a better life, action, attitude, authenticness, awareness, balance, beauty, Beliefs, change, choices, courage, Energy, game of life, genuineness, man, perspective, real man, responsibility, self improvement, self-respect, symmetry, your life

Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior, Tom Hanks interior.

With my trophy – doing the “Abdominal/Thigh” pose.
Top 5 Natural BodyBuilder in the world.

I love observing life and society and everything around me. I am a student of life. In recent years (last ten to fifteen years or so), I have noticed that men are forgetting or maybe do not know or are unsure of what it means to be a Man anymore.

A Real Man.

I have a few theories about how this has reached a growing and worrying societal problem now and for the future, but I won’t go in to that in this blog. No, I’m going to dance with the idea of what a Real Man is or should be.

What should the mark of a Real Man be?

Status in society? Richness in money? Accumulated financial wealth? Power? A tattoo, maybe? I’m sure you’ll have your opinion and definitions.

One word: GRIT.

I believe this is one characteristic of a Real Man. And a sub-set of this word Grit (along with resilience, unrelenting, solution-oriented etc), is simply “toughness”.

But it does not end there.

What is more important than toughness? It is exercising the RIGHT KIND of toughness. Anyone can be tough and we all are at various points in our lives but not many people can call on the right kind of toughness at the right time.

Now this takes skill, this takes effort and work and deliberate thinking and practise to get it right. Now, this characteristic is the foundation of a Real Man . It is the building blocks of what it means to be a Real Man.

It feeds in to his strength of character.

But that is only half of what a real man is.

The other fifty percent should be intimacy, gentleness. Don’t you think so?

Put together, you have what I refer to as a possible definition of a real man. He has an Arnold Schwarzenegger exterior (toughness) and a Tom Hanks (gentleness) interior.

How should we go about attaining these two qualities of a Real Man?

Well, I believe each man should strive for ‘balance’. Everything comes down to balance – internally and externally. So, every man should consciously strive for balance with both qualities.

Knowing when to be tough is as important as knowing when to be tender.

The wise man has the power of discernment and knows when to exercise either. The art in the dance through life is in developing this power of discernment towards balance.

Balance is achieved when a man stops trying to be someone else but the man that is truly reflected through the eyes he sees look back at him in the mirror. A man needs to just be himself and believe in the Holy Spirit or his inner-self, his Real Self and not be afraid to let him out. To let him be vulnerable.

The more vulnerable you become as a man through increased positive self-awareness, the more ‘Real’ you become. The closer you get to becoming more authentic, more of a Real Man.

A man cannot just choose Toughness and no tenderness or only choose to be gentle (and a gentleman) all the time and not be tough. No, this leads to confusion with his self and also with his woman and every person around him. Simply, because he is not clear on his role as a man and what it means to be a Real Man.

A Real Man is partly defined by having both these traits continuously intertwined in his daily life. At home and at work and play. It is a never-ending, dynamic complex fusion of chaos and order to produce something unique: the Real Man.

Being just tough results in a man being cold, distant, intolerant, unbearable and impatient. What we’ve all been brought up hearing society (mainly angry women) refer to “All Men are As#holes! “. Very unfair because not all men are like that.

But, being tough and tender brings about something different, something elusive. It makes a man appear closer to what I refer to as beauty.

And why do I say that?

Well, being tough AND tender … results in gentleness, thoughtfulness and being considerate. The man is more attuned to the principles of nature which is harmony.

Being tough and tender brings you closer to the elusive balance and symmetry of life. Brings you closer to what I refer to as ‘beauty’. I love formulas and mathematics so here is a little formula for you, based on my hypothesis of what a Real Man is:

Tough + Tender => Balance + Symmetry ==> Beauty!

So, all you men reading this, ask yourself if you can be beautiful. If you strive towards balance and symmetry in these two strengths of character – toughness and tenderness, you run the risk of being referred to as a ‘beautiful man’.

And why not, the word beautiful should not only be reserved for women, cars, sculptures and paintings and flowers. No, men too can be beautiful.

Being referred to as beautiful is worth the risk because I believe a beautiful man is a Real Man.

Work on your beauty and not be just a “Gentle-man” or “Tough-man”, no, work towards being a Beautiful-Man.

A Beautiful Man is A Real Man!

Until next time,

Explaining the principles of training within my programs.

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A life of significance.

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If you are a regular reader of my messages, you will notice that I think a lot about life and I am constantly asking a lot of questions from life. I admit, I am a student of life.

My years of interacting with thousands of people in gyms, including seven years when I owned my own gym, I have learned a lot about life from other people’s experiences(OPE’s) and stories.

A question I have always asked is what does it mean to live your life, in particular – to live a life of significance? I feel that this is one of the most important aspects of a life well lived. What do you think? I think if I remember correctly, it was the writer Henry Thoreau that said something to the effect that he was afraid of coming to the end of life and finding that he had NOT LIVED.

I think Henry meant, coming to the end of your life and realising that you have not lived a life of significance. That was a genuine fear of his. Now, I am tempted to say that I am not genuinely afraid about anything – but that is not true. One of my main fears is insignificance. I am afraid, to put it simply, of living a life that does not matter. I admit I am afraid of leaving the world exactly as I entered and found it, no different for my having been here.

To not live a life of significance.

What about you? Is this one of your fears? Have you had a chance to think about this question in your journey through life so far?

From my observations of life so far, I have noticed that a lot of people think that “having lived” means experiencing a lot of adventures or a lot of fun and experiences or indeed – acquiring a lot of money. I think otherwise. I think these peoples’ perception of what it means to ‘have lived’ is slightly distorted and are missing the true significance of what it entails in my eyes.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings. Vv.

Help people get what they want using your unique strengths and blessings.
Vv.

Along with spending about eight years in my early youth as a Catholic altar boy, assisting priests in church masses and bible readings, I’ve spent countless hours of listening to hundreds of stories through OPE’s, and am also a keen observer of life. I believe, this common modern-day definition of living has nothing to do with ‘having lived.’ The usual things people seek to guarantee importance in their lives – typically money, fame, power – just don’t last.

Money, fame and power don’t work very well and yet, generation after generation are still blinded and brainwashed to believe that they are the answer. History is littered with countless examples that it is a lie, short-term  and inauthentic.

These false drivers – money, fame and power all come to an end. Often, during the person’s own life, and certainly thereafter.

“So, how do you live a life of significance?” you may be thinking.

Instead of the individual’s endless pursuit of more money, fame and power, I believe living a life of significance comes with filling your life with things that last forever.

“And what are these things that last forever?” you may now be asking.

Well, these things that last forever are essentially VALUES. Yep, values! And what is the greatest value of all? Love! Put simply, you need to fill your life with love and lots of it! Love casts out all fears.

What is love? At this stage in your life, you would highly likely have some idea of what it is. Well, one definition is that it is an emotional attachment to the good things of life. So, fall in love with traits such as honesty, integrity, justice, goodwill, forgiveness, truth, grace and yes – success.

I think ultimately, you continue to live in hope in the joyous expectancy of the best, and invariably the best will come to you. Through God’s blessing.

It follows that to live a life of significance, you need to fill your life as much as possible with these values, attitudes and actions. So, start with trying to make someone else’s life a little better, using the God-given talents and strengths you have been given. This is a great start to significant living, as you have done something that lasts forever – in that person’s (his or her) heart.

Something that is eternal. A gift from you.

That impact you had on that individual or individuals is eternal because people are the only part of this world that will last forever …

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be. With my guidance

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be.
With my guidance

As we are constantly reminded daily by media, today’s modern world is filled with many threats – many imagined, some real – threats to our sense of security and safety. Today, more than ever before, you need to be in the right relationship with God. This is the ultimate security, the only true safety as he is the beginning and the end – God, as you know is the perfect giver of love.

If you are a Christian you will believe that God was there before the beginning and he has no end. He has known our fears and sufferings.

Life plays no favourites. God is life, and this life-principle is flowing through you at this moment, as you read and think upon these words. Believe that through him, you will be set free…. to live a life of significance.

Before I go, remember that you owe nothing to anyone in this world except love. In it’s simplest form, love is basically wishing for everyone what you wish for yourself – health, happiness and success (in that order) and all the blessings of life.

This is my wish for you, your family and your friends.

All the best in your choice of how to live your one life.

 

Until next time,

B&W3284

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The Grace of Seeds.

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

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

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

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

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

That their love life will fizzle out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Grace of Seeds.

It is a sacrament of everlasting life.

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

They will be the World’s Future.

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

For posterity.

 

Until next time,

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

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

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Torn between two hands.

My beautiful wife of almost 12 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

My beautiful wife and co-captain in life of over 15 years now. My love for this human being keeps increasing every single day.

I love life.

Being an avid student of life, I think a lot about life and it’s definitions and prevailing beliefs and belief systems, on all levels.

I think every individual should have a continuously questioning curiosity to everything in life, which includes their existing beliefs and values and everything else. A questioning attitude just like scientists have had and use in their reasoning.

I ask again what it means to be a man?

I’ll say it again, it can be difficult to be a man in today’s world. I believe he is torn between two hands. Let me elaborate. You see, every man – every male strives to meet his basic psychological needs.

“And what are these?” I hear you say.

Well, firstly, I believe it is simply to know and be known. If we keep it simple, in addition to this, every man needs to love and be loved.

He also needs other very important psychological needs. By “other”, I believe men need deep caring relationships with other men. If I recall correctly, I think it was one of the disciples (James I think) who said christians should be encouraged to confess their sins to each other and pray for each other … or somewhere along these lines.

What does this mean for us?

Well, I believe it means that every man should have another man who would have their back. What this boils down to is that a man who does not have at least one other man to whom he can be accountable regarding his failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

You witness evidence of this erupting in almost all areas of our society – in families, in schools, in workplaces, in communities, in countries and between nations.

The angry man in our society is caught between an unrealistic ideal brain-washed in to him by previous generations. That is all they knew. They knew no better.

Today’s men strive to live up to this “unrealistic mythical masculinity ideal or stereotype” on the one hand and true masculinity on the other.

He feels the pressure to –

  • Achieve
  • Earn
  • Conquer
  • Win

And in a lot of cases, do all these things on his own. Do it at all costs. Costs to his health, his relationships, his family, his community of friends.

… just to live up to these unrealistic expectations society places on him of outdated stereotypes of what it means to be a ‘real man’. But every man has a vulnerable side. Every man is a Mr Vulnerable too where he also feels the need to love and to nurture those he loves and be loved and nurtured by those who loves him.

But this is an impossible ideal. An impossible dream. As he, today’s Real Man futilely attempts to reconcile the two in his own life. He is torn between being invincible and vulnerable, aloof and involved, self-serving and sharing.

He is torn between two hands.

The roots of this conflict send up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

Anger tendencies that can be dangerous for the man, the people around him, the community he lives in and the nation as a whole.

With the next generation of Valentine males - Zachary.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Men should not be made to feel ‘torn between two hands’. Men should not be made to be torn between these two ideals. Men should not feel they should travel alone. Men should also welcome the vulnerable side of him. Men should accept that sharing this responsibility is one of the best ways to move forward in the direction of a new definition of what it means to be a Real Man in today’s world.

It is not fair on the man and not fair on those he loves. I feel very blessed that the woman who chose me to spend the rest of her life with allows me to be vulnerable. It is “Mother’s Day” today and she is the most amazing woman I have ever met in my life so far. My children are very blessed to have her as their mother. She is my co-captain on our ship through the sea of life.

For the women reading this, please try and listen to your man, really listen. Listen with your two ears, your body, your spirit and your heart. Help him be Mr Vulnerable too, if you’re not already doing so.

And for the man, embrace your Mr Vulnerable. It does not make you less of a man. I believe it makes you more of what it means to be a Real Man. Today’s definition of a modern-day Real Man, what true masculinity really is.

It is one of the most important gifts you can give the little men (our sons) of the future. The young men we entrust to lead and make decisions when we are old and grey and when we are gone and forgotten.

Do it for the future of Man-kind.

 

Until next time,

My daughter and I. I cherish every moment I have with her. She allows me to be Mr Vulnerable too. Vv.

My daughter and I.
I cherish every moment I have with her.
She sees a healthy dose of masculinity in me and Mr Vulnerable too.
Vv.

Its ok to be Mr Vulnerable. Vv.

Its ok to be Mr Vulnerable.
Vv.

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Be an instrument, not an object.

1) Balance 2) Symmetry (harmony) In body shaping/moulding that is key. The same can be said with regards to all  other areas in life: - work/rest balance - internal/external harmony It is every human being's ultimate search. Become an instrument, not an object.

1) Balance
2) Symmetry (harmony)
In body shaping/moulding that is key. The same can be said with regards to all other areas in life:
– work/rest balance
– internal/external harmony
It is every human being’s ultimate search.
Become an instrument, not an object.

As part of what I do in helping people be their best physical self, I help them re-shape their physiques in the process of working towards a healthier, stronger, fitter versions of themselves. I have had over 80% success rate in achieving or exceeding client’s expectations over the last twelve years.

Like a potter, I help in moulding and making and holding an individual’s dream alive using the tools I am accustomed to. Unlike a potter though, my subject is a human being, not a piece of clay. Unlike the piece of clay, my subject thinks, talks, walks, eats, doubts and laughs amongst the many other traits of a human being. It makes re-shaping a human being quite a bit more complex than a piece of clay or inanimate object.

I do not currently or have ever viewed anyone I have ever helped in the gym as an ‘object’. Instead, I have always seen my role as a privilege and viewed one of my roles as one who empowers individuals. I see part of my role as that of increasing awareness of individuals, of their potential, help them become better students of life. I have seen everyone as instruments that needed to understand the unique music each of them played.

Through my programs and unique framework to body re-engineering, I help individuals see themselves, not as objects but as instruments, an instrument that says and believes that …

  • I’m good for something.
  • I have purpose.
  • I have value.
  • I can add value to others’ lives.
  • And so on …
Helping someone achieve his best, in one of the best ways I know how: through increasing self-awareness. Vv.

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

It should be noted that unlike the potter, I don’t have power over the person. She or he stays in control always. Like the potter though, I have creative power as I help bring in to being that which was not (as far as creating the physique the individual imagines he or she has).

Unlike the potter though, I DO NOT have RE-CREATIVE POWER.

If the potter made a mistake and the pot does not produce the desired shape, the potter can just break it up and re-mould it again in to what he or she had originally desired. It does not work that way with the instruments I help every day. Matter of fact, it is darn right difficult, because there are just too many variables.

From my perspective, it is impossible and I don’t desire it either.

The individual has total power within his hands. It is up to him or her, ALWAYS.

In my youth I spent a number of years serving as an altar boy during masses, assisting the priests. If you’re a Christian, we all believe that God created us. So, as I see it, God is the ultimate potter. I am so glad God is what God is. I mean, wouldn’t you agree that we should consider ourselves very lucky that when we are marred and broken, the Lord our God is like the potter with the clay.

You see, God just does not give up on you that easily. When you’re broken and feel helpless and don’t believe in yourself anymore, rest assured that God still believes in you. Like the potter, God has re-creative power. The only catch is: you have to desire it so, you’ve got to want to be a better person. You have got to BELIEVE you can be a better YOU.

“Dust to dust”, I remember some elderly person mutter when I was a kid. Later on in life, I figured what he meant was … We all end where we began: like the potter, God holds us in his hands and moulds and shapes us. So, you see, no matter what challenges life throws at you, whatever obstacles or speed bumps you have in your path, always remember that you’re in his hands – God’s hands.

This I believe, is the definition of the ultimate potter.

Not matter what happens in your life – whether you’re right or wrong, up or down, poverty or wealth, sickness or in health or death, always have faith and believe that YOU ARE IN HIS HANDS.

The hands that belong to the best shaper, the best moulder, the best creator and re-creator of possibilities and ultimately, the BEST YOU.

His got the whole world in his hands. So, desire his help and be the instrument you believe God wants you to be.

Be an instrument, not an object.

Helping Chris close the gap between how he imagines himself to be and what he sees in the mirror. Or in other words: Manifesting the 'unfolding universe' of his 'enfolded' invisible universe (what he imagines/dreams) Vv

Helping Chris close the gap between how he imagines himself to be and what he sees in the mirror.
Or in other words: Manifesting the ‘unfolding universe’ of his ‘enfolded’ invisible universe (what he imagines/dreams)
Vv

One of my top 3 songs is a song sung by one of my top 10 bands “Journey”. The song encapsulates what I am trying to say in it’s title and chorus line – “Don’t stop believing!”. My children have listened to it in the car on our travels countless times already in their lives so far and refer to it as our “Family song”, even requesting to listen to it regularly.

I never want my children to ever stop believing. To never stop believing in themselves and whatever it is they will eventually believe in and pursue in their lives. I know I will never stop believing in them ‘til the day I die. If you have children, I am sure you will do the same.

Our children is a blessing, we all are God’s children. We are all living examples of a blessed instrument, not an object. Find your tune, and play it to help yourself and use your uniqueness to help others.

Be confident, be brave and face all your fears. After all, God, our creator, our potter, is always on our side.

Just BELIEVE it so.

All the best.

Until next time,

My Unique WAY.  Helping create the body a student desires. Helping him or her become a better instrument to play his/her own unique music. Vv

My Unique WAY.
Helping create the body a student desires. Helping him or her become a better instrument to play his/her own unique music.
Vv

A former student of mine. Mother of 2 two young children with a dream to BE HER BEST. To find the CHAMPION LYING DORMANT WITHIN HER.  After 8 years of total devotion to motherhood, I helped her, help herself realize her dream in  less than 10 months.  She placed 2nd in NSW in Figure in a very tough line up.  A great student who believed. Believed in herself. Believed in my program. Believed in her dream.  Well done champ!

A former student of mine. Mother of 2 two young children with a dream to BE HER BEST. To find the CHAMPION LYING DORMANT WITHIN HER.
After 8 years of total devotion to motherhood, I helped her, help herself realize her dream in less than 10 months.
She placed 2nd in NSW in Figure in a very tough line up.
A great student who believed. Believed in herself. Believed in my program. Believed in her dream. Quality plan + Quality execution = Quality Result!
Create.

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

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Equal friendship.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain - Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. What goes up must come down.  A possible definition of a squat. Summarises most things in life. It could also symbolically represent the ups and downs of an equal friendship. Each person understands the boundaries of the relationship just like there are limits to a squatting range of motion.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats.
What goes up must come down.
A possible definition of a squat.
Summarises most things in life. It could also symbolically represent the ups and downs of an equal friendship. Each person understands the boundaries of the relationship just like there are limits to a squatting range of motion.

I believe in friendship – equal friendship.

Who do you consider your ‘friend’ at this point in your life? Your partner, wife, husband? Your high school or university friend? Do you have hundreds of friends or just a few with many acquaintances?

I can honestly say that my best friend at this point in my life is my beautiful wife, a friendship that has lasted fifteen years and counting. There are also many friendships that have been in existence for various lengths of time. You would have the same too. For example, I have friendships that started all the way from kindergarten (over 37 years ago) all the way to a few current friends.

You may have many people in your life you consider friends. In this day and age where the definition of ‘friends’ can mean what we have on facebook, a friend could mean something else to you. Some people pride themselves on the number of friends they have. There are many definitions. Fair enough.

In my fourty years on this earth so far, I have experienced many types of friendships and one thing has stood out: You don’t need to be a friend to everyone. Understanding this will help you ‘manage your funnel better’.

It’s just not possible to spread yourself equally with all your friends or so-called friends. Friendship, genuine friendship takes time and effort. Most of you reading this would agree.

We don’t have to look very far for a decent model. If you are a Christian, let’s remind ourselves of the model say, Jesus, adopted. He preached to, healed and helped thousands of people but he only had twelve disciples. How many of these close disciples did he invite when he was transfigured on the mountain?

Only three! You could say that he had only three genuine friends.

Loading the 'guns' with proper execution. Here Brad is building his 'mind-muscle' connection under my watchful eye.

Loading the ‘guns’ with proper execution.
Here Brad is building his ‘mind-muscle’ connection under my watchful eye.

I recall seeing only two very good friends of my grandfather in his last few years of his life. They came around our home a few times a week just to sit and talk and reminisce of the ‘old days’. They were friends for over fifty years. I witnessed the beauty of very close, genuine friendship. It was truly a thing of beauty.

However, it was only after my grandfather passed away that I truly understood what I had observed.

With only 86,400 seconds in a day, you cannot possibly relate to every one of your friends in an equal fashion. Don’t stress if you aren’t. It all depends on the phase of life you’re in and the philosophy you adopt. Because of the finiteness of life, it is wise not to waste your precious friendship time on relationships that won’t be productive.

Don’t mis-understand me now. It is ok to lend a helping hand to a needy person but it is another to develop a friendship. Like I said, friendship takes time and hard work. It doesn’t JUST HAPPEN. In the case of the needy person, you could consider it as social work or community service or spiritual caring.

However, with a genuine friend, you and your friend will share and give equally to each other. You both get fulfilment and nourishment from being in the relationship.

For simplicity let’s break life up in to three categories to refer to relationships:

  1. People whom you nourish and who return little or nothing to you
  2. People who nourish you, but you may return nothing to them
  3. Genuine and equal sharing relationships.

All three categories vital to your existence but I don’t believe the first two of the three types of relationships are friendships. The third type or category is what I refer to as real friendship. You must be strong and aware enough to distinguish between them. Mixing them up could cause problems.

It is important to reflect on your philosophy regarding life and the choices you make with regards to investing in certain relationships. What is needed is discernment and making the all important choice of taking some of these relationships to the level of genuine friendship.

Friendship that lasts because it is built on equality.

Here’s my little formula for friendship: Equal friendship = Genuine friendship.

Your ‘friends’ can have a big influence on where you end up in life. Increase your awareness and seek equality and authenticity.

Choose well.

All the best!

Until next time,

Retired rugby legend: Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Champion Captain & True Leader - Phil Waugh. Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework. Champions like Phil help us recognize that he believes in sacrifice and dedication to higher principles - higher standards. AWaken yours today towards THE BEST YOU CAN BE with one of my programs!

Retired rugby legend: Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Champion Captain & True Leader – Phil Waugh.
Setting his own standards of excellence in all areas of his life, following my framework.
Champions like Phil help us recognize that he believes in sacrifice and dedication to higher principles – higher standards.
AWaken yours today towards THE BEST YOU CAN BE with one of my programs!

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

~~Life & wellness COACH~~

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a better life, action, attitude, belief systems, Beliefs, better choices, decisions, Goals, self, self improvement, self-image, success, you, your life

Are you the master or slave to your “shadow”?

Each rep of each exercise, executed with constant tension throughout the full range of motion gets you closer to the person you 'imagine yourself to be'. Goal of set: make the last rep as good as the first. An A+ student here - Phil Waugh.

Each rep of each exercise, executed with constant tension throughout the full range of motion gets you closer to the person you ‘imagine yourself to be’.
Goal of set: make the last rep as good as the first.
An A+ student here – Phil Waugh.

In daylight or any light for that matter, you cast a shadow. Even if the sun or light is right above you, your shadow is still there. It is always there. Your shadow here can be likened to your self-image, your sub-conscious. Are you the master or slave to your shadow?

It is an interesting relationship – this one between you and your shadow. Can be likened to a ‘master-slave’ relationship where you would think that YOU are the master and your shadow, the slave.

All actions you take comes from this relationship. Well, many actions can be taken by the master but no action whatsoever can be taken without consulting the shadow.

The shadow or the ‘sub-conscious’ ability of the mind houses your very important ‘self-image’. By the time we are adults, we would have developed a self-image about every talent, every characteristic and every performance we have ever had. Have you ever heard yourself or others state perceptions out loud like – “I’m a lousy cook, I can’t even scramble eggs’ or “I have a terrible memory”. “I’m never on time”. “I can’t stick to a healthy diet”. I have heard many of these self-limiting impositions people have made and believed in my time in the gym.

These all make up your shadow, shaped by your subconscious mind. The important thing to remember is this:

“you cannot outgrow these limits you place on yourself – you can only set new limits within which you must live.”

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. Managing your 'shadow' better is a giant step towards realising your goals. Vv

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self.
Managing your ‘shadow’ better is a giant step towards realising your goals. Vv

In my two decades of helping individuals in the gym find the best version of themselves, whether it be in losing weight or in quitting a bad habit, effort alone is not enough to achieve and sustain the goals. You also need imagination!

I always tell my students that they need to “walk, talk, eat, sleep, sh%t, talk, run …. Like the person they need to be, before they become the person they will be.” As there is another important point to remember:

  • It is not what you “are” that holds you back, it’s “what you think you are not.”

I have learned a lot about people and a lot from the many thousands of people I have met over the last two decades in the gym. I love ‘people watching’ and one thing I do know that holds true for every person is this:

  • Individuals DO NOT behave in accordance with reality. Individuals behave in accordance with their ‘perception of reality’.

What is your reality? What is your perception of the ‘truth’?

I have found that if a person does not desire to work on changing his/her self-beliefs that are aligned with the person they desire to be then the change they are seeking will be temporary. This will apply to any worthwhile change, for example weight loss, alcohol consumption or quitting smoking and so forth.

Self-image is fundamental to understanding human behaviour and what I discovered years ago is that if you change a person’s self-image, you change their personality and their behaviour. I think this is a very important part of any mentoring/coaching role, whether it be in a team capacity or on an individual basis.

This is why effort (or will-power) alone is not enough to make a change that is lasting in yourself. Trying to make a worthwhile change at the conscious level by using will-power, will usually result in a temporary change. I have seen this many times with the thousands of gym goers that seek a positive change in their lives. You see them – bursting out of their seams doing all the group classes, sporting the latest clothing gear, looking the ‘part’ but never achieving their goals.

There are many reasons that people fail to achieve lasting change but a big part of it is that they try and take on a new habit for example – going to the gym or give up a bad habit for example – one-pack-a-day smoker for ten years by good ol-fashioned, teeth-gritting WILL POWER.

This is where people fundamentally go wrong: people think that they are masters of their shadow and have not understood that they are in fact slaves to their shadow, the shadow being your subconscious part of your mind. Because they have not spent the time working on their self-beliefs that make up part of their self-image, the conscious mind is still unconvinced.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity.
Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Reminds me of a client I trained a few years ago. He did very well. He lost around 30kg and built a decent physique. He worked very hard and was a very good student. For about 8 months I reminded him daily of the importance of ‘walking, talking, sitting, eating, sleeping, shi%ting …. Like the person he desires to be”. And for those first 8 months he told me he had it under control and he had mastered this request of mine.

However, I wasn’t convinced he was (even though he had achieved a body-weight he had not been at since he was a late teenager). It was unchartered territory for him.

It wasn’t until he went out and played a round of golf with some of his old mates one weekend that he truly understood what I meant by that statement and what I said was his biggest challenge was.

For the entire round of golf, he was having an extremely bad day and he couldn’t understand why he was hitting the ball that bad. It just so happened that a friend in the group (an ex-Olympian who understood a bit of sport psychology) went up to him and said,

“you are still hitting the ball like you were the guy who was 30kg heavier – the old YOU?”

That was when everything crystallised. He then realised what I had meant when I reminded him of how important it was to train his mind and mastering his shadow. I have said this a thousand times over the last two decades – losing weight is the easy part. What is the most difficult thing to do is convincing the REAL YOU that you are the NEW YOU.

In the case of the example of the smoker, your shadow (self-image) has seen you as a smoker for the past ten years and believes that you will still “see” yourself inside as a smoker.

Result: The smoker fails his attempt to quit smoking. Puts it in the “Too – hard busket.”

This is where imagination and emotion (or heart) comes in to the equation. I have always believed that effort (will-power and hard work) alone is not enough to achieve lasting results, one needs imagination and ‘heart’. You need to feel the end result you are seeking.

If you don’t change your self-image or shadow then when there is a conflict between will-power and conviction, the latter will always WIN. You can see this in action for example when you know you’re tired but you’re convinced you won’t sleep, you just won’t sleep no matter how hard you try (will-power).

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets. A 'set' as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec 'focused moments'. Focus + heart + visualization ===> results. Vv.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets.
A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’.
Focus + heart + visualization ===> results.
Vv.

For any worthwhile change to be sustainable and permanent in your personality or behaviour, you should first involve change in your belief-systems and self-image (change the control your shadow has over you). This change in self-image needs to be followed up with a quality plan and quality implementation for any successful change in your lifestyle.

We make decisions (small and big) every single moment of every day of our lives. To me, most if not all decisions in life come down to 2 things:

  1. Plan
  2. Implementation

You need these 2 things if you want to get results. That is easy to understand. It follows then that to achieve QUALITY RESULTS, you need to have a QUALTIY Plan and have QUALITY implementation.

So, a question you would ask yourself is “are you going to be a slave to your shadow for the rest of your life” and use it as a ‘handicap’ or are you going to use this shadow as a springboard to achieving greatness?” However, which way you define greatness.

Scientists agree that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and an experience imagined vividly, emotionally and in detail. This is why your shadow can be used as a springboard to achieving greatness if that is what you choose to achieve.

It is yet another of the many decisions you have to make in your life. A choice.

So, it would follow that you need to “see’ through the eyes of the person  you would like to be if you desire to be the person you desire to be.

You need to take control and manage your shadow if you wish to make any worthwhile, sustainable change in YOU and your life. Let me sum it up in this formula:

A quality plan + quality implementation = quality life.

This is what my framework and the products I have developed help people do. I give them a quality plan (tailored to each individual) and I guide them through quality implementation towards a quality result. So, don’t leave such an important aspect of self-achievement with the ‘lottery of life’ attitude, that a big percentage of the population do – you can see this behaviour reflected in the popularity and increasing prevalence of games of chances, led by the gambling industry.

It is the one thing you have some control over, if you desired it. What is needed from you is the courage to manage your shadow better and become master to it and not the servant. Make a quality plan to change your belief systems for the better and use your shadow (self-image) as a spring board to a better YOU, a better LIFE.

Overcoming many small hurdles on your way to achieving your ultimate goal is encouraging. Progress, any form of progress is a motivating factor. So, don't strive for perfection, instead seek progress ... towards your ideal SELF. Vv

Overcoming many small hurdles on your way to achieving your ultimate goal is encouraging.
Progress, any form of progress is a motivating factor.
So, don’t strive for perfection, instead seek progress … towards your ideal SELF.
Vv

So, if there is one important investment you will ever make and abstain from putting the ‘cart before the horse’ like the majority of people do, is to work on your shadow. In order to do this, you need to understand your shadow, understand the REAL YOU. You need to increase your awareness. The first step to any form of self-improvement.

To do this, to understand – you need to work towards simplifying things. Matter of fact, in the beginning you need to ‘over-simplify’ things to understand things better – to ‘manage your funnel better’.

So, that is your first step, simplify YOU. Simplify your life. Make the complex, simple. Simplify to understand. Understand you and your shadow. Seek to understand the master-slave relationship that exists. Before becoming a master of the many other external things in life, become a master to yourself – your shadow.

Work towards managing this master-slave relationship in your favour. Take better control of your shadow by understanding and changing your self-image, with a vivid, clear, emotional, sensory vision of the person you want to be.

If you have children, watch them play ‘pretend’ games. Understand your shadow by adopting this “lets pretend” attitude, and play the role of whomever you want to be. My kids just don’t go out of character until the pretend game has ended. Imagination is one thing my kids have helped me improve over the last few years of fatherhood.

So continue to work on your imagination and believe in your dreams. Believe you can become a better version of YOU and try ‘pretending’ you ARE before YOU ARE. After-all, your shadow cannot tell the difference between “The real me” and the ‘the one I see’.

Managing my shadow better, helped me towards representing Australia twice at the World Natural Body-building Championships and be placed in the Top 5 in the world in consecutive years. It has also been one of the reasons over 84% of everyone I have ever helped over the last 10 years have successfully achieved their goals or better.

So, don’t be a slave to your shadow. Instead work towards becoming the master that you deserve to be and be the best you can be, for YOU first (in whatever worthwhile goal you have), and by default everyone gets the best of you too. Be the best you can be to live the best life you can live.

Besides, I read somewhere a long time ago that life is like a parachute, you only have one chance to open/live it.

Choose well.

All the best.

Until next time,

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

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

Side Triceps pose in the heat of competition at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Contest held in NY, USA. Represented Australia. Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World. Repeated this in 2008.

Side Triceps pose in the heat of competition at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Contest held in NY, USA.
Represented Australia.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Repeated this in 2008.

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