I was sick this week (actually, I'm not the only one...I know a few people that have been sick over the past week or so).
I'm rarely sick or ill (touch wood) and when some kind of ailment turns up on my doorstep, I usually bitch and whine about it. "Sick! Why the f*ck am I sick? I take such good care of myself! This is bullshit. I don't deserve to be sick. Waaa waaa waaa."
Upon reflection, its a pretty ridiculous response to an illness (or any situation life may throw at you). Like complaining or denial will help the situation even one iota. Not to mention you look like a wimp and possibly even an idiot.
Being sick this time around has taught me a few things...
First of all, things don't always go your way. Yeah, no shit. No one ever plans to be sick and subsequently, there is never really a convenient time to be sick. "Oh yup, Friday is pretty free for me Mr. Body, so feel free to let me down then - that suits." Please - spare me. Even the best laid plans run off the rails sometimes. If you fall off the horse, get back on it. The measure of the man is how many times he was prepared to get back on the horse, not how many times he fell off.
Second, resisting the reality of your situation does not change it. Sounds simple, but if you can somehow implement that idea into your daily life, consistently, you're a better man than I. Denying a situation, like the fact that you are getting sick, is a strategy destined to fail. Its akin to expecting your car to run with no petrol or thinking you can walk out of the supermarket without having paid for the things you took off the shelf. DUMB! Denying or ignoring those facts does not change the reality. Your car won't move without fuel and not paying for a bunch of groceries could land you in the back of a cop car.
Acceptance is the smartest course of action. Have the nous to recognise a situation for what it is. There's nothing personal about it. Take your ego out of it. "Waaaa, why is this happening to me?" Its useless and it will change nothing. What's more, its unattractive behaviour to see in other people. "Man up" and take responsibility for any situation that comes your way. Face it and deal with it in an intelligent manner. You can only have an intelligent course of action if you accept the situation for what it is and then decide how you're going to go about dealing with it.
So next time I see illness on the horizon, I'll give my body what it is really asking for - some rest and little more care.
No whingeing - just do what the situation calls for.
After having an engaging discussion with my girlfriend this morning, I've found it hard to stop thinking about the importance of education. I view it as an equalising 'commodity'. Unsurprisingly, I'm not the first person to think this. A quick search in Google reveals that Horace Mann (what a cool name!), the first great advocate of public education in the United States, thought the very same thing over a 150 years ago.
He beautifully articulates why:
“Education...beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of conditions of men --the balance wheel of the social machinery...It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility toward the rich; it prevents being poor.”
Education is power. Just look at how society functions. When, ever, in the history of human existence, has knowledge and information been such a critical resource in society? The answer is never. And it only becomes more true as the pace of the 'Information Age' picks up.
Hoarding, shielding and privatising information is an absolute f***ing joke. Share it, as much as you can, as often as you can, to anyone who will listen.
The smarter society becomes around you the better. Information is not a finite resource - its not diminshed by one person using it. In fact, education depends upon people soaking up information and drawing new conclusions from it. That's how we continue to push the envelope of our knowledge.
Make it your mission to educate someone, on something, every single day. In addition to this, make it your mission to be educated on something, by someone, every single day.
I was sitting in a coffee shop today, writing in my journal. I'm trying to envision a new future for myself and those around me. Writing about it and articulating my thoughts helps to add momentum and focus my efforts...
I started listening to some gentlemen next to me who were talking about politics and leadership. My last post was actually about something very similar - the lack of 'political leadership' (hmmm, is that a contradiction in terms?) in this great country of ours.
These men were expressing their similar feelings of angst and discontent with the current political landscape. The lack of radical change that we would like to see come from these people. Peter Garrett came up...they noticed how someone like him who was so passionate about change has come up against the bureaucracy and red tape of our political system. "It has usurped his passion and capacity to change..." they mused.
And its true. The system now in place SLOWS change, impedes its course. "Oh, you can't possibly change that without changing all this too...that's too hard. Don't bother." I'm paraphrasing, but this is what the gentlemen believed had gone through Peter Garrett's head once he made it into our political system.
Government is becoming an increasingly useless institution in a world that demands and requires rapid adjustment and agile response. That is now up to the individual.
If you want change, you have to make it. Don't rely on it dropping out of the sky, because it won't.
If you want a different world then you have to shape it yourself. Don't wait. Don't make excuses. Don't watch TV and try and forget about it.
Just get on with it. Do it now while we still have a chance.
This great country of ours needs real leadership. It needs forsight and courage to ensure safety and prosperity for the future. It needs intelligent action. Right now.
But our leaders are just talking. And it makes my blood boil.
I would love for our leaders to recognise that they can't look to the past to see what to do in the future. We are entering a new era and we will need new ideas and strategies to navigate this uncertain future.
That means having the courage to choose options that may appear contrarian to popular opinion at first. But that is why leaders are leaders.
This is a great question and one that is not asked enough.
What is fitness? How do we define it?
If you have a personal trainer and you asked them this question, my guess is that you'd get a wishy-washy answer. Try it out. Ask one of the girls behind the desk at your local Globo Gym and see if you don't get a blank stare.
In the past 4 months or so, I've realised the importance of defining fitness. How can you achieve something (anything) if you don't really know what it is you're striving for? It means you are aimless in your pursuit. The wishy-washy definition will produce wishy-washy results.
If you've never heard of CrossFit, then you should look it up right now: CrossFit
CrossFit's success stems from the fact that they bothered to define what they were trying to achieve before setting out to achieve it. Makes sense, right? You wouldn't set out on a trip to Sydney without first knowing what the hell Sydney was!
I believe there are two other reasons to CrossFit's success. Firstly, the training rationale is based on evidence. They know the training works, because the proof is in the pudding. There are thousands of athletes that are finding their best fitness as a result of following CrossFit's training principles. The second reason for success, and possibly the most important of all, is the community that has sprung up around it to support those involved. There is a wealth of knowledge given freely in the archives and forums of the CrossFit website. What's more, there is probably a CrossFit affiliate in your area and I can bet you that the people there will be some of the most supportive fitness trainers you'll ever meet. If you live in Melbourne, check out CrossFit Victoria.
If you have a goal of improving your health and fitness this year (or anytime in your life), I highly recommend going back to the fundamentals. Figure out what it means to be fit and healthy. Then, and only then, can you create a plan and a path to move you forward. After that, you'll really start to see some results.
Personally, I think CrossFit has got it nailed. A broad and functional fitness that is useful in everything that you do. Its my choice and I've never felt better.
Its a brand new year and what better time than to make some life changing decisions.
Over the past few weeks, I've been setting the wheels in motion to steadily change my life. I've resigned from my job. I've started a business with a friend of mine. I've changed my diet and started a new exercise program. I've joined a band with my brother and a friend. I've booked in to become a strength and conditioning coach, with a view to becoming a CrossFit accredited trainer. I'm starting a discussion group called Penny University with my girlfriend.
To be honest, its been a little scary. I think that's a good thing. It means I'm on the right track. More often than not, the things we need to do most are the things we're most afraid of.
For example, I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to survive financially once I quit my job. But I have enough faith in myself to know that I'll figure it out. Its more important for me to quit the work that I find so unfulfilling every day. I'm reminded of a quote that I heard from Seth Godin, "Life is too short to be stuck in unfulfilling work." Its time to pursue the things that genuinely interest me, because then the work is effortless.
Mediocrity is crap; why bother striving to produce something average? I want excellence. To experience it and to produce it. Excellence speaks for itself and makes the world a better place. More importantly, its exciting and challenging to strive for excellence.
I'll be writing a lot more about how I'm going with these changes. These are exciting times.