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.

    Lay back and fight by Tyson Pop

    The fastest way to sink in quicksand is to panic. 

    Ironically, the movements you feel most compelled to make when you find yourself sinking, are the very moves that sink you the quickest. The best course of action is to breathe deeply, remain calm and work with the process to help you find a level of buoyancy. 

    There's a similar course of action to defeat unhelpful thoughts. 

    Many of us, when we recognise that we feel stuck in the troubling thoughts that spin around in our minds, respond in a panic to try and force the thought to stop, to go away and to leave us alone. We try and argue with it, pretend it isn't there, run away from it and wonder why it continues to grow. 

    But the best way to beat these thoughts is to be okay with them being there. When we refuse to attach emotion to the thought we don't like, we starve that thought of the oxygen it thrives on. When you go long enough without feeding it what it requires to grow, it will die. 

    It's counterintuitive. 

    But it works. 

    Some things are best fought by relaxing. 

    Oak Tree's, Diamond's and Gold. by Tyson Pop

    Oak trees are made stronger by withstanding the wind. 

    Diamonds are formed under high heat and pressure. 

    Gold is refined by fire. 

    The trial is the very thing that builds the strength. 

    Did you really believe there was no purpose in your trial?

    Is it a threat? by Tyson Pop

    Or is it just a thought?

    If there's a tiger in the room you're in, you're in danger. 

    If you think there's a tiger in the room when there isn't, there's no danger. 

    But sometimes our brain often reacts the same way to the imagination as it does to the reality. We sweat, panic and our heart rate increases all because of a thought. It's fight or flight in action. But you don't need to live like that.  

    Before you allow yourself to freak out, ask:

    Is this a threat, or just a thought?

    There's a very big difference. 

    Don't let the research fool you by Tyson Pop

    Fitness isn't reached by reading about the best training programs. 

    Chefs aren't formed by flicking through the latest cook books. 

    Photographers aren't created by scrolling through Instagram. 

    Quality performers in any field are formed in the constant process of taking the required steps to improve their craft each day. They put what they're learning into action. 

    Sure, research is helpful. 

    Maybe even essential. 

    But don't fool yourself into thinking that research is the same as action. 

    You need to put what you know into practice. 

    That's where breakthrough takes place. 

    Taming the dragon of addiction by Tyson Pop

    Quitting anything is hard. 

    I notice this every Monday when I go without my morning coffee. This single act of abstaining from one coffee for one day out of my entire week has the capacity to throw me into a spiritual wilderness and force me to start questioning what life is all about. Every Monday until about lunch time my brain screams at me to feed it with a massive caffeine hit before he loses his shit. My mental coffee dragon gets all bitter and starts threatening me that he'll switch off and not let me do any work. He can be quite aggressive! But then, by about lunch time when he realises I'm not going to give into his (quite reasonable) threats he starts to settle down and look to options like tea and water to satisfy his desires. 

    Now, despite the mental dragon I face on Monday each week, I understand that some of us have far stronger addictions on a more regular basis that they're trying to overcome. Things like food or smoking or drugs or alcohol or porn or social media or whatever else we turn to in those moments of fear or boredom that we all feel from time to time. If you are in the space of trying to overcome a habit or addiction, you'll know exactly what I mean when I talk about how aggressive the voice of the deprived mental dragon can get. 

    It's that voice I want to speak about for a moment. 

    You see, that dragon doesn't realise you have the capacity to live a better life without that thing he's been telling you that you need. But the thing is, this dragon has a terrible reputation when it comes to knowing what is best for your life. In his crazed attempt to get what he wants, he completely ignores what's best for you and how great life could be if you refuse to give in to his threats.

    The other things he doesn't tell you, is that over time, if you acknowledge that you hear his voice, but ignore his terrible advice, he'll stop speaking so loudly. In fact, his voice will grow so weak out that he'll barely be a part of your life at all. 

    “What happens when you don’t follow the compulsion? What is on the other side of my need to eat and purge? The only way to find out is to not do it, and that is a novel act of faith.”
    — Russell Brand

    So regardless of what dragon is in your life right now, please understand he can be overcome. You don't need to submit to his screams and go back to that crutch of habit in your life. 

    If you let him yell for long enough, he'll tire himself out. 

    Stop giving into his threats. 

    He's bluffing. 

    Emotion is the oxygen of thought by Tyson Pop

    The thought is not the problem. 

    It's the emotions we attach to the thought that causes the problem. But because our thoughts can trigger our emotions, it's important for us to cut off the emotional attachment we often apply to our thoughts, before they make us emotional.

    But that can be easier said than done.

    So, if your thoughts have developed more of a presence in your life than you're comfortable having, it might be time to learn how to do address it. Here's a great video put together by Headspace to explain exactly how you can do it. 

    The problem with complaints by Tyson Pop

    Complaining does nothing but make you more frustrated about what's already upsetting you. 

    The good news is that we have a more empowering option. 

    We can take steps towards changing what's upsetting you. 

    If you don't like your job, you can change it. If you don't like your fitness level, you can change it. If you don't like your short temper, you can change it. If you don't like always feeling anxious, you can change it. If you don't like your mindset, you can change it. 

    You're never a victim in your situation. 

    So rather than using your precious energy to complain about how dissatisfied you are in your current situation, use it to make a change. 

    The problem with Dr. Google. by Tyson Pop

    Don't diagnose yourself based solely on what Dr. Google tells you. 

    (I know you always do it, but you should stop).  

    It's the equivalent of visiting 6,000,267 doctors and hoping to find one easy answer to walk away with. It doesn't happen. Instead you walk away overwhelmed and frozen by all the information that may (or may not) help you. That's not useful. When you have too much information, you freeze. 

    Freezing won't help you. 

    Despite Dr. Google doing his best to help us, it turns out he has a lot of uneducated opinions that he really shouldn't be sharing. He's too quick to speak on subject he really knows nothing about. He's as helpful as my old doctor who kept telling me I just needed more antibiotics and a third surgery to help my blocked nose when really, I just had to stop drinking milk.

    But that's a story for another day. 

    Before you start asking Dr. Google how to help you, make sure he's not answering you in the form of a twelve year old girls blog on the topic you're 'researching'.. Instead, ask him to point you in the direction of an actual, respected professional who can help you with you specific issue you're facing. Then, after taking some time to carefully assess the professional he refers you to, start considering which advice is relevant to you. 

    The best way to make the wrong decision is to listen to everyone. 

    So, if you're going go to Dr. Google for answers. 

    Please know he's not as clever as you think. 

    Google with caution. 

    Socrates and his questions by Tyson Pop

    Socrates had a reputation for asking the big questions. 

    He'd never accept an answer simply because someone said it was true. Rather, he'd make a habit of asking how they got to that conclusion and whether they were certain that what they believed was true. 

    That's what Socratic questioning has become a popular way of addressing so many of the thoughts we think that too often we simply accept as true. It's a method of questioning which hold our thoughts up to the judgement seat to be looked at from many different angles before we get emotional about what we think that thought means. 

    If you find yourself thinking thoughts that are of no service to you, hold the thought up to some of these questions. You'll be amazed how weak so many of the thoughts we thought were strong really are.

    • Is it true?
    • Are you certain it's true?
    • What are the facts?
    • What another way to look at it?
    • Is this thought life-enhancing?
    • What are the positives about seeing it this way?
    • Will it matter in five years?
    • Is it just a thought or a reality?
    • Have you overcome similar thoughts before?
    • Are you attaching too much weight to this thought?
    • Have you ever been wrong when you thought you were right?

    Keep looking forward by Tyson Pop

    Before a muscle grows, it's cells need to be broken. 

    If you were to quit every time you felt a little discomfort in the muscles you were training, you'd never reach your full potential. It's the people who keep getting back to the gym despite the discomfort that notice the best results. 

    It's true in our day to day lives as well. 

    No matter how many times you've fallen short of the goals you hold, it doesn't serve as evidence that you can't hit what you're aiming at on your next attempt. Maybe you've just been through the break down in order for it to build up. 

    Don't stop yet. 

    The thing about thoughts by Tyson Pop

    Is that they're not all true. 

    So why do we buy into them so much?

    It's because of the oxygen we feed them in the form of emotion. When we have a thought, we have an emotional reaction. Sometimes that emotion is positive. Sometimes it's negative. But it starts at the thought. 

    If you've noticed you're caught up in the negative thought to negative emotion spiral, then it's time to challenge your thoughts. Not many people are aware that was even an option. But the great news is that it is possible and it's effective. 

    You can do it with two columns and a piece of paper. 

    In one column you write down the negative thought that you're attached to. In the other column, you write a more reasonable and balanced perspective. I've included an example below. What are the most common thoughts that are causing you anxiety, frustration, stress or sadness? Write them down, challenge them and enjoy the fresh perspective you may have been missing all these years.

    Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 10.58.39 am.png

    Get yourself a schedule by Tyson Pop

    One of the best ways to feel a sense of purpose in your day is to have a solid structure. 

    Have you ever noticed that when you have all day to get one job done, it's the most difficult thing to do? But if you need to do that same job, say going to the store to pick up milk before it closes, has to be done in the next fifteen minutes because that's when the store closes, then you stop thinking about whether you can be bothered or not. You just get it done. Allocating the time in our day has that capacity to ensure we get done what we need to get done. 

    If you feel as though your days have a lack of purpose and direction, create yourself a schedule that you need to stick to. It doesn't need to be to the minute, but it should entail enough clarity that you know what you're working on for each hour of the day. 

    The best way I've learnt to know what to include in your daily structure is to be clear about what you're trying to create as an overarching vision of your future. If you know where you're trying to go, it makes planning the directions a lot easier. 

    So if you're stuck or feeling like your days have no purpose, here are a few tips:

    Schedule your day ahead of time Making sure you're clear on what needs to get done and what you would like to get done. When there's no clarity between these two things, it makes it easy to blur the line and spending most of our time on things we'd like to do and investing no time at all in what we needed to do. 

    Be very specific with your goals Make sure that at the end of your day you can clearly say that you either got through your desired list or you didn't. Any grey area leaves our mind to wonder and that's not a good place to find a sense of purpose. Be clear and follow through. 

    Take steps in the direction of an overarching goal It's easy to feel a lack of purpose when we're just wandering through life. Instead, have a vision for your life that you are passionate about working towards. Don't confuse passion with excitement. Passion sticks to the cause even when the excitement has worn off. Dream big, be clear and take small steps towards that big goal. 

    The power of your words by Tyson Pop

    The words you use and what your brain see's are closely related. Just try saying 'Tiger' without a picture of one entering your mind. 

    See what I mean?

    So if our words are painting pictures for our brain to understand, we better use them carefully. Stop calling it hard when it's actually an exciting challenge. Stop saying you're scared when you're just stepping into new territory. Stop saying you can't when actually you can. 

    Try it for yourself. 

    Doesn't a positive reframe feel more empowering?

    You're the captain of your words. 

    So drive them carefully. 

    Your negative thoughts are a smelly teenager. by Tyson Pop

    Thoughts flourish when we get emotionally involved with them. 

    That's great if you're connecting with positive thoughts. But not so great if you're connecting with negative ones. If you've ever found yourself trying to escape the vicious cycle of negative thinking, you'll know exactly what I mean. It's like the harder to try to get out of the cycle, the more bogged down you get. 

    But don't worry. 

    There's a great way out. 

    But it requires effort on your behalf. Just like weight can be lost with the right diet, routine and commitment to get it done, your thoughts can come back into line with the right program. You can train them to do so. 

    Here's how you do it:

    1. Think of your thought as something separate to yourself. (I like to imagine my negative thoughts as a fat 14-year-old boy who doesn't shower and never developed the ability to filter what goes from his brain to his mouth....he also has no friends. Obviously!)
       
    2. Recognise that the thought you're attaching so much emotion to is that fat, smelly teenagers.
       
    3. Allow the thoughts to be there and don't try and argue your way out of it (this kid won't listen and doesn't care about logic)
       
    4. Just ask him some questions like: Is there another way to view this situation? Have you left out any important information? Is your point of view enhancing my life? 

    The right tools for the job by Tyson Pop

    People have been through what you're going through. 

    They have come out wiser, stronger and with a greater love of life than what they had before they entered it. At moments in our lives, we hit what we feel like is a brick wall. We feel as though a dark cloud has settled over our heads and doesn't appear to be planning on leaving anytime soon. 

    In these moments, it's easy for us to become panicked and overwhelmed thinking this is our new 'normal'. Our heads start to race and our hearts start to pound and the more we notice these two things, the more they seem to occur. It's like a vicious cycle of thinking leading to emotions and emotions furthering our thinking.

    This is a phase. 

    If you have found yourself in one of these phases, there is very good help available. Don't try and go at it alone, because it's much easier to have someone without the emotional attachment to the experience you're having to speak sense into it. 

    Find out who is a good therapist in your area and go and chat with them. Speak to a friend. Read a book. Ask for help. Because there is help available. There are already answers to help the questions you're asking. 

    Maybe your problems are much easier to solve than you think 

    Maybe you've just been trying to fix it with the wrong tools. 

    10 tips for my 20 year old self by Tyson Pop

    1. Eat real food Most of what we call food isn't food. It's a food like substance that temporarily satisfies your hunger, but offers very little nutritional value. Eat organic food which is as close to it's natural state as possible. 
       
    2. Train your brain Meditate and challenge thoughts that make you feel like rubbish. Every experience you have is perceived through your brain. Make sure you're treating it well. Just like bad vision doesn't allow you to clearly see what is happening in front of you, an unhealthy brain will limit your ability to understand what you're going through. 
       
    3. Read more People have answers to your questions. Go and find them. 
       
    4. Listen more You already know what you know, but you can learn from someone who knows something about something that you're yet to learn. 
       
    5. Exercise Because if you're in bad shape it will limit your capacity to flourish in every area of your life. Plus, you feel so much happier after a run, gym or yoga session. 
       
    6. Back yourself People won't always approve of the ambitions you hold. But your ambitions are there for a reason. Get a job to support yourself as you build up the field your passionate about. Phil Knight the creator of Nike worked as an accountant for years as he developed his company. You could do that too. 
       
    7. Put your phone away People are way more interesting in person. 
       
    8. Clarify your goals What are you pursuing? It's easier to reach a destination when you know where it is. 
       
    9. Trust that God has a plan Don't assume that your struggles are a sign that you will be like this forever. It's only when we look back that we can begin to see the path that was being paved for us. Trust that something bigger than yourself has your back. 
       
    10. Change yourself before you try and change the world If you're a mess, you're not ready to change the world yet. 

    Four questions for your thoughts by Tyson Pop

    Dr Daniel Amen has an incredible, simple approach to the automatic negative thoughts that sometimes randomly pop into our brains. He encourages us to challenge them back rather than just accepting them as true. 

    Here's the four question he tells us to ask those questions that often make us feel uncomfortable. 

    1. Is it true?
    2. Are you absolutely certain it's true?
    3. How does thinking this way make us feel?
    4. Would our life be better without that thought?

    Don't just accept the thoughts you don't like. 

    Challenge them.