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When did I become so afraid? – Lauras “Maidentrip”

By May 18, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
Laura Dekker

Watched the “Maidentrip” last night, WOWūüėģ!!

On 21st of August 2010, New Zealand born, Dutch Sailor, Laura Dekker set out on a record-breaking attempt to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly. After 2 years of sailing, she completed the journey around the globe on the 21st of January 2012, at the age of 16.

That’s¬†right she set out on her 2-year journey at the age of 14!! What the hell was I doing at that age?¬†At that age, ¬†I considered a solo train trip to Wellington City and back to Porirua a huge achievement!

Laura’s journey had my head full of questions and heart pounding with amazement. What a big call to make as a father to send your 14-year-old girl out into the world all alone for 2 years.¬†As a father, I thought¬†to myself of all the perils that my children may encounter and that terrified me!!

Laura and her parents encountered a fair bit of controversy with certain government agencies objecting to the record breaking attempt, bringing up the issue of to what degree government has a right to intervene when minors engage in risky behavior that is parentally supported. “Everyone was suddenly telling me it was crazy and impossible. My parents were given a really hard time. People called them bad parents. People said they should be put in jail, that they shouldn’t have been able to have kids at all”.¬†

For me to support such an adventure would be for me to be happy with what I have instilled in my children. If I believed¬†that I had equipped my children with the ability to circumnavigate the globe and all the perils entailed, I would also send them out into the world if they displayed the same tenacity as this young adventurer. ¬†Although it sounds that I speak with a certain amount of confidence with regards to sending my children out into the big world, emotionally I know it would be very difficult for me to come to the same conclusion that Laura’s parents arrived at.

I cast my mind back to a 14-year-old me and can remember being a lot more fearless back then¬†than I am today, What happened, why have I become so cautious? As we get older we seem to learn and become more fearful. Sure I’ve had some of the risky decisions¬†I made in my youth come back to bite me on occasion, but have I been so beaten up by these experiences that I have become afraid to follow my passion? I think my 14-year-old self would be a lot more terrified of the choice that a 30 something-year-old me has made today by choosing the predictable grown up path of Marriage, Mortage, and a job.

Not only is Lauras voyage a lesson in pursuing your dreams; but a lesson in parenthood. My main objective as a parent is to raise my children to become decent, freethinkers that live up to their potential, and if my children were to display even half the mettle as Laura I would be a very proud father. Well done Dick Dekker and Babs Muller you raised a very special young lady.

I have just ordered Laura’s book¬†“One Girl, One Dream”¬†and I’m looking forward to introducing my children to this inspirational individual.

Check out Laura Dekkers webpage: www.lauradekker.nl¬†and the trailer of “Maidentrip” below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What worked then still works now

By May 12, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
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It amazes me that with all the so-called progress that we have made as a species that we today easily forget the knowledge and wisdom that has proceeded us. Or quite possibly that this wisdom and knowledge opposed certain agendas along the way and was substituted for more agreeable alternatives?

However, the point I would like to make today is that when you realize thousand’s of years ago people encountered the same issues in life that we face today. Solutions that were discovered then still apply now, so let’s tap into it.

I remember reading “The Republic of Plato” for the first time and realizing that what I was looking at was written well before¬†the doctrine that I was told in my youth proceeded all…hey my universe back then was as big as New Zealand and whatever else resided on my parents bookshelf…don’t judge me!

Anyways it was a defining moment that still leads me on many journeys into exploring our human history and imparticular the great thinkers of old such as Socrates; Aristotle; and Plato.

Below is a small excerpt from the”The Republic of Plato”¬†that actually challenged and changed a fundamental belief that was instilled in me as a child “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Let just say many a rod was not spared on me and fortunately for my children, I came across¬†Plato sooner rather than later:

[Socrates]“Do horses that have been harmed become better or worse?” [Polemarchus]“Worse.”

[Socrates]“With respect to the virtue of dogs or to that of horses?’ [Polemarchus]” With respect to that of horses.”

[Socrates]“And when dogs are harmed, do they become worse with respect to the virtue of dogs and not to that of horses?” [Polemarchus]“Certainly.”

[Socrates]“Should we not assert the same of human beings, my comrade that when they are harmed, they become worse with respect to human virtue?” [Polemarchus]“Most certainly.”

[Socrates]“But isn’t justice human virtue?” [Polemarchus]¬†“That’s also necessary.”

[Socrates]“Then, my friend, human beings who have been harmed necessarily become more unjust.” [Polemarchus]“It seems so.”

[Socrates]“Well, are musicians able to make men unmusical by music?” [Polemarchus]¬†“impossible.”

[Socrates]“Are men skilled in horsemanship able to make men incompetent riders by horsemanship?” [Polemarchus]¬†“That can’t be.”

[Socrates]“But are just men able to make others unjust by justice, of all things? Or, in sum, are good men able to make¬†other men bad by virtue of justice?” [Polemarchus]“impossible”

[Socrates]“For I suppose that cooling is not the work of heat, but of its opposite.” [Polemarchus]“Yes.”

[Socrates]“Nor¬†wetting the work of dryness but of its opposite.” [Polemarchus]“Certainly.”

[Socrates]“Nor is harming, in fact, the work of the good but¬†of its opposite.” [Polemarchus]“It looks like it.”

[Socrates]“And it’s the just man who is good?” ¬†[Polemarchus]“Certainly.”

[Socrates]“Then it is not the work of the just man to harm either a friend or anyone else, Polemarchus, but of his opposite, the unjust man.”

Rather than excepting and following what others say is right, choose to exercise an objective perspective and your mind’s ability to come to a logical conclusion. We can learn from the past¬†and minds of old, outside of our little silos and smart devices, so open your mind and look for yourself.

“So I‚Äôm learning to question everything…and haven‚Äôt been misled by the authority of a Great Name having said it was true”¬†Beatrice Tinsley

 

 

 

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Why you should sleep faster – Arnold’s 5th rule

By May 9, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
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I must admit that up until I had read Arnie’s autobiography “Total Recall” , I knew nothing of the man who had graced the screen of many of my favourite childhood movies…Hmm lets pause for a second…Arnold Schwarzenegger synonymous with childhood movies? ¬†Well if you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s you’d know that PG meant “Pretty Good” and anything R rated was “Really Good” Let’s just say that Arnie had a lot of “Really Good” movies by today’s standards…but I digress. Arnie the Body Builder and the Actor are familiar stories to most, but less is know of Arnie the entrepreneur, the scholar, the business owner, the real-estate¬†investor or the marketing genius. So if you would like to know more about this Arnie I suggest you grab a copy of his autobiography “Total Recall”¬†¬†it’s hard to put down!!

Anyways Arnold describes 10 rules of success that have worked for him in his life and are woven throughout¬†his memoirs. All are powerful, but today I would like to focus¬†on one: Rule 5 ” The day has twenty-four hours”.¬† In his book, Arnold describes a talk he had with a student in a class at the University of California. This student was complaining¬†about the rise in tuition fee’s; how it had caused him to seek financial aid and part-time work. “Whats wrong with that?”¬†¬†replied¬†Arnold. “I have to Study”¬†the student answered, obviously vexed with the reduced amount of time available to study.¬†Here’s the classic exchange between Arnold and the student; an honest truth he imparts that a¬†younger me could have done well with to deflate the many excuses I had throughout the so-called “bulletproof” years of my youth.

Arnold: lets figure this out . How many hours do you go to class?” Student:¬†“I’ve got two hours one day and three¬†hours another day.”¬†Arnold:¬†“And how much studying do you have to do?” Student:¬†“Well each day, three hours.” Arnold:¬†“Okay . So far I see six hours one day and seven hours the other day, counting your commute. What do you do with the rest of the time?” Student:¬†“What do your mean?”¬†Arnold:¬†“Well the day has twenty-four hours. Have you ever throughout about working more? Maybe even taking more classes? Rather than wasting your life away?¬†Student:¬†“I’m not wasting my life away!”¬†Arnold:¬†” Yes, you are. You’re talking about six hours a day. The day is twenty-four hours, so you have eighteen hours left. Maybe you need six hours for sleeping. So if your¬†part-time job takes four hours, you still have time for dating and dancing and drinking and going out. Why are you complaining?”¬†

Arnold trained five hours a day; went to acting classes four hours a day; worked in construction for several hours a day; then went to college, and did his homework also. That was a normal day for him, considering that he arrived in the United States with just a plastic bag of belongings, you will understand the importance of the intangible items he brought with him also. Arnold went on to achieve many things outside of what mainstream media reported, for example, Arnolds first million was not made from movies or body building as one might assume, but from his pursuits as a real estate investor.

So I ¬†considered the Arnie/Student exchange, I reflected on my schedule, realizing then that I had a lot of idle time. I assessed the whole lot: Home and family life; Work life; health and fitness; and the time I dedicated to self-improvement. My time was wasted transitioning from one activity to another. In this time of transition, nothing productive happened and that nothingness sometimes lingered on longer than what was beneficial. As a result, I began to integrate health & fitness and Self-improvement activities into all other aspects of my work and family life. Instead splitting my life into segments I integrated everything where it could fit. Working out at home, before, during and after work and so on. I’ll touch more on integrated living in another post.

The point I want to make here is to ask yourself are you actually doing all you can to achieve what you want? Or are you, like the student, coming up with excuses as to why you are not achieving¬†what you are only paying lip service to? If an immigrant who started out with next to nothing can become Governor of one of the biggest economies in the world WTF is our excuse? “The Day has 24 Hours”.

As a university student lack of sleep was an excuse I blamed for most things, but as in the Arnold/student exchange, I had enough time for leisure. So here I’ll end this blog with an appropriate Arnie-ism:

I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.

Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left


 

 

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Could your environment be stifling your creativity?

By May 3, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
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On a Friday night, a small town like Porirua seems as though it’s in shutdown mode, about to be tucked in for the night; whilst a city like Sydney dons its evening wear preparing for a night of networking, entertainment, and creativity. You can stand¬†and feel the energy¬†emanating from a big city; ideas spring to life and numerous possibilities seem to present themselves to the imagination. It seems to be the opposite in a small town, the sleepiness is felt and the pace of life is a lot slower than the big smoke.

Steven Johnson, author of –Where Good Ideas come from, suggests that “big cities make residents significantly more innovative than residents of smaller towns”.¬†where good ideas

Johnson draws on research conducted by physicist Geoffrey West, who compared data from big cities and small towns, collected via urban statistics that involved creativity and innovation (patents, R&D, inventors, and other professions that involved creativity). Wests model demonstrates that as cities get bigger, they generate ideas at a faster clip.

A maxim that runs through the book is that good ideas need to be free to connect with other ideas in open environments, in order to evolve, generate new ideas or reach a point of completion. The open environment and the number of minds available to connect ideas to each other are apparent in big cities as opposed to smaller towns.

Could my environment be stifling my creativity? As I look out over Sydney Harbour I can feel the ideas firing around in my mind wanting to connect with the activity, the possibilities are numerous. Definitely makes me wonder if a creative mind like mine is situated in the right environment.

 

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Why you should trust your gut

By April 28, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
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Look at the picture above, what do you see? Pretty shells on the beach right? Wrong take a closer look and you will see that these bivalves are openly mocking me, laughing out loud serving as my reminder to me to trust that sweaty impulse in your palms or feeling deep in your gut when something doesn’t seem right.

Well, half a dozen bivalves later and hours on the John confirms that my first gut instinct about harvesting possibly near dead shellfish from the surface of the sand was probably a bad idea.

Author Malcolm¬†Gladwell describes in his book¬†“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”¬†a decision-making apparatus that we blink-malcolm-gladwell
possess that is capable of making very quick decisions based on very little information. It would appear that in my¬†case regarding the “laughing bivalves”, ¬†that this apparatus¬†would have proved correct had I only trusted it.

Gladwell explains that our mind uses two different strategies to make sense of a situation. The conscious strategy and the adaptive unconscious strategy. One of these is faster than the other at comprehending and drawing to conclusions than the other.

The conscious strategy is logical and definitive, every piece of information related to the subject at hand is considered. Although though this strategy is slow and requires a lot of information, not the kind you want to utilize when all you have are seconds to decide.

The adaptive unconscious strategy, however, works a lot faster than the other and utilizes weirdly indirect channels that operate beneath the surface of the consciousness.

Instead of weighing every conceivable piece of evidence, the adaptive unconsciousness utilizes what can be gathered at a glance.

Feedback is generated via the bodies nervous system before any conscious thought takes place. That’s that feeling you get in your gut, the sweat in your palms, a sense that something doesn’t feel right.

The adaptive unconscious does an excellent job at sizing up our surroundings and its potential threats in an efficient manner. However in the case of the laughing bivalves, a conscious choice does still need to be made so as to acknowledge what your gut is telling you.

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Barefoot Running

By April 27, 2016 Fitness, Health and Wellness, Recommended Books

There has been a bit written about the pros and cons of barefoot running in recent years. Approximately a year ago I came across a TEDx talk where author, journalist, and runner Christopher McDougall, spoke about how the modern shoe had transformed our running style from forefoot striking to heel striking.

Christopher suggests that the modern shoe has made redundant many of the functions that our lower limbs have been designed for, which has resulted in a list of common running-related injuries: Runners knee; Achilles tendonitis; Plantar Fasciitis, Shinsplints; Iliotibial Band Syndrome, the list goes on.

Years of sports and running has left me with¬†many of these common running related injuries. Some injuries have¬†persisted more than others causing me to move on from the activity from which I sustained them…a demoralizing transition! ¬†

I had little optimism when it came to recovering from injury. I wallowed in self-pity and any news about celebrity athletes who were forced into retirement¬†by injury, only served to emphasise my pessimism and self-doubt. I mean If these guys with annual salaries that make what I earn seem like ashtray change couldn’t get it sorted what chance did an amateur like me have of making a full recovery?

When I came across¬†Christopher’s TEDx talk I thought what the hell it sounds like a lo220px-Born2rungical argument, I’ll give it a go.¬†Eventually, I¬†brought Christopher’s book “Born to Run”, admittedly a little voice¬†at the back of my mind was saying “you’re a sucker for good advertising”.

“Born to Run” describes how a personal running injury led Christopher to numerous specialist and therapy sessions that all suggested that unthinkable!! give up running altogether. Obviously, not an option for Christopher to consider, so he¬†started to¬†look for answers outside of western medicine.

The traditions and running style of a Native American people of north-western Mexico called the Rarámuri or Tarahumara, piqued Christophers interest and became the subject of his enquiry.  This tribe is known for their prowess in long distance running; and most notable the absence of shoes, or conventional footwear in the western sense of the word. Their ability to achieve near superhuman performances in the absence of modern technology warranted an in-depth analysis of their lifestyle and running methods.

Christophers made comparisons between Tarahumara and Modern western runners which led him to assume that as western footwear evolved so too had the corresponding running styles alongside the increase in running-related injuries.

Armed with this newly acquired knowledge I began a slow transition into barefoot running, first the local rugby fields and then a few local beaches.

What I have discovered thus far and one of the key point that I have derived from “Born to Run” is the motivation for running is different. Westerners run for accolades and competition.¬†The Tarahumara run to survive, running is intrinsic to their perception of the world, they bond and run with delight.

I have come to embrace a similar outlook in my approach to running. My feet and its senses have been entombed within shoes, which means that I have been perceiving the world with less than the senses I have available to me. Since barefoot running there seems to be a little more colour, a little bit more  awareness and appreciation of the world I occupy.

I have moved on from running to log my kilometres to running and being aware of the present moment. I have become grateful for what we have in this world and most of all my running has improved.

I always look forward to getting out barefoot and amongst the collective that I feel privileged to be a part of.

Give it a go!!

 

 

Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall

Are we Born to Run? – TEDx Talk; Christopher McDougall

 

 

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“what can be above a man who is above fortune?”

By April 24, 2016 Finance, Recommended Books, Something to ponder

Every letter and word that I write on this site represent the first units of time to be dedicated to myself, not for somebody else. Before now I had exchanged unknowingly my most precious asset; in exchange for this asset I have received a pittance of its worth.

The little I receive has quickly left my hands and intern a desire has grown to have them full again with this phantom-like substance that seems to be vanishing faster than my ability to acquire it. I have been occupied with the exchange of this asset and in doing so let my mind become full with another person’s ambition.

The asset I speak of obviously is ‚Äútime‚ÄĚ. When caught in the business of trading your time for money¬† you become preoccupied with that business, you are left with less time to be occupied with the pursuit of your own ambitions. This is an old tale that has perpetuated itself into the present with people choosing to trade their time for money via a job; allowing another to purchase the majority of real estate in their minds, left with the little that remains.

So occupied have we become working someone else’s ambition that we have failed to recognize the conflict here. What is your life worth to let another’s become your occupation? Do we place only little value on the worth of our lives that we let fritter away our must precious asset? If it is not new then someone must have figured out the dilemma in this exchange?

In fact, people have figured out this dilemma many lifetimes before ours . What is perplexing is that we live in an age where we have near unlimited access to this wisdom, yet many of us are still trying to figure it out? It’s hard to ‚ÄĚ figure it out‚ÄĚ when the majority of our time is not concerned with our own business.

‚Äú‚Ķno activity can be successfully pursued by an individual who is preoccupied‚Ķ-since the mind when distracted absorbs nothing deeply, but rejects everything which is, so to speak crammed into it‚ÄĚ. ‚Äď Seneca.

It was apparent back in ancient Rome and probably many lifetimes before then, yet the condition persists today. Why? because we are not minding our own business, we have sold off our time; our minds; and with the little that is left we squander it on another person’s business by way of consumerism.

I have realized that my consumer behavior perpetuates a cycle of poverty; an appetite for wanting more than I need to live. What I need to do is expand the little space I have occupied for my own ambitions, taking back space in my mind that I have ignorantly sold off to employers and retailers.  My want for more than I need and what I have, places fortune above what is most important and that is to be concerned with the business of living life fulfilling my own dreams and ambitions. Not enough of us are making our dreams and ambitions our  main priority.

“For what can be above a man who is above fortune?” – Seneca

Link:

On the Shortness of Life: Seneca 

 

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