Choose who you are going to be, then make it happen.

Warning – I am passionate, I will swear – they are just words, grow up.

If you are reading this and can say you are honestly content, please leave, this isn’t for you.

Right now they are gone let’s get a few things straight. Content – the most god awful word I have come across, it tells me two things; 1 – You don’t dream big enough, 2 – You lack drive.

Be the person striving for more, pushing yourself till it hurts, finding the limits you’ve set yourself and breaking them down.

I decided who I was going to be, I even went as far as to make a plan, a plan I have fought for, suffered for, that sure as shit was never going to be easy and I am god damn happy that it wasn’t, a plan that does not have an end and has requirements where failure or becoming ‘content’ will take everything from me.

I sit here looking at a sheet of paper, a sheet that in essence says ‘step 4 – Tick’. I don’t take more pride than that in it, it is the sum of three years and hundreds of hours, but to me it is just another bullet point. So was the £450 qualification handled in two weeks, or the few thousand hours of training and studying, even the accredited masters that requires a bank loan.

We all have something we want out of life, but we look at the road it takes to get there and shudder, the idea of sacrifice or hardship terrifies us, and so content seems like a suitable plan B. Let me say something that will get a scorn expression from many – fuck content, fuck your fear. I have had my own hell and hardships, there are moments that I would give anything to fix or get rid of from memory, but my goal, my dream requires so much god damn more. State your dream, wait no, let’s really do this –

Right now, say your dream, in 5 words or less – Might be a job/place/mood/ anything.

Next, state the minimum of what it’ll take to get there – cost/ hours/ ears/ qualifications

Now, and take this part seriously, are you brave enough? Could you take that on and accept the struggle that entails? Let us be very serious, if you look at it now, before even the first damn step in that direction and can’t say with certainty you are willing, when those moments come around that bring you to tears, that keep you awake at night, that lose you friends, to accept that this is all part of the plan, then don’t even start, and get really fucking familiar with – content.

Oh and if I need validation –

– Every damn friend I lost

– The hundreds of hours needed just to change appearance

– The tens of thousands of pounds for my qualifications

– The utter failure come competition day

– The loneliness for 3 years

– The laughter and judging

– The five years of work to just get my foot in the door

– The agony every fucking day

– The scars, history to overcome

and the rest of it that frankly if you need to hear, you were never going to be convinced anyway.

Be brave because in reality, if you aren’t living for those dreams, what is the damn point?

Aspire to Inspire.

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I’d rather be dead than average.

I’d rather be dead than average.

It sounds morbid, I know. Trust me, it isn’t a call for help or anything like that. The simple fact of the matter is that I can relate to this. I believe this quote is from Mike Bell, featured in the documentary Bigger Stronger Faster. Somebody else might have said it but that’s where I remember it from.

From time to time, I find myself wondering why we do what we do. Why does ‘average’ represent everything that so many of us don’t want to be? I’ve done average, I’ve done below average and frankly, being a nobody is pretty shit.

When I was 19 years old, I decided to make it happen. I decided to stop being who I had always been up until that point, a nobody. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m famous or even terribly popular, but I’ll be damned if I’m still average, and that’s a start.

I went from having no passion, no drive, no ambitions and a very limited perception of a future, to having an exact goal, passion that would astound, the drive to work on it every damn day, the qualifications to get me there and achievements mounting up along the way.

I’m not sure if I can say that what I am doing is right, or will even work, but for once in my life I’m doing something and I’m proud of it. So why dead over average? Seems dramatic and bordering on naive, but here me out. Average to me isn’t what it might be to you. Average to me represents who I was, the mental state, the loneliness and knowing what that did to me, yeah I would choose to never be that/do that again.

I’d like to think that the experiences of depression and mental breakdown leave me in a mind set that will never again allow me to be ‘average’. I would hope that who I am now is incapable of functioning without a goal or some form of ambition. So this is me, literally living for a dream, it may not be normal nor accepted, but it’s me, and I’ll die before I give that up.

Aspire to Inspire.

I am here.

NO IT’S NOT FITNESS. Just so you don’t close it right away. Anyway, moving forwards.

If you came to a 7 foot wall, what would your first thought be? A way around it I’m sure. But that isn’t an option. So option two, you look for a hand up. Nobody there. At least for now. So lets assume by some miracle, gruelling effort and personal strength you make it over the wall after god knows how long, what’s next? Most people say if you are good at something never do it for free. Well in some circumstance that would be true, but to me, if you are good at something, you have an obligation to help others with that experience. 

Getting over that wall is my experience, therefore I believe I have an obligation to others to help get them over it. 

NO IT IS NOT AN ACTUAL WALL.

We all face obstacles in life, some more extreme than others, higher walls as it were. So sometimes we need a leg up, or at least somebody behind us if we fall. 

I came across my own obstacles which I am unafraid to share, plenty of them in fact. If you are reading this you are either one of my subscribers (so much love to all of you) or you are one of my Facebook friends (assuming I had the balls to share this, so be kind). It’ll be very easy to laugh me off and frankly that is fine by me, I am not here for approval.

I am here as that leg up, or just a voice to guide or an ear to vent. Everything I went through I wished I had that hand up, it was one of two times in my life I prayed. Sadly I never got it. Without that I found my own way over the wall and I promised myself no matter what, if I came across the chance to help anyone else in any situation I would take it.

So whatever you are coming across, no matter how well you know me, all I am saying is: 

I am here. 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Which Wolf Are You Feeding.

“My child, there are two wolves inside of every man, battling one another every day. One wolf is evil. He is weakness, inferiority, ego, laziness, and entitlement. The other is good. He is strength, hard work, self-reliance, and humility.”

The boy thought about this for a long while, then asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man replied, “The one you feed.”

I stumbled apon this only an hour ago but it seems to have struck a cord. Your level of success is largely derived from how you view the world. Your brain can be rewired to focus on certain patterns. In one study, people who played the old video game Tetris for hours began to see interlocking blocks in all aspects of their life, from brick walls to cityscapes. They’d encoded that pattern in their minds through the repetition of the game. Crazy right? but comprehensible. So this was known as the Tetris Effect. 

This can happen with anything in life we focus on. If our job involves looking for mistakes, then it’s hard to break that habit when we get home. Not good, because we begin focusing on negatives and overlooking the good stuff.

The good news is that you can engrain productive, positive patterns as well. Learn to look for the good and you will see more good, including opportunities for improvement. (As a side effect, you won’t be such a bitter douche anymore.)

With our lifting and physique goals, the Tetris Effect can be very powerful. Are you scanning the world for excuses or opportunities? Are you looking to rationalize behaviors that hold you back (“I can’t squat,” “I deserve a cheat meal”) or are you looking for ways to improve your diet and training? Both can become habits. One will accelerate your progress; one will hold you back.

What is your engrained “go-to” response to a challenge? Do you automatically look for ways to overcome it? Or do you automatically fall back on looking for an excuse for why you can’t meet that challenge?

I like to think that most serious lifters do the former. We understand that on the other side of every challenge is an opportunity. We learned that in the gym and we apply it to “real life” as well. You probably know people who go the other direction. And you probably think they’re kinda pathetic and annoying. (This is probably because they’re kinda pathetic and annoying, so don’t feel bad.)

Remember, because of the Tetris Effect, the things you focus on will begin to engrain themselves in your mind, changing behaviors, actions, and even your general outlook. Are you wiring yourself to see opportunities for improvement? Or are you programming yourself to find excuses?

In other words, which wolf are you feeding?

 

 

Aspire To Inspire. 

I’m trying to remember who I am.

I am not who I was. Nor am I yet who I will one day be. The ambitions I had yesterday have adapted and the dreams I’ll have tonight will set in tomorrow. The unachievable ideas once thought up have been humbly accomplished. Tomorrow hasn’t begun, yesterday is over and today is moving without control.

 

So where does that all leave me? 

I found myself waking up to this thought that I am a bit lost. I’ll admit it is somewhat frightening. let me explain. 

2 years ago (give or take), I wasn’t who I am now. I was lost, scared, depressed and without ambition. Over the following 2 years I grew exponentially in every way I could have hoped, so that version of me was lost, regardless of what was learnt from that stage. In that time i have set upon a new path and formed new dreams (as I continued to realise those i originally had).

 

So this has forced me to grow more, I NEED a goal, a dream to pursue. This doesn’t sound bad as such but it is remarkably stressful. By achieving my modest dreams, they have had to grow to more and more outrageous lengths. I now have goals of  own gym, to be qualified and educated, to be a councillor to help people and compete in all areas of fitness whilst producing my own apparel.. Oh and a decent wage. So the question is now who will I need to become?

How much of who I am today will be lost in the pursuit of new dreams – that is the thought I awoke to.

 

Aspire to Inspire – Whatever it takes.  

Things becoming a little clearer.

Blogging – Well with around 2000 views, 100 or so followers (Love you guys) and as of today over 100 blog posts, I can say things are going well . It is a little odd not knowing my audience, as well as on occasion finding out some friends are reading this I didn’t even know about. Nonetheless, it’s one hell of a platform for me to work with and is effectively a storage space of valuable ideas to return to. 

My goals – My goals are pretty straightforward. Compete in powerlifting. bodybuilding and obstacle races, get every qualification I need (fitness and degree), open a gym selling my apparel and work as a sports psychologist and instructor. Granted they are pretty black and white but that does not mean they easy by any means. 

Methods – In terms of reaching these goals I have to give myself credit, progress if being made. In terms of training I am at a point where I could comfortably compete in powerlifting, around 1 to 2 years away from a bodybuilding comp and have a race in 5 days! As for the rest, well they are slower. my final year of my degree in Criminology and Applied Psychology begins in a month with qualifications in fitness are planned for next year. The longer term projects are my gym and apparel, I have an interested second party and designs for apparel are complete, time to bring it all together! I have to be grateful too for the growth of my platforms Instagram/blog/Facebook page (linked below). Between them all I manage to reach thousands of people which is unbelievable. Whatever it takes to change lives.

https://www.facebook.com/PBMoriginal

http://instagram.com/c_j_barney  

Battles – Nothing worth having comes easy. Well everything I want is certainly worth having, so of course that provokes struggle. So far there are issues I’ve made my way through, though on regular occasion they return to me, I’m not sure they ever leave. Reoccurring issues are things like body dismorphia, eating disorders and maintaining a positive mentality. Some battles are unavoidable as every one of you will appreciate. For instance, my main two issues are time and money – aren’t they always?  With the money and time, I could invest in my apparel for faster growth as well as produce more designs, with even more I could start financing my own gym! But we have what we have, there is no excuse for not making the most of that!

The last of my battles are to do with the necessary mentality. To go on with all this every day without faltering isn’t easy by any means. With little appreciation from the outside world as well as those around me (few exceptions) it becomes even harder and somewhat lonely. There has to be an ongoing thought, a belief that what I am doing is worthwhile, so luckily I have that going for me to drive me through. 

 

People – The people in our lives have a drastic effect on who we are. Too often we surround ourselves with people who cannot accept us or unintentionally cause us to close away parts of who we are. I learnt this lesson over several years and of course the hard way (seems to be a pattern in my learning methods). However today things are a little different, over time I have changed who I keep around me in both quantity and quality. I don’t really see the need for a hundred friends or the approval of the world, instead I have learnt to just be me and those who can accept that stay. Incredibly that has left me with a group measurable on both hands in quantity, but in quality? Immeasurable. 

I have friends who support me, understand me and encourage me. A girlfriend who beyond my understanding not only accepts all that I am, but actually seems to be fond of it? (yes an understatement but you see the point I am making). 

People say you surround yourself with like-minded people, of course they are right, I do not disagree. However when in a position like me you realise like-minded people can be hard to find, which I consider to be a privilege. No, instead surround yourself with people who, though may not be on your path, are willing to walk beside you when you falter, or will help you stand your ground when things get tough. I adore those in my life and can not thank them enough. 

 

Hard work – This is it. The determining feature. No dream nor goal was ever achieved without hard work. So on a regular basis I find myself saying to myself, ‘are you prepared for this? Are you willing to keep going?’. I am not arrogant enough to pretend my answer is always yes. On many days I will suffer, I will want to give in and take it easy. So of course I have my fears and like every other person on this planet I fear the possible. ‘Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’ – Marianne Wiliamson. How far I have come terrifies me as it reveals the possible of how far I could go. Would you not be scared too? To have everything you could imagine, the ideal life and world unravel before you, are you brave enough to go all out and pursue that with one sickening thought daily echoing in your mind.

What if I fail? What if it all passes me by?

This will never leave my mind sadly, but that is not to say I cannot work aside it, the fear of failure will only be lost in my ability to succeed. 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Well… Crap

This is a vent session, sorry for the bore.

Just been to the doctors for a check in essentially. I’ve left being told I need to essentially stop powerlifting or i’ll permanently damage my tendons and mobility – Fuck hypermobility. Seriously fuck this. Having my own damn body let me down? Having all the god damn motivation, discipline and dedication mean absolutely nothing because I am not physically capable. 

Cannot explain how angry I am. 

So frankly, screw it, I’m not stopping. There is no chance in hell that I will allow myself to just give in. This may mean enduring some serious pains or injuries, so yes there will be that, but there is recovery. 

I will endure and I will continue to progress.

Aspire to Inspire.