Thoughts Are Not Enough

THE PROBLEM WITH POSITIVE THINKING

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith“ – The Book of Timothy.

Being both an athlete and an owner of a somewhat large business in the fitness industry, I have noticed much more talk about the Law of Attraction and positive thinking as it relates to fitness and sports. Of course, these concepts are nothing new, but they seem to have found new life in social media circles as of late. I’m happy to see that there is an increased focus on the power of thought and philosophy as it relates to physical performance and health. I do, however, become a little concerned when I see so many people post about thinking positive without talking about the other major factor in achievement and health, WORK. Thoughts alone are not enough. You still have to do the work to succeed. Positive thinking without hard work is delusion. It’s the same as walking into a garden and chanting “there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds.” Guess what? There’s probably weeds and they will take over the whole garden without working to rip them out.

In fact, not only does it take work, it takes massive action to achieve your desires and make sure the garden of your life is beautiful. What does that mean? It means that it usually takes even more work than you think it’s going to initially. So be prepared for that. Not only do you have to think positively that you can do something, you must be ready to work as if your life depends on it. I believe like the quote says, much of life is a battle. We all must battle everyday against the negative thoughts we have. We must battle against the obstacles that stand in the way of our goals. We must battle against darkness in the world by becoming a beacon of light. But a battle takes work. Thinking you can win is not enough. You must begin the race by doing the work of taking the first step and then having the belief you can finish and following up to make sure you do. Optimism itself will not do. Positive thinking must lead you to take action for it to be useful.

The last key to making sure win the battle is keeping the faith in yourself and others. What good is it to fight for what you want if you let the fight change you into something you are not proud of? Look all around and you’ll find people who have been jaded and disillusioned because of their struggles in life. This is where positive thinking comes back into play. It takes both hard work and positive thinking, especially while the work is being done. Hard work has the potential to change us into worse versions of ourselves unless we have faith the work is worth it in the long run.

So remember, believe you can succeed, fight the fight to make success a reality and always keep faith in yourself and others that you can persevere and the struggle will be worth it. Remember too that few things worth having ever come easy. Positive thinking alone may only lead to disappointment without applying the massive action needed towards achieving your goals.

 

In Health,

 

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Is Pain Controlling Your Life?

The Real Problem With Pain

This blog began as a way for me to discuss how to find freedom and happiness despite having adversity and struggles in life. My thought was that even though everyone encounters pain in their life, not everyone realizes that others share in similar experiences. We are all on the same journey in life because we have been programmed genetically as humans to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. Of course, no one can completely avoid pain and often times we mistake discomfort for pain and addiction for pleasure. Therein lies the real problem with both pleasure and pain- it blinds us to reality in the moment.

Pain is especially insidious in its ability to distort clear thinking. When we experience pain, depending on the severity, we will look for and do almost anything to stop the pain. That’s not the problem. The problem is that pain itself is a symptom of something else and it’s often the case that while experiencing pain, we cannot correctly identify the source of the pain. You may have a chronic shoulder or hip pain and blame it on a past injury or the fact that you have been sitting too long during your workdays. However, the real problem underlying the pain could be that your movement patterns during physical exercise are causing stress on the joints and therefore muscular imbalances. Again, it’s exceedingly difficult to diagnose the cause of pain unless the pain has subsided to the point where we can engage in clear thinking again. Then, once the pain is gone, we often forget to research the cause of the pain, or we just get distracted by our daily lives the the endless cycle of pain continues.

Another common experience among people in pain is they find that their ability to be patient and empathetic towards others declines rapidly. We forget that pain is not unique to our human experience, but something shared by all. The worst is when people have arguments over who has more pain! Have you ever seen this? It’s like a competition for who has the most ailments and who has the most difficult life. It’s as if the need for significance compels us to bring up everything wrong in our lives with others.

It’s important to remember that nothing lasts forever, especially pain. No one should believe that because they are in pain, they will always be. Moreover, the pain you are experiencing may or may not have been caused by something you have done. It’s impossible to know for sure because the pain is keeping your from thinking accurately. Trying to diagnose the correct cause of the pain during the suffering of the pain is not the best course of action. Neither is it wise to engage in important conversations (especially with loved ones), business transactions or making important life decisions. Take it from someone with chronic pain, nearly every argument, blow up in temper, terrible decision or major mistake I have made is because my thinking has been obfuscated by physical or emotional pain. It would have done me well to acknowledge that I was in pain and was not thinking clearly before I took any action.

As human beings we can never escape our biological impulses to avoid pain and seek pleasure. However, we can as humans employ our ability to use reason in spite of the pain. All of us should acknowledge and accept that when we are in pain we are not thinking clearly. How do you know if you are thinking clearly? See( https://libertyandpain.com/2016/04/21/thinking-clearly/.) If we are not mindful that we are in pain, we will do something that leads to regret later on. I know, I know…. EASIER SAID THAN DONE, RIGHT? Nothing worth doing is easy. It’s worth at least reminding ourselves that we need to do the hard work when it comes to thinking clearly and acknowledge when we are being controlled by our pain.

 

In Health,

Sean

The Times, They Are ‘A Changing’

 

Are you prepared?

I’ve been thinking very deeply about Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods and what it means to the marketplace as a whole. What does is mean for those of us who have businesses or jobs? Marcus Aurelius writes:
“We have but one job, to be good people.”
While this is true, we all have another job– to meet and actually exceed the demand of the marketplace. The market is the greatest human invention ever. It is essentially voluntary cooperation between people and that is a beautiful thing. It gives us unlimited choices in entertainment, food, travel, occupation, knowledge. However, the marketplace is also highly demanding and can be very very cruel. It often has no regard for whether you have a good product or not. The market doesn’t care whether you’re too tired to make cold- calls that day. The market doesn’t care if you’re having a bad day and it takes too much energy to smile to a customer. It doesn’t care if you’ve been in business for a month or for a decade. All of us must meet the demands of the marketplace EVERY SINGLE DAY if we are to thrive. In fact, we all have one boss– and that’s the market.

The market determines the type of people we hire, the type of customers attracted to us, the types of products and services we offer, the hours of operation. As seen with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the marketplace is changing and we all must be vigilant about keeping very high standards and delivering an incredible experience EVERY SINGLE shift, month, week, day and year. I realize sometimes people may see me as a demanding boss and fairly high strung, but the truth is I understand what it takes to make it in the marketplace today and it’s very different than 5, 10, and especially 50 years ago. During these hot summer months, (and really all months to come )the marketplace will demand even higher standards– more energy, world-class products , great marketing, energetic workforces, and obviously 10x clean facilities. In other words, both the marketplace and employers will be looking for producers- people that don’t just go the first mile, but go the extra mile, to meet the demands of the rapidly changing market. Are you going the extra mile? How has your industry changed or how will it change? Are you doing whatever it takes to thrive?

In health,

25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School

 

I don’t have any regrets in life. I would not go back in time and change anything for fear that it would alter my current reality. I like to think that I drive through life looking mostly out the windshield rather than just using the rear view mirrors. That said, there are some things I have learned in my life that I wish I had known in high school. Having known these things, I believe, would not have necessarily changed my path through life, but rather allowed me to deal with circumstances with more calm and poise than I have in the past. So here we go…. 25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School.

  1. You become what you think about most of the time. So monitor your thoughts.
  2. The only thing you can control is yourself and your choices, not others.
  3. Your friends may not necessarily share you values, so be willing to make new ones.
  4. Know that you are not thinking clearly unless your thoughts will lead to a positive outcome for you and you loved ones.
  5. Building disciplines now will lead to a life of freedom.
  6. The pain of a breakup will not last forever, although you think it will.
  7. You family wants you to do well, but may not understand what drives you. Show them by communicating clearly what you are doing and why.
  8. Don’t think local. Think global.
  9. Be careful whom you take advice from.
  10. Seek out mentors rather than jobs.
  11. Training your body now will help you for the rest of your life.
  12. Alcohol, weed and cigarettes can destroy self discipline, so be mindful of these substances.
  13. Start to build multiple flows of income.
  14. Do not go out and “get a job.” Instead, learn how to live and get financial independence.
  15. Start developing a philosophy for how to live now! Hard times will come. You will need a philosophy of how to deal with them.
  16. Everyone has value. Don’t disregard or underestimate someone. They may become your friend or you may do business with them years later.
  17. The highest ideal is individual liberty. Don’t forget that, but don’t waste time lecturing others about it.
  18. Never say, “I can’t afford that.” Instead, “how can I afford that?”
  19. Be humble but confident. Don’t let your ego control you.
  20. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to do, and never, ever let anyone tell you can’t.’
  21. There is nothing you can’t do if you take enough actions and educate yourself on the right strategy.
  22. Don’t operate from a place of scarcity. Your biography is not your destiny.
  23. If you want something, give it away first. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want love, give love. If you want recognition, give it first. If you want happiness, be grateful.
  24. Sometimes the girl sitting next to you in math class will become the love of your life, your soul mate-your queen. So treat her better all the time.
  25. The best revenge is massive success. The best revenge is to “not be like them.”

There you go. These are 25 things I wish I would have known in high school that I know now. Had I know these things would my life be different today? Probably. It’s impossible to tell. I will say this; while I can’t go back in time and teach my younger self these lessons, I’m eternally grateful that I have discovered them now. I guess the one thing time affects for all of us is perspective- if you allow it to. Time has given me incredible perspective and I don’t take that lightly. I’m curious, what would you teach your younger self? Please send your comments!

 

In Health,

 

Sean

Don’t Major in Minor Things

Are You Majoring In Minor Things?

“I can’t get no, satisfaction.”- The Rolling Stones

 

There is an area of my life where I am not satisfied. It’s true! Call me insatiable. Call me ungrateful. Call me whatever you like, just don’t call me comfortable, because I’m not. This area of my life nags at me for attention. It keeps me up at night. It forces my mind to work overtime on how to quash this unease. This dissatisfaction in my life has forced me to question why I have not paid more attention to it before. The answer I have arrived at is the purpose for this article.

The reason I believe that many experience dissatisfaction, sadness and a feeling of lack in their lives is because they focus on things that don’t matter rather than designing a life. In other words, if life was a university, they are majoring in minor things. Many are well versed in sports statistics, celebrity gossip, the new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and so on. I’d liken this type of trivia to pouring trash into your mind. The mind’s capacity for knowledge is so great, yet we fill it with information and stories that keep us from achieving our true potential. I think we are guilty of this to a certain degree. Why? I would suggest the answer lies in our human desire to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. Trivia is fun, it’s exciting, it’s good in conversation. However, the pleasure gained from it is fleeting.

Disciplined thought and action on the other hand, will lead to long term pleasure and avoidance of many day to day pains that plague us. However, it’s not sexy. Talking about your disciplined routines and life goals at a party or family event will likely get you awkward stares, and rolling eyes. Thus, we go back to majoring in minor things- to avoid the social pain we might face. We all have the desire to be liked by others and our ability to do so determines a great deal of success. However, in our desire to be liked by others, the danger of being distracted by things that don’t matter becomes very real.

If you are not where you would like to be physically, financially, emotionally, it’s because you are not making that area of your life a priority- A MUST, if you will. You always get you MUSTS in life. You find a way to make them happen. But, if you are focusing on other areas instead, you are essentially HOPING for change without making those areas a priority above all else. So, be careful what information you pour into you mind. Choose you majors well and take massive action be sure that you are getting what you determine you MUST have. If it must happen, you will find a way. I have decided to refocus attention on those areas I believe are lacking. I hope you find the will to do the same.

In Health,

Sean

Forget About Body Fat Percentage (Maybe)

 

In the fitness world there is an obsession with knowing one’s body fat percentage or BF %. Of course, knowing your numbers in any aspect of life is certainly better than blindly walking through the world with your head buried in the sand. However, I’m going to comment on what I believe is an unnecessary fixation on the BF% number. First, most of what follows will be a commentary on athletes. If you do not train in the gym towards a goal, then yes, you should probably take a keen interest in what your body fat percentage is. Moreover, if you are sedentary and do not exercise, or you do but still have a large amount of body fat around your midsection, it’s likely that you have an unhealthy amount of visceral fat around your organs, which is very dangerous. If you need a kick in the pants to get up off the couch and get moving, go test your BF % and work to decrease it. Good. I’m glad that’s out of the way. Now we can move on.

Also, there is value in knowing what your lean body mass is. If you are eating one gram of protein and carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight, you’re likely taking in too many calories. A better formula would be to eat based on what your lean body mass is (total weight –bodyfat). So, if I weight 180 pounds, but my lean body mass is 165 pounds, I should be taking in nutrients based on 165 pounds. This is especially true is fat loss is your goal.

Okay, so you’ve gotten through the first part of this and you’re thinking “Sean, I do train hard and I’m an athlete. Don’t I need to know my BF %? “ My answer to that is no. Let me explain. As a trainer and health club owner, I see too many people become distracted by obtaining a lower BF % and I believe this is the wrong goal. For most cross fit athletes, MMA fighters and other professional sports, the amount of body fat one has is nearly irrelevant. What matters more is performance and the ability to produce on command. For this goal, you need to have a little body fat for the body to tap into for energy. If, on the other hand, an athlete becomes obsessed with some abstraction like BF%, his or her ability to perform will be hindered by an unneeded distraction about knowing a piece of information that will not help them.

It should also be noted that body types range widely between person to person. Some folks might walk around at 10% body fat and looked cut and jacked out of their mind simply because they hold fat in different places. I know guys with 15% body fat with incredible abs. The same goes for women. So, if your goal is purely aesthetic, and you train hard and are healthy, the mirror is a much better guide than a BF measurement. Again, some people are genetically predisposed to store more fat in their legs and glutes. Some people store it in their midsection. Where your body fat stores are has at least as much impact on how you look as BF %. Bottom line here, bodybuilders and physique competitors should let the mirror be their guide.

Another very important thing to remember about body fat testing is the inconstancy in which results occur. The method of testing- calipers, bioelectrical impedance, hydrostatic tanks- they all produce different results. Most bioelectrical impedance machines, (the ones where you grab the metal parts and hold your arms out) are very unreliable and produce varying results hour to hour. This is especially true if you are well hydrated or have an increased intake in sodium. My wife and I just competed in a bodybuilding and physique show and our coached Jon and Swann DeLaRosa (www.JonDelarosa.com) (www.Swanndelarosa.com) kept our sodium intake high throughout the entire contest prep. About three weeks into the prep, one of my employees at the gym wanted to test Holly’s body fat and the result from the machine was so ridiculous that I made me laugh. It didn’t make her laugh thought. Despite having become significantly leaner, the machine had her at nearly 30 % body fat- overweight / obese. (@fitlilwifey) on Instagram if you want to see how she looked on stage.) (@libertyfreak for my photos). I reassured her not to worry and explained how the reading was off. But, Holly was nearly de-railed by a piece of false information. She should have trusted the mirror and herself. Calipers and hydro tanks are more accurate, however, it’s worth repeating that your BF% may not have any relevance to you depending on what your goals as an athlete are.

In closing, if you are an athlete, don’t focus on BF%. It’s a complete distraction to you and will hinder your ability to achieve your goals. If you are NOT an athlete and you know that you have a significant amount of fat to lose, or your gut is solid from too much visceral fat, then you should know your BF% number and work to decrease it via training hard and fueling your body with the proper nutrients based on your lean body mass, not your overall bodyweight. Again, the real takeaway here is that there is no cookie cutter approach or metric that can be applied to the whole population for anything in life. That includes ideal BF%, BMI, sodium intake, or anything else. Know thyself. Don’t be defined or distracted by a number!

 

 

In health,

Sean

7 Qualities of a Leader

7 Qualities of a Leader (And The Only Way to Earn More Money)

Everyone wants to make more money, but few are willing to take on the responsibilities and execute the duties associated with bringing more value to the marketplace. Value is really what we are talking about when we talk about money. Now, everyone has value. As a person. As a husband. A wife- you name it. But in terms of income, value to the marketplace is what determines your pay. Sure, you may be able to fool or scam some people short term and make a bunch of cash, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time as the saying goes. Eventually, the laws of compensation will catch up with everyone and everything in this universe. That said, here are the Seven Qualities that will ensure your income rises regardless of the economic climate. They just also happen to be the Seven Qualities of Leaders.

1.VISION- To ensure more income for yourself and to be a great leader, you must have the capacity to see what is not yet there. You must have vision. You must tap into creativity- the energy source that brings life to all new things. Yes, you must see things as they are, but not worse than what they are. THEN, you must have vision for what could be better. After that, massive action is necessary to see your vision become a reality.

2.COURAGE- This, in my opinion is the most important trait to have. Without courage, nothing happens. Fear will always cloud your thinking and get in the way of your success. An example of courage in the marketplace is making cold calls to prospects or asking existing clients for referrals. That takes courage. Simply showing up to work and going through the motions takes no courage. In other words, to utilize courage, you must be willing to be uncomfortable- that’s the only way you can grow. All growth comes from a period of discomfort, and making more money requires doing what others are not willing to do.

3.INTEGRITY- No one will follow a person without integrity for a sustained period of time. Being a person of ethics and values- having a code and living by it will cause others to trust you and trust your judgment because they believe that you have their best interest at heart. This matters a great deal in every relationship, including those in the marketplace.

4.HUMILITY- Having a modest view of your own importance as it relates to others is vital for any leader. Of course you are important, but no more important than anyone else as far as they are concerned. Understand that everyone is the star of their own movie!   You are merely the cameo appearance. So, if you want to succeed in being a leader and making increased income, check your ego at the door. If others see you as being a person who lacks the humility to accept the importance of others, you may do well, but it will not last. People like to follow others they respect. And employers love to pay respectable people more.

  1. STRATEGIC PLANNING- This quality is so needed today, I could write hundreds of pages about the subject. The bottom line here is that, the tactical work of doing the job as it is required and the strategic work of planning the future work that must be done for increased levels of success are two very, very different things. Most believe that by showing up and doing the job as required is enough to be compensated more (because there exist so many people who can’t even do that!). The truth however, is very different. The truth is that in today’s marketplace, strategic planning is required to ensure that you become irreplaceable. Look at great leaders in history- they all had the capacity for strategic planning. Disney, Jobs, Washington, Churchill- Marshall, Khan- all of these people were incredible planners and that’s why their names will be cemented in history.
  2. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS AND USING THEM- Great leaders focus on their own strengths as well as the strengths of others and plan a way to best employ those strengths. In other words, they don’t complain that “everyone around here is stupid” or “I’m the only one who really works hard.” Those are limiting beliefs that will ensure you never get to where you want to be. Those who focus on the tools they have and how they can possibly be used to accomplish a goal will usually figure out a way to get it done, even if they are lacking a certain tool or trait. This is due to the fact that they are more mindful than those who only see faults in others.

7.FOCUS ON RESULTS- At the end of the day, RESULTS RULE. PERIOD. END OF STORY! If workplace morale is down, month over month or year over year revenues are down, there exists an exponential increase in the costs associated with doing business or some other massive problem, you must figure out what is not working right. What needs to be optimized? What needs to be innovated? Who do you need around you to accomplish your goal? Who is not a right fit? What must happen to make your world incredible both at work and outside of it? Results rule. Do not keep going down the same road because you’re used to it. What if a giant tree or sinkhole was blocking the road? Would you still consider the route? Of course not. A great leader would formulate a new plan of action and then implement it to get the desired result. Change your approach until the result you want is reached.\

There it is. Seven Qualities of a Leader/ Seven Ways to Make Sure You Get A Raise.

Remember though, it’s not enough to understand something intellectually. You must embody it. You must live it and keep on living it so that others will follow you and help you achieve your desires!