Going To Thailand To Train Muay Thai For A Month

Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of becoming a karate master. One of my favorite movies growing up was the “Karate Kid” and I used to watch that film over and over and over again.

Unfortunately I grew up and no part of that dream came true. No karate tournaments, no wild motorbike chases, no awesome death touch. Well, now I will make at least a small part of that dream a reality.

Yes, at times I did train and tae kwon do and did get some colored belts, but at no time was I serious. Now I will change that.

I booked a flight to Thailand for a month and will do intensive training at one of the muay thai camps in the country. I am a complete beginner in the fighting art, but hopefully after a month of intense effort, I will learn at least the basics.

I was planning to do this for a long time now, but kept postponing it. I am not getting younger though and so finally I said “fuck it” and booked the trip.
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Your Own Hero’s Journey – How To Grow As A Person

find hero in you

You only have one life to live and you better make the most of it. If you are like most people, then you probably didn’t get too many breaks in life and weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

Most people will however continue on living their own hum drum lives, never rising above their own reality. You don’t have to.

The good news is that most heroes were born ordinary as well. Joseph Campbell noticed that most hero journeys start off in the ordinary world, where the future hero is living an ordinary life. Then one day things change and they begin creating their own legend.

If you want to get on a path to a better life, you need to heed the call of adventure and take the first step on that journey.

Whether it’s your entire life’s journey or a small chapter in your life, you need to realize that it’s all up to you. You have the power to create your own monomyth.

I don’t want to waste my time on this planet. I don’t want to live an ordinary life. For years I have been refusing the call to adventure. One of my biggest drawbacks was a quitter mentality.

I am sure you are the same way. You want your life to have meaning, a purpose, to stand for something. You want to experience life to the fullest and achieve great things.

The Choice: Quit or Push Through

I have already described how I was a top sprinter in high school and how one of my final runs turned from victory to a defeat. Yet the defeat wasn’t due to someone beating me, it was due to the fact that I quit. I felt the pain of running and I slowed down. I was leading and let the guy behind me overtake. He mustered his last reserve of strength and collapsed at the finish line. I didn’t. He won, I came in second.

That is something that keeps haunting me. The scary thing is that this wasn’t a one-off thing, but was representative of my inner mindset at the time. I was willing to work hard and try to be the best, but at critical junctures, I would quit. I was a quitter. When the going got too tough, I gave up.

Years later, I decided to change all that. I realized that life was passing me by and I was running out of the one thing that is the most precious commodity for all of us: time.

What set me on the path to adventure was the fact that I signed up for a trip to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Climbing mountains is something that I have never done and it’s hard. Going up in altitude is not easy and it gets harder the higher up you get. You cannot be a quitter if you want to get to the top of a mountain.
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Why Most People In The Modern World Suck

This weekend I somehow ended up at this weird party playing really strange music. Whenever I looked around, I saw people with spaced out expressions, meaning they were on drugs, bobbing up and down doing strange movements…

The first thing that popped into my head is “why“, as in “why do people do this to themselves?” Well, actually that was the second question. The first question was: “WTF am I doing here?” 🙂

One of my friends even got asked by some chick whether he knew where to get “some coke”. And by coke she didn’t mean Coca Cola.

Unfortunately, many people in the developed world have fucked up priorities and don’t know what to do with themselves. What’s worse, they think they are “cool” for doing it.

Look at me, I am so high!”

I just wanna get drunk!

Let’s go sniff some coke!

During the summer, I was traveling in Thailand and made it to the island of Koh Phangan. I ended up meeting one Dutch guy whose sole purpose for traveling was to get high. His entire time in Thailand, he spent smoking weed and chasing some shady characters to get ecstasy and cocaine…

I don’t even wanna know what type of effects these fucked up combinations of drugs can have on your body, but whatever…it’s his body. What angers me is the fact that all these people don’t realize what type of a disastrous effect their attitude has on entire communities of people in different parts of the world.

Thousands of innocent people die every year, so that some of these useless tools could get their smoke up. Entire communities of people are uprooted, families slaughtered or living in fear, just so that some unemployed druggie or failed investment banker can get their daily fix.

To put this in perspective:

Last week, the Mexican government released new data showing that between 2007 and 2014 — a period that accounts for some of the bloodiest years of the nation’s war against the drug cartels — more than 164,000 people were victims of homicide.

Much of these deaths are due to the rising cycle of violence brought on by Mexico’s drug cartels.

Thousands of innocent people were among the victims. Some of these deaths have been hugely brutal.

Why all this violence? Because some overprivileged kids want to get fucked up…

That’s not saying that all this violence is due to drugs. There would still be violence in Mexico without them, but it would be much lower.

Billions of dollars are spent to fight the “War on Drugs” every year. And you know what the main problem is: all the fucked up kids (and retarded adults) buying those drugs.

As someone said: “without demand, there would be no supply.
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How To Create One Little Tool That Will Greatly Increase Your Productivity

Today I will show you how to make one little tool that can greatly increase your productivity. Not only can this tool help you achieve your goals more efficiently, but it can also increase your day to day effectiveness and time management.

So what is this amazing tool? It’s actually a very simple thing called the task board. If you have read my post on agile self-development, then you probably know what it is.

It’s a board that you use in order to track the tasks that you have to do that day. To create a simple task board, you can take any blank space and just divide it into 3 columns: To Do, Doing, Done.

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You can do this with anything: a sticky board, a piece of paper or a spreadsheet on the computer.

The task board is very easy to use. You take some sticky notes (or anything that looks similar) and then stick them into the appropriate column depending on at what stage of the task you are. If you still have to accomplish that task, then you put it into the To Do column, if you are working on the task at that moment, you put it in the Doing column and if you have finished it, then you put it into the Done column.

All this is very simple, but very powerful at the same time. Just being able to track all the things that you have to accomplish for the day has a boosting effect on your productivity.

If you want, you can add a further column before the To Do column to keep track of all the tasks that you have to accomplish that month. This will help you get a perspective on what is required of you and will help you out if you decide to implement further elements from the agile system of self-development that I described before.

If you want, you can further subdivide this column into a section called goals and a section called chores.

The section on goals would include any tasks that you are working on as part of a project, whether it is fitness and self-improvement goals or that wonderful new product that you want to pump out and dazzle the world with. It includes any type of activity that requires the agile approach and a creative output.

The section on chores would include any task that you simply have to do, but which are not creative. This would include things like paying the bills, making that phone call or going grocery shopping. This way you know what things you need to get out of the way quickly, so that you can concentrate on the more important things listed in the goals section.

I have been experimenting with this system a bit and it’s amazing how effective and helpful it is. You accomplish so much more when you have a visual representation of the things that you need to do that day in front of you.

Try it! I am sure it will help you out.
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How A Contrarian Idea Gains Traction: The Incredible Story Of James Hutton

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It is 1785. A young man is hurrying on the streets of Edinburgh, a bit late for his work appointment. On his right-hand side, he has a magnificent view of Edinburgh Castle, perched high up on a rock.

He admires the view, but thinks nothing of how that rock atop which the Castle sits was created. As far as he is concerned, the Earth is 6 thousand years old. That is the common dogma of his age and not to be questioned.

Yet not far away, a slightly-built man close to entering his 6th decade of life, is working on a theory that contradicts all this “knowledge”. In time, it will change our whole understanding of this world and usher in a new era of science.

However in 1785, that new era is still far off.

The name of the slightly built old man is James Hutton. He was a polymath who tried his hand at many different things, but his life’s work was centered around rocks and geology. His passion was to go around and observe natural phenomenon, which led him to form some very original theories.

By 1785, he felt ready to share these theories with the world. Being a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a gathering of some of the finest minds of the 18th century, provided him with a natural place to do this.

On the 7th of March of that year, his friend Joseph Black read out a part of the theory and on the 7th of April, Hutton himself presented his theory. This was followed by another presentation on the 4th of July.

What he presented was met by utter disbelief and turned into hostile criticism. He was accused of going against the established order of things, of being an atheist, of lacking logic.

Hutton decided to go back and try to find further evidence for his assertions and to better defend his thesis. For the next few years, he travelled around Scotland, examining different rock formations, trying to find further proof for his theories.

In 1795, equipped with numerous examples to illustrate his points, Hutton published a huge book on geology. It met with little success.

Two years later, Hutton died without having his theory gain wider acceptance. In fact, it seemed that his opponents had won the day and his ideas were on their way to obscurity.

Yet today they form the fundamental basis of our own understanding of how our planet evolved. How is that possible? How did ideas that were almost stamped out, succeed in gaining dominance? And how come Hutton himself wasn’t able to do it?
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Beware Of Advice: What Can You Really Learn From Successful People?

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Successful people are often used as examples for others. The message that you often hear is that if you do things like them, you too can become successful. Follow what they do, act like them and riches beyond your wildest imagination will come knocking at your door.

However one of the things that I have been thinking about lately is what lessons can you really learn from these types of cases. Are there relevant things that you can pick out and use them as blueprints for your life or is this just a case of survivor bias coming into play?

This question goes to the heart of self-improvement and any type of advice, in different kinds of fields (business, life, fitness).

It’s very hard to differentiate sometimes. I too have often used examples of successful people in order to illustrate some point or lesson. On the other hand, I have also said that you need to take everything with a grain of salt and warned against taking any type of advice without thinking whether it applies to you and your circumstances.

There are many people who try to present themselves as gurus or authorities and convince people to do what they are saying. Many of these people don’t do it to help others, but instead just to line their own pockets or to increase their influence. Sometimes this advice can be downright dangerous.

Not everyone is out to get you though and some people do offer tips in order to genuinely help others. However even this has its own problems. Most successful people downplay the influence of luck and much of this advice does not take into account randomness, survivor bias or hindsight bias.

David McRaney (author of “You Are Not So Smart”) describes the magical, almost mystical pull of survivor bias in this way:

Survivorship bias pulls you toward bestselling diet gurus, celebrity CEOs, and superstar athletes. It’s an unavoidable tick, the desire to deconstruct success like a thieving magpie and pull away the shimmering bits. You look to the successful for clues about the hidden, about how to better live your life, about how you too can survive similar forces against which you too struggle.

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Hero’s Journey – The Quest To Become A Legend

When I was a kid, I was a big history buff. I read almost everything that I could find that had anything to do with history, especially ancient history. A big part of understanding a culture is through reading its myths and legends, and I devoured countless books describing the exploits of ancient heroes.

During those years, I read many stories and watched many movies, with some of my favorites usually being about an ordinary guy rising to greatness in a variety of ways. The ultimate story of this genre was Star Wars (the original trilogy), which I could watch over and over again, never getting enough. The films seemed like the modern version of an ancient tale.

Over time I began noticing patterns in all these different stories. These different tales of heroes seemed to have some common trends. Even stories coming from cultures separated by thousands of kilometers and thousands of years, still shared similar storylines and moral themes.

This finally clicked together when I ran across a book written by Joseph Campbell called “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

Having gone through countless myths and legends, Campbell realized that there is a certain pattern inherent in all of them. The hero of the story has to go through a series of steps in order to achieve whatever he set out to achieve and to accomplish his quest.

Campbell called this the monomyth or hero’s journey. This description served to inspire several authors and film-makers of modern times. The reason why Star Wars seems to follow the monomyth so closely is because George Lucas was one of the guys inspired by the book.

“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” is not the first work to come to these conclusions, but it has certainly proven to be the most influential in the United States. For example, in the former Soviet Union, this work was preceded by the ideas of Vladimir Propp, who studied Russian folktales and broke them down into several elements.

The hero’s journey is divided into several stages through which an ordinary man turns into a hero. Let this serve you as a manual for your journey, your own Hero’s Guide To Succeeding In Life:
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How To Get Lucky – A Step By Step Description Of How To Bring Luck To Your Side

coin flip

What if I told you that there is one secret trick that you can use in order to bring luck to your side. It’s not something too hard to do. In fact, anyone can do it.

Derren Brown, famous British mentalist, is a master at this type of stuff and in one of his shows, demonstrated how to create a system to get lucky. He said that he could flip a coin into a bowl and have it land heads 10 times in a row and then proceeded on to do it. Watch the video below:

Do you want to know the secret of how he did it?

Well, there is nothing challenging about it. Once you read the next sentence, you will have a huge epiphany.
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The Normal Person Guide To Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

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As I have written previously, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the most rewarding experiences us average city slickers can do. However how do you go about it? What types of things do you need to do in order to make your expedition a success?

Luckily for the normal guys out there, this adventure is not out of reach of almost anyone. Unlike Mt. Everest or countless other mountains, you don’t have to be an advanced mountaineer to climb it.

In fact, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in the world that you can reach without the need of any climbing equipment. Basically it’s one long hike, with only a few rocky patches that you have to climb over.

How should I prepare?

While going up Mt. Kilimanjaro is not something super, super hard, you do need to be fit in order to do it. There are two important things that you need to get ready for.

1) You need to be prepared for long hikes in challenging terrain

If you do a lot of hiking on your free time, then you are set to go. However if you are a sit-on-your ass desk jockey, then you will need to spend some time to get your ass up to speed.

The first thing you need to do is to work on your stamina. Get your ass to the gym and start doing some cardio, whether on the treadmill, on a stepper, or on one of those static ski machine thingies. Or better yet alternate all of them!

You can also join some group classes where they do endurance work. One of the things I did to prepare was join a group of people who were doing cardio circuits. It’s a fun way to get in shape, but also meet some new people in the process.

The best way to prepare is to start going on actual hikes though. Start off slow and then gradually keep on building up, increasing the distance, varying the terrain and going higher and higher in altitude.

2) You need to be prepared for the altitude

And this is the key part of the preparation. No matter how fit you are, the altitude can get you. That’s why you need special preparation to address this issue.

If you are like most people, then you probably live at lower altitudes. In higher altitudes, there is lower pressure and less oxygen, which could create adverse effects in people who are not used to this. In extreme cases, this can even result in death.

The good news is that your body gradually adapts to higher altitudes. That’s why during the trip to Kilimanjaro, you spend several days hiking around the mountain, hiking high and then sleeping in lower altitudes. This gives your body time to adapt.

However, if you want to significantly lower your chance of your body breaking down while at Kilimanjaro, you should spend some time in higher altitudes before going there. That way, your body is already prepared.
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