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The Gym, Reps, Sets, Synergy and Workouts.

You perform your reps, sets and workout with one of the tools – dumbells, when you search for that ‘elusive pump’ feeling in the gym.

In my almost three decades in the ‘iron game’, I have learned many things.

About gyms, about people, about different training methods and styles, about perceptions, about limitations, about the mind, and about muscles, fat loss and body sculpturing.

I have learned a lot, filling my domain knowledge of subject areas that have always been fascinated about. And still am.

The Gym

I’ve always believed the gym was a micro-cosim of society. It is a metaphor for Life.

It does not represent reality – it tells (beautiful lies) about people. What it basically says, in my opinion, is I’m bigger or better than I really am. It is a kind of fantasy world.

But the gym is also not pure fantasy – it voices and indirectly describes and reflects, the real world (outside) by people the same people that make up the gym, by inventing little worlds that resemble it, loosely or closely.

I find it fascinating because, like Forest Gump said of life – “life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.” That is exactly how I feel before each visit to the gym. You never know what you’re gonna get, like who will be there, what equipment will be available when you need it, whether the gym will be “packed to the rafters” or quiet and empty.

No, you never know what you’re gonna get.

The gym alters reality to allow us to ‘see’ reality better.

What I find most interesting is that the gym lies (if it is a good gym), to reveal the truth to you (about the world outside the gym).

Each person in the gym has their own history, their own story, if you pause and ‘listen to what they’re not saying.’ Each person’s story is a metaphor for an aspect of the Real World.

The gym, in a sense, and among other things, is allegory. What it gives you (if you’re willing to listen and look and feel) is the real world – indirectly.

Maybe, that is why the gym is appealing to many of gym-goers world over. Maybe, it just allows us ‘let be.’

It allows the world each person is creating within their minds to come into being for themselves and everyone else in the gym … by leaving the real world (outside) well enough alone.

Just for those minutes or hours they are in the gym.

The gym allows each user the ability to create their own worlds in their minds. That is one of the reasons why, I think the gym has been so appealing to me all these years because it is fundamentally, how real life goes.

You see, most people proceed each visit to the gym with ignorance and uncertainty; then they get glimpses of the ‘truth’ – their truth, or moments of understanding. And, if you’re like most people, you rarely (and usually too late) get to ‘see’ the whole version of reality.

The gym is, maybe, the TRUEST REALISM.

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

 The workout.

Every workout is got to be about some part of the body or … I guess, these days, the ‘whole body.’ Every workout has got to be about something at the very least.

It doesn’t take much to do a workout – less still to do a set or just a handful of sets. In terms of action, I mean.

A workout to me is more than just a number of sets or selected exercises performed for a pre-selected number of repetitions. To some, a workout in the gym with traditional weight-training equipment is akin to a meditation hour or so. No, a workout is the pattern of a thing, a living thing – its rhyme and reason. It is what a moment or a memory or silence is about, if that makes any sense.

A workout does not need to be scientific. There are many types of workouts and I have tried and experimented with many over the last three decades.

To me, a workout is the genius of a thing. A workout could comprise just about anything, it may even be nothing. A workout is what you experience to write the story you are writing in the gym.

The Sets

A Set is simply, one tool a gym enthusiast might use to fulfil his goal to achieve a workout, the workout he or she imagines he is going to do. The set is, to some extent, a form of a workout in itself which uses action as its mode, usually in the form of a slight discomfort or pain.

The set intricately and closely connects one exercise to another, usually through a causal chain, ending in a moment of pain and pleasure or what I refer to as ending in a climax.

I have done thousands of sets since I began lifting weights in my late teens almost thirty years ago. To me, a set is a miracle and a mystery. A set is the track from somewhere to somewhere else – the start and the beginning of a mii-project, a small journey.

It carries the performer from silence to understanding, from nothing to something.

A set to a workout is like a river is to a whole catchment. Namely, everything. The part serves the whole; it is what the whole comes down to.

It is the point, the ‘dot.’

Sets alone or sets performed in no particular order mean something to the enthusiast but not much. I find that when I am doing a set, I am telling a part of my story, my life because what I am striving for ultimately is, meaning. And how does meaning arise when you’re doing a set?

It arises when I put the repetitions required to perform each and every set into an order in which I have learned to recognise a pattern of relationship (through the many thousands of sets and workouts I have performed over the last 3 decades).

I then derive meaning.

Over the years, I have learned to recognise relationships between sets and causality. We all have that gift for seeing and attributing meaning patterns – and for storing and repeating them in mind and workouts when recalling. We do this for almost everything in our lives, it is just easier on our brain as the brain relies heavily on autopilot, ultimately to conserve energy.

We humans, make sense of life that way, by learning how things interact, what causes what. The only thing is, like anything else, learning so, takes time.

Climaxing at the end of a set is one kind of pleasure, a lot of time, with pain thrown in to the mix. The completion of the pre-determined number of sets is not the point of the workout.

So, the point of a workout as I see it and story-tell, is in the ‘feeling.’

It is the feeling that allows one to build and soak in the ‘essence of the exercise.’ And how do you get the essence? That involves much, much more than just lifting a weight against gravity and moving the weight from point A to point B.

I will save that ‘find the essence of the exercise’ to another blog.

Providing a little bit of assistance. My pupil here ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise.
All relationships require work and time .
Sometimes, its the little things, that determine your success in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Reps

Reps, is the shortened version of repetition. Part of gym lingo. It is the basic unit of a set and the building blocks of your workout. It is the number and tempo that dictates what kind of set you’re doing and the feeling you get at the end of the set (if you get any at all).

Not every rep is the same, just like not every golf swing is the same, using different clubs for different strokes.

Performing the rep is when you ‘get your hands dirty.’ It is when you feel the blood pumping excitedly through your veins. It is when you sweat. You sweat to earn those muscles. The rep is when you experience what I call a ‘continuous progression of focused moments.’

Some people call this meditation.

Everyone is at varying levels of meditation and are, ideally, working towards improving their meditation ability or what we, bodybuilders refer to ‘mind-muscle’ connection.

This is when you ‘feel the essence’ or what Arnold calls the ‘pump’. It is an elusive thing and not many gym rats get to experience this climaxing moment. It is the holy grail of lifting weights. It is one of the factors that separate real bodybuilders from the gym rats.

So-called self-help gurus have, for decades now, spoken about how one can ‘get in touch with one’s inner-self. Well, I have news for everyone, bodybuilders, real, authentic bodybuilders have been their inner-self for over a hundred years now.

Bodybuilders have a very highly level of understanding of getting in touch with one’s inner-self, because you couldn’t really get any more any ‘in touch’ with yourself then getting in to the individual cell, with vitality-infused blood.

Feel the essence, I say!

Fully focused!
A true warrior & champion. Phil applying principles in one of my programs and adopting my framework.
Focusing on making every repetition of every set of every exercise as ideal as possible.
Practise does not make perfect – Perfect practise makes perfect!
Photo: Retired Champion Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain & NSW Waratahs Captain and player in action under my watchful eyes.

Synergy

Sets alone or sets carried out in no particular order could mean success … but very little: Second set, 8 to 12 reps, power on the positive, control on the negative with a 2-1-3 tempo! Oh, I get it. A workout is completed; sense of achievement arise. How does that happen? It happens because the gym enthusiast/bodybuilder puts the sets in an order in which he has learned to recognise a pattern of relationships and so can derive satisfaction and purpose. It happens because of the innate human avidness of the human GIFT for seeing and attributing meaning to patterns – and for storing and repeating them in mind and body and spirit (dare I say, speech).

We humans make sense of our life and in the world we live in by learning how things interact, what causes what. The way every cause has its effect; the way every action has its actor, its object and its consequence. So, most gym rats learn that for every

What I am trying to say is that put a man and woman who like the look of each other in a place together and what you’ll get pretty soon, among other things, is someone doing something; and someone doing it back; and two people doing something together. What you get is ‘synergy’.

Sex; a relationship; perhaps issues. What you get is sets performed – simple, compound, complex and compound-complex, fragments and fractals.

What you get is synergy.

Anyone can ‘lift weights’, but unfortunately, not many can lift weights with synergy. And how do you do you make those reps, those sets perform their alchemy and achieve synergy and purpose.

I have found that one can learn the many different types of training ‘techniques’ and ways of lifting without ever knowing what the essence feels like. Just like you can understand the whole scheme of evolutionary history, without ever knowing why a minah bird moves exactly, and with such intelligence, as it does – why that is necessary and how it came to pass.

Achieving and feeling the essence and flowing with synergy in your workouts is another lively mystery.

A tip: one needs to learn rhythm. This comes after years of deliberate mind-muscle-heart-spirit practise. One of the greatest joys of doing a workout is not just achieving synergy but also making music within.

That is when you get hold of ‘that mystery’ and master that miracle within.

Good repetitions of good sets of good exercises performed well, amongst other variables, performed with synergy and music .. .makes for a good workout.

And the more balanced and elegant one’s sets are, the sounder they are structurally, the better one’s workouts will be.

You approach what I refer to as the ‘state of beauty’ … an enlightened state that brings you closer to balance and symmetry, a state of finite bliss. A state of enhanced balance and symmetry, when done correctly.

Not many gym enthusiasts ever get to that state. That is ok, most don’t. … and most don’t know how to, either.

 

Until next time,

Captain Viking Pirate Vaughn-Van-Valentine (VvV)

Collage of some bodybuilding poses

Collage of members of my gym in action … many, many years ago.

Quality Plan + Quality Implementation allowed Team Valentine (my wife & I) to beat the best in the sport here in Australia and stand on the stage against the best in the World.

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The big mistakes I see people making when it comes to muscle, fitness and nutrition.

 

Enjoying the sun at a local beach.

In my line of work, part of what I do is help people, help themselves with change as they transition through various phases of life. I help people, help themselves re-engineer themselves in to the person the imagine themselves to be.

A Life affirming approach.

I help men and women of all ages and sizes help themselves, find their best selves and work towards increased balanced and symmetry – externally and internally.

Someone asked me the question posed in the blog heading recently, and it got me thinking. Put simply, people don’t stop, start from a clean slate and prepare for the beginning and the end. Upon reflection of my experience over the last quarter of a century, I have attempted to answer it below –

I have found that ….

People don’t begin with belief.

People don’t begin with trust.

People don’t begin with hope.

People don’t begin with love.

People don’t begin with patience.

People don’t begin with a dream.

People don’t begin with their imagination.

People don’t begin with simplicity.

People don’t begin with continuity.

People don’t begin with gratitude.

People don’t begin with care.

People don’t begin with discipline.

People don’t begin with courage.

People don’t begin with balance.

People don’t begin with harmony.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with responsibility.

People don’t begin with their heart.

People don’t begin with desire.

People don’t begin with forgiveness.

People don’t begin by unthinking.

People don’t begin with acceptance of responsibility.

People don’t begin by aligning their philosophy with nature’s principles that is fundamental to Life and living well.

People don’t begin with the end in mind.

People don’t begin with the unconscious.

People don’t begin with their spirit.

People don’t begin by being still.

People don’t think.

People don’t DO.

Enough.

People don’t begin by giving….

So …

People don’t receive …

Enough.

But letting go of things you hold dear is very difficult and the little things, like letting go of a habit that is not life affirming can be very difficult. Neuroscience research tells us now that letting go a habit can take anywhere between 31 and 267 days. Wow! So, be patient and be kind to yourself if you’re thinking about making a change in the way you look.

The fact that you are ‘thinking’ about change is a win in itself. Before a change, any worthwhile, life-changing change can happen, you must want to have a change in mind-set. Now, to do this, even before you think about exercise, dieting or your fitness, you should firstly accept YOU as you are now, not the you – yesterday. The present self “is”, and your former self ‘was’, and in truth, your ‘was’ self is not identical to your ‘is’ now.

They are not the same.

People change, you change. Life is about change, if you’re not changing, you’re not living!

So, let go of the ‘was’ self (past) by letting go of any and all regret and guilt resulting from the past ‘was’ self. The past cannot be rewritten, but you can view it through different lenses and re-framing your view of your ‘was’ self. Tell yourself that past errors are mainly due to limitations in perception and ignorance and that they belong to that ‘was’ self at a certain point in the time continuum. It was all part of the learning process and gaining wisdom and was unavoidable.

This applies not only individually but collectively as a human race.

Most importantly, tell yourself – your ‘is’ self (now) that the habits that were acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable today and now. All regrets and guilt of less-than-ideal and less-than life-affirming habits that helped create the ‘was’ self is now boxed up and viewed simply as an error of judgement, ignorance, mis-perception or miscalculation. Put simply – an error.

All this brought about as a consequence of a limitation of human consciousness.

The first stage is self-forgiveness. This is facilitated by humility but also acceptance of this limitation (by letting go of the ego).

Solution: Begin with the right philosophy, filter and remove beliefs that are no longer relevant, acknowledge your soul and then reach out and …

Embrace the ‘is’ YOU with your whole being. Show you care. Feel your love. Allow the healing to happen – to you and those you value around you. Changes then become long-lasting and sustainable as you chart your new course through the sea of life.

All the best in your choices,

 

Until next time,

The right strategy –
” a quality plan + quality implementation
===> quality results. A quality strategy
of a balanced nutrition, exercise philosophy and rest of the body, mind and spirit helps you achieve a ”6-pack”.

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The union of the head and the heart.

Find what you love to do. Then, go do it!

Find what you love to do.
Then, go do it! Believe.

The union of the head and the heart facilitates one of the best motivators there is – to BELIEVE.

Yes, I know everyone reading this has their own interpretation of what it means to believe and that is great. To me, to believe, to really believe one has to unite both their head with their heart. The union of them produces real belief. Produces miracles.

I have seen these miracles happen before my eyes with all the men and women, boys and girls, I have helped over the years with over 84% success rate in them achieving their goals or better. One of the common denominators was their strong sense of belief. Their success in my programs was heavily influenced by their strong belief – strongly uniting their head with their hearts.

However, the biggest miracle and power of all is the power to believe in love and the existence of genuine love. Firstly, one has to believe, really believe that one is genuinely loved. For only then, can one truly genuinely love others.

If you are a Christian, you have to believe that God loves you. God loves you in many ways. After forty years of being a Christian, I am going to list 5.5 ways in which I believe he loves you.

He loves you

  1. in an imaginative/creative way;
  2. in an intimate way;
  3. in an original/unique way;
  4. in a dependable and
  5. 5 tender/compassionate way.

He simply loves you in many more ways than you could imagine.

His love is creative because out of his love, you were born.

His love is intimate because his love delves in to the deepest parts of you.

His love is original/unique because he accepts you as you are – not as other people’s expectations of you.

His love is dependable because he will never let you down. You can always rely on him and his word.

His love is tender because tenderness is the feeling you get when you know and believe that you are deeply and genuinely liked by someone.

One of, if not, the best GIFT given to you as unconditional love. Don’t search for it in the wrong places. As he has said –

ask and ye’ shall receive,

Seek and ye’ shall find.”

Do not fear. Have no doubt in his love for you.

So, dear readers, ask yourself are you really believing? Are you really connecting your mind with your heart? Are you really believing if it meant your life depended on it?

Belief in God has helped me represent Australia at two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships and achieve those dreams. Never stop believin'. Vv.

Belief in God has helped me represent Australia at two consecutive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships and achieve those dreams.
Never stop believin’.
Vv.

In a few days time, the largest sporting event will be staged in Rio. The Olympics. All the athletes that have made it there have all earned their right to be there, their beliefs will be tested. There is no doubt that they have talent. But talent alone is not enough to win.

They all need belief, strong belief. They need to genuinely believe, like Christians need to believe in their God. Their bodies are all fine tuned and are all hoping to ‘peak’ at the right time, but it is critical that their head/mind is right. It is not a question of will-power, because they have persisted consistently in their training regimens for the last four years. It comes down to each athlete’s conviction in themselves – their belief in themselves.

Their mind-set.

There is no room for an ounce of doubt. They have to be one hundred percent convinced in their ability. Conviction (belief) will always triumph over will-power. This applies to every goal you set for yourself. No amount of self-discipline (will-power) will help you achieve your goals if you’re convinced (believe) you can’t get it or don’t deserve it.

I’m certain that the pressure some of these athletes will be experiencing will be lessened because of their belief in God and that he will carry and lighten some of that burden (pressure). Simply because he (God) loves them and he will never desert believers. That unwavering belief may just be enough to achieve more than they imagined.

I, for one am looking forward to seeing competition at its highest level unfold during these Olympics. I’m sure we’ll all be in for a few surprises.

So, to re-cap, keep that desire for genuine love alive. For it is desire that keeps you working towards your goals, keep that fire burning. After over forty years on this planet, I can share this one observation with you –

“As long as your heart preserves desire, your mind will preserve belief.”

And you can quote me on that last sentence.

Continue to dream (desire). Believe (with your heart). Achieve (with gratitude).

Unite your body, heart, mind and soul.

Amen!

 

Until next time,

Keep the flame burning within you. Keep believing. In you. In God. Vv.

Keep the flame burning within you.
Keep believing.
In you. In God.
Vv.

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Two ears and one mouth.

 

Listening is an attitude of the heart. Vv.

Listening is an attitude of the heart.
Vv.

I see and hear it almost every day.

At times, I admit, I am guilty of doing it too. I’m talking about being a poor listener. I am blessed to have two ears and one mouth but have not always listened twice as much as I have spoken in my dealings with others.

What about you? Do you find yourself butting in or cutting people off in the middle of their statement?

A big part of what I do in my coaching business is listen. I believe every person has a story and I love hearing people’s stories. I also believe that listening helps you learn a lot from people and I certainly have learned a great deal from listening carefully to the thousands of people in the gym environment.

Most people are poor listeners. Most people seem to enjoy racing their minds fast forward preparing to say something or forming a reply when they should be listening.

I try to remind my children when I want their full attention that to listen is to listen with your two ears, your two eyes, your body and your heart. They are still trying to understand this request because it is difficult to do.

Adults find listening difficult too.

It takes a lot of effort. It is hard work! You need a lot of focused ability.

It is much easier to say something rather than listen. Listening takes a lot of patience and this is a dying trait amongst many in today’s fast-paced societies.

The first key is raising your awareness of your listening habits. Are you aware of your listening biases? Do these biases contribute to you being a better listener or not? I notice many people tune out children or old people. I have been made aware over my life so far, that many women have and still complain that men don’t listen to them as carefully as they listen to their mates and other men.

Why is this so?

I’m sure there are many reasons that contribute to this problem in society. I believe the lack of good listening skills starts at a young age as children generally struggle at listening to their elders. However, this poor listening habit continues as children are great imitators of these same adults.

Listen with your two ears, your eyes, your body and your heart. Vv.

Listen with your two ears, your eyes, your body and your heart. It is, after all, an ‘attitude of the heart’.
Vv.

I believe the world aches and cries for good listeners. There are some studies that show that many doctors report that they daily see patients who have nothing physically wrong with them.

Turns out that the patients merely needed someone to listen to them.

So, reflect on your listening behaviour. Be honest with your assessment of your ability. If you need to improve, do so.

Speak less, listen more – with your ears, eyes, body and heart. We have two ears and one mouth. A wise man once said to listen twice as much as you speak.

Very simple advice to make the world a better place. The sad thing is that the simple things in life are also the most difficult thing to do.

But if more of us did better listening and less talking, maybe, just maybe, there will be fewer sick people visiting doctors in the world tomorrow. To not only listen more but also to listen better.

To choose to take more care in listening is a gift, a gift that may be the highest form of respect you could probably show the person who is doing the talking. It is an attitude of and from the heart. 

Part of having an attitude of gratitude.

Best of vitality to you!

 

Until next time,

Part of growth in my self-development programs - Listen & Learn (Awareness); Apply (sufficient & appropriate actions); Adapt. Vv.

Part of growth in my self-development programs –
Listen & Learn (Awareness); Apply (sufficient & appropriate actions); Adapt.
Vv.

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The greatest expression of self-respect.

Say no. Vv.

Say no.
Vv.

The first twenty years of my life was a little more difficult than the second twenty years of my life and it was partly because of one little thing, one little ‘mosquito’.

That little mosquito I am referring to is the inability to say ‘no’. Sometimes, when left to grow, that little “mozzie” (Australian lingo for mosquito) can become huge problems like dengue fever or even the deadly malaria which has been responsible for more deaths than all the deaths caused by wars since the beginning of the world.

The ability to know when to and actually say ‘no’ is, I believe, the greatest expression of self-respect.

It reminds me of what a great wise eighty five year old friend of mine said to me before he died about four years ago, that –

“elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do.”  Or in other words – Little things matter. So true, indeed.

What about you? Think about your life to this point. Did you suffer from this too? If you still do, you’re not alone because I believe that a large proportion of humans in the world still cannot get this “mosquito problem” under control.

For me, in those first twenty years of my life, not being able to say no sometimes felt akin to a dog chasing its tail, never getting anywhere and not knowing where the start and end of everything was. I strived to please everybody and their requests and was constantly disappointed.

It was hard – very hard. Until one day, I came to the realisation that you cannot please everyone and not everyone will agree with you and that is ok. Increased awareness is one very important step and then taking appropriate and sufficient action, finally leading you to adapting you or your environment or a combination of both.

I had a simple but significant change in philosophy. or the way I saw life and how life operates.

I realised that you don’t owe anything to anyone in life except one thing: love. And, contrary to what some believe, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to say no to someone else’s request or simply saying no to an internal request – a want you need to immediately gratify. Self-control from or delayed satisfaction for oneself with regards to wants, is the greatest expression of self-respect you can give yourself.

An indication that you genuinely love the person who see looking back at you when you look at yourself in the mirror – you!

It is quite interesting but that is one of the most underrated traits in this world – simply, the power and strength to say ‘no’.

Saying 'no' to the maxim "No pain, no gain" could be one of the best things you can do for your joints and longevity in the gym. Choose your exercise and exercise execution wisely. More is not necessarily better. Vv.

Saying ‘no’ to the maxim “No pain, no gain” could be one of the best things you can do for your joints and longevity in the gym.
Choose your exercise and exercise execution wisely.
More is not necessarily better.
Vv.

The power to say no is empowering. The power to say no is so great, I have literally seen it make the impossible – possible in the lives of many people I have helped. The power to say no allows individuals to create their own miracles, to release the champion that rests dormant within them.

I have witnessed it, it is amazing – the power to say no is a miracle waiting to happen! You don’t have to climb Mount Everest to feel on top of the world. No, the feeling you get when you say no is even better, more profound, because each and every uttering of no, builds your ability climb all the internal mountain climbs you face in your life.

Mountains you will get to the top of. If I remember correctly I think it was Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest that put it:

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

This is something that I request from and re-enforce with everyone that I have helped over the years. The ability to summon courage to start saying ‘no’ again within their re-engineering programs. I encourage each of them to say no to some of the excesses of life that they may have been used to experiencing to that point in their lives. I encourage them to say no to excuses.

I know it seems counter-intuitive to deprive yourself of what you desire to get what you ultimately desire but it is vitally important to achieving goals you place a high priority on. Even a little no with conviction is far better than a lame, weak ‘yes’. It takes a lot of courage to say no.

“Saying no to help you, help yourself, get what you care about, to get what you want!” is what I say to my students.

Saying no to self-limiting beliefs, thought patterns, words, actions, habits and character traits that are not aligned with their ultimate goal of how they ‘imagine themselves to be’ in the mirror. This is where the real struggles of real people in everyday living rests. This is where true grit is required. This is where you climb the many mountains towards success.

Why? Because it is often a whole lot easier not to do the simple things, the simple things – the little mozzies – like saying no! Just like many other mozzies in life, the little things that are important to do are also easy not to do, so a lot of people don’t do them for whatever reasons or fears.

Saying no empowers you to successfully climb the internal obstacles, the internal self-created mountains and get to the ‘other side’. This is not a genetic trait, nor one of talent. This is just sheer grit!

To overcome temptation, to say no to habits that you have indulged in for a big chunk of your life is a true sign of self-respect. Saying no allows you to use your 86,400 seconds in a day more productively and manage your energy better.

Like I said, I believe, the ‘no’ answer is perhaps the greatest expression of self-respect and ultimate representation of human dignity there is.  Your attitude is key to your destiny in life as it determines the actions you take (good or bad) . Ultimately, this all flows from you philosophy once again. What is the opposite of self-respect? Well, choosing to live a life of insignificance.

So, be brave and summon the courage that rests within you and proudly announce to the world ‘no!’ No to things, people and activities that do not help align you towards you being your best. No to things, people and activities that bring you down rather than elevate you. No to the naysayers.

If there is one very important habit that you can do for yourself is this little habit of saying no again. Don’t be afraid. Just do it! Remember, knowing what to do isn’t the same as doing it.

Say NO. Release the champion within you!

Start loving yourself a little more each time you say no. Don’t just live your life, consider living your life with the greatest expression of self-respect and say no.

To be alive and live is a gift so, consider living your life with the highest expression of human dignity there is and say no, when appropriate and relevant. Being able to say no without regret also allows you to say yes with confidence. Yes, what you do matters, but I think what you think and say to yourself matters too – I believe, even more so.

Think about it: what I have been speaking about comes full circle – what you think determines the source of attitudes, which is your philosophy.

As the great thinker Aristotle said –

 “Where we are free to act,

We are also free to refrain from acting,

And where we are able to say No,

We are also able to say yes.”

All the very best to you in your life choices. Remember, if you want to change what’s happening in your life, change your philosophy or how you see things. It is not some huge task but simply comes down to – you guessed it – small (mozzie) steps.

Little steps, compounded over time, do make a difference. this is real magic. That the little things you do every single day – the little things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter – DO MATTER!

Little things (like saying no) matters.

Dream. Decide. Do.

 

Until next time,

Side triceps pose. Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles. Placing: 2nd. Saying "no" has allowed me to choose exercises wisely and understand that quality training is more important than quantity when it comes to getting quality results.

Side triceps pose.
Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles.
Placing: 2nd.
Saying “no” has allowed me to choose actions which in turn became habits that allowed me to build one of the best natural physiques in the world.

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A life of significance.

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

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

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

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

To not live a life of significance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something that is eternal. A gift from you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until next time,

B&W3284

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The Grace of Seeds.

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

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

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

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

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

That their love life will fizzle out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Grace of Seeds.

It is a sacrament of everlasting life.

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

They will be the World’s Future.

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

For posterity.

 

Until next time,

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

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

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