Reframe the Experience

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has shaken critics around the world by coming agonisingly close to breaking the two-hour barrier for the marathon – a feat many have been calling impossible. Though he just missed the mark, his performance has completely challenged the minds of many of those who said it couldn't be done. 

With so much criticism in the lead-up to the race, Kipchoge was asked by a reporter what he'd like to say to his critics. His response gave us a glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest athletes on the planet:

“I don’t believe in limits. I just want to show people it can be done. I’m excited to fly this weekend”.

He chose to see opportunity where many saw an obstacle.

Both he and the critics were looking at the same thing, he just chose to interpret it differently.  

We can do the same thing. 

Choose to see opportunity where others see obstacles. 

You don't need to ignore the facts. Just respond to them differently. 

Failure Is Just Feedback

Have you ever failed at something?

I think if we're being honest, most of us would say we have.

What was it? 

What made it a failure? Was it that you fell short of what you set out to accomplish? Did you give up too easily? Did someone tell you that you should have been more?

What makes it clear that you failed?

Over the last few years I’ve come to see success and failure as something which is not black and white, but so many different shades of grey.

Let me explain.

I think it’s possible to succeed in your pursuit and fail to grow from the experience. I also think it’s possible to fail in your pursuit, but learn so much from the experience that you can't really call it a failure. We must be careful with how we perceive the results we experience. Interpreting something as a failure based solely on not reaching the level we set out to achieve, can weigh us down and scare us from attempting anything we dream of in the future.

I often hear people reflect on their younger days when they believed they could accomplish almost anything with their lives. But as they’ve grown, they've failed a few times and as a result they've become ‘realistic’ about what is and isn't possible. I get it though. It's more comfortable to be realistic than to risk failing again.

But being a realist doesn't make you right. 

We have misunderstood failure. Failure is not a result. Failure is feedback. Nothing else. That feedback has the capacity to change our lives for the better, to inspire us to dream once again, so long as we're not misunderstanding what it whispers.. 

But who do I think I am writing about such a subject? Surely, for any of this to be relevant, I would have to have a few good fails up my sleeve. 

Luckily for me, I do. 

Let me tell you about my three biggest fails to date.

I can't explain the disappointment that came with falling short in each of the following areas. When your whole heart is committed to successfully achieving the result you're after, combined with the time, effort, hope and confidence in yourself to do them it's hard to accept when they take a different direction. Though I've failed in far more than three areas, these three are the biggest.  
 

1.    Running at the Olympics: At the age of 12, I set myself the goal of running in the Olympics. I did everything I knew how (without any banned substances) to make it happen. I pursued this dream up until the age of 26. For the 14 years I committed myself to the sport, I was confident I would do it. In 2010/11 after some breakthrough performances, things looked as though they were heading in the right direction. Unfortunately due to undiagnosed health problems, which you can read about in a longer story, 2010/11 were, looking back, the highlights of my career. After three more years of poor health, surgeries and no improvement, I decided to move on to other things. I still love the sport, miss it sometimes and wonder what could have been had my health issues been solved sooner. 

2.    Playing AFL: I left competitive running with the intention of playing social Football. As a young kid I loved the game, and played pretty well, so I decided to give it a go. As a number of boys I used to race in the athletics scene were getting the opportunity to play at the highest level of Football in Australia, I decided to write a letter to every AFL club and let them know I wanted a chance to prove myself. I got a phone call from Paul Roos, the head coach of the Melbourne Football Club who said he wanted to have a chat with me. I also received interest from Fremantle Football Club. I met up with both teams, told them my story and crossed my fingers. I did what I knew how, but it didn’t work out. My age and my time away from the game worked against me. It was a disappointing result to a huge opportunity. 

3.    Climbing Mt Everest: In 2015 I decided I was going to attempt to climb Mt Everest. I committed to the training, organising the sponsors, getting the word out about my mission and going to Nepal to train in the mountains for one month. The company I went with recommended that if I was to go to Everest the following year, it would be best if I could climb two qualifying mountains. It was a safety thing to show both them and myself that I was up to such a task. As I had no climbing experience, the two mountains were essential. I climbed one of them (Mt Lobuche) and got food poisoning on the morning of the other one (Island Peak). I had told myself that I would only attempt Everest if I fulfilled the recommended criteria. I didn’t. Everest didn’t work out how I planned. 

Something crazy stuck out to me in each and every one of these fails. As the pain of the disappointment of not achieving what I dreamt of started to settle down, I realised I was learning things I don't think I otherwise would have learnt. 

It turned out, the feedback from these failures were teaching some great lessons. 
 

FIVE THINGS FAILURE TEACHES US
 

  • Clarity What is the feedback from the result you're unhappy with showing you? Have you picked an area that's not your greatest strength? Have people not yet recognised you have something unique? Is there another approach? Have you spread yourself too thin? What is it that you're trying to create? Be clear, aim to do a few things well and commit to that. When you get the feedback you need, adjust and go again. 
     
  • Commitment When we are clear about what it is we're doing, we cannot continue in the area without a commitment to it. When you decide what you're going for, we can't half focus on that along with all the other stuff, we have to commit to the cause. 
     
  • Humility The results aren't totally in our control. Our ego absolutely hates that news. We have to do what we can, and trust that we'll grow from the result. When our whole ego is built around something that fails, we're crushed. We're humbled.
     
  • Presence We don't know what the end result is going to be. As much as we dream and hope it works out the way we intend for it to, there is no guarantee it will. We can't commit to something purely for what we imagine it will bring us, we have to embrace each step of the journey. 
     
  • Resilience Anyone who gets back up after their first failure begins to learn the art of resilience. There is more than hard work, talent and luck that goes into someone being able to achieve the goals they've set for themselves. They must also get back up each and every time they slip.

 

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON FAILURE
 

What about you?

Maybe, if you're being honest you've failed in more areas of your life than you are comfortable admitting to anyone. That's ok, you don't need to. Maybe you have just reached a point in your life that you have started to question whether it's worth getting up and trying once more, because you don't think you can handle another devastating blow. 

Is this you?

Here's the thing. I don't think what you've been calling failure in your life is a failure at all. 

It's simply feedback. 

It's time for you to get back up. It's time for you to step back out. Risk it again. 

Because the truth is, you've never faied in your life. 

You just misunderstood the feedback.

20 Suggestions for Depressed People

How good is being depressed!

That was a ridiculous thing to say.

I just wanted a catchy opening statement to get your attention. Depression is a bitch. Like a sandstorm in your mind that makes every waking minute feel as bad as being forced to listen to Justin Bieber's first big hit Baby, Baby, Baby ooh or whatever it's called on repeat. All day. Though I personally enjoy the song, I understand there's a good chance that situation would completely ruin your day. 

Here's the thing with depression. 

A lot of us assume because we're upset, it's because our great granddad was too, so it was just a genetic gift passed through the generations. Thanks a lot, Grandpa. Though this may be true to a certain extent, there is also plenty of evidence to suggest we can make some radical changes to our emotions through few little tricks.

So, are you depressed?

Stop getting pissed off at grandpa and try some of these. 

Ready?
 

  • Change your focus You've probably heard every life coach in the world explain that we tend to notice what we look for. Yeah, I'm sick of hearing it to. The problem is, they're right. if you spend 15 seconds looking around your room for blue objects, you're going to find them. Same is true in life, if you're constantly on the hunt for evidence that everything is wrong, you'll notice it. A great way to change your focus is to ask better questions. Let me tell you more about it here. 
     
  • Choose friends wisely Stop hanging out with dickheads who shut down every dream you have. I'm pretty sure they say that you become the average of the five people you hang out with. Choose a group of friends that will support you, encourage you and challenge you. But don't hang out with those who just want to shit on your dreams. In other words, stop spending time with people you hate. 
     
  • Exercise regularly You can't tell me don't feel amazing after a good workout. I know that at the time staying inside and eating a doughnut seems like the best idea, but can guarantee that an hour later you'll feel better from a run than a donut. Get up, walk, run, gym, yoga, ride, take up synchronised swimming if you have to. Just work out. You'll feel better. Look how happy these chicks are.  
  • Get a new job Ok so I'm not saying you HAVE to. But you spend a fair bit of time at the job you work at. If you bloody hate it, why are you still there? Is there another place you can work? You're not stuck. 
     
  • Eat natural food Have you noticed lately that the things we call food is complete junk? Seriously, so much of what we eat is rubbish. Processed, long life, packaged food. Eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Here's a good rule, before you eat it ask yourself, would my great-grandma eat that? (I'm going with a lot of grandparent references today!)
  • Meditate Bare with me. I know every 30-year-old white kid is saying this, but it's because we've realised that our crazy mental noise can be helped by doing it. So much of what goes through our minds are these ridiculous little movies we make about how bad everything in our life is. Rather than getting caught up in your movie, learn to meditate. It helps you step back from your thoughts and notice they need not rule your whole life. Just because you're thinking something doesn't make it true so stop pretending it does. Start with headspace. 
     
  • Accept failure Yeah it sucks that it didn't work out the way you wanted it to, but as long as you're letting it rule your life you're not wanting to get up and try anything big again. Learn from it, get back up and go again. A lot of us forget that failure is just feedback. Actually, I'll shut up. Listen to Jordan.
  • Clarify what you really value Stop filling your day with things you don't care about. Spend a few minutes thinking about what you actually love and start making the decision to invest more of your time into that area. 
     
  • Take a day off Hard work is good. But you can't work well when you're not fresh. Athletes know this better than anyone. They train hard and rest hard. Stop pretending you're not a human and don't need a little down time. Working more doesn't make you more efficient. Give yourself a rest day. 
     
  • Read Awaken the Giant Within Tony Robbins is an absolute animal (your favourite kind). If you feel as though you can't get on top of your emotions, get yourself a copy of this book and start applying the simple lessons he teaches. 
     
  • Get into nature You can't say that without sounding like a complete hippy. I just wanted to acknowledge that. Honestly, how good does it feel to be out there. There's so much noise in the city that you're lucky to be able to hear yourself think. I love getting out in nature and hearing birds tweet (not on twitter). It's refreshing. Calming. Go on hippy. Try it. 
     
  • Put your phone away I really don't need to explain this, you know it true. Rather than constantly looking at photos of your best mate in her in her bikini next to a guy with the golden rig on top of Mt Kilimanjaro, turn it off. You feel rubbish when you compare your Saturday night in your room watching Netflix and eating ice-cream with your friend and her golden African mate. 
  • Eliminate your debt How awesome is it when you owe people money. I know. Not at all. Stop pretending to be rich by buying things you don't really need with money you don't even have. Save up for it before you buy it. You can't argue with my logic. Pay off your debt. It feels better. 
     
  • Invest in your passion I want to punch everyone who says that in the face as well. But bare with me. Passion is just something you bloody love. So, what do you enjoy doing? Are you making time to invest in that area? If you're not, cut some of the extra stuff from your schedule and start doing more of what you enjoy. 
     
  • Go to sleep I hate tired babies. They're so sooky.  Being tired does make you feel like crap, though. We never grow out of feeling rubbish when we're tired. Stop staying up so late. You need to rest. 
     
  • Stop choosing to be offended In our completely over the top PC culture, every man and his cat is offended by something. Simply walking outside in 2017 becomes a hardcore competition to see who can be offended by the most shit. Stop pretending that other people have the power to offend you. The only way you can be offended is if you choose to let the negativity that slides out of peoples mouth upset you. Simple solution. If what someone says upsets you because it's true, then try and change it. If they say something and it offends you and it's untrue, why are you so offended? Come on!
     
  • Speak to someone I have no idea why I left this point until last. It's probably the most important. Do this one first. When you're depressed you feel as though no one can help. I get it. Remember what I said about your perspective not alway being right? It applies here. People can help you. They can. Find a therapist and chat to her for an hour. If she doesn't help, try someone else. There are people trained to help you.

3 Things You Need To Stop Believing

When my wife and I first started dating, I was convinced she was going to break up with me. I had no good reason for believing it. She was lovely. But for some reason, the idea lodged itself in my mind and I couldn't seem to shake it. It completely changed the way I interpreted her actions. If she was quiet, it was because she was going to break up with me. If she was late, she was going to break up with me. If she was angry, she was definitely going to break up with me.

It sounds a little OCD now, hey?

Probably because it was.

Anyway, I digress. 

The idea had taken root in my mind, and I was convinced it was true. That was ten years ago now. 

A lot of us believe ridiculous things. Things that don't make any sense when we actually challenge them. The problem is, because we're so caught up in them, we don't do the challenging.

I wanted to take a moment to call bullshit on some commonly accepted ideas. 

You ready?

1. You can do anything you set your mind to

Three years ago, I went through a twelve-month phase where I was in the gym nearly everyday. My weight jumped from 67kg to 81kg and as a result, I'd come to believe I was an absolute beast. I’d started strutting around the gym like I was Leo in that scene of Wolf of Wall Street where he's getting all fired up talking to his employees. You know the one I mean? 

Anyway, around this time, my best mate James decided to come and do a session with me. James is 6'4 and 95kg and hadn't been in the gym for a couple of years. But it turns out, James is strong.  As soon as the session began, it was very obvious that I had quickly become his bitch. It didn't matter that he hadn't trained, he was better in the gym than me. 

It was a humbling moment. 

It was like if Verne Troyer, the guy who plays mini me in Austin Powers got in a dunking contest with Jordan in his prime. It wasn't a fair competition. It doesn't matter how much belief he had, genetically, he was in trouble. 

While I'm a huge believer in the power of the mind, Verne Troyer will never dunk a ring without a trampoline.

I think too many of us get caught in areas we shouldn't be wasting our time all under the illusion that if we work hard enough, it will work out fine. I'm not saying don't have hobbies. I'm saying don't waste your time aiming to be the best at Basketball if you're Verne Troyer. 

Here's an alternative. 

Rather than trying to convince ourselves that if we just believe more we can dunk any ring, let's take some time to consider where our strengths actually lay, and invest in those areas. 

2. The more money you have the happier you’ll be

I'm just going to call it. 

We've lost our minds when it comes to money. 

It doesn't matter who we are or what we have, the idea of having just a little more (or a lot more) makes us all froth. We usually don't have a number in mind about how much is enough. We just want more. 

The lifestyle we imagined is always just a little further down the road than where we are now. It doesn't matter how hard we work we can never quite get there. We've become slaves to an illusion. 

You know what's crazy?

Research shows that once you hit 75k, the money you earn after that won't do much to your level of happiness. The essentials have been covered and the excess we get excited about apparently aren't as rewarding as we all think. It doesn't matter if we buy the new, bigger, brighter and louder. 

Advertisers also do a brilliant job of making us feel as though what we're craving can be attained in the iPhone 7, so we all rush to that in the hope that what we're longing for will be found there, but obviously it won't because we has the same hope for the previous six.

When you start to realise that all the money you're earning to spend on all the stuff you don't really need is not making you any happier, you can step away from the illusion that you need more money to buy it all. 

I  have an alternative to earning more money that I think you will absolutely hate. 

You ready?

Rather than dreaming about what life could look like with a little more money, just stop buying so much shit. 

3. Everyone else has it 'all together'

“Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself ”
— C.S Lewis

We're always at the centre of our own movie in life. 

Because of this, we're more aware than anyone about how vulnerable, scared and insignificant we feel from time to time. We know all the things we wish we were doing better and assume that if we were someone else, then we could experience what it's like to be free of all our troubles. 

Due to the fact that we hate talking about our own weaknesses, we usually do our best to keep how we feel to ourself. Because we all doing the same thing we rarely hear about others struggles so we assume there's just something wrong with us.

Let me tell you something. 

None of us have any idea what is going on. We're great in some areas, horrible in others. We’re all figuring this stuff out as we go along. 

Stop assuming you're the only one trying to figure it all out. Take comfort in the fact we're all in the exact same boat as you.

We're learning as we go.

Searching For Significance

Where is our value located?

Is it in...

The houses we buy?
The cars we drive?
The titles we hold?
The money we earn?
The fame we reach?
The things we teach?
The dreams we achieve?
The friends we make?
The sport we play?
The looks we have?
The clothes we wear?
The money we give away?
The adventures we take?
The number of followers we have?
The latest release?

Is it possible that everything we accumulate is simply decoration?

That none of these actually make us more significant?

Maybe what we're longing for has been within us the whole time, we've just been too busy to notice. 

A Busy Mind Meets Boredom


It's 3.43pm on Monday afternoon. 

I've had the day off. 

I've got nothing urgent to do and nowhere to be. My wife accidentally took both house keys to work which means I can’t leave our studio apartment without it locking behind me.

In other words, I'm home for the day. 

Here's the thing. 

Lately my mind has been wired. I've had so much going on that I've always had something else to jump to. But today, I've been forced to slow down.

I've been bored.

But my mind is still busy.

When a busy mind meets boredom, it's the perfect recipe for anxiety.

All day I’ve been jumping from task to task on my computer to try and offer myself the sense that I'm making progress on whatever is causing my mind to be so energetic. I wasn't focused on one single task, I was just busy being busy.  

I just stopped.

Busy doesn't equal productive, but today I've been acting as though it does. 

Now that I've noticed, here's what I'll do. 

  • Breathe – Sit down and take some deep breaths. Breathing has the incredible capacity to flood any tension with peace. 
     
  • Listen – What is actually on my mind? 
     
  • Write – Get what is on my mind onto paper. Being able to clearly see what is causing you to feel wound up is much easier when you can see it before you. When it's just neuro-transmissions firing in your brain, it's hard to know how to respond to that energy. 
     
  • Exercise – Gym session and Yoga. This is a nice way to release some pent up energy.
     

Though busyness is a nice alternative to listening to our anxiety, it's not the cure.

Stop for a moment. Take a breath.

What is your anxiety showing you?

Maybe it's time to slow down.

5 Steps To Quiet The Mental Noise

From time to time we all find ourselves dealing with a busy mind.

You know what I mean. When we feel stressed and anxious about everything that's going on in our head. 

The problem is, very rarely do we make our best decisions when our mind is in that busy state. I've learnt that when I'm stressed, anxious or overwhelmed I need to find ways to calm down before I decide what to do next.

Over the last few years I've been trialling techniques and strategies that allow me to more efficiently deal with these ineffective states of mind. 

I wanted to share five of the best with you. 

 

  1. Breathe Stress has a brilliant capacity to tighten our muscles, which limits the oxygen we take in. When you're stressed, stop. Sit down in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing. Breathing in slowly and deeply all the way to your stomach, and release. With each out-breath feel your muscles relax and your stress levels drop. Do this for as long as you need. 
     
  2. Meditation Meditating allows you to step back from the thoughts that are consuming your headspace. It's a space that will teach you that you are not your thoughts. Simply watching your thoughts, and noticing what is happening in your mind will help you understand where the emotions you're feeling are born. if you don't know how to meditate, here's a simple guide. 
     
  3. Information Detox In the wonderful world of Blogs and YouTube and Books, and Television and iPhones with their podcasts, it becomes very easy to take in a ridiculous amount of information. Whenever I take in too much feels like a garden that's been over-watered, and now has a puddle of water on the surface that serves no benefit. When I feel like this I'll switch everything off for an hour and just allow the puddle of information to sink in. 
     
  4. Exercise There is something wonderful about getting the blood circulating, the lungs working and forcing your body to work. Whenever I'm stressed, though I don't feel like it before I start, exercising nearly always guarantees there will be a lift in my attitude. I love working out at the park or doing sprints have the most positive impact on my headspace. My weekly exercise schedule helps me prioritise this area of my life. 
     
  5. Cold Shower Nothing snaps us out of the conversation in our mind like a cold shower. The cold water hitting your skin brings you into the present moment in an instant. Your physiology changes, your breathing becomes more purposeful and your brain jumps into survival mode. If your mind won't be quiet, step into a cold shower for 60 seconds. Enjoy the benefit. In fact, this is why I start my day with a cold shower. 

Thinking About Death Can Change Your Life

The idea of writing your own eulogy sounds depressing. 

I promise it's not.

I think you'll find it empowering. 

If you're anything like me, you'll understand how easily we can become so busy with the things we've committed our time to, that we never get a chance to slow down and consider what it is we're really passionate about.

I remember a few years ago, I came across this article and was struck by the conversations that people approaching the end of their lives were having. The reflections on what they'd change if they had their time again seemed really heavy to me. 

I wanted to live a life I was proud to live, and make the changes now rather than regret it later. 

At around the same time, I'd been reading Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and was challenged to write a mission statement for my life. Covey believed that a mission statement could offer great clarity on what to spend our time doing. In fact, he says that the best way to write what we should be committing to, is to consider how we'd want people to speak about us at our funeral. 

You know. In our eulogy. 

So I did it. 

I wrote my own eulogy. 

Heavy. 

But he was right. 

It brings clarity. 

In fact, I realised that everything I wanted to shape my life around, fit into the following six categories. 
 

  1. Truth: I want to be remembered by those I love as someone who searched for what was true, and then did my best to live that truth around others in my life, I'll be happy. 
     
  2. Family: More than anything on the planet, I love my family. I don't want to just say it, but live it. I want to create time to give the ones I love most the most attention.  
     
  3. Health: Both mental and physical health.  Physical Health will allow me to do the things I love more efficiently. Mental health will help me see the beauty in the journey and also allow me to accept not being able to do what I love when my physical health fails. 
     
  4. Communication: I want to spend my years helping people live a life they're passionate about living. I will commit my days to writing and speaking about how we can live a life doing more of what we love, with who we love. If I can enhance the lives of others through this message, I will be extremely grateful. 
     
  5. Contribution: I want to use my time, money and gifts to support the areas I'm passionate about. I don't just want to contribute a few dollars towards a cause and consider my work done, but wholeheartedly embrace a cause, and do what I can to help it. 
     
  6. Adventure: More than just visiting new places, I want to see the places I know with curiosity. The earth that we're living on is filled with wonder that we will never fully absorb, I want to live in accordance with this realisation. 

Enough about me. 

What about you?

If you were to write your own eulogy, what would it tell you to spend more time focussing on?

10 Things Confident People Already Know

Confidence isn't a fluke. 

Nor is it something only a certain few have access to. 

Confidence is a craft.

When I use the word confidence, I'm not referring to those who are loud, cocky and desperate for attention. That's insecurity. Nor am I referring to the person who turns all conversation back to themselves, for their own glory. That's arrogance. When I say confidence, I am referring to those with the simple belief that they are capable of accomplishing the task set before them. 

The confident see the world in a different way to many others. There are things they understand, that those who live without it haven't realised. 

Let me share them with you. 

  1. Failure is an opportunity Failure is not the end of the journey, but an important part of it.  Each failure offers the opportunity to assess where they went wrong, make the necessary adjustments, and go again. Failure is just feedback.
     
  2. Comparison is pointless They're aware that every individual has strengths and weaknesses. They don't compare their weakness' to others strengths, but join forces with people who are strong in the areas they are weak.
     
  3. The friends they choose are crucial They choose to surround themselves with people who support, challenge and speak life into their dreams. To surround themselves with people who simply bring them down adds an unnecessary weight for them to carry. 
     
  4. The power of self talk They use their self talk to support themselves. They are their own biggest fans with their words.
     
  5. They're passionate about what they do They have discovered where their passion intersects with their gifts. They love what they do and in turn,  spend more time doing it, which leads to a better results. 
     
  6. The power of learning They ask questions, study, refine and repeat. They understand that while they continue to learn, they continue to grow.  
     
  7. Happiness is found within They don't find their sense of value solely in what they do. They understand that their achievements will only temporarily satisfy. They understand that true happiness is something within them, not something they can accumulate. 
     
  8. Celebrate the small wins They acknowledge progress and understand that continual small wins, eventually create big wins. IKEA is big now, but started selling postcards and pencils. 
     
  9. They're not swayed by opinion They're aware that paying too much attention to compliments will lead to arrogance, and too much attention to haters, they feel despair. They develop a plan with those they trust, and stick to it. 
     
  10. Confidence doesn't always look the same They don't try to satisfy anyone else's criteria of what confidence looks like. They play to their strengths in the areas they know they can win as they understand confidence follows breakthrough. 

The Thoughts We Choose

I'm impressed by television. 

More specifically, I'm impressed by how sounds and moving images are transported through the air and displayed on a box in our living rooms and we can watch it when we tune into the right frequency. 

It's crazy. 

Sure, some of the channels are rubbish, but if we don't like one we can tune into another. We can jump from Comedy to Drama to Thriller to Action all in the space of thirty seconds. Netflix has made it even easier. Our whole viewing experience can be changed at the click of a button. All we have to know is what we want to tune into. With all the options, we never need keep watching something we don't enjoy. 

Our thoughts are like TV channels. 

Like the home page on Netflix. 

So many options to choose from.  

But we can choose what we tune into. 

What we tune into dictates how we feel. Sometimes we tune into the wrong thoughts and feel depressed, upset, anxious or stressed. 

But we can change it. 

There are other options. Other channels. Other shows. With a T.V, we change what we tune into with a remote. 

With our thoughts, we change what we tune into with our focus.

What we focus on we see. Our emotions are the result of our thoughts. 

How have you been feeling lately?

What have you been focussing on?

Did you forget you have other options?

Is it time to change the channel?

The Day I Tried To Run 100km

One evening in 2015 I had an idea.

I was going to get up the next morning and try to run/walk 100km.

I know.

I hadn’t trained for it, but wanted to know if I could do it. 

The thought of attempting it excited me, scared me and intrigued me.

I was curious to find out what would happen if I did it.

I decided I’d give it a go.

I set my alarm for 5.00am the following morning to be ready for a 6.00am start.

I woke up, packed some fruit, sandwiches, water and money, put on my Garmin and stepped out the front door. I took a deep breath, which turned into a yawn (I yawn when I’m nervous or excited) and started jogging. For the first 10km I was laughing to myself, thinking about what was attempting. I rarely ran more than 15km at a time, and that thought crossed my mind as I passed the 15km mark. 

I had 85km to go.

At 26km, I was feeling pretty good and I got a call from my Dad. “Hey champ” he said, “What are you doing?”

I told him.

“Awesome mate, it’s all in your head”, he said. 

I knew he was right.

When I got to 30km I stopped for a few minutes to go to get a drink. I remember feeling a little tired and wondering what the next 70km would bring.

“It’s all in your head”, I reminded myself.

Ten minutes later, I was passing through the Melbourne market. I stopped to order a long black from Market Lane Coffee. I walked through the market, coffee in hand, and tried to absorb some the atmosphere around me. 

As I left the market, I put my headphones in and listened to a Jay Z album for some inspiration. I went through a period of about half an hour where I felt ok. But that didnt last long.

 As the album finished, my watch beeped to alert me that another kilometre had passed. This time, it was the 50th kilometre.

Half way. 

5 hours and 54 minutes.

I wanted to be excited.

But I wasn’t.

I was just tired.  

Really tired.

I turned around and started jogging home. Just like the scene from Forrest Gump. (You can watch that scene here)

I watched people walking in the opposite direction talking and laughing with their friends. The feelings of how great I thought it would be to run 100km had now long disappeared. With 45km to go, I sat down at St Kilda beach. I needed to stretch. My jog had turned into a shuffle and I wanted to rest for a moment.

My Mum was at a BBQ with some family at the time, but she called to hear how I was going.

"Tired" I said. 

“Be careful love" she said. I’ll call again soon”. She called again a few hours later, and had me on loudspeaker. Everyone at the BBQ was cheering for me and laughing at the randomness of what I was doing. 

I shuffled for the next 25-30km, my body and mind begging me to stop. But I felt I'd come too far to take my advice.

It's interesting that on any great journey, at some point we question why we started. 

I kept putting one foot in front of the other.

With 10km to go, it was dark. I was on a bike track, switching between a slow shuffle and a walk. No one around, just me with my thoughts

Jessie tried to call me, but I couldn’t talk. I was exhausted.

I got through a few more kilometres. I remember getting to one kilometre to go and thinking, “I don’t know if I can make it”. I shuffled for that last kilometre and 15 minutes later I walked through the door.

16 and 47 minutes later

Nothing left.

I’d never pushed myself so hard.

I sat down on my lounge-room floor, completely weak. The kind of weak you feel just before you get sick.

Somehow, Id managed to drag myself across the finish line.

So tired.

So happy.

That adventure was over a year ago now. 

But it sticks in my mind.   

It's a day I think of often, because it was symbolic for me.

It showed me in one day, what the journey of attempting anything great is like. 

At first we're excited. 

When it gets tough we want to stop. 

When we get through it we're grateful. 

But it all starts with taking that first step.

Stepping into the unknown. 

Taking the risk. 

The first step is the scariest one. 

Maybe you know what I mean?

Maybe you've been there before?

Maybe you're there right now?

You have an idea, a dream, desire, but you're uncertain if you can make it work. 

Wondering what if you get half way and dont know how to continue.

Normal emotions.

Uncertainty is fine.

Sometimes if we tune into it too much, our fear of falling short, feeling pain, discomfort and uncertainty stop us from attempting what we're curious to find out if we can complete. 

Sometimes we step out and we do fall short and that hurts. 

But sometimes we step out and it works. 

That’s great.

But the beauty is not found in whether we complete it or not.

The beauty is in the attempt.

It’s in the attempt that we write our most memorable stories.

Learn the best lessons.

Grow the most.

Don't let the lure of comfort or familiarity stop you from stepping out. 

Whats that thing you've been thinking about trying for a while now?

Maybe its time to try it?

How 100 Questions Can Change Your Life

Those of you who have been reading my posts for a while now will know how much I believe in the power of clarity. 

Knowing where you're sailing before you leave the harbour. 

There are some great tools available when it comes to monitoring the progress of any journey we're on, and different tools work for different people. 

Mine is journaling. 

There is something powerful about sitting down, and getting my thoughts out of my mind, and onto paper.

Being able to look at what I was thinking rather than just thinking it. 

I have no real agenda when I journal, I simply write and reflect. 

Recently, I came across a book called How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci'. 

The book contained a journaling exercise that inspired me, and I wanted to share it with you. 

Plus, I'm in Italy right now, so the timing seems right.
 

100 QUESTIONS TO CLARITY

Here’s how it works.

Set aside an hour in your day where you know you won’t be interrupted. Take a note pad and pen and write down 100 Questions that intrigue you, excite you, frustrate you and motivate you. The questions can be about anything.

Work, Relationships, God, Family, Health, Travel, Cats?

It doesn't matter.

You may be like I was and get to a point where after about thirty questions you struggle to think of any more.

Keep going.

You might accidentally repeat a few questions.

That’s fine.

Once you get your questions down, take a breath, have a coffee, walk around the room. Relax.

Ten minutes later, come back to your questions and look through them. You may notice there's a theme in what your questions are trying to answer. 

Out of 100 Questions, all of mine revolved around Faith, Family, Health, Communication and Contribution.

Then you start eliminating. 

Delete the questions that aren't the most important to you. 

You want to delete them until you have your top ten questions. 

Make sure they're the questions that mean the most to you. 

Once you have your top ten questions, set your life about answering them. 

 

WHAT'S THE POINT?

This activity gives us the opportunity to look at what we really care about, and live our life accordingly. It offers clarity, motivation and inspiration. If you aren't 100% certain about where you should commit your time, this activity will take you a big step closer to knowing. 
 

MY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

  1. What is my mission in life
    To utilise my gifts and give people hope through an intentional and committed focus on my five core areas.
     
  2. Where do I find contentment?
    Contentment is not a location but an attitude. Beyond though, there is a peace that I long for. Meditation is the key allowing me to access it. 
     
  3. Is there anything spiritual guiding your life?
    I believe there is a divine energy that guides our lives. I believe the highs and lows we experience are used to help us expand our consciousness and love for others, but it's a choice. 
     
  4. How do I be the best family member I can be?
    Create time and energy to be present with those I love. 
     
  5. How do I live in the moment?
    Remind yourself that now is all you have. The past is gone and the future not guaranteed.
     
  6. Which historical figure has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
    Jesus: Though his character has been greatly misunderstood, tainted and abused by many of those who have represented him, his original message seems powerful. I want to learn more about what he taught and who he pointed to. 
     
  7. How can you get paid to do what you love?
    Add more value to the lives of others. 
     
  8. What does a healthy lifestyle look like to you?
    Developing an excellent and efficient mind and body. I do this through eating naturally, exercising regularly and investing time in developing my mindset. 
     
  9. What is the best way to contribute?
    Using my time, money and energy to invest into the lives of those who are weak where I am strong. 
     
  10. What are the words that describe those you most admire?
    Passionate. Humble. Spiritual. Counter-Cultural, Determined, Communicators, Free, Relaxed, Confident, Intelligent

Are You Making These Thinking Errors?

Just because you're thinking something, doesn't make it true.  

But what we think about, does dictate how we feel. 

It's easy for me to say that now.

I'm happy now. 

But in 2008 I wasn't. 

I was depressed.  

A constant sense of anxiety consumed me. 

Everything felt harder. 

I called my Mum everyday and cried.

Poor Mum.

But I felt so lost and didn't know what else to do. 

If you're anything like me, from time to time you will have found yourself lost in the vicious cycle of negative thinking and feeling as though your mind is in a world of fog. In these moments, we feel as though there is no escape, and that we will never be able to experience peace, joy or beauty in the world.

I used to feel like that. 

But not anymore.  

I feel great now. 

I didn't realise it at the time, but the thoughts I was having were dictating how I was feeling. But they were thoughts that could be changed through challenging them. 

Over time, I just had to learn how to spot the thinking errors I was making, and then figure out how to challenge them. 

Maybe you do to?
 

10 COMMON THINKING ERRORS

  1. Mind Reading: Assuming you know that other people are having negative thoughts about you. With a desire to please others, mind reading can create a negative emotional response within us, as we feel we need to protect ourselves from the negativity we believe is being directed at us. 
     
  2. Should Statements: From time to time we catch ourselves believing that things should be a certain way. This can be a great trigger of stress and anxiety if the reality of a situation doesn't match up to how we between it should be. 
     
  3. Catastrophic Thinking: We predict the worst-case scenario. When we are fully engaged in this form of thinking, we think that disaster or tragedy will strike if we go ahead with our plan. E.g. "I can't swim in the ocean because there was a shark attack earlier this year. If I go in the water I will get attacked by a shark". 
     
  4. Black & White Thinking: You are operating in extremes here. This form of thinking will have you believe that you're either a success or a failure, you're good or bad, great husband or terrible husband. It discounts all the shades of grey that come between the extreme black and white. In reality, sometimes you're a better husband, friend, wife, colleague than other times. One experience doesn't make you all or nothing of one thing or another. 
     
  5. Filtering: We all filter events in our lives in a way that suits the way we already see the world. Have you ever tried to tell some one something, but regardless of how hard you try they won't listen? They have already decided how they've filtered the information on the subject you're speaking about. We do it as well. We can choose how to interpret events. Just because you see it as negative, doesn't make it true. 
     
  6. Overgeneralising: We may have only one or two negative experiences that makes us assume that 'this always happens to me'. You'll realise you're overgeneralising if you catch yourself interpreting your experience with words like always, never and everybody, you're engaged in overgeneralising. 
     
  7. Jumping to Negative Conclusions: We assume that our interpretation of how an event will work out negatively is right, despite how no strong evidence to support us. 
     
  8. Labelling: We take one characteristic of a person and apply it to the person as a whole. If we are late to work a few times we may call ourselves irresponsible. If a friend fails a test we may call them dumb. 
     
  9. Personalising: You take responsibility for something that has gone wrong, regardless of whether there's no basis for you do to so. 
     
  10. Blaming: When something goes wrong and we don't want to have to deal with it, blaming removes the responsibility from our shoulders onto someone else's. When the responsibility is no longer ours, we no longer need to try and understand the behaviours or decisions that led to the problem. 
     

HOW DO I COMBAT MY THINKING ERRORS?

Maybe you're reading this and feeling a little overwhelmed because you've tried to take steps to improve your feelings and nothing seems to work. If you are in that category, here's is a helpful process to both get clarity on what thoughts are upsetting you, and take the steps to challenge them.  Like anything in life, these steps will take some work. You don't get fit from one session at the gym and your mind won't feel perfect after one trial of this process. 

Keep coming back to it. 

 

  1. Situation: Write down the thought or situation that is causing you to feel upset. E.g. I responded to a conversation with my wife stressfully. 
     
  2. Feelings: Write down how the situation you experienced has made you feel. E.g. Disappointed, Frustrated, Incapable of changing my responses. 
     
  3. Thoughts: Write down the thoughts that are going through your mind.  E.g. I always responded with far more stress than is required, she must hate that I always respond poorly, I need to hurry up and learn to be on top of my stress levels, I'm an idiot for letting stress dictate my response. 
     
  4. Beliefs: Based on the above responses, write what your internal beliefs must be.  E.g. A relaxed person never responds with stress, Stress is never acceptable.
     
  5. Thinking Errors: Write down what thinking errors you have are making. E.g. overgeneralising, black & white thinking, should statements, mind reading, catastrophic thinking
     
  6. Dispute: Write down a challenge to the thoughts that you're having. Another way to interpret this situation.  E.g. Just because you have responded with stress a little more than lately does not make you a stressed person. The very fact that you have observed your responses haven't been good 100% of the time is an excellent place to start focussing on improving your responses. Next time I notice myself feeling stressed in a conversation, I will use that as an opportunity to breathe deeply, and respond with patience and kindness. 
     
  7. Positive Actions: Write down some steps you would like to take to improve your situation. E.g. I am going to use this as an opportunity to become the master of stress free living. I am going to take some time to observe my responses over the next few weeks and write a note in my journal each night about the progress of my responses.