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Chronicles of the ex Employee Pt 1: My boss is dumb and they don’t pay me enough.

I haven’t done a blog post in a long time and usually they’re about self improvement and conquering depression etc but this has been kicking around in my head for a while and since I’ve played both employer and employee recently I find myself in a unique position and I feel compelled to give you a glimpse behind the veil – and to vent at how scary and horrible what I do can be at times.

My name is Ayman. I’m 27 and self employed – which is wonderful and fun and exciting and also sucks a fat bag of dicks – I make considerably less than minimum wage and certainly less than if I was on the benefit. Admittedly this is mostly my own fault as I’m generally unorganised, foolhardy and am prone to slumping into unproductive stints of depression and procrastination. I have done my share of shitty minimum wage jobs and have at one point or another complained that I’m not getting paid enough – as I’m sure most of us have. The more I run the wheel of self employment the more I conclude that I was an entitled little shit bag – that being said, if you’re working for giant multinationals rolling in fat stacks of moohlah who could easily pay you more then maybe I’ll hold my tongue – this discussion generally applies to working for small to medium size businesses. I won’t be going into why I think the minimum wage sucks and hurts employees nor will I be discussing why lower wages and automation are generally the easiest ways to cut costs and drive the lowest possible price for the end user –frankly, I’m not an economist, nor am I experienced enough to weigh in on these things – I am just going to discuss my musings on the employee/employer relationship in light of my recent experiences as both.

This past weekend I had been invited to an event to sell my wares (a bunch of swanky natural handmade men’s grooming products that you should totally go and buy at madarabindustries.com) this was a one off market tied to an event happening in the city– it was being run by a group that I’d worked with before and I trusted their hype and their track record for putting on a great show. It was tied to a major local event, it was run by good people so it was presumably a safe bet and a chance to raise some much needed capital (to pay for the next event).

The usual deal for these shindigs is to pay a stall fee upfront –this secures your spot and goes towards advertising, hiring the space, a band if there is one and paying event organisers etc – at least that’s how it’s supposed to go. This fee can range anywhere from $30 upwards of $1000 if the foot traffic/ expected turnout is massive or the event organisers are taking a monumental amount of piss. It is always a gamble and you never know how much stock to take let alone whether the stall fee, accommodation and other overheads are going to be worth it – i.e. less than the amount of money you end up making.

Leading up to a big event I’m usually making a shit load of stock, I’ll have no money(or worse get I’ll get into debt to make enough stock or to pay the fucking stall fee) and I’ll be laying awake at night praying that things go well. Additionally I’ll get a friend to help me with labeling or selling and I’ll either pay them whatever I have on me or pay them once I’ve sold some stock (the latter makes me very nervous). As nerve wrecking as it all makes me, it’s usually ok because we’ll usually break even or do well -meaning I can pay people and get some money together to pay for the next thing.

If things go well or I at least break even, I’ve just helped some of my even more broke ass friends get a bit of money together to pay rent or pay for a tyre so they can pass their WOF or whatever. I pay everyone that I owe money to and the economy marches forward. Let’s say things go perfectly for a long time and I need to hire people full time – well then I’ve just created a bunch of fun, well paying jobs that let employees pick their hours and listen to the music of their choice (having worked in a super market – I cannot stress how important this is) and we all set sail toward the horizon with the wind in our beards and smiles on our faces.

So, what happens when things don’t go well, when you don’t break even and you just paid $1000 to sit in the rain for a day and sell two bottles of beard oil? What if the event organisers over blew their event’s expected foot traffic and overcharge you? Or it rains and you get a quarter of the expected foot traffic and subsequently none of the expected sales? The worst part of this is your debtors and your employees have the audacity to expect to be paid regardless of how things went–so what do you do?

You know, other than put a gun barrel in your mouth and say it’s not your problem anymore.

Well, maybe you take on some awful minimum wage job to pay everyone back, maybe you get into more debt, maybe that gun barrel starts to look quite tasty again.

Bar the last option it is YOUR responsibility to do something about it.

This is what the past thousand odd words have been getting at – the responsibility – IS ALL ON YOU. The risk- IS ALL ON YOU. So surely the rewards (if they ever even happen) – should all be yours. Your employees did not take the risk, your employees agreed on a rate for their time and THAT’S IT.

When an employee takes on a job they don’t say to the boss “I will work for no pay if the business doesn’t do well this week” the agreement that’s generally made is “I will trade you hours of my life for x amount per hour” – obviously I’m speaking very simplistically and not considering commission based jobs or whatever the fuck Fonterra’s been up to.

What I’m getting at, if your boss is driving an [insert name of overpriced late model luxury brand of automobile] and you’re driving a [beat up rust bucket typically of Japanese origin] then I feel it is generally somewhat justified: the employee doesn’t take on massive debt and risk, the employee doesn’t spend years living off of rice and cheap coffee -working unpaid every hour of the day to get a company off the ground, the employee certainly doesn’t lie awake at night wondering if everyone who needs to be paid gets paid on time and finally the employee has the greatest phrase in the history of employment ; “let me get my manager”- THIS IS ARGUABLY THE THING I HAVE MISSED MOST ABOUT BEING EMPLOYED – the ability to throw your hands up and dump all responsibility on your boss – I got to use this a couple of times a while back and it was so liberating – it almost made me consider going back to the employee life.

Before concluding I would like to clarify I don’t assume your job is easy, nor am I assuming it pays you a fair wage, I’m not suggesting your boss is a saint and deserves his Audi. I’m just saying the grass isn’t always greener – Shit this blog is supposed to be about beards… Err… The beard isn’t always softer on the other face – yeah that’ll work.

Finally, thank you to everyone who’s hired me, supported my brand and most importantly given their time to help me get this venture and my ideas off the ground –this includes you – Mr or Mrs Reader.

Love,

Ayman
Founder, Steersman and Chief Mad Man of Mad Arab Industries

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The Cycles, Rhythm and Harmony of the Universe

It’s been a while folks, I dedicate this post to one of my customers I met the other day and he described my blog as ‘off the wall’. I’ve always thought my blog was rather tame, but to be honest it was still really great to get some positive feedback since most of the comments I get on the blog are spam posts about either Viagra or porn websites – I’ll share some one day, they’re so dumb.
The last few months have been a bit of a challenge- the cycle seems to be coming back to a gloomy introspective phase as we officially kick off into the beauty of spring. As far as I’m concerned – this is my New Year. This is the time a new cycle of work and opportunity takes form as I leave behind the stillness of winter. This is the time to begin enacting plans and preparing the soil for this year’s crop – new beginnings and the like –it’s a time to be excited.

Being honest, tonight I don’t find myself excited but that’s alright –it’s all swings and roundabouts –meaning everything has a rhythm. The gloomy introspection lends itself to writing earnestly about stuff instead of excitedly making funny videos – so let’s take advantage of it. That dear reader is the crux of this essay today – learn the cycles of the universe and take advantage of them. This includes day and night, the phases of the moon as well as the seasons.

Disclaimer, this post is a bit on the crazy hippie end of the spectrum, open your mind, line up your chakras and give a guy a bit of artistic lenience. What I’m about to share with you – like most of my posts is a combination of research in the scientific and spiritual fields as well as my own personal experiences: I read, I apply, I observe, I share.

So everything in the universe has a rhythm. Time itself maybe a human construct but we definitely experience a world made of peaks and troughs.

So the first obvious cycle we see in our world is the day and night cycle. At night everything but the owls are asleep.  Everything else is at rest.

Personally I have found the days I wake up early are the days I get the most done – usually after a solid night’s sleep. What I’m getting at, when I as a creature of the universe (the Taoists –refer to the internal human as ‘the small universe’ ) am in harmony with the cycles around me, I tend to get more done –things just flow better. I find a carpark in front of where I need to go and things just line perfectly in an almost scary way. When I sleep in and start the day on the back foot things tend to get in my way almost intentionally – as if to punish me for being slack and lazy – I have nothing to back this other than simply this is just how things seem to throw down.

Next I’m going to talk to you about the moon – still wearing that hippie hat? Cool, because some of you might think I’m right mad (if you didn’t think so already) –here goes…
Personally, I think the cycles of the moon affect us – oh shit, I said it.

To what degree I don’t know –studies on the subject seem to generally be inconclusive; though there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence around the topic. The way I look at it the moon’s gravitational pull is strong enough to create the tides– we’re made up of mostly water –ergo to suggest maybe the moon affects us isn’t a preposterous proposition – just something to think about. Medicine men from the present to antiquity from all over the world harvest medicinal plants in phase with the moon and some gardeners recommend planting at certain phases. Superstition or spiritual secret I don’t know – really your personal experience and experimentation is the only way to find out. Personally I have found undertaking a personal endeavour on a new moon it seems to flow easier and a lot of the spiritualists recommend cutting habits when the moon is waning (getting smaller).

Next, I’m going to discuss a concept inspired by Jim Rohn-a motivational speaker and a self improvement mastermind – I have mixed feelings about this guy but his talk on this matter is beautiful. It crystallized something an older mate of mine had once said to me –my mate isn’t exactly a pagan and definitely not a hippie– I’d call him a pragmatic spiritualist.

“Ayman, in spring we go white baiting, in summer we go fishing, in autumn we go duck shooting and in winter we rest, reflect and rebuild.”
-A Ford

You can’t go white baiting in winter, you can’t go duck shooting in summer etc. There’s a time and a place for everything.

“Life and business is like the season’s- You cannot change the season’s”
“You can however, change yourself”

– Jim Rohn

Learn how to sow in the spring time, how to protect your crop in the summer, to harvest without apology in autumn and how to live through the winter.

The important thing about winter is that it doesn’t last forever and it is inevitably followed by spring. Use winter to rest, to plan and to prepare for the sowing you’re going to do in spring.
Your life time also has seasons – sayings like ‘the autumn years’ etc. A day could be interpreted as a mini season – dawn, midday, evening and night. Everything small is a reflection of the bigger picture and vice versa.

There are also different types of winters- emotional winters – mine happened in late summer – through to the end of autumn but I certainly survived and came out stronger and the thing that got me through it was knowing what was going on and that it was going to get better – all while occasionally listening to “Spring to Come” by the John Butler Trio.

Lastly, every major religion or spiritual movement –love them or hate them- preach one thing in one way or another and that is the concept of Harmony.

Harmony is what this universe is built on: The harmonic vibration of atoms to make a coffee table, the harmonic rhythm of the moon to keep the tides flowing, the harmonic intervals that make music what it is -you get the idea. If you can truly understand and internalise the importance of harmony you will live a considerably happier life. If humanity could work in harmony with each other and the planet –the whole state of our existence could be rapidly improved.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”
Mahatamamamama Gandhi

I’ll take that one step further – when you steer yourself towards living in harmony with everything around you, your life will change dramatically – your life will flow more effortlessly than Mac Lethal, Aesop Rock and Eminem combined. This includes your sleep/wake cycle, your diet and your relationships with other people. When two sound or light waves are out of sync with each other i.e they are disharmonious –they create DESTRUCTIVE interference- i.e they weaken or outright destroy each other – what do you think disharmony creates in your life?

Hopefully this has given you some interesting thoughts to mull over. Perhaps we’ll visit the concept of harmony again in future with slightly more pragmatic / practical elements.

Until next time my dear friends.

If you like what you read consider buying some of my stuff, sharing this on social media or commenting below. Your feedback and support are always appreciated.

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Don’t let yesterday’s fuck ups be today and tomorrow’s hang ups

What up! It’s been a while.  I highly recommend you listen to this post today instead of reading it! https://youtu.be/Tj856sgi5zw

So today’s post is inspired by my guitar – that sexy curvaceous piece of craftsman ship that sits on my lap and acts as an extension of my very soul. I could write you a whole essay on why I play guitar and what I love about music and the importance of having a creative outlet that takes your demons away.

However that’s not the point of this discussion –in brief: I play quite a bit, I’m not that technically proficient or musically educated but I love making music and it makes my soul happier than almost anything else on this planet.

This is the first point I’m going to make:
If you love doing something –  being not amazing at it isn’t an excuse to not do it. You should spend as much time as you can doing it –because you will get better just by virtue of doing it and frankly it’s not about getting better, it’s about doing something that you earnestly love.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this discussion.

Do some visualising with me:

Picture yourself playing a tune on whatever instrument you wish –a guitar, a piano, a kazoo, a banjo -whatever–maybe your friends are jamming with you, maybe you’re playing in front of a crowd.

The music is flowing, your soul is alive, everything is perfect and it feels like nothing could go wrong. It feels effortless and you’re just riding this beautiful wave of inspiration.
*PLUNK*
You hit the wrong note or the drummer drops the beat or something happens.
Do you stop and cry about it?
Do you stop playing and apologise to the instrument, yourself, the audience and the rest of the band? Do you say you’ll never play again because you made a mistake?
No mother fucker, you wince, grit your teeth, maybe let out an Fbomb and keep fucking playing!

The flow is more important than the one or two sour notes- the best part about making a mistake while playing is that mistakes happen. A mistake is one isolated moment but time is a never ending stream of moments – some good, some amazing some shit and a lot in between.

The number of mistakes I’ve made, the number of opportunities I’ve passed up…
If I were to stop and count them or spend time feeling sorry for myself do you know what would happen?

I’d never do anything, I’d never learn anything and I’d miss a life time’s more worth of opportunities.

So certainly learn from your mistakes but don’t let the past hold your present back. Don’t let the baggage that no one but you cares about stop you from having new experiences – don’t let it make you hesitate and worry about fucking up again – you’ll more than likely fuck up again but that doesn’t matter.

The band doesn’t care if you fuck up- they all fuck up too.
Does the audience care? No they’re having too good a time to notice what you’re doing.

And if you do fuck up so badly that everything stops and everyone notices then make it funny, have a laugh- pick your ass up and keep playing- the show must go on!

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Just do it

The following post could be summarized in the Shia Labeouf video titled ‘Just Do It’ – come to think of it, most of this blog could be summarized by just watching that video. However some of you need it spelt out even clearer so here goes:

This is dedicated to my numerous friends who give me dumb excuses. You know who you are – to be honest, you’re probably not reading this so whatever. I’ll probably curse at you a few more times by the end of this post.

So here goes

Situation One

Friend: “I want to do stuff but I don’t know what to do…”
Me: “Well what have you tried doing?”
Friend: “Nothing, I want to draw, I want to write, I want to make a video game, I want to learn to play guitar and I’d like to learn a language.”
Me: “have you started doing any of this?”
Friend: “no, I don’t know which one I should do and I’m scared of doing the wrong thing”
Me: *has aneurism and while making gurgling noises*

If you don’t know what to do with your life, but you’re sure what you’re currently doing isn’t the right thing then start trying everything until you find something. Not everyone gets the pleasure of a perfect epiphany telling them what their sole vocation is – not even I, I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur, a comedian or a musician – I love doing all three things so I’m doing all three things.
By trying to actually DO STUFF you will quickly figure out what you don’t enjoy doing.

Situation Two
Friend: “I’m so jealous you’re able to motivate yourself to do all these cool things”
Me: “you know it’s not very easy to stay the course, you just have to get up and do it”
Friend: “I read a few self help books and am just waiting for that aha moment”
Me: “that aha moment doesn’t so much happen as you just have to practice disciplining yourself to get more out of your life”
Friend: “but it’s so hard to get out of bed and get things done”
Me: (getting frustrated) “I know, but really the best thing you can do is start journaling your success and writing to do lists, having a clearly defined goal with a reason to accomplish it really helps things along too”
Friend: “I tried that but I couldn’t keep it up”
Me: “That’s where the discipline comes in…”
Friend: “but you make it look so easy though…maybe this trip to South East Asia will inspire me”
Me: “it isn’t easy, there have been many days especially after my break up where I didn’t do anything useful and the only thing that brought me out of it was myself. If you can’t discipline yourself at home, what makes you think being in a foreign country will help?”
Friend: “the energy of the place and the experiences I’ll have”
Me: “here drink this bottle of bleach, maybe it will help inspire you”

Seriously though, I get sick of hearing this sort of shit. People just waiting for the right thing to get them to act – news flash sweetheart! IT’S YOUR FUCKING JOB TO ACT!

I’m not any different to you. There are days when it’s a struggle. Do you think that I wouldn’t just like to play dark souls or watch Rick and Morty all day? Do you think when I’ve got a girl round I don’t just want to spend all day lying next to her alternating between cuddling and fucking like rabbits? Of course I want to! However all the video games, Netflix and pussy eating in the world will not get me to where I want to be, so it’s really about focusing on what matters. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still indulge in these things but not until my work for the day is done, not until I’ve attended to the important things because MY DREAMS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY TEMPORARY PLEASURES AND DISTRACTIONS.

So many of you brilliant and beautiful people are restlessly drifting through life unhappy, waiting for that perfect thing to come along – YOU HAVE TO GO FIND IT!

 

And for you lazy fucks who simply can’t ‘find the motivation’ I will share with you my three greatest motivators:

Proving others wrong
Demonstrating to yourself that you don’t need your ex girlfriend
Seeing your own breakthroughs and progress

That last one is probably the most inspiring. Seeing how far you’ve got, what you’ve accomplished –it demonstrates to you very quickly how you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

I hope this slightly antagonistic post inspires you to go out and do something. If you’re worried about doing the wrong thing, you’ll only find out if it’s the wrong thing by going out and doing it.

Life is about doing stuff, succeeding and making mistakes – you’ll typically learn more from your mistakes anyway so regardless, it’s win win.

So go fucking do stuff.

Fuck you Katherine go do some shit.

You too Ryan, you’re brilliant so start acting like it. If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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You’re capable or more than you think.


You are capable of doing more than you think.

Probably.

Your body certainly is.

Your mind is just a pussy.

I’ve got your attention, lets go.

So, I’m currently 55 hours into a water only fast. Why?

Because I can.
Because my mind is stronger than my basal desires.
Because my dependence on food is mostly out of habit and comfort. The longest I’ve gone is 70 hours – and that’s not a lot compared to some.

I’ve been doing daily intermittent fasting (IF)on and off for about two years and frankly I think it’s something everyone should try – and extended fasts are something people should at least try once they’re comfortable with IF. I understand the science well and have done it enough to say we as humans eat entirely too much and one to two meals a day is more than your body needs.  I am sharper when I fast and I just operate better – to a point – currently all I can think of is food and that’s ok because my current experiment is to push myself. This post isn’t about the benefits of fasting – I may do it later but there’s a lot of material about it including this very well put together video.

This post is actually here to tell you that you could be doing more with yourself and your time. Just like my current fast, although I am famished I can still put my attention into this writing and the more I write the more I want to write. I’m excited about it, like I’m hunting for a sandwich, the drive for food is almost overwhelming yet I am able to steer it towards more important ventures because my mind rules my body not the other way round. Would this effect continue three days in? A week in? A month in? I’m not sure, a lot of the writing suggests that after the first four days it stops being an issue. I am not going that extreme this time round but I will report my findings one day. Today I have managed to work a full day, go for a 5k bike ride, walk about 3 ks and do my usual squat, bench and row routine. Here I am four hours after doing all of that and calling it a day and I’m still functioning without brain fog – albeit with the occasional rumble in my belly and thought of food – I watched quite a few people eat in front of me, I walked past several restaurants and I’m fine and I’m still here writing this post.

A lot of people tell me ‘man I wish I could do what you were doing’ or ‘I wish I had time to _________, but I’m always working’. To be honest, I’ve only met a few people whom I feel can actually use that excuse. A lot of you spend your time poorly, don’t look after yourselves or are just too soft–I’m not judging I get like that too sometimes. You’re miserable at work, you come home to eat, watch Netflix, game and go to sleep. I’m not here to judge you but to get you to consider if perhaps the reason you haven’t written that book or started that project is because you’re lazy or too comfortable in your current bubble – ask yourself “what do I actually do when I come home from work? Is it serving me towards what I want out of life?”

I hate hearing the Bullshit excuse of ‘I don’t have time’ when someone is talking about fulfilling a dream or desire.

Bro, it’s your fucking dream – if it isn’t important then what is important? If you can’t live your dream then why the fuck are you alive? The service of basal desires and instant gratification with porn, TV and toys is not a life- it is an empty listless existence spent in a sedated haze.

It pisses me off when I hear it because I see in a lot of these people with a genuine desire to create and be more. I see how unhappy they are and how much they suffer for neglecting to satisfy their souls. Then I also hear it from people who are simply employing a bit of lip service crying that they “can’t do it” just so I feel bad for them – I do not know which upsets me more. I also know several people who have that fire and that desire but are genuinely stuck in a position and I can’t give them the answer ‘manage your time better’ because it’s simply not the answer.

This post isn’t here to tell you how to manage your time better, nor is it here to tell you what you should be doing. It is literally here to give you some examples of people who do push themselves and how it’s working for them. I am not going to use myself as an example because I am nothing compared to some of these people. These are friends of mine or people I work with. These are people who I love, admire and respect because they genuinely work their arses off in service of what they love and believe in. Mediocrity is not in their dictionary and it shouldn’t be in yours. I’m using nicknames because I haven’t asked permission to talk about them nor do I want to embarrass them or inflate their egos.

Case one: The Iron Bull Mr. S
Mr S. used to be a delinquent. I’ve known him since I was about 15 and he was a hard partying nut case who did nothing by half measure. He left school early and had his life put in order by seeing some competent men do their thing, show him the way and work him into submission. Mr S. had a pretty average start but is now a driven, hard work machine who terrifies everyone around him. He studied like a dog for two years, gained a qualification and is now working for one of the biggest companies in the country – he recently got asked to move down south for 4 months away from his friends, family and partner because he knew he needed to because he loves his job and he saw it as an opportunity. He also manages when asked to help me with Mad Arab, to learn to play bass, work out and watch a shit load of anime and play kazoo – he works hard, he plays hard and does nothing by half measure.

Case two: The Very Smashing Miss W.
Miss W. Studied for several years all while working, she spent some time studying abroad, came back and is now running an art gallery full time as well as painting her own stuff. She also manages to work nights at a local bar and then drags herself home at 3am to start work on Saturday morning at ANOTHER gallery in another town that she manages over the weekend. It’s what she loves and she does it with a vigour and passion – possibly with too many cigarettes but she does it and does it well.

Case three: The Queen of Colours, Miss J.
Miss J studies full time, works part time, has a huge family, a boyfriend and still manages to do it all. I’ve only see her once not covered in paint. She lives, breathes and is covered in art. She’s only in her late teens and I’ve never seen anyone so dedicated to something in my life. She has a flow, a grace and a fire when she’s holding a brush that I cannot begin to describe. Her work speaks volumes regarding the amount of time and dedication she puts into her craft. I have seen her stay up for days on end working, I have seen her collapse due to forgetting to eat or due to exhaustion – I’m not saying it is a way to live but she has a spirit and life force about her that always makes me smile. It is so rare to see anyone work so hard in dedication to the muse.

Case four: The Perfect Host, Mr M.
Mr M loves and believes in what he does. He works his arse off to keep his dream alive and has helped a lot of people in his community to realise theirs. Mr M runs an entertainment venue. He supports performers, musicians and his city by giving them all a place to perform and experience some culture. He has made great sacrifices to make it happen and last I checked has spent many a night sleeping in his car because his dream is more important than creature comforts. I love this man and love everything he does. He stays up late into the wee hours at work and still manages to drive his daughter to school every morning.

Case Five: The Black Bear – the other Mr S.
They both have sir names starting with S and they share the same first name so we’ll just refer to him as ‘the Bear’. I actually don’t know everything The Bear does -this list is just the things I’m aware of. The Bear studies full time, he also manages to run two businesses in two separate towns, the Bear still manages to go to the gym and ontop of all of that – the Bear is out working night clubs on nightclub nights until four in the morning. So he’s basically working well over four full time jobs. The Bear understands ‘when the sun shines, make hay’ and he’s using his youth to make as much as he can. He’s pushing himself very hard but he knows it’s worth it.

These five demonstrate a few things to me. Firstly, we’re capable of a lot more than we think. Working our arses off in service of what we love is more energising than it is tiring. When we focus on what we really want our bodies can certainly step up to it provided we take care of ourselves. Finally and this is what I want to impart on you the most: sacrifices MUST be made in order for us to achieve what we really want. Stupid things need to be sacrificed and vices need to be tamed with discipline in order to get the most out of life. Do you think when you’re 70 you’ll think back to the video games you played or the Netflix series you used to watch? Will you look back on a life well lived or will you ask ‘where the hell did my life go?’

When your ‘why’ is strong enough the ‘how’ gets a lot easier. I’m not saying push yourself to exhaustion or starvation but at least make a little bit of time for what you care about, sacrifice the occasional gaming session or TV series. You’ll thank yourself for it. You’ll be so much happier at work when you develop yourself, you’ll have more energy, I promise.

All five of these people have access to the same 24 hour as you do. They still have seven days in their week but they manage to get more out of their days than some people do in entire years. I hope this inspires you to challenge yourself to get more out of your life.

Life doesn’t give us what we want, nor does it give us what we need. It gives us what we deserve.

It’s been two hours since I last thought of food. Funny that.

Audio of this post: https://youtu.be/uxs3Q43IbyQ

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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“Dealing with it”

Hey guys –this post has no answers. Only questions and it’s also a touch gloomy – you’ve been warned.

Regular readers will know that I’ve been going through some shit and every time I write I basically say:
“I’ve got it sorted, I’m on the up and up”

“life is great”

“something about positive vibes”

Which is true.

For the most part.

I still get pangs of being unsure, being depressed and generally struggling to get anything done. Albeit these have been getting less and less frequent every few weeks as opposed to EVERY FUCKING DAY. As soon as I apply myself to something worthwhile or to the service of others I’m usually ‘all good’ for a period of time. Perhaps I am over analysing when I think to myself “perhaps all of these positive changes are simply distractions; perhaps you’re in denial.”
I do ask myself sometimes “perhaps you still haven’t dealt with what you’ve gone through, hence it keeps coming back.”

Honestly, I am not sure.

What does matter is I’ve been working my arse off to attain better body and mind and I refuse to give up. I refuse to stagnate and wallow. I refuse to allow the creeping tendrils of bad habits to consume me. I am here to grow and develop, not fester and wither due to some emotional baggage.

I look at this issue as something that only time can heal. Until that healing has been done, all I can do is keep working on myself and my dreams. Some might say “you should meditate on the experience and grow to accept it” – they are possibly right, but the line between meditation and dwelling is a fine one and frankly I don’t want to go down a hole again – it ends with Woods of Ypres, Katatonia, La Dispute and a shit load of ice cream.
So the question this raises: How is one actually supposed to ‘Deal’ with something emotional? Do you put it past you and do all you can to distract yourself from it? Or is it best to stare it down until it withers away?

Obviously if there is something forthright that you can do to fix an issue you should do that but what do you do when there isn’t something you can do?

Do you just sit in it until you’re comfortable or do you stay distracted?

I would say, stay distracted with worthwhile ventures but honestly, I don’t know.

Let me know what you think.

If you’re suffering from the depression or feeling down, consider reading my previous posts on the issue. Here and here.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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A mountain of shit to do, you’re the only one that can do it.

This post is long overdue, admittedly I had already written a couple of different things but they were a bit out there and I didn’t know if they’d fit within ‘the sharpening stone’. Another one was just rough and I didn’t feel up to completing it- guess I should have re-read my own article of aiming for completion not perfection.

Such is life.

Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.
Chris Parker

Every day there’s stuff that needs to be done and almost every day you’ll be given new stuff to do -a phone call to be made, an email to be replied to or something – it can be something small or something huge.

So what do you think happens if you put off your daily tasks?

Simple. They pile up. Until you’ve got this unmanageable mountain before you and you’re paralyzed under its sheer size.

The more you put off your work, the more it piles up and the less inclined you are to do anything about it. This ties well to the notion that you get better at what you do –this includes procrastination and being a useless piece of shit.

Ever had a task that you really didn’t want to do?

That’s probably what you need to do the most. It might not even be a big task -maybe it’s a decision… It might just be something you’re scared of doing or scared of an outcome or it’s just unpleasant – usually it’s what you have to do the most. If that’s the case –try breaking it up or carrying out related tasks that can help shift the snow in the direction you want it to fall because when you put major shit off it can bite you in the ass.

Welcome to my life the past few months. I have a lot of stuff to do; however, due to a huge backlog and crippling depression making progress has been rather difficult.  I’m making excuses for myself here  but I am chipping away at the back log after stagnation and I already feel worlds better –even if it’s stop and start it’s better than not starting at all.

Some progress is better than no progress. A shift in gear towards actually getting things moving again will sometimes be enough to inspire you to turn that mountain back into a manageable mole hill. It’s amazing what it will do for your peace of mind –plus if you can build momentum you’ll be surprised with how much you get done.

So how to get started if life you feel your mountain is huge.

Personally I like to write lists – when I list a  bunch of stuff that needs doing I can then at least pick little tasks that I can just do. So for you, write a list and just do one thing. It can be little – it can be almost nothing but just do one thing that moves you forward. Then if you’re up to it, do another. Instead of thinking about doing it, just do it. Make that call, send that email, whatever – just do it – because even if you do a shit job, it’s still better than not doing it at all. Remember: indecision is still a decision. 
Jeez that was a short one. At least I showed up and I did it –one less thing to worry about for a couple of weeks. Hopefully this has spurred you into action. I’ll get something juicier out next time.

Tell me how you got on.

Much Love

Mad Man

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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Decide or the universe will decide for you.

Firstly, fortnightly seems to be the release time on these bad boys. Hope they’re treating you well. I’ve got Barbercraft this weekend and it’s already ten past midnight but I was dumb enough to toss a coin and ask ‘Should I write a blog post tonight?’

The coin spoke …. fuck.

Also, why am I taking orders from a coin??

Because I couldn’t make the decision on my own.

Couldn’t?!

No, I DIDN’T make the decision on my own and left it up to chance instead of stating what I wanted and pursued it. Now I’m here writing this article instead of sleeping.

Guess that’s what we’re talking about.

IF YOU LEAVE SOMETHING UP TO THE REST OF THE WORLD – THE WORLD WILL DECIDE FOR YOU AND YOU WON’T HAVE A CHOICE – IN ANYTHING.

This can include your job, your lovers, your friends and ultimately your life.

I see people every day who have no idea what they’re doing with their lives. They coast through school, then into university to study whatever they hated the least at school (mine was biology). They ultimately attend university or have a ‘gap year’ because they have no clue what they actually want to do with themselves. They go to university or work a shitty job and by the end of it, all they want are better hours, better pay and to eat something other than instant noodles. Their spark for life and desire to chase their dreams gets swapped for their desire for a stable paycheque and nice things. You end up working a job you either hate or tolerate, with no idea what you want to do with yourself. You fill your life with plastic trinkets, video games, Netflix and the gym with no actual goal in mind for any of it. You then fall into the consumer trap of ‘I want to own my own home’ without ever asking “why do I want any of this?”

It’s the same with love, you go to a party, get fucked up, wake up next to someone, if you like the look of them you do it with them again until you’re both like ‘yeah sure let’s make this a thing’.
You end up in a relationship based on habit and comfort instead of a union of two souls that are working towards something together – which is ultimately THE point of a relationship: To grow together in a beautiful way and create something bigger than the two of you. Let me tell you, I’ve had this and it was one of the best times in my life and it fell apart when I started focusing on my lover instead of the vision (we may delve into this one day as it’s fucking important but the topic is still a little too raw for me to discuss objectively)

We are all adrift in a bountiful and endless sea. Some of us know where we wish to end up and work towards it, while most people are content just drifting instead of figuring out where they want to go and finding a way of getting there. Yes captaining a ship is hard work – yes you have to man the sails and manage the rudder but ultimately it’s better than eventually drifting into some rocks or being eaten by a kraken (cunty girlfriend that drifts you into marriage whom eventually rapes you in divorce court for everything you ever owned). You’re the only one who can do it and figure out what you truly want.  Also, it is totally ok to have the desire to support someone else in their vision if you believe in them and their goal – but you’d better actually believe in that person and their goal otherwise it’ll ultimately end in heart ache. I am aware while there are natural leaders out there, there are also people who WANT and ENJOY fulfilling the support role and there’s nothing wrong with that but I digress.

“If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us”
-William Feather
Don’t let habit and convenience make you into something you don’t want to be. Don’t do something that’s slowly killing you inside just because it’s easy. It’s your life and it is your right, nay responsibility to do with it what you DESIRE. If you clearly define your goal and take just one step towards it every day you will be miles ahead of everyone else in a matter of weeks – and you’ll be so much happier.

Finally remember this all too important point:  ‘Indecision is still a decision’

Also, no vague goals – something tangible – something you can visualize, something you can hold onto when it gets hard.

That’s all I’ve got today, I am out of steam. Have yourselves a great day, wish me luck at Barbercraft and I’ll make sure the next one is more punchy. If this article wasn’t up to snuff let me know via comments or email but my excuse can be found here.

Also if you haven’t already check out Captaining your own ship, the sea and Why am I doing what I’m currently doing. They’re tied to this topic.

Lastly, if you want a great audio book on the subject ‘Out Witting the Devil’ by Napoleon Hill discusses this rather beautifully.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

 

 

 

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Be mindful of what you feed your mind

Every day we feed our minds with a lot of shit: advertising, images and scenes from movies and TV, song lyrics, other people’s negativity and criticism, memes and a lot of other junk. At the best of times this junk will just waste our brain power and distract us from what we truly want to focus on. At its worst it will make us do stuff we don’t actually want to do, like buying and consuming a double down, jerking it and wasting our vital life force or something equally pointless. Even more so this negative junk can affect us long term and cause us to think less of ourselves and form bad habits.

So first, I suggest you take a minute to examine the junk that you put into your head as well as your body and see if there’s some fat that needs trimming. This post however focuses specifically on the messages fed to us by those around us and by ourselves.

The most powerful voices in our lives are our parents, our lovers and our friends.
But there is one voice that rules them all: Our own voice –both the external vocal and the internal dialogue.

The power to get what you desire and to become what you want lies in the words you think and the words you say to yourself. What you imagine is also incredibly powerful- couple this with persistent imagination and constant mantras you have the power to create your own paradigms and subsequently the life you live. This, like all things works with positive thoughts as well as negative thoughts.

Suppose a farmer has some land, and it’s good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.

We’re comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.

Now, let’s say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land…and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.”

As it’s written… “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

The Strangest Secret – Earl Nightingale

I cannot emphasise how important this analogy is to understand! If you can internalise this and apply it you’ve basically won the battle and can win at life.

Like everything, this comes down to training and practice– remember the more you do something – the easier it gets. Practice being mindful of the thoughts you feed yourself – both vocal and non vocal. You’re the one who controls them. Practice catching yourself thinking or saying something that hurts or limits you and change your dialogue – it’s as simple as the difference between I will try to _____ and I will ______.

Pretty sure a big eared midget once said:
“Do or Do not, There is no Try.”
Master Yogurt Startrek SG 1 The Phantom Galactica Strikes Back

Common examples of shit I hear people say and shit I’ve said to myself in the past:

“I’ll never be able to do that”
“I can’t dance”
“I can’t sing”
“I always get sick during ______”
“I’m never on time”
“I’m bad at finishing things”
“I don’t have the energy”
“I’m always tired when I get home”
“I’m no good at _______ why bother”
“It’s too hard”
“I’m too busy”
“If only I had ______ then I’d ______”
“I can’t live without _______”
“This is how I’ll always be”
“I need ______ to be happy”
“I’m too stressed to quit smoking”
“I wish I could do that but….”

Do you get the idea? These are examples of the little bits of bullshit we’re constantly feeding ourselves. These things keep us doing the same shit over and over and prevent us from developing into better stronger people.

When we hear these things not only does our conscious mind hear it, our sub conscious and unconscious mind hear it as well. Our minds take in, and process accordingly – so we’ve got to be careful what we feed them.

Usually, all that needs to change is wording or simply not allowing ourselves to say the shit that keeps us from growing.

“I’m getting better at dancing” instead of “I can’t dance”
The first step is being aware of it, the second is adding new personal dialogues (loud ones that rhyme are particularly powerful –in the morning and before bed for faster results) the third is eliminating or changing the old dialogues and the final step is to practice all three steps until they become second nature.

It’s a journey, sometimes you’ll do it a lot, sometimes you’ll forget – the tools are always there for you when you choose to use them.

Within your mind lie the very implements for your salvation or destruction. Use them wisely.

This ties into the poorly referenced story of two wolves – pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before. Paraphrased: Inside everyone there are two wolves a good wolf that represents light, love and bravery and a bad wolf that represents darkness, hatred and fear. These wolves are constantly at war. Which wolf wins? The one you feed.

On dealing with people who refuse to accept this paradigm: You can’t change them, only they can change themselves. All you can do is change and grow yourself and lead by example. You can guide and instruct those that are curious but there is no sense trying to help those who don’t want to be helped or are determined to keep you down. You can tell someone everything I’ve told you and they may take it in or they may laugh at you. They may say “that’s just how it is” or “I can’t change” or some other defeatist answer –you’ve done your part, move on and limit your time around them if they’re hindering you.

Disclaimers
Be careful not to dismiss all negativity or criticism. Advice and criticism can sometimes be grounded and constructive. Take it in earnestly, examine it and then decide if it’s valid – if it comes from several sources then it’s more likely to be valid – you need to be self aware, introspective and honest with yourself. The idea of this isn’t about living in lala land and lying to yourself, it’s about shedding the negative lies you’ve been listening to for years and putting in place the truths you know, deserve and are capable of attaining.

Homework
This week, I want you to try being mindful of your inner dialogue as well as what you say to others. Try to stop thinking in terms of lack and limitation and think in terms of prosperity and growth – encourage yourself and others to grow and develop instead of allowing and maintaining mental road blocks.  If you can make the effort you will see results both in your own life and the lives of those around you.

Extra credit
Pick one particular lie that you tell yourself regularly and either change it or replace it entirely with a new truth. Repeat it at least 10 times a day with conviction –out loud and see what happens.

Lastly, I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU GET ON! I want to hear if this was helpful, I want your questions if you have any and I want to help guide you guys towards being all that you can be(ard). Go forth and feed the right wolf.

Readings
If you want more on this consider “The Game of Life and How to Play it” or “Your word is your Wand” both by Florence Scovel Shinn (I fucking love this woman, I wish I could go back in time, eat her box and give her every ounce of pleasure I am capable of giving in gratitude for her work).

Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret

http://www.oneyoufeed.net/ – I haven’t comprehensively been through this website but the general content is exceptional and very akin to this topic.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store, get in touch, follow me on the social medias or comment below.

This post is dedicated to Summer and Jamee, both of whom inspired me to get this written sooner than what I’d had planned. I hope you take something from this.

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The sea changes everyday but your destination shouldn’t

Hello everyone, it’s been a while. To everyone who’s given me feedback, shared or otherwise shown their support I thank you from the bottom of my heart and beard.

So, what am I talking about today? Honestly, I have no idea. Inspiration has been a little hard to come by lately. When you’re in a bad space it’s very hard to be charged with positive vibes and write positive material to fire up and inspire your readers. That being said, it’s important to just do it. The muse might see your steadfast dedication to the cause and reveal her beautiful face.

A few minutes in and here she is.

The importance of staying the cause; the destination is fixed but the route will vary.

An important lesson I’ve learned over the years is as follows: there will always be setbacks, road blocks and challenges – it’s your job to navigate around them and stay to the course.

Challenges are going to be presented – this is not because the universe doesn’t want you to succeed – it’s testing you to see how much you want something – if it was easy would it be worth having?

Energy in = Energy out

You dig?

Sometimes you will have to go over a hurdle, go around a mountain or even dig through it.
The important thing is to keep a level head, grit your teeth and find your way around the hurdle. That is, if your dream is worth it.

You’d better have just said to yourself ‘yeah it is worth it’ – it’s your fucking dream man! Why aren’t you using every drop of your energy working towards it? Even if it’s a small step every day, you’ll be miles ahead of everyone who’s ‘waiting for that perfect moment’ or ‘will start on it tomorrow’.

There’s an old adage I quite like:

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”
Source unknown – Spanish in origin.

So you know that you’ve got to keep persevering, but the most important part is to hold fast to where you’re going. Just like your dedication to the muse, you should be dedicated to your cause. The more dedication and devotion you show it, the more it will give you in return.

Here’s another nautical analogy because you’re all captains of your own ships: The sea changes every day, but your destination shouldn’t.  A lot of us lose sight or give up a lot earlier than we should-or changing our course to something that’s more fun or easier because what we were working on got too hard – Sirens or lagoons full of wenches and alcohol or whatever.
Things seem to get hard and we falter and give up or give in to temptation – this usually happens just as we’re on the edge of victory.  Napoleon Hill discusses this in one of his books – the story of the man who bought a disused gold mine to find whoever had given up on it previously was only 3 feet away from striking gold. This comes back to the old saying ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn’.

Anyway, I think I’ll leave this article short and sweet.

Remember that your life is a journey and it’s up to you to decide where it’s going. There’s no beauty or nobility toiling in a job you hate just to pay the bills, there’s no glory or fulfillment in being a drift in an endless sea with nothing but Netflix, video games and a nice house to pass the time. You’re here to experience life and make the most of your time here – don’t waste it.

“Life without endeavour is like entering a jewel mine and coming out with empty hands”
-Some Japanese guy.

I hope that some of you reading this have begun to find your destination and your ‘why’ so just remember to stay the course. I believe in you and I’d love to hear how you’re going. If you’re interested check the rest of my posts out here.

If you want a good book on ‘the journey’ that will certainly inspire you to your own I recommend ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!