Posts Tagged With: Character Development

1/25/12 Lift Heavy Things 3: LEVEL UP!

This is actually my third session of Lift Heavy Things (LHT). The first was my self assessment, the second happening about 3 days from then, and now we have this one. Here’s how it went:

Max Effort

Knee Push Ups- Goal 50- 1st Set 50- 2nd Set: 50

Full Squat- Goal 50- 1st Set 50- 2nd Set 50 LV UP

Jack Knife Press- Goal 20- 1st Set 20- 2nd Set 21

Forearm/Knee Plank- Goal 90 sec- 1st Set 90 sec- 2nd Set 90 sec LV UP

1 Leg Assisted Pull Ups- Goal 15- 1st Set 15- 2nd Set 15

Notes: I’m ready to step it up on my squats and my Planks, I think I’m accomplishing them too easy and in good form. So I’m Leveling Up. Yes, thats right. As though this were an Final Fantasy game, I’m Leveling Up.

I do have some thoughts about my results though… I’m noticing that my lower body is vastly stronger than my upper body. My squats are going to LV 5!!! and my Planks are moving up to LV 3 after only 10 days. Even when I look in a mirror I notice that my thighs are huge in comparison to the rest of me. And its not fat. My extremities don’t seem to have that much fat; its all pretty much centered around my ass, my abdomen, and my upper torso.

My upper body results leave something to be desired. I made the goals set, but Knee Push Ups are seriously kicking my ass (though not as much so it IS an improvement.) And I get the feeling that I am using too much ‘leg’ with my chair assisted pull ups.

I do love how the workout is truly a TOTAL body workout. One exercise I used to do for my lower back was hyperextension with a kettle bell. I think the planks pretty much take care of that now, in addition to all my other core muscles: abs, obliques, hip flexors. I even notice that proping myself up on my forearm works my upper back.

Full squats REALLY get the heart rate going. I remember back when I was going to the gym and eating a shit ton of carbs before my 20 minute morning cardio and then I would hit the free weights; and NEVER out of all those gym workouts with weights have I had my HR increase so fast and so powerfully than with these prisoner squats.

I love the Jack Knife Press. Its difficult, but I just like the movement; the muscles it works. I’m doing pretty good on them, I reached the goal today without too much of a ‘stop’ between reps, but I think I should continue until I can blast the full 20.

Advertisements
Categories: Character Development, Fitness, Health, Leadership, Medicine, Nutrition, Paleo, philosophy, Primal, Society | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Primal Week 1: Wanna go Sprinting Barefoot after a Steak?

As I sit here picking bits of Medium Rare tender beef steak out of my teeth, I am reminded of why I love being a human: I get the rare opportunity to eat the meats of lesser boned aminamals… and be conscious of my enjoyment of it.

Vegetables are great, I fuckin love’em; I’m eating a HUGE salad with this meal. But eating a garlic pepper seasoned, slightly bloody, organic, grass-fed steak is like… a kickboxing match in your mouth. Ah… yes.

This post is about my month-long experiment of Going Primal. So let’s first spell out the rules.

For the next 4 weeks, or 28 days, I will be following ‘The Primal Blueprint.’

This means I will be eating according to their guide as well as ‘exercising’ according to their standards using their methods. Very basically this means following the 10 Primal Laws.

The 10 Primal Laws.

1: Eats lots of animals, plants, and insects.

2: Move around a lot at a slow pace.

3: Lift Heavy Things.

4: Run really fast every once in a while.

5: Get lots of sleep.

6: Play.

7: Get some Sunlight every day.

8: Avoid Trauma (Self Destructive behavior.)

9: Avoid Poisonous things (Mc. Donald’s, processed food, Grains… etc.)

10: USE YOUR MIND.

For those who want to hear all this straight from the horse’s mouth, I direct you here http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/#axzz1jg4ZSjHP

That’s a pretty simple outline for a lifestyle, maybe too simple? I thought getting fit and eating right had to be this hard, overbearing, miserable, and long and drawn out process; now you’re telling me that PLAYING is a part of my health and fitness? So it would seem.

People take up a diet and fitness routine for its benefits to one’s health and physique, so I assume the question on everyone’s mind is “how will you eat and what exercises will you be doing?” ‘Tis a fair question. Let us dive in to the eating part. As Mark Sisson, the author of the Primal Blueprint says, “80% of your body composition is the foods you eat.” I won’t type word for word what he goes on to say about gene expression; it’s quite lengthy and you can just buy his book or visit Mark’s Daily Apple.

Primal Eating.

Basically I will be eating primally, following the first Primal Law.
1: Eats lots of animals, plants, and insects.

That’s simple enough. Like most eating patterns this means (Law 9: Avoid Poisonous Things) no processed bullshit, sodas, refined sugars yada yada yada. What’s new, at least for me, is the blatant attack on grains coming out of left field. I always thought whole wheat, multi grain, and oatmeal was good for me.

Maybe not. The cornerstone of the Primal Blueprints eating habits all revolve around your body’s insulin production and the pancreas’ insulin response to the amount and type of carbohydrate that you put into your body, as well as removing all grains from your diet. Completely. Immediately. Permanently. Why? An in-depth look at why grains are bad is another matter in itself; one that would easily double this article. Therefore, I direct you here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/#axzz1kK24SP00

In short the Primal Blueprint (PB) dietary lifestyle is:

  • No Grains. This means no bread, rice, pasta, corn (yes corn is a grain not a vegetable), oatmeal (I will miss you) or cereals or granola bars.
  • No Dairy. This means no milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, but strangely allows butter (real butter.)
  • No Soy. The problems with soy revolve around the lectins found within much like grains. Also like grains, soy cannot be eaten unless it is processed.
  • No Sugar including molasses, processed foods, artificial sweeteners… etc. etc.
  • Enjoyed sparingly will be foods like honey, dark chocolate, alcohol.
  • Foods to be eaten in moderation are most fruits. Some fruits contain a surprising amount of carbs (fructose) and so eating fruit in moderation will be important.
  • I’ll be eating as much as I can of meat and non-starchy vegetables.

Now I must admit that I will from time to time, once a week, have a small amount of cheese in my salad and perhaps a tiny amount of milk, because I enjoy these things. I won’t drop everything I love cold turkey, but I will be getting Primal Eating right about 90% of the time.

Primal Fitness

Primal Fitness consists of 3 main aspects:

Sprinting

Move Slowly/ Play/ Rest

Lift Heavy Things/ Workout of the Week

Sprinting; run really fast every once in a while.

It’s pretty simple. One day a week, go run your guts out (It’s what I did today.). Sprint with as much effort as you possibly can. And it’s more about effort and raising the heart rate than about speed, though in time your speed will improve, but improved speed is not the goal; rather a byproduct.

Move Slowly.

My long diatribe against Chronic Cardio could easily add another 5 pages to this article, but suffice it to say that our ancestors did not wake up in the morning and ‘go for a run.’ That’s stupid, ‘go for a run.’ They ran only when they absolutely had to and when they did they ran really, really fast. See Sprinting above. For the most part, our ancestors were nomadic and traveled constantly. They did not stop in one area, build a house and a deli and make cities. It was not until the Sumerians set up shop that we had cities. When they were nomadically travelling, they moved slowly. They took their sweet ass time barring any danger at their backs.

So the modern-day equivalent to move slowly, is to go for long walks and hikes; 3-5 hours a week of just moving slowly. Exert enough effort to elevate the heart rate a bit, but keep it to a vigorous hike at most. If you can’t carry on a conversation during your jaunt, you’re going too fast.

Playing/ Resting

Playing is an important part of life; it’s what hard work is for. The human brain and body decided a long time ago that it would only exert itself in order to obtain ‘goodies.’ No ‘goodies’ no work. In our modern times, man works against his fundamentally playful and curious nature, by working for nothing; that is working without gaining any satisfaction. Paying bills and working a job and purchasing items and such may be necessary to sustain Life, but they are not what Life is for. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not wasted in slave labor to pay the electric bill. To quote Henry David Thoreau, “Man spends the best part of his life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty, during the least valuable part of it.” All work and no play make Man a dull boy; and add an outrageous amount of stress to his life.

In Primal times it is thought that Grok didn’t have the chronic stress that we do today. Sure, he had some stressful things to think about, possibly getting eaten, maybe going hungry for a day or two, competition among other paleolithic humans, and the stress that comes from the intense physical exertion (and fear) of climbing up an unstable structure to get said food.

But once these moments had passed, the stress was done. Stress was an in the moment thing for Grok; he didn’t carry the stress with him all day/ week/ year. Almost getting eaten by a tiger was hell, but assuming he escaped death, one thing he certainly did not do was go back to his cave, crack open a mind altering depressant (beer) and bitch to his wife about how unfair the system was; shouting that tigers are just fuckin running around eating people and that somebody should do something about it.

After the stressful moment was over, Grok went back to eating his current meal, moving slowly over the Earth, wrestling with his young children, bonking his female mate, playing competitive rock throwing, log lifting games with his male hunting buddies. For all the danger there was, Grok seemed to be having great fun when his life wasn’t in mortal danger.

The life of Grok had a lot of ups and down to be sure and the swings were intense, but the one thing that we can be sure of is that Grok had fullness of experience. Grok’s life may have been short (because he probably got eaten or succumbed to deadly diseases neither of which are really valid survival issues anymore) but it was full and intense in a way that we have forgotten and Grok didn’t let the stress of daily dangers and struggles ruin the moment for him.

So in our day of chronic ‘take your work home with you’ stress, Play is important if only to relieve all that stress since stress is a risk factor for nearly every major disease and illness. Play also makes your life worth living; it makes life fun which as far as I can tell is the only purpose for Life. Life isn’t going anywhere, that is, it’s not ‘doing’ anything. The things that happen in Life don’t seem to be coherently moving in any particular way; towards any particular goal. So, play from what I gather is the point, the purpose of Life. Be happy while you’re alive. Happiness and fun are really the only things that actually matter.

Lift Heavy Things

Twice a week you should Lift Heavy Things. In Primal Fitness, this amounts to progressive bodyweight training or if you’re fit enough, tackling one of the Work Outs of Week. The bodyweight exercises are simple and ‘designed’ to mimic the 5 essential compound movements of our primal ancestors. All exercises work a wide range of muscle groups and performing all 5 exercises is truly a full body workout. The 5 essential movements are Push Ups, Pull Ups, Overhead Press, Squats, and Abdominal Planks. All of them are bodyweight exercises; none require a gym membership or expensive equipment. The most you might need is a pull-up bar, but a little creativity can overcome the lack of one.

The bodyweight exercises in Primal Fitness are incredibly malleable and infinitely scalable; they can be as easy or as difficult as you want by adding weight to your body to make it harder or simply changing your body’s position. If straight push-ups are too hard make them a little easier by inclining your body up a hill; to make them more difficult turn your body the other way and face down the hill allowing gravity to aid you in a tougher workout.

There are 9 variations of each of the 5 movements. I won’t write here about all the variations of the 5 movements (45 different movements in total), but they’re all structured the same way with LV 4 being the basic movement itself, the 3 LVs preceding building up to the essential movement, and the 5 LVs that follow serving to increase the difficulty.

But where should one start in this sliding scale of exercise difficulty? That was my question when I started this week and the answer to that riddle lies in the self-assessment. To find out which bodyweight exercises you should start with, Primal Blueprint Fitness (PBF) suggests undergoing a self-assessment to ascertain your current level of fitness.

The assessment places you by scoring your ability to perform a certain number of reps of five different exercises. These are the exercises performed and the scale to grade yourself. I did the Primal Blueprint self-assessment and I’ve got to say, I thought I was stronger than this. My scores were horrendous:

22 Push Ups

5 Pull Ups (How can one do 5 pull ups but only 22 push-ups?)

61+ Full Squats (Thanks to my back packing tendencies I’m ok here.)

6 Dive Bombers

60 Sec Forearm/ Feet Plank (Really expected more outta me here.)

I really thought that having bicycled across the country I would be at least a little more fit than this, but I guess not. Just goes to show you that things that seem difficult may not be so hard and may not make you so tough because you did them.

Based on my self-assessment scores I’m starting with:

LV 2 Knee Push Ups

LV 2 One Leg chair assisted pull ups

LV 4 Full Squats

LV 2 Jack Knife Press

LV 2 Forearm knee planks

In all honesty, I’m not very comfortable starting with such ‘unmanly’ training exercises like knee push-ups and knee planks or assisted pull ups. My ego tells me that since I scored pretty close to LV 3 on the push-ups that maybe I should ‘challenge’ myself by starting with incline push-ups which would seem a little more ‘manly.’ But, I’m trying to respect the process of progression that Mark Sisson has come up with and I’m giving the Primal Blueprint methodology a fair and honest opportunity to demonstrate itself. So, for now, I’m going to train with my body and not my ego.

Each workout session, sessions that should only happen twice a week unless I feel up to adding in an extra bout, will consist of two cycles performing one set of X number of reps of a particular exercise. I had wanted to include a sample of what my workouts looked like, but apparently I’m too stupid to create a table that formats correctly. -.-;

Progression

Progression in bodyweight training is based upon the successful completion of X number of reps of your chosen bodyweight exercise variation in BOTH cycles. And you should honestly evaluate yourself based on form and how difficult it was to achieve the target reps. For instance based on the scores of my training above; I can progress to the next LV in everything. However comma, it was really hard. I’m serious, I didn’t expect girly knee push-ups to kick my ass, but having to do 50 of them straight was quite difficult. I have to be honest in my evaluation and I should stay with this for a while. In time I will progress, but that time is not now.

Thoughts so Far.

I suppose I’ll end this long (but worth it) article with a photo update. This is what I look like after about 10 days Primal:

Is it much of an improvement? I’m sure 7 days is not enough time to make that call, nor do I think the photograph does my ‘improvements’ justice. In just a short amount of time, I feel better. I definitely feel improvements, even if they are not aesthetically obvious, I have lost weight and by that I mean flabby padding around my mid-section.

I’m not weighing myself so I’m not sure the number of how much weight I’ve already lost, but this morning I walked naked in front of my bathroom mirror and noticed that I have muscle; muscle I never noticed before. I suppose it was always there, but had been covered by some layer of fat that is slowly being eroded (not that I had much fat to begin with compared to some that are vastly overweight when they start.) When I tense my abdominal muscles, I can feel under my skin the ‘notches’ of six-pack abs. It’s like I know they’re there, and I have to keep going so as to undergo a fitness ‘gestation’ period. And as time has gone by, I have begun to notice slight improvements in my physique; improvements that a camera does not catch.

In following articles I will give details about my eating habits and workouts, as well as post photo updates to watch the progression. I appreciate all who read. Is there anybody reading this that is ‘Primal?’ Has anybody tried it and what was your experience?

Categories: Character Development, Fitness, Health, Leadership, Nutrition, philosophy, Primal, Society | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tao Te Ching Chapter 2

Everyone recognizes beauty,

Only because of ugliness,

Everyone recognizes virtue,

Only because of sin.

Life and death are born together,

Difficult and easy,

Long and short,

High and low–

All these exist together.

Sound and silence blend as one,

Before and after are mutual in sequence.

The Sage acts without effort,

And teaches without talking.

All things flourish around him,

And he does not refuse anyone of them.

He gives, but not to receive,

He works, but not for reward,

He completes, but not for results.

He does nothing for himself in this passing world,

So nothing he does ever passes.

Keep it together

The second chapter of the Tao Te Ching clearly conveys to us a basic fundamental principle of the Universe: Everything is what it is, only in relation to something else. Hot is only hot when it can be compared to something cold. High is only high when in contrast to an object that is lower. There can be no THIS without THAT, and THAT does not exist without THIS. Like two sides of the same coin, they ‘go with’ each other. In a coin you have heads AND tails. There is no heads then tails afterwards; they both exist at the same time as a part of the same unit and they cannot be split apart without ruining the whole heads/tails system. And further more when an event happens, the mere happening of an event inexorably implies its exact opposite. Flipping a coin and getting heads up by necessity of the design implies that you also got tails down.

So in life good and bad go together. Just as it is pointless to think of one side of the coin and ignore the other, so too is it useless and just frustrating to think of only good without recognizing that the bad goes with it. What is bad draws its pejorative implications by being contrasted with that which we all agree is good. And things and events we call good find themselves hidden with that which we call bad.

The Sage.

Here Lao-Tzu seems to go off on a bit of a tangent and mentions the Sage. The Sage is an idea that Lao-Tzu will talk about many more times in the Tao Te Ching, and in fact one of the many ways the Tao Te Ching may be interpreted is as a guide to becoming a Sage. It is here in chapter 2 that we are told of the Sages attributes.

“The Sage acts without effort.”

It is clear from this that the Sage is one who lets simplicity and quick direct action guide his daily life. No effort. This does not mean laziness, but rather that the Sage does what he does so well, that he makes it look easy, and when he is observed doing it, we can’t quite be sure exactly how he does it, so easily does he accomplish his task. His success is rooted in both the Sages simple approach to his task and the simplicity of the tasks he would choose to complete. The Sage is not one to choose a big complicated thing to do. In Taoism if it can’t be done simply it shouldn’t be done at all. Of course that’s not to say it can’t be done, it very well can, but that if you actually carry out a huge, complicated ordeal then it will only be a matter of time before it fails, due to its own complicated nature. The Sage is one who is wise enough to know when things are too big and complicated, and disciplined enough to refrain from taking them on to begin with.

“The Sage teaches without talking.”

The Sage is a man of priceless wisdom, wisdom that stems from the simplicity of his daily life. Therefore one can learn from the Sage in the same manner as the Sage learned from nature: Observe, watch him live. The Sage is one who leads by example and if one observes his daily life and is inclined to think about what they see, then they will most certainly find that everything the Sage does is for a reason and usually that reason finds itself in some kind of a common sense approach to things that others view as complicated and sometimes impossible.

“All things flourish around him and he does not refuse any one of them.”

Openness and a very accepting nature are the trademarks of the Sage. By being compassionate and genuinely interested in those around him, he is welcomed wherever he goes. Things come his way, some things good, some bad, but regardless he accepts them all. He accepts good things with respect and humility and allows bad events to unfold as they would without resisting them. When the bad events pass as they invariably do, he moves on.

“He gives, but not to receive, He works, but not for reward, He completes, but not for results. He does nothing for himself in this passing world, so nothing he does ever passes.”

Humility is what the Sage excels in and it is with a humble heart that the Sage completes his daily task. Selfless in the nature, the man of character, the Sage does nothing for himself. Everything he does is for others, after all for the Sage, Tao provides all he needs. What more can he ask? Is there anything he could ask of people or of himself that Tao has not already taken care of?

 

Back to Chapter 1

On to Chapter 3

Categories: Ancient Classics, Character Development, Leadership, philosophy, Spirituality, Tao Te Ching, Taoism | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tao Te Ching Chapter 1

The way that can be walked,

Is not the Eternal Way.

The name that can be named,

Is not the Eternal Name.

Tao is both Named and Nameless,

As Nameless, it is the hidden origin of all things,

As Named, it is the mother of of all things.

A mind free from Desire,

Can see the essence, the mystery of Tao,

A mind full of Desire,

Can see only the mere physical forms of this world.

The essence of Tao and the physical world seem different,

But in truth they are one and the same thing.

The only difference between them is in what we call them.

How deep and profound is this unity, how great!

It is the truth beyond truth,

The secret of all secrets,

The gate to the heart of everything. Continue reading

Categories: Ancient Classics, Character Development, Leadership, philosophy, Tao Te Ching, Taoism | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

5 Practical Lessons I learned about Travel from Video Games.

Like many of my generation, much of my formative years were spent playing video games such as the epic series Final Fantasy, the space odyssey of Star Ocean, the legendary Tales of series, and many, many more. Some of my peers and elders would say that my time with these beloved gaming treasures was time wasted, but I disagree. Plenty of time honored and useful life lessons and basic travel fundamentals have been passed on to a younger generation through the medium of video games. I present for you here 5 practical travel lessons I learned from video games.

1 Talk to Everyone, twice.

It is the most basic of all advice that can be given to gamers. Talk to everyone and then talk to Continue reading

Categories: Character Development, Gaming, Travel, Vagabonding, Video Games | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Overcoming The Fear 3: Whats the worst that can happen?

In the last article we discussed how fear arises, where it comes from, and how to begin asking questions of it. We also learned how to counter our fears by questioning our questions and doubting our doubts. In this article we will discover two means of looking at fear in such a way that even if your fears are valid, when seeing them in this light, they are completely disarmed.

So far we’ve learned to question our fears. When fear says, “What if something bad happens?” Continue reading

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Fear, philosophy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tao Te Ching Interpretation: Preface

This is the beginning of a series of articles that address one of history’s timeless classics, The Tao Te Ching. Roughly translated The Classic of The Way and its Power, or The book of The Way and Virtue, an interpretation of the book’s meaning is almost as difficult to grasp as its history is to tell. The Tao Te Ching was definitely written no earlier than the 6th century BCE and no later than the 4th century BCE.

Legend has it that the author, a man named Lao-Tzu which translates to Old Boy or Ancient Continue reading

Categories: Ancient Classics, Character Development, Leadership, philosophy, Tao Te Ching, Taoism | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day 12/6/11

“Not only will you die, but the sun will eventually burn out, thus destroying any legacy that you left behind, and any “point” that there was to your life whatsoever. “

Don’t get so worked up about ‘meaning’ in your life. There is no meaning beyond personal meaning. The things you do won’t matter in the long run. A ‘great’ man may change some laws, or invent some cure, and his legend and the usefulness of what he did may last for 1000 years, but there will come a day when no one remembers him, or when the thing he did is no longer needed, or when the sun goes dim and everything ends. The only purpose I can see life having is character development and spiritual development and only on the basis that life continues after the body dies.

I figure it this way, either one of a few things happens. A: You go to a place to be for eternity, Heaven, Hell, The Summer Land, Valhalla and what not. B: Reincarnation. C: Nothing happens. Or D: Something entirely different happens.

If A happens then what you do in life and who your are is important and you should live by the rules of your cultures particular religion. If B happens then your character definitely matters as how your character and spirit evolves in this life will determine what you become in the next. If C happens then it doesn matter anyway and you should do whatever the hell you want. If D happens then I’d like to think that your mind and character are i,mportant as they are the only things that could possibly go with you.

Money can’t go, no cars and clothes. Skills, personality, spiritual wisdom, and memories are about the only thing I can see surviving ‘death’ as we currently understand it. Therefore, no matter what happens in life, the development of my character, mental/ emotional/ intuitive faculties, and the cultivation of my Will must be paramout.

Categories: Character Development, philosophy, Spirituality | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming The Fear Part 2: The First Strategy and Tactic.

In the last article, we very briefly discussed fear, what it does and how it works. In this article, we’ll talk about why you should want to be fearless, that is without fear, the benefits of being so, and some general methods of overcoming fear.

Why should you want to overcome fear? Well, let me ask you another question, are you happy? Are you living the life you want? If your answer is anything other than “yes my life is friggen fantastic” then you have probably have some changes you’d like to make. Perhaps you’d like to go travel as we’ve been discussing, but maybe your goals are more career orientated. Would you like to open up that business you’ve been talking about? Maybe you’re looking for Mr. /Mrs. Right. Whatever your goals are, it will undoubtedly involve risk, and risk that you’re averse to taking else you would not continue reading this. The key to getting over that aversion and taking action toward those goals lies in the art of overcoming fear, of breaking those chains that hold you back.

Let us dive right in with a quote from William Shakespeare,

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

Couldn’t have said it better Bill. The most important reason to overcome your fear is the sheer number of opportunities you’ll have once you stop shying away from them and start attempting to accomplish them.

Now, our next question must be how can we fight our fears and get moving in a positive direction in life? Well, there are a variety of methods to combat fear, and generally the more radical the more effective. But before we train in fear fighting tactics, we first must learn a fear busting strategy.

Real quick, what is the difference between a Strategy and a Tactic? It is an important question because the two are quite different. The best way I ever heard it put is, “Strategies are those things you THINK about, the things you keep in mind as you fight. Strategies are acquired by asking questions and analyzing information. Tactics are those things that you actually DO, the methods you employ in the fight. Tactics are the actions required to make a particular strategy successful and are usually naturally derived from the strategy itself. Tactics are refined and perfected over time by practice, failure, and a kind of trial by error approach.”

In other words, we’re going to learn the theory before the practice. This will bring us to-

Fear Busting Strategy #1. Know your enemy.

It is important that we study fear and how it operates before we face it in battle or we’re just asking to be caught off guard when it throws something unknown at us. In order to analyze our enemy we must first ask questions to acquire information to analyze. So the first strategy must be this: Ask general questions about Fear itself. Questions like, “Where does fear come from? What causes it and can we cut it off at the source, potentially avoiding a fight altogether?

So let’s ask those questions… Where does fear come from? Fear is born from the avoidance of pain. Now, I’d like to take the time to prove this to you logically. Pain itself is an interesting phenomenon because its sole purpose is to end itself as fast as it can and prevent itself from reoccurring in the future. It does this, by wielding Fear as a tool. Think about it. Let us take a very basic painful situation such as burning yourself on the stove. Touching the hot stove causes Pain. Pain’s purpose is to end itself. Thus when you feel Pain, you immediately remove your hand from the burner. The immediate cause of Pain ends. The burns may last, but the initial cause has been stopped. Pain would like to prevent itself from occurring in this fashion in the future, and so the Fear of hot stoves begins. Now, every time you get near a stove you are a little uneasy because you remember what happened last time. It doesn’t mean it will happen, but as soon as the possibility of remembered Pain presents itself, you will feel Fear as a protective reaction.

What can we extrapolate from this about the workings of Fear? Let’s break it down. Fear is the avoidance of Pain with regard to the possibility that a remembered Pain can happen again. Is this true? Let’s see. At home you rant and rave about how you deserve a raise and tomorrow you’re gonna march into your bosses office and demand what’s rightfully yours. Your boss denied you last time saying that the budgets had been slashed and that your department may be downsized ‘considerably’. In your living room you are strong and confident and talk a big game. You may even hold on to that strength as you swagger through the front door of your firm, but as soon as you see your boss’s door or catch sight of him in the building your guts jump up in your throat and you find yourself wondering where you can cut costs in your household budget.

What happened? Why did you not speak to your boss? You were afraid. Why? You remember what happened last time and your boss seemed to have implied that you may find yourself out of work if you press the issue. So when it came time to put up or shut up, you allowed your Fear of what negatively might happen to shut you up to avoid the Pain of maybe being out of work.

There’s a lot of Fear, Pain, and unsubstantiated views of the future in that line of logic. In this case you were afraid of what might happen. No one knew for sure what would come about by approaching your boss, but you ‘feared’ that your boss might ‘downsize your department’ (read: fire you) if you didn’t settle for what you had. So you didn’t broach the subject, you just collected your paycheck went home defeated and nursed a beer while your wife nursed your bruised ego.

But see; now we know. (And knowing is half the battle G.I. Joe.) Now we understand what happened; what keeps happening every time we try to do this. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that a similar pattern would emerge if we looked at the woman who was too shy to talk to the cute guy (who unbeknownst to her wishes she would talk to him), or the traveler that can’t seem to put in his two weeks, or the business man who is afraid to invest in a product that he already knows is the next 800 lbs. gorilla in his market.

Once again, to paraphrase ole’ Bill Shakespeare, ‘Your doubts were traitors, and made you lose the good you might have won, by fearing to try in the first place.’

So if learning about fear is our first strategy, what should we actually DO when we discover that our fear is scaring us out of opportunity? Well, we employ-

Fear Fighting Tactic #1: Question your doubt.

When fear says, “What if something bad happens?” You must respond, “Well, what if something good happens?”

In the face of fear it is important to be militantly optimistic or else your doubts will weaken your resolve. Question your questions when they arise and follow the train of questions logically, to their natural end. “What if something bad happens?”

“What if something good happens?”

“What if you get mugged and robbed and end up homeless?”

“What if I don’t and instead I have an incredible experience and make new friends for life?”

“What if your boss fires you?”

“What if he appreciates my daring in the face of uncertainty and gives me the raise and a new position to boot because of my courage?”

“What if my wife leaves me for bringing up a sensitive subject?”

“What if she’s feeling the same way about this tension that we both know is there, and will be relieved to finally resolve the issue?”

As you question your questions with positive things that are as equally likely to happen as the negative things, your worry will begin to dissipate and you will instead start to see the possibilities hidden between the two extremes. ‘Well maybe that bad thing could happen, but this other good thing is also likely.’

So the next time you feel fear creeping up, try implementing these techniques and see if your life doesn’t get a little easier. In the next article we’ll discuss following our fears to logical extremes.

Back to Article 1

 On to Article 3

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Fear, philosophy, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Live Your Creed.

Heard this from a friend. Enjoy.

LIVE YOUR CREED

I’d rather see a sermon,

Than hear one any day,

I’d rather one walk with me,

Than just to show the way.

The eye is a better pupil,

And more willing than the ear,

Advice may be misleading,

But examples are always clear.

And the very best of leaders,

Are the ones who live their creed.

To see good put to action,

Is what everybody needs.

I can so learn to do it,

If you let me see it done,

I can watch your hand in motion,

But your tongue to fast may run.

And the lectures you deliver,

May be very fine and true,

But I’d rather get my lesson,

By observing what you do.

For I may misunderstand you,

And the fine advice you give,

But theres no misunderstanding,

How you act and how you live.

Categories: Character Development, Leadership, philosophy, Poetry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.