Fluid form.

I have been writing a journal now for a few months and it has brought up lots of lessons for me to go away and reflect on to help me lead a happier more effective life. One really damaging trait that I found was just how often I criticised myself. I have been aware of this for some time and I do better at times than at others. But I believe it is a vital aspect of my character that I want to change.

Let me describe what happens. Say for example, I want to stick to a diet to lose some fat. What I found I was doing was attaching my happiness and sense of success to whether I stuck to the diet or not. If something went wrong, which is inevitable because I am not perfect, I would attack myself and beat myself down. This thinking at it’s worst would spiral into a deep analysis of what I was doing wrong and lead to the conclusion that I will never be good enough to attain it. This would mean giving up or starting all over again. So I would get the first part right, because I was setting worthwhile goals for myself and that is important. However, I was emotionally attached to my goals so much that my self-worth was defined by attaining them. I was fixated on a future self and negatively comparing where I am to the future projection. Visualisation of the future is important, but I do not want to keep all my happiness waiting for me in the future as the future doesn’t physically exist. All we have and all we will ever have is the here and now. The present is where our attention should be.

 Letting go is an act of observation without emotional reaction or outburst. This allows you to be objective and see the truth behind your results.

Perception is everything. Should someone really be judged as a failure if they don’t reach a target?

The only person who can create the idea in your mind that you are a failure is you.  It is just an idea. Yet another story that we tell ourselves based on our interpretations of our circumstances. Imagine how empowering it is to go through your life with the belief that you are good enough in this present moment. You are good enough now and will always be. It’s a case of perspective.

I am a Manchester United fan, but I am passionate about all high performers in football. I like to study their philosophy and mentality. One person I studied was Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. On the subject of failure he responded by saying I do not fail. On the surface, this seems to be an arrogant statement, but it is his reality. Therefore to him it is true. Our perceptions create our reality because there is no true ‘reality’. When someone says ‘the reality is’, what they should really say is ‘my reality is.’ Mourinho’s statement is empowering because it allows him to see every setback objectively and learn from it. He doesn’t get attached to it and carry it like a weight on his back. At the same time, this attitude would allow for someone to stay humble when things are going well and not attach their identity to their success or possessions.

Another powerful statement linked to this idea is the famous Bruce Lee quote where he describes the nature of water and the importance of replicating it:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

My interpretation of this is that water is a close reflection to our true nature in that we are a mixture of things that are transient. Our beings flow and have the ability to transform and evolve. Within any given moment, you can become whatever you want to be. When you let go of the stories you tell yourself in your mind, you can become a shape shifter.

You have the ability to become strong.

You have the ability to become love.

You have the ability to become excited.

You have the ability to be (insert here)

I am by no means an expert in this field as this idea is quite new to me. But I see the value in reducing my attachment to the external parts of my life so that I can have more control over my emotions.

The next time I set a goal, I’m going to set it, create a time frame, and then get to work on the process. I will track my results, but will in no way identify who I am with the results I get. This will help in all areas of my life and should lead to me being in much better control of my state on a day to day basis. If I am to truly be like water, I should have the ability to choose the best way of being to deal with all of life’s challenges.

Don’t be so rigid in life.

Let go and be like water.

I wish you the best.

Will you be ready to take your opportunity?

Stand up now and face the sun
Won’t hide my tail or turn and run
It’s time to do what must be done
Be a king when kingdom comes

Aloe Blacc – The Man

I have been very blessed recently with the way that my work has been progressing. It has been pleasing to keep up a wave of successful momentum. The trick for me that has really helped has been my increased awareness of where I need to focus my energies to create personal growth.

My focus has been shifting to my inner world, and I am finally starting to see how I have been holding myself back in certain areas of my life and how that can spill over. Once I had decided to clean up and tidy my desk, that idea then started to effect other areas of my life. My car was brutal and had been for some time. Because I had made the choice to be oblivious in my classroom to the importance of order and tidiness, it was only when I tackled that that my awareness expanded to my car, my home, my kettlebell gym in the cellar, my work bag and the list goes on. I was changed fundamentally by the choice to raise my standards and as a result my perception of tidiness changed.

This has also effected the quality of my workouts and has become a wider mission to de-clutter and remove all things that do not advance my life in some way shape or form. My workouts are ruthlessly efficent, timed to the second and more intense than ever before. I find myself constantly asking, “What use is this ?” Is it going to help me move forward. As a result, there is far less variety in my workouts and I have decided to stick to half a dozen movements that will serve me the best for the next few months.

You may ask what the value in all this activity is and to be honest with you, I have asked myself that question in the past. I think I have finally stumbled on an answer that makes sense to me. I need to raise my standards in certain areas in order to raise my standards in all areas. I realised that the trait that successful happy people have is focus and high standards. My standards in some areas of my life were high, but in others I was more slack. As a result, those slack areas became bottlenecks and I was only as strong as my weakest link.

I am now attacking my organisation skills to get them to the highest level possible because that was one of my major bottlenecks. Disorganisation in my life would lead to making silly mistakes, being stressed about deadlines, procrastination, fear of failure and a whole host of other results that were not congruent with other areas of my life where I would find things easy. If I had not tackled this problem, when the next huge opportunity of a lifetime comes my way, my character would not have been strong enough to handle the responsibility of the position I will eventually find myself. To be as direct as possible, your actions tell people who you are more than your words ever could. Talent or circumstances can sometimes take us to places that our character cannot keep us.

Now I have spent time on strengthening my character, I feel ready to take on more. I have adapted to the phenomenal change of raising two young children, looking after myself and making sure my wife and I have enough time for each other, The change was a like a knockout punch, and I’m only now getting up, but I feel a hell of a lot stronger and more capable. Opportunities are starting to come my way. My contact with Alistair Smith bore fruit and we are going to meet in person and discuss some things. My mentor has been keen for me to start getting involved with the work that he is doing in building a base of mentors for young people across the U.K. I’m excited about the future, and mindful that I need to make sure I’m ready to be the king when my kingdom comes.

Invest the time in yourself to listen to your intuition and discover what your bottlenecks are. Non of us are perfect and I have many areas for development, but by tackling those things that have eluded you in the past head on, you feel more in control of your present situation and the future you can create for yourself.

I wish you the best