Life update: We have left the nest!

Hello, I know I haven’t posted anything for a very long time. But a lot has changed, I have recently moved out of my parent’s house, with my partner! Yes, we are finally out of my parent’s house, FREEDOM!

There were some challenges, but also a lot of help and support. I would like to thank my parents first and foremost for raising me and letting my stay for as long as I did. Thanks once again Dad for the help moving our shit over to the new place. And a big thanks to our roomie for finding the place.

Okay so, I am new to the world of self-reliance, I mean I have been shopping by myself and for myself before, I know how to cook and clean. But really living and doing things for myself. No parents to tell me or my partner what to do, its all on us to make decisions. Something that only comes with living out of home.

The other thing that comes with that though is paying for rent and bills. Shock! Surprise! Living in the real world costs money, I knew this and it is just the price of freedom. So, warning, if you can’t afford to move out please don’t. Or, plan to move out with a group of people.

With moving out I would like to take the opportunity to start a series of posts to help those that are looking to leave the nest/moving out. I know a lot of my peers are already out and have been for a while. This is more directed to those that are just getting out of high school and are getting ready to make the leap.

I would like to share tips from what some essentials are for me, how to cook some easy recipes, how to save, how to find bargains on Facebook or in an op shop. What to look for in a roommate, and how to plan for rent and not get caught out with your pants down and scratching for money. Where to get medical advice and how you save some money and stay healthy.

Let me know if you would like me to cover anything and what you guys think.

Carlos

P.s. Don’t worry Mum, I’ll be right.

P.p.s. How mad is that view?

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

Role models and getting shit done.

Just do it. Why is it such a compelling statement/bit of advertising? Why do people look up to those who achieve greatness or those who just get shit done? Most likely it would be for that very reason. They get shit done. A lot of people, including myself, don’t start due to some reason or obstacle that they place in front of themselves. I know personally that I fear failure and can become anxious at the thought of what people may think or even expect of me. I have found that I often fall into the ‘paralysis by analysis’ category of people. Over analyzing and planning what I am going to do, or the possible outcomes, then not choosing any or completing anything. I have learnt only recently that to overcome this ‘paralysis’ or fear I must start doing. One of my biggest role models for this has been my girlfriend.

After house-sitting for a friend, who has an amazing veggie garden, she decided to go ahead and start her own. Buying plants, a raised garden bed, sourcing some free soil on facebook marketplace and putting it all together in a matter of days. The only help she asked for was for me to help her pick up the soil, the rest was all her. Yes, it’s only a garden bed, but I take a lot of inspiration from little things. It might be a mate, who after blowing out his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), planned a hiking trip in South America and a year later was back on the mountain skiing. It could be one of my best mates having a go at his dream, and even with setbacks still pursuing it. I don’t think a lot of people realize that they will always have the ability to dream and achieve. I know I still need reminding that not everything will happen right away. However, nothing will happen if I keep planning.

So, back to the question of why people look up to or draw inspiration from high achievers, like your Mark Cubans, or Will Smiths, or Gretta Van Riels. Personally, I look up to these type of people as they have characteristics and habits that I know I can and should pursue. Hard work ethic, Self-disciplined, Honest, knowledge seeking, the list goes on. Maybe, it might be for some that they look up to them, despite knowing that they will never truly put in the work for that level of success. Maybe, they understand the amount of hard work done and that is why they admire them? Maybe it’s like how the underdog is, more often than not, the crowd favorite, the dark horse, the once great champ that has fallen from the throne yet still aims to climb back to the top.

Muhammad Ali is a great example of this. Ali was stripped of his Heavyweight belt and slapped with a three-year ban during the prime of his career, for draft evasion during the Vietnam war. After having his boxing license reinstated, Ali would take 7 years to regain the Heavyweight belt, against heavy favorite George Foreman with an 8th-round knockout. This kind of fairy-tale story, that in effect mimics parts of life is something that most can get around. Knowing that there is hope, for when we do crash, or end up in a rut, that we can get out of it and build up again. So, for those of you out there, keep grinding, and keep drawing on other’s wins to produce your own.

See you on the mats!

-Carlos

If you are struggling with depression or find yourself in a rut, please actively seek help, there are a lot of organizations that can assist, like www.headspace.org.au, www.ruok.org.au, www.lifeline.org.au, www.beyondblue.org.au.

 

Jiu-jitsu blending into everyday life

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Having started training again these past couple of weeks, two significant knowledge bombs were dropped by My instructor Robbie Singh and the great Master Pedro Sauer, who came down to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood for an AMA seminar. Both BJJ Philosophies that can be readily applied to life and all its aspects. I thought they should be shared with the wider community outside of Jiu-Jitsu.

The first being “What’s hard today, will become easier tomorrow” – Master Pedro Sauer. This really struck a chord with me and my partner as we were participating in some more advanced movements at the seminar. We were both having difficulty in performing some of the techniques being taught, but we were constantly reminded by Sauer of the above. Whatever we were finding difficult at the present moment, would become easier over time. Of course, this is something that should be applied to everything in life. When starting something new, Archery, Blacksmithing, BJJ, a new position at work, etc. it is always tough at first, only with practice and exposure to it will it become easier. I myself sometimes forget that I cannot be great at everything on the first try, I must learn to love the process of failing, failing and failing again until succeeding. I think this is a big part of life, I am only just starting the journey, like a lot of others. I have seen a lot of people come into class or start something new and give up or stop showing up due to them not succeeding right away. Now, naturally sometimes, giving up on a failing business or relationship is necessary. I know I have, there has been just too much risk or toxicity to continue. There is a balance, of not giving up, but knowing when to drop the effort. However, people sometimes confuse the pain that will eventuate in them growing as the toxic pain of, let’s say, a bad relationship.  Learning this balance is something that can be only gained through experience. I have given up on a lot of things that, had I pushed through the suffering, I would have grown. So, understand that slow improvements are better than none. Which, leads on to Robbie’s comment below.

“Small movements are necessary to get to the position you want to be in.”

When performing the super base of the headlock escape 2, you have to place your shoulder into the opponents back under the shoulder blade. Often you don’t get the position on the first try since the distance you have to cover can be either too big for one solid movement, or too uncomfortable for both yourself and your partner. Since you are in a position to take your time, the small movements are advised. Once again, applying the principle to life you can take your time in most things, sometimes it is important to jump at opportunities, however, it can be more beneficial to make micro improvements. You don’t become a blue belt in a day like you don’t become a millionaire overnight. Things take time and constant effort. Together I think that both of these can be used through life, knowing that things that are difficult today will become easier tomorrow with constant small improvements.

Thank you to both of the men above for their wisdom, I continue to love learning Jiu-jitsu not just for the physical aspects but equally the mental and philosophical sides too. Good to be back training again.

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you 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

Book Review: The One Thing, Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

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Having recently found an interest in extraordinary successes and results I decided to pick up The One Thing, by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, as my next book review. Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur and best-selling author, he is most known for his work as the founder of Keller Williams which is the largest real estate company in the world, with over 180000 agents, and franchises in North America, South Africa, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and Dubai. He has co-authored two previous books, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, the latter becoming a New York Times best-seller. So, it’s fair to say that Keller knows a bit about extraordinary success.

A Russian proverb starts the book, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” This sets up the book which holds the view that as Humans we can only focus on one thing at a time if we want that one thing to be successful. He backs this up with a passage from the movie City Slickers, where the following conversations take place between two characters:

Curly: “Do you know what the secret of life is?”

Mitch: “No. What?”

Curly: “This.” [He holds up one finger]

Mitch: “Your Finger?”

Curly: “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.”

Mitch: “That’s great, but what’s the “one thing”?”

Curly: “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”

Keller goes on to say that at the time he didn’t realize the importance of this conversation. His company had run into some problems, after almost a decade of successfully building it from the ground up they had hit a wall. After going to a coach who helped him through his predicament they had come to the conclusion that Keller needed to fill 14 positions that needed new faces. Keller seeing that the most important thing to keep the business going was to find the people to fill those roles, he fired himself as the CEO. He made it his mission to focus on his one thing. Once the roles started being filled, the company grew year on year by an average of 40 percent for almost a decade. After looking back on his successes and failures he noticed a pattern, one that he would base this book on.

Keller goes on to reference the Domino Effect, whereby a single domino can set in motion a series of dominoes, not only that, but a domino can bring down another domino that is 50 percent larger. This can be used in the same way for goals and actions. For instance, what single action will set up another action that will ultimately end in achieving a goal. Keller notes that highly successful people find the lead domino every day and keep setting things in motion until they reach their goal or target. Keller has already underlined things of importance for readers, one being the following sentence:

“The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.”

I used to struggle with this concept, I would want that instant gratification and success. This is something I learned through starting Jiu-jitsu, and I have to thank my instructor Robbie for drilling it into my head for the past couple of months. I know that a lot of people think that success happens overnight, but having read books and really delved deep into how success occurs I have come to the realization that this is far from the truth. Constant work at a skill, on a task, or on a project in a big part determines its success.

Moving on to part one, where Keller breaks down the lies of success that mislead us and derail our efforts. Keller notes that there are six lies that society deems are true in creating success:

  1. Everything matters equally
  2. Multitasking
  3. A disciplined life
  4. Willpower is always on will-call
  5. A balanced life
  6. Big is bad

Now a few of these I already knew to be lies of success, such as multitasking, where you try to get multiple things done and you seem like you complete them both but ultimately you actually waste time in hopping between the two. Your mind has to adjust to the new task each time. That’s why you notice that your productivity goes down when a co-worker asks you to do something, as you then have to turn your mind to the new task to receive information, then go back to the one you were just working on.  However, I would have thought that discipline would be a key of success. But how Keller puts it changed my mind, how you can use discipline to create habits that lead to success. So, in the sense where self-discipline breaks down after a while unless the habit is made.

Never really thinking about if everything mattered equally I just assumed that everything was equal. Keller though would say that nothing is equal, in a contest one team is always going to be better, no matter how fair the official is, a person will always be more talented in one skill over another. Keller notes that when it comes to decision making, on what task to complete first we tend to trade the best decision for any decision. When everything seems important, then everything seems equal, we then try to complete everything at once, or value something that is not as important over something else as it seems more urgent. Making us busy and active, even though it doesn’t correlate with producing any results.

I am a sucker for to-do lists, I always make them and try to tick off the tasks on the list. Keller explains how they can become a trap of time wasting, as everything on the list seems important, even if it is a trivial task, it still sits on the same list as something more important. Keller referencing Australian prime minister Bob Hawke: “The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.” How to combat this lack of purpose in a to-do list, make a success list using the 80/20 principle, otherwise known as the Pareto principle. Take 20% of the list that would give you 80% of the productivity, and make a new list with that new 20%. Keller says to go even further, make a list that ultimately gives you only one thing to focus on.

Throughout the book there are many quotes by famous thinkers, writers and successful people from all walks of life, each giving a little bit of insight on the topic of the chapter. Not only has Keller underlined and included quotes, he has also summarized each chapter in a “Big Ideas” section at the end, meaning that instead of re-reading the book, you can just go back over each summary. The book is littered with figures and diagrams that help the reader visualize the concepts that Keller talks about.

Part two of The One thing starts with Keller telling his story of how got tired of “playing success” and ditched the lies of success that he talked about in the previous part and embraced the simple tactics that produce results. Starting with asking the hard question on what to focus on, what task are you going to focus on that will help you the most in working towards your goals, be it business, be it personal life, relationships whatever it is. Asking what Keller calls the focusing questions will allow you to break the task into smaller, more easily completed tasks. “The quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the question.” Keller includes a poem by J.B. Rittenhouse called My Wage that I will share with you below:

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening when
I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

Noting especially the last two lines. When you ask for it, life will give it. However, you must take on the task of achieving it.

As covered in my review of Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, Life is about searching and giving it meaning. Keller agrees and states that Life is a question, that is up to the individual to answer with their actions. Everyone will be different. Another benefit of asking the focusing question is that when you add on to that question “what is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” meaning that you can still have a big picture view of your current situation yet still focus on the one thing at that time and place that would make the next domino fall with less effort.

Keller talks about creating habits of success, habits that keep you asking the main question that he pushes: “What’s the one thing I can do today for______ such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” and you use discipline for the habit to stick. Keller notes that research says that for a person to form a habit it takes 66 days. To help you in establishing this habit, it is imperative that you give yourself reminders to ask the question. Part of the ritual of asking questions is to break the question down, into small, big, broad and specific. So, you might ask yourself “what is something I can do to double my sales?”, this would be a big and broad question, too broad, and it doesn’t have any urgency to it. “What can I do to increase sales by 5% this year?”, this is a small and specific question, gives a goal date, but the sales increase is achievable. This is where you would have to ask a big and specific question to maximize your results. The question might look more like this: “What can I do to double sales in six months?” making it a habit to ask the questions in this way, gives you a large and challenging goal that you will have to work harder to achieve, while giving you a strict timeline whereby it creates a sense of urgency to complete it.

Moving onto part three, where Keller sums up how to get extraordinary results, where your productivity can be derived from the priority you give yourself at any given time, that works towards completing your purpose. “Live with Purpose”, how do you find your purpose? Well, you have to take on a task that you choose, it might be that you want to create a business, or that you want to grow your own produce and help reduce your pollution, whatever the case maybe it is up to you to decide on a purpose. As Keller puts it, “Who we are and where we want to go determine what we do and what we accomplish.” However, I will state that if you are struggling with a purpose and you are not sure were to aim. My advice, pick a direction and shoot, as long as you learn something from it, even if it is that you learn you don’t want to do it, then there is no harm done by it. Just don’t get discouraged and pick another thing to aim at.

With many repeating concepts such as goal setting, such that it gives you a clear big-picture direction that you can focus down on to what to do right at that moment of your day, where that action tips the next domino. Blocking time, not only time dedicated to your one thing, or big project but more importantly, a time where you can relax and time where you plan for the next week or month. The idea of making yourself accountable, where you actively seek and acknowledge reality and therefore find a solution to the problem you are faced with. Keller has written a great book, where most, if not all, of the concepts of The One Thing can be applied across all aspects of life. And Keller recognizes this, including a chapter all about putting The One Thing to work, including personal, family, job and a few others, all with examples of questions that you could ask of yourself.

The One Thing is another book to recommend to all of you, as I have only covered a fraction of the material. Keller and Papasan have written a great book, with a lot of new and old ideas that are actionable and backed by studies and research that was compiled over the four years before the book’s release. I buy most of the books I get through booktopia.com, I like the hard copy feel. However, if it is easier for you to get a PDF and chuck it on your Kindle or listen to an audiobook then I can highly recommend that you do so. What’s your One Thing? The thing you want to complete today, next month, next year? Let us know below.

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See you on the mats.

 

 

 

BJJ parallels in Blacksmithing?

Over the weekend I started the second module of a blacksmithing course, and throughout the day I noted some striking parallels between blacksmithing and BJJ. Blacksmithing is the art of moving and shaping metal into forms that you want it to take. The metal has a mind of its own and often wants to do its own thing. Much like in BJJ how you want to move and control your opponent into positions and then submissions.

When I looked around at the other students there I felt like they had already started their work and were moving ahead of me rapidly, but I remembered from the first module that blacksmithing is not a race. Go at your own pace and not worry about what others are doing. Keep working and you will have a finished product. Like you must keep training and eventually you will move up to the next belt. BJJ is not a sprint.

When working on metal, you must wait for the metal to get to a substantial heat before hitting it, then once it cools and is not at an optimal working-heat, back into the forge it goes. Like in blacksmithing, you must be patient in BJJ. Do not strike the metal when it is at a low heat, do not force the opponent into submissions. Wait for the right heat and then you can work on it, be patient for the opportunity for the submission or pass. You may establish side control but then you must, so to speak, put them back in the forge and wait for the right moment to strike.

Learning new techniques in BJJ is always awesome, however, when going over the things that you already know and you start to pick up little subtleties, that can be more rewarding. For instance, when doing low armlock from the guard, cupping the person’s neck before coming around and framing the neck to pass off to your leg, something small I only picked up recently. The same goes for blacksmithing, learning new things is awesome, but when you notice something that you didn’t before, that’s something I really enjoy.

If you want to get better at something you have to keep practicing. This is something that applies to everything, I just want to point it out. The more you do something the better you get at it, I have noticed that my jiu-jitsu has gotten better, and my ability to understand concepts. From having no experience to understanding the basics. The same goes for blacksmithing, having made simple shapes at the start and now having a better understanding of the basic concepts I have made more complex shapes. It all comes with experience, just another lesson to learn that if you want to be good at something the best thing to do is to start doing it, and then not stop doing it.

What do you want to become great at?

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Book Review: Start with Why, Simon Sinek

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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

I started reading to try and find how I could put my why for a business project I am currently working on into words. Not only did I find a why for the project, but I found the why to many more aspects of my life. This book is a global bestseller for good reason, Simon Sinek references many great leaders, ones that inspire and all ones that started with why. You can often see people or companies that want to push a product or service and you can see right through them, all they are after is either more money, more followers or something from you. When you have an honest and clear why, people tend to see that, good leaders are able to communicate their why, and people follow. Having a why is more than explaining to people how or what you are trying to achieve. What you offer is easily understood, the metrics are measurable. How you produce/market/design/etc it can be shown. But WHY can inspire more than someone to buy the service or good, it can inspire them to action. All aspiring leaders should read this book, anyone that wants to inspire should read this book. If you start with why you can change more than a decision, you can change an attitude.

Sinek starts with his why for writing the book, explaining that he wants to point out a ‘naturally occurring pattern,’ that anyone can learn it, and ‘with a little discipline,’ anyone can inspire others around them. Following this are three stories, stories that everyone knows. The Wright brothers successfully flying for the first time in human history. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with the birth of the Apple computer. Dr. Martin Luther King leading the civil rights movement with thousands massing to hear the famous “I have a dream” speech. All leaders who lead, all starting with why. It is not like others didn’t want to fly, or bring the computer to the masses, or bring about change. Others had more funding, more support, more knowledge, yet they didn’t succeed in achieving their goals. Sinek points out that, the ability to motivate others is not difficult, motivation can be in the form of incentives or punishment, these are external forces. When one can inspire, not motivate, that is when the force is internal and the person may act on their own accord. You see this when a consumer will pay a premium for an Apple product over a competitor, whose product may, in fact, be similar or better and with a lower price tag. That is because Apple’s why is clearly understood by the buyer. Sinek goes on to say that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job, and I am sure Australia would have a similar percentage. He hopes that the book can inspire more people to follow their dreams and give readers the cause of action. Sinek is a person that truly believes his vision, often guest speaking and spreading his cause, you can watch his now famous millennials in the workplace speech here.

As a kid growing up, you or some other kid would offer the other something in return for being friends. For example, Kid 1: “hey wanna be my friend? I’ll give you a cookie.” Kid 2: “sure I’ll be your friend. (eats the cookie)” Next day, however, Kid 2 is expecting a cookie. This is manipulation when Kid 1 wanted that loyal friend and only used a cookie as a form of swaying kid 2. Kid 2 now expected that he would get something in return for friendship. When kid 1 can’t offer anything in return for friendship kid 2 doesn’t want to play. Of course, this is something everybody learns, you can’t buy friends, well you can, they just won’t be there for you when you need true friends. Sinek describes customers/workers in a similar fashion, if you want people to be loyal you can’t win them over with manipulations. You have to inspire them. Had Kid 1 offered friendship for friendship, Kid 2 might have wanted to stay friends. You might keep employees for a little while with bonuses and promotions, but as soon as a better proposition comes up they will leave in an instant. However, if your company has a good work environment, and is fair and just in their treatment of all employees then they are more likely to stay. The same thing with customers, if you can provide a better experience or you can provide a statement instead of providing the best and/or cheapest product then they are more likely to stay. Sinek goes back to the example of Apple throughout the book, people will pay a higher premium for an Apple product over a, let’s say Samsung, due to the statement that the Apple product provides. The Samsung might even have better measurables, better camera, bigger and brighter screen, there might even be a sale on, but it cannot provide the Apple branding. People know the why of Apple and want to make the statement, “I’m different, I want to challenge the status quo.”

I personally don’t subscribe to Apple, however, I can see the allure of the products, they do have a lot of pulling power in the industry. In the Phone and computer industries their why is evident, and their products(or What) hold true to their vision(or Why). Sinek brings in one of Apple’s advertisements that ran a few years ago:

“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.

The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.

And we happen to make great computers.

Wanna buy one?”

You can feel their why clearly, If you look at a Samsung ad, it would first state the product’s features and how they were able to fit all those features in. The viewer, unless they know all about comparable features of other products, they can’t really get behind the product. It’s just another phone. Well, that’s what I think when I see a new ad (including apple).

Human beings are creatures that have the need to belong to something, a group. I can say that I am a martial artist, or I can say that I am an avid book reader, or I can say that I am a Marvel fan. We can belong to many groups, and that is how we often interact with others, we find a similarity and then we have a friend, or we may even trust a person more because they share some of the same morals and values. For instance, my girlfriend as soon as she figures out that someone else is from the country, or near where she grew up, she strikes up a friendship and will instantly like them. This is why companies can have such loyal fans because customers/fans want to belong to that group. Recently we have witnessed the explosion of Marvel fans, with good reason, Marvel has been producing these epic movies that have been breaking the mold of sorts. Superhero movies where multiple big names are teaming up against a big bad that alone each could not beat. Marvel does such a great job of appealing to the fans and taking them on massive rollercoaster rides of emotions that DC cannot compete. So, when a company can express it’s why authentically, the people will feel that they want to belong to it.

Sinek references the anatomy of the brain, the reason as to why us as humans are drawn to things. Whenever you get that gut feeling that something is right, or that you feel someone is more trustworthy, that is your old brain (or limbic brain). This is where your why comes from, for example, when someone asks you why you love something or someone, you can express things like: because it is fun, or because they are smart and pretty, or because it’s interesting. These are all what’s, there are lots of fun things that you could do, there are lots of pretty and smart people out there, there are lots of other interesting things. You struggle to actually express the why, you can describe it with what’s, but it comes from the old part of the brain which doesn’t have the capacity for language. The new part, or neocortex, is where all rational and analytical thoughts come from, or what’s. The neocortex is the part of the brain that we use for language, hence why it is easier for us to describe the what’s. When you or a company describe it’s what though, we have a harder time connecting with it. We go back to our gut feeling, the feeling we get from our limbic brain, why something is the right decision. So, my take from with bit from Sinek, Follow your gut (or limbic).

I have felt it and asked myself and I’m sure most of you have to, “Why the fuck am I doing this?” And it can get you good sometimes, you just don’t know why you are doing something, might be at work or it might be at school or university. You have to remind yourself of the why, so why would it be different for others that might be helping you or under you in the workplace? The answer: It’s not. Sometimes you have to give people the reason. Sinek uses the example of the first person to sustain flight and create the new technology of the time, the airplane. Samuel Pierpont Langley was at the front of the pack with a lot of backing from investors, government and businessmen alike. He was a professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy, had a team of the some of best minds of the time, and money was not object. The newspapers followed them everywhere, he knew what he was doing, building the first plane, he also knew what he would get from it, fame and money. Yet he did not have a clear sense of why he was doing it. Not far away was a less than dream team, that had no funding, no press coverage, none of the people in the team had a college education, but they had a why. They knew that it would change the world, they did it for a higher cause than themselves. We all know now that the Wright brothers, not Langley built the first plane, even though the odds were stacked against them. This situation happens more than you would think, that the underdog without any backing comes up with a breakthrough, when a why is involved, then the how and what can follow. Why provides inspiration, and inspiration provides drive and purpose, how is the implementation, and a product is what is created.

Simon Sinek produced has produced a well thought out book, one that inspires the reader to start with why and set out after their goals. I enjoyed the message that he shares, start with why and stick to it, do not split from the path and follow the what and how. I will say that a few passages of the book can be repetitive, however, I see that he is proving a point and wants to make sure that the information is passed across effectively. I only uncovered the surface of what this book has to offer in this post, I suggest that everyone read it, even if you don’t wish to inspire or be inspired. All of the pieces of information in this book can be applied all through life. Ask yourself your why, for me, one of my why’s is to spread the knowledge that I gain from experiences in my life, from books I read and little thoughts I get whilst training. My how is through this blog, and my what is the content I produce. Tell me your why, and how you want to implement it.

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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!