in to my attentive pupil.
Student/apprentice who is ready to be coached, to be enlightened.
Simply because he/she believes in what I believe in.
I have coaching conversations that produces results, fuelled by a by-product called “Positive Energy”

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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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Fairness in Love?

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

Do you believe in love?

Do you believe in lasting love?

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

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

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

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

Hard work strongly involves working at fairness.

How do I know?

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

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

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

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

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

A friendship that lasted over fifty years.

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

Side triceps in my gym of seven years.

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

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

Do you argue fairly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, from my experience, I believe that –

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

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

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

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

Oh love … oh fairness fairy.

We seek your guidance.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

 

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk.

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

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

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Where has all the Trust and Forgiveness gone?

Trust and forgiveness is key to any relationship. Find it in your heart to trust and forgive not matter how many times you get let down. Vv.

Trust and forgiveness is key to any relationship. Find it in your heart to trust and forgive not matter how many times you get let down.
Vv.

There does not seem to be much trust and forgiveness in the world today.

A  dying trait, like an endangered species. I think it can be put up on the “endangered character-quality” list.

Is it just me or have you observed this trend too?

It can be difficult to forgive sometimes but it is important that you do. There should be room for errors. These errors or mistakes a person makes should be embraced as feedback for improvement.

Forgiving can be hard, I know.

It seems in today’s world on many layers of society, trust and forgiveness is missing and it is sad because it sends a consistent message that both (or more parties) have lost care about whether the relationship continues or not.

You can see it on many levels, reflected in the media – between suppliers and customers; between organizations and its employees or contractors; between sports clubs and its coaches; between coaches and their players; between family members; between friends and even between husbands and wives.

What sort of person are you? Are you prudent and ‘trust but verify?” or are you careful and watch your back and consult your lawyer?

How has the world come to this point, I wonder?

Long-lasting friendship is built on trust and forgiveness. Don't allow it to be on your endangered character-quality list. No matter what. Vv.

Long-lasting friendship is built on trust and forgiveness.
Don’t allow it to be on your endangered character-quality list.
No matter what.
Vv.

I know the bible asks that we find it in our hearts to trust and forgive, no matter how many times someone breaks it. This can be very difficult but it is important that we try. It helps build a better world. The Lord’s prayer says something along the lines “… forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us … “

How many of us really do this in today’s world? It seems that the prayer is now saying “…. Forgive our sins as we don’t forgive those who sin against us … ?”

For the world to come to this is indeed a sad world… but I am still hopeful.

It seems that these endangered human characteristics that was once in plentiful supply in years gone by is a rare sighting. There are daily reminders in many areas of modern life demonstrating signs that trust, love and even friendship has failed. These are no longer what is the norm.

Instead, they are becoming increasingly endangered and are a genuine luxury if you are lucky to witness or experience it in your daily life.

As for me, I am quite old-fashioned and believe in a lot of old-fashioned values like trust, love and friendship and forgiveness. I think it is important to find it in your heart to forgive. It can be difficult, yes, but don’t give up.

Persevere and believe. Trust against the odds, that the human spirit in what is right will always prevail.

In the end, relationships matter.

Sometimes it can be hard to take the bible seriously but finding it in your heart to forgive every time a person lets you down is always the best decision you can make.

If you value the relationship and want it to continue, you have to always be willing to forgive and trust again. No relationship can continue if we are not willing to trust and forgive, no matter how many times the person lets you down.

No forgiveness means no relationship. It is as simple as that!

If you believe that certain relationships matter, then forgive and trust again. Because this is part of what it means to be a practising Christian. It isn’t easy in today’s modern world and it takes enormous courage to follow God’s teachings in the Christian life.

Trusting and forgiving repeatedly requires tremendous spiritual courage and patience. Don’t make it part of your endangered character-quality list.

Because it is worth it.

Besides, from what I have learned through other people’s experiences over the years, trust is cheaper than lawyers.

All the best in your choices.

 

Until next time,

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain Phil Waugh trusting my requests as he performs his exercise. Vv.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain Phil Waugh trusting my requests as he performs his exercise.
Vv.

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

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