Stop playing the victim by Tyson Pop

Eventually, you need to take responsibility.

Whilst there are always excuses to justify the position you’re currently in, more often than not they’re just reasons you use to stop you ever needing to take action. When you can own the fact that there’s an area of your life you’re unhappy with, you can begin to make change.

Stop blaming your friends, family and difficult childhood for the fact that you’re overweight, less intelligent, more anxious or overwhelmed. It won’t help you. Rather, start taking practical steps towards improving it.

Ask people who have overcome the struggle you’re trying to overcome.

People have done it before.

You can too.

8 books for young men and their mentors by Tyson Pop

As we make the journey from boys into men, it’s important we’re equipped with a map of the land to help us to better understand where we are on our journey.

Books serve as a great map.

Below is a list of 8 books to encourage, inspire and equip you or those you lead on your journey towards becoming men .I’ve included the book descriptions found on Amazon to give you a little insight into each book.

  1. Adam’s Return - Rich Rohr

    Based on decades of work, travel, and experience, Rohr, a Franciscan brother and best-selling author, unearths the complexities of male spiritual maturation and helps us to understand the importance of male initiation rights in both culture and the church.

  2. Tribe - Sebastian Junger

    Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.

  3. Falling Upward - Richard Rohr

    In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as "falling upward." In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.

  4. The Road Less Travelled - Scott Peck

    Confronting and solving problems is a painful process which most of us attempt to avoid. Avoiding resolution results in greater pain and an inability to grow both mentally and spiritually. Drawing heavily on his own professional experience, Dr M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, suggests ways in which facing our difficulties - and suffering through the changes - can enable us to reach a higher level of self-understanding. He discusses the nature of loving relationships: how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become one's own person and how to be a more sensitive parent.

  5. Mere Christianity - C.S Lewis

    In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for ChristianityChristian Behaviour, and Beyond PersonalityMere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

  6. Man’s Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl

    Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl laboured in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

  7. Habit’s of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

    The 7 Habits—Be Proactive; Begin with the End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win/Win; Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen the Saw—are so famous and have been integrated into everyday thinking by millions and millions of people for one reason: They work. Covey offers life-changing advice on everything from leadership, time management, and teamwork to success, love, and taking control of your life. In taking his advice, you’ll discover how the priceless wisdom of the 7 Habits still holds true after twenty-five years.

  8. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

    Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognising opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

Fix it with a pill by Tyson Pop

We use pills to fix everything.

When we’re stressed.

When we’re fat.

When we can’t sleep.

When we feel sad.

When our muscles are sore.

When our kids have too much energy.

Sometimes pills are part of the answer. But sometimes they’re an excuse for us not to address the actual issue. It’s not hard to see why we love them. They offer quicker relief than having to actually work to see improvements take place. Plus, tomorrow we need to go back to work so we really don’t have the time to be sick.

We need a more holistic approach to our health.

An approach which allows us to take half a day out of our schedule to address the issues that keep coming up for us and considering how we can adjust the way we’re living in order to improve the health we’re experiencing.

So, before you immediately run to a pill, ask yourself if it’s something that diet or exercise or friends or a new job or a better way of thinking about the situation might be able to fix.

It’s a little bit more work than a pill, but it might just be the answer.

Take the long road by Tyson Pop

Quality should be your priority.

In a world that thrives on more ‘likes’ and followers, it’s more important than ever to focus on creating excellent quality work. Whilst attention and noise can be exciting, it’s a hollow foundation to build upon.

Too many of us are trying to draw attention to an average product because more followers looks more impressive. As a result, many of us have thousands of semi-fans that don’t really care about what it is we offer.

The long road is where true value is found.

The long road is the one where we create excellent value over a long period of time and attract loyal followers who are aware of the great quality of our product. These are the followers that are excited about what we do and want to be a part of it.

They’re not just there because of a brilliant marketing scheme, but because of your brilliant product.

The best way to prolong your pain... by Tyson Pop

Is to ignore it.

Ignoring a sore tooth only lasts so long. Eventually you need to get it treated.

The same is true for every other area of your life.

Stress. Anxiety. Fear. Sadness. Disappointment.

Listen to what it’s trying to tell you.

It’s the quickest way to treat it.

Some common sense organisation skills by Tyson Pop

  1. Allocate yourself a maximum of 60 minutes online each day.

  2. Put your phone away

  3. Turn off every notification on your phone

  4. Don’t email after hours

  5. Write down what’s most important

  6. Give yourself a daily time structure

  7. Clarify priorities and eliminate the excess

  8. Play The Minimalists game

  9. Plan for tomorrow tonight

  10. Worker smarter, not harder - more hours doesn’t equal more efficient

  11. Leave earlier than you think you need to (it will take you longer than you thin)

  12. Turn the television off

  13. Have a daily ‘cut off time’ for ALL work

  14. Read ‘Getting Things Done’

In the belly of the whale by Tyson Pop

Stumbling blocks are a necessary tool for growth.

They come in various shapes and sizes and arise through many different experiences. A stumbling block is found when the way we once navigated our way through life doesn’t function as well as it once did. It’s in these moments that we find ourselves in the belly of the whale to use biblical language.

We’re lost.

In darkness.

Disoriented.

Confused.

In these moments it’s easy to assume that this will be the new norm, rather than a temporary refining experience. There’s a better option when it comes to these situations that just freaking out. Instead, we can ask ourself a question:

If this really was my new normal, what could you adjust within yourself to make this ‘new normal’ tolerable?

When we take our attention away from all that is wrong, and start making changes to learn to adjust to the new, unpleasant experience, we’ll grow from it more quickly than resisting it would allow.

The two options by Tyson Pop

Option 1: We can fill our calendar with more and rush from task to task in an attempt to tick off all the jobs we’ve set for ourselves.

Option 2: We can stop the busy work, and focus on clarifying what is essential and getting those few things done at an exceptional level.

Where do you spend your time?

Mentors by Tyson Pop

You don't need to guess your way through.  

Life is easier to navigate when you have people who are more familiar with the map. 

Seek them out and ask them to guide you. 

An 8 step guide to build your mind by Tyson Pop

Step 1: Stop focusing on all the bad news. If your mind feels overwhelmed, change your focus. Look for the possibility and the opportunity, not everything that's broken. 

Step 2: Stop listening to dickheads. If people keep telling you you'll never amount to what you hope to, it will mess with your mind. Cancel them from your friends. 

Step 3: Read more books: Stop guessing your way through. Learn from people who have already been there, and can tell you the way out. 

Step 4: Stop eating crap food. If you're out of shape and overweight, your mind is too tired to operate well. Start eating good food. 

Step 5: Go to sleep: If you're tired, your mind feels tired. Everything feels more clear after a good sleep.  

Step 6: Be clear: Stop floating through each day. Give your mind a target to aim towards, and do your best to hit it. 

Step 7: Exercise: If you're always tired, it clouds your mind. Go for a run, do some stretches and lift heavy things. It will make you feel good. 

Step 8: Don't hide behind drugs or alcohol: If you're stressed or overwhelmed, don't apply a band-aid. Fix it. 

Fear, faith and certainty by Tyson Pop

Have you noticed that fear thrives on certainty?

Certainty views the world in black and white and removes the need for us to look at all the grey in between. When we view the world from this perspective there's nothing else to learn. There's no great reason to listen to the other side of the story. Perhaps it's fear disguised as a certainty that makes so many Muslims, Christians, Democrats and Republicans so arrogant. They've become so blind to anything they don't believe that many of them can no longer speak to each other, let alone hear what each other is trying to say. 

Faith is more helpful than certainty. 

Faith says that based on what you've learnt, you believe the things you do. But the foundation of faith is humility. Faith has to acknowledge that you can't possibly know all there is to know. Faith allows you to be confident in what you believe without being closed off to new evidence. Faith doesn't need to be right at all times, because it has a built-in element of flexibility that allows for truth to make a shift. 

Certainty says "I'm right". 

Faith says "This is what I believe to be right". 

Though there's often a fine line between the two, faith is more honest than certainty. 

Annual Retreat by Tyson Pop

Post match reviews are a great way to improve sporting performance. 

They offer each player a chance to remove themselves emotionally from the heat of competition and review their performance from another perspective. With this fresh perspective and insight, it's easier for them to adjust their game and improve their performance in the future. 

Annual retreats are the post match reviews of life.  

It's the space where each of us takes a step back from what is going on all around us on a daily basis without all the distractions, emotions and decisions bombarding us. It's the space where we allow ourselves the time to assess where we have room to improve, adjust and change the way we operate on a daily basis. The annual retreat is the video review of our day to day life,  

Ideally, it's a home away from home where we take a journal, a good book and are surrounded by nature with either our partner, or alone with the intention of developing clarity and perspective on where we need to adjust. It's a quiet week, where thinking, reflecting and note taking are a priority. It's the place where the emotions we ignore because our busy schedules rise to the surface. It's a space where we address that which we usually can't see. . 

Though it may take a little planning when it comes to when we're going to do it and how we'lll have time to make it work, it's well worth the time and effort in scheduling it so that we can see what may become blindingly obvious we need to improve. So schedule it in, take a step back and be amazed at how much in your life you realise may no longer be as vitally imprortant as you thought it was. 

How could an annual retreat help you?. 

Butterflies are born in darkness by Tyson Pop

Transformation always seems to take place in darkness. 

In order for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it first must spend a period of time in darkness, hanging upside down in a cocoon. It's there that it sheds what it once was, before emerging with wings and colour and as a far more beautiful final product.

If it didn't enter the darkness, it couldn't emerge as it does. 

Don't assume the darkness is the end result.

It's often the location where we shed everything we don't want to be, in order to become what we could be. 

Seed of happiness by Tyson Pop

A seed can’t grow alone.

It needs the support of sun, soil, nutrients and water. If the seed isn’t growing, it may mean that the environment it’s trying to grow in isn’t supporting its growth. If it’s planted in the right environment with supporting elements the tree will grow. 

The same is true of our happiness.

The seed of happiness is currently waiting patiently within each of us, but many of us are unaware how to assist it’s growth. Maybe there’s been too little sun or too much rain and it’s limited happiness’ ability to shine through. But it’s still in there and can be brought back out.

Maybe you need to learn to meditate in a way to help cultivate your joy. 

Maybe you need a coach or spiritual guide to help direct you through your trial.

Maybe you need to address what you’re constantly focusing on.

Just because you can’t currently see happiness, doesn’t mean you’re broken.

You just need to address the environment in which the seed has been planted.

Multi-tasking by Tyson Pop

Is a myth.

Whilst you can do more than one thing at a time. 

You can't do them all well. 

Get rid of the excess. 

Focus on the essential. 

Far and wide and just below the surface by Tyson Pop

Depth is more important than breadth. 

But that's difficult to appreciate when we've been taught we can have what we want today.

A pill to cure the pain. The news headlines to get our understanding of the world. The answer to question in the form of a tweet. We get upset when what we want is not provided immediately. But in our pursuit of immediate pleasure, information and answers there's a beauty that we lose. There's a patience that's forgotten. An appreciation for what can be built over time. 

Maybe that''s why we all stand in awe at the foot of giant tree's like The Redwoods. Because we're admiring their commitment to task of growing and withstanding difficulty and reaching greater heights and sending roots deeper. It took a lot of time and patience for those tree's to look like that. We know they've done something that deep within us we feel called to do. 

We're admiring what we all know to be true. 

That real, positive and beautiful growth takes time. Not just in nature, but in us. 

There's a lesson that's found in the commitment. There's a transformation that takes place in the study. There's a joy in the process that many of us are missing because we prefer breadth over depth. Rather than being lured by the tweet, headline and pill, become attracted to learning, thinking and meditating on what actually produces the growth you'd like to see. 

Then set about pursuing those things.  

It's a offers a more beautiful final product. 

Wilderness by Tyson Pop

it's not a matter of if but  when we'll be called into wilderness.

 It can come at any time.

The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the breakdown of a relationship, a cancer diagnosis, a pain that won't leave.

The wilderness is the location where your standard approach to finding your way through life is no longer helpful. The compass that once guided you so well has been smashed and doesn't work. It's the place where your questions don't seem to have any answers. Where the faith you once held so firmly feels shaky. Its that barren place. That desolate place, the dark place that's filled with fear and trembling, 

But contrary to common belief, the wilderness is there to build you, not to break you.  It's there to equip you, strengthen you and offer you gifts. It's the place where you're forced to look for answers to the real questions that life asks you:

Why am I here? 

Who put me here? 

How can I use my time well? 

How can I handle my time here effectively? 

When you're in the wilderness, and  overwhelmed by the experience, don't run away. Don't pretend you're not there by hiding behind drink or drugs or gambling or information or entertainment or sex or work or money. 

Stop and listen to what you're being taught.

Then bring the lessons back to us.  

Because it turns out that it's in the wilderness that true wisdom is found. 

Information vs Transformation by Tyson Pop

Information without transformation is useless.

We could have all the answers on how to be a good partner and be a terrible partner at the same time. Unless you're practicing what you're learning, its ability to transform your life is low. 

That's easy to forget in world where access to information has become so available. With podcasts, audio-books, websites and articles constantly available to us, we never need to have a moment to sit and absorb what we've just learnt.  We can fool ourselves into thinking that just because we're taking on more, means we're benefiting more. 

Flooding a thirsty plant with water is not a better option than watering that plant on a regular basis and letting it build it's health over time. It needs time to absorb what you're offering it. 

Our goal should not be to consume more information, for the sake of consuming it, but to let the information we do take on, transform the way we live. So, before you keep flooding, ask:

Is this just information?

Or it is actually changing my life?

Good Timber by Tyson Pop

A poem by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.