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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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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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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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11.5 KEY Life Lessons I’ve learned in my life so far …

Do you believe in Love at first sight?

ONE. GIVE people more than then they expect.

Go the extra mile. Do it with a smile.

Human nature (especially in the Western World), teaches us to “Take”. We are constantly taking, taking things in life, for granted and by doing this philosophy of taking, we are intentionally Taking from Themselves.

If you’re a Christian like I am, you will know that the Bible teaches that to receive, you have to GIVE. You can give, in many ways – financially, emotionally, intellectually, your time etc.

I believe, your greatest GIFT to others and the world is your Attitude. Having an Attitude of Gratitude’ (by giving Thanks), you connect yourself to the magic in the universe and ultimately receive everything you desire in life.

One must deliberately think and feel Gratitude, there is no other way to tap in to the abundance but first, you must give.

I like the point where the sun looks down where the land meets the sea meets the sky. My Golden Point. Do you have yours? Where?

TWO. Don’t believe everything you hear or read.

Reality is what you perceive it to be, not what others tell you it is. If you don’t think so, just watch a really good magician or illusionist change your reality right before your eyes.

Also, spend all you have and sleep all you want.

Continuously helping you become the best you can be … BEGIN help by helping yourself.
Then,
Reach out and touch someone … be the light for someone who can only see darkness.
Help them see ‘beauty’ .. see their truth.
Help them manage their insanity with sanity … their chaos with order.
Pray.

THREE. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been with a woman who said she just wanted to keep talking to me from the very first time she met and hear my voice. I think that is one of the best compliments I have ever had.

I feel the same way about her and we have been together since we first laid eyes on each other twenty years ago.

As you get older, their conversation skills will be as important as any other.

Thank you, my darling wife and dear life friend, Cathy for the last twenty years of talking and conversing.

A lovely time out on the ski slopes.

FOUR. When you say, “I love you,’ MEAN it.

I’ve heard it and so may, have you. People who rattle off the phrase ‘I Love you’ but, you know they don’t really mean it as their actions to match the words.

From my experience, love is worth the risk.

It is quite simple, if you say it, mean it.

Don’t abuse that phrase.

To pursue your SHIT and never achieving it is far better than never having a go at your SHIT and living with regret forever.

FIVE. Live with each other for at least six months before you get married.

About eighteen years ago, my girlfriend at that time (my wife now), asked me to move in with her. After two weeks of deliberation, I called her up and said –

“why not, let’s just do it”

We were both a little scared. It was new territory for both of us. We agreed that we would give it a try for six months. If either of us or both didn’t like living with each other, we would call it quits and go separate ways.

I heard couples breaking up because they pressed the toothpaste from different ends. Apparently, the little mosquitoes irritate you more in life.

Almost twenty years later, we have beautiful memories with two beautiful children and a dog.

The six months was a key moment in our relationship.

Thank you, Cathy for agreeing with me to do this all those years ago.

Travelling the uncertain seas of life together.
Love is worth the risk.

SIX. Believe in love at first sight.

I know some people don’t believe in this and try to analyse their future love partners based on other logical reasoning like income, status, intelligence, looks, height etc

They’re all important, yes they are.

I believe they are not as important as listening to your intuition in choosing a partner. This usually involves illogical reasoning and matters of the heart, which is tied to your eyesight and seeing love before your eyes.

It is a beautiful thing.

I’m still with my wife from the first time I laid eyes on her in the Photocopying/Fax Room at our place of work, in the year 2000. We were Business Consultants working for a Top Advisory Firm in Sydney, Australia.

She gave me the best smile I had ever seen and I believe I saw her heart smile to me, through her eyes.

I fell in love, then and my love for her has grown every day since.

What do think YOU see in the mirror?

SEVEN. Don’t laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams, don’t have much.

What are dreams?

Dreams tell dreamers what could be as opposed to what currently is. Dreams are essential to creativity and innovation and achieving goals.

What are goals?

They are ‘dreams with a deadline.’ Everything begins and ends in the mind, starting with your imagination/dreams. As a mentor once said –

If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.

I used to tell people that if I made that person I see in the mirror better than, last week, than last month, than last year … in ten years I will be on the World Stage, standing and competing against the best in the world.”

Within ten years, I stood on stage against the best natural bodybuilders at that time, representing Australia. A Big Dream, come true. I repeated the feat the following year for good measure. As a great mentor once said –

“If you think you can, you’re right … you CAN.”

Don’t ever laugh at another person’s dream, no matter how far-fetched it is.

My ten year dream. Achieved. Twice.
Believe in YOU. Have a Quality Plan and then Work that Quality Plan

EIGHT: Great love and great achievements involve great risk.

It is worth it, if you desire it so.

Life, is many things and one of them is – life is a big exercise in Risk Management.

Remember: No Risk, No nothing.

Wonderful insight in to the mind of a Great Leader

NINE. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

Smiles should be traded in, like the Stock Market.

Those who smile often and readily, should get credits of some sort from society. Smiling makes everything a little better, unless you’re the Joker and going up against Batman.

Everything is going to be alright.

Smile.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona
Smiling is a habit of mine. … a contagious habit I must add.

TEN. Disagree with people, if you must but don’t hate them.

It’s ok agree to disagree and still like someone.

In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling and personal judgements. Leave judgemental comments to God or people who have a profession as a Judge.

Shit happens. Stand your ground. Don’t be afraid.

Exactly.

ELEVEN point (.) Five: Spend time alone. Learn to enjoy your own company.

I enjoy my own company.

Do you?

You can be alone, but you are not necessarily lonely. Many people cannot stand being alone with themselves. It can be the most difficult thing for some people to do, the thought of spending time with themselves, with their own minds, with their inner-thoughts is just not ‘cup-o-tea’.

Spending time alone can be beneficial in more ways than one. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time initially, you can simply start small and slow.

The important thing is to Start.

My time alone produces my version of magic.
My Fine-line drawing paper art.
The fusion of chaos & order … that point where I dance with peace.

This is a list of only 11.5 Key lessons from my life so far … ‘0.5″ because the list is not exhaustive.  Many other lessons you can choose to learn as you travel through life. The skill is in identifying the relevant ones with appropriate sufficiency.

All the very best in your choices,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Life lessons/hacks (11.5 Key) so far …

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk and his pirate dog – “Mr Fuzzy/Fussy Cuddles”

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Become a most UN-Common Man

UN-Common to communicate (non-verbally) to an audience and try to connect and Move them

Whom do YOU “see?”

When you look in the mirror, whom do you see? Do you see someone you’d like to know? Do you see someone your parents wanted you to be? Do you see someone your church ministers, Someone your teachers, your boss, your husband or your wife or your friends wanted you to be?

What about YOU …. when YOU look in the mirror, whom do you see, do you ever see anyone that YOU wanted to be?

What do YOU see in the mirror?

Is there something more?

Like many Men have done before us, is this all there is to “Life?”

Do we just go to work, hoping and striving so hard to build our “empire” … for ourselves, for our wives (or husbands) and our children, our legacy?

Like Roman Legions have … from dust to dust?

If you’re anything like me and (I guess, the Common Man), have you ever wondered – “is there something more to life or is this it?  Do we work as hard as we can to build our empires for your wives (or vice versa) & … to give our children more than we’ve had before?

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona
Is there MORE to life? What does the conscious brain do that the Unconscious cannot?

As Good as IT Gets

Is this it … go to work, earn the bread, watch Tv & look at screens, go to bed …. Is this as good as it gets?

Sunrise, sunset…& before we know it we’re ready to “kick the bucket?”

Life, they say, is no dress rehearsal, and even if you’re the most giving person in the world, there still is no martyres “Hall of Fame”.

Each of us has this ONE CHANCE every single day … to view each day as our Super Bowl!

Play each day like it is.

Be YOU, no one else but the UN-Common Man.
Even if it means, you’re a little weird.

New Year’s Resolutions

Time waits for no one, as we’ve been told as we count down to the New Year.

Many of you will be embarking on 2020 New Year’s Resolutions and …. Many of you will realistically fail within the first two weeks (based on studies done on New Year’s Habits)

Human’s views of the nature of time has changed over the years. It was only up until the beginning of the last century that people believed in absolute time, that is, that all good clocks would agree on the time interval between two events.

There is “an arrow of time” and as time became ‘personal’, time was then viewed relative to the observer who measured it. Then, there is “imaginary time” (one of my favourite views), espoused in quantum mechanics. Here, Imaginary Time does not have one defined arrow of time.

Imaginary time is indistinguishable from directions in space, whereby, if one could go forward in imaginary time, one could turn around and go backwards.

However, when we look at “Real Time”, there’s a big difference between the forward and backward directions, as we all know. Today is the last day of 2019 (New Year’s Eve) and the questions I ask relating to time, are –

  • Where does this difference between yesterday and today and tomorrow – the past and the future, come from?
  • Why do we remember the past and not the future?

The laws of science, funnily enough, DO NOT distinguish between the past and the future and the past is different to the present and the future partly because of the relationship with entropy (ageing for instance) or disorder with time (a good example of the arrow of time).

It doesn’t matter how you view time, understand that having a keen awareness of the value of time is vital to living a good and successful life. Time, once spent, is gone from our lives forever.

Also, understand that Life is fundamentally about “Energy Management”, not “Time Management.”

Stop. Take stock. Be like water. Adapt to the different states of life … and mind.

Traits of the UN-Common Man

I love the pre-fix: “Un.”

I use it a lot with my kids. When they say something, I add “un” and tease them with the opposite. For example, they tell me that “I’m wrong” … and I say, “you mean – UN-right?” They hate it.

But, you’ve got to learn to love the “Un” pre-fix when it comes to you being the best YOU can be, to be the UN-Common Man.

The UN-Common Man understands the mortality of their bodies and are able to age gracefully. They tend their “gardens’ (their bodies & mind) like sensitive horticulturalists instead of one-shot profit planters.

The Un-Common Man does not accept death as the final gun in the game of life.

The Un-Common Man does not fear death.

Every habit takes time to lose and adopt. My studies in Neuroscience shows that it can take between 21 days and 275 days to break or adopt an old/new habit, respectively.

So, don’t rush it and expect change over-night, that is unrealistic. Believe me, I know, because a big part of what I have done to help The thousands of people, help themselves, achieve something they care about was through Change of Habits.

Try adopting these new little habits of the traits of the Un-Common Man, as part of your New Year’s Resolution to learn to become the most Un-Common Man you know –

  • Takes the time to LOOK – really look … at flowers and the beauty in the every day
  • Takes the time to LISTEN – really listen … knowing that he may not be able to listen one day
  • Takes the time to PLAY – really play … knowing that he will only be able to play with his children for a short time
  • Takes the time for OLD PEOPLE … knowing that they appreciate time better than most

A man needs to allow himself to be coachable to help him, help himself navigate the challenges he faces in the Sea of Life.
To find his/her path in life

Your Greatest Coach

YOU need to get that person you see in the mirror to develop the winning habit – of having Champion Thoughts.

BEGIN with the right thoughts, & then … continue loving each day , as if it were your last…not to let yesterday or tomorrow, use up today;

NOW is the key word …

To Plan it NOW… to want it NOW, to Dream it NOW, to DO it NOW. ….

& have a vivid image of the person you’d like TO BE.

Allow yourself to be your Greatest Coach & fan …and …To love  Yourself and most importantly, GIVE all the love You CAN TODAY

Try that

And become the most UNCOMMON Man. … you can be. You will thank yourself one day and possibly thank me, too.

Have a great New Year’s Eve and all the very best to you and the fulfilment of your dreams in the next decade

Thank you for reading

 

Cheers & ahoy!

The old captain Viking Pirate ‍☠️ ⚔️Evangelist muscled monk …& becoming the most UNCOMMON Man

Achieving a well-balanced physique should be understood for what it is: a masterful fusion of art and science.
One should improve once’s “BODY Smart”knowledge. this takes time and deliberate practise.
Top 5 in the world, two years in a row at a sport I love ain’t too shaby for an city boy from the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji
If YOU think you can and you BELIEVE YOU CAN … YOU CAN.

Never give up.
I took me 10 years to reach the top of my chosen sport in the world.
Never give up

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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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a better life, awareness, basics of training, beauty, belief systems, better choices, body, Change Agent, Energy, examined life, game of life, Goals, happiness, Imagination, long-term perspective, long-term strategy, love, mind-muscle connection, respect, responsibility, self discipline, self improvement, workouts, you, your life

After almost 3 decades of training in the gym, here are my Top 3 Tips to “get going” again

Work on strengthening the spirit within. It is part of the foundation of love – the unknowable.


Beginning the journey for anything worthwhile achieving is never easy … but you’ve got to Start – Just DO IT (I’ve always loved this NIKE slogan … so powerful). 

Taking the initial step toward redesigning your body can be an empowering experience.

And if you manage to do what so many can’t – stick with the plan after that initial burst of enthusiasm wears off – you’ll also discover that it’s one of the smartest things you’ve ever decided to do.

I remember my first time, over 30 years ago.

I was scared. Plain & simple. And I don’t like being scared, matter of fact I don’t let any fear get the better of me. I tend to face my fear head on since I was a kid (probably why I sorted out issues with “bullies” in school, a lot of times letting my “fists do the talking “).

But I was simply (& admittedly, embbarresingly scared.

Scared of the clanging & banging of iron & metal on metal. Scared of the big looking men (mostly male dominated at that era). Scared of all the strange looking machines.

When I walked out of the gym that 1st day, I told myself that I would learn as much as I could get my hands on (the internet was in its embryo stages ). So I got my hands os many library books on the human body ‘ muscles & nutrition & anything resembling bodybuilding.

I was a sponge & took a whole semester to learn as much as I could (along with my studies in my first commerce university degree).

Abdominal/thighs pose at the Asia-Pacific Australian Natural Bodybuilding Championships.
Placing: 2nd in Australia.

Education precedes motivation

I’ve always believed Education precedes Motivation.

So, these notes are written for you in mind .. picture this : –

It’s day one of your bodybuilding journey . Embarking on a journey, your journey into bodybuilding is no small endeavour: you deserve props just for making the decision & moving forward.

After 30 years here are my Key/primary points – (useful tenets/nuggets of wisdom you can keep in the back of your brain).

Use them as “❤️alentine Guiding Principles “.

Should you ever lose your way along the road to strength, health & your best body, these principles will help you get back on track quickly.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby – Phil Waugh.

🌴❤️Principle #1: Listen 👂 to your body.

Your body & brain 🧠 are in constant talk. How often your brain chooses to listen determines how well your body will respond to what you ask for.

It is not a two-way communication (equal) pathway though.

Latest neuroscience suggests that it is mostly a”1 way street”. The body sends 80% of messages to the brain 🧠(via the Vagus nerve).

Good bodybuilders listen to their bodies better than anyone on earth.

Get in touch with different types of pain when you exercise. There’s two types-

i) the dull, mild pain that comes from working a muscle that isn’t used to being worked. This pain means, “Rest your body, let it repair itself, then continue strengthening it.”

ii) Then there’s the sharp, strong pain that comes from pulling a muscle, twisting something the wrong way, or worse. This means, “Put down the weight & walk away!”

Knowing the difference between these two kinds of pain can make a world of difference in your training.

Note: I have not had any major injury in over 3 decades of weight training. It is important to teach yourself the ‘tortoise approach’ or the conservative approach to training as I have found that this is the most efficient and effective way to achieve long-term, sustainable results and stay injury free as you age.

Here’s me doing my favourite pose at the World Championships.
Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.
Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Make your Being and your Doing – ONE.
Vv.

🌴❤️Principle #2: Prepare for Pressure

Your biceps & chest will grow (mine certainly did). As soon as these do, you will also receive attention from your peers who not only admire your newfound courage.

They will also secretly wish you don’t have so much of it.

Just be aware.

The next time you decide to say “no” to that slice of cake 🎂 at your best buddy’s roommates cousins’s birthday in order to stick to your diet, expect more than one person to try to talk you into having “just one bite.”

Understand this one thing about human beings – people do not like being reminded of their blunders/weaknesses.

When you don’t eat that slice, you’re helping to bring out guilt feelings in those who do.

People hate feeling like that.

However, it has nothing to do with you – remember that!

Stick to your guns 💪 and, if people persist,ask them direct to their face , why don’t they support you in abstaining from the sweet treat.

Fortunately, my friends back in my university under-grad days were quite supportive.

Keep it simple.
Be the best version you can be of YOU, for you – first.
This way, everyone gets the best of you too.
Vv.

🌴❤️alentine tip #3: endure the Doubt.

You WILL experience doubt, at some point along your journey.

There is no doubt about that.

You will question your dedication & get discouraged by slow gains. You may even wonder about finding time to train.

Heck, I almost threw in the towel several times over the last 3 decades. Many times, I’ve asked myself what the fcken hell was I doing not accepting a party 🎉 invitation when so many great people & good & drinks would be there.

There are countless doubtful thoughts 💭 that little voice over your shoulder, saying, give up man, you won’t achieve it.

And then I think about one of my many mentors life tips to me –

Remember, the heart 💔 ALWAYS precedes the mind.”

Interpret that however way you want. Apply these 3 principles to your thinking & life and keep building momentum in your daily habits that contribute to your overall goals.  

Now, go get back on the horse and ride him like you’ve never ridden him before … go to the gym and lift those weights and help those muscles, help you … feel the ‘essence of life’, Vitality … & Have a great day and life …

Cheers & ahoy 🍻!!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Island 🌴 Muscle 💪 Monk 🏴‍☠️❤️alentine …& getting back on track 

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

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Three minutes too late

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’. The key to making and keeping any relationship is effective communication. This is easier said than done. It requires work … a lot of work.

That awkward moment after you say ‘hello’

Its all about connections.

Life is.

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

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

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

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

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

Three minutes too late

We’ve all been there.

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

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

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

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

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

Drifting off

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

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

We basically, start drifting off.

 

Thinking thoughts like –

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

“Am I making a positive first impression?”

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

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

“who the person you came with is talking to”

 

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

The power of Focus

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

The power of focus, in particular.

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

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

That is the Power of focus.

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

 

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

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

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

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

1). Don’t judge

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

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

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

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

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

All you can do is – try. Just try.

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

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

Try. For God’s sake, just try.

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

3) Be part of the action and conversation

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

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

It pays off in the long run.

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

4.5)Mirror, mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll be just fine.

Practise thinking winning thoughts.

Practice does not make perfect

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

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

Not some of the time.

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

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

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

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

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

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

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

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

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