Hitting Rock Bottom
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.”
Attributed to Tony Robbins
In the not so distant past I was so out of shape physically, that walking up a flight of stairs would literally leave me gasping for air. I drank 3 quarts of malt liquor a day, smoked weed excessively every day, and also smoked between 1 and 2 packs of Black & Mild cigars every day too (usually after removing the filter paper to ensure that its toxic effects were further intensified). Predictably, my eating habits conformed to my overall pattern and path of self destruction, and thus my “diet” (when I did decide to actually eat) was usually made up of Burger King and Ramen noodles, amongst other foods that the enlightened individual would classify as unfit for human consumption. To further complement my self degrading choices, the only exercise I ever committed myself to was the intense manual labor of my job which ultimately led to lower back issues. If this was not enough, I began to wake up every morning coughing uncontrollably and my physical enthusiasm was dissipating rapidly. In spite of what was evidently deteriorating bodily health issues though, my problems were not so much physical, as they were actually mental.
I became so hauntingly engulfed with anxiety and fear during this time in my life, that I could no longer function in society without being intoxicated. Social settings for me, at least while sober, became excruciating experiences. I began to question my mental stability and sanity, which coincided with me having suicidal thoughts. I could not understand why I had this crippling anxiety, or if it were even possible to overcome its colossal influence over my mind and life. All I wanted to do was end this pain.
Back then I was drinking every day just to get by
Predicated upon my ignorance, I began to theorize about how this may have happened. I had been in physical fights and confrontations throughout my entire life from when I was just a very small boy, which was fairly common in the city and generation I grew up in (Johannesburg, South Africa during the 90’s), and this continued when I moved to the United States as a teenager and also as a young man. Although I am not in possession of a diary I wrote in during this painful period, I distinctly recall jotting down that I believed I may have suffered from some sort of brain damage and trauma that affected my ability to socialize as a result. I also considered the possibility of the accumulation of all the alcohol I had drank and weed I had smoked, both which began before I was even a teenager and far from being fully mentally developed, along with the occasional harder drug here and there, as potentially damaging these social capabilities.
I knew something was terribly wrong with my mind, but I had no clarity about what it was. One thing that was certain, was I could no longer continue to live my life like this, which is why I had suicidal thoughts. I was simply exploring the known possibilities (from my very limited perspective and understanding) of how I could end the pain of living in a state of constant anxiety and fear, which is generally why people take such a radical course of action. But it should be made very clear, out of respect for those who are truly suicidal, that they were just thoughts and never actions. Medication was also a potential “solution” (at least in my mind at the time), but I knew that was the same as being dependent on alcohol; I would always be a slave to it. The only thing I was even remotely sure of at this time, was something had to change because I was beginning to literally lose what was left of my mind.
A New Chapter Begins
“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”
– Vera Nazarian
I began to get back into physical training during this time, which was rooted in my desperation to change my life. I also managed to overcome my addiction to weed (marijuana has a long list of benefits and I am an advocate for it but it was a problem for me personally), but between the powerful nagging itch to go out and unleash my caged up wild energy, and the relatable yearn to let go of anxiety, problems and worries — which is what I viewed “the bottle” as affording me the opportunity to accomplish — my alcohol abuse was still very much in full effect. “Black outs”, which occur when someone drinks to the point that they literally induce partial or full amnesia, became frequent occurrences during this time. To put this into perspective, I found myself waking up in jail, coming into coherence in the midst of preparing to literally fight a dozen guys and even waking up on an airplane in mid flight during my extraordinary stories and difficult struggles with alcohol, with little, or absolutely no knowledge and understanding whatsoever of how I had ever even gotten there in the first place. Every day was a battle in the mind and my desire to change was constantly met with failure.
Now, without dramatically shifting the direction of this story, it should be mentioned that when I was younger I use to largely identify myself with the Christian religion. This is relevant to the reader, because the first book I actually ever willfully engaged in was the Bible (I actually read it, quite comprehensively, front to back for the first time when I was just 15). Yes, there are obvious discrepancies within the Biblical texts that never resonated with my intrinsic code of ethics, but its dominant philosophy was still superior to other known alternatives in my personal life at the time; and therefore appealed to me back then as a result. This is generally why people become militant with certain adopted ideologies. Much like a prisoner born into the blinding darkness of a cruel and cold underground dungeon, even the vaguest glimpse of light can offer the greatest source of guidance; since he can now see much clearer and further than he ever could before. But if this light is not used to lead him beyond the confines of his dungeon, and into a higher form of freedom, invariably he is still enslaved.
Throughout my childhood I deeply disliked the instructive monotony and overall methodology of orthodox schooling, which included the task of mandatory reading. I, like many other children victimized by the school system, unwittingly associated the act of conventional book reading with compulsory chores that offered me no perceivable benefit, aside from practicing pronunciation. Children are generally rebellious in the face of imposing and unwanted authority, and because the act of reading had been neurolinguistically associated with schooling in my mind, which was the embodiment of this unwanted and imposing authority, I unconsciously rejected it.
The Christian Bible, however, was the exception for me, and although it did undoubtedly provide me with a counter balance and some stability in what was an increasingly unstable and unwanted environment, it would also ultimately limit my personal growth and overall perception of life. And this began to echo louder and louder as I got older because I interpreted its teachings in such a way that it became the definitive source on how to deal with the external world and life in general. This, coupled with my absolute distrust of the school system and what I perceived to be tedious and unnecessary book readings (along with my belief that me being “street smart” automatically made me superior to those who were “book smart”), culminated in a relatively narrow world view. But, because I was really hurting for change, I became more receptive and willing to challenge my belief system. This is important for the reader to understand, because unless you are willing to challenge and change your belief system in life, you cannot truly change anything. If you want different results, you have to begin thinking in a different way.
Enter Daniel Kelly, a former manager of mine while working in the corporate world of auto finance. I was impressed with Dan because he was very well spoken and carried himself with confidence. So when he recommended I read a book entitled The 48 Laws of Power I decided to do something I never would have done before; read something other than the Bible. Now, because I was living within a very defensive-insecure frame of mind at the time, and the book itself is quite cynical but practical in relation to the overall cut throat ideology and competitive nature that dominates many minds in our world today — particularly in North America — The 48 Laws of Power commanded my attention and opened up a new world of possibilities to me.
Immediately after devouring its contents, I began purchasing books on psychology, such as Mind Penetration and the Black Science from Dr. Haha Lung, because I wanted to have a defensive advantage and also understand my own mind better too. In short, a new chapter in my life had begun.
The Brain That Changes Itself
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”
— Earl Nightingale
Then it happened. One day I was browsing Amazon for some new knowledge to download into my mind, and I saw a book that had recently come out claiming that the brain could not only adjust and adapt to overcome physical deficiencies and brain damage, but there was actually a way to naturally overcome anxiety. The book was called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. In it, I learnt many things, but what captured my attention as I recall it today, was the fact that the brain cannot distinguish between thought and “reality”. If you are thinking something in your mind, but really experiencing it intimately, to your brain it is actually taking place physically and certain biological changes will be triggered as a result.
In this moment, a major revelation dawned upon me; Because I had been in so many fights and physical confrontations throughout my life (with multiple people at the same time as I became older) along with the ridiculous amounts of marijuana I was smoking, I consciously began playing out detailed fight scenes in my mind every day because I was so paranoid. I did this so obsessively that it literally habituated into subconscious routine and my life became a war zone. If I was at the store, I would play out a fictional scenario in my mind of a dramatic fight scene. If I were out at a bar, I would mentally illustrate an intense encounter with people who I imagined in my own mind might start picking on me. If I was at home, I would obsess about past fights and potential future ones. I literally created the most hostile environment imaginable. In fact, I vividly recall one day leaving my home and sitting in the bushes with a baseball bat the entire day, and even when it got dark for some time during the night, waiting for my “enemies” to come to my house and attack me. This may seem funny looking back at now, but this was the horrific “reality” I found myself stuck in. I was literally traumatizing myself on a daily basis.
In addition to this incredible discovery, I also realized that I had developed a serious case of PTSD, not just from my ridiculous mental outlook, which was more of an effect than an actual root cause, but because of certain childhood traumas that I had never dealt with and instead subconsciously tucked away. These events later erupted through what I call a “trigger event”, which is when a certain traumatic experience opens the door for a floodgate of others that the mind had formerly suppressed. This usually results in anxiety and PTSD. In some cases this can even result in people having a complete and total mental breakdown.
The Brain That Changes Itself helped to illuminate how the inner workings of the remarkable brain function and operate. How we unwittingly learn bad habits and, more importantly, how we can overcome them and replace them with good ones in what has been coined “neuroplasticity“. Also, if certain parts of the brain are damaged or destroyed, the brain can adapt and counter this deficiency. In other words, we are very well equipped to take control of the future of our lives. Often times we think that we just are a certain way because of genetics or fate, or something else that is completely out of our hands, but this groundbreaking book about the incredible subject of neuroscience proved that, more often than not, this disempowering outlook is simply not true.
Although this book proved to be a powerful source of inspiration for me, it took a hell of a lot more failure, and self educating, before I became successful at overcoming my alcoholism, depression, PTSD and anxiety. Unfortunately it can be very difficult to overcome past traumas, which is generally the source of intense addiction, depression and anxiety. All that truly mattered to myself though, as is true with anyone who is psychologically tormented on a daily basis, is that it could be overcome. I could free myself from this self imposed subconscious torture. This is how the mind works, before we can move forward in overcoming our anxiety, pain and addiction — or any other problem for that matter — we must first gain some understanding and clarity about its overall deeper root cause and origin. Only then can we take enlightened action to subdue and potentially eradicate it.
Two other books worth mentioning that helped me personally break free from my debilitating world view, are The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes (I would actually recommend first picking up his book The Hidden Power of the Bible if you aren’t a fan of reading long books) and, to a lesser extent, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. These books appealed to me at the time because they had a Christian undertone but offered a dramatically different, but refreshing perspective which gelled with my intrinsic code of ethics which the Bible never fully did. It should also be mentioned that I no longer identify myself with any religion. I simply identify myself with integrity and that which is morally and ethically right. Or, as I would define it; the Truth.
While I began learning these things, I was already engaged in intense physical exercise, accompanied with a good diet (aside from my binge drinking which I had by now cut down to the weekends), and had begun to transform my body’s external appearance quite dramatically. Nonetheless, I was still largely plagued by anxiety and unhappiness internally. And, as common sense should dictate to anyone who can at least partially think beyond the subtle dictates of a materialist society, if you feel like crap on the inside it obviously does not matter how you look on the outside. After reading more and more books about psychology, brain science and the topic of self help and positive thinking, I began to understand more and more about how I could accomplish this… I discovered that the brain can just as easily become addicted to negative feelings, such as self pity, anger, fear and other undesirable emotions, as it can positive ones. This happens because they actually activate endorphins and dopamine in our brains, which are chemicals that provide us with a temporary high. In this way negative feelings can actually function much like drugs such as cocaine and heroine. They offer us a temporary high that can result in a long term harmful addiction.
Ever notice how some people become angered by really small insignificant things? Maybe this has even started to happen to you? That’s because you are unwittingly becoming addicted to anger. The more you indulge in it, the more you subconsciously look for reasons to get angry to feed your irrational addiction and, in time, things that would never of even grasped your attention before become vivid annoyances. Aside from the obvious unwanted feelings of stress, depression and its relative emotional states of being, these hostile invisible presences are also detrimental to the body’s physical health. It can make us age faster, inspire unwanted weight gain, break down our body from the inside out which results in sickness and can even lead to an untimely death.
Another important lesson I learnt through further reading and study, is that there are two minds within us all; One mind is the conscious mind which we are all very much aware of. It’s what you are using while reading this, or are faced with something that commands your conscious attention and focus. But this mind, is actually much weaker than the other, which is the subconscious (or you can call it the unconscious as I personally associate the two).
The subconscious is largely what determines our path in life. Unfortunately, at least according to the research I have personally done, it seems to not be able to discern, discriminate or differentiate intelligently between desirable and undesirable behaviors though. It is believed to not be logical in its method of assessment, and is very much objective and generally susceptible to whatever is dictated to it through repetition. To give you a quick example of how the two work, imagine you are having a conversation with a friend at a busy restaurant. While you focus on the discussion you are having with your friend with your conscious mind, the subconscious mind is actually absorbing the surrounding environment. If there are conversations going on around you, it’s listening to that. If there is music playing in the background, it is absorbing that. In other words, the subconscious mind has been (particularly in early youth), and is being, shaped by your external environment. This is very dangerous when you begin to study the external environment, as well as the history of public relations, and how the public mind is actually deliberately targeted by the ruling class to be made ignorant and weak.
When you become aware of this, you begin to realize that your thoughts are not actually indicative of who you truly are, but rather they merely indicate who you have been conditioned, and told through repetition, to believe you are; which is rooted in your environment. If you had parents that believed life is just a horrible struggle, for example, you will most likely embody these beliefs subconsciously, unless subjected to a dramatically alternative experience that affords you the opportunity to change your personal perspective. If you are raised watching TV, you will most likely have an obsession with celebrities. If you grew up around violence, like I did, you will think violence is normal.
Once you truly comprehend the importance of this and take action accordingly, to choose and control your environment to the best of your ability, your life will begin to change. It should be mentioned that there is still a great deal of debate and discussion in relation to the intrinsic functioning of the subconscious mind, and the mind in general, since the topic has proven to be one of the greatest mysteries in known history. But, as someone who has dramatically changed their habits, their way of thinking, and way of life in numerous ways, I am sharing with you what has worked for me. It is important for the reader to understand that we cannot wait for scientific authorities, which will always be one step behind the human will and imagination, to confirm what is and what is not possible. Take action and stop overthinking. Now, I cannot guarantee you will have the same results as me, but I am absolutely 110% confident that it will help you to change your life for the better.
Taking Control Of Your Life
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
Edward Bernays aka “The Father of Public Relations”
[Propaganda, PG. 37, 1928]
An excellent book to read from one of the primary architects in history behind the manipulation of the minds of the masses. *The book was plainly titled “propaganda” because it was not interpreted as being manipulative in the past when it was written. Click image to be redirected.
With the understanding that the subconscious mind is always absorbing its external environment, we simply cannot allow ourselves to make careless choices about what we subject our precious minds to anymore. Television — which is one of the key instruments used to manipulate and control the public mind — must be given up. This is not to say that you can no longer watch the television as a machine, since it is an inanimate object. What I am saying, is you must unplug the ruling class’s television programming and manipulative signal, which is clearly agenda driven and implemented with the intention of creating docile, apathetic, disempowered consumers who unconsciously power the very system which serves to enslave them. They do not want you to be strong because strong minds cannot be controlled and that has the potential to disrupt and even put an end to their entire “business”. A business (which I will explain in the coming paragraphs) that is actually directly linked to your feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.
No more fear mongering distorted news, no more subconscious shaping commercials and music videos. No more idiotic sitcoms, reality shows, celebrity gossip and the like, which are all their to shape your world view. Instead, you must start watching documentaries that will help educate you and inform you. Watch inspirational videos on YouTube to feed your mind and body empowering chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, etc.) and positive energy. Watch something that will make you laugh which will, in turn, biologically strengthen your immune system. In short, you must flood yourself with empowerment and build yourself up internally because, by default (and design), we are living in a very disempowering environment. As I have said on many occasions before; if you don’t make the conscious decision to program your mind, the system will gladly program it for you.
This simple concept must be applied to every aspect of your life. When you’re driving somewhere, don’t listen to the crap that they play and broadcast on the radio. Listen to a motivational speaker or some music that makes you feel like you can take on the world instead. When someone asks you to go hang out with them somewhere, you need to ask yourself the question of, “Is this going to help me take steps towards the person I would like to become, or is it going to result in me taking steps away from my goal?”. Likewise, when you are eating you are making a choice to either feed disease, or eradicate it. You are making a choice on whether to improve your physical health, or debilitate it. When you go online, particularly social media, you must be honest with yourself and ask the question of, “Am I making myself feel jealous? Am I comparing my life to others?”. In short, are you using your time on here to empower your mind or disempower it? Are you feeding yourself positive thoughts and feelings, such as gratitude, self appreciation and happiness or are you feeding yourself envy, resentment and jealousy? Are you making choices that actually improve your life and wellbeing??
This perhaps, is most difficult, learning to control your thoughts. At first, it will seem impossible because your mind has been programmed already. But I assure you, if you do this every day religiously, it will begin to change. Where once it seemed as if it were automatic and uncontrollable to think negative, it will become automatic to think positive.
You must become consciously aware that your life, above all else, is being shaped by your choices… and not making a choice is making a choice. You must take responsibility for this. Unconscious choices result in unconscious creation and the illusion of chaos. But conscious choices, on the other hand, will begin to result in conscious creation. This is not to say that circumstances or the environment we are born into are completely powerless, because that is delusional talk. How we respond to circumstances though, is ultimately what will determine them. We are the ones that choose how we respond to life, no one else. It might be difficult, it might be hard, but we are the ones who choose how we respond to the difficulties of life. And by choosing to fight through our pain, by choosing to find a way to overcome our obstacles, we are teaching ourselves to get better at dealing with it and this is where strength and character truly come from.
Naturally, this evokes the great question about whether life is determined by choice or by fate? Are we in charge or is everything directed by a higher power or a bit of both? And my response to this question is simple; Because we cannot tangibly conclude that life is determined by choice or fate, which is to say that it’s basically a theoretical and unprovable discussion at present, we might as well live out our days on this beautiful planet as if everything is solely determined by our choices, because if fate is certain, it will come to pass regardless.
My Personal Course Of Action
“We must either suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret.”
– Jim Rohn
One of the keys for me in overcoming my alcoholism was learning to change my mental programming and emotional association with it. This is because “neurons that fire together wire together”, which means that when we associate memories or thoughts with others, we can change how we interpret them. Not only is this powerful in overcoming addictions, but it also helps in the gym. For example, when you begin training it will be painful and unpleasant at times. But, if you listen to your favorite music which makes you feel inspired and happy. You can actually change the way your brain views your training. You can turn that pain into pleasure. So when I began to comprehend how much pain and suffering alcohol had actually caused me and my family for generations and generations, as well as how research and pragmatic reasoning suggest it has been partly used as a weapon to subjugate people throughout history, such as with the Native Americans in North America, or the aborigines in Australia, — both of which never had known strong liquor prior to Western encroachment, yet are still plagued by alcoholism to this very day — I no longer looked upon it as a source of enjoyment and liberation. I began to look at it differently and for what it was… my enemy.
The same can be said for harder drugs, which have been used for centuries to subjugate people. Whether it be the Opium wars waged by the British ruling class and their affiliates against China, particularly the common people, which literally led to the collapse of the country, the U.S. government allowing Charles “Lucky” Luciano and the mafia to flood the poor ghettos of their own country with hard drugs in the 40’s and 50’s, or the CIA doing so again through surrogates in the 90’s. These things have been used to corrupt the common people and, being as such, should be viewed as our enemy. They make a mockery of us and prevent us from achieving our true potential.
An excellent read to understand how drugs are often used to control us. Click on the image to read reviews/purchase.
Aside from changing my brain’s perspective in regards to my drinking problem, I also stopped going out for a long time because I knew I didn’t have the inner strength to be in a social setting without alcohol. I quit Facebook when I began my journey inward because it was a source of anxiety for me. I put my phone on silent because it was a distraction, I stopped watching television for obvious reasons, and I basically retreated into solitude so that I could silence all the external noise that was distracting me from remedying the emptiness I felt within myself and becoming the person I wanted to become.
I became militant in my physical training and diet. I replaced television with enlightening documentaries and books, particularly self help and positive thinking themes. I listened to motivational speakers throughout the day. I made a positive affirmation audio recording of my voice and played it from sun rise to sun down, and even while I slept. I began to spend time alone in peaceful settings and connect with my personal interpretation of God through a combination of prayer and meditation, and I focused on the emotions I enjoyed experiencing.
I focused and visualized about the person I wanted to become. I wrote positive quotes and stuck them around my room, and bathroom, and I began to take the necessary steps to recondition my mind and program it in accordance with the person that I wanted to become instead of the person that the ruling class and my environment wants me to become. Repetition, repetition, and some more repetition is key. It should also be mentioned that I still have hiccups from time to time in my application of self improvement, but this formula has always proven to be faithful for myself when applied correctly, and I believe that a variant of it will do the same for you.
As time went by, I also began to slowly go out again and challenge myself to be social without alcohol. Taking baby steps and increasing the social demand on myself over time. From talking to strangers to expressing myself on the dance floor. It was incredibly difficult, as anyone with intense anxiety will tell you, and I have no doubt that I came across as painfully awkward at times in the beginning. But I knew I had to go through that discomfort to become stronger and overcome my horrible debilitating fear. This is the eternal rule of growth; You must be willing to fail and challenge your fears if you want to grow and achieve your potential.
Today, I have no problem standing up in front of a crowd of strangers and speaking my mind, or dancing my ass off with the whole entire party staring at me. And this, my friends, is because freedom is a state of mind.
“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”
Attributed to Heather Morgan
For my diet, I drink at least a gallon of reverse osmosis filtered water (to remove the fluoride which numerous studies have convinced me beyond even the slightest of doubts offers no logical health benefit) or every now and then some raw juice. For food, I eat small meals roughly every 2-3 hours consisting of some carbs and protein and occasionally good fat (coconut oil or avocados are a good source). I never eat to where I feel bloated and uncomfortable but rather until I am satisfied and comfortable enough to go for a light jog if I wanted to. I drink a glass of water to help me gauge this. I don’t count calories, I count bullshit ingredients. If it’s genetically modified (if no indicative label research the company, you have a device in your pocket that can do so, stop making excuses), has added chemicals, sweeteners, is irradiated, etc. I don’t eat it, very simple. I always avoid processed foods and do my best to eat all organic and make a conscious habit to consume lots of fruits and vegetables. And no, I don’t have any “off days”. Once upon a time I did, but eventually saw that it was not benefiting me physically or psychologically. I might still eat a chocolate (which is actually of benefit in moderation) or something from time to time if I want, and it does not have any negative impact on me whatsoever. But for the most part I never stray and this is partly because as you commit to eating healthy, junk foods and candy will begin to taste like what they are made of… crap. Again, it’s all in the mind and how you define foods to yourself. How you choose to view them. Where many people might look at McDonalds or KFC and think it’s delicious, for example, I would literally prefer to take a sip of my own pee because in my mind I have changed the way I define it and look at it.
Making a protein shake at a bus stop in the Philippines… No excuses, find a way to do what you gotta do.
So I don’t count calories but just train extremely hard and eat healthy, clean and organic food. If you are trying to lose weight though, I recommend eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables. This should be done particularly towards the evening because they are low in calories, but still very nutritious, promote weight loss and are high in fiber; which will give you the feeling of fullness. Water also helps in this regard. During the day you can consume foods heavier in complex carbs and calories, which are also good for supplying energy or bulking up if that is your goal. Foods such as organic rice, spaghetti, pasta, potatoes or quinoa (a good option if you are concerned with eating an alkaline diet) are good options. Irrespective of diet, however, we should still make time for some form of exercise.
Example of meal plan for the day:
Wake up, drink glass of reverse osmosis filtered water.
Meal 1: Organic corn flakes with raw berries in organic almond milk mixed with chocolate plant based protein (pea and rice derived) shake
Meal 2: Raw juice (Bananas, kale,organic peanut butter)/Raw Hemp chocolate shake with some raw honey
Meal 3: Organic brown rice, organic tomatoes, organic carrots, fresh parsley and oregano with non irradiated turmeric, ginger and some natural hot sauce.
Meal 4: Quinoa mixed with pea based protein powder or raw hemp protein, teaspoon of coconut oil, non irradiated chilis (excellent source for vitamin C) and organic ketchup.
Meal 5: Raw salad with some organic apple cider vinegar
Meal 6: plant based protein shakec
* I drink water throughout the day continuously and I also take one Solgar V-2000 vitamin twice a day.
Please understand that this is just an example. It is recommended that you study health and nutrition further because, like all new things we learn, it will take time for you to gain some clarity, comfort with. For myself, I do not count calories and eat as much as I want. I never starve myself or overeat. I just eat to where I feel comfortable. I’d like to make it very clear that I am not a dietitian and people often times respond differently to different foods. So what works for me, may not work for you. You must experiment, or seek out further help and do additional research, and see what works best for you. But I do recommend avoiding fad diets and just making healthy choices that result in lifestyle changes. This is a way of life. It might take time to adapt to, but if you are serious you will persist.
The Basic Concept Of My Exercise Routine
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
The way I train is relatively simple, at least in terms of the concept; Whatever routine I choose to do, let’s say a basic chest work out, between each set I will do cardio like jumping rope, jogging or swimming. So, for example, if I am going to do 400 pushups I will do maybe 10 sets of 40 push ups and swim laps or jog in between. There is no down time whatsoever, except maybe to get a drink of water on occasion. Or, if I have a routine of 4 sets of flat bench press, 3 sets of incline and another 3 of dips, for example, I will simply jump rope in between sets and keep moving throughout my entire routine. I do not put a time limit on myself because for me the gym is my church; it is a time of liberation and meditation, a time to forget about time; but usually I go for about an hour and a half, not including stretching. If this sounds complex to you, just look up a workout routine for what is aligned with your needs (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc) and then do cardio for 1 minute to 3 minutes in between that routine.
Jumping squats and push ups with jogging in between sets on the beach.
If you decide that you would like to give this a try, which I do recommend, you must formulate a plan for your specific fitness level. If you’re a beginner, for example, between sets you can walk instead of jumping rope or running. If you aren’t strong enough to do bench press, then do push ups. If you aren’t yet strong enough for push ups, use your knees to support your weight or push up at an angle on a table to make it easier. Likewise, be patient with yourself relative to your endurance and level of fitness. You may need some extra time to rest between sets and that’s fine. You will be able to push yourself more over time. So pay attention, don’t get sucked into what is going on around you, but focus on what is going on inside you and you will learn about your body.
Regardless of how unfit you think you are, there is ALWAYS something that you can do and gradually, over time, you will build up your body (and mind) and make progress. To put this into perspective, when I originally began my journey, I was so weak that I could not even do 1 single situp with good form. No bullshit.
Doing free weights with jump rope in between sets.
I couldn’t jog for more than 3 minutes without throwing up. When I tried to stretch (which I will explain the importance of shortly), I couldn’t even come within an inch of touching my toes for just one second. It took me time to get to where I am today. So you must be patient and focused on your goal. As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and your goal is to focus your energy on just one step at a time.
If you are just beginning or getting back into training, it should also be made clear that your mind may be inspired and ready to go and pumped up, but your body will most likely need time to catch up, trust me. One of the worst things you can do with physical training, is overwhelm your body to where the next day you are hurting and aching everywhere, and can barely get out of bed. Not only will this discourage you physically, but psychologically as a result. In short, be patient, but also be persistent and positive.
The Mind Body Connection
“Your mind is the strongest and most valuable muscle you can grow in the gym.”
– Greg Plitt
Now, when you are training you must be focused on your exercise and on your breathing. You must focus on developing an intuitive relationship between your mind and your body and you must learn to rewire your brain through the act of associating what would generally be perceived as painful or unpleasant exercise with music that makes you feel good, or thoughts that make you feel happy and empowered. By doing this over and over and over, you can literally trick your brain and change the way it reacts. By learning this in the gym, you will also learn how to do it in other parts of your life. So you must focus with precision on the mind body connection.
You are not in the gym for a fashion show, a popularity contest or a social hour where the only thing that is getting accomplished is gossip. You are not there to stare at the pretty girl that has ten tons of make up on, smells like a perfume store and is wearing an outfit that would probably get her kicked out of most dance clubs. You are not there to stare at the guy that is bench pressing 1,000 pounds and compare your strength to his. You are not there to judge yourself through the eyes of other people. In the gym there are distractions everywhere. As a result, you must put fourth your very best effort (you will encounter difficulties in the process but just be persistent) to make sure your mind is not on anything or anyone else, but what you are doing (your favorite music helps) and how your body feels. You must learn about your body, about your limits and about how you can actually push past those limits with patience, persistence and a positive attitude. Remember, everything is in the mind and when you are in the gym you are going to train your mind on how to deal with when you begin to feel pain or discomfort or fatigue. By learning to push through your pain, by learning to rise above your fatigue, and by learning to breathe correctly and calm your body during times of excess stress, you are training yourself how to do so in the greater arena of life as well.
This is how you will achieve your goals in the world. When people ask, I always tell them that I’m not training my body in the gym so much as I am training my mind. When you work out, you actually get more oxygen to your brain, which then helps you think clearer and more effectively. Therefore exercise makes you a stronger person mentally than you would be without it. Furthermore, the only way your are going to change your life or accomplish your goals is by changing your mind. You must learn to direct the precious and powerful energies of your mind on your goals in life, whether it be in the gym or otherwise. You must learn that everything around you, is being experienced inside of you. Every emotion; happiness, sadness, anger, paranoia, adrenaline, and all the rest, are all actually being experienced inside of you. You even have the power within you, to turn what your mind perceives as pain into pleasure. So don’t focus on what’s out there, focus on what’s inside. You can’t control what is going on around you, but you can (with practice) control what’s going on inside you.
So focus on your breathing, focus on silencing self degrading thoughts and focus on your goals. In short, you must learn to focus on your focus, and that which empowers you, and not let the distractions distract you, and that which disempowers you. You are not merely training your body, you are training your mind.
You Will Fail Again And Again
“When you react, you are giving away your power. When you respond, you are staying in control of yourself.”
— Bob Proctor
As I write this, I have a torn pectoral muscle (from not warming up correctly) that is going to take surgery and a lengthy period of recovery and rehabilitation to properly repair. In addition to this discouraging reality that must be dealt with and overcome, there have been a tidal wave of other difficulties that have all hit me at the same time. This has massively disrupted my physical wellbeing and overall health, as well as my routine way of life.
This, however, is not the first time I find myself in extreme circumstances such as these and I know it most certainly will not be the last. In the past I was in a very serious motorcycle accident and couldn’t even do one push up afterwards. I had to start over again. To imagine, for even a moment, that there will come a time in life when problems will no longer exist is absolutely delusional. It is a part of this extraordinary journey we call life. But, through conditioning myself for the past several years, I no longer feel the need to hide from these troubles and worries anymore. First, I try to think of how I created the situation for myself so I can learn to avoid it in the future. Because circumstances often tell us where we are weak and what we must work on within our own characters to overcome that. So I am hungry to fight because I have discovered, just as you shall if you are persistent, that you are stronger than your difficulties and the quicker you face them the quicker you will not only be free of them, but the quicker you will also come back stronger and wiser than you ever were before. As the saying goes, life does not get easier, we just get stronger.
Furthermore, circumstances only have the power to request that action be taken, they can never force us to do anything. It is us, and us alone, who hold the power to decide what action will, or will not be taken. And in this paradigm shifting power lies the power to create our future. In other words, circumstances simply inspire the potential for action and action inspires the potential for growth. But it is up to us, and no one else, to look past what our minds blindly perceive to be nothing more than difficulties, and see the opportunities that will help us achieve our true potential instead. To focus our precious creative energy on the solutions and not the problems, and take constructive, and not self destructive action accordingly to achieve it. The whole of life is a learning and growing process, and those who view it as such will thrive.
So throughout this process of becoming more you will make mistakes and you will “fail” because that is part of the process. But if you can shift your perception of what people foolishly and recklessly call “failure”, which is a very degrading term, to the natural process of learning and the path that one must travel in order to grow and become better, things will definitely begin to change for the better for you and you will be able to live your dreams.
The Importance of Stretching
“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still… Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.”
– Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Most people underestimate the importance of stretching and how beneficial it actually is. Not only will it help with muscle and joint pains, as well as blood circulation, but it also helps us recover quicker physically for our next training session. As I like to say, the more you stretch the more you can train. But, on a deeper level, stretching (if done correctly) teaches us about our nervous system and how to control our breathing and internal state of being when being placed under stress (including training hard). In a world as hostile as this one, this is a practice we should all learn and try to master.
Stretching can be done anywhere and I recommend doing it daily for both physical and mental wellbeing.
You see, the stretching actually produces the feeling of stress on the nervous system, which we can push the boundaries of progressively which can then be applied to other stressful circumstances in life. And, as we do this, we learn how to manage that stress through our breathing and the overall regulation of the nervous system. If done in a manner similar to that of yoga, which is a combination of stretching, breathing techniques and meditation, it becomes incredibly empowering and therapeutic. In short, stretching can teach you to be more effective at managing stress whilst improving inner peace and wellbeing, as can the act of physical training overall. In fact, it is a well established fact that people who exercise manage stress and anxiety more effectively than those who do not.
To put the importance of stretching into perspective, when I was younger, just about 19-20, due to the intensity of the manual labor I did(working 2 full time jobs at the time), I developed very serious lower back problems. I lost sleep, would wake up in pain, had terrible posture and was in constant discomfort as a result. Because I believed in the common dogma that it was most likely genetic though, I just sucked it up and accepted it, which is the general outlook of people who come from “working class” families who have a history of manual labor. What most of us don’t realize though, is physical problems such as lower back pain, are rarely the result of genetics and almost always the result of working your ass off. Once I began stretching though, my back pain completely disappeared. My dad, who has been a mechanic for over 4 decades, has likewise been plagued with back problems. When I first told him to stretch, he laughed at me. Eventually, he gave it a try and, in addition to a simple training routine I gave him (to strengthen his ab muscles) his back pain went away (unfortunately he stopped his routine since and, predictably, the pain has come back). You can click HERE for a good beginner’s stretching routine to alleviate lower back pain or HERE for a very detailed one.
Aside from the obvious benefit of flexibility, learning how to regulate my breathing as a means for maintaining and controlling my inner calm and overall sense of wellbeing has literally served me in all aspects of my life. From giving a prepared speech in front of a group of people to simply preparing myself for sleep. Dealing with painful loss and extremely stressful circumstances to intense physical exercise or uncomfortable confrontations, the application of controlling my breath and inner well being – which can be practiced through stretching – has proven invaluable.
In short, make time for stretching guys, trust me.
“Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable”
– Gary L. Francione
After watching several documentaries; Food INC, Forks over Knives and Earthlings, along with my own personal research and love for animals, I decided to go vegan about a year ago. This, like other major changes I have made in my life, didn’t happen over night. I had thoughts about it for a long time but, being someone who trains like a machine and eats a diet high in protein, to imagine being able to do this without animal meat seemed almost completely incomprehensible to me at the time. Nonetheless, I eventually decided to go through with it and just see how my body would respond.
Since taking the step to give up meat, I have felt healthier, more energetic and also a sense of inner contentment knowing that I am not helping to contribute towards what is undoubtedly one of the most brutal and inhumane practices in the known history of our planet. A practice which invariably culminates in the cruelest torture and slaughter imaginable of billions and billions of innocent animals annually, who themselves can think, feel and even dream.
To satisfy my protein requirements, I began cooking and using plant based protein powders in my food and shakes, such as raw hemp, pea protein, rice protein, and other combinations. In the first few weeks my conditioned beliefs told me that I was missing the meat. After silencing the doubt within me and just going through with it, I began to feel the difference. Consequently, where once I found it hard to believe that I could ever become a vegan, now I can’t believe I ever ate meat. I have no desire for it whatsoever and it actually disgusts me.
Although the benefits of going vegan are abundant in relation to personal health and overall physical and mental wellbeing — as well as even helping the planet at large — I do not intend to preach to you in this essay about why you should consider making the switch to veganism. However, I do recommend watching those documentaries I mentioned above to at least become informed, aware and educated. We all need to develop a firm resolve to eradicate ignorance as much as is practically possible. In a world where there is enough food, scientific proficiency, water and land, for EVERYONE of us to live happy abundant lives, ignorance is the only thing that actually prevents us from doing so. Being as such, anyone who willfully indulges in this uncivilized darkness and stupidity needs to be frowned upon because their selfish apathy and laziness is holding everyone back.
Going vegan not only improved my physical performance overall, it also helped me get more ripped.
I am not here to judge the intrinsic character of those who are still eating animals in specific though. I too once ate meat even though I loved animals, and I know there are also people around the world who actually hunt in order to survive – some who actually do so in a very respectful ceremonial manner too. It should also be mentioned for the sake of honesty and integrity that I was able to attain an awesome physique through the consumption of meat. Once I switched to a vegan diet though, aside from helping me get even more ripped, it also elevated my performance overall, which is of greater concern to me personally than external appearance alone. And, like I said, it is the humane choice to make. Why contribute to the murder and torture of innocent vulnerable animals?
Through my personal research and study, I have discovered that unhealthy addictions are directly linked to dealing with pain and, in an effort to escape this pain — if only for a brief moment in time — people allover the world are turning towards alcohol, drugs, junk food, pornography, fabricated social media personas and a host of other temporary escapes that do not go to the root cause of the problem. Consequently, their pain only grows deep inside them because it is being avoided and left unresolved.
Chances are, you probably fall into one of these categories and I am here to tell you, whether we like it or not, the only way to overcome our problems in life, is to face them. Yes, this may be the most difficult thing you have ever had to do in your life, but it is also going to be the most liberating. On the other hand, when we avoid our troubles we only strengthen them and prolong their strong hold over our lives. So the key to overcoming addiction (which comes in many forms) lies in first acknowledging to ourselves that there is a problem and then working towards fully understanding and overcoming this problem and pain.
Unfortunately very few people comprehend how deep their pain actually runs though. Not just because we have never been educated to assess our personal history and childhood through the lens of self reflection, which requires a basic understanding of human psychology and brain science (something every child should be taught early in our pathetic school system), but also because we live in a world in which pain is part of international policy.
What I mean by that, is we live in a society where exploitation, war, poverty, corruption and inequality are considered “normal” things and have been for thousands and thousands of years. These things literally conflict with the empathic nature and biology of what it means to be a human being. A mentally healthy person does not like to see another living being on the side of the road starving or watching poor villages getting bombed to shit on television.
But war, artificial scarcity and imposed poverty do not even embody the totality of what is wrong with this system. Starting in 2009, Gallup, Inc. conducted a global survey on more than 140 countries world wide, called the State of the Global Workplace. What their study found, was that an overwhelming majority of employees worldwide, 87% of them to be exact, were not satisfied, or “engaged” in their jobs. Additionally, several other separate studies, which were also convened in different parts of the globe, all found that monday mornings were the most likely time of the week for heart attacks to strike. The implications of this are self evident, but stress is not solely a work place related issue. Across the globe, suicide is the leading cause of death among teenage girls between 15 and 19, and the 3rd leading cause of death for teenage boys this age around the world too. Suicide is, in fact, a major problem we as a species face. On average, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. This amounts to about 2,160 people a day day. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist then, to realize that something is very wrong in the world today. And may I remind you, while we the common people are literally working ourselves to death, it is the corporations and banks and governments which are growing by exploiting our man power. Most of us are merely living pay check to pay check. And don’t even get me started on how we trade around pieces of paper that we call “money”, which hold imaginary value. We slave away for it, we compete for it and we allow this paper, which is controlled and manipulated by banks, to control everything that does have value, like water, food, shelter and basically every facet of our lives. It’s completely absurd.
Instead of us dealing with these problems though, we are bombarded with materialism and consumerism through television and Hollywood. Instead of children being taught how to use their inborn curiosity and exceptional creativity to question and change this inhumane system, they are conditioned to become a part of it. This has been the same broken record playing on repeat throughout known history; A small minority of powerful families and their affiliates distracting us and fooling us while making major decisions which handsomely benefit them at our personal expense.
When we consider the verifiable fact that there is more than enough food to feed the world, more than enough water, and more than enough shelter, it becomes fairly obvious that this way of life is completely unnecessary. Living like this is just as upsetting for us, as it would be if we took animals that were living in freedom in the wild and placed them in cages and starved them. The pain that we all feel runs much deeper than we consciously know, but our subconscious (or perhaps our soul) is not as easily fooled. So it is not just our childhood traumas or personal difficulties that are influencing us, but it is the system itself which is the toxic plant that is feeding us poison. Sooner or later we are going to have to deal with this problem. Avoiding it is not an option.
For now though, in an effort to not overwhelm yourself I encourage you to focus on learning some basics about brain science and human psychology by checking out the books I have listed above and below, and then do some detective work into your personal past and childhood history in an effort to learn more about who you are and how your mind was shaped into what it has become today. Only once you start to understand your mind can you truly begin to take intelligent action to change it. I must warn you that this can be a very difficult experience at first, but it is a necessary one. And once you get through it, you will be stronger and wiser than you ever were before. It is only then that your life will truly begin.
As a reminder, you need to make time for things that simply make you happy. We all have addictions and actions we take in an effort to escape the harshness of this “reality”. It’s normal to do this because we live in a world that has gone mad. But the point is to replace the harmful addictions with good ones. This is what exercising is really all about. It feeds our minds endorphins which gives us a natural high. If you liked to skateboard or paint or play a certain sport when you were younger, for example, you need to get back into doing that. Make time for being in Nature (God, Universe, etc.), we have a special connection with It. This doesn’t mean simply praying (although if this gives you the feeling of empowerment and connection by all means do it), it means getting away from the concrete jungle of the city and system, silencing the noise around you, and connecting with something that is greater than yourself. You don’t have to believe in the concept of a “God” to accomplish this. This Earth has been here much longer than any of us and it does have wisdom for those of us who are humble enough to seek it out and listen. There really is something that we can tap into and however you choose to personally define that is largely irrelevant. It only matters that you do it.
As stated before, you must unplug the ruling class’s signal because, I assure you, their intention is to exploit you and not empower you. As I have repeatedly said, because we live in a world that overwhelms us with disempowering subliminal messages, we must counter this toxic influence and instead bathe ourselves with empowerment. You have to start flooding your mind with empowerment and this must become a way of life. You must eat a healthy diet. You must take up some form of physical exercise. You must listen to music that makes you feel strong and happy. You must make every possible choice you can to strengthen and empower yourself because we, as a people, are in a war far greater than any other you have heard of before. And that war is, is a war for the mind. For the first time in known history however, this war, which has been waged against the common people (by the ruling class) is at a major tipping point. All around the world people are waking up and standing up to these parasites in unprecedented numbers, demanding justice and accountability. This is thanks to a revolution in sharing information through the internet. Where once the ruling class had a monopoly on knowledge, today we have access to more information than our ancestors ever did before. This is significant because, just as knowledge liberates the individual and affords them the opportunity to a better life, so too knowledge is what will liberate the collective and afford us the opportunity to a better world.
Remember, things don’t get better by chance, they get better by us making the conscious choice to create a specific change. Another world is possible. In fact, it is already on its way!
“If you are persistent you will get it. If you are consistent you will keep it.”
I have compiled a short list of good resources to use on a daily basis to keep yourself inspired and on track. Don’t slack off on this, make them a part of your daily routine. First thing in the morning is generally best. Click on the listings to be redirected.
Ten YouTube Motivational Channels That Will Help Keep You Inspired:
- Video Advice
- Absolute Motivation
- Mateusz M
- Basquiat Picasso
- Motivation Grid
- RedFrost Motivation
- Chispa Motivation
- Be Inspired
- Ben Lionel Scott
- Mulligan Brothers Motivation
Seven Motivational Speakers’ YouTube Channels That Will Help To Keep You Focused And On Track:
I also recommend downloading some of the audio from these videos and then playing them on your mp3 player when you train, or while you’re driving in your car. You can download and convert them HERE if the videos are 20 minutes or less. Otherwise you can download this PROGRAM or this ONE for longer videos.
The above speakers have also written numerous books (many of which can be found online for free, in one format or another) and I would recommend looking into obtaining at least one of them.
Recommended Reading in Relation to The Primary Content of This Essay(click to be redirected):
Doidge, Norman (2007), The Brain That Changes Itself
Recommended Viewing in Relation to The Primary Content of This Essay(click to be redirected):
*I would like to make it very clear that I do not vouch fully and wholly for anyone’s research. It is up to the viewer to filter and further research for themselves. I am only willing to take full responsibility for the credibility of my own personal writings. However, I do feel that these listings could benefit you just as they have benefited me.
If you need help learning about proper form for different kinds of exercises you can go HERE.
If you need help learning about meditation, check out this video HERE.
Remember, if you have any questions or want to know something, we live in the age of information. Just do an internet search or go and YouTube it. You are in charge of how much you grow in this life, no one else.
I sincerely hope this essay will help you on your personal journey in this world. If you have any additional questions please comment below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com
Featured Image credit: Mark Reyntiens
All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include my social media profiles as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above, in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.
Dr. Ali Binazir, Addiction Recovery: Why We’re Addicted to Negative Behaviors, Huffington Post, June 15, 2010
Richard H. Frost, Deadly Medicine: Indians and Alcohol in Early America (review), Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Volume 70, Number 3, Fall 1996
Neumeier Beate (2014), Decolonizing the Landscape: Indigenous Cultures in Australia, P. 246
W. Travis Hanes (2002), The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another
Blackman, Shane (2004), Chilling Out: The Cultural Politics of Substance Consumption, Youth and Drug Policy, P. 35
Gary Webb (1998),Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion
Beth Potier, UN’s Diouf addresses hunger, Harvard Gazette, February 06, 2003
United Nations Resources for Speakers on Global Issues, Hunger, www.un.org
World Bank 2007 World Development Indicators report, P.123
Wingspan Productions (2013), Don’t Panic – The Facts About Population, BBC documentary, aired 7th of November 2013.
Steve Crabtree, Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work, October 8, 2013, Gallup
Anahad O’Connor, The Claim: Heart Attacks Are More Common on Mondays, New York Times, March 14, 2006
Preventing suicide: A global imperative (2014), World Health Organization