I am currently sitting below two oak trees in the Drakensberg. I’ve just been Trout fishing under a double rainbow and the air is still very much fresh. It’s 7:35AM and I am the happiest man alive.
I sit here each morning and write, read and meditate. I have been doing so for just over 7 days and I am already loathing my return to civilization. The air here is so clean, each moment so intricate and clear. What a blessing.
As you can clearly see, my mind and heart are clearer than they have been for a few years and I really cannot emphasize how important a little time off can completely change your frame of reference on the world.
Being on holiday again has made me realize that luxury is the time it takes to enjoy life without being rushed. I can say the same for success. It only exists as a series of moments where you are engaged with the individuals you love. These moments are inescapable yet so many of us have forgotten to take the time to enjoy life and the small enterprises that give us joy.
I allude to the business of our minds and the constant bickering within. Personally speaking I am so obsessed with completing the tasks or goals that I set for myself that I am also simply, like you, constantly doing damage control. Not for 2015.
‘The peace and stillness that you seek cannot be found in the things so many others proclaim and flaunt over. Thats not to judge but simply to observe that many people are afraid of change, even more so than you. It is not necessary to always be the best man.
Should you seek solace and comfort I would remind you that it can be found anywhere and at any time. Perhaps the Coffee and food that you so enjoy could endear an even greater sense of peace if you took the time to enjoy them. The people whom you owe your trust should also be prioritized if your aim is truly to be free in heart and mind.
That moment between thoughts is the seat of a deeper understanding. You can transcend the frivolousness and bigotry of our culture if you see past the flaws of those you care for. If you seek only to judge than what is the summary of your own argument? That you are right?
Take the time each day to appreciate the complexity of the world around you. If you cannot sit still for a few moments why bother moving faster? What is there to gain?
Have the courage to search for adventure whenever possible.’
Sharpening the Saw in 2015
Starting the Day Right: Mindfulness, Breathing and Detoxification
I’ve made a deliberate effort to meditate each day for 10 minutes in 2015. This is to seek a balance between so many of the adrenaline pumping activities I am so often pushing myself through. In the header of this post you can see the dam that I spent many quiet mornings fishing at. What a healing alternative to the incessant desire to train, eat, sleep, repeat!
Sitting out on the dam and learning to fish really brought me back to the nature of solitude and how important time away from others can be.
Personally speaking meditation has always been a weakness for me and so I would like to share my rules when using this powerful tool.
1) I only meditate during two periods of my day. I consider the latter a catch up period if I was too busy in the morning to make time. These two periods: are
- No later than 20 min after waking without stimulants
- Right after I train (HIT works specifically well for this)
- After hiking or climbing
Wake at 4:30AM
250ml Hot Lemon water with Chlorella Greens
10 Minutes Mindfulness & Foot ART
200g Sirloin/Venison with Choice of Nuts & Greentea
6:00AM – 12:00PM Client 1-6
In the book ‘Focus’ by Daniel Goleman this is a distinguishing characteristic between those who succeed and fail. This marks a turning point for me in my meditative practice as the book proposes that bringing your mind back to stillness is the primary antagonist of productivity and neuroplasticity.
If you have been keeping up with the latest trends in the scientific community you can easily Google peer reviewed information about the healing benefits of meditation. I would highly recommend adding this to your list of goals.
As for detoxification I am now including Chlorella Growth Factor to my 500ml of hot water and lemon each morning. This forms half of my daily committment to excreting toxins that I have been accumulating.
If you are interested in a great book to read about self development for the absolute beginner I highly recommend Steven Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. See links to Amazon below.
Quarterly Breaks, Blocking Training Cycles and Improving Sleep
It’s very easy to allow life and work to overwhelm us. A holiday can be the difference between managing a serious setback or crumbling to the fear based objectivity that so many people fall prey to. You absolutely have to have a definitive list of retreats that can help to heal your mind and body or you will end up creating more food intolerances, metabolic stress and decision fatigue.
Training and exercise has and always will be the ultimate key to the healing and benefits of good health. I personally dislike the idea of only training for a predefined period of only 2-3 weeks for fatloss. While many people can and do see results from this kind of thinking, planning your macro cycles (yearly goals) can be the most effective method for achieving the benefits of not only health related goals but performance related ones too.
Did you know that the intensity and volume of your exercise can affect your mood, productivity and overall drive? Choose smart training related goals and bracket them according to your body type. This is the difference between the novices and pro’s.
Favorite spots to grab a Coffee and relax:
Note this list is not exhaustive and not necessarily places I may stay the night at. Please feel free to drop me an email about booking any of the venues in this article
Time, Stress and Fear Management
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
If you have a moment, read the quote above a few times. “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more we have to do it”.
2015 could be the year you decide to take the leap and look for a new job, or search for something more meaningful in your training and nutrition. Honestly, most if not all of us tend to mistake the resistance we feel for a new venture or calling as the natural desire and need for change and it is always a mistake to stay comfortable instead of growing!
As an example, in 2005 absolutely nobody in my circle of family, friends or acquaintances encouraged me to go to London and pursue my career in health and fitness. I flew to London with a very real £25.00 and committed to the obvious discomforts.
It’s not nice having your creature comforts traded for dirty hostels, minimum wage and poverty BUT I worked my way up. I lived on canned spaghetti and even after setbacks like dislocating my knee in the snow or being seriously assaulted I still persevered. No mom, no dad, just work and determination 🙂
Reading List For 2015 (Part 1) 3 Books Per Week
1) Focus By Daniel Goleman
2) The Art Of Learning By Josh Waitzkin
3) The Compassionate Samurai By Brian Klemmer
4) Choose Yourself By James Altucher
5) From Good To Great By Jim Colline
6) The Intelligent Investor By Benjamin Graham
7) Zero To One By Peter Thiel
8) Blue Ocean Strategies By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
9) Category Of One By Joe Callaway
10) Giro Dreams Of Sushi DVD
11) Shanaram By Gregory David Roberts
12) Toxic World By Mark Schauss
13) The Cortisol Connection By Shawn Talbott
14) Mindless Eating By Brian Wansink
15) The Robert Collier Letterbook By Robert & Joyce Collier
16) The Checklist Manifesto By Atul Gawande
17) The Age Of Propoganda By Anthony Pratkanis
18) Social Animal By David Brooks
19) The One Thing By Gary Keller
20) The Brain That Changes Itself By Norman Doidge
21) The Tipping Point By Malcolm Gladwell
22) The Paradox Of Choice By Barry Schwartz
23) Daring Greatly By Brene Brown
24) The Startup Playbook By David S Kidder
25) Promote Yourself By Dan Schawbel
26) Launch By Jeff Walker
27) Supertraining By Mel Siff
28) Tribes by Seth Godin
29) The Talent Code By Daniel Coyle
30) Why We Do What We Do y Edward L deci and Richard Flaste
31) Mindset By Carol Dweck
32) The Sports Gene By Daniel Epstein
33) Drive By Daniel H Pink
34) Jazz Vs Symphony By John Clarkson
35) Is Your Team Stuck By Michael Shanahan and Roselinde Torres
36) Creating Minds By Howard Gardner
37) Thinking In New Boxes By Luc de Brabandere and Alan Ivy
38) The Idea Of Justice By Amartya Sen
39) The Social Animal By David Brooks
40) What Matters Now By Gary Hamel
41) Lighting The Way By Karenna Gore Schiff
42) Mandela By Anthony Sampson
43) My Beloved World By Sonia Sotomayor
44) You Learn By Living By Eleanor Rooseveldt
45) Personal History By Katharine Graham
46) Adaptive Leadership By Rosalinde Torres et al
47) The Five Traits Of Highly Adaptive Leadership Teams By Roselinde Torres & Nneka Rimmer
48) Fighting Corporate Hubris By Hans Paul Burkner
49) Own The Future By Michael Deimler et al
50) Transforming Leadership By James Macgregor Burns
51) The Hard Thing About Hard Things By Ben Horowitz
52: Essentialism: The Disciplined PursuitOf Less By Greg McKeown
Have a great 2015!!!!