Monday
Apr212014

What about those who don't speak out? 

I’ve just finished reading a book by Susan Cain called ’Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ . It is described on Amazon as ‘passionately argued, superbly researched and filled with real stories, Quiet will permanently change how we see introverts and how you see yourself’. The author not only shows us how the quiet introvert has been suppressed in society but how their way of working could lead to powerful breakthroughs in many different fields and the ultimate conclusion is that we should embrace the way introverts are and allow them to move in ways that are right for them and maybe the less introverted could learn from some of their methods in life. 

In an early chapter Cain brilliantly shows how society shifted in the early twentieth century and changed what it valued from it’s people. She claims that in the 1800’s people were judged by their personal character and their moral standing in the world, you wanted to be a person who was respected by your peers and community and you developed yourself by trying to move closer to your moral compass and discover higher levels of yourself by overcoming challenges which enhanced your character. When the early twentieth century came along we experienced massive changes in the way we lived our lives and with the invention of mass media such as movies and radio there was a definite shift in what society valued. Personal character and moral standing become less important and were overtaken by the desire to have an extroverted personality. Suddenly the person who was the risk-taking talker, who was action oriented, and who may have spoken the loudest was made an example of what we should model ourselves on in our society.

While this shift towards the importance of the extroverted personality started in around the 1920’s it has taken over more of the public’s consciousness as time has passed. We expect our sports stars, politicians, community leaders and other important figures to exude this extroverted personality, a trait that often doesn’t have anything to do with their job they are trying to do. An All Black needs to be the best at tackling, running, passing, and all the playing skills needed to do their job well but it also seems that now they also need to have an amazing personality and be sharp in front of the camera when they have their 30 second TV interview after a game. 

As I think about his concept I can’t help but wonder how society would be different if there hadn’t been this disproportionate shift towards the extroverted personality. What if we had stayed on the path that promoted us moving towards our moral compass and developing our character and allowed the different personality types to feel free to be what they are? How would things be different in the ways we do things and what we put our energy into when it comes to developing ourselves? How would our role models be different? What would we promote to our kids as important life traits? 

As I’m writing this I’m wondering what my real point is for this piece, I suppose it’s to say that you should embrace the way you are, that you should have trust in your way in the world and when you want to develop yourself there may be areas that take you off your natural path but ultimately you are better off obtaining a deeper understanding of how you tick. This goes for all different types of personalities, to me it seems that one of my jobs in life is to better understand how I work and to then try to move down a path that evolves my understanding of this. It’s not about working on myself in ways that pull me away from where I naturally sit.  

Maybe we need to work on admiring others for their ability to be what they are, not to put them in a box that says they need to be a certain way to be successful but instead be inspired because they are comfortable with their way in the world. This could allow the many different personalities out there to do their best work because they sit in their best place and are being true to who they really are. 

 

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Monday
Apr142014

What to do with disappointment?

You are heading into a moment where you know you have to give everything you have both physically and mentally. The challenge is bigger than you but you feel that if you can hold on with everything you have there’s a chance that you will make it through. This challenge is important and if you succeed you will gain something you have worked so hard for, that thing you have desired with every ounce of your being. This time you were prepared, you left no stone unturned, there are no excuses, this is your moment of truth. 

I’m often curious about what we need to do to be successful during those times in your life where you have to test yourself to your highest level. We often hear terms like ‘never give up’ and ‘fight to the bitter end’ that represent how we should deal with these tough times. We want to believe that in these moments we will push through, that we are the type of person that never gives up. I know when I’m teaching a fitness class and the hardest moment comes up I will sometimes ask my class ‘who are you right now?’ which seems to motivate a lot of people but there are questions that I’m more interested in when it comes to those times when we test ourselves; Who do you become if you do give up in that moment? What happens to you when you fail? How do you respond if you aren’t the person who could push through during their biggest test? 

I was speaking to a young golf player the other day called Jackie, she is one of those golf prodigies that you hear about with big ambitions to make a life out of her talent and passion. She was telling me that she had the goal of entering the Australian Amateur Golf Open which is a huge goal for an 18 year old. To reach her goal she set herself a very challenging job where she had to take her handicap down from 11.3 to 5.4 in just one month, that is a massive improvement to aim for but she was 100% determined to do everything possible to achieve it. The day arrived for the cut off for entries to the Australian Amateur Open and Jackie had managed to get her handicap down to 5.6. She had missed out on her dream by the smallest of margins, she was absolutely heartbroken. 

When I was talking to her I was fascinated to hear what affect missing out on the selection had had on her golf, from the outside you could look at it and say that to improve her handicap by 6 in a short timeframe showed a huge about of dedication, skill and growth in her sport, but Jackie didn’t see it like this, she told me how she experienced an overwhelming level of disappointment. 

This disappointment planted seeds of doubt in her mind about her ability and she was questioning whether she was really good enough to be chasing her dreams. We can all see how she could be feeling this way but unfortunately this disappointment created a dangerous situation for her golfing dream, the doubt that she had in herself was leading to inaction on the work she would normally do to improve her game. This inaction kept her in a downward spiral as her skills started to drop away which created more doubt, leading to more inaction. Luckily for Jackie she had a good support network around her who supported her back to a plan that got her back on track but this is a real example of how the way we respond to our failures can hold us back. 

If you aim for big things in life you are inevitably going to experience some disappointment. When you face your moment of truth and fail you can be facing one of the toughest emotional moments of your life and while we need to have healthy emotional ways to deal with our disappointment we also need to make sure we don’t allow this disappointment to cloud our judgement and take us off the path towards success. There are lessons and opportunities that can be gained from reflection that arises from our biggest disappointments and these can be valuable beyond measure.  

Do you have times in your life where you gave up, where the disappointment you experienced ultimately held you back because you stopped doing the work you needed to do to maintain your progress? Maybe it’s time to rethink how you approach these times so you can learn to get back to the work that needs to be done and then you can move towards future success. 

 

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Thursday
Apr102014

Episode 39 Fitness Behavior - How does that make you feel? 

When we think about the energy that we live in in our lives there can be things that can have a massive influence on this energy. This can often make you feel bad about yourself and restrict yourself. On this months show I go into detail on a topic that addresses this area and I come up with some ways to move through it. 

 

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