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Creativity evolves from a state of child-like innocence

Find YOU.
Find clarity.
Find Life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only I’m better at it.

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

Open up to your inner creative power

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

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

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

I love 💓 love stories. Don’t you?

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

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

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

This Mysterious Thing

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

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

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

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

He wrote –

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

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

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

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

The old captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ muscled 💪monk 💭

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

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

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Be the oddly-shaped cornerstone of your own Masterpiece than just another brick in the wall of someone else’s Mansion

I seems we are in the midst of a revolution ..
A revolution of sorts … information, perceived freedom, mystical and empowerment … amongst many others

It’s not natural, afterall

Schooling, we were told gets you a job. But, to me, an education – self education, builds wealth.

We’ve bought into a model that taught us to embrace the system, to consume insatiably … to spend for pleasure and to separate ourselves from work. We’ve been taught that this approach works… but it DOES NOT (not anymore).

This GAP keeps us from succeeding, cripples the growth of our society, & makes us really stressed. We are all racing towards something, praising each other for being ‘busy’. What is that something? It seems “natural” to live the life so many of us live, but in fact, it’s quite recent and totally man-made.

It is not so natural, afterall.

Having a ‘growth mind-set’ is far better than having a closed one.
Be curious, Stay curious.

Big Business Controls Us

The BIG BUSINESS control us.

Most who are caught up in this ‘system’ understand this. Our schooling taught us through years of study to be the perfect worker, the perfect employee. We exist in a corporate manufacturing mindset, one so complete that anyone off the grid seems like an oddity. In the last few years, though, it’s becoming clear that people who reject the worst of the current system are actually MORE likely to succeed.

There are many examples of these quirky, weirdos who never finished college – two of which are – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They were mavericks in their thinking and not only dared to dream but … they dared to dream real big. They pursued what they loved and became very good at simplifying the complex. The magic was in the intelligence behind the thinking in taking complexity to simplicity. This is far more difficult than cramming for exams or remembering facts. 

As Steve Jobs said –

Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Classrooms have been teaching the wrong stuff. It has been reinforcing the wrong stuff for years. School teaches us Fear and it has been very good at it. Decades of school have drilled that into us …& still doing to our children – fear, fear and more fear. Fear of getting a D-minus, fear of not getting a job right out of school. Fear of not fitting in.

Don’t let that fear engulf your thinking and cloud it. Clean up your thinking, as Steve Jobs said and take a page out of his book … to work hard at simplifying the complex, whatever complexity it is that you are facing. 

Then … find your magic and … 

Move your mountain.

Good people cannot stand by and let injustice happen … which removes the key element of Freedom – dignity.

Question is does school still work or prepare you for work?

What do you remember from your school years … your university years … and/or are you still studying? I remember there being some very good teachers and some ordinary teachers. At university, I can count less than a handful of lecturers that were great teachers. Two of them, I am still friends with and in communication to this day.

What is one of our worst fears?

Yes, apparently, apart from snakes and public speaking, we hate being seen as ‘different‘. This fear is propagated in school, in the whole education system.

Here’s what more schooling does & continues  to teach people –

  • Fit in
  • Follow instructions
  • Take good notes
  • Cram for tests and dong miss deadlines
  • Don’t ask questions
  • Don’t challenge authority
  • Have a good resume’
  • Don’t fail
  • Don’t say anything that might embarrass you
  • Don’t answer back

Etc…

Question is, does school still work or prepare you for work in today’s fast changing world. I think the education system needs a big overhaul as the existing paradigm simply does not work and does very little for the individual in a fast-changing world. 

We have seen hints of alternative methods of schooling during this period of covid lock-down, but is it enough? Or, are we just going to go back to ‘how things were?” 

For me, anyway … I respect the system that we had (and still have) as it was the best system that was available but personally, I never let schooling get in the way of my education. 

Be YOU.
As YOU are.
Accept the uniqueness … and weirdness that you know you are.
Embrace YOU.
Never imitate.

Being a mis-fit, the outsider, the rebel and weirdo is a strength

Being you, and no one else but you, takes courage. Especially in a world that is continuously trying to make you someone else. Courage is the foundation of everything you can do with significance. As stated by philosopher Osho – 

“You cannot be truthful, if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving, if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot enquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence, courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Many imitate because of fear of being ostracised or being ridiculed. Seek first, to know yourself and love yourself. Self-love is a positive and productive force as it drives us to test our limits, impels us to do our best and compels us not to settle for anything less.

Be conscious of your unique-ness or weirdness and understand how you can serve the world better, with the unique strengths that you possess. I believe, being a misfit, an outsider, the rebel and weirdo is a strength in this day and age. It is less superficial and I think the world deserves and is hungry for authenticity.

Remember this: “consciousness of our strength increases it.” – Vauvenaregues (1715 – 1747).

Be you, have courage.

Those who dream … to be different … and aim to share their unique selves with the world, to help … get the love back in return.

We are what we think

Each of us a searching for beauty, for our truth, but each of us need to discover the truth for ourselves. What keeps us in the ‘dark’ is all up inside our heads:

We are what we think.

The mind is like a gushing spring and at any and every moment, we’re thinking about dozens of different things. To a large extent, we inevitably live inside our heads. This constant ebb and flow consciousness can take us to places we do not want to go and … should not allow ourselves to go.

I believe schools/colleges/universities… should teach ONLY TWO things :

  1. how to THINK 🤔 & find solutions to interesting problems/challenges. We should also be learning how to Think extensively, not intensively.
  2. Lead (this skill of leading needs to be taught … like the system has taught compliance. The world not only needs more Leaders … but also Champion Leaders. Leaders who are socially smart & responsible purpose, ability to connect & have a positive impact on society).

And I believe we need good QUALITY teachers/educators. As Malcolm Gladwell mentions in his book “Tipping Point”, the quality of the teachers have a bigger bearing on the performance of the students than the number of students per teacher. Great teachers in all areas of life are precious. Bad & lousy teachers/lecturers cause damage that last forever.

Bad & lousy teachers are dangerous but don’t blame them … get rid of them. Blame the Corporate system that still requires complaint workers who do well at Tests.

Here’s what I imagine :

I imagine a teaching facility that has sign something like this –

We teach people to THINK 💭 for themselves, to take initiative and to create their beauty … their truths, to question the status quo and to do everything with more care, more trust and more compassion. We teach our graduates 🎓 to interact with transparency and understand that more consumption is Not the Answer to social problems. We teach people to have courage in their convictions and be Leaders. To take a stand for what they believe in“

I imagine schools/colleges/higher education organised around teaching people to BELIEVE.

In themselves & realising their dreams to make  the world a better place .. & live a life of significance.

Believe.
Even if you don’t believe in anything … Believe in belief, itself.

Believe in yourself

The real foundation is to treat your ‘uniqueness’, your difference as the cornerstone to building your Mansion … not be just another brick in someone else’s building/mansion/dreams.

Keep seeking until you find what you’re looking for. When you find what you’ve been looking for, you will most probably find pain and suffering but it is in this pain and suffering that you will discover your treasures. For it is the everyday challenges that are in itself, heroic: the little battles we all fight to stay focused and do our best, to overcome doubts and fears, to keep our cool when all about us may be losing theirs. 

To truly master the art of worldly wisdom, you must win a more inward struggle, as Baltasar Gracia’n (1601-58) states – 


“First be master over yourself if you would be master over others.”

Above all else, believe in YOU … believe in yourself.

Create your own Bible and be the best your can be, always, as Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) said –

just improve yourself; that is the only thing you can do to better the world.”

I agree.

Do the right thing, always and keep your mind pure. Everyone knows this, even a five year old child. However, very few truly understands and practices it.

Schooling gets you a job but self-education, I believe, builds true wealth.

Your choice.

Cheers & Ahoy!

Yours in iron, heart, mind and muscles,

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

We all need to dream but have our feet firmly on the ground.
A strong foundation of support, unconditional love and good Life Education is critical to having a successful life.

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Care/Neglectful & how it relates to Building bigger muscles & relationships

Balance & symmetry brings you closer to harmony … closer to infinity


Balance & symmetry 

Here’s how weight training for muscles 💪 with balance @ symmetry as a goal can be likened to a solid caring relationship.

When you train with care, your sets are sound (theoretically, principally & logically), unambiguous & smooth.

I have always believed that the care you take with what you do (in & out of the gym) is a virtue of every great Bodybuilding champion & leader. This also applies to anyone who is passionate about something or someone. 

Do everything with care. Don’t hurt others & most importantly, don’t hurt YOU

Purpose ambiguous or uncertain 

In contrast, neglectful training is carelessly made: your sets are awkwardly executed; your choice of exercise is dodgy & your number of repetitions of each set is awry; your logic faulty or difficult to understand; your purpose ambiguous or uncertain.

This leads to countless unnecessary premature injuries. And in the relationship side, people get hurt and you get hurt too by saying and doing things with less care and compassion that they needed. 

I say, “unnecessary” because I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began training with heavy weights in the gym.

“How?! You may wonder. Well, it is not because of ignorance. No, there are many key factors .. one is simply learning from all the greats that have come before me … learning from other people’s experiences and being humble enough to be more coachable.

The latter (neglectful training) is what I observe with the majority of trainees in the gym.

Learn to be a better builder.. to build your bridge from where you are to where you desire to be. It can only be done with care, trust & compassion. Three things that this world needs more of

That kind of care

The moral: take THAT kind of care, even though you’ll think you don’t have to (especially if you want that relationship with that special someone to last). And if you’re not handicapped, take extra care.

I’ve always believed that everyone should keep these two primary goals in mind when trying to build good quality muscles 💪

  1. control
  2. Feel

It takes courage 

It takes courage to be patient, to forego instant gratification for long-term benefit. It takes courage to do the Right Thing. It takes courage to do what the majority are not doing. It takes courage to Lead.

As a mentor told me –

You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”

Our ability to string a few sets of exercises together without difficulty may blind you to the many other ways of stringing them together …

BETTER.

Your relationships you value most can be better . You deserve better.

Try the “care philosophy “ next time If you’re not already doing it.

Get in touch with me in 3 months and let me know how it went for you.

Thank you

yours in iron, mind and muscles 💪,

Paul e 💝alentine

A mentor told me once – “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Me & Glenn. One ☝️ or the hundreds of members of my Family Gym I once owned & managed for 7 years. They came (& drove past up to 15 other gyms in some cases…  because I cared. I gave them “results with care” (my slogan)

Quality lean muscle that “flows” takes time & a goal of balance & symmetry

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Having “Common Sense” is weird but is a KEY to being a Leader

Have courage. common sense. ability to reason. Like ALL Great Leaders.

The New Style is yesterday’s ‘weird

The new style is yesterday’s weird … let me elaborate as I story-tell …

I played and excelled at many sports but chose the sport of Bodybuilding or Physique Artistry, just like the greatest Bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I thought he was weird (abnormal compared to the majority of people). People thought I was weird because of my sport choice Almost 30 years ago now. They thought that – “once-upon-a-time” but not anymore.

Everyone knows who the most famous bodybuilder of all time is – Governor, movie A-lister, Humanitarian and great-all-round human, Mr Arnold Schwarzennegger. Now, over 250,000+ people flock to the Arnold Sports, USA Festival every year and, this is all over the world., even one here in Melbourne, Australia.

We’ve been in a Fitness revolution and every “Tom, Dick & Harry” wants to be bodybuilder. It no longer is weird to go the the gym and lift Weights ‍♂ and train to look your best.

Funny how definitions of weird changes over time.

never forget this

Weird could be “insanity” or ‘vision’

Very religious and spiritual people could be considered “weird” by many too. Someone driven to achieve an IMpossible goal because he/she has a dream but no one else “sees” it , but them. Weird could be insanity or vision. For example, if an entrepreneur has an idea and …. Succeeds, people say he/she is a visionary, but if it doesn’t, they say the person was insane (& so weird).

Genuine Leaders/Great Leaders & Champions of industry & different areas of life fall into this category. They create & innovate … bring about or manifest into the physical reality.

They SEE “what CAN BE”, instead of just “what IS”. This could be considered wierd by some who can’t visualise or even try to simulate possibilities.

The list of what is “weird “ and what isn’t could go on forever. We can just agree to disagree, as it seems it is a matter of opinion anyway.

I think  whether you think  you’re weird or not, does not really matter. There will always be people who would disagree with you. What’s most important is that being “wierd” is a key part of being a Leader. Yes, almost all great Leaders share many common traits, one of which of being weird.

Weird or not, ALL Leaders need to have “common sense” and not get caught up on whether or not you or people think your weird.

The warrior of love 💓
It takes courage to be Leader, to have the Strength to take on more than you ever thought possible.
The most important Power of all.

Many people are scared of what other people would think of them.

Many people are scared of what other people would think of them, instead of ‘fear of failure‘ as many believe. I never have, thanks to my grandmother who raised me. She would ask me when I hesitated because “other people were watching” and say –

“Do they feed you?”

I would reply – “no”

“Do they clothe you?” She would ask

And I would say “no”

Then, she would say – “then don’t worry about it … now go Out there and put on a performance they won’t forget!”

And I would. I’ve had her voice in my head all my life. Has never failed me … I don’t suffer from “nerves” like many people do. Now, this could be considered weird.

Take a stand … a stand of what you believe… IN… and know you have support of the angels

Common sense isn’t ‘common’ anymore

Real Leaders simply have common sense . One of the main reasons I say this is that , as a human being – YOU, me & everyone … we can agree that the ONLY thing that we’ve got going for ourselves is –

  1. the ability to reason
  2. your common sense

What I mean is that if you don’t know a “dip of horse  sh%t “ from a “dip of vanilla ice-cream”, you’ll NEVER MAKE IT as a Leader.

Whether you’re weird or not. That is a cold but hard fact! It seems common sense isn’t common anymore.

People ask – “why?” … I /My curiosity continually askS “why not?”
Seek possibilities… always

YOU

The hardest thing to do is also the “weirdest “ thing to do: to just be “you. But, this could be the greatest thing you may ever accomplish in your life …

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson-

This, ultimately, takes courage. Do you have “what it takes?” To be weird. It brings you closer to love . Being truly “you” and not an imitation of someone else … may be weird , but that also means that you have tonnes of courage (unlike many, who speak it but don’t actually DO it).

But having courage is the beginning and foundation or everything you will and can achieve in life … that is work h achieving.

“You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”

  • Osho

So I say be courageous… be weird but ultimately, be YOU. However, that opens up another question – Do you know ‘YOU?”

I mean if Scientists agree that despite having come a long way with advances in Science & Technology and the world around us but still think ‘who we are (our minds), is a baffling mystery. Question remains: Who are you?

Cheers to being weird!! & Cheers from Sunny  Sydney, Australia

Best of Vitality to you tribe members.

Yours in iron, pockets of thought-energy & muscles ,

Paul e Valentine

**Personal Life & Lifestyle Doctor**

Valentine Vitality THINK TANK

ME.
In Tiger form.

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Are you a “Butt” Man?

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

Forgotten Muscles

Just to let you know, first up … I am a Butt Man and also a Boobs Man too, in case you’re interpreting the subject heading from ‘that’ perspective. However, I am writing about a more important issue for Men, like you and others out there … which if, unattended to, can lead to some rather unwanted health issues down the track. Let me elaborate …

You see, I’ve always loved observing people, from when I was a kid. I love observing humans in all walks of life, doing all kinds of activities and apart from a growing problem of very bad posture, many people are losing their bums.

It has become, I believe, the forgotten muscles.

People, especially men over 40 are experiencing an ever-disappearing behind or as the French term calls it – derrie’re. Matter of fact, I believe people have weaker posterior chain muscles in general. What are the ‘posterior chain’ muscles?

They are basically, the muscles that behind you, from your head to your heels – everything connecting your joints together.

Men are at risk of leaving their behinds, behind. They’re losing their butts!

Many men past 40 don’t know this but if they looked at themselves in the mirror lately, it is plain to see that the body profile has changed, and not for the better. Where has this very important muscle group disappeared to? The bum is made up of the gluteus muscles  – the muscular masses posterior to the pelvis formed by the three gluteal muscles (glutes): gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles are in each cheek.

It seems that these amazingly strong muscles have disappeared and replaced with fat. Very sad, indeed or the part that was once the butt has moved to the gut or belly for some but for many, the arse has just vanished. Does this happen for all men? Certainly not but I believe it is happening more frequently to men that have a desk-job, sitting for hours on end every day, hunched over their keyboard looking at computer screens with very bad posture.

Stand up from where you are and go look at your glutes/bum in the mirror. Feel them, tense those muscles, do they feel strong? Can you see them when you turn to your side. If you can’t, you got to do something about them ass cheeks.

Only if you’re an Butt-Man, like I am.

Progress shots of the ‘back double biceps’ pose prior to contest. Working your ‘back/posterior” muscles is key. It is a life-saving activity you can do for no one else but YOU.

Only one half

In my observations of Boyz to Men in the gym over the last 30 years, I can comfortably say that the upper body is the half of the body that they like to train. It’s as if the bottom half, the ‘other half’ does not exist. They look in the mirror and their eyes don’t seem to look at what’s below the waist, just like seeing only the ‘tip of the ice-berg’ when you see an ice-berg in the ocean.

Most men tend to put unwanted fat deposits in certain areas as they age. This is in the form of visceral fat around the mid-section and neck and chest area (“bitch tits”) and the butt or arse area. In this social media era, many men are trying to lose weight, fast and some are going about it the right way – building muscle with resistance training and combining this with balanced nutrition and cardiovascular exercises.

Problems in the arse tend to arise when they lose muscle in the bum/arse as they lose fat in that area too. Even those men who go to the gym regularly can lose bum muscle or glute muscle too. The latter is rather sad because of the rather foolish approach many men carry out their training.

The culprit: these men only focus weight training on their upper body, only seeing one half of the body. The other half (the lower half) does not exist to them. The loss of muscle in the arse/glute area is due to these men conveniently embrace dementia-related symptoms with regards to the existence of the bum.

To them, the arse does not exist.

Work your back muscles .. you may just build a cape as wide as Batman’s

Maximus and minimus is very strong

As mentioned earlier, the gluteal muscle group is made up of three gluteal muscles in each ass cheek forming a powerful muscular girdle that keeps the pelvis stable and moves the body forward. It is arguably the strongest muscle group in the body.

The glute muscles are not specifically activated and utilised by walking or running and exercises like planks and crunches don’t help either. The maximus and minimus is very strong and are engaged with exercises such as squats, lunges, hip extensions and bridging.

Single leg squats or leg presses and walking sideways helps but unless you’re a crab, it is quite pointless.

Abdominals & Thighs … for the audience. What you should work at is the back/posterior muscles which includes the butt

Exercises to boost your arse/butt size

One day in the past, sometime in the 7 year period I owned and ran my Family Boutique Gym, one of the male members yelled out from the other side of the gym saying –

“Paul, you’ve got the biggest arse I have ever seen on a man!” and joked –

“Paul and his bus” (meaning my backside).

To maintain and even build the buttock muscles, certain exercises must be technically correct. You must have patience and allow yourself to be coachable. You should focus on the functional value of performing these exercise for your overall health and strength benefit.

The aesthetic benefits should be a side-benefit not the main motivating factor (even though there are faster options available from cosmetic surgeons who suck fat out of the belly and re-inject it in to the buttocks – yuck!).

Forget that shit, speak to your Ass-Cheeks and work it like a Real Man+ by doing exercises with weights in the gym that builds these muscles up – squats, deadlifts and leg presses.

My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7 years.
All working towards being the ‘best the can be’

Emerging trend for Men

According to the American Society for Asesthetic Plastic Surgey, getting ‘butt surgery’ is an emerging trend for men. Really?! Apparently, men account for almost 10 percent of cosmetic buttocks procedures. Twenty years ago this figure was less than 2 percent.

There’s also a cheaper option available – buying padded bottom-enhancing underpants or trunks that provide a lift, like Calvin Klein’s “Body Boost Butt Trunk”, that has hidden support straps to boost the rear profile. So, men can have the appearance of a powerful behind, without doing the hard work to earn it and not having to pay thousands of dollars for surgery.

Never thought Men, Real Men … would stoop this low. But, it happens and is happening more frequently.

work your ‘back muscles’

A strong butt is a strong back and good posture

As you now know the glutes are vital to your movement and has certain sexual and aesthetic appeal. However, you may not know that these same muscles are crucial in protecting the back and lower limb joints from injury. They hold the pelvis steady and keep them aligned with the legs and the torso.

If the butt muscles aren’t strong enough they won’t do their job properly – to maintain erect posture for the upper torso and so the lower back muscles have to do extra work and this leads to chronic back pain which a lot of office workers suffer from.

This could also lead to hamstring problems as they have to work harder and overcompensate. Problems can and will also travel downwards to the knees and ankles. So, as you can see, apart from the aesthetic of a big strong butt, their role in having a strong back and good posture is key.

Back double biceps.
I had this pose covered … from top to bottom.
I won this division in the NSW Titles back in 2007.
work your ‘butt. work your back/posterior muscles

Credit Card Test

Here’s what I’d recommend to you if you feel you’ve been suffering from gluteal amnesia, go the gym and start doing the exercises that target the buttocks, namely – squats, leg presses and deadlifts. But, you’ve got to learn to improve your ‘mind-muscle’ connection and focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Always be in control and feel the muscle.

The glutes have become the forgotten muscles because most strength-training routines do not isolate these key muscles.

Here’s a little strength test for the largest of these muscles – the gluteus maximus that you could do in the comfort and privacy of your home or office. Take out one of your credit cards from your wallet and place in between your butt cheeks. Comfortable? No, it isn’t but that is not the point.

Now, squeeze those ass cheeks tight, holding the card in place and then run across the room. If those glutes cannot hold the card in place, then, Huston, we’ve got a problem … a butt problem!

Honesty test: so, how did you go? Is the card still there in your butt?

A friend of mine getting a sun tan on my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
A hot day it was. …

Don’t worry, be happy

I love that reggae song called “Don’t worry, be happy” that came out in the late 80s if I recall correctly. It is not the end of the world, if your credit card was left behind on the floor as you ran to the other side of the room.

If you have a butt problem, believe me, you’re not alone in this world. I believe most people, particularly, most Men actually have butt problems. You need to get them working well again and you can and … you will.

My son Zachary and I at a family member’s wedding. A lovely day.

Here’s my tip: get your lazy ass off the gym, ask for a more conventional assessment by a suitably experienced and qualified personal trainer and get cracking on your butt investment. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who is lazy … humans generally are … we all, are, me included.

After all, aren’t you an butt/ Ass-Man?

I know I AM!

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & being an Ass-Man and loving it!

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
my two children a number of years ago

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Making your Reverse Bucket List is a key to your Happiness

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

Don’t speak in absolute terms, consider relativity

Whenever my two children make a statement of definiteness like “Dad, this is the best day!”. I would say –

“That’s great, but best day … compared to or relative to what? Is it better to yesterday or last week’s or five years ago on your birthday?”

As Einstein said, every matter is inter-connected to all other matter and one cannot speak of time without considering space and vice versa. So, in effect, to speak completely about space/subject/matter, you should always include the concept of time. To do this, you have to compare it or make the subject ‘relative’ to something else/subject/event.

We’re all seeking success in life or at least our perception of what ‘success’ is. Both the Christian and Non-Christians desire success but like most things in life, success for these two groups should not be compared in absolute terms but one should consider relativity.

Success, relative to the goals.

Be YOU.
As YOU are.
Accept the uniqueness … and weirdness that you know you are.
Embrace YOU.
Never imitate.

Be not better than, but, instead – different from

The difference is in world-view or perspective.

One world-view sees only the here and now, the other sees the un-seen, the ‘make-believe’, the imagination come alive. What one’s world-view or perspective is (or to put it another way, what one believes) has a huge effect on one’s attitude and therefore, actions one takes.

Individually, God has called us to be: salt and light (see Matthew 5:13-16), servants (see Mark 10:45) and stewards (see Matthew 25:14-30).

The idea of being salt and light tells us that God wants me to be not better than, but, instead – different from.

So, the Christian may or may not have more than his neighbour, but that does not distinguish him or set him apart and be ‘different from’. In my eyes, what makes him or her – the Christian, different from the world is the absence of anxiety.

Those who dream … to be different … and aim to share their unique selves with the world, to help … get the love back in return.

The Best Pirates Treasures

The strong Christian, I believe, does not have uncontrolled anxiety that may have resulted from the loss of some material possession or not receiving something that God may have denied.

No, the Christian’s UN-anxious mind-set gives him wings.

Wings to fly when others fill heavy and weighed down with soaring expectations and desires of unbridled, insatiable success.

You see, the Christian’s treasures are not of this earth. If the Christian were a Pirate, sailing the seas of life scouring for treasures, it would be the treasures that is in undiscovered lands that are most appealing. It is treasures that are ‘too good to be true’, treasures that are only in dreams in Fairy-lands that bring unrelenting enthusiasm.

For a Christian, his or treasures is not of this earth. The world and its temporal toys do not brain-wash him. I would advise against indulging every whim and craving, for happiness is not achieved by conspicuous consumption but by keeping desires to a minimum. As the philosopher Epicurus said –

“A man is wealthy in proportion to the things he can do without.”

As I see it, the Christian prays for all but is least anxious about the tremendous uncertainty facing national and the world economy.

Like a Pirate, for a Christian, the Best Pirate’s Treasures are waiting for him in heaven.

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

To own nothing is the beginning of happiness

Obviously, that Christian attitude is not ‘normal’ and could possibly fall under the ever growing definition of ‘insanity’ in today’s society. But, then again, years ago, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by evil spirits and needed to be burned out of them.

This attitude may not be ‘normal’ in non-Christian’s eyes and that is ok because I’d like to think of it as being not being better than, but different from. This attitude of state of mind sprouts from having a different world-view and perspective on life.

The Christian’s perspective is eternal. It is held in the hope of treasures in a far-away land … a far-away land we call Heaven. What All great Pirate and Viking dreams are made of, a place that the Viking’s call “Valhalla”.

The pursuit of that kind of happiness is like a dog chasing it’s tail or trying to catch a butterfly. You cannot slip into the same dress twice because the trend of the moment has already flowed on. As the great mad, bad and dangerous Philosopher, Diogenes says –

“To own nothing is the beginning of happiness

This different perspective on life allows the Christian to be free from worry and anxiety.

An attitude of gratitude is key to living a significant life

The material possessions of this world does not consume the Christian for the real treasures are in eternity. Maybe, this is a big part of finding happiness – so many in today’s modern societies work 60-to-80 hour working-weeks just so they can afford the latest fashion or tick off their never-ending “bucket lists”.

An attitude of gratitude is the way of a strong Christian as he or she understands that it a key to living a significant life, filled with richness beyond just the narrow-focus of material possessions and money.

I have always believed, one of the best ways to show gratitude every single day is to make what I refer a ‘Reverse Bucket List” and remind yourself by giving thanks to God for all the things, people, places and activities that you have experienced so far that make up the greatest gift given to you – your Life.

So, whether you’re a Christian or not, I think we can all benefit by creating our own individual Reverse Bucket Lists and run through them off and tick them off your list, in doing so (giving Gratitude to God , if you’re a Christian) and simply, re-living that pocket of happiness that you experienced (if you’re a non-Christian).

I’m sure the Reverse Bucket List will appeal to both the Christian and Non-Christian. No one is better … we are just different. I strongly believe, Making your Reverse Bucket List is a key to your happiness. It is one of the reasons Fijians are the most happiest people on this planet. They give thanks for everything in their life, every single day.

A good habit to learn. A good habit to have. It may just build more life in to your years. Try it, see for yourself.

Your choice, your life.

 

All the very best in your choice,

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & treasures to feed all great Vikings and Pirates

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

Your body is the physical manifestation of your mind. It is your ‘temple of God”.
Treat it with respect, clean it, maintain it and repair it.
Love it.
Accept Love.
Give Love.
Build the best temple you can muster.
This is a form of gratitude to God for giving you that body and life to live.

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Death of a Cubicle Worker

Bigger isn’t necessarily better but … it can smash things (like the Hulk)

Bigger isn’t necessarily better

I remember the last words my boss of almost three years say to me as I walked out of his office –

Paul, bigger isn’t necessarily better’.

I nodded at him, smiled and left. This happened a long time ago, back in 2003.

You see I had an offer to go work at one of the Top 2 Accounting & Business Advisory Firms in the world and I was leaving my role as a Senior Accountant of a 2nd-tier Accounting & Business Firm in Sydney, Australia (Top 20 in Australia).

It was exciting and even though my boss was happy for me, I could tell he was a little sad. I had handled his clients for almost three years and did a good job at it, working very hard. Heck, for about six months after I joined, my Manager upped and walked out and I was thrust in to an “acting Manager” role. I held the fort, so to speak for half a year while they looked for someone appropriately qualified and skilled.

He liked me. I was loyal and I was there when he needed me. This was reflected in my six-monthly salary review, I was handsomely compensated and was at the top of the salary range of my peers. “Not bad” I thought.

I could not foresee the future and being a candidate for the death of a cubicle worker.

Funny thing is that that piece of advice also applies to muscles and bodybuilding. The guy with the biggest muscles doesn’t necessarily win on stage in competition. That is because the guy with the most balanced & symmetrical physique with the right muscle: joint ratios and knowledge of the ‘art of posing’ is what builds a champion physique.

I’d understand that fully in my next phase of life, only a few years from where I was then …

 

Exactly.
No one can truly see the future but we can certainly extrapolate current patterns to help predict the future.

When being your Best isn’t good enough

I was hired at a newly-created level just below the “Senior” level I was at my old Firm. It was a blow to my ego, initially, as I felt that I was being demoted. I brushed that out of my mind and told myself that ‘it was only a title’.

Thing is, that initial thought bugged me right through my experience there and every other thing that bugged me just seemed much bigger than what it was. Hey, I was back at a Big Four! (My first Corporate work experience was at the largest of the Big 7 at that time – Arthur Andersen, just after graduation in the late 90s, where I spent over 2 years as a Risk Consultant).

It is now the Big Four.

Was nice to be back, or so I thought.

Let me just say that …I failed at my role. This is when I learned how being your best was not good enough.

I was going from a mid-tier to a Big Four and that was a ‘step up’ in the world, or so we believed. My first, heck, my first three months was nerve wrecking and admittedly, I found the place intimidating, cold and I was filled with fear but also a bit of excitement and loads of nervous energy.

But I had a bit of pride about it all.

I was sort of average at University. Many students had been far above me on the Dean’s list and graduated with honours and straight A’s. Not me. I had never hit any academic home-run except when I was in Primary and High School.

But that was a long time ago…. and besides, I was literally practising my social skills and building relationships and making connections in many sections of life. Skills like honing ‘small talk’ in various social situations, comfortably having conversations with people from all levels of the university and society- from the Chancellor, to having beers with Heads of Departments, to Gym Managers to gardeners. I spent a lot of that time mixing and socialising and finding out more about people as I ran a small business on the side too.

Besides there just so much to do besides study for straight As, and working on developing ‘me’ as a whole person and …. I had the energy and foresight to do that.

“What did my employer see in me? “ I used to ask myself.

They were looking for “well-rounded” individuals with experience along with brains… not just super-brains with no ‘people skills’. Ha! All that time running a business while studying and socialising wasn’t a waste after all. Apparently, many studies from major educational institutions indicate that the ability to connect with people is a key skill to have in life, a part of what is now commonly known as ‘Emotional Intelligence’.

One thing that immediately bugged me after getting that ‘newly-created’ title was I wasn’t getting much more than what I was getting at my old job.

I went from a Window Cubicle with great views to a ‘hot-desk’ and great work colleagues and a wonderful culture to something that was very different. A hot desk means that you don’t really work there and they don’t give you a permanent spot. You’re meant to be at your client’s premises, because if you are then, you’re charging your time to the client.

The firm makes it’s money that way, they had many perks. Employees loved that. I wasn’t phased.

The office was huge. An open-flat plan, comprising of a cubicle-walled jigsaw puzzle that felt like one of those boxes they make white mice run through to find the cheese.

Sometimes taking a bad photo of yourself can be very good for your own good. Just like sometimes, the greatest hurt teaches you the most.

Our Life-Controlling Mechanism

We can fill our minds with inspirational messages encouraging us to “Just do it!” or “Follow your heart!” so when we can’t do something or we recognize we aren’t good at something, we feel stuck. If we quit, that’s a problem (“Just do it! Don’t give up!”)

Sticking with it and quitting is a losing game, it is a lose-lose situation. No amount of positive affirmation can get you out of this abyss.

You feel like you’re unable to move at all.

Not able to think straight .. I felt like an imposter .. that I wasn’t good enough to be amongst the best of the best … not a good feeling to have at all.

I grinded my teeth as I slept, tossing and turning at night, and waking up with a feeling of dread in my stomach. I couldn’t handle that immense feeling of failure that kept rising and rising. Was it that I couldn’t do my job or I just lost all care about doing it? I’m not sure what happened first, my memory may have been a bit distorted.

I didn’t know where to turn.

I felt trapped.

You see, each of us have our own self-image, which kind of determines the kind of scope of person we are – it is our Life Controlling Mechanism. You see, we all have self-imposed limitations and we cannot outgrow these limits we place on ourselves.

We can only set new limits within which we must live.

Sometimes inspiration is not what you need, it is acceptance.

Acceptance so that you can move on and one day be in a position to say –

“I used to do that at one time in my life, but I no longer do”

A very powerful phrase to say. We all need to think we are making progress in life, no matter how small ‘that’ progress is. Saying ‘I used to do that?” gives you at least a perception that you’re kind of progressing in life.

Never give up.
In less than I year of leaving my cubicle in the Corporate Environment I was standing and competing against the best natural bodybuilders in the world at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships in New York, USA.
Find your strengths .. know your strengths .. continuously build your strength on strengths.
Never give up

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

Especially if you’re hard on yourself like I am.

What doorways are you trying to squeeze yourself through right now where … you know what?

You really fit just fine. You are not the problems. It is the environment that you are working in, that is the problem. If you take a fish out of water and expect it to climb a tree, it will fail miserably.

Does the environment make us believe it’s all our fault? Yes, yes, definitely yes.

We live in a world where the screws are on tight. There’s a capitalistic shrink wrap making sure everything is fitter, happier, and more productive. So sometimes the stress on all of us builds too high.

There’s no room for error.

Now, that doesn’t mean my bosses at the Top Firm were bad, they absolutely weren’t. They had lofty expectations and needed me to help. Fast! The screws were tight on them, too.

No wonder it’s such a hard lesson to learn as we’re falling that we’re okay, we’re okay, we’re okay. And maybe it’s just not about us. It simply isn’t about us.

Well, nobody is telling us that. So we always think it’s always about us.

Maybe what we need is simply – a Fresh Start.

I did.

A few years later I did what I really loved to do and that was to coach people how to be their Best – I owned and managed my Family Gym for about seven years. That failure at that cubicle job had many benefits, it spurred me on to very intense self-reflections and an identification of personal strengths. So much so, that in less than a year of leaving the cubicle world, I was competing at my first of two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, representing Australia.

Finally, this fish was in the ‘right environment’ and my Best was good enough… good enough to be one of the best in the world at my chosen activity (Top 5 in the world two years in a row, representing the country I love).

You see I’ve learned many things from that failed cubicle job experience and one of it is that it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

I wonder what yours is?

I know one thing for certain … the future of work will see the death of many cubicle workers. It already has as technology has allowed many employees to work from a distance already. Be creative and consider strategies for your future and the future of work, Now.

Never forget: BELIEVE in YOU, first.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk

Learning from the best at something, to be your best is the quickest way to get to where you’re going.
No one can teach you what they don’t know.

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

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

Sitting still is UN-Easy

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

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

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

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

Try it. How did you go?

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

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

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

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

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

ACTing to Create Change

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

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

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

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

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

“Be still and know that I am God.”    

  • Psalm 46:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop and Relax

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

 

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

Try it. See how you feel.

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

 Stress-Free Living

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

  • 1 Peter 3:3-4

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

Begin with YOU … the internal-you.

Then, worry about the external.

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

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

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

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Headship

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

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

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

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

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

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

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

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

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

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headship means responsibility to act in love

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

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

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

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

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

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

 

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

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

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

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

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

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

Real Leadership begins in the home

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

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

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

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

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

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

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

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

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

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

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

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

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

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

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The Christmas Nativity Story speaks to our need for Hope

Find your light.
Light your path.
It is YOUR path.
No one can ride that path with you, but YOU.

Your “Right” to something can be very different to doing the “Right’ thing

I am a human and societal observer.

I have been since I was a child and I love it because you learn a lot, just by watching.

Permit me to make this observation: we must be very careful in speaking of our ‘rights’. I think people who constantly refer to their rights tread on dangerous ground. You see this just about everywhere you go in our modern-day, fast-paced societies.

Your ‘right’ to something can be very different to doing the right thing.

That is part of our reality, or a perception of our reality, at least.

Where the land … meets the sea …. meets the sky

The Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass

I signed up my son and daughter to take part in the Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass a few months earlier. My 8 year old son, Zachary, said that I was wrong not to assume that he wanted to participate in it. He said that he was going to church but was adamant he won’t play the “Sheppard” role in the Nativity Play.

Initially, I was angry but then realised that I was at fault for assuming I had the right exercise authority over him, simply because I was his parent. I subsequently apologised to him and said he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.

My wife, Cathy, subsequently persuaded him to play that Head Sheppard role. And he looked and sounded terrific on stage, saying his lines to Mary and the Angels (my daughter, Olivia, played the role of one of the Angels) at the time of Jesus birth. It was beautiful to see them along with other young children re-enact the scene of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ, our saviour in front of a packed out Church.

My initial failure at persuading my son to do the Shepherd role in the Nativity play also reminded me of how difficult I have found when helping people, help themselves to do the ‘right thing’ as they move towards their best selves. Despite presenting all the evidence and logical reasons for making or choosing healthier options with regards to habits, doing so is very very difficult for many.

Thank you Zachary for the reminder.

Father-son relationships take work
A lot of work

Failing as a Dad

After that heated debate with my son, I contemplated my failure as a Dad in relation to what I was observing quite readily in society – that many were referring to and claiming ‘their Right” but not necessarily considering whether they were doing “the Right” thing.

I thought about these questions: do you have the unqualified right to the respect of your children? Do you have an unqualified right to the respect of your spouse for that matter? Do you have every right to exercise authority over your children?

The answer is – No, you don’t!

You certainly DO NOT have an “unqualified right.”

You have a parental duty from God and you cannot sever that right. So, let’s ask this question: –

“Does and should a person demand his rights?”

So, I believe, God grants us ‘our rights’, but in so doing, these rights are only that, and no more … these rights are only granted to fulfil his or her duties. I know I have failed my children many times in this aspect of parenthood and especially in being a Father. I am certainly far from perfect and still very much a Work-in-progress…. in being the Best Dad I can be and also a better husband to my wife.

What do you think?

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

Duty to God, first

As parents, we automatically get ‘parental duties’ imposed on us and most of us, embrace them. It should not be forgotten that these parental duties apply towards God and to our children. Then, and only then, should we speak of our ‘parental rights’.

Duty to God, first.

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

To exercise and respect, Authority

Each generation speaks of and writes about the rebellious spirit of children and young people of the generation that comes after them. Why do think this is so?

On one hand, it is one of education, whereby I believe, the children have never learned respect for authority as their parents didn’t know better and had not exercised authority. However, on the other hand, it is very possible that these children did not learn respect for authority because the parents misused it. Or parents have completely different views of respect for authority and demonstrate this towards one another in front of the children.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who feel that you’re not respected by something your wife, husband, partner said or did. One or both parties then abuse their authority and supposed power over each other.

It is no wonder, that in life, we have so many examples of men and women, inevitably, abuse power when they attain so much of it.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Authority: a God-given Weapon

We had a major disagreement this morning – my wife, kids and I and some things were said that hurt each other. I needed ‘time-out’ to cool down so I listened to some ‘Enya”. Her musical frequencies (songs) has certainly resonated with my brain wavelengths since I first heard her musci in the early 90s.

All relationships take work and disagreements is simply what people who love each other do … very similar to building and keeping good quality lean muscle mass. You hurt the muscle area (through repeatedly lifting weights and increasing the load/hurt on the muscle over time)… then, feeding it with the necessary nutrition (love and care) and allowing the muscle/person/relationship to heal/recover and become bigger, more shapely and better.

That is a very simplified version of loving relationships.

I think I was guilty of abusing my authority as a Dad and raised my voice unnecessarily when arguing. I was wrong to do that and I demonstrated a lack of control and respect for my power in my family. Others were guilty of it too but I won’t go in to that here.

Authority should not be toyed with. A person that is given that power to wield this authority over others, should understand that it is a God-given weapon.

All who wields this Power (like us, parents), must be constantly vigilant on it’s use and abuse of it. One should always be ‘on guard’ lest you misuse it for selfish ends.

Authority, must never be exercised in an arbitrary, unreasonable manner.

The world is still crying out for more Leaders who exemplify the utmost discipline in the respect of and exercise of authority and power. Leaders that go from good to Great.

Praise the Lord!

My son, the Shepherd

Zachary’s role in the Nativity was – one of the Shepherds.

Got me thinking about the question why, the shepherds?

The announcement of Jesus birth went to the Shepherds, first. Why? I mean, God didn’t go to the Theologians or the elite? The first group would have probably consulted their commentaries and the latter, may have looked around nervously to see if anybody was watching. What about the successful, why not them?

Well, maybe, they would have consulted their calendars because they were so ‘busy.’

Instead, God went to the Shepherds. Why, I ask?

Maybe, it is because they didn’t have a reputation to protect or an axe to grind or a ladder to climb. They were simple men, who maybe, didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs are not found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.

I have seen this re-enactment play out on Christmas Eve masses many times over the years but it is only yesterday in Zachary’s role playing, my son, the Shepherd … that I asked those questions.

Like my failure to persuade my son to take part in the Nativity initially, many things in life and what we call ‘reality’ is heavily influenced in being able to communicate effectively through storytelling. The Nativity is a great story and the Bible has a collection of great stories, written by wonderful storytellers. Stories that connect and move people. Even all these centuries later, like we do today.

Maybe, we can all learn how to be better story-tellers now and for the rest of our lives to be more effective communicators.

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

Christmas is about … Hope … the vision of Life

Christmas is about many things, to different people. In yesterday’s mass, one of the 3 things he asked the members to consider was that Christmas was not just about ‘your immediate family’ but should be about others. About asking yourself what can you GIVE to others, in whatever shape or form.

I felt good that my family did give.

My wife helped encourage my children to practise sessions of the play leading up to the mass in which they gave their performance. I gave my voice as a member of the Church Choir during mass and helped set up the hall prior to mass. I was happy we ‘gave.’

Here, I am again, in the early hours of Christmas morning, giving you my thoughts … through my writing and I hope it add some value to you and your life, however, small it may be.

It is my gift to you, this Christmas Day.

Don’t give up, don’t give up on what you believe in .. . don’t give up, but use the chance to return to HOPE. Hope that everything will be better and as you imagined.

There are many good and bad things Religions of the world represents. However, the one thing that I believe Religions of the world provide is a strong pathway for the individual towards Hope. This belonging to a sense of Collective Faith is very powerful … which is reflected in Christians all around the world celebrating Christmas Day.

Hope, ultimately is all that we have in life.

Hope is ultimately, all we have in this life

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness

In church, there are moments when we are required to ‘stoop’ or bow our heads or kneel when we are talking to Jesus and God. That is what you do when you meet or are in the presence of Greatness.

Jesus was a great man, a great Leader, a great Messiah. He still is, many centuries later.

As I see it, as you go through life, you can see the world and everything it has to offer – standing tall. But, to witness the Saviour, you have to get on your knees.

So …

While the theologians were sleeping;

And the elite were dreaming

And the successful were snoring …

The meek were kneeling.

They (the Shepherds) were kneeling before the One, our Saviour .. that only the meek will see.

That is the Nativity. That is Christmas Day. They were kneeling in front of Jesus, the son of God.

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness, like my son reminded me in his role of a Shepherd in this year’s Nativity Play.

Thank you, son … for the life lessons you’ve taught me.

My prayer for my son …

I pray that from today forward, I may be the greatest example to you of someone (a Gentle Man in this case), who not only recognises and exercises authority when appropriate but also respects the power it allows me to wield.

In all areas of life, especially, as a parent.

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

 

From my family or Valentine Viking Pirates …

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Shepherd Lessons from my son’s Nativity Role

Find your strengths.
Society only rewards when you’re working from your strengths.
Work to your strengths.
Give your Gifts.
Live.
I like this hat.

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