A New Habit: Writing Wednesday 002

Well, a week’s gone by and rather than what could have happened (failure) I made it. I got another 1000 word piece done over on Medium for #WritingWednesday I’m linking to it below. Also have a new video I’m editing right now but you can also check out My First Day On Snapchat (and follow Multitude 277 for the real moments of this journey as they happen)

 

 

View story at Medium.com

 

 

Thank you for reading and as always please leave a comment below or reach out to me and let me know what you like or don’t like about my creative expressions.

Excuses—Free Yourself from Your Own Chains

Self Imposed Chains May Be Looming Over You, and Linking You To Your Own Demise.

Looking back on what I learned as a 25 year old, one thing stands out above everything else. My 25th year was a year in which I actually learned a lot, but my most important lesson is arguably still being absorbed and put into practice. The most important thing I discovered is to confront excuses and the power that they can hold over ones life. I spent 2014 in a huge commitment to a project, 65h weeks were on the low side of average, in a mentally and physically demanding position. In 2014 I was a Sous-Chef in a brand new restaurant. It was easy to let my health, personal desires, love, and sense of a normal life to fall by the wayside. Or at least such a commitment appeared to allow my ego to justify that as an excuse. I think all in all a second valuable lesson was what life can be like in a state of immense commitment. I didn’t practice or study music, write/blog, or develop any of my own business ideas into business plans. Misuse of my “free time” is to blame. Where does the excuse come in? I told myself that the commitment itself justified putting my true desires aside, and that I couldn’t compromise my commitment to someone else’s dreams to pursue my own. That is an excuse to stay complacent, in place, and put others interests over my own. That being said, I did accomplish one of my true desires outside of my major commitment: completing 4 Spartan Races in 11 months. I was able to attain this goal despite maintaining high performance in a role as a key management member of a busy restaurant. Surely if I can do that then I can adjust, restructure and address the excuses I made that held me back from pursuing true personal freedom.

I make excuses, and you do too if you’re being honest. Not all excuses are malevolent, and not all of a grandly deceptive nature, but overall the process of making excuses is subtly eroding away at lives of fulfillment. The human body, spirit, and mind are capable of amazing and incredible feats. The same human body, spirit, and mind will often allow a falsely justified attitude or idea (an excuse) to control itself, robbing the potential of the amazing and incredible. Excuses are created to escape responsibility for giving direction and purpose, to one’s own life. As awe-inspiring as the capabilities of the human being may be, conversely the un-inspiring excuses created by the same human being can be just as astonishing. The mind, or rather the ego takes pride in it’s creations. Subconsciously there is pride in standing by the excuse that has been formulated. Justifying excuses often takes even more effort then to change the behavior or to be accountable. Everybody has met someone standing behind an excuse with bullish stubbornness. “I can’t because… insert self-defeating statement.” When questioned or shown the fallacy of their justifications, they only entrench more, “No, I can’t because…x,y,z.” The x,y,z are reasons that they believe in their inabilities over their abilities, or fear over faith. It’s like solving a math problem, but never double checking it or verifying the validity of the answer, then finding out you got the wrong answer but trying to argue for the miscalculations merit, or that you did get the right answer. It is astounding the level of effort that someone can thrust into their false rationale of why something can’t be done, rather then redirecting that effort into solutions, or changing thoughts and behaviors.

Why Didn’t the Bird Cross the Road? He’s got an excuse just ask him.

What few people will say or realize is that change, and a life with direction require effort, but SO DOES MAKING EXCUSES. Wasting cognitive resources explaining, and defending excuses repeatedly through flawed logic is no way to become successful. I think the root is gratification. Especially in today’s society, people value instant gratification. The work required to affect positive change in life is seen as less gratifying because the reward is at the end, not the beginning. People think that by making an excuse they have avoided the problem, situation or event, thus receiving subconscious gratification immediately. The reverse is in fact true. The gratification that was felt from making and justifying an excuse to not act, grow, or change will ultimately sour into a state of un-fulfillment and fear of change. Putting in the work to change, to plan, to learn, then to become fulfilled through creating a real purposeful life is much more desirable in the long run than its counterpart. Taking the easy way out, avoiding real decisions and work, feeling a small sense of reward from avoidance, only to later have life deteriorate and collapse when the foundation of excuses crumbles, and simply cannot be vindicated any longer.

How do you overcome the propensity for the easy way out? Initially you must recognize and address this in yourself. The capabilities of our species are limitless, and constantly being defied. Latch on to the reasons why you can, versus why you can’t. Other people are pursuing, and achieving their dreams without excuses, or at least crushing the excuses into oblivion along the way. Join them. Don’t let another day, hour, or minute go by without realizing that you have the same potential to achieve as any other, you just choose not to. Choosing to live a real life, or subsisting in a state of non-action, and avoidance. Seems like an easy choice, or should when it’s spelled out in black and white. Evaluate your life as it is currently, why you’re not where you want to be, and take 100% responsibility for where you are and directing yourself towards a future that is desirable.

What has helped me face my excuses? One day in December 2013, I can pinpoint my battle against excuses taking a turn in my favor that fortuitous day. I completed a grueling 15.5 mile Spartan Beast, on 2.5 hours of sleep, and still finished in top 100 in my age group. If I can even complete the race under such circumstances how am I allowing myself to not reach that potential regularly? That day was my first step in taking on excuses head on. One day, and one event is not enough. I still created elaborate excuses throughout 2014 that held me back. Adopting a vigilance against self-defeating thoughts must be maintained daily. That is what I really learned. I am not 100% free of excuses yet, but I continue to challenge any notion that what lies in front of me is beyond my capabilities, and I know there are individuals alive today that overcame this and achieved great things regardless of circumstance.

A Foray Into Photography

These are some shot’s I’ve taken throughout the year of 2014. Some are Spring time, Summer, or now Autumn. I bought a DSLR camera for myself on my 25th birthday back in January. Making time to learn and improve in this field has been a challenge, but also lots of fun. It’s nice to take the time to learn something completely outside of the usual realm of my main work. I love photography, and hope to continue to improve and study this craft.

Essentially this is a small part of my path towards renaissance this year. Personally I think there’s some good shots, but I’m curious if that’s just self-flattery. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Thank you 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Health and Fitness Right Now

When it comes to health and fitness, I’m not “an expert”, yet. However, I’ve been studying it and increasingly dedicated to it for the last 6 years. I have learned an immense amount, but there is always more to learn. Plus, science, technology, and information sharing have all increased available knowledge, and progressed health and fitness to new realms. I’m skeptical about training just one way, I believe in a balanced approach, and that’s what I’m working towards.  Gradually improving what I eat, how I train, and what I study/believe. I want to share resources, workouts, diet tips, and progress in this category of the blog, also make myself available to answer any questions. I’m working on becoming a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) this year so if you’ve got questions I’d be happy to help.

This is a passion that’s borderline obsessive. Not as obsessive as some people, but it’s still been something I’ve been very focused on, and progressively more so. I invest money, time, and substantial effort. Results have been steady, but finally breakthroughs are here. (6/19/13), I set 2 personal records for lifting. Dead Lift over 200lbs. (205×6)x2. And, Bench press over 200lbs 225–4x. Both of these have been on my fitness goals since LAST YEAR. So I’m pretty happy that I’ve been able to cross them off. Evernote Snapshot 20130619 234635 That’s one thing I love about having clearly defined goals in places you’ll see them; sometimes it may seem like nothing’s happening but the more you see that and think about it the more likely you are to take action. The thing is that I’ve probably been strong enough for quite some time now, but just never tried. That being said those are relatively light weights in the fitness world, but nonetheless for my 170lb frame, mark a decent strength benchmark, and a place to keep improving from. My body fat percentage is surely dropping and overall body aesthetics are improving.

I always record my workouts, so I can see progress and learn from mistakes, and for personal accountability. Evernote Snapshot 20130619 204932

(I recommend pen and paper, but digital is an option)

This was today’s workout with notes: (weight/reps unless otherwise indicated)

This workout is a variation on a total body day from a self designed program I’ve been developing over the last several years. The more I learn the more I adapt this and add/remove exercises.

Warm up:

Bike 10 minutes: stationary bike on a moderately challenging setting.

Stretch: upper/lower body, compound movements, and total body stretches

Warm up circuit: Complete 3 circuits

(no rest between exercises)

15 lateral raise with resistance band

15 incline situps with 10lb medicine ball (alternate twisting each set)

15 box jumps 1.5 feet

Main Lifts: (maximum 1.5 minute rest between lifts)

Seated Machine Row: 60/20, 90/10, 120/8, 90/10, 45/15

Bench Press: 135/8, 225/4*, 135/8

Dead Lift: 135/8, 205/6*, 205/6, 135/8

Hammer Curl: 40/12, 45/10, 50/8, 45/10, 35/12

Leg Press: 180/15, 225/FAIL (65)

Myotatic Crunch: 12 reps

Chinups: 7 (legs at 90 degrees), 6 (reversed grip), 4 (2 finger).

*Indicates personal best & goal accomplished.

In my next fitness post I’ll be sharing some of the resources that have taught me the most in the past, as well as the one’s I’m learning from now.

Thanks for reading, and keep training. Ask me any questions in regards to this post or health and fitness in general, and I’ll share what I know or find an answer.

Brendan