5-takeaways:12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.

I’ll start by saying this, I do not agree with all of whatDr. Peterson says, however, A LOT, if not all, of what he has written in this book is very useful information and some of the rules are great guidelines to live by. One of the rules that makes this list is related to this topic of “because you may dislike someone’s viewpoints doesn’t mean that everything they say should now be dismissed.” (Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.) There are a lot of things he says that I disagree with, including his view of mother/father parenting being the best way to raise a child, I know a few who have been raised by single mothers, or a lesbian or gay couples who are fantastic people, and I know of horrible people who have been brought up in the more traditional mother/father parenting dynamic. Still though I like a lot of what he talks about. One of the main reasons that I was drawn to and am interested in what Dr. Peterson has to say is his point that before pointing blame others or a system that does not favor you, first focus on the things that are in your control. Don’t give something or someone else control over the outcome of your life, otherwise, you will forever be powerless in the face of any chaos. That helpless feeling can be a very taxing one, one that can be debilitating, even fatal. The following list is my 5-takeaways (or top 5 rules in this case)of 12 Rules for Life, hope you too can take something away.

1. Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.

Peterson uses many religious stories throughout the book, she has studied the psychology of the many archetypical stories found throughout the Bible and a few other religious texts. He also touches on a variety of literature and movies, including Disney classics and works from notable thinkers like Nietzsche, Solzhenitsyn, and Descartes. One such reference that stood out was T. S. Eliot’s explanation of a character in his play The CocktailParty, who “is not having a good time of it.” And Peterson’s take on it, as follows:

                “She speaks of her profound unhappiness to a psychiatrist. She says she hopes that all her suffering is her own fault. The psychiatrist is taken aback. He asks why. She has thought long and hard about this, she says, and has come to the following conclusion: if it’s her fault, she might be able to do something about it. If it’s God fault, however – if reality itself is flawed, hell-bent on ensuring her misery – then she is doomed. She couldn’t change the structure of reality itself. But maybe she could change her own life.”

As a human being, you have sole responsibility of your attitude towards life, and if you can take on the burden of knowing that your outcome is dictated by your actions then you can make a start of improving, not only your life but the lives of those around you. Peterson is famous for saying “clean up your room,” in his Alberta-Canadian accent. This is not meant in a “do as your told,” way, it is meant as a, “start with something small that is easily available and achievable” way. Then once you have cleaned up your room, move on to the rest of the house, and bit by bit, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, even in the face of setbacks, slowly your life will be more in order. Leading on to the next rule.

2. Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

This is something that I constantly struggle with, I wish that I could be traveling more, or I could own a few houses already, or be a business owner. Whatever it is I forget that the person that I desperately want to be worked hard to get to where they are now. That for my own self-esteem, the comparison does not have the desired effect. When I get reminded that I am on my own path and that I should use the person’s success as motivation for what I could become, that’s when I focus on being better than the me of yesterday, it might be in the gym, or learning something new, sorting out my life in some fashion. That is when I move forward, one step at a time. Knowing full well that I need to put in the work and have the dedication to persist in the task.

“You are discovering who you are, and what you want, and what you are willing to do. You are finding that the solutions to your particular problems have to be tailored to you, personally and precisely. You are less concerned with the actions of other people because you have plenty to do yourself.”

Of course, to improve you must see the faults that you need to work on. To not see your flaws means that you are the perfect human and that you have nothing to work on. Which would be a lie, not only do you have to make constant adjustments in yourself for your well-being but for the well-being of those around you. Of course, you can lie to yourself and those around you that everything is fine, however, your internal voice/subconscious will become louder as you keep lying, and deeper you will fall into a pit that only you will be able to drag yourself out of.

3. Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

If I could write out most of this chapter I would, but then I might be up for plagiarism. Peterson uses a lot of religious and personal anecdotes of patients or clients that have come to his practice. However, if you only take one thing from this it would be the paragraph below:

“As God himself claims(so goes the story), “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”According to this philosophy, you do not simply belong to yourself. You are not simply your own possession to torture and mistreat. This is partly because your being is inexorably tied up with that of others, and your mistreatment of yourself can have catastrophic consequences for others. This is most clearly evident, perhaps, in the aftermath of suicide, when those left behind are often both bereft and traumatized. But, metaphorically speaking there is also this: you have a spark of the divine in you, which belongs not to you, but to God. Weare after all – according to Genesis – made in His image. We have the these-divine capacity for consciousness. Our consciousness participates in the speaking forth of Being. We are low-resolution (“kenotic”) versions of God. We can make order from chaos – and vice versa – in our way, with our words. So, we may not exactly be God, But we’re exactly nothing, either.”

I know it’s a lot to take in, however, the words have that kind of remembered-truth, “remembered” in the sense that deep down every human knows that they have the potential to be great or do great things. All anyone has to do is treat themselves with the respect that they would give to the person that they could become, not the person they were or are currently.

4. Rule 12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter one on the street.

Suffering is part and parcel of Being, Being in the sense of the state of existing or existence. At any point in life, either you yourself are struggling or a loved one is. Very rarely, and I would say that close to never has there been a point in my life when neither I nor a close friend or family member was dealing with some obstacle. I currently have no ailments; however, a close family friend is currently battling cancer for the third time. And yet, somehow, through all his and his families suffering, he still has the attitude he has always had, one of never giving up, one of child-like wonder and humor and a thorough love of life. He may not know it fully, but the impact that he has on many is almost as large as his personality. Peterson touches on his daughter’s life-long degenerative joint disease and how it has impacted him, how he could have cursed the world and human existence, yet faced with the limitation of being – suffering is the limitation placed on humans– Peterson understood that suffering is a part of living, much like Viktor Frankl in his classic, Man’s Search for meaning.

“If you are already everything, everywhere, always, there is nowhere to go and nothing to be. Everything that could happen already has. And it is for this reason, so the story goes, that God created man. No limitations, no story. No story, no Being.”

Make a story, despite your limitations. Always remember though, that when an opportunity arises, to pat a dog or cat, or do something to distract you from all the sorrow life has to offer, only for a little while.“Maybe you can steal ten or twenty minutes to do some little ridiculous thing that distracts you or reminds you that you can laugh at the absurdity of existence.”

5. Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.

If you remember this is the rule I mentioned in the intro, and this I reckon is one of the more important rules Peterson lays out in the book. I myself struggled with this one growing up, I still check myself sometimes especially when meeting someone new, or someone who I have heard about from friends or family. Which as awful as it sounds, a lot of people will unknowingly make biased assessments of people and will automatically either give their undivided attention or completely disregard everything they say. The chance that they know something you don’t is higher than you think. Obviously, this goes the other way too, so when mutual respect of the other person’s knowledge is achieved, the conversation can become a more productive one, the where common ground can be established.

The other point of this rule is to listen, not think about how you will retort and flatten their argument with something witty, but to actually listen. Listen with the intent of taking in what the other person is saying. Peterson includes a Carl Rodgers quote that I thought was an interesting take on this topic.

“The great majority of us cannot listen; we find ourselves compelled to evaluate, because listening is too dangerous. The first requirement is courage, and we do not always have it.”

I know what you’re thinking, how could listening be dangerous? Well, the danger hides in your own insecurities, maybe you’re not right, maybe you are completely wrong. The main danger, however, is not in being wrong, but having your outlook or views changed, and these may be views that you hold so dear and close that they hold up part of your personality. Continuing:

“some of you may be feeling that you listen well to people, and that you have never seen such results. The chances are that your listening has not been of the type I have described.”

Everyone thinks that they are good listeners, I know I did until I started really trying to pay attention when speaking to people. Oh how wrong I was, I always would try to come up with an “I’m-better-than-you” retort, or be extremely dismissive of what they had to say. Straw manning their point of view. Definitely not a great way to listen. Peterson notes that the form of listening that Rodgers suggest is one where you repeat the person’s argument back to them, at a standard that they see fit. This does two things, you listen, but you understand their point of view.

As I have said, Peterson is not everyone’s cup of tea, but he is very good at translating complex ideas for those of us who have no prior background in psychology or mythology. The life advice found throughout the book is amazing and the 12 rules can be used as great guidelines to navigate the chaos and suffering. If you have no idea who Jordan Peterson is and enjoyed this article I can definitely recommend looking him up, his lectures can bewatch on YouTube and on multiple podcasts, such as the Joe Rogan Experience and the Jocko Podcast. I hope you enjoyed my 5 takeaways of Peterson’s book, 12Rules for Life.

See ya on the mats.

~Carlos

Success Patterns Can Be Found in All Things

If some of you have been following me recently you will know that I have started up archery after getting a compound bow for my birthday. And with starting something new I will usually draw on other experiences and what I can relate it too. This characteristic is something all of us do, whether we consciously do it or not. When we find patterns we create our own models from these patterns, that could be found through exploration or from learning it from an outside source. Why do we look for patterns to add to our model? Well simply for survival, maybe we can cover that in another post. But, in this case, I’m about to talk about. It’s for the sake of becoming better at something new.

So, shooting a projectile with a string attached to a stick is something very new to me. I never made my own bow as a kid, nor have I shot a rifle or firearm before. Growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne the closest thing to a rifle I had was nerf guns. Not exactly high tech. So, I really don’t know what I’m doing, I have a small understanding of it. Pull the arrow back and let it go, but as green as you can get. So, I go in for my first lesson (down at Aim Archery Moorabbin), get taught the basics, finger placement, how to aim, the arc trajectory of a recurve bow (also known as tradition bow), anchor points, range safety, etc. If you do make the way down to the range George is a great teacher, spends his time with you and really gets you to improve over the session.

However, you won’t improve if you don’t listen and be the student. Here is one pattern that I have noticed in my performance when starting new things. If I am listening and really paying attention to what is being taught, then I will improve at a higher rate. For instance, when I was learning Spanish at university I never really paid attention, I would either be chatting with friends or on my phone. This is no way to learn something, if you want to perform and advance you have to be willing to learn. So, be open to criticism, correct your form, and try again. Someone else can’t learn it for you. When you are a good student, often the teacher will be more attentive to you, I saw this with a kid at high school, He would show interest and ask a lot of questions, he would often get a lot more attention from the teacher. Not because the teacher hated every other student, it’s just that they found the easiest mind to teach.

Anchor points are a big part of archery, especially if you want to get consistent results. Anchor points, are reference points that you use when at full draw for proper sight alignment. The most common points archer’s use and string touching the tip of the nose, the webbing between the thumb and pointer finger and a kisser button (a small loop on the string that meets the corner of the lip.) They allow you to pull the bow back, find your points, sight the target and release. Nevertheless, they will not work if you aren’t consistent with the placement of them. Which, is another pattern I have noticed for the relative success of the task or subject you are learning. Consistency will produce results, either good or bad. If you are consistently setting on your anchor points, your arrow will fly true, then it is only a matter of adjusting your sight. If your anchor points are changing constantly then you will get consistently poor results. Of course, the other part of consistency is to practice.

Often when shooting, I can sometimes throw myself off, either I get a bit too big headed after nailing the bull’s eye and punch (to stuff up) my next shot or I focus on the mistake of the previous shot and punch it again. My most recent lesson has produced a bit of wisdom from George, after two bad shots in a row, I was a bit annoyed with myself and expressed it with George, he told me, “You can only focus on the arrow you have nocked (arrow currently ready to shoot).” And this is something that carries into other disciplines, BJJ, you can only focus on the current technique or position and the escapes, sweeps, and submissions possible. Like in blacksmithing, for better results, focus on each hit, one at a time, each heat.

Just some thoughts and patterns I have noticed and experienced in multiple disciplines, that can be applied to all aspects of life, career, study, gym, martial arts, relationships, whatever else you can think of. If you want to learn quickly and get better results sooner, then try to find similarities between how you have succeeded in past pursuits and apply what you have learned there to your new career, hobby or passion. And a quote from the great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.

If you know the Way broadly, you will see it in everything.”

Cya on the mats!

Carlos

Change and Growth

I have written about change before. Relating change and how often we fear it and how to combat the fear by coming up with our worst-case scenario and then deconstructing it. Fear-setting as described by Tim Ferris. I pretty much wanted to share with people something I had found to be useful. However, this post will be more personal as I will recount how I have been able to utilize change and take on the challenge of loving change.

Like I have said before change is inevitable, life is always constantly changing. You may hear news of a family member having their first child, you may hear an old acquaintance just passed away, you may have been fired from your job, your sister or brother may have just started playing gigs with their band. All of these things are changes, some the people have little to zero say in them, other times they have all the power in their hands to make the decision to change. However, in both cases, It is still up to the individual on how they perceive their current reality. Take for instance the person who just lost their job, they have multiple options on how they react and the ultimate decision they take. They could turn to the bottle and begin the downward spiral into depression, or they could use the lack of a job as a sign to look into other careers. Ultimately it is up to them what path they take. This in itself is the scariest part of change, knowing that no one else can make the choice for you, which is why often to avoid the decision people tend to walk the wrong path. Not because they chose it, but because they didn’t choose to take a different one.

In change, this is where we can find growth. Growth does not come from sitting idle, it comes from overcoming obstacles. Through my teen years, I did not understand this fully, I didn’t understand that being idle and sitting on the bus of life, so to speak, will not allow me to grow or where I want to be in life. The bus will take me to a destination that I may not necessarily like, to the wrong side of town that I will be more likely to drown in than to flourish. My dad often used this bus analogy to explain life, if you don’t like the bus your on, get off and get on the one you want, you may even have to go back to a previous destination to get to the one you do want to go to. Once I realized that a science degree was not for me, I got off that bus and worked for a bit, then I went back to school and have now arrived at a destination that I like a fair bit better.

I strongly believe that the times that we grow the most are in times of challenge and change. One, you can use those hurdles as an example that you can overcome the trials now before you, and two, that you can use them as stepping stones to take on more of life. Of course, you are not the only one overcoming things, and people before you have already overcome your current challenge. A big part of my growth has been seeking out people who have already walked the path I want to walk down and talking to, listening or reading about them, and see how I could incorporate the knowledge gained to my own experiences. If you find the task of choosing the first/next person you read about, my advice is: pick the two you want to read about the most, flip a coin, if you don’t like the outcome initially pick the other.

What do I do when my life changes and I don’t like the new situation I’m in? From my experience, it depends on the situation. When I was having tests done to see if they could find more tumors, the only thing I could control was my attitude toward everything. I would make my best effort to always smile while in hospital, always try to either make someone laugh or laugh at my circumstances. The key was making the situation a positive one. After all, I wouldn’t have a say in the results, the only thing I could have a say in was to go through with the precautionary surgery. In terms of not enjoying my new job initially, I once again took control of how I perceived the situation, I looked at the good things and found a way to make it enjoyable. So, overall, I would say, that no matter the situation you find yourself in. Find something in it to make it enjoyable or rewarding, focus on the small positives that you may find and amplify them. You can control the perspective you use to look at the world. My recommendation, choose the positive one.

Thanks for reading.

Cya on the mats.

~Carlos

Why the change?

I have recently changed the name of the site to carlosygoa.com since I felt that readnroll.blog limited me in what I could and could not post about, I am in no way shape or form moving away from what I have been doing. This is just an update about the change. I Hope that you all understand.

Thanks

Carlos

Currently Reading: Start with Why, Simon Sinek

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I have started the journey of bringing an idea to life, and why not read a book that I can directly apply what I learn. I have found that when reading a book, it sticks with you more when you can apply the teachings from it. A book review will be up once I finish the book, and I look forward to sharing with you the things that I have gained from it. Start with Why is a book that aims to teach readers, that to become better leaders, one must start with why you are doing something, Simon Sinek uses examples like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers, all pioneers that have changed the world and inspired others. I know I have been a bit slack on the reviews recently, and I will do my utmost to post more content.

You might know Simon Sinek from his speech on Millennials in the workplace.

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See you on the mats!

What makes BJJ different?

Having now been training for almost two months I feel as though I am no longer the new guy, many new faces have commenced their BJJ journey in the time from here to now. I try my best to welcome them as I was welcomed and be a friendly face to spot out. It is amazing seeing the range of people and body types come into training, from some old boys and a lot more women than I would have thought. Short to tall, stick thin to the odd beer belly. It is very different from other martial arts. Where there are mostly men, mostly somewhat athletic builds, the odd person that breaks the mold. So, I have been thinking, what makes Jiu-jitsu so different? Why are people attracted to the martial art?

  1. The simple complexity.

Jiu-jitsu is actually quite complex (as I am finding out); however, the complex is made simple in its teaching. The complexity of body weight, positional control, timing, leverage, physics, and biology. All can be taught, through drilling and rolling. Through drilling you are taught via your instructor, rolling you are taught from your experiences. Both are needed for overall development. However, drilling is where you learn the complexities, the little nuances. Where you should have your body weight, over your heals, through your opponent, on your hands. When you should use certain techniques, pass, continue to control or submit. Rolling is where you learn if you should let something go to either reset or move on to another submission or a better position. The joy in learning comes from the challenge of the complexities, even though the concepts are simple. Worst case scenario (if it ends up on the ground), get into a dominant position, control and submit. Best case, walk away.

  1. It just works.

Having come from other martial arts that are focused on striking, Jiu-jitsu is very different. In a fight where anything can happen, you can know the fanciest kick and you could still get clipped by someone with little to no experience. Whereas with Jiu-jitsu, in the worst case, an attacker on top of you throwing punches, you do have a chance. Trap and roll, get into mount, control and finish the fight. From the get-go, you can see that it works, you can feel that it works. When you are drilling and slowly getting the concepts, you can understand that if you are untrained and get into a difficult position you are pretty much fucked. I have a strong belief that knowing how to defend yourself is a skill everyone must learn, and everyone should dabble in all aspects of a fight, however, if I only had one skill in a fight, it would be Jiu-jits. I was showing one of my friends the effectiveness of it recently, he was a bit hesitant, but I convinced him to at least let me show him that he should learn a little bit of jiu-jitsu. I told him that in Jiu-jitsu you are still able to finish a fight even off your back, to demonstrate this I used him as the attacker, and in less than 30 seconds I put him in a triangle, to which he was very impressed with the effectiveness of BJJ. It was at that moment when I thought about if he had actually been an attacker and had I not known any Jiu-jitsu, he would have easily done a lot of damage.

  1. The underlying culture of the art.

Jiu-jitsu as a martial art has one of the best cultures, one that is welcoming, positive, ego-free, so fun you want to do and learn more. Obviously, this will change from place to place. However, you can see the laid-back attitude, the happy go lucky smiles, and family orientated values that originate with the Gracie family which have spread on to their students. I have not met any of the Gracie’s yet, but you can see it in videos and media, which is so appealing to many people, especially those that are timid and shy. It is amazing seeing people grow, even though I have only been training for a small amount of time, I have witnessed many transformations. At our academy, two brothers started a few months ago, and just this week they both received their first stipe. When they started they were very shy, but when they got their stripes, you couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces. They have also come out of their shells, even if only a little bit, it is still some form of growth. The culture allows for people to grow, it isn’t one of put-downs and shaming, it’s one of congratulations and constructive tips.

  1. The many lessons and skills that can be gained from it.

The usual skills that can be gained from other martial arts like discipline, controlling one’s emotions, improved self-esteem, work ethic, etc.  are all apart of Jiu-jitsu. However, I believe that Jiu-jitsu has more to offer, skills and life lessons that are applicable all throughout one’s life. Being humble and removing your ego is one of the life lessons that many should learn, training BJJ you are constantly put into compromised positions, since that you must be the feed for your partner when drilling. You have to remove your ego and let them practice a triangle or a Rear naked choke, obviously, if you let your ego get in the way, you won’t have a partner. One of the biggest ones that I have learned recently, is to let go and trade up. Can’t complete the Kimura, take the back. Can’t get the triangle, double ankle sweep. This can be applied in life, can’t get the promotion, leave and find a different company. Girlfriend leaves you, use the time to hang out with friends and family. You can always see the positive in each situation, it’s all about perspective.

  1. Your body size, strength, flexibility does not matter.

Seeing the range of people and body types are proof that you don’t have to be of a certain type of person or athletic ability. Even when I have watched competitions there are many different styles and body types. Jiu-jitsu accommodates for all. Seeing as BJJ was designed for the weaker and smaller person, its able to be performed by anyone. I would recommend it as the first martial art to learn to anyone wanting to learn self-defense, it is practical and having some knowledge is better than no knowledge.

These points I have made are only the surface of the martial art, I hope to gain more understanding of Jiu-jitsu and learn more about what it has to offer not just to me but to others. It is a challenging sport, but the hardest thing, like in many cases, is to start. Jiu-jitsu has really opened up a lot of things for me, and to be honest, the only trouble that I have with it is that I didn’t start it sooner. So, if you think you would like to learn it, then learn it, look up an academy, call up, come down. Walking through the doors is the hardest thing, but get in the car and do it.

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See you on the mats.

Becoming responsible for my thoughts and actions, and the tools I use daily.

Taking on responsibility, this is something that I have been getting better at. I have taken on the things that I can control, I have started doing the things that I want to do. I have stopped blaming things on people, when it is really on me, my actions and emotions that would otherwise rule my life. Being positive even around negative people is incredibly difficult, yet I try to be as positive as I can. People will always try to bring you into their state, one of misery and suffering, instead of trying to come up to your level. Either they see it as you aren’t being realistic, they don’t want to change out of their ways, even if they know it will be of some benefit or they see it as too tough. I thought that this way of thinking was mostly limited to the older generations, but I see this at every age. By not listening to outside influences that promote thoughts and behaviors that I don’t want a part of, has made it easier. I now don’t watch the news/tv or listen to the radio or read the newspaper, as it gives me information that I see as wasting my brain’s storage. Don’t get me wrong I still think that knowing the gist of a little news is good, but by limiting the amount of information received you can turn your attention towards things that you want to do. Like projects, hobbies and seeking information that you want to know. So, instead I listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos on topics that interest me, and I read books that I know I will be able to take something from. Of course, there is the rabbit hole of YouTube, and I have gotten better at combating it by becoming more disciplined in my time management.

Through controlling what I have around me, the information I receive and take in, I have started to emulate a feedback loop of sorts. By reconfirming things that I listen to, read and watch, I then start doing. By doing the thing, I then get back positive results, further affirming my thoughts and therefore actions. What I do is something that anyone can do. Anyone can listen to the podcasts I listen to, anyone can read the books I read, anyone can watch the videos I watch. However, not everyone will think like me, not everyone will get the results like me. I’m not saying that everyone should think my thoughts and do what I do, I’m stating that they will not get the results they desire because they do not put in the work, they do not turn thoughts into actions. This is the critical component, this is the catalyst for what everyone wants in their lives.

Fear is usually the obstacle that catches many (covered in my book review: Feel the fear). Sometimes I think it is more, sometimes I look back on the person I used to be. One that blamed procrastination on genetics, I used to leave my homework until the night before it was due. One that would say I couldn’t do something because I wasn’t good at it. I never thought I could write, and my results proved it to me. Until I stopped blaming my circumstances on things other than myself, I would never be able to do the things I wanted to do. So, along with confronting my fears, I had to take full responsibility for my thoughts, actions, emotions, the information I was taking in from the people I wanted to.

I know I have previously written about positivity being bullshit, which is true, however, if you are continently taking in the right amount and applying yourself to maximize your output, then positivity is good. However, like everything it must be regulated, staying up and watching video after video with no action on your end will not do you any good. The feedback loop I talked about before can do an amazing job here, you get a thought, you act on that thought, you get results, the results affirm your thought. I use this process for writing, on projects, in jiu-jitsu, pretty much in most aspects of my life. Of course, I don’t let others dictate if my results are good or bad, because of the values I have set up, most of my results are good. If one person reads and likes my blog post then that’s a win for me. Now you say, well you will always win then, but if it creates a good feedback loop in my head, then why not? If I take it step by step and keep moving forward then I will slowly be able to change more and more people. This is my one of the bigger goals that I have for this blog, I want to change the way people feel about themselves, and I hope to inspire those around me, to inspire those around them. I see it that as inspiring in itself, people changing their attitudes and putting thoughts into actions inspires me. So, whenever someone tells me that I have given them a kick up the arse, it reminds me that what I write has power and drives me further.

So, what is it that you can take from this post? Well for starters, face your fears. I use an exercise, which I forget where I found it. It is the task of asking yourself why you won’t do something, or why you find something difficult. (It can really be used for anything.) However, it is not about asking yourself why just once, it’s about asking why until you get to the root cause of whatever seems to be bothering you. For instance: Problem might be, starting a project that I have been wanting to start for a while.

Why have I not started this project?

Because I am scared/unsure about how to start it.

Why are you scared?

Because it is something new that I have never faced before, and I don’t know anyone that would be able to help me.

Why do you need to get help from someone? Have you looked for some guidance?

            I know of people but I am scared to ask them.

This leads me to not only the root of the cause but allows me to determine what I should do. It almost makes it so obvious that it removes the fear that I had in the first place. Of course, the exercise will not work if you do not answer the question of why with some clarity and thought. You do not what to give broad and open-ended answers, like “because I don’t feel like it.” Usually, there is more than just not feeling like it, as that too can be asked why you don’t feel like it.

Another exercise I do, especially with goals, is I set ones that are attainable. For instance, read for 20 minutes a day, instead of setting it so that I aim to read for an hour. Usually, you will read for more than 20 minutes. Then the next week aim to read for a little longer per day. There is no rush to try and get up to your end goal of 2 hours a day, step by step. This can be used for everything, study, writing, spending time with loved ones, meditating. It is all about making the mindset switch of hitting goals, if you set out these unrealistic goals right away, not reaching them will deter you from ever setting them again. So, conditioning yourself into reaching goals, and even overachieving will help in changing your inner workings where achieving goals becomes a 70% hit rate. Instead of never hitting them.

Journaling is probably one of the best exercises I do, it is the one I first started with, it was part of my new year’s resolution. Benjamin Franklin said, “either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.” So, keeping this in mind I try and do things throughout my day worth writing about, obviously not in the history books just yet, but things that I am proud to write about. Once again I never scrutinize myself if I have not completed a task, however, I use the magic of positive reinforcement when I complete tasks and goals.

Another is fear setting, in which I go into more detail in a post that can be found here. Fear setting is much like goal setting, however, you set out your fears, enabling you to deconstruct any obstacles and negative thoughts that might be inhibiting you. For instance, I was not feeling like I would give my all if I continued at university this year, I was fearful of what would happen if I differed this year. Fearful of what Friends and family would think of me, fearful of not knowing what I would do for the year and many other fears that I won’t get in to. However, I can say that fear setting brought me out of stasis, giving me a better understanding of how insignificant my fears really were and gave me a clear direction that was aligned with the goals I had set for myself.

Now I don’t expect anyone one to use any of these tools, they are just the ones that I have found to work, they may work for you and I hope that you give them a try. If you need anything cleared up with any of the tools I have provided please email me or shoot me a message. Also, don’t read this and tell yourself that you don’t have time, because a lot of them can be used and completed in less than 30 minutes, and if you don’t have time then you are poor at managing it. Hopefully, you can take something from this post and maybe give one of the tools I have set out a try. Ultimately it is up to you to take on the responsibility of your life and be accountable for how it plays out and what path you take.

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See you on the mats.

Book Review: Feel the fear and do it anyway, by Susan Jeffers

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Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

It seems I have been reading great books as of late. This is no exception, with easy to understand concepts that anyone could integrate into their lives ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is another one for the list. With a feel-good attitude and many relevant stories and student testimonials at the end of each chapter, it is a phenomenal classic. Susan Jeffers states something in the introduction that I knew but did not think about till I read the words on the page. “Fear seems to be an epidemic in our society.” Everyone is so fearful of doing anything these days, me included, others and myself would say I can’t do that because of X, Y or Z. Of course, we would use excuses as reasons to hide behind. I won’t start Jiu-jitsu because I am not sure if I will like it, or I won’t defer my studies because I might upset my father. When really those excuses are just fears that can be overcome, like any obstacle in life fear can be turned into fuel. Jeffers gives readers tools and insights into fear and will improve the ability to fight and triumph over fear. Transitioning readers from a place of pain, suffering, and paralysis to one of power, love, and excitement.

Jeffers opens by asking ‘what are you afraid of.. and why?’ She relays the events of a new class of people wanting to learn from her in her now well-established course, Feel the fear and do it anyway, Asking each person the same question. ‘What are you afraid of.. and why?’ They answer each in situations different from the last but sound all too familiar. I want to leave my husband of 15 years, I want to leave my job and pursue my passion, I want to take the leap to the next step in growing my business. All are stories that can be related to, and every person is looking for the same thing that You and I picked up this book. We want to overcome something and grow. Jeffers breaks fear down into 3 levels, from ones that are the surface story ones like fear of change, death, illness, and others that happen to us. And ones like fear of making decisions, ending or beginning a relationship, public speaking, and others that require action from us. These are level one fears. Level 2 fears are fears that are feelings from the person, not exterior situations like those in level 1. Level 2 fears are fears of, rejection, helplessness, failure. These are more general, fears that affect multiple areas of your life. Level 3 would seem that it will be something massive in terms of fear, but Jeffers simply puts it as the fear of not being able to handle it. That you can’t handle what is going on around you, that you can’t handle the world as you are viewing it. As she puts it:

“The truth is:

If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear?

                The answer is: NOTHING!”

Knowing that you can handle anything that comes your way is a big deal, it isn’t about tricking yourself into thinking anything. It’s about knowing that life is a journey that will have ups and downs and that it is up to us to develop trust in our own ability to handle each situation. Take on the responsibility of handling it and not backing down from fear.

Jeffers gives readers her five truths of fear as described below:

  1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.
  3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it.
  4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
  5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness. (My favorite)

With each truth, she gives her reasoning, which I found solidified what I already knew from other books and material I have digested. No matter how much you grow and progress, there will always be obstacles, be it from outside forces or those imposed by oneself. However, to get over those obstacles, action with a clear purpose of overcoming adversity will allow you to progress to the next challenge life has laid out in front of you. Usually, when I am having a shit day I try to complete an easy task on my to-do list. Might be water the garden or walk the dog, but the process of completing something allows me to get the ball rolling. Of course, knowing that someone has been, is and will be in the position that you find yourself in, fearing action, is comforting. Of course, knowing that those before you have pushed forward gives you confidence that you will too. In most cases someone has written or talked about your position, you might feel lost, you might be afraid of changing careers or dumping that pyscho boyfriend. Someone probably has done it. My favorite truth is that the fear of inaction is far greater than action. Using fear to help push you is one of the greatest things I have learnt recently. I would always fear doing something, talking to that girl, asking for help, whatever it might’ve been. However, instead of having fear block my move, I turn it into a positive and take action.

Jeffers goes on to point out that currently in society the word ‘power’ has negative connotations, often being used in terms of control over others and the miss use of it. But she talks about power in the sense of oneself, the power of how you view the world, the actions you take, the power of growth, to create joy, satisfaction, and love in one’s life. When one lacks power, they feel helpless to the world, they are more likely to suffer and to fear change and growth. Not having power in one’s life results in manipulating others around them and playing the victim in most circumstances. Since they have no power of their own they try to take it from everyone else. You can often see this when someone starts succeeding in life, others try to cut them down, showing their jealousy and lack of power over their emotions. Power is the ability to overcome adversity and obstacles that life sets up for you, knowing that the task at hand is hard but pushing through and completing it anyway. So, instead of using words and phrases like: I can’t, it’s not my fault, life’s a struggle, and if only. Which are phrases of the victim mentality, use phrases of the powerful mentality like I won’t, I’m totally responsible, life’s an adventure, and next time. Changing the attitude and values are difficult, but it becomes easier when using words of power and becoming responsible for what you say and do.

A trap that I would often fall into would be thoughts of self-doubt and negativity, I would beat myself up over things I did or said. I would fear outcomes of action so I would then just not do them, I wouldn’t ask that girl out, or I wouldn’t stand up to people who were having a go at me or my mates. I would feel helpless whenever these thoughts crept into my head, Jeffers touched on the effects of negative and positive thought and how powerful they really are. However, you cannot stop thinking positively even when you have reached or goal or achievement, likening it to exercise. You wouldn’t stop going to the gym after you have gotten your body in shape. She gives readers some exercises and tips for turning negative to positive. And, keeping it positive. All reinforcing positive attitudes. From listening to audio tapes and reading books, writing positive quotes and recording and listening to affirmations. She leaves out a very important detail, however. None of these things will work if you don’t put them into action, and even then, if you put them into action, you have to really draw from them and become positive. If you keep a negative mindset, you could read as many books on positivity as possible, and you would still be negative. The change MUST come from within. No outside force will make the transformation for you.

Once this shift in mindset has begun, often other people in your life find dealing with the change difficult and do things, most of the time unconsciously, to discourage the change. I have found this in a lot of my own relationships. I say I want to do something, and already people start telling me “Aww, nah man you don’t want to do that.” Or “I’ve heard that it already been done.” Or “I tried that, and it didn’t work for me.” So, I have found myself not telling anyone anything and just doing it. Obviously, this is not everyone, and sometimes they can be all for one idea but then reject another the next week.  Jeffers talks about making some changes, however, these changes aren’t difficult to make. Over time your “moan-and-groan” friends will either see the example you are setting and join you in growing, or they will find other “moaners-and-groaners” to complain about their lot in life. In each circumstance, Jeffers explains that you the reader should not feel guilty for not keeping toxic relationships, obviously the former is more preferred. However, you can only be an example for them, it is up for them to decide if they wish to take life on and leave negativity behind. Jeffers includes anecdotes from students that have participated in her courses that have had their partners resist their growth. She gives an insight into why their partners are dragging them down, often they need help too in growing and changing their mindset. Often the partners are able to see what they are doing wrong and start to change themselves, others do not. If you stop your growth and choose to stay in the relationship for the reason of not upsetting your partner, you more often than not become resentful of them for not allowing you to grow. A break usually occurs after this point.

Jeffers closes the book with the reminder that there is plenty of time, time for you to grow, time to change your mindset, time to do the things you want to. Being impatient creates feelings of fear, stress, and frustration. This rings true especially in today’s world of instant gratification when everyone wants to feel good now, to have the latest phone, the best this, that and the other thing. Just take a deep breath, and trust in your own abilities and trust that whatever life throws at you, you can handle it. Either we think about experiences as a victim and not learn from it or we take responsibility and learn from it. Jeffers has produced a book full of little tips that can be applied all throughout life, the title says it all. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

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See you on the mats.

Podcast 001 – Robbie Singh

This originally wasn’t going to be a podcast of sorts, but it went so well that I thought may as well release the interview. Robbie works as a Senior Behavioral Analysist, specializing in working with children with autism, teaching and giving them skills to improve their lives and to allow them to become more independent. and is an instructor at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood, he has a black belt under 3rd Degree Black Belt Professor David Krstic. We cover:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
  • How he got into Jiu-Jitsu.
  • The difference between most martial arts and Jiu-Jitsu, the effectiveness of each against more athletic or stronger opponents.
  • How Jiu-Jitsu has not only helped him lose weight but also changed his mentality.
  • How JJ checks your ego.
  • The common mistakes he sees students do.
  • His role models that have helped shape his life.
  • The humble beginnings of his family.
  • His connection with Rener Gracie and the contagious (R)energy he brings.
  • His ‘a-ha’ realization of the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu.
  • His long-term goals for the club and himself.
  • Turning negative events into positive outcomes.
  • The importance of culture in clubs.
  • Increasing awareness of Jiu-Jitsu to Australia.
  • Books he read before using Gracie University to learn techniques and the Gracie philosophy.
  • His favourite techniques, to show when demonstrating, to use and most used.
  • Not listening to negativity and learning to listen to constructive criticism.
  • Loving Jiu-jitsu even when you are getting submitted.
  • The mindset change once you start jiu-jitsu. And the contagious positive effects of it.
  • Getting parents down to the academy, and how his mum was his first women empowered student.
  • The effect of advertising the culture of the club on social media.
  • And a little gift from Robbie to the listeners.

Unfortunately being a rookie in the audio world the sound quality is not the best, I am open to suggestions as to how to improve the quality of the podcasts. I am also looking for others to interview. 

Shout out and thank you to Robbie for taking time out of his day to come on and share his knowledge and experiences. You can follow him at:

Facebook: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood

Instagram: Gracieburwood

Website: graciejiujitsuburwood.com.au

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See you on the mats.

Take the advice, but don’t listen to them

I have recently applied for an intermission from my course, I suppose to try something different other than being a student, but not only that, to experience other things. Other jobs, places, cultures, languages, to try my hand at building something I can be proud of. By doing something that I was not told to do, rather something I wanted to do. During this process of thinking about what I should do, fear setting and talking with friends, family and work colleagues, a large portion of them have told me that I should attempt to finish my studies. “It’s only two more years, you could do that.” I can see where they are coming from, give myself better options down the track, more options for work, for career goals, more money. I understand that they all want to help, however, if I am not putting in my best work, why should I continue? If I am not giving it my all, my 100% at something I feel as though I am cheating myself. Yes, I could try to give my all, but having been “trying” last year I know myself and I would not give it this year. I would fail subjects that I would normally easily pass, I learnt from my mistakes of my first tertiary course out of high school. If I continued and failed or barely passed I would have shown that I learnt nothing from my year and a half at Monash. Do not continue with something if you cannot give your all. I am not sure if I will find the drive again from taking this year off, or if I try my hand at something else altogether. However, I know that I have zero drive as of now for studying. I will not preach something that I myself do not follow.

If you too are thinking of changing something in your life, I recommend tuning out the white noise of 99% of people that will give you their input on how you should live your life. It is your life, if you do not want to stay in something you do not enjoy or like, the simple answer is don’t. There will be a plethora of people in your life telling you that you have made the wrong decision, that you should do this or that, it’s only two years. It is surprising how little that is, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. But a year is even less, if you feel that you need a year off. Take it. It is only one year, it is not like a year is going to make a big impact if you do go back to studying. Who knows, you may find something that you enjoy, even more, you may find someone that will change your life, you may experience something that you never would have experienced if you didn’t take the year off. There are pros and cons of every decision you make. If you look at each choice in the light that it is a win, then all decisions you make are wins, as long as you make some form of gain, which you will, because there are always takeaways from everything.

When I was younger, I really cared about what people said about me, what I should do and how I should do it. I would often listen to my fathers every word, now this is no fault of his and I love him all the same. I understand that he tried to guide my lost soul to something that would bring me some form of success. He knew that I could be good at whatever I wanted to be good at. However, no matter how hard he tried to lead me to what he felt was right for me, subconsciously I must’ve known that whatever it was just wasn’t for me. Many others have pointed me in directions that I felt weren’t what I truly wanted to become, even now many tell me I should do this and that. I don’t even know what I want to do, but I do know what I don’t want to do. That is enough for me to make a decision. I know that I have a lot of time to find what I want to do, and I have experienced a lot of things that have taught me, I am grateful for having the chance to do what I have. But, now having the consciousness of knowing what I don’t want to do has given me some form of guidance, not from someone else, but from myself.

Being able to drown out the noise is difficult at first, everyone making you unsure of yourself. I second guessed myself, and I am not going to blame anyone for it since it is ultimately me who makes the decision. I will say that if people are giving you second thoughts, do not listen to them. They may say that they made the same mistake you did (which doesn’t make sense because you haven’t made their mistake), but really, they don’t know you. If you find it hard, reach out to friends and family who will say yes go you, carve your own journey and path. I really do feel that anyone can follow their dreams, the current world we live in allows for it. You can do anything now with the internet, having so much information out there. If you really want to learn something or do something there is not a whole lot stopping you. I look up to people that have carved their own path, and many others have before them and others will after you.

On that, there is always someone who has done something similar to what you want to achieve. Others have walked in front of you, and if you can find them, learn from them, take as much as you can from their experiences and add their tools to your belt. Don’t feel like you can or have to go it alone, it is not only more difficult and draining, but it’s stupid. Why would you put all the pressure of learning how to do something on you, when you could learn tricks or skills that would further your progress that much smoother and quicker. I will say though that some things cannot be taught, mistakes and experiences that you have to go through and stumble on your own. The others, however, learn them. Like in BJJ, you have to sometimes have a higher belt see what you are doing incorrect and inform you of a better or more precise way to perform the technique.

Stumbling is a part of learning, BJJ, and life. To become what you envision for yourself, you have to keep correcting course and learning from your own mistakes. So, people may tell you that they have to lead you to water, but they ultimately cannot make you drink. And they are correct, your life should only be governed by you and your values, you have to tune outside noise out, and continue on the path that you want to take. Do not let people make decisions for you, because you are not them, and they are not you. Let them sort themselves out first before instructing you what to do. Use it as a chip on your shoulder to make sure that you prove them wrong, you will not make the same mistakes they made, you will succeed under your own metrics, not theirs. Who knows, by following your metrics you might find the thing you are looking for. Take the chance, make your path.

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See you on the mats.