1803, 2015

Fishing without knowing it is not fish you’re after

By |March 18th, 2015|Life lessons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after”
(Henry David Thoreau)

It’s a funny quote this isn’t it because it could be interpreted in a few ways. For me it makes me think of two things.

Firstly, the journey. In today’s society we are so goal focussed. And I’m certainly guilty of this – both as an individual and also as someone who writes on this and speaks on this a lot. But ‘guilty’ is not the right word because being purpose-driven and having a dream and chasing goals around this dream is not a bad thing at all. In fact it is a great thing. BUT, often we spend our whole lives chasing the goal (our whole lives fishing), without realising that it is not in the achievement, but in the activity itself that we find enjoyment, meaning and value. Is the contestant on The Biggest Loser proud of losing all that weight? Of course. But do they also look back and realise they are prouder of the person they’ve become through the journey that enabled them to lose that weight?! Is the Olympian proud of getting to the Olympics? Of course. But are they also proud of the journey and what it took to even qualify and get there?!

Secondly, perspective.  When I wrote A Life That Counts and chose the title it was because I wanted to challenge us as to what it means to live a life that really matters and stands for something. I’m all for following my/your dreams and achieving my/your goals. I write about this and speak about this so often. But, they’re just part of the picture of life. They’re not the whole fabric. The purpose of life is far greater than our own personal fulfilment, our career and our own peace of mind. It is not measured solely by an Olympic medal, by a particular goal achieved, by how wealthy you are and what you earn, by how many twitter followers you have, or by public recognition and fame. After all, at our funeral and after we die, it’s not our achievements, our degrees, our bank balance or our fame that people will really remember and speak about. I write more about this in the last chapter of my book. What is it to live a life that counts?

Furthermore, happiness and fulfilment aren’t ‘out there’, they’re within. They’re independent of circumstance and they don’t rest solely on whether we achieve a specific goal. Succeeding in the game of life is bigger than all this. How often do we go running after things that we think will make us happy, only to realise that they don’t ultimately satisfy? The next car. The next job. The next girl or boy. The next drug. The next adventure or experience.  We go fishing to catch one kind of fish and realise it doesn’t make us happy, so we try and catch another one. We spend our whole lives fishing without realising it’s not the fish that will make us happy.  As a christian, it reminds me of the wise words of Jesus “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul. And what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). For me, Jesus is the only one that could satisfy my heart and fill that God-shaped hole that I tried to fill with so many other things. He is the only one that could fill me with a peace which is unexplainable.

Many men go fishing their whole lives, without knowing it is not fish they’re after. Food for thought.

 

 

 

 

1711, 2014

Are you happy ? … how to get happiness

By |November 17th, 2014|Life lessons, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Happiness. We all want to be happy don't we. It's on top of all of our lists when it comes to things we want in our life. And its the same for everyone – regardless of where you live in the world; no matter how rich or poor you are; no matter your background or your age – we all want to be happy.


The question then is how ? Some try and achieve it through money and wealth (buying happiness). Others through service and charity. Others through achievements. Others through meditation. Others through drugs and alcohol. Others through relationships and sex.

So what makes you happy ? Perhaps you remember a past blog I wrote on happiness where I shared some findings around happiness. Some of the key points I wrote about were:

  • Surprisingly, according to this research, genetics play a bigger role than we would have first thought in our happiness. And yet, life's circumstances (our wealth, material possessions, what happens to us) play a much smaller role than we would have first thought. It is why a Masai herdsman can be as happy as a multi-millionaire (see details here). Or why a lottery winner and a paraplegic can return to the same previous long-term happiness level (see this article and see here).
  • Most importantly, a big part of our happiness is determined by our intentional activity – what we think and what we do. And the good news is that this is in our control – so in this way happiness is a choice. So if we find and use strategies focussed on increasing our happiness (exercise gratitude, enjoy pleasurable activities, improve your stress management skills, manage and harness your thoughts, focussing on those things and those people that make you happy, make sure you are striving after the right goals for the right reasons etc) it can have a big effect.

So with that in mind, here's a couple of thoughts from my life experience so far as to things you can do that will contribute to being happier.

1.  Realise that it's your life and that you (and noone else) is responsible for your happiness.  This sounds so chiche, but it's true. You along know what makes you happy. You alone cultivate those things in your life. You alone do those activities, and surround yourself with those people, and think those thoughts, and make those decisions that contribute to your happiness. You alone create the happy life you dream of. You and not someone else.

2. Don't live your life by other people's expectations or to try to please everyone.  Don't live to please others. And don't live by their expectations and their comments. You'll never please everyone anyway and it honestly doesn't really matter that they think anyway. Live your life by the beat of your own drum. Live your life how you want to and on your terms.

3. Quit worrying.  What will worrying add to your life? It is time and energy invested in what you think and hope wont happen, and may not actually happen. Worrying achieves absolutely nothing. It isn't productive. It wastes precious time. It is destructive in many cases. And it puts your focus in the wrong direction. Learn to quit worrying and you'll be a whole lot happier.

4. You can't buy happiness. Never forget that the best things in life truly are free. Health. Love. Relationships. Satsfaction. Enjoyment. Purpose. Happiness. You can't buy these. We try and fill our life with things that give us 'momentary' pleasure. And in many respects these 'things' complicate our lives. Life is simpler than that. And happiness is simpler than that too – despite what the world tries to tell us.

 

My Challenge
What makes you happy ? Find out. Cultivate and embrace these things. Implement them in your life
. And let your happiness be the judge and proof of if they make a difference. 

1301, 2014

Thank God for closed doors

By |January 13th, 2014|Perseverence, Uncategorized|0 Comments

I THANK GOD FOR CLOSED DOORS.

This past few years has been a really difficult journey for me. I gave up a job I loved to pursue my olympic dream again and after all the sacrifice, hard work and effort to get there again, and after being in the best shape of my life (physically and mentally) – that Olympic journey ended up with a bizarre, unexpected and devastating crash in front of the world’s media at the Vancouver Olympic Games. I couldn’t have scripted that Olympics worse if I had tried. But that’s another story. And then on the job front I made a slight change with my career and ended up working for a firm which was the antithesis of everything that I am, that I embrace and how I operate. And the parting gift from this work stress was glandular fever. But that’s another story. I’m better now but things on the work front have still not taken shape the way I want them to. I feel like I’m walking through mud and treading water. Of course there have been some good times and some good things along the way – it isn’t all bad. But, there is no doubt – it has been a tough time.

And yet, despite not having found the next open door yet, I actively thank God for closed doors.

Enter Tyler. It was a post of his that inspired this blog and what he writes below I completely agree with. Thankyou Tyler for the encouragement and wisdom. I hope this inspired all of you too.

“When I wake up in the morning and see the sunrise as I’m running, I thank God for new mercies every day. As I was running this morning I started thinking about this and you know how much I like to share my morning thoughts… LOL

I was out just thinking about my life and all the times that I wished that a door had opened. All the times I had promoters and people lie to me saying that they would help me… I remember wishing the bank would approve my loan request for a house or a car (usually one I couldn’t afford at the time). I wished that this person would help me or that person would do something to help my business, or this person would help my dreams come true.

As I look back now I’m so glad that none of those situations worked out. I’m so glad God closed those doors because they forced me to find the right path for me. If you’re in this situation and you feel like doors are closing all around you and you are frustrated, here’s something I’d like you to think about: Life can be like a living maze. You know what a maze is. In a maze, you start out at one end and your objective is to find your way to the finish line.

Many times you may make a turn and hit a dead end and you have to go another way. Just like life, that door closing on you sends you another way. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, it just means you need to go another way. If you keep moving, eventually you will get to where you’re going.

Another thing that is important when you’re in a maze, as in life, is to remember where you have been. If you get turned around and confused in a maze, in order to get out, you have to remember the dead-ends that you have already hit. Just like in life you have to remember all the doors that were closed so you don’t waste time going that way again. If you want to get to your dreams you can’t expect to get there by doing the same thing and going to the same spots. You must try something different. I’m not saying give up on your dream, I’m saying try another path to the same dream. Same maze, same dream, but take a different direction to get there.

I feel sorry for people who have a dream and give up because it gets hard. Let me tell you something, “IT’S GOING TO GET HARD!” And my answer to that is, “SO WHAT? MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!” Don’t stop because a door closed. I have learned to thank God for closed doors. You have to know that if God wanted you to go that way, no man could close that door. But for some reason he allowed that door to be closed, but if that one was closed I assure you that there is one that is open somewhere. And it’s the right one. Don’t stop until you are living your dream.”

Challenge
Closed doors happen. Thank God for them. But don’t stop there. Keep going until you find the open one and until you  are living your dreams. We’ve only got one life – so let’s make it count !

2708, 2013

Change – there's 3 things (not 2) that are certain in life

By |August 27th, 2013|Miscellaneous, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The saying goes that there are two things certain in life – death and taxes. Well I disagree. There are three things certain in life – at least life as it is now – death, taxes and … change.

And oh how we hate change. And oh how we fear it. We want certainty!

In fact, we spend inordinate amounts of time at work in strategy and planning meetings – scheming the future and planning for that predictable outcome. And in our own careers and lives we do the same – planning and pursuing the dream of a certain future.

There’s nothing wrong with that of course, and I am probably the worst offender at this. Personally, I like routine and structure. But, the reality is that we live in uncertain times and there will always be change. It will be a constant companion throughout our lives. Yet too often we treat change with contempt: we ignore it, overlook it, run away from it, pretend it does not exist, or believe that we can control it through planning and strategising. We believe that our comfortable routines are the best or only way, and any attempt to disrupt them is very much avoided.

But here’s a thought – it is often our desire to avoid change and our over-attachment to certainty that can be one of our biggest enemies. Perhaps we should embrace change and not run from it. Of course unplanned events can and will impinge on our lives. Change is inconvenient, frustrating at times, uncomfortable and sometimes painful (ever tried changing a habit?). But change isn’t necessarily bad.

Change brings opportunities. People get promoted through change. People get to show their wares in new roles because of change. Change brings new techniques, methods and inventions which can result in better performances and better productivity. Change gave the 19 year old Australian cricketer (Ashton Agar) the chance to score 98 runs and break records in their first test. Change brought TV, computers and smart phones. Change gave me the random opportunity to do bobsleigh and go to two Olympics. Change gives you the opportunity to improve things. Change brings variety. Change gets rid of the old. Change brings new seasons.

So perhaps we should change our mindset around change and instead of running from it, try and embrace it and the opportunities and possibilities it brings. After all, if nothing changes, nothing changes.

But more than that – let’s not think that it needs to be a case of predictability and stability or chaos, randomness and change. Life is more complex than just saying it is one or the other. I think we should appreciate that it is neither and/or both.  Unplanned events, surprises and change can and will happen. And plans aren’t bad and they can and do work. But we shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t work out precisely as you predicted, or if they fail. Satisfying and productive lives can be sufficiently ordered to enjoy a degree of stability, but with an openness to the randomness of change and the opportunities that comes with it. Both planning and change can exist together.

My challenge

Change your mindset to embrace change and figure out how it can benefit you, personally and professionally.
For example, what change would you like to see in your life right now ?
Or what change or uncertainty are you facing right now that you can see opportunities and possibilities in?

 

2308, 2013

Hello world!

By |August 23rd, 2013|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

1308, 2013

We're both scared but for different reasons

By |August 13th, 2013|Fear, Uncategorized|0 Comments

We’re both scared but for different reasons.
I’m scared of what I wont become.
You’re scared of what I could become.
I wont let myself end where I started.
I wont let myself finish where I began.
I know what’s is within me even if you can’t see it yet …
I will become what I know I am.

Fear holds so many of us back. And it comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It could be the fear of failure. Or it could be the fear of success. It could be the fear of letting others down. The fear of disappointing your parents or teacher. It could be many things.
But here’s something I’ve learnt it my own life and also when interviewing the 10 famous Australians for my book A Life That Counts. Successful people face the same fears as we do. It is not that they are not afraid. It is that they choose to ignore it. They choose to do something regardless of their fear. They choose to adopt a different mindset with that fear.

You see fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear. The fearless person is well aware of the fear she faces. The fear, though, becomes a compass, not a barrier. It becomes a way to know what to do next, not something that has to be denied or an evil demon to be extinguished. When we deny our fear, we make it stronger. And trying to deny it doesn’t make us fearless.

But acknowledging your fear and moving on / choosing a new (brave) mindset permits any fear to exist without strengthening it or letting it control you.

“We’re both scared but for different reasons.
I’m scared of what I wont become.
You’re scared of what I could become.”

Challenge
The fear will not necessarily go away. So what new empowering and brave mindset will you adopt despite the fears you have ? 

 

 

 

 

1806, 2013

You just kinda want it – you don't want it as much as you want to be cool

By |June 18th, 2013|Motivation, Uncategorized|0 Comments

“Most of you say you want to be successful … but you don’t want it bad – you just kinda want it …
you don’t want it badder than you want to party …
you don’t want it as much as you want to be cool …
most of you don’t want success as much as you want to sleep”

Wow. Now that’s a reminder. A reminder that you can’t wish your dreams into being. Thinking something is all well and good, but it’s not the same as doing. Success doesn’t just happen – it takes hardwork and commitment and discipline. It takes pushing through the ups and downs that come your way on the journey. It takes saying no to things and forgoing other things. It takes not accepting excuses. It takes an active decision to prioritise that goal and dream that you’re chasing. It takes time. And it takes motivation.

When I coach or speak to people about motivation I always explain that to be truly effective it has to come from the heart not the head. That is, it comes from deep inside you. It isn’t just positive talk that stems from your head. Or that song or speech or video that pumps you up for that moment. Or consciously willing yourself to do something. They’re all fine and good. But real motivation is a deep powerful force coming from within you – pushing you forward to what you want. That help you get through those obstacles and set-backs and disappointments. It is those deep unconscious emotional drivers in action (see Chapter 4 of my book ‘A Life That Counts‘ for more on this and the psychology around the Limbic System / motivation / making change.

So use this video to inspire you, but realise that to really start to move forward to the things you want it will take two things:

1. A decision

2. Figuring out WHY you really want that thing / goal / dream. The deep reason of why you want whatever you want to achieve / be / do. No, really: why do you want it? What will you get from it? How will you feel about yourself? What will it mean to achieve your dream?
You see when you’re clear on ‘why’ you’re doing something, then the ‘hows’ become clearer and become simply a means of making the ‘why’ come to pass.

 

Here’s a couple of examples of what I mean from two incredible contributors to my book.

1. Lydia Lassila (Olympic Gold Medallist):

‘Throughout my whole career, I was frustrated because I knew my potential. I knew I was better than the results I was showing. I’d perform well and have a sense of accomplishment, but I’d then get another injury and get so down and disappointed. What kept me going, though, was knowing I was better and could be better and that I had the potential to be number one in the world. I hadn’t got there yet, but that was what was motivating me: the fact that I knew I hadn’t yet reached my full potential. I knew my potential was the gold medal. I knew it was to break the world record. It’s personal reward, and I’ll take that to the grave with me.’

2. Michael Milton (World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, multiple Paralympic Gold medallist, Winter and Summer Paralympian):

‘One of the things cancer takes away from you is your own belief in yourself, particularly as your body starts to fail. You start to lose that self-worth. About a month after I’d finished my cancer treatment, I really had no idea of where or what I wanted to do in my life. The prognosis looked good in terms of going into remission, and my health had improved, but I just didn’t know what I was going to do. Was I going to be an athlete or apply for a real job? I found myself sitting with my ‘Goals’ folder, and when looking through it, I saw a goal I’d set myself 18 months before: to go to Beijing as a track cyclist. I think that when I wrote that goal down, it was more of an option at the time. I wasn’t fully committed to it at that time, and so after I’d researched it and considered it further, I wrote on another piece of paper a whole pile of points – the good things that could come out of this goal even if I didn’t achieve it. This was my ‘why’ and helped me to really commit to the goal fully. It was about getting healthy and fit again. It was about giving myself something to do. It was about motivation to get out of bed on a daily basis when I had no energy. It was more than just achieving that goal. And I remember the reward of just receiving that phone call from the head coach telling me I’d been selected for Beijing, and just sitting on the bed with my wife, crying our eyes out.’


Challenge

What do you want ?
Why ?
Find your ‘why’ and get clear on that …
and then watch and feel the difference in your motivation and then your behaviour.

 

2012, 2012

Gratitude – like wrapping a present without giving it ?

By |December 20th, 2012|Life lessons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Someone once said to me that feeling gratitude without sharing it with someone is like wrapping a present without giving it to the person.

So with this statement in my head and Christmas almost upon us it led me to start thinking about how I could be more thankful and grateful in my life. After all, I am so blessed. Blessed with an amazing family. Blessed to live in Australia – with freedom, democracy, a good economy, no war, no famine, an incredible lifestyle and so on. Blessed to be have given my life to Jesus and to have a real and personal relationship with him. Blessed to live in the apartment that I do at Queenscliff overlooking Manly beach and living with a great flatmate. Blessed to have the great friends I do. Blessed to be fit and healthy and to have lived such an active, jam-packed life so far. Blessed to be living in a rich, western country and not be born into extreme poverty. Blessed to have travelled and seen the world like I have. And on and on and on.

I am blessed and it would serve me well to be more grateful for this.  To be more consciously aware of all my blessings and to take those moments to stop and smell the roses and be thankful for all I have and all I have experienced (and all I haven’t experienced too).

http://blog.jeremyrolleston.com/?p=338

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/money-not-the-key-to-happiness-20100709-1041y.html

So here’s some thoughts that I’ve come up with on how to be more grateful. perhaps they’ll encourage you to do the same.

1. Give an unexpected compliment every day – share my gratitude
2. Keep a gratitude journal – I know this isn’t for everyone just like writing a personal journal resonates with some and doesn’t with others. But  perhaps I can write occasionally in a journal and list all the things I am thankful for in order to help me become more consciously aware of what I have.
3. Reframing – to actively try and see things from a different perspective. For example – what is a gift or something that I can be thankful for that has been wrapped up by punishment, hardship or pain. How can I actively take a different more thankful and positive view?
4. One vote of thanks every day – why don’t I say thanks or be thankful for something everyday. And say it out aloud to give it more weight. (Thanks for the sunrise. Thanks for the sleep-in. Thanks for the ferry ride. Thanks that I feel better. Thanks for that meal. And so on).

Challenge
Don’t you agree that being more grateful is a great way to go through life.
But even more than that, feeling gratitude without sharing it with someone is like wrapping a present without giving it to the person. So let’s be grateful but let’s also share that gratitude (via compliments or other ways). It is a free gift to give and is good for both you and everyone else !

2711, 2012

The irony of judement

By |November 27th, 2012|Life lessons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

There’s a funny story to when I learnt this. I had won some money whilst working at ANZ and was able to spend it on my own self-development. I could do whatever I wanted as long as it got signed off. Well, whilst some went off and started their masters, and others did some specific courses on offer … I went ice-climbing in NZ.

Well aside from that being a life experience (and a frightening one for that matter), I also did a whole host of personality profiles. I did one called the LSI (Lifestyles Inventory) and as part of this you get your family / friends/ boss / employees to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire on you. And then you do the same yourself. You then compare the two results and low and behold others see you differently to how you see yourself.

The life lesson learnt – you judge others by their actions but yourself by your intentions.

It is said that when you point the finger you have one finger pointing at someone else, but don’t forget you have 4 fingers still pointing back at you. And the Bible puts it like this “Get the log out of your own eye before you get the speck out of someone elses”.

Challenge
Before we judge others, we should first judge ourselves.
And if ever we do judge others we should never forget to judge ourselves by the same standards to avoid being hypocritical.
After all, we judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intentions.

 

 

708, 2012

What's your story ?

By |August 7th, 2012|Dare to Dream, Uncategorized|0 Comments

So when you think of the future, what comes to mind ? What have you done ? What haven’t you done ? What are you disappointed about ? What do you regret ? What are you satisfied and happy about ? What are you proud of ? Who’s in your world in the future ? Who isn’t ?

The thing about our future is that we truly do create it. It sounds like such a cliche but it’s true. We do create our own story. It is not already mapped out for us like a treadmill we can’t get off or a book that is already written. You’re in control of your own destiny because your future  is defined by the decisions you make today. Noone forces you to make those decisions. Most certainly circumstances factor into the decisions we each make. But at the end of the day, circumstances are just a factor in this decision-making process. After all, how many stories have you heard of people rising up from poverty and from disadvantaged backgrounds to do incredible things? From Oprah Winfrey, to Obama, to Nic Vujicic (whose inspiration video I have included in a blog before), to the ‘Blade Runner’ (Oscar Pistorius), to the Iraqi rowers I watched in a videomon the plane yesterday – guys who train to compete in the Olympic Games by rowing along the Tigris River in Baghdad amidst war and at times dead bodies which float around them. Or, whilst not as extreme, what about a boy from Australia doing bobsleigh in the Olympics !

Let me share a little bit about how I view the future. I absolutely believe my best days are ahead. And I actively plan for the future I want. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy where I’m at, but I definitely think and plan and actively make decisions in order to create the tapestry of the life that I want. Here’s the proof … just today on a plane I scribbled out various things about my life right now and about how I wanted it to look in various areas and I made plans for what I would do to make this a reality.

But more than that. I also have constructed vision boards for how I want my future to look. Here’s one of them (there’s a few).

I’ve written about how powerful vision boards are in a few past blogs below and I’ve also given them a fair bit of attention in both my book and workbook.
1. Goal Setting – the magic noone gets
2. Authentic – Living the dream

They do make a difference as many will testify to. So I want to encourage you again to create your own vision board – a vision for your own future and what it will look like. They will help the dream in your head come alive and become real in your emotions. They’ll help you see, feel, smell, taste, touch your dream future more easily. To feel all the fulfilment of doing that thing you’ve always wanted; to feel the joy of your friends and family around you; to hear the laughter of your kids; to taste that beautiful dinner you just cooked for that dinner party; to smell the wood burning on that open fire; to feel healthy and fit like you desire. And so on. You get the picture. You see, this is the secret sauce that many people miss and aren’t aware of – turning your goals and hopes into a genuine emotional experience. One that arouses your emotions and changes them from mere words or hopes or desires into powerful images that you can immerse yourself in and, in so doing, will then fire up your powerful emotional circuits (the Limbic System) that will ultimately drive your behaviour. (Read chapter 5 in my book or buy my workbook if you wish to know more).

And the cool thing is that, at the same time, by constantly seeing pictures of what you want your future to look like, you will be closing the gap between what you dream and what you actually believe you can achieve. Remember that your mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and non-reality. So, by visualising your future (vision boards is just one way of doing this) you’ll suddenly find it much easier for your mind to believe you’ll achieve the dream. It won’t seem unachievable or unrealistic at all!

Challenge
So what’s your story ? What’s your future look like ? Are you encouraged by the fact that some of the best days of your life haven’t happened yet ? Remember, you’re future is in your own hands because the decisions you make today will contribute to define your future tomorrow. So what decisions will you make today ? Will be doing a vision board be one of them ?