Currently reading: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers

 

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Just giving an update on the books I am reading. I have dropped back down to one book as University has begun and I will need the time to be able to fit it all in. Will post a review later this month depending on when I finish the book, and if my university workload allows it (which it should).

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See you on the mats.

Positivity is bullshit, stop looking for it.

Positivity is bullshit, you can’t go looking for it, you aren’t gonna find it in some video of a guy, who you know is a douche, spouting out shit from his mouth of how you can make it, you can do anything. You aren’t going to find it in a personal trainer to help you lose weight, or a teacher at school telling you that you aren’t living up to your potential. The problem is, you won’t. Unless you have the conviction to get up out of bed at 5 in the morning every morning, no matter how tired you are or no matter how bad you feel, you never will get out of the warm bed. So, stop searching for positivity.

So, you ask, how do I make changes in my life to become more positive or better? A simple way to put it. Just start doing it. But its more than that. You have to do it in a way where it becomes a habit, where it makes you feel like shit that you aren’t getting out of bed, but instead wasting away beneath a blanket of bad discipline. You have to make that value change, where you value the benefit of doing the thing that you want to do, over the fear of not doing that thing. It can be getting up earlier or losing weight, running or stretching more, starting that new hobby or writing that book, starting that business. Whatever it is, you have to take full responsibility for it. Because no one will make you do it. So, stop watching that motivation video and start doing. It has been some of the best advice I have received and I will relay to others. Just start. Actions speak louder than words, don’t be that guy or girl saying that they will do this or that, be the person who is already in motion to reach their dream. I know that there is a lot of bullshit motivators out there, I was sucked into that vicious cycle of going through YouTube vid after YouTube vid, not actually doing anything. I would watch three 10-minute-long videos before going to the gym, as I look back now I think “fuck man, that was a waste of time.” I was that guy who would say “oh yeah I was thinking about doing that thing,” or “Yeah I want to do this.” What snapped me out of it was multiple factors that only I could experience for myself, I had to go searching for it, I myself had to find it all on my own. Once I took on the responsibility and stopped blaming people, situations, and life events, that is when I was able to set myself free. Free to realize that I had faults. Free to understand I have room to grow. And free to know and learn that I can change.

I know a lot of people in my life who are afraid of change, and in some circumstances so am I, however, I recognize it and am now able to work on my shortcomings. As they say, the first step is admitting there is a problem. For the people on the outside the problem is easily identified, but for the person who has the problem, it is extremely difficult for them to detach from the situation they find themselves in. When the person on the outside tells them that there is a problem they, dig their heels in and defend their position heavily. This is hard for people on the outside to be conscious about since they want the best for the person. However, for the person, they usually see this as a personal attack on them and their values. It is easier for a person to admit there is a problem when they tell the truth, as when you tell the truth to others one usually tells themselves the truth. I have often seen it in people who are addicted to something, drugs, work, a bad relationship, you name it. They lie to their friends and family and end up lying to themselves to get more of the substance they are addicted to. Once they finally admit that they have a problem, that is when they search for help and a way out of that addiction. Sometimes, unfortunately, the addiction takes over their lives and when they finally realize that, it is often too late. Losing friends and family, bad health, and a range of other consequences. Sometimes they are able to pick themselves up and repair all that has been broken but most cases can never see a way out of the darkness, and resort back to the addiction.

By listening to and reading about the right people to construct some values from, not for motivation, but to learn from their mistakes and from their experiences. I have been able to overcome many obstacles.Whether it be illness, not wanting to commit to anything, getting up and into the gym, losing weight, being a better person and always striving to become the person I see myself becoming. I hopefully can make an impact on someone and help them out, However, this is as much for you guys reading as it is for me. Taking responsibility for my actions and values and how I measure my life has allowed me to change for the better. I would like to think that by becoming an example for people, that they will also change for the better, because if your winning then I am too. I have changed one person’s life, now I hope I will affect more. So start doing, the positivity will come. The more you don’t care about being positive the more positivity you will receive.

So, get up, turn off this device and get after it, keep hammering, just do it, whatever phrase you want to use and change your life and those around you.

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See you on the mats.

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

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I have just finished The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, written by Mark Manson. It is one of those books that challenges one’s views and has changed my life for the better. Manson is a writer that gives life and relationship advice on his blog which has hundreds of thousands of monthly viewers, found at https://markmanson.net/. In a world that says that you should always be happy, you should aspire to be this and have that. Where success is only measured by money and how much shit you have, a house that the bank owns and a car that you can’t afford. Manson gives the reader an operating system to work off and use throughout life. By learning where to give and not give fucks.

 

First Manson starts with changing your view of yourself, not putting so much pressure on yourself but also being okay with where you are currently. Starting by being comfortable with yourself as being a failure, in the sense that in societies terms of a failure. Someone who isn’t always positive. The current culture that is so obsessed on being happier, healthier, smarter, faster, richer, sexier, etc. Part of being comfortable with yourself is that you should avoid searching for success defined by other’s values, society says your success is measured by your happiness or determined by how much money you make/have.

So instead of searching for happiness or success, one should solve problems that come up in life. If you don’t like the job you are in move on to another firm or change careers altogether. If you are in a toxic relationship that is weighing you down or causing you stress, leave them. However, being able to understand that once you solve a problem then other problems will arise. Changing jobs, for instance, you have to write up and distribute your resume, then having to let your current employer know that you will be looking at leaving, then once you get into the other job getting to know how they operate and making new work relationships. To get out of the toxic relationship, you have to make the hard decision to leave, then you have to deal with adjusting without them which won’t be easy but you will ultimately benefit in the long run. “Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.”

 

When you start searching for happiness and you often get into, what Manson describes as, the feed-back-loop from hell where you are sad, then wonder why you’re not happy, then you are even sadder because you aren’t happy and so on. One way to combat this loop is by not giving a fuck and applying the backwards law as stated by Alan Watts, a famous philosopher. Which, is the idea that the more you chase something or want something to happen the less likely you will achieve that thing as it reinforces that you lack that thing. The law is:

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”

Therefore, you have to not give a fuck about being successful, same goes for being happy, don’t care about not being sad. Once you do that then you might start to give a fuck about more important things.

Blaming others for your suffering and pain is a quick high, you feel good for doing it because it isn’t you, even though most of the time it will be your fault.

“People deny and blame others for their problems for the simple reason that it’s easy and feels good.”

The root problem will still persist, however, only when you realise that life is suffering then you can deal with the problem. So, one has to learn how to effectively deal with pain and suffering, by sorting out and solving the problem that life or a situation is throwing at you. Manson integrates the story of the young prince who became Buddha, who had many realizations one being that life is suffering, where “The rich suffer because of their riches. The poor suffer because of their poverty.”

Manson moves from the spiritual and philosophical reasoning of Buddha to a more biological one, where suffering is ‘nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change.’ When we are hungry we eat, when we are tired we sleep. Obviously to higher degrees of dissatisfaction. “it’s the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that’s going to do the most work and innovate and survive.” Pain is the body’s most effective way to initiate action. An example would be when you have known about an assignment or a project for a while but only really start and complete it when it has been left at the last minute. Obviously, a bad example but you get the point. Pain and suffering are good and should be used as fuel to drive your actions.

Understanding that life is suffering, not every day can be a sunny one, however, it is up to the individual to not run from their problems but solve them. Blaming others for your circumstances is only a quick high, and only serves to make the problem persist. The only way you will change your situation is by facing the problem head-on.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is a hardcore book. One I enjoyed reading, learned a lot and has changed a lot of my views and way I conduct myself in life. Manson does a great job of giving readers a healthy reality check letting them know that they are not special and that you must tackle your problems head-on. Failure is just the process of getting better and that everyone suffers but it’s up to you. It is not a book about not giving any fucks, but one where you choose where you distribute the fucks you give and to only things that matter to you. “a simple way of reorienting out expectations for life and choosing what is important and what is not.” Manson has produced a great read. One I needed. And one I recommend for everyone to read.

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See you on the mats.

My tips for beginners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Thought I would share some tips that have helped me in starting out.

  • Leave your ego at the door.

This is a must, you are the littlest fish in a very large pond. If you want people to help you out, don’t be a douche bag and think you don’t need help. I assure you, you need all the help you can get. And plus, why do you want to be known as the dick new guy? So, if this is a hard thing for you to do, you might find it hard finding good training partners who will gladly answer your questions.

  • Ask questions, lots of questions.

Now you have left your ego at the door, you can feel as stupid as you please. Ask, ask and ask some more. There are always little things that you may have missed, or small tips that can be passed down to you from the more experienced students. Also in asking questions, you don’t look like a dick-know-it-all, so effectively in a roundabout way you reduce the effect of your ego.

  • Be a sponge.

Even if ask all those questions, you must still absorb the information that you will be receiving, I find it easier when the technique is performed on me, but everyone will have different ways of learning and absorbing information. So, for example you might like your partner to mirror the move and you follow along with them, or maybe you can get enough from just watching and drilling.

Adding to that, really pay attention to your coach/instructor. They have the most knowledge in the room, so pay attention to what they say and do, ask them a question if you don’t understand how they did something. If you are having trouble while drilling the move ask them for some extra help.

  • Go at your pace.

Just because you see someone else nailing the takedown or the armbar, doesn’t mean you need to match them. Most of the time you will miss key steps and little things like foot and hand placement, and you will have the chance to learn bad habits to make the technique work. If, however you get a move down quickly that’s fine to. But do not try to match someone else’s learning ability.

  • Have fun.

You don’t want training to become a chore, so have fun, crack jokes, laugh and don’t take it too seriously. Learn and prosper and help others do the same.

  • Interact with the other students.

Well you have to do this one, since you can’t train by yourself! Ask them questions, what they do, how they got into jiu-jitsu, etc. because most of the time you might find out that you share a few interests. Boom! New friend.

  • Bring a mate along!

Since sharing is caring, why not bring a friend or someone from your family. I believe Jiu-jitsu is for everyone. There is no shape or size you have to be, you don’t have to be a super athlete or a freak who is into hurting people. You can be past your prime or shy, everyone can gain something from it. Share the love of the BJJ family, because it’s too good not to share.

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See you on the mats.

Books I am reading at the moment.

Currently I am reading ‘The Barefoot Investor, Scott Pape’ and ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson’. I will post reviews on both and any follow ups I want to add.

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See you on the mats.20180210_162957

My first 7 classes

My first 7 classes have been life changing and amazing, with great people helping make each class enjoyable and allowing me to go at my own pace. I try to ask as many questions as I can, and am not afraid of looking like an idiot, as everyone that teaches you was once were you are. I have made a few good connections with some there, however I will say that when looking for a partner I have been the one to initiate the contact on some occasions. I am not sure if they would rather just drill the move compared to teaching it to me as a new student, where I will stop and ask questions. Of course, once we get into the swing of class everything is fine.

Like everywhere in life some are slightly better teachers than others, of course I do not hold any bad feelings to anyone as we are all in this journey together, learning and teaching one another. I like this system as most of the time I can see when they themselves don’t quite have the technique down and make their own adjustments. This of course comes to the point that you can grasp a better understanding of the move when you are teaching it to someone else, as you must explain the technique to someone with no prior knowledge, in turn allowing you to think about how you perform the technique.

Maddie and myself have bought 15 1m x 1m mats and have been cleaning and trying to figure out where to put them. I am looking forward to practicing with her and will post any tips I find with rolling with your partner/significant other.

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Starting New things

Recently I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and I have absolutely loved it, classes are fun and challenging and they have inspired me to start a blog (along with some other factors).

Why start a blog?

To get my thoughts out onto paper (screen). But also, to share my experiences and thoughts about subjects that I enjoy doing and ones that interest me. Topics may include, Jiu-Jitsu, books I am reading, gym, study habits, diet etc.

What got me into BJJ?

Well let’s start with my first look at BJJ, my first contact with the world of BJJ was during one of the first UFC’s I ever watched. I couldn’t tell you the date or the fighters, or anything about the fight. I was just puzzled by how someone could get taken down so easily, then give up an arm to be taken home with the winner. Luckily Joe Rogan was commentating and mentioned how the other fighter had superior Jiu-jitsu, so this stuck in my head.

Coming from the traditional martial arts background of Tae kwon do, where I learnt how to defend against such attacks, this made the loser look like he had never trained. Which of course I knew that he had trained for several years longer than I have. Which made me think about if my martial art was ineffective, I then moved to Muy-Thai and realized that I had much to learn. Due to many reasons, I stopped training all together and have not gone back since.

It has taken me this long to act on starting training due to many things I thought were ‘good reasons excuses’ but ultimately it was up to me to steer my ship to the course I wanted (thanks Jocko for the kick in the arse). I will say the few factors that convinced me to start, one was listening to Joe Rogan, who then had two on, Jocko Willink, as a guest, and third was my current partner. The latter of whom I have convinced to start with me.

What do I aspire to do with BJJ?

My first goal as always is to just learn about the sport, I will not place any other goals or give any maybe I want/will do that/this at this point in time. So, I will aim to be a sponge for as long as I can.

Where do I train?

I train at Gracie Jiu-jitsu Burwood. Website: https://graciejiujitsuburwood.com.au/

My first lesson.

My first lesson was on the 30th of January 2018, once Robbie had given me a little demo, I was partnered with a blue belt who was good at teaching a new student. I noticed that the class is very informal, almost a complete opposite of other disciplines I have learnt. Lots of students were conversing but complete undivided attention was given to Robbie when he would show us a variation of the technique. Shrimp escape and body fold take-down were the techniques of the day.

I also found the curriculum is not a daunting task when it is broken up into the 23 classes, that can be done in any order, in any time. Which as a beginner made it more welcoming, overall most of the students are polite and kind and are happy that they can share something like jiu-jitsu with someone else.

Getting your significant other to join you.

Well to be honest I almost convinced her not to go. I got home after my first lesson and I didn’t shut up about how much fun I had and how much fun she is going to have. She got a little discouraged when I said that she should go in and try to learn as much as she can and that she would have to check her ego at the door, I forgot to check mine, this caused her to doubt herself. I noticed my lack of judgement and promptly apologized. Luckily, she proved me wrong and has been awesome.

Before that however, giving her the reason why she should start is the most important piece of information you can give her. Letting her know how she could benefit from it. Try either of these:

  1. Indirect approach:

You: “Have you ever thought about what you would do if someone grabbed you from behind?”

Her: “No, I have not.”

You: “Would you ever consider learning a martial art to prepare you for a situation like that?”

Her: “Well now that you mention it, I could learn something that would help me.”

  1. Direct approach:

You: “Hey these are some benefits of doing a martial art: good for fitness, self-confidence, knowing how to defend yourself, new friends, (anything else you can add). Would you come to one lesson with me and if you don’t like it I won’t mention you doing a martial art again.”

Her: “Okay, I will come.”

In the direct approach, be sure to not be overly aggressive, that’s why I would suggest the indirect approach. No need to give her the spark for the BJJ flame with a flamethrower. Of course, I would suggest you make your own version that would suit your need. Could be to get your child or friend into it.

Boom! You got her in for one lesson. So now what, first let your coach/instructor know and they will put her with a good training partner and now stop worrying about it because it is out of your hands. The worst thing you could do now is constantly check in on her during the class. Hopefully she has fun, learns something new and the BJJ flame within her is set a light.

On the Path

I know I do not have much experience yet, but I will post as much as I can. And if I am able to help one person out with any subject I post about then that’s a bonus. Please follow and leave a comment for any questions and feedback.