Top 10 habits that have changed my life

Here are 10 habits that have changed my life. My favorite would have to be either 1 or 4.

  1. Reading more

Getting back into reading was one of the best things I could’ve done. There is so much knowledge and life experience available in the pages of books. Experiences that I could learn from. My girlfriend and I are building quite the library from having only a handful to now almost 50. I try to read at least 10 pages or 20 min a day, all ways of learning something new.

  1. Journaling

I made it a point to start this year, and I have only missed a handful of days. Journaling is one of those things that I thought I would never do, however, it has been quite therapeutic. Putting thoughts on paper allows me to clear up the headspace and gives me the ability to focus on the daily goals. I have used 5-minute journaling for over a month and have not gone back. It’s an easy 5-minute task at the start and end of the day. Usually while eating breakfast and before bed.

  1. Listening to/watching interesting people

Listening and watching podcasts has become a staple of my routine. I listen to a podcast while I work out, Jocko podcast has been the main voice in my ear. And when my day is winding down I try to watch the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Both offer many different views from many different interesting people, Jocko reads military books and will provide his own view, and well, Joe is Joe and brings on a plethora of interesting and exciting people, some with views that challenge my own, others that provide motivation and some that just provide a laugh.

  1. Undertaking tasks that are challenging

I think this is one of the biggest changes I have done. I would’ve usually been fine in doing the bare minimum, I cruised through high school and most of my university. I often felt like I should do more. So, I decided to bite the bullet and take on challenging tasks, not ones that have been placed on me, but ones I have set for myself. Taking up new hobbies, different things that I would’ve otherwise never done only showed a little interest in. I have completed two blacksmithing courses, started BJJ and started this blog. It isn’t easy but I enjoy every moment of it.

  1. Waking up early

I wake up at 5 most mornings and get gym out of the way early, I feel that I can complete more during the day with those extra morning hours when most people are still asleep. Some will say I’m crazy, but then those people probably don’t want the things I want. I will say that it is not for everyone, some may find that they work better in the midnight hours and that is fine. Not everyone is wired the same, I just happen to be a morning person.

  1. Exercising daily

I have always been active, however, the past year I have really tried to get the body moving daily. At least an hour at gym or BJJ training. Studies have shown that physical activity can improve quality of life and health outcomes, like reduced chances of cardiovascular disease and improved mental-health, amongst other benefits. When I have a lot on my mind I tend to try to get out of my head and into my body, pushing weight around a room I find it somewhat therapeutic.

  1. Doing a martial art

The physical adversity that comes with martial arts is something that will test all people, be it boxing or wrestling, Muay Thai or judo. Any martial will bring challenges that help the mind and body grow. Martial arts teaches discipline through training a technique over and over, confidence in your own ability to defend yourself, helps form new friendships and teaches you to be resilient under stress. I have to say that doing any martial art will benefit anyone, however, I reckon that BJJ is the way to go for many reasons which I lay out in this article.

  1. Sorting out my finances

It’s something that not a lot of people want to think about, however, if you don’t then when you need to think about it, it’s already too late. This is something that I think all should do, or at least attempt to as it gives you a peace of mind. I personally use the barefoot investor method, which I cover here. So far having implemented it for a month together with my girlfriend we have saved a weeks worth of wages while going on a holiday and still living our lives. So, the method allows you to still live your life by allocating spending money, whilst you save for the future.

  1. Taking control of my attitude

Attitude is something that only you can control, no one has any power over what kind of attitude you have. I used to be a bit of a hot head, still can be, but I have learned that my attitude can dictate how I react to something or someone. When reading Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, I began to understand that my attitude has really helped me navigate through life’s triumphs and tribulations. Not letting something or someone get the best of you all starts with your attitude and how you choose to react to it.

  1. Fear and goal setting

I wrote about this in a previous post. I never used to do either, but with the use of both, I am able to aim at my goals and strive to reach them, whilst also working away from my fears. Effectively it means that I have to modes of motivation, something pulling me and something pushing me. When setting goals, it is important to dream of the biggest goal, so for me it is to be financially free one day, then I have a five-year goal that will help me achieve that, then a one-year to a five-year, then a six month to reach that one year, and so on until it’s the goal for today. Which will help me reach the ultimate big picture goal that I first set. I will be covering The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, where goal setting is talked about at length.

 

So, these are my top ten things that I have done or used that have changed my life, they might work for you they may not (5am wake-ups can be a killer…. if you hate them). If you have any questions about anything I have covered, do not hesitate to ask. What habits have changed your life?

Please like, comment, follow and share.

See you on the mats.

 

Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl – Part 2

MSFM

Continuing on from part one of this review, I will look at the second part of the book, where Frankl covers his theory of logotherapy and how he had used his experiences in Nazi death camps to help him in reinforcing it. Logotherapy is a form of psychoanalysis where there is “less retrospective and less introspective” methods used, meaning that the thoughts or past experience of the patient or subject are not as thoroughly examined. Instead, the future of the patient, in the sense of what they must achieve or what meanings to fulfill.

Logotherapy, taking the Greek word Logos, which signifies “meaning”, so patients are made to confront and examine the meaning of their life. Once given a meaning, they are able to turn their focus away from any feedback-loops from hell, which would otherwise have a chance to develop into neuroses. Breaking down the self-centered ego instead of feeding it. Giving motivation to the will of meaning, instead of following Freudian psychoanalysis or Adlerian psychology which would be the will to pleasure or the will to power, respectively. Each with their own problems, chasing happiness or pleasure often doesn’t end well as you will consistently be striving for it as one can never truly attain happiness. While striving for power also looks to attain superiority in some form over others, usually seen as an inferiority complex, of wanting to compensate for something that the person doesn’t have. Each of the three Viennese schools of Psychotherapy hold conflicting ideas, however, I think that each has some merit in some form and I suggest that you have a look into each and come up with your own assessment.

Back to Logotherapy and Frankl’s will to meaning. Frankl dictates that only the individual can fulfill the unique and specific meaning that he gives his own life. Meaning that the person must take it upon themselves to give their life meaning, one that they will not only live for but also die for. He goes on to reference a couple of public-opinion polls and studies done, all with very similar results. One done in France showed that 89% of the people acknowledged that man needs “something” to live for, and 61% said that they had something or someone in their lives that they were ready to die for. The polls showing that the thirst for meaning in one’s life is exceptional, considering that out of almost 8000 students from 48 colleges, 78% said their first goal in life was “finding a purpose and meaning to my life”. I would also fall into that category; however, I do not look back at my suffering and become paralyzed by it, I use all my experiences as a base to stand on, I look to the future of what I could achieve as a way to bring meaning to my life. It may be in the form of relationships, hobbies, career, side projects or hustles, And I have built a matrix of meaning so as to not make it that I am defined by only one meaning.

Finding a meaning can become a frustrating task, and as Frankl calls it “existential frustration”, which can result in the person forever searching and not coming to a solid meaning. Frankl states that existential in this circumstance may refer to the following:

  • Existence itself, “specifically the human mode of being”
  • The meaning of existence
  • Striving to find a concrete meaning in personal existence

I have had these thoughts, and I often came to the common thought that life is meaningless and that ultimately, I also have no meaning. However, my views have begun to slowly change. That yes life may not have a meaning, however, it is up to me to give it meaning. I touched on this briefly, that the memories that we leave behind are a big part of the meaning that we can give ourselves, on a piece dedicated to a friend’s father. Where memories that you share with others can give your life meaning. I have seen firsthand how someone can see the frustration with not having a meaning. You can often get yourself into a vicious cycle of negative thinking that can be difficult to recover from.

Frankl covers that this search for meaning may, instead of bringing the desired effect of inner equilibrium, it instead brings inner tension. This tension though is only a byproduct and referring back to Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” The tension Frankl speaks of is “the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish.” This is part of human nature, to be able to look both backward at what you have done, but also towards the future to dream of the things you want to do. So, one should not be afraid or scared of challenging themselves with a potential meaning, even if it may not be one that they ultimately go for. This allows one to suffer for a task or reason that they chose. An interesting comment that Frankl makes on therapists, as follows:

“So if therapists wish to foster their patients’ mental health, they should not be afraid to create a sound amount of tension through a reorientation toward the meaning of one’s life.”

Obviously not overloading their patient with a challenge that is far out of their mental level of sorts, but slowly having them set goals or achievements that they will be able to find meaning in.

If one doesn’t find meaning or lacks the awareness of a meaning that may be right in front of them, often they will complain about feeling empty. They find themselves in what Frankl describes as “The Existential Vacuum”. This Vacuum is in part due to one either wanting to do what other people do, or doing what others tell him to do. There is a responsibility placed on one’s shoulders whether they want it or not, one must choose what they want to suffer for. So, for instance, the elderly person who has just retired who’s meaning was their career. Now they have all this spare time and just sit at home depressed, not knowing what to do. They go to a therapist and asked to be cured. However, if they find a meaning that they can involve themselves in, like for instance a new hobby, or maybe at a community facility like helping out at a Men’s Shed program, or at their local sports center. Frankl says that with logotherapy almost anyone can find a meaning to their life, and ultimately find a meaning to their suffering.

Frankl goes on to describe what someone can do when they ask themselves, what is the meaning of their life? Knowing that no one will share their own meaning with another and that it may even change from year to year, like in chess how there is no best move, there is only such a thing as a good move, and it is solely dependent on the situation. Life is much the same, there is no best meaning, as it is totally dependent on the time and place of the moment in the person’s life. However, as each situation in one’s life signifies a trial to overcome, it is solely up to them to solve it. Ultimate responsibility.

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to now.”

Living with this in mind allows one to grasp each situation and decision, whilst being confronted with their own finite time on this earth. Having experienced suffering, I took on the idea that instead of complaining, why me, why did I get this shit hand. I took it upon myself to not let it win and beat me. Because I noticed that I could turn what would seem like a tragedy, into a triumph. I could overcome my battle, and use it as a way to show people that if you have the mindset of the suffering is meaningful in the sense that life has given you a test to grow in, then I would too overcome my situation. Frankl uses an example of an elderly GP that came to him for his severe depression. He had lost his wife and could not overcome the grief. Frankl asked the doctor a question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?” This way of thinking is crucial when going through suffering. As it gives the suffering meaning, and in the doctor’s case he found meaning in his suffering, and instead of having in a woe is me attitude, it shifted to an attitude of I would rather suffer through it than my wife.

In life, we are all able to change our attitude, and you can say that it is easier for some compared to others, or that I have not been through what you have been through so I wouldn’t understand. And you are right, I couldn’t understand what you specifically are going through. However, like every human that has ever lived and will ever live, I have suffered. I know I am not special and have been able to shift my attitude to help me in dealing with it. So, find your reason or meaning for your suffering, as it doesn’t matter about the hand you are dealt, it’s how you play your hand that matters. And this little snippet I found quite interesting, Frankl talks about how an old man need not envy a younger man as the old man has lived his life.

“Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.”

Living a life and being proud of each moment, so instead of becoming paralyzed by what has one has suffered and instead look at it as suffering one has endured and come out the other side with battle scars to be proud of. I at first wasn’t a fan of the scars I was left with, but as they tell a big part of my story I have grown to love them (plus, I’ve been told chicks dig scars).

Part two of Man’s search for meaning is littered with anecdotes provided by Frankl, each explaining one of his patient’s cases. From child abuse, to grieving, to sleep deprivation, he explains the principles behind logotherapy and how in each case the patient’s attitude can be changed and reoriented to a new meaning or used in a way that is quite paradoxical. In the case of sleep deprivation, Frankl advised the patient to try to not fall asleep, in doing so, the patient’s anxiety of not being able to sleep was reversed and now he wished for no sleep. Ultimately getting the desired result of sleep.

I have been able to touch and deliver only a few of the gold nuggets of information I came across in this book, and I can only recommend that you read it yourself. For a $10 book it is packed with so many ideas that will challenge your own ideas and like me, it may even change your life. I will finish this post with one quote from Frankl.

“In the concentration camps,.. we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”

Please like, comment, share and follow.

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?

Please like, comment, share and follow.

See you on the mats.

Book Review: Start with Why, Simon Sinek

20180422_213818.jpg

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.

Please like, comment, share and follow.

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.

Please like, comment, share and follow.

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.

Please like, comment, share and follow.

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

Please like, comment, share and follow.

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.

Please like, comment, share and follow.

See you on the mats.

Change, Fear setting and how to apply it

Change, Why do we fear it? I am currently going through some changes in my life, new values and new ways of thinking, I have recently been thinking about following a dream and doing things that I feel like I need to do. However, I am over thinking what might happen, what terrible things could come of my decision. I remembered from a book a read last year, The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, about fear setting, so I searched it up. I reread the chapter where he talks about how he came across it and how he utilizes it quarterly. So, I thought I would give it a shot, why not see if I can come to some conclusion about how I should think about the current situation I am in. I set out my fears, all of them, the most horrible and the ones that will impact me the least. From friends and family disowning me, to me getting injured or killed. Then I put in place steps on how I would repair any “damage” that might occur, for instance, I would have to wait a year till I could go back to what I was doing, essentially what would I have to do to revert the changes.

Next outlining the possible outcomes and benefits on each path that I could take at this current decision point. How much happiness could I possibly get from staying? Doing fulfilling work, like writing more for this blog, what would I get or achieve for staying or leaving? Next outlining what would happen if I got fired from my current job. Laying out possible other sources of income, how many weeks could I survive without income? Would I be able to find another job? Would I be able to use savings for a little trip? Setting out possible outcomes and benefits helps you understand that your decisions, either path you choose has upsides, making both win possibilities. Helps in choosing the better win scenario for you. A big fear for everyone is getting fired, so laying out what if options for yourself puts into perspective that getting fired isn’t that big of a deal in the long run. Looking at the negative and turning it into a positive. You get fired, cool I now have more reason to chase my dreams and succeed with this chip on my shoulder. (chip on shoulder not necessary)

What am I putting off because of fear? This is one of the most important questions to answer when fear setting, as you have to really dig down into your reasoning and the excuses you are setting up for yourself. I can’t leave her/him because I don’t know how I will survive without them, I can’t ask for a raise because what if they say no, I can’t do this because of that. You get the picture. Once you lay out the illogical reasons behind your excuses, you can comprehend just how stupid your excuses are. That you can do those things that you want to. Ultimately only you are stopping you. Once you have seen the stupidity in your fear ask yourself what is it costing me? My lack of action against my fear, how is it affecting me and my life at the moment? I am I as happy or fulfilled as I could be? This helps in highlighting the fear of inactivity, What do you stand to lose if you don’t make a decision? What will you regret not doing? As they say, you regret the thing you didn’t do.

Once putting your situation into context and labeling and setting out all your fears, the final question to ask yourself is: What am I waiting for? Once having deconstructed the fears that would usually seem overbearing and too big to overcome, they now seem easily avoidable or non-threatening. The fears become only excuses that you set for yourself, having the ability to look at the big picture and step back from your situation, allows you to clearly think about what to do next and how you plan on achieving whatever outcome you choose to follow.

Fear setting is a tool that I will continue to use going forward, helping me make clear decisions and giving me the capability to deconstruct my situation and reduce my fear to excuses. I will include the layout and questions below for you to copy and paste if you wish to try it for yourself. I do hope you try it just once to see its effects. However, this tool will only work if YOU put in the work and make it actionable, no one will do the work for you. Remember this can be used for any situation, hopefully, it will help you out to come to a more informed decision.

Please like, comment, share and follow for more.

See you on the mats.

 

FEAR SETTING:

Write out the situation that you are currently in:

Where are you currently? What are you doing? And What are you planning/wanting to do?

  • Define your nightmare:
  • Repair the damage:
  • Outcomes and benefits:
  • What if I get fired?
  • What am I putting off out of fear?
  • What is it costing me?
  • What am I waiting for?

 

What to take from ‘My battle’, You are Valued.

I sit here at my computer the day after I posted my account of my battle with cancer, absolutely gobsmacked by the response. Just over 450 total views of the article, a few Facebook shares and over one hundred likes, multiple comments from friends and family on just my FB post, not to mention the others. I never, in my wildest dreams, would have thought that I would be able to produce such an impact. So, I sit here wondering, why do we devalue/undervalue ourselves? Why don’t we think that we can make some form of good change in our own communities? We live in an age where we are so well connected, but no one truly is connected. I mean it in the sense where we all look at our screens wherever we go, we share photos of holidays but don’t share experiences, Maybe I am just not listening as well as I should be. Maybe I have only just realized that, Yes, the world is in a bad shape, but really, we live in the best time to be alive. Yes, there are bad things happening, we choose to listen and be angry at the world. Maybe because it is so much easier to be angry and blame others for what is happening, that we have forgotten that we have the power. The power to listen, the power to choose how we react, the power to change what we can to make life a bit more bearable, as Buddha said, “Life is suffering.”

I know that everyone reading this has, is or will suffer at some point in their lives, be it abuse, losing a loved one, financial crisis, whatever it is everyone will experience some form of suffering. So, it is no good to get into a pissing match arguing who suffers more, we should understand that everyone has their own trials and tribulations and we should be sympathetic. However, we must not focus on other people’s problems before our own. I have my problems that I am striving to work out, and I know I am and will never be perfect in any sense of the word, but I will do my best to achieve that. There is no reason as to why you can’t too. I fear the spotlight, I do not like getting told that I “I am courageous” don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the compliments, and know that it is to do with opening up about a very vulnerable period of my life. But I will always feel that there are many more brave and courageous people who are more deserving of the title. Military, Police, Doctors, Nurses, Firefighters and many other people, who are in the profession of saving lives. But maybe I am courageous, but if I can be, then so can you. Don’t devalue yourself because you don’t think that you have nothing to offer because I am sure I could learn something from everyone I meet. I can learn to become better at your specialty, you can teach me about something you love, even my enemies will have something that can teach me.

To continue from Buddha, Friedrich Nietzsche said, “if to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” So, find that reason. It might be for your kids, maybe it’s for a hobby, maybe you want to help people, maybe you have a story to tell that may inspire others, maybe you can help those going through something and not expect anything in return. Tell your story! I didn’t post my battle for the likes, follows, or admiration, I posted that to let people know that they can push through hard times, that life is hard, but you have to create something of it. I have found, that writing and sharing my experiences has helped me grow and give some meaning to why I had to go through that, who knows, I could learn and be inspired by something you post. We can and should learn from each other, I thought that I could go it by myself in a lot of circumstances, however, I have recently come to realize that I don’t have all the answers, but they are out there. When a student is ready, a teacher will show up. Well for me that has been podcasts and books. I listen to podcasts of people I admire, I read books by people who have a greater insight than I do, I do things out of my comfort zone. All these things help me grow and teach me. I hope that one day I can become the person I have envisioned for myself. One that helps those in need and one that never stops wanting to learn. So, put value to your name, share your experiences and help yourself out first. I know it sounds stupid coming from someone who still hasn’t gotten their own shit together, but it’s as much for you as it is for me. YOU ARE VALUED!

Please like, comment, share and follow.

See you on the mats.