What 2015 taught me
So here we are, another year down. I haven’t taken much time to go through this post, so I will apologise in advance as it will probably be me vomiting random thoughts onto my computer.
For me, the years are wracking up and I feel none the wiser but I know I will only have an opportunity to become wise if I take the time to sit down, take stock and learn from what has happened. I am going to get old regardless.
There will most likely be no consistency to these revelations and musings and the tone can be serious to stupid in the blink of an eye but again, in being genuine, this is how my brain works.
I have sustained quite a few scars this year – unfortunately almost all psychological, the physical ones are easy to recover from. But as above, if I can learn from them, it hasn’t been in vain. And although not all of the lessons make sense right now, I certaintly feel as though I know myself a lot better.
So here it goes, lessons life has inflicted on me in 2015…
Nothing in life is guaranteed and when you get too comfortable you get knocked on your ass. You don’t have to have a contingency plan for every conceivable outcome or expect the worst but just enjoy what you have and try not to take the good things for granted.
Live a life in line with your values and beliefs
I’m not going to go all Tony Robbins on you but this is really something I learnt the hard way. Take the time to step back and establish what those values are and then live by them. This won’t be a very difficult thing to do because if you are not living by your values, your body – and life will have some subtle ways of trying to nudge you in a different direction. These nudges may come in the form of short term unhappiness, longer term ‘depression’ or just general feelings of angst, frustration, malaise or a ‘gut’ feeling that you are not on the right path.
Do yourself a favour if you are going through these feelings, do something about it because if you don’t life has a way of eventually forcing you to make a u-turn, and the further down the road you travel ignoring these signs, the more catastrophic the change in direction will be. I have not only seen this in my own life but in friends, families and clients lives.
Cut negative people out of your life
This should be a no-brainer, but it isn’t and I can’t stress it enough. It can be like an itch or death by 1000 cuts, it is easy to ignore at first and before you know it you feel like shit and lose all self worth completely. Which conveniently ties into the next lesson…
Surround yourself with positive people
It may seem very mechanical, but sit down and make a list of people that make you laugh, energise you or make you happy to be around. Then commit to spend more time around them. You really are the average of the people you spend the most time with. Also bring something to the friendship too – a coffee or free food is always good.
WOWBURGER gives Bunsen a serious run for its money
Five Guys is also very good but at almost 16 sterling for a meal, it is a bit pricey when you can get 2 Bunsen meals for that. First world problems.
Drink more water
I have been so inconsistent over the years with this but I have made a bigger effort to get on top of it this year and I am not sure if it coincidental but when I am hammering the water out of it, people tell me I look better and more rested. Just get on it.
KNOW YOUR WORTH
This is something I have always struggled with, especially as someone with low self-confidence but unfortunately as I age, I see this ‘bashfulness’ / low self confidence as a bit of an excuse or cop out.
The unfortunate reality is if you don’t know your own self worth, someone else will establish it for you and it will always be less than what you are and this will create another downward slope and people will treat you like shit if you let them – even ones you love.
Take time to get to know yourself, know what you want in life – and just as importantly know what you DON’T want. Don’t settle for anything less.
Tattoos don’t hurt as much as people say they do
I may actually like Dogs as much as Cats
I never thought I would say this.
It is early days but the slingshot may be the answer to my benching problems
My last bench PR was 3 years ago. I haven’t topped that number yet but I will soon and I really feel like this piece of kit is going to be a big factor in doing so – I will confirm or scoff at this in 12 months time.
I drink a lot of Coffee
When an American informs me of this fact, I probably need to stop and reassess my life choices.
Listen to the compliments
There are probably some of you out there that have no problem doing this whatsoever but the majority of folks are so concerned with what everyone else thinks of them that they don’t hear the good stuff, only the negative. Just open your ears and take the damn compliment. And then say thank you.
Generally people that are at the top of what they do or are successful in their field have no ‘balance’ in their life
I mean, I know this…we all know this. It is an all or nothing deal to get to the top and anyone telling you otherwise is full of shit or trying to sell you something. There are so many hidden hours chasing perfection that the public will never see. I am training with some seriously skilful and dedicated jiu jitsu guys and even though I knew they trained hard, I just didn’t realise how much, thus making me re-evaluate my own efforts.
People who take to social media to spoil movies – such as Star Wars, are skid-marks on the Earth.
I am not 21 years old nor am I a professional athlete
I can play dumb with myself all I want but unfortunately I am now 35, I try to train with the same volume of a professional but I get about 5-6 hours sleep a night and am trying to run a business. I need to face this harsh reality. I should have enough time to stew over this while I am recovering from another knee surgery in the New Year.
Mental health is of upmost importance
This is a no brainer (no pun intended). Talk to someone if you need to, even myself, I can be sympathetic. Sometimes.
A meniscus tear should be treated with respect (as should knee bars)
I love learning and need to read more books
I tend to read too much non-fiction (all training, business and life/ self-help books). I tried some fiction recently – Dracula, and loved it. I’m currently starting Dune. I also need to read one book at a time instead of 3 or 4 – but as long as they are different genres then thats acceptable, right?
Other notable mentions…
Business – Jab, jab, jab, right hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Competition Mindset – The art of mental training by DC Gonzales
Rocket Science – The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
Sports / Pop-science – The Sports Gene by David Epstein
Pop-science – The Brain that changes itself – Norman Doidge
Medals mean nothing
Really, they don’t. Or at least they don’t carry any true value. I came to this (terribly stoic) epiphany one morning when I was sitting in my bedroom looking at a pile of medals that were gathered in the corner of my room. I had just moved back home with my folks and at this stage everything was pretty much piled up in a corner but I noticed that whatever way the sun was shining through the window, there was a layer of dust on them and there they were, the medals that I shed blood, sweat and plenty of tears over for the previous 12 months. Gathering dust.
I realised then that it wasn’t about the medals for me, it was about the experiences and the journey. I love the process of getting better – in all areas of my life. I also love the adrenaline, nerves and banter with teammates around competition and that is something I will miss terribly when the time comes that I can’t compete anymore. The experiences are most important to me.
Internet trolls are everywhere
I was caught up in a very brief exchange online earlier in the year, which was mildly amusing until a couple of members were dragged into a bit of mud-slinging. Dublin being so small, I know of everyone involved in the exchange and have met some of them in the past and knowing they would not say boo to a mouse in person I could only laugh.
There are shitebags online everywhere, it is easy to criticise people online where there is rarely any retribution for bad behaviour. Do not be one of these people and do not get dragged down by any negativity online. It is ALWAYS better to be the person doing out in the real world, than the person online commenting. Always.
Celebrate other peoples successes, congratulate them, it will make you a happier and better person.
An attitude of gratitude is the key to happiness
But like anything this takes consistent practice and at times is difficult to do
Everything in moderation is a myth. Folks that preach about doing things in moderation are usually doing things that they shouldn’t be doing in excess and things that they should be doing in rarity. People talk about things in moderation when they don’t have a goal or a target – set something to work towards and then work towards it.
Do your goals match your actions?
People have a skewed perception of what is moderate when it comes to many things – especially alcohol
I don’t need to go into this one really.
Time really does heal a lot
Its not something you want to hear for the umpteenth time when your world has been turned on its head but everyone can’t be wrong.
Nurses are overworked
Hospitals are understaffed and generally chaos. And there is always at least one lunatic in A&E 24 hours of the day (not including myself).
Anger motivates me more than anything
This can be a positive but also draining over time. Again, it comes back to knowing thyself and unfortunately that is the nature of the beast, I can’t change it but keep it in check and use it when necessary. It is what it is and I don’t feel guilty about it.
I like to give help but unfortunately at times this can cause problems and the opposite outcome for what I intended
I have a need to give help to others but sometimes if this is met with folks that are needy, all it does is help and enable poor behaviours. This is draining and damaging for everyone involved. Sometimes it isn’t good to help, or at least help indirectly – I need to understand better when it is the right time and how to go about it.
As someone that is self employed, energy and enthusiasm are CRUCIAL
I cannot overstate this – protect your passion with your life. Get sufficient rest, take holidays if you can. If you can’t then make sure you are getting enough sleep, enough water, avoiding stress and negative people as much as possible.
Rest is important
It is bloody tricky to get this right and this is where a good coach is priceless. I have missed so much time training and being injured for an inability to rest. My ego got in the way and got hurt. I needed someone to tell me to train or to slow down and let my body recover. Listen to your body and know when to train and when you need to rest.
I can’t fit into skinny jeans
I couldn’t in 2014, I couldn’t this year and the way my waistline has gone in the past fortnight, I definitely wont in 2016.
THERE IS NEVER A ‘RIGHT’ TIME FOR ANYTHING!!
‘I’ll do this when’ or ‘I’ll do that when’, just shut up and do something.
Far too many folks operate in absolutes – or more accurately TALK about working in absolutes. There will never be a right time to get started and from what I have seen with people over the last few years, your work IS NOT going to quieten down, your boss will ensure you keep this rate of work up and keep you busy. So if those health goals are important you better start figuring out a way to make them work NOW.
I’ve written about this before.
Fuck social media
Yea I know, I am probably on there more than most – in fact I am currently looking at highlights of everyones 2015 as I cry into a cup of tea and see how my life is extremely unfulfilled at 35 years of age.
Seriously though, that is all we see, the highlights. I have written about this before here. It is so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others but this is a fast track to frustration and disappointment.
And as another professional observation – I have seen over the years that girls are the worst for this. I have had many girls comment innocently (but we know it isn’t) that such and such is getting so strong so quickly and instead of being happy for that person, they just think their own training is going down the toilet and at worst, stop training altogether. So keep a training diary and try to be better than you were the previous day. Its that simple. People improve at different rates, we are not all linear.
Laughter really is a powerful medicine
This YouTube channel has been therapy for me at times this year. This also confirms that I really am a bastard that enjoys watching other people hurt themselves.
Glucosamine still does nothing for me.
I understand that my ligaments and tendons are not quite normal (think Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable) but still, no benefit…
People put absolutely no value on free stuff – especially when it comes to fitness
This probably goes beyond the scope of my education but I can call on years of observations. I ran an online trial this year (top secret) and noted that the rate of compliance was extremely low, even though the product was of high value.
I have seen this when I have dispensed work advice when ‘off duty’ – and of course only when asked, but in this case people are just keep asking me questions to get the answer they are already looking for. From now on I am telling strangers I work in IT.
Of course, this could just mean I’m shit but I have plenty of clients and members that pay me well, so go figure…
I cannot help Everyone
People will walk through the door and I usually know within 5 minutes if the particular person will be a good fit for the gym or not. 2016 I will not play the role of enabler and will protect the community in my gym with more vigilance.
Jason trying to do a Turkish Get Up with Joe at the Christmas party was one of the highlights of my year
Spend more time with your family
They are the ones that will be there for you when you need them, this should go both ways.
Quite often my good manners/politeness gets mistaken for naivety / stupidity / ignorance
I am not the smartest in the world but often times I have had a voice in my head tell me not to say ‘ you are full of shit’ and ‘if your diet is so good why are you overweight’ or ‘if you are a life-coach then why are you on the verge of a nervous breakdown?’.
I had an epiphany at 3am in December when someone was trying to critique my business and personality – there will be less politeness from me in 2016.
I love my job
This is something that I struggle with. Owning your own business draws similar symptoms to being manic or bi-polar, sharp highs followed by steep drops and visa versa.
There are times when I feel like packing it all in and working for ‘the man’ and then other times when I doubt I would experience a fraction of the job satisfaction anywhere else. It may sound contrived but if I was in this game for money, I would have gotten out a long time ago.
I get to help people become stronger and fitter and literally see their confidence grow before my eyes – something that I am ultimately looking for myself. That is probably why I got drawn to doing this, helping others find something that I have always been looking for myself.
I love the atmosphere in the gym now, the community/people in there and the way it has shaped over the past year. This has undoubtedly been the best year yet for the gym and I am excited to see where we will be in 12 months.
I am very grateful for the new friends I have made this year and the old friends that came to my help when I needed it. Some of that help came from some unexpected places – when I was open to it and looking back it is humbling.
I could never have predicted that I would find myself in the position I am in now after the start of this year but in a twisted way thats what makes life so interesting – nothing is guaranteed. Do your best to remain positive and keep hustling and moving forward regardless of where you are at now, there is no reason that 2016 can’t be the best year yet!
It will be 31st December 2016 before you know it
Get to work now and be a better you this time next year.