Frustration Is A Necessary Part Of The Journey

frustration

Have you ever embarked on a process of self-improvement, yet found yourself frustrated again and again? When you embark on such a journey, it is very easy to come to obstacles on the way. These obstacles can be very frustrating and many times are the primary reason that people abandon their path to self-improvement.

Negative self-talk sets in:

Damn, how come I am so small compared to that guy?

I have been coming here for so long and this is all that I have been able to achieve in that time?

I should never have started going to the gym in the first place. I suck and will never improve.

I can’t seem to be able to learn the technique!!

How does he do that and how come I can’t do it?

I got injured again!

I bet you have experienced some of these feelings when going to the gym. I sure have.

You should know that you are not alone and almost everyone has felt those feelings at least at one point. You see that big guy in the corner? Yeah he probably too had the same feelings you are feeling right now. He too questioned himself.

When something is not going according to plan or if you are comparing yourself to others, there will always be frustrating moments. There will always be something that will prevent you from being perfect. There will always be someone who will be bigger or stronger than you.
Read More

Who Were The Roman Gladiators?

The gladiators

It’s a hot day. Two men are waiting at the gates of the arena dressed in battle gear, ready for their fight to start. Sweat is flowing down their cheeks and their breathing is becoming heavy. This might be their last day alive.

Yet these men are professionals. Training has prepared them for this day and they know what needs to be done. They stand proud and determined, wiping all doubts from their mind and instead refocusing their thoughts on the task ahead.

Each one has the same thought flowing through his mind. No, this will not be his last day. He will go on to score a huge victory and be celebrated by the crowds, going on to become a real sports superstar. Each one of them knows that they are the best, yet there can be only one winner. One of these will leave the arena a victor, while the other one will be the defeated…

Each one of them will do everything in his power in order to remain the one standing up, to be the victor. There is no other way. They are Roman gladiators and that is their way of life.

Gladiatorial fights were all the rage in Ancient Rome. They were the equivalent of today’s Super Bowl in magnitude and popularity, with one huge exception: some of the contestants would probably not make it through the day alive.

512px-Thraex_01

Ancient Rome was a martial culture and any type of sport where the contestants aren’t risking their lives was a pussy sport. That’s why athletics, which were very popular in the Ancient Greek city states, never became very popular in Rome. The Ancient Romans thought athletics were not something real men should compete in, because there was no risk in them. They might use similar methods of training originally developed for athletics to train, but athletics were for the pussies, real men wanted to see sweat and blood and feel death knocking at the door.

Many gladiators started off as lowly slaves, purchased on the market or captured in war, but went on to rise to become veritable superstars with fans cheering their name and women throwing themselves at them. They went on to enjoy lavish lifestyles just like the sports superstars of today.

However for the majority of gladiators this was not the case. Many of them died during their fight in the arena or suffered crippling injuries and lived out the rest of their lives as cripples. Gladiatorial fights were high risk, high reward contests.

Reflections on the role and popularity of gladiatorial fights in Roman society

Gladiatorial fights were the epitomy of Ancient Roman society. They demonstrated the ideal values that were held dear: valor, strength, bravery, cunning, discipline and above all risk. These were the individual traits valued in what was a very martial society. Rome was built by war and martial values were what was supposed to define Roman society.

The gladiatorial games exploded in popularity, when Rome had grown very far beyond its original borders. The very dominance of Rome in the ancient world at that time was the instigator for the growth in popularity of gladiators. Originally Rome was a small city-state and all male citizens were required to protect it. So in times of need basically all males had to go on military duty. During these times, most male Roman citizens experienced combat first hand.

However as Rome grew and conquered lands far and wide, less and less of its inhabitants directly participated in war. The empire of Rome also brought in more and more new subjects and these needed to be exposed to Roman culture and in that way “romanized”.

It is at exactly this time, when we see the importance and popularity of gladiatorial games grow and expand into all parts of the lands that Rome brought under its control. The games were sports, spectator sports, but they served not only as entertainment, very bloody entertainment, but as a way to remind the masses of their martial spirit and the original values of Rome.
Read More

Suffer Now And Live The Rest Of Your Life As A Champion – Success Tips From Muhammad Ali

I remember a while back I watched the movie “Ali” with Will Smith in the title role of Muhammad Ali. It was a powerful movie, especially since it was based on the true life story of one of the most dominating boxers who ever lived.

I had known about Muhammad Ali even before, but the movie made me want to dig deeper into his life story, how he became who he became. The “Rumble in the Jungle” and the “Thrilla in Manila” are the stuff of legend and have entered the mainstream, however there was an entire journey that preceded those two fights, one that is often not talked about.

There was a story of how a skinny, black kid rose to become arguably one of the best boxers ever. He wasn’t always a guy who dominated over everyone. In fact, the entire path to becoming who he would later become, started off when his bike was stolen.

Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Clay into a middle-class black family. He grew up in a nurturing home, so his upbringing was not one of living in a gutter, but instead that of supportive parents. One day, him and his friend took the new expensive bikes that they had just gotten to a convention in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. They parked their bikes and walked around, but when they got back they found that their bikes had been stolen.

A young Cassius Clay (12 at the time) was led fuming to one of the police officers in attendance, where he told the police officer that he would “whup” the guy who did this. The police officer responded that if he wanted to do that, he better learn to fight and offered to give him boxing lessons.

That was the start of Muhammad Ali’s boxing career. The police officer turned out to be Joe E. Martin, a boxing coach, who became his first boxing coach and taught him how to box. The little boy grew up to be a big man, and as Cassius Clay, went on to dominate the amateur ranks and win the gold medal at the Summer Olympics.

Cassius Clay would later change his name to Muhammad Ali and become the most dominant boxer of his era. He was also a polarizing figure, one who was suspended from boxing for 4 years during his prime, but came back after that long hiatus stronger than ever.

Muhammad Ali was driven right from the start to succeed. He was determined to become the best there ever was. In a later interview, Christine Martin, the widow of Joe E. Martin, gave an insight into the early workings of the kid who would go on to become Muhammad Ali:

Cassius was a very easy-to-get-along-with fellow. Very easy to handle. Very polite. Whatever you asked him to do, that’s what he’d do. His mother, that’s why. She was a wonderful person. On trips, most of the boys were out looking around, seeing what they could get into, whistling at pretty girls. But Cassius didn’t believe in that. He carried his Bible everywhere he went, and while the other boys were out looking around, he was sitting and reading his Bible.

He was focused right from the start. While other kids would be fooling around, he knew to stay away from distractions and work hard.

The story of how someone becomes a champion is always fascinating and one that everyone can learn from. You will probably not become the greatest boxer that ever lived, but you can apply the same types of principles that champions use in order to become a champion at whatever you want to accomplish. Let the words of Muhammad Ali serve as motivation and inspiration.

——–
On working hard:

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.‘” Muhammad Ali

In order to become a champion you need to work hard. If you want to accomplish something, you need to work for it. Stuff in life usually doesn’t come free, but instead only after having taken a long, winding road full of obstacles. In order to succeed you need to be prepared to work hard and to suffer through long hours of pain. However the light at the end of the tunnel will make it all worth it.

On taking risks:

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Muhammad Ali

If you want to accomplish something in life you need to take a risk. Without taking risks, you will never be able to succeed. So take the plunge. Take a risk.

Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.” Muhammad Ali

Everything in life is a risk. You gotta get luck on your side. You can never be sure about anything. Even if you are taking the safe road and don’t think anything can happen, there are always potential dangers and obstacles lurking somewhere. You just have to have faith that nothing will happen to you and if something does happen, then have the courage to overcome it.
Read More

Even If Your Original Dreams Don’t Work Out, You Should Continue On Dreaming

Watching the happy faces of the German players after they had won the World Cup, I thought back to my childhood. Once I had dreams of being in their place, enjoying the emotions that they had been experiencing. I too had wanted to be a World Champion, to score the winning goal and to hold up the Cup for all the world to see.

Yet here I am, sitting at home, watching the television and realizing that most of the players on the field are younger than me. The dreams that I had in childhood never came to fruition. I think about it and imagine how close I had been. As a kid, I had been playing with similar types of players, outrunning them, outdribbling them, outplaying them… Even now, I have some basic prerequisites, which are better than theirs. I can confidently say that I am faster and stronger than most of the players that are on that field in Brazil. Yet here I am and they are there.

How did this happen? Growing up, we had different values in the family. Sport was seen as a good way to complement your life, not live it. The primary focus in our family was always given to studying. I played a lot of sports (especially focusing on basketball and track), but the primary goal was always seen as being good in academics.

I kind of regret some of the choices I had made in the past, but you cannot go back now. We can only move forward. I also had a lot of other hopes, dreams and goals, besides sports, that did not work out. I can’t do anything about that now. I can only move forward.

So I form new goals, ones based on the current circumstances. There are little goals, which are achievable with just a little effort, and there are some secret dreams that will require a lot of hard work and luck.

Don’t fret too much about the past. What is gone is gone and cannot come back. Instead focus on the now and the future. Where are you now and where do you want to be in the future?

These dreams can still come true. The good thing is that now you have a higher probability of your dreams coming true. You have a lifetime of learning behind you. You live and learn. Now you can look at what types of dreams you had, and why they did not come true.

You are wiser now and can prevent these mistakes from happening. That is why you are closer to achieving the dreams that you make now. Think about where you want to be. Imagine your secret dreams. Now imagine the path you need to take to achieve them.

Continue on dreaming, that is what life is about. Hope dies last and you should continue on holding on to your dreams until they come true.
Read More

Who Do You Want To Be?

marcus aurelius, philosopher king, warrior, statue, horseman, Roman Emperor

marcus aurelius, philosopher king, warrior, statue, horseman, Roman Emperor

If you could be perfect, who would you be? Answering this rhetorical question can tell you a lot about yourself, your values and your goals. Just imagine in an ideal situation, how would you want to look like, what would you want to know, how would you like to behave?

I started this blog in order to share tips and things that I learned on gaining weight and bulking up, but on the way, I discovered that it’s more than that. There is a reason why people want to gain weight and muscles. It’s just a piece of a bigger part.

You need to know this bigger part in order to keep yourself motivated, even in such things as gaining weight. There is a reason why skinny people want to look bigger. For example they want to be respected or just be able to do things that they are not able to do in their skinny frames. They want to be big in order to do something else.

So getting big is just a subset of something bigger. It’s a part of self-development and growing yourself inside and out. That’s why I expanded this blog to cover other topics. You not only grow big on the outside, but the inside as well.

It’s actually a two way process. Knowing other things, gives you bigger self worth as a person, which then keeps you driven in areas such as fitness. Getting bigger physically, gives you more confidence and spills over to other areas of your life, which then means you are successful in those areas as well.

These things are interlinked in many ways and when being treated together, they reinforce the positive benefits you get from each individual area of your life. Human beings are more than a sum of their parts. The different areas of your life create a unique you.

We sometimes lose this overall perspective in the modern world. In order to survive, people have to become more and more specialized. Generalists are not valued anymore, only specialists are. In today’s world, people specialize more and more in very niche areas. That’s where the money is.

In the old days, people used to be much more well-rounded, both physically and mentally. Being well-rounded was actually encouraged. The most successful people were philosophers, athletes and warriors, all in one.

The world has changed over the years. We have discovered new things, the means of getting from one part of the globe to the other has changed and gotten exponentially faster. The ordinary person cannot keep up with all the knowledge that is being created. So specialization is the key to getting ahead now. However I believe that also having the generalist perspective on top of that, is still something important and to be valued.

In order to truly enjoy the wonderful benefits of this world, people should strive to be more well-rounded. You still need be a specialist in at least one area, because that’s just the reality of this world, but having a breadth of knowledge in other areas, and also having a healthy body, can only make you stronger and happier.
Read More

You Are The Master Of Your Fate

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.


Read More

Have The Gym Become Your Sanctuary

sanctuary, clear your head, meditation, gain weight

We all need a sanctuary, somewhere where we can go and forget about the day’s problems and refocus our minds. Our lives are filled full of stress, broken dreams and daily failures. We need a place where we can just be, where all that counts is your own willpower and no one else determines your fate, but you.

The gym is the perfect place for that. What you do at the gym is determined by you and you alone. There is no one beating you over the head with reports, no one arguing with you, no one rejecting your kind words. You are there, in your own litle world, where everything you do and everything you achieve is only dependent on you and the effort you are willing to put in.

Whenever you are feeling down, you should go to your sanctuary and forget about everything. The gym allows you to focus on one goal, without any other distractions, without any naysayers and haters keeping you down. This is where your own willpower and your own inner strength can shine.

No one can take away the effort that you put in the gym and with hard work you will see results. These results are something you can be proud of. These results can help carry you over in other areas of life, where unfortunately you are not the master of your own fate and depend on what others think of you.

The world is a tough place and people can be despicable sometimes, so a sanctuary, somewhere where you only depend on yourself, is a must for anyone trying to survive and keep sane. The gym allows you to take pride in your own work and your own efforts. This pride can strengthen you in other areas of your own life.

In the gym you create confidence. You look at yourself in the mirror and can confidently say: “I am not such a bad guy. I have achieved something here and I can be proud of this achievement.” You create goals for yourself and it is you and only you who determines your progress.

There is no one to put you down, to make you feel like a loser. In the gym you are a winner. You have achieved something that the vast majority of the population cannot do. You have come and you have conquered.
Read More

Personality Types: Why Are You The Way You Are? Part 1

The way we behave and communicate is determined by our mental filters. Each human responds to external stimuli differently and that makes us who we are. This has a great effect on what types of preferences we have, how we work, how we talk and how we get motivated. Since each human is unique, they also need a personalized strategy in order to succeed in life.

Before you embark on setting out your own strategy for success in life, you should first understand who you are, why you function the way you do and why you make the choices that you make. This will be the basis. You should then try to come up with what you want to achieve in life and where you want to be in the future. After you have these two points, then you need to link them and perform a gap analysis, looking at what is missing right now and what is preventing you from achieving your long-term vision.

There are different sets of tools that can help you do this. One set of tools comes from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a branch of psychology developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s in the US. They based their studies of human behavior on a hypothesis of a connection between the neurological processes of the brain, language and behavioral patterns that were learned through experience. These in their opinion are not set, but can be changed in order to achieve the things that you want to achieve in life.

The different tools that come out of NLP can not only be used to analyze yourself, but can also be used to analyze the people around you and help you understand them and communicate better with them.

One way of analyzing yourself and your behaviors is through the analysis of meta-programs. Meta-programs are mental processes that guide and direct other mental processes (hence the word “meta”). These meta-programs are one of the filters that determine how we process information, behave and communicate. Other filters include values, beliefs, attitudes,decisions and memories.

These mental filters then affect how we take in information through our senses and then delete, distort and generalize things. In this post I will focus on explaining what are meta-programs and how they work. I will try to get into the other filters in some later posts.

Meta-programs have a huge impact on how you do things and how you respond to things. They impact and determine your habits, motivation, perseverance, as well as many outside factors, such as your opinion of others.

Meta-programs filter our perception. They filter perception without regard to the specific content. They can be used in two basic ways: to guide personal change, and also in order to communicate with others. By learning about meta-programs you can better understand yourself, your behavior, as well as the behavior of others. They can also be used to predict the behavior and actions of yourself, as well as of the people around you.

Meta-programs determine how we behave, but they can also be changed. So in no way are they static. Also as they depend on the context, you can use one meta-program in one context, while using its opposite in another context. Each person is a combination of these meta-programs and so a person’s behavior and communication is usually not dependent on a single meta-program, but instead on a combination of them.

The premise that these meta-programs are not static, but can in fact be changed is very good news. Whenever you have a problem and ask for advice on how to solve it, you often hear people advise you: “just be yourself”. That is often not very good advice. If you keep on being yourself, then you will continue on having that problem. That is because some of the internal frames that we have, can prevent us from achieving what we want to achieve.

Instead the way you should move forward, is to see what you want to change and change it. You can use the concept of meta-programs in order to do that. You can change your own meta-programs. If you find that one of your internal meta-programs is limiting you in some way, you can adopt a course of action to change that meta-program. However first you need to find out which meta-programs are the ones driving you.

There are several main meta-programs (some people have come up with lists of over 60 or more meta-programs):

1) toward or away
2) options or procedures
3) in-time or through-time or between-time
4) passive or active
5) internal or external frame of reference
6) optimist or pessimist
7) centered on yourself or centered on others
8) specific or global
9) perception (emotion) or logic
10) sameness or differences
11) independent or cooperative
12) introvert or extrovert

Meta-programs are at the origin of your motivation and also your internal mental processes. People are combinations of different meta-programs, with very few people falling on the extremes of the spectrum. Keep in mind that there are no good or bad schemas of meta-programs, so the only way to judge the utility of the schema is to base it on your particular circumstances and the context.
Read More

Keep On Fighting And Never Give Up

superhero life, gain weight, get superpowers

superhero life, gain weight, get superpowers

Unfortunately life sometimes throws curve balls at us. Some people are just born lucky, while others have to struggle in order to get somewhere. We don’t all have the same starting line, but that does not mean that those that weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, won’t be able to achieve something. At least that is my hope. Even through the numerous curve balls that have been thrown at me throughout my life, I keep on believing. I keep on fighting and struggling.

Hope dies last and if you find yourself in a tough situation, don’t give up hope. You lose only if your mind breaks. You should never keep your mind away from your ultimate goal: happiness. We all have different things that make us happy and circumstances sometimes force us to redefine them, but happiness is something that we all strive for.

The road towards this ultimate goal is not easy. It oftentimes is winding and full of obstacles. Sometimes circumstances force you to fall off the road and go back to the beginning. If this happens, you shouldn’t say “f#*k this” and give up, but instead once again set off on the road you fell off from.
Read More

Copyright Renaissance Man Journal 2017
Tech Nerd theme designed by FixedWidget
%d bloggers like this: