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The Human body: The perfect machine. Piloted by the stupidest crew and you.

Humans are self programming, self replicating, self healing machines that get better at whatever it is they spend their time doing.
There are however two detrimental downsides to this perfect creature:

1) Humans have to carry around their primal baggage in the form of the ego and the reptilian brain – the idiots who are only interested in instant gratification – I’ve always referred to this as my inner Labrador because it all it wants to do is play, fight, sleep, eat and fuck.

2) Humans have free will and with free will comes the freedom to chose what you do with your time and life.

Your soul is at the helm of a most perfect machine- it is capable of anything you set it to. Regrettably you have to share the helm with an ‘ego’tistical maniac and an ‘id’iot.

It is your job as your higher self (your ideal, your soul, your best self, your inner badass) to control your other two cabin mates in order to get the best out of your life for yourself and those around you –otherwise, you’re being ruled by either an idiot or a maniac.

Free will is your ultimate gift, it’s a blessing; it means you can do whatever the fuck you want to do –but with this blessing comes the shadow- the seed of its own destruction. The freedom to make good choices comes with the freedom to make bad choices and either way, YOU have to bear the consequences.

“You see, I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig. Not many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be completely without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”
Havelock Vetenari , Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

So things would be a lot easier if we weren’t stuck with our primal roommates –however without them we wouldn’t be here – they are the driving forces that kept us alive for millennia and keep us breathing, eating, shitting and fucking when we need to. However, the ego over thinks and usually destroys himself and the Labrador doesn’t give a shit what actually needs to be done and only cares about the sleeping, eating, fucking etc.  This means unless we learn to keep them in line they’ll rule our lives and we’ll end up nowhere.

Back to the topic at hand: the more you do something the easier it gets or looked at from another angle – the more you practice something the better you are at doing it – fun fact – this includes making good choices instead of bad -shall I do something for long term gain? or shall I do something for instant gratification?
Play guitar enough and your brain will start to think rhythmically and your fingers will actually be able to stretch further and you’ll also build calluses to stop the pain of pushing on strings.
Go for a run every day and your body will slowly get lighter and you’ll be able to run further and faster with every step.

Lift weights at the gym and your muscles will get stronger –enabling you to lift more.

Read more books and you’ll be able to read and comprehend faster –you’ll also likely increase your vocabulary if you read widely.

Write regularly and you’ll find the words come to you easier every time, writer’s block hinders you less and it gets easier to edit and create with every piece you write.

So those are just a few examples of the things your body and mind are capable of doing provided you actually start TRYING to do them.

You come home from work, sit in front of [Facebook / TV / Netflix/ preferred wank material / video game of choosing] and don’t get up until it’s time to [cook / eat / sleep]
-you get good at feeling tired and lethargic after work and not doing much of anything

You play any video game for extended periods of time and are very good at playing dark souls or league of legends or whatever.
-you get good at sitting on your arse and moving your fingers around very fast

You set a bunch of snooze alarms and wake up over the course of about 40 minutes instead of just getting up when your alarm goes off (snooze surfing as I like to call it)
– you get very good at not getting out of bed when you need to

You usually see the negative in things and expect the worst from people and situations, silver linings are things other people have to point out to you.
-you will likely end up having depression.

You see an ad for something delicious or smell something and immediately go and buy/ eat it without actually being hungry regardless of the shitty quality of the calories therein.
– you get good at failing to control your impulses and eating even if you’re not hungry

Your phone goes off while you’re [driving / working / reading/ doing anything important] and you have to stop whatever you were doing right away to look at your phone.
-you get really good at getting distracted by the magic box that lives in your pocket

These are just a few examples of things you train yourself to do every day without even thinking about it.

But Ayman I am tired after work and I like playing video games and delicious food is delicious.

I know, but are these things actually serving you? Or are they holding you back?  Are you happy with your life at the moment? Or do you use these things to keep you distracted and complacent because you’re unhappy about your job and your waistline?

The Buddha, Tony Robbins, Alan Watts and a bunch of other people have stated something along the following:

Anything we do, we do it to experience pleasure or to avoid pain.

This can include food, drugs, video games, porn, procrastination – the sky is the limit and funnily enough the things that usually give us instant pleasure or temporary escapism are what in the long run cause us the most pain.
So when you find yourself doing something that isn’t leading towards a better you or you’re unhappy with where your life is take a step back and ask yourself ‘why am I doing what I’m currently doing?’

If the answer isn’t good, then consider reprogramming yourself because it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks –it just takes willpower and effort – proportional to the amount of reprogramming you have to do. Your own worst enemy is yourself and the Labrador isn’t something to be hated or neglected –he’s just stupid and needs to be trained properly – with the correct attitude and action he can be a useful ally – but that is a post for another day.

Always remember, you only have the freedom to choose what to do RIGHT NOW. You have no way to control or change what you’ve done or what you’re going to do – so make sure you’re doing something beneficial.

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More Sleep = More Fucks

Now that I have your attention let’s do this!

Sleep is important: Fucking important. You almost certainly don’t get enough of it. It’s usually the first thing we neglect when we need to get more time out of our day. Be it video games, Netflix, going to the gym or staying up late with a special someone playing hide the sausage. Sleep is usually shelved in favour of getting more out of your day.

Every living thing in the universe goes through cycles of activity and rest. Not getting an adequate rest period upsets the natural harmony of your body and subsequently your natural harmony with the universe. Needless to say, this can have some seriously detrimental effects on your life and overall health. Whether you like it or not, you are not a single entity – you are part of a whole
network / ecosystem of poles –the whole system has a rhythm and you are part of that rhythm – you need to have a trough in order to have a peak – the weaker your trough the shittier your peak.

Here’s a totally bullshit, ultimately meaningless graph to demonstrate my point:

 

 

 

On a less metaphysical level getting a good amount of sleep is crucial for:

Weight loss
Metabolic waste disposal
Improved physical and cognitive performance
Muscle building
Proper hormone balance
Mood
And a bunch of other good shit.

While the above is definitely a good time and well worth getting a good sleep, to me the most important thing about sleep is its effect on your Will Power. Not enough sleep results in a shoddy prefrontal cortex. This means you have diminished will power and aren’t as self aware as you’re normally capable of being; resulting in poor performance, shitty decision making and awful impulse control.

Hence the title: More sleep = more fucks because you give more of a fuck about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it instead of just coasting on auto pilot.

You’ll be in better control of the shit you do, you’ll be more creative and you’ll be more efficient. Your interactions with other people will be better and you’ll generally have a better day. So get to it and get some rest.  It’s not directly going to get you more fucks – but it’ll help you give a fuck as well as perhaps increase your social skills well enough to get you fucked.

Also try and make sure you try to get as much sleep between 10pm and 2am because that’s allegedly where a lot of your hormone regulation happens – really good for weight loss, will power and overall health.

So to quote a popular kid’s book:

GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

This article was dedicated to the lovely young lady who came up with the article’s title spinning my own words back against me in a perfect moment of karmic retribution – you had to be there.

Here are some sweet, easy to digest links on the subject:
http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/10/14/sleep-science/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTlJnyF3REs
The Sleep Revolution – Arianna Huffington

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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Universal Equilibrium: Captain your Own Ship

Every situation is potentially positive or potentially negative and everything contains the seed of its own destruction.
Today, we’re going abstract. I hope by the end of this I’ve broadened your horizons and you’re not freaking out that your favourite Arab is madder than you had previously thought.

The following essay is based on my interpretations of Hermeticism, mysticism, Tao and other natural philosophies. If you have questions or want to know more be in touch. If this is a subject you’d be interested in discussing with like minded fellows let me know and I’ll add you to the guest list for my next gentlemen’s philosophy evening.

The world we live in is made of opposites- light and dark, hot and cold, push and pull, soft and hard. This is referred to as ‘the law of polarity’ in Hermetics. The yin-yang is a perfect example of this: Darkness has a ‘seed’ of light and light a ‘seed’ of darkness and they’re both moving towards each other in perfect equilibrium– darkness forever into light, light forever into darkness.

“Hang on a second there Merlin what does this have to do with anything?”

“I’m glad you ask young grass hopper”

“Grasshopper? What kind of fucking wizard are you?”

“One with a hat, so shut up and eat your wisdom”

What I’m getting at is: EVERYTHING CAN BEAR GLORIOUS AND PERFECT CREATION OR CATACLYSMIC WHOLESALE DESTRUCTION. This depends on how you handle the situation and more importantly how you handle yourself. If you don’t understand what I’m saying I’ll throw down some real world examples that might shed some light on the subject:

Social media is a great way to connect to people, reach more customers and let loved ones who are far away see snippets of your life. Social media can also be an unfulfilling, highly addictive waste of time.

Cannabis is a great way to unwind, an all round pain killer and a potential cancer cure. It is also a potentially habit forming, expensive demotivator that can keep you from reaching your full ‘Pot’ential.

Losing a loved one can completely cripple you emotionally and mentally for an extended period of time. You can mope and be depressed or you can channel that pain into something constructive and come out a better, stronger person. The loss can also teach you a lot about people and about yourself.

Sex is a beautiful expression of passion, love and intimacy. It can strengthen the bonds of a relationship and make for an unbreakable union between a couple. Sex and lust can also break relationships, cause participating parties to simply pursue pleasure above anything else and result in emotionally immature people bouncing between beds, chasing meaningless empty hook ups in the hope of finding wholeness(not realising wholeness is something to be found within the self – not with someone else first). 

Water is the life blood of our planet, it facilitates life as we know it. Water can also whether mountains, level entire countries, drown people and germinate seeds.

This person I’m seeing is very sweet, fun and sexy. They motivate me to succeed and occasionally help me but when we’re together we eat junk food, stay up late and waste a lot of time.

Fire is a useful energy source that enables us to cook our food, power engines and  get things done. Fire can also burn, destroy and pollute.

Every one of the examples above has both a positive and a negative aspect for the same thing. What is the governing factor?

You are the governing factor. You control your own success and your own destruction. You are the master of your own destiny and if you know yourself and know your weaknesses and are aware when you’re slipping into decline you will be able to enjoy most things without being consumed by them. This is where discipline, self control and sticking to your goals come in, these are your map and compass on the path to becoming the best you imaginable. It is important to be honest with yourself and ask the question: Why am I doing what I’m currently doing? If answered honestly, you will know what your motivating factor is and whether or not it is the best course of action. If you lie to yourself just to get some carnal / basal thing you just want right now, then eventually karma will bite you in the arse and you will pay for it. You must stay the course – detours are ok but you must always be mindful of where you’re going and what you’re doing– otherwise you will eventually hit rocks.

Funny thing about rocks at sea – there are usually Sirens and you don’t realize they’re Sirens until you hit the rocks and those beautiful sea babes are feasting upon your flesh.

Stay vigilant, stay honest and stay the course.

Good luck fellow space travelers.

I hope this has given you something to think about.

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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Depression is F***ing S*** Part Two: Good thoughts, Good action Good head

Depression.
IS FUCKING SHIT.
Let’s fix it.

(This is Part two Part one can be found here)

How to fix depression

There is no ‘instafix’ or magic bullet. Unfortunately you can do everything in your power to fix your life and in will fly some sort of trigger that puts you into a spiral. The key to dealing with the spirals is being mindful of the triggers, your reactions and yourself as well as having good behaviours waiting to combat depressive episodes when they strike (this takes practice and discipline- but the good news is, it gets easier the more you do it).

If you can’t find the immediate cause of your depression and do something about it then the best thing you can do is perform good action. Good action gives you agency and a sense of control over things in your life.

Things to avoid

I think we’ll first start with a brief list of what not to do. You won’t like this list, but it’s for your own good.

In no particular order:

Sweet / delicious food – it’ll give temporary relief, it’ll fill the void. Then you’ll crash, you’ll get fat and you’ll feel even worse.

Porn / sex you’ll be temporarily distracted by the bouncing boobies and all the trimmings, but then afterwards you’ll be swept with lethargy, emptiness. The French refer to orgasm as La petite mort (the little death)  In some this can be accompanied by shame, anxiety and a bunch of other not particularly useful feelings.

Drugs / alcohol / cigarettes –sedatives and escapism – fill your body with temporary good feelings, then a crash. These are typically addictive and are bad for you. They also hinder your progress at actually finding a solution for your problems. Pretty obvious but I’m saying it anyway.
Video games– I have wasted many a night depressed and playing video games. Be it playing WoW or LoL –at the time I’m absorbed in the experience – great. Afterwards I log off and all my problems come back – I also usually feel worse because I look at the clock and realize how much of my life I just wasted not actually doing anything.
Video games are designed to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you haven’t. So as soon as you unplug, that reality sets in. Maybe you stay in denial for a few months/ years but one day that house of cards will come crumbling down and you’ll feel worse – that armour you spent 3 months grinding for is just a bunch of ones and zeros.

I’m not saying don’t play any video games but don’t let success in a game be the meaning in your life.

Basically avoid anything that gives you a false sense of accomplishment or temporary distraction from your issues unless it’s constructive or has long term, real world pay off.

What the hell is good action?

Any thought, action or behaviour that leads to good.

Some quick fire things that qualify as good actions:
Exercise
Creative expression
Enjoying beauty
Cleaning your room
Pet a cat or dog
Having conscious experiences
Helping an old lady across the street
Warmly greeting a passerby
Giving to someone worse off than yourself
Weeding your garden
Building a thing
Getting more sunlight (this was my dad’s go to)
Cooking yourself a healthy meal
Getting more sleep
Getting out of bed

For me personally: I like walking, playing guitar, giving a homeless guy on the side of the road a tenner. Alternatively I do something constructive that I needed to get done already – like fix the fence, mow the lawn or clean my room.

Basically you need to push yourself to accomplish something and accomplish it.

The satisfaction will lift you beyond the very stars and give you a sense of empowerment and control of your destiny.

Exercise is particularly good for this because biochemically it gives you a shot of endorphins to ease the pain – breaking a sweat every day also forces you to have a shower every day (something people with depression like to ‘forget’ to do)

Yes the pain will come back sometimes, yes it will hurt -but it’s about fighting through – because the more often you overcome, the easier it gets to overcome.

The other thing that I find helps me when I’m depressed is to do something for someone else – help someone else out, lift someone else’s spirits.
This can be as simple as checking in with a mate who’s having a rough time, calling your mum or grandparent and asking about them, giving blood or giving some money to a homeless person or a charity.

“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
Eckhart Tolle

IF YOU FEEL HELPLESS, HELP SOMEONE ELSE it will empower the fuck out of you.

A special shout out to cleaning your room
By sorting the excess baggage in your life, you sort out the excess baggage in your head.
To quote my father “an untidy living space is not conducive to mental well being”
Your living space is a reflection of your mental state so fix that and see what happens.

Count your blessings
Don’t lie to me! You know you’ve got them. Be thankful for what you have! Take some time to take a deep breath and list a few things you’re thankful for.

If you’re stuck here are a couple of examples:
I am thankful that my eyes work and I can read this
I am thankful I am above ground and breathing
I am thankful I have leisure time that enables me to read blog posts on the internet
I am thankful for the internet
I am thankful I don’t live in a third world country

See how fucking easy that was? See how unshit your life actually is? This practice is really about giving you a sense of perspective and gives you a chance to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Depression could be interpreted as the habit of thinking negatively – so by doing this, we’re trying to counteract this with some positivity – with practice this can be enough.

Another interesting thing you can try is ‘Wim Hof breathing’ I can go into this one later or you can look it up. Basically you take a few minutes in your day and by taking deliberate, deep breathes  your mind-body connection improves and shit sucks less. I’ll put a link below.

I find that being depressed can also be a symptom of not being conscious enough – too busy stuck in your head worrying about your problems instead of existing in the outside world and experiencing shit. What do I mean by this?
I was walking in the rain today and intentionally shook a tree to create a downpour of icy cold water on my noggin –this experience was cold but invigorating and it really broke the numbness I had been experiencing today. I laughed and carried on.

While walking I generally like to touch (not break or rip) the plants I walk past, smell the smells around me and listen to the world (or the heavy as fuck music pumping through my headphones as my every step stomps on all my problems)
I hope you understand what I’m trying to explain here:
Experience things, be aware of your surroundings and focus less on the storm clouds in your head. By focusing on them and feeling helpless you give them more power.

Summary

Depression is shit and will affect almost everyone at some point in their lives.
Medication/ escapism and sedation shouldn’t be your first resort to fixing it.
Depression is an accumulation of negativity, dis-ease and disempowerment.
Good thoughts, good habits and good behaviours will trump the negativity if you steadfastly work on training your mind.
Being negative pulls more negative shit towards you. It puts you into that state of mind- that wavelength.
You need to consciously train yourself to think positively so you can overcome the negativity when it strikes.
Empower yourself in other areas to break free from the sense of hopelessness.
Reach out, find someone to help you deal with this stuff and realize it’s a temporary setback not how your life is meant to be.
Lastly and most importantly, one of my favourite maxim’s:
THE MORE OFTEN YOU DO SOMETHING THE BETTER YOU GET AT IT.
^this works for good things as well as bad.

Writing this article has been particularly beneficial for me. The sense of accomplishment is rather gratifying, I hope reading it provides you with some light in the dark – there is light inside you, you just have to reclaim it and foster it.
Thank you for reading, this was a long one. I hope it has helped. If you have any questions or comments, post them below or get in touch.

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!

More reading

I personally found this well crafted article useful on the subject http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/12/21/call-new-strenuous-age/

Wim Hof with Joe Rogan

Therapy vs Medication
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201507/psychotherapy-vs-medications-the-verdict-is-in
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748674/

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Depression is F***ing S*** Part One: SSRIs, Shamans and a taste for the Negative.

Depression.

IS FUCKING SHIT.

Let’s talk about it.

So we’re going to talk about a subject close to my state of being at the moment and that’s depression –this is a long article so I’ve split it in two. You can find the other half here.

Now before I begin I’d like to add that I’ve had depression on and off since I was in highschool. Bullying, my parent’s divorce and my old man’s death all highlight the happy experience that was my adolescence. It’s a problem that affects most of us at some point or another- sometimes for a few days, a few weeks; sometimes for years and unfortunately for some- entire lifetimes.

To give you context, I’m currently depressed because a couple of weeks back I split up with my partner, designer and lover of over two years. It wasn’t mutual and frankly, it feels like I‘ve had a limb ripped off (to be honest, since I’ve written this and done a bunch of this stuff myself, I feel pretty good).

Such is life, we carry on: we either learn from these experiences and move on or we let them consume us.

So being depressed is fucking shit. Everything may as well be grey. Nothing tastes good, nothing feels good and you wander around like a zombie; numb to everything and the only thing you can experience is hurt. You can’t sleep, it’s hard to get out of bed and it’s almost fucking impossible to get anything done without dragging your heels and feeling like shit while you do it. Everything seems to go wrong and the universe feels like it’s against you.

A few ideas on the cause / source of depression

Cut and dry I’d say depression is a symptom of three possible things: Disharmony, Disempowerment and a habit of thinking negatively.

Disharmony
Something inside you isn’t right and it’s manifesting into an internal uneasiness or a dis-ease if you will. Disease –see what I did there?
Internally you are not at ease. It could be anything from a repressed traumatic event, a shitty relationship, cognitive dissonance or something at work or at home that you haven’t dealt with.

Disempowerment
Another component of depression is a feeling of disempowerment. There is something that upsets you that you seemingly have no control over so you feel disempowered and unable to do anything about it-this feeling of disempowerment typically bleeds into the rest of your life making you feel like you’re absolutely worthless and that you can’t do anything to fix your situation.

A taste for negativity
This last component is mostly targeted at chronic depression. People occasionally fall into the habit of constantly thinking negatively and this inevitably fucks with their heads – they get so used to thinking negatively so that’s all they know. This is the trap those who’ve had something go wrong in their lives fall into and they sometimes get stuck there – and the negative shit just builds up until they don’t know what’s wrong but something is definitely wrong. They can lift themselves out but inevitably something happens that starts the cycle again. This is the hardest to combat but it’s beatable.

Lets first discuss the medical solution

SSRIs ( Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors -the most common class of antidepressant) SSRIs loosely work by increasing the amount of serotonin available to your neurons, serotonin is linked to feeling happy so having more of that around should fix the problem (my biology degree is crying in shame at how basic and generalized this description is).

Before I rip into SSRIs let me make it clear that I understand they can help some people, especially those who suffer from ‘chemical imbalances’. This is not the be all and end all on the subject. I’ve heard good stories about people going on them for a few months to get through the rough patch and they got off them no problem – but I’ve seen the other side of the coin more often and I have a few issues with them.

My issues with SSRIs.
1) They don’t actually fix the problem which depression is a sympton of
2) They effectively lobotomize your emotional side so you’re basically constantly numb and feel nothing
3) Their side effects are hugely fucked up -usually requiring you to take more meds to fix the side effects
4) They’re quite hard to get off of and getting off them can be rather dangerous
5) In my humble opinion big phrama isn’t about solving your problems it’s about generating revenue (yes my tinfoil hat is very comfortable)
6) We live in a culture where there’s a pill for everything – this isn’t always the best solution and in my opinion when it comes to depression it’s the worst solution.

How I would colourfully explain treating depression with SSRIs
“hey doc, I’ve got this nail in my head, could you pull it out?”

“don’t be absurd patient! Take these pills that you have to take every day that you’ll likely get hooked on. They’ll sort you out. They are hard to wean off, they could possibly make you suicidal, they can cause weight gain and other side effects including: spasms, impotence, reduced sex drive and a bunch of other shit written in tinee tiny fine print”

“ok, but what do they do about the nail?”

“oh that’s the brilliant part, eventually after months of being on this medication you grow indifferent to the nail, your head and the rest of your body and eventually your head may simply fall off”

“sounds good, where are my drugs?”

Last words on SSRIs
I think SSRI’s and other medication are bullshit because you’re effectively putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound without actually taking the bullet out. You can’t take things from the external world to sort out internal strife – you have to go on a personal journey inside yourself and figure it out – this is where a trusted friend, a psychiatrist, meditation or maybe even a shaman can help. Anything you take orally is for the most part either a temporary escape or some sort of sedative (weed, alcohol, SSRIs) the only thing that might help you internally via ingestion are possibly ayahuasca (DMT) or LSD but that’s not exactly something I can recommend but there’s some cool research on the subject you can look into yourself. These would need to be taken not for recreation or escapism but to help you travel inside yourself and tussle with your demons head on (this is where the shaman would come in to guide you along and shamans can help you travel inside yourself without the use of psychoactives).

DISCLAIMER: I am sure you’re all smart enough not to take my OPINIONS as medical advice. If however you are that stupid and consider what I’m saying to be medical advice then I prescribe 5 blue jelly beans a day and your depression should clear up in about a week. If you’ve tried everything I’ve mentioned and nothing has helped I suggest you speak to a professional

Shaman disclaimer: I’ve never used the services of a shaman or anyone of the nature but I see it and hallucinogens as a potential treatment of finding out about one’s self. The issue is it’s very hard to find an actual shaman in a world full of quacks and stoners who watch VICE that like to call themselves shamans.

That’s the end of part one. Part two is about fixing depression without meds. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you for Part Two.

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

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Aim for Completion not Perfection

A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Lao Tzu

Boom, you’re inspired lets fucking do this.

Firstly, I’m going to start by saying: I’m a wreck this week. I’m experiencing a cold for the first time in over a year and my personal life is not in a good shape. I say this because I feel like absolute shit but I’m doing this because I said I would release regular content and I’m not letting the bad shit keep me from doing what I believe in and neither should you.

YOU CAN ALWAYS DO SOMETHING: EVEN IF THE WORLD FEELS LIKE IT’S AGAINST YOU.

You can’t control what you’ve done in the past, you can’t control what you’ll do tomorrow – All you can control is WHAT YOU DO RIGHT NOW.

But I digress, let’s press on.

The Scariest Moment is always just before you start
Stephen King

So, I have this dream of being a musician – have had it since I was a little kid. This dream barely gets realized because other stuff happens. Work, life, Mad Arab, Inspirational blog posts* you get the idea.

I’ve found when I finally sit down and try to start working on music I clam up, get distracted or something else takes my focus. We all know this monster: Procrastination.

But what is procrastination. In a nutshell it’s fear

Fear that my song will be shit. Fear that my muso friends will think it’s shit. Fear that I’ll get stuck half way through and have to abandon another half born child to the folder named ‘WIPs’ because my technical skills and limited knowledge hold me back.

This fear results in failing before I’ve even plugged in my guitar and another day is lost to stupid insecurity and groundless fears.

I’ve found the most powerful tool to combat this anxiety is to say
“even if it’s shit, at least I did it”

Before most of us start any task we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We aim to build the Eiffel tower before we’ve even built a coffee table.

I’ll let you in on a secret: no one cares what  you’re doing because they’re too busy caught up in their own shit – and if anyone shit talks you, it’s usually because they’re mad at themselves for not having done exactly what you’re trying to do. It’s better to have created something and put it out than not even getting started. Even if it’s rubbish, it doesn’t matter people will either love it or click on the next cat video. It’s important to make it and put it out. Why? Because it makes putting out the next thing EVEN EASIER and the next thing might just be the Sistine Chapel or whatever.

So what I’m trying to say is: Aim for Completion not perfection.

You can always go back and fix it later if you’re not happy with it. Or just start something else taking lessons from the last thing you created. However, you can’t do this if you never started to begin with. This idea is also good for stopping yourself before you over think and over process something to the point that it’s truly a piece of rubbish in your eyes because you’re sick of working on it.

If Aiming for Completion not perfection is still too hard for you then try my favourite technique for getting an essay written:

INTENTIONALLY CREATE THE SHITTEST THING YOU CAN!

I remember once having to write an essay on owl feeding habits for uni and I had wicked bad writers block.
So I started with this:

“Owls are birds, they have big fuck off eyes which help them be noctournal and shit(Wikipedia, 2011). They have big talons and can fly and Harry Potter owns one, it’s called Hedwig (Rowling, 1997).”

After I got the initial anxiety of getting started out of the way by purging the stupidity out of my system I got to writing a pretty sweet paper that got me an A-

Obviously I removed the initial sentence once it fulfilled its purpose but I enjoyed writing the rest of the paper BECAUSE I could approach it without the pretension, without the anxiety and without the fear of doing a shit job.

So in light of all this, I’m going to upload this tonight and proof read it tomorrow ( a major cop out for producing shitty work, but you just read an article on the importance of producing work – no matter how shitty).

Fingers crossed I’ll be feeling better next time, because the next topic is important and I want to nail it. If you like what you heard today I’ll recommend the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.

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

*so I guess this too could be perceived as a form of procrastination but hey, if this helps you then I’ve done a good thing.

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Why am I doing what I’m currently doing?

A useful question that we don’t ask ourselves often enough. This question is possibly one of the most powerful and important questions I have begun to ask myself when I’m not achieving as much as I’d like to be.

The steps we take today determine where we are tomorrow.

Before anything can be made manifest into the physical world it must begin as a thought- an intention- a desire. Without this: it cannot exist.

When we act without thinking we are usually drawing ourselves to situations and outcomes we do not want. However, if you know what you want and can keep yourself in line with that desire then you can manifest what you wish. Instead of succumbing to your habits and lesser desires which as we discussed previously usually draws you to the same shit in your life that you’d rather not have.

Example One
Why am I currently eating this fatty over processed garbage?
-It was easier than cooking.
-I saw an ad for it on TV.
-The packaging is colourful and drew my attention.
-It takes the loneliness away and gives me a temporary feeling of satisfaction.

Instantly by asking this question (and answering honestly) we realize that our answers are usually really poor excuses for shitty, self destructive behaviour. This is the power of questioning your actions: It really makes you pinpoint why you’re performing potentially destructive behaviour.

Example Two
Why am I staying up late binge watching a TV series I’ve already seen?
-I’m nervous about tomorrow so I’d rather not think about it
-I’m lonely
-There’s nothing better to do
-I’d rather eventually fall asleep in front of this instead of trying to drift off to sleep in silence
-I don’t want to be alone with my own thoughts
Example Three
Why am I drinking this beer?
-I’m watching a game with the lads and it’s the thing to do
-I had a shitty week at work and I’m trying to forget about it
-There’s nothing better to do after a long day at work
-Potentially I may be an alcoholic

These are just a couple of examples of seemingly innocuous behaviours that we all take for granted that we really don’t have good excuses for doing so frequently. I’m not saying stop drinking, I’m just saying ask yourself why you’re doing it.

When you ask yourself ‘Why’ and realise your answer is piss poor then that may lead you to ask:

Is there something better I could be doing right now?

This is important because:
YOUR TIME IS LIMITED. YOU SHOULD BE USING IT EFFECTIVELY IF YOU WANT TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE.

If you have a goal you should be honest with yourself regarding how you spend your time.

If you want to become a musician but spend your free time playing video games because it’s more fun / easier then do you deserve to ever be a guitar shredding, groupie boning musician?

The honest answer is: No

When we begin to question why we’re doing what we’re doing we begin to ask ourselves what should we be doing and this is one of the basic steps in become masters of our own destiny.

Some days you won’t win and you’ll simply answer with ‘because I want to’ and that’s ok but as long as you start to question, the excuses will become less and less effective and you’ll see yourself performing those shitty actions less and less.
The key here is honesty and holding yourself to account:
It is your ship and it is your responsibility to steer it.

We should also ask this question when we’re doing something worthwhile and begin to feel ourselves grow weary.

Why is not only there to question bad things. It’s also there to give your positive behaviours meaning.

 

Example Four
Why am I working like a dog to get this business off the ground even though I’m usually broke and always busy?
-It’s more fulfilling than a full time job
-I want to support my family
-My customers love what I do
-I don’t want to have a midlife crisis and ever ask the question ‘where did the time go?’
-It’s fun

When we ask ourselves this question in times of adversity  while doing worthwhile activities we remember our cause and it bolsters our resolve – giving us more energy and keeping us in sight of land.

Final Example
Why am I writing this entry instead of playing Undertale?
– I still have enough energy to do something worthwhile
-Ultimately this is more satisfying than playing video games
-This benefits the world better than me selfishly playing video games
– I know someone out there needed to read this

So to anyone who has made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope this has given you something to think about. Perhaps this is the day you stop self sabotaging in the name of instant gratification and begin to steer your own ship towards what you actually want in life.

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.

Now that that’s off my chest, I can go play video games.

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A Primer on Mastering One’s Destiny

This was originally published on the first version of my website sometime in late 2015. Here it is again. It’s aged reasonably well.

Hello and welcome to another Mad Arab blog. Please note: this will not be about beards.

I see a lot of meh in the world – I also see a lot of people frustrated with the meh but not really sure how to ‘transcend the meh’. So for the longest time I’ve wanted to do something to perhaps help people rise along with me – because even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.

The purpose of this ‘blog’ is to help others get to where I’m going / where I want to be.

So without further delay I present my new segment:

The challenges of mastering ones destiny.

In short: the biggest challenge is mastering yourself before you master the world.

To that some might say ‘Slow down Tony Robbins, lest your giant nose shadow all that ye master’

So to start us off I’m going to give a basic primer on self help as well as a bit of a warning about the biggest hindrance to success.

Success – how do you do it?

It boils down to a few simple things:

1) Believing you can succeed.
2) Having a concrete definition of success.
3) Taking actions that lead to towards that vision of success.
4) Staying the course in the face of adversity.
5) Being earnestly and genuinely grateful for all that you have and all that you will have.

Interestingly the ‘thinking’ is more important than the ‘doing’ but you need to do both.

I was never very into ‘the power of positive thinking’ and all the trappings of New Age until I started this journey and now I would say I’m a firm believer in the power of conscious thought.

That is really what most self help boils down to – it’s not just about reading the books and doing the meal plan. It’s about internalizing it so thinking in a certain way becomes habit.

The barriers you face are mostly of your own creation – when you realize this, you will begin to understand your full potential.

On the subject of drifting

The way people exist in our times is rather passive. People drift through school until they find a job, they drift til they find a partner and  they drift all the while just hoping they’ll win the lottery. Being adrift in an ocean of drifters leads to collisions, capsizes and worst of all -drifting leads to one day waking up and saying “What the fuck happened to my life?”

So how do we avoid such an awful experience on our 30th, 40th, 50th or 60th birthday?
Easy, by not allowing yourself to continue plodding along with no drive and no direction.
Stop drifting and start sailing.

Enough with your punchy catchphrases mate – you’re not a self help Guru.

You’re right my cynical friend, I’m not a self help master. I’m just some guy who’s working through his bullshit so he can succeed. Just like you’ve got to if YOU want to succeed.

Drifting leads to living a reactionary life – at the mercy of the tides. While it is true we are all at the mercy of the waves some of us have the forethought to carry anchors, a compass and sails. Without these provisions a drifter is a shipwreck waiting to happen.

I will visit drifting in more detail in future but for now simply understand that drifting leads down a path of unfulfilment, poor health and general unhappiness. Yes it’s scary being your own person and actually taking charge but it’s the most rewarding thing you can do. You owe it to yourself to be all you can be. Settling for the path of least resistance or the lowest denominator because it’s easy will in the end leave you miserable.

When the opportunity to succumb to your lesser desires presents itself consider the following:

The steps we take today define our destination tomorrow.

Good night and thank you for your time,

Arab, Mad The.

If you found this helpful and would like to support me on my quest, consider buying some of my fine products here: http://madarabindustries.dreamhosters.com/