Seth Godin

“Motivation is For Amateurs”

The above quote by Chuck Close comes from page 43 in Seth Godin’s most recent book What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)

It is such a great book filled with so much inspiration and mind clearing, smarten-yourself-up reminders and encouragement to engage in life.

I love people and love hearing the individual stories that make people tick. In the same breath I’m often saddened by the lack of drive and excuses I hear which prevent personal growth. There is a lot of talk as to making plans but those plans never materialize. Talk about being satisfied with the status quo but in the same breath complaints about everything. It makes my head spin.

Change. Everyday is a great time to improve oneself.

In this book Seth Godin points out a lot of our socially accepted excuses for not fulfilling our responsibilities.

“And what about getting in the mood? What about the motivation you’ll need to engage in this life? Our need for motivation is due to our need for reassurance. We are paralyzed by our fear that it might not work, and we let the fear demotivate us, giving us the perfect excuse not to create.”

And this is why I’m giving away a copy of this book. Just in time for the new year. I’ll ship a free copy to one person in Canada or U.S.
A winner will be announced and contacted on January 1, 2015.

Write as many comments as you like on this blog post, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or Google+. Tell me why you deserve this book, why you need this book!! How this book will help you to make a difference? Use these hashtags #youasamachine #motivationisforamateurs

UPDATE Jan. 1, 2015 

Thanks to everyone for participating in this book giveaway. Congratulations go out to Maya as the winner. Because there were so many wonderful comments and many who just retweeted I had my daughter draw the winning name from a hat. If the book does not get claimed then we will draw another name. To all the others, I hope that you will go out and get yourselves a copy 🙂 and perhaps be inspired to share it with others!

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What Is Normal?

We Are All Weird, by Seth Godin

Seth Godin published a little book in 2011 called We Are All Weird. Click on the title to read an excerpt.

You’ve really got to think hard about this:

Being normal is based on what the average person does, through conformity.

Following this logic, I am, therefore, far from normal. Not in every way but in many ways. But I’ve known this since I was a kid. Most of us so called “weird” ones have been OK with our standing. We know we’re different. But there are many who are still learning to accept their differences and with every ounce of their being resist their nature and struggle to fit in or to be “normal-like-everyone-else”.  I would like to encourage everyone to be true to who you are, not who you think you should be; there is a difference.

Let’s talk about food for an example.

On occasion people say this phrase to me: “Well, you’ve got to live!” Often in reference to doing things that they know that they shouldn’t be doing; for instance consuming certain foods or drinks.

Eating Contest

Eating Contest

Since when, why and how did engaging in risky behavior equate living? And why is it so often about consuming substances? Is it that charge of adrenaline that is so titillating – oh, how it wakes us up like we have never been awake before and bang! we feel alive. Again, let’s do it again, but let’s push the envelope a little further this time. It is a heavy question with reasoning that could fill the infinite scroll down potential of any blog. I think the adrenaline rush associated with extreme sport is a little different from the rush derived from consuming substances, but they straddle the same hemisphere. So if you will, allow me to ramble for a minute.

At a restaurant, about sixteen years ago, when I was just dating my husband, he said to me, “If I’m going to risk my life why would I choose to do so by doing something as unadventurous as eating mussels?” I fear, most people are ignorant of the toxins present in the foods or drinks they choose to consume. Some restaurants actually have a disclaimer on the menu where items such as mussels, clams and raw oysters are served.

Cooked Mussels

Cooked Mussels

I am very aware that how I conduct myself is not the norm. The fact that I feel like I am “living” everyday without sacrificing anything, would categorize me once again as weird.

Definition of Sacrifice:

“an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. We must all be prepared to make sacrifices.”

Must we?

Ah…sacrifice. It is such an interesting word, such an interesting feeling. It has been a long road of learning, but I can honestly say that I am at such a place where sacrifice does not exist. There is nothing that I would have to give up to be where I am. I make time to focus and take care of myself everyday because that is where I want to be. I eat well all the time because I want to – because it makes me feel great; and because really, for me there is no alternative.

It seems to be more difficult for others to accept that I have accepted that celebration and reward does NOT come in the form of food or alcohol or excess. I am right where I should be and continue to learn more about my body, mind and health each day. I have chosen to represent this sentiment with a photograph of a bee in flight, just approaching a flowering chive. Why? Because bees have focus and it seems to me like they enjoy what they do. It comes down to perspective.

I choose not to eat or drink anything that disagrees with my system. I choose not to eat or drink anything just to please a host or because it was a gift. The story of The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey comes to mind when I think about this, because one thought always leads to another.

I won’t finish off something just to prevent it from going to waste. Forcing food to go through my body before it becomes garbage is no different than just throwing it away in the first place. Both are equally wasteful, but the former causes bodily harm. Better to learn not to prepare so much or order so much food. It is OK to have leftovers…I rely on them.

We can choose to make a thoughtful, informed choice or we can choose to sacrifice. In the end we have still made a choice. If we are going to bother to choose, shouldn’t we choose wisely?

“You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.”

~Rush the Band, Freewill

But clearly, weird is subjective. I think it is pretty weird to consume things that are known toxins, which contribute to lowering life expectancy, have potential side effects, which may contribute to birth defects, known diseases and cancer. And yet in the normal universe, which is parallel to my weird universe, this is considered living, by letting loose and not being so serious.

“I want to be normal!” – not me, thanks.

Just about everyone wants to be normal. Kids want to be normal; they want to fit in. They learn it at a young age. If they don’t conform they will be excluded.

“Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone…

In the high school halls

In the shopping malls

Conform or be cast out…

In the basement bars

In the backs of cars

Be cool or be cast out…”– Rush the Band, Subdivisions

They want to be able to eat or drink what everyone else does without thinking about the after effects or repercussions; they want to live in the moment. They want to live.

A few years ago when my husband and I were hosting our annual Canadian Thanksgiving feast, one of my guests, knowing that I was deep into the experimental phase of eliminating certain foods from my diet (to heal myself), said that she just couldn’t do what I was doing. So I asked, “I didn’t realize there were any foods that disagreed with your system.” Her: “Oh, yeah there are, but I eat them anyway and pay the price the next day.”

What?!

To me that’s CRAZY, insane even. I told her that I thought so. 🙂 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

Except in this case I don’t think people are expecting different results. And we call THAT normal?! Only because the masses are doing it. If everyone is doing it, then it must be OK.

After that conversation, I started asking other people if there were foods or drinks that they knowingly consumed which caused a delayed negative reaction. One person told me that they would eat certain foods knowing that they would have to be practically connected to the toilet for the following three days. “OH! But it’s so worth it going down.”

Really?

This is the original more familiar version of the famous song Crazy – by Gnarles Barkley. I’ve transcribed the lyrics below so you can read or sing along. While looking for the song I came across this slower version, which is outstanding. I have posted the link here in case you want to have a listen.

“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

There was something so pleasant about that place.

Even your emotions had an echo 
In so much space

And when you’re out there Without care,

Yeah, I was out of touch, But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough

I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy?

Possibly [radio version] Probably [album version]

And I hope that you are having the time of your life


But think twice, that’s my only advice



Come on now,

Who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,

Ha ha ha bless your soul


You really think you’re in control

Well, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy

Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb

And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun

And it’s no coincidence I’ve come, And I can die when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy, Maybe you’re crazy, Maybe we’re crazy

Probably

Uh, uh”

We need to practice thinking about what we practice.

We can choose.

Be True To Who You Are

“[…]When you see something weird and make fun with jokes

‘Cause your personal tastes are not like those folks

Try harder[…]”

-Miro, Warrior Poet Wisdom

When I started composing this post the feedback I imagined might question what this subject has to do with health and fitness.

From my perspective, everything is interconnected. Our physical health is intimately dependent upon our mental, emotional, spiritual and biological health.

EVERYTHING matters.

What happens when a public figure does something outrageous or something very personal – publicly? Is it open season on them? Does that make it OK to forget our manners; even if it is a marketing ploy to get viewers worked up to generate a buzz?

Lisa-Marie from BodyRockTv recently and very publicly underwent breast augmentation surgery. Amid the supportive comments she received, I was saddened by the negativity that this sort of event brings out in people.

 Lisa-Marie (before)

 A few months ago, a negative comment relating to the main photo of me on my site landed in my inbox. It came via one of the visual media sites and after the fact, the sender was very apologetic, I know this because I called them on it. Please understand that I’m not bringing this up to embarrass anyone. I bring it up because I think that sometimes really nice people can mindlessly say unkind things – I’m not immune, we forget…but that is a lousy excuse, we need to try harder at thinking twice before we speak. It’s easy to go around being mindless and develop a knee-jerk reflexive “I’m sorry” response – and truly mean it too. Better yet, to develop the discipline to think before we speak or before we press send.

Because I dispense motherly sayings on a daily basis to my children, I feel obliged to pass on these same words…

”If you don’t have something nice to say            (or constructive to add)                                               then don’t say anything at all.”

“One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.”                                                                                                                                                                                  –Will Durant (attributed)

The comment about my photo went something like this:
“Am I the only one who finds this DISGUSTING?”

And “Man abs on a woman is so unfeminine.”

I thought about what they said and I assure you I wasn’t offended but rather, it got me wondering where this kind of commentary comes from?

These women, I gathered, were young mothers (I took an educated guess based on what else they had posted), and wondered how women who nurture babies and children could speak so judgmentally or in an unsupportive way about others.

I understand the unfeminine comment, but the word DISGUSTING being capitalized even, really? Disgusting? At the time I thought, “Good thing I haven’t posted a picture of my face!” 🙂

I’ve noticed that there is a tendency to follow what is beautiful regardless of substance. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has figured this out. We have a tendency to buy into what is beautiful because we have been conditioned to believe that by following a certain program or by using said product procures the same results for us. Case in point: just look at what the Diet Soft Drink industry has done! And let me tell you first hand, if working out as consistently and with as much focus and discipline as I do, hasn’t made my nose smaller or changed its shape, then nothing other than surgery will! 🙂 We’ve got to love ourselves for who we are and what we’ve got, but continue to grow and improve along the way. The image we see in a still photograph is just that – a still. It reflects a suspended moment in time. And that is precisely what can make the still photograph so magical.

We will not miraculously transform into an Adonis by imitating the routine of one. We will not become anything other than who we are. Accept it, love it, improve on it however you see fit. At the risk of sounding like a soap opera, we’ve got one life to live – Live it well, find happiness but do so without being reckless.

So, I wrote back…

“I’m sorry you find me offensive. There is a real person behind this photograph. Perhaps the angle or the lighting or the fact that I’m not posing in a more sensual way detracts from the images effectiveness to show femininity. I have two children and they love me for who I am. (Except for when they don’t get their own way, of course). If you go to my website and read my bio and any of my articles you will learn that at my core, I hope to encourage everyone to focus on their health as opposed to focusing on the aesthetic alone. Originally, I had a photograph of a flower as my Gravatar, (because I was not interested in drawing attention to myself -each of us is an experiment of ONE after all) but since I changed the image to this photograph, which for many is a symbol of discipline and hard work – more and more people are flooding to my site…go figure. I know that how my body looks is not everyone’s ideal and I am, in no way suggesting people should strive for what I represent. My mother died at age 69 from Cancer, three months before my second child was born. She was too young and even though she lived a healthy lifestyle in every way, I believe from my research that many environmental factors played a role in her death and also for so many others who suffer from various diseases, which lead to premature death. My focus is to help you to help yourself be fit and healthy.“

To which they replied:

“I am very sorry. I really respect the discipline required to obtain this much muscularity. I believed this photo to be one off of google images and I greatly regret any hurt feelings I have caused by posting this. I will remove it. (They removed the comment trail from the visual media site).

“If it makes you feel any better my stomach area is entirely too soft and I’m sure the percentage of nice comments you get is ten times higher than the ones I would get if I showed a similar picture of my body.”

“I don’t think anyone was trying to hurt your feelings or insult you. I’m sure we really did though, and I apologize.”

Honestly, my feelings weren’t hurt and I was not insulted. When I made the decision to post photographs of myself and start to blog, I prepared myself for both positive and negative feedback, I would have been crazy not to. And really, I’m OK with who I am – big nose and all!

All I want to say by posting this is that all of us need to Try Harder at embracing compassion for one another.

One of my favorite modern poets, Miro introduced me to poet Cat Forsley. She posted this inspiring TED talk video of legally blind, Caroline Casey’s talk about the power of believing in ourself: Looking Past Limits.

“Stop with the labels … because we are not jam jars; we are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.”

“Every single one of us — woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever — everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves.”

“I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief.”

-Caroline Casey

In my mind, “Being Happy Just The Way We Are” or “Expecting Others To Love Us Just The Way We Are” doesn’t mean that we can sit on the couch all day and forgo being a good person or stop taking care of ourselves. Being alive to me means participating and making positive contributions in the global community even if that means primarily focusing on raising healthy, self-sufficient, children who will mature into responsible adults, who can contribute to rather than become a burden on society.

If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you’ve got

then you’ve handed control over your happiness to the gatekeepers, built a system that doesn’t scale and prevented yourself from the brave work that leads to a quantum leap.

The industrial system (and the marketing regime) adore the mindset of ‘a little bit more, please’, because it furthers their power. A slightly higher paycheck, a slightly more famous college, an incrementally better car–it’s easy to be seduced by this safe, stepwise progress, and if marketers and bosses can make you feel dissatisfied at every step along the way, even better for them.

Their rules, their increments, and you are always on a treadmill, unhappy today, imagining that the answer lies just over the next hill…

All the data shows us that the people on that hill are just as frustrated as the people on your hill. It demonstrates that the people at that college are just as envious as the people at this college. The never-ending cycle (no surprise) never ends.

An alternative is to be happy wherever you are, with whatever you’ve got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating art, of being missed if you’re gone and most of all, doing important work.

-Seth Godin

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