Tuesday, March 7, 2017

PUNCH THROUGH TO THE FUTURE WITH LIFE HACKS

‘It is not the last dog left in the fight, but the one that has many fights left in it.’

The future holds many uncertainties.  We can predict with certainty that changes will happen without disruption.

We have to be versatile to stay relevant; even semi-retired and retired people must seek some form of activity and busy-ness. We must continue to re-invent ourselves to stay employable, stay in business, and even to stay put.
Stasis, or inactivity, merely invites trouble if you are not prepared to face the challenges that come at us.

‘Offence may be the best defence!’ to quote from X-Men: The Last Stand’. We must attack the future with confidence and fervor. Waiting for things to happen, procrastination, and being hopeful (without action) is ‘blind’.

Here are some Life Hacks for your future consideration.

1)   Ask yourself this: How seriously and importantly do I want to stay in employment?
2)   Which are the professions you will enjoy working in, in the long-run? What are you doing to ensure that?
3)   To seek new employment, identify these 3 questions: What do you know? (KNOW WHAT/HOW). Who do you know? (KNOW WHO) Who knows you?
4)   Examine your options: Seek employment, self-employment, be in a business, or up-skill/re-skill yourself.
5)   Do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities  & Threats). Be honest about yourself, your abilities, expertise, and capabilities.
6)   Complete your SWOT Analysis, and seek three people who can give genuine and honest feedback about your Strengths and Weaknesses. Strengths include wisdom, skills, work experience, working knowledge, expertise, achievements, areas of mastery, attitude, and character.
7)   From your Weaknesses, identify which skills, experiences, knowledge, relationships, and certification will you need to learn and develop within the next six months? Next 12 months? Next 1-3 years?
8)   Which of your skills will become redundant? What will you need to learn stay employable? (Writing, presentation, relational, transactional, accounting, promotional, educational, and more)
9)   Who can you seek to guide you in your profession, business, and career? Who are your mentors, teachers and coaches?

10)                   Review your attitude and mindset towards people, life, work, recreation, and your lifestyle. Lifestyle is how you ‘style your life’.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Why Do We Race?

To complete?
Training to be our best.
To compete?
Moving past the rest.

Go fast or go slow,
Race your own race.
Go along with your flow,
Progress at your pace.

There is no disgrace,
For struggling and succumbing.
For this is your race,
Complete it even when stumbling.

One foot forward,
One pedal around.
The finishing-line is reward,
Where euphoria abounds.

A battered body the next few days,
A painful fate we will face.
Therefrom, recovery it will replace,

A hunger for the next race.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Wear Your Badge With Pride - Inside

Who doesn't love recognition?

This can be a compliment, praise, handshake, or a high-5. A physical memento would include a medal, finisher t-shirt, trophy, 'potential winner' card, and the like. To complement your achievement with something physical enhances the experience of completion or competition. These 'badges of honour' remind us of what we have earned - and most times, hard-earned - and may motivate us to go even further the next time.

However, when these badges become more than 'bragging rights', then they present a social concern. If awards and badges result in an 'elitist mindset' or a 'cocky attitude' towards others, then the badge ceases to represent more than its abstract meaning. Every boy-scout knows that for each badge that he earns, it was born of knowledge and skilfulness. He had to demonstrate a competency or skill-set before he could be presented with a new badge, which he wears with pride. Each badge is a milestone of one's 'success', and it is part of a journey of self-discovery and exploration.

My drawerful of race t-shirts and extended merchandise alerts me of the following:

1) I really need more closet space (remind me to go to IKEA).
2) I need more real-world clothes.
3) I need to reduce my credit-card expenditure for travel, race-fees, and merchandise.
4) I should be confident of my abilities and capabilities.
5) I may have to give away some of these clothes, or wear them out (like on 'Survivor', the reality TV series).
6) Review my priorities in my life.
7) Will a race-tattoo replace these material benefits? (if so, which design and location on my body?).
8) Participate in eco-friendly, shirtless, races?

Will my madness end? Which other motivations will I reveal? Which new 'mountains' can I summit? What will I learn from these future adventures. 

If you have 'been there, and done that', then the continuous pursuit of the same process or activities can mean a lifestyle, demonstration of self-discipline, or the pursuit of excellence. Whatever your reasons or motivations are, be mindful that a badge is temporal than the 'badge we wear inside'. A shoe-box filled with medals is just a receptacle for these beautiful bits of metal and wood, and we should not be weighed down by past glories or a vainglorious past. Instead, we can look ahead of us, determine new goals and experiences, and live them. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Leadership Lessons From Films: What Will Be Your Line?


I love films.

I spent my childhood watching films. In my formative years as a pre-teenager, my Mom was generous to ensure that my brother and I saw our fair share of films. I recall, watching back-to-back James Bond films almost everyday. We lived across the Hoover theatre/cinema, and student-priced tickets made it gladly affordable.

My most memorable film was, probably, Cecil B. DeMille’s grand spectacle ‘The Ten Commandments’. It was about 220 minutes long (I clocked it at 3:36), and my Mom brought lunch in for my brother and I during the intermission. That was a film that influenced me about religion and movie magic.

Every decade secures itself vividly with iconic films, music, special effects and directors. In the 1970’s, films like ‘ET-The Extra-Terrestrial’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, ‘Grease’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’, Jaws’ and ‘Star Wars’ ushered in a new era of filmmakers.

When I secured a job as a feature-writer, I recalled replacing my colleague (a UCLA film and music graduate) as the resident reviewer. I was mildly ‘lost’ until I found the language to describe film. I honed my reviewer’s eye through monthly reviews of videotaped films of the latest Hollywood releases.

I still love films.

The art and business of filmmaking has progressed from ‘silver-screen’ to ‘talkies’ to ‘digital film’. Cinemas have been transformed into ‘sensory environments’ where the filmgoer experience is strongly enhanced with Dolby-Surround audio and CGI-enhanced visuals. 3-D and IMAX Experience continue to be important, and supplemented with Virtual Reality (VR) mobile devices. I fear the day I ‘awake’ and find a paler shade of me plugged into a connector cable, and discover my life was one major ‘download’ from the Matrix.

Cinemas cost more, however they are cleaner, have more comfortable seats, and exquisite audio-visual systems. From $0.50 to $12.50 per ticket is a reflection of the times, as an average Hollywood blockbuster costs upwards of US$100 million. Film studios struggle to keep above water (even for a film about a sinking ship), as they face competition from other studios, a discerning film audience and piracy (even Captain Sparrow got ripped off).

As long as films and television (as this medium is growing rapidly in interest in the past decade) continue to entertain, educate, engage (and, occasionally, misinform us), we will still flock to the ‘big-screen’ to partake in the next installment of Star Wars, trilogies, and Marvel Studios/DC Universe franchises. After all, who doesn’t like a good storyline? Stories matter, and so writers will spin their latest yarn, and filmmakers will weave their web of fantasies to send us off on our own flights of fancy.

As biopics and docudramas feed our need to be skeptical and feed the distrusting conspiracy theorists, so we, too, indulge in our coffee chatter to, hopefully question the status quo, choose to be educated and informed, and get involved in humankind. Nothing is more persuasive than human thought – mild, militant or mesmerizing – for that is the flame that sustains the torch of progress and purpose.

Start the collective voice of reason by writing your first line of intent. As Walt Whitman wrote:

Oh me! Oh life! Of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! So sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

                                       Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.’


What will be your line?


Meanwhile, write your script, produce your film, direct it well, and ensure a stunning performance!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

10 Nutritional & Training Hacks for Endurance Athletes

In the last few years, I have earned these bites of wisdom, having applied them and observed the results and impact on my body before, during and after training/racing. Some of these are worth repeating and for your consideration.
1)   In the off-season, focus on building a strong base of endurance.
2)   Using Dr Phil Maffetone’s approach, train within your Maximum Heart-Rate Zone (180 MINUS AGE). If you have not been sick for 6 months, ADD 5 more beats per minutes.
3)   SLEEP is key to recovery and reducing hunger pangs (and thus, unnecessary snacking and weight gains). 7.5 hours minimum per night is expected on a heavy training schedule. Tart cherry juice helps you sleep better an reduces muscle soreness after an intense exercise session/race.
4)   Learn to be less Insulin-Resistance by reducing overall carbohydrate intake, mainly from fructose and high Glycemic Index (GI) foods. Consider training on a Bulletproof Coffee (coffee with coconut oil and butter) and train with just that on some workouts. Learn to utilize fat efficiently, and rely less on sports-gels during races.
5)   Include more Good Fats and Essential Fatty Acids from a variety sources – mono-unsaturated, poly-unsatured, and saturated fats – butter, coconut oil, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and eggs. Many commercial oils are 'blended' with mixtures of oils as it is cheaper.
6)   Have EASY, MEDIUM, and HARD days for training. Two sessions of intense HARD training per week is adequate. Seek the expertise of coaches for your weakest discipline and for a Race Preparation Program.
7)   Add an additional day of rest should you feel fatigued. Learn to be intuitive and alert to how you FEEL. Perform self-massage daily, and have a deep-tissue massage once a month to knead away kinks and knots from excessive scar tissue buildup.
8)   Hydrate, and hydrate more. Get a filter for your tap-water. Reduce fluoridated water consumption. It is harmful in large amounts. Add lemon-juice to flavour your water during exercise and outside.
9)   Since we suffer oxidative stress from endurance training and racing, include more natural foods with high antioxidants (including phyto-phenols, Omega-3 fatty acids, lauric acid, DHA and EPA, astaxanthin). Consume high-staining fruits and vegetables in the colours of the traffic-lights (RED, GREEN, YELLOW), krill oil and deep-water fish (salmon). Farm-bred fish are not your best source of protein and fish-oil.
10) Monitor your stress levels with a Heart-Rate Monitor (Garmin watches have wrist-sensors that measure our HR quite accurately), check your body-fat levels in the mirror, use the Pinch-Test for excess body-fat, energy levels, and monitor any sudden mood changes.

For more clarification, direct your questions to me. Have a great training and race season!