New Year’s Resolutions – Iron Qualities style

So 2017 is here. A new year means a new start. Making New Year’s resolutions has become part of our fabric. Many people use the New Year to reflect on the shitter parts of their lives where bad habits are dug in like ticks.

They tell themselves ‘enough is enough’ and make a vow to change for the better. Gym memberships will soar, alcohol sales will crash. And the world keeps on turning.

Nothing changes.

Creating New Year's resolutions has become part of our fabric. Many people use the new year to reflect on the parts of their lives where bad habits are dug in like ticks and make a vow to change for the better. The sentiment is nice - but at least 80% of the time, execution is lacking. Click through to read about how to face the new year like a man

Let’s look at a classic: “I’m going to get fit and lose 10kg.” So you sign up for the gym, pay your 2 years subscription up front and sign up for every spinning and circuit training class going. All good.

But after the first week, it feels like you’ve been hit by a bus. You can barely get out of bed in the morning because you muscles are so stiff and sore.

It’s no surprise. You’ve tried to go from zero to 100mph straight away. It doesn’t work that way. Your muscles will be doing things they haven’t done in a loooooong time and the new routine will feel like a vicious slap in the face.

So you take a few days off and make a promise to yourself to get back on the wagon next week when you’ve recovered. Instead, you end up going out on Saturday night for a few quiet ones and spend the next two days in bed in the depth of the Horrors.

Before you know it, that week off turns into a month. Then a year. And you’ve blown that 2 years of gym membership fees for two weeks of actually going.

 

Let’s cut right to it: New Year’s resolutions don’t work

It’s this illusion that the new year offers a blank slate and you can make some wishes and they will become reality.

The REALITY is that without a plan and some drive and determination, you won’t change and you’ll be in exactly the same position 12 months from now.

Nothing will happen overnight. There is no magic potion that will make all your dreams come true. Anything worth doing and anywhere worth going will take time, dedication and effort.

If you want to do something that requires new habits and a lifestyle overhaul, that’s a HUGE change. Most of us can see our weaknesses and might even have an idea of what our ideal self looks like. But we also choose the easy life most of the time – the path of least resistance. Maybe you don’t see the gains from your efforts straight away so you think you’re a failure, give up and fall back into that comfortable old routine.

 

Here’s the truth – it’s only when you give up that you have actually failed

Any step you take forward, any progress you make – no matter how small – is exactly that. A step forward. Progress.

New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Anyway, there is no reason why you should wait until the end of the year to start making positive change. 31st December 2016 is just another day. As is 1st January 2017.

When you live like a man, every day is a new year. Every day offers you a blank slate to start from. And your goal every day is to improve some aspect of your life. Every day. No matter how small that improvement is.

Don’t make resolutions. Instead, focus on creating the right habits in your daily life that make those big long-term goals achievable. Those habits are not resolutions. They are not short-term steps you put in place to achieve a temporary goal. Rather, they become a permanent part of who you are.

 

Five steps to positive change…starting today

But since I have written this post at the end of the year and this is when most of you will read it, here’s 5 tips on how to start making those positive changes today.

  1. Identify what you need to work on to become a better man. Read the right books. Listen to the right role models. Surround yourself with the right people and resources to make the change happen. The Iron Qualities is a great place to start
  2. Create daily routines around the areas that you want to improve on. Focus on the process. Not the end goal. Create a daily routine and a lifestyle built around who and what you really want to be
  3. Stay present. Take one thing at a time. Keep doing – but don’t try to do everything at once
  4. Do more. Read less. It’s easy to get sucked into a cycle of studying and reading about all the cool things you want to do and the methods to achieve this. Just start doing. It’s the best learn to learn and improve
  5. While doing is good, some kind of plan of WHAT to do is also good. Spend some time at the start of the day to plan some activities that will specifically build towards your goal. Then review progress at the end of the day. Boom. Done

So when it comes to assessing where you are in your own personal development, remember – create positive habits…not resolutions. The journey is never complete, but we should always keep moving forward.

 

Merry Christmas from the Iron Qualities

Ho Ho Ho from Big Daddy Bo

Christmas is here once again and another year has almost been and gone.

And the year end is a good time to reflect on progress made, where you’re going in the future, and catch up with families and friends.

That being said, I’m going to leave you with 3 do’s and 3 don’t’s to help you get through the festive period like a man and come out smiling on the other side.

 

Merry Christmas from the Iron Qualities. Click on to read about some tips to successfully navigate the festive period like a man

 

The Do Nots

Staff Christmas parties – don’t go there and get drunk off your face. Don’t be that guy who pisses on the bar (yes…ON…it happens) or threatens to kill his boss and family after he’s had a few too many Smirnoff and coke. Work parties in general suck ass. Your work colleagues are not your friends and unfortunately, it’s only when you do something wrong that this becomes apparent.

So go there if you must. Show your face, pound a few cold ones then do your best Cinderella impression and get out of there before everything gets messy. If you see someone on the dancefloor with their tie around their head dancing to ‘A Fairytale of New York’, you may have already reached the point of no return.

Buying gifts – don’t get sucked into the commercialism and advertising bullshit and feel the need to spend a shitload of money on gifts. The cost of a gift is not directly proportional to its quality or value. You don’t need to spend a lot to give a good gift that actually means something to the person who gets it.

You should already be inherently suspicious about shopping anyway – you might even have a mild phobia. As a man, this is all perfectly normal.

But if you spend a little time thinking about what someone actually likes, you can come out the other side of the Christmas shopping gauntlet without being torn a second or even third asshole paying for it all, while making someone’s day at the same time. Result.

Christmas hype – When you watch all those fluffy Christmas movies, TV shows and commercials, don’t fall into the trap of getting depressed because it all bears absolutely no resemblance to your life. None of that stuff is real. It’s not reality. Christmas is whatever you make it.

If you’re alone and have nobody to spend Christmas Day with, it’s not the end of the world. Christmas Day is just another day and unless you’re religious, it has no special meaning whatsoever.

 

The Dos

When to stop – Keep to your regular fitness and food routine as much as you can. Tempting as it is, stay away from those mince pies, chocolates and extra servings of Heineken so you don’t turn into a disgusting fatbody and get absolutely shitfaced 7 days on the trot. Your body will not thanks you for it when you’re spending the next week crapping out all that excess food and drink.

Spread the love – It’s true, a lot of people get more depressed at this time of year but we can all do small things to make someone’s day a little brighter and help ourselves become more sociable in the process. Send a card to let someone know you’re thinking of them; get someone those little gifts that mean something; catch up for a beer with that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. The beauty is in the giving, not the gift.

What you want for Christmas – I’m not talking about what you’ll put in your letter to Santa or what you want to find in your stocking on Christmas morning. I’m talking about what you need to do next year to improve yourself. What are the next steps on your journey to becoming a better person and a better man? Think about it, then makes those thoughts reality.

Reach out to me on twitter or facebook and let me know what your plans are for making a better you in 2017.

Have an Iron Qualities Christmas

The importance of keeping your composure and 6 ways to keep it

Composure. A fundamental Iron Quality and a key component of living like a boss.

But what exactly is it?

Composure is the feeling of being calm and in control of yourself and your emotions.

But here’s the thing – much like the G-Spot, composure can be elusive and slippery. Keeping your composure in a world that does its best to make you lose it can be the one of the hardest fights you face.

Getting emotional is ok – there’s a time and a place for emotion. Going through life acting like a robot isn’t healthy. But we are men – and we’re always striving to think clearly and objectively. We can’t let our behaviour and actions get hijacked by emotion.

Image: Bo Ideal

Everyone is judging you…

People read verbal and non-verbal cues from you and make judgements. That’s what we all do.

Personally, I don’t give a shit about how people judge me and neither should you. But if people know there are buttons they can press that will rile you up and force you to lose your composure, it becomes something they can leverage. A weakness they can exploit.

But if you can remain cool, calm and collected in all situations…that’s a powerful tool. Composure shows self-confidence. You are sure of yourself and your reality is dictated by YOU. External factors don’t shake that.

 

Never let emotions cloud your judgement

When you control your emotions, you communicate better and with more confidence. You lead a more productive and purposeful life and get more done.

To be a leader amongst men – that’s what we’re talking about here.

  • Can you take a verbal roasting without letting it rile you up or get you down?
  • Can you handle a rejection without getting discouraged?
  • Can you remain cool when things don’t go according to plan?
  • Can you speak in public without getting nervous and breaking down?
  • Can you laugh with others when the joke is on you?

 

We’ve all lost our composure at some point

Somewhere that’s rife with the pathetic stench of composure loss is the world of dating. We’ve all seen it and most of us have experienced it first hand.

It’s that feeling you get when you’re trying to seduce a honey and you’re way more into it than she is. You know this, but you keep calling her anyway. Texting her.

  • Sometimes she answers.
  • Sometimes she doesn’t.
  • Sometimes she replies with brief disinterested comments.
  • Sometimes you find yourself double or triple texting before you get a reply.

You try to arrange a few cocktails.

“It’ll be fun” you say.

“I’m busy” she says.

“Ah. Ok, no problem. Maybe next time.”

So instead of cocktails, you sit at home on Friday night watching some shit TV, trying to distract yourself from contacting her. But the temptation is too much.

“I’ll maybe just text a ‘hi’ “- no harm in that right?

Ugh.

I know what you’re thinking: “This guy needs to grow a pair, cut contact and more on”. But when emotion clouds our judgement, we make weak decisions and bad things usually follow.

 

When I was a child, I thought like a child…but when I became a man, I put away childish things

When we lose composure, we let that excess emotion affect our behaviour and actions. Just like a child does.

You’ve all seen the tiny tears when kids don’t get their way. Or maybe you had a childhood friend who used to huff and cry when he didn’t win at Super Mario Kart. Hell, maybe that was you.

When we’re young, we have an idea of ‘normality’ and we don’t know how to properly deal with things that upset our understanding of the world.

And that’s fine. We learn.

The skill then is becoming experienced in dealing with these things. Feeling the frustration, the anger, the joy – and learning how to react without letting it mess with the logical part of our brains.

The Iron Qualities | Composure and Emotion

It’s a little bit like getting drunk…

Remember when you stole that bottle of whisky from your dad’s special hiding place when you were 16?

  • Hiding out at the back of the local supermarket car park. Taking turns swigging from the bottle with your mates. And getting that warm fuzzy glow inside.
  • Telling all your boys how much you loved them and how awesome everything was.
  • Barfing in the bushes and trying to sneak back home without your parents busting you.

You lost your composure my friend. But the more experience you get in drinking alcohol and its effects, the more composure you can maintain while under the influence.

(until you reach the point of no return and then it’s almost literally ‘anything goes’)

 

So how the hell do you keep your composure?!

The good news is that there are ways and means to help you find and keep your composure. And here’s six tips to help you out.

1 – Think before you act

When you’re emotional, impulse isn’t always the best way. Take some time – even just a few seconds – to reflect on things before you make a decision. Which leads on to….

2 – Break the routine

If someone or something has riled you up, go for a walk. Go outside. Get some fresh air or just change the scenery. Try to look at things from a different perspective. A quiet moment to yourself gives you the chance to fully analyse things and make better decisions

3 – Reflect and learn

When you do lose your composure and act like an ass, learn from it. Identify what took your composure and ask yourself what you can do to stop it from happening again. Having a reaction plan can be very powerful and help you keep that precious commodity – composure

4 – Don’t take things personally

Everyone has a perspective. Everyone has a job to do. Most of the time, someone’s perspective will not align with yours. Sometimes, that job that someone is doing will piss you off. And that’s fine. Different opinions are what make the world so diverse. And that job is putting food on someone’s table. Look for solutions, not reasons to be pissed off

5 – You have choice

You are the centre of your world. You are the core. You are the anchor. External factors will wash against you and you will remain strong. Bad things will happen. Your composure will be tested many times. But you have the ability to choose how to react. You have the ability to define yourself on your own terms. And that’s a beautiful thing

6 – Breathe

When you get nervous or angry or excited, your breathing tends to become faster and more shallow. Recognise this and consciously try to breathe more slowly and from your belly. Get that heart rate down big boy

 

So the next time you feel yourself getting all hot and bothered, or your bottom lip starts quivering when things don’t go your way, think back on this. Composure is a beautiful but fragile thing. Keep it, cherish it – and you’ll be a man, my son.

Conor McGregor: A Man of Iron Qualities

McGregor. He’s so hot right now. McGregor.

Back in July 2016 it was reported that the UFC had been sold to the WME-IMG Group for something in the region of $4bn. A huge sum of money – this is the biggest franchise sale in sports history.

Some journey for an organisation that was once described as ‘human cockfighting’.

And when asked about that sale and the number behind it, UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor said this:

 


“I think I played a nice role in that number. What was it? It was estimated at two billion at one stage before I came along. I remember when I first started here, it was a two-billion dollar franchise. I remember hearing that much. And now, since I came on, it’s four billion. And the year before it was sold is my year, numbers-wise. I played a nice role in that too, so the number motivated me.”

 

McGregor’s rise to the top of the UFC game has mirrored that of the organisation itself. Once scratching a living as a professional Mixed Martial Artist on the UK and Ireland circuit, he is now arguably the biggest draw in the sport – and one of the biggest in the entire sporting world.

But is he right – Is a large portion of that $4bn pie down to his contribution? Or is it all just hype?

Conor McGregor | Driven, determined, single-minded...or brash, cocky and arrogant. Conor McGregor is a man of consequence who has risen to the top of the world of MMA. But is he all style and no substance? Read on to find out

The notorious Conor McGregor

McGregor’s MMA journey began in his native Dublin when he took up kickboxing and joined a boxing club at an early age.

When he left school, he began an apprenticeship in plumbing while training part-time in MMA. And aged 20, he decided to chase his dream and became a professional Mixed Martial Artist.

By the time he signed with the UFC in 2013, he had an MMA record of 12-2. And despite tearing his ACL early in his UFC career, he went on a six-fight winning streak which earned him a Featherweight title shot against Brazilian Jose Aldo – a man who hadn’t lost a fight in the Octagon in over 10 years.

McGregor made history in that fight – becoming champion by recording the fastest knockout in UFC title fight history when he put Aldo’s lights out after just 13 seconds.

He then followed that up with another historic win at Madison Square Garden at UFC 205 when he owned UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. Owned…no – he made Alvarez look like an amateur. In doing so, he has become the first man in UFC history to hold title belts at two different weights at the same time.

 

Is McGregor all style no substance?

His trash-talk and brash confidence at weigh-ins and press conferences have made him a love/hate figure. And despite his success in the octagon, some people still question his merits as a world class mixed martial artist.

I’m not going to pass judgement on his technical fighting skills. But at the very least, any man who is prepared to step into the arena of combat and take a hit deserves respect. And someone who does it repeatedly, comes out on top more often than not and makes history while at it, should not be taken lightly.

Behind McGregor’s bravado is a man filled with determination and desire to become his absolute best. He is in possession of a fire and a focus that has driven him to the top of the game. We don’t see the hours, days, weeks, months of hard work; the innovation he is prepared to embrace; the curiosity for new techniques. We only see the fancy suit, the sunglasses and the swagger.

He comes across as prickly and antagonistic in the run-up to a fight. But he has tapped into something important – he knows how to generate pay-per-view buys. In reality, he is an extremely motivated and hungry athlete who won’t let anything stand in his way.

After his Featherweight title win, he moved up in weight to fight Nate Diaz in what ultimately became a two-fight double-header and one of the most talked about UFC confrontations in a long time.

He took on Diaz to test himself at a heavier weight and use the opportunity as a stepping stone to make history. And it worked. He has made his mark on the sport and then some. he has done exactly what he set out to do.

 

Conor McGregor | He has an unshakable belief in himself and a determination to suceed in whatever he does. Click through to find out what other Iron Qualities Conor McGregor has

 

This guy is a real character

Before a fight, he becomes a character. A character who has mastered the art of getting people to buy pay-per-views and talk about him. A character who has generated a huge amount of buzz.

But there is substance behind the style. And a hell of a lot of it. His coach John Kavanagh probably sums it up best when asked about McGregor’s motivation:

 


“Conor is not driven by money or fame; he is driven by contest and competition.”

 

He is renowned for training at all hours of the day and is constantly trying new techniques in order to improve. He is curious about new ways of doing things and is not prepared to accept the status quo just because ‘that’s the way things are done here.”

No – he is a disruptor and an innovator. And if something doesn’t work, he discards it.

One example of this is how he studies and adapts animal movements into his training schedule.

 


“’I’m fascinated by it so I study all forms of movement, animals because they are graceful and beautiful, I just enjoy movement as a whole. But anyone who is doing anything; I will analyse a man walking down the street to see how they carry themselves. I feel you can tell a lot about someone by the way they carry themselves so I try to move cleanly and efficiently.”

 

Does McGregor have the Iron Qualities?

So what does this all mean. Does Conor McGregor have the Iron Qualities? Can we look at him and say ‘there is a man who has true masculine values’? Let’s compare what McGregor has said over the years with the Iron Qualities checklist.

Positive

“Nothing good ever comes from worrying or sitting there feeling sorry for yourself….keep positive and keep pushing forward and things will turn good.”

 

Virtues

“You need to appreciate your surroundings and be grateful for it, and that’s when good things happen. To have that bitterness and negativity, that’s when things go bad. I think the fact that I appreciate everything and that I’m grateful for the things around me, that’s why it’s going so good for me.”

 

Of Resolution, of Courage, of Indomitable Will

“There’s only one thing that’s impossible to beat…a man that doesn’t give up.”

 

To do without shrinking, the rough work

(on losing to Nate Diaz) “I’ll handle this loss like a champion. I will not shy away from it. I will not make excuses for it. I lost in there. There was errors. But errors can be fixed if you face them head on.”

 

…that must always be done

(fighting is) “in my head 24/7. I don’t think about nothing else. I’m curiously fascinated with it. Everything in my life is related to this.”

 

 

What’s the price of success?

Ok – he talks the talk. He has the Iron Qualities and the results of his actions are there for all to see. But the question remains – is Conor McGregor responsible for the UFC being valued at $4bn? Is he worth that much?

I say no.

McGregor is a study in what it takes to succeed. We can all learn something from his positive attitude and approach to life.

  • He has an insatiable hunger and determination to succeed
  • He doesn’t back down from a challenge or make excuses
  • He has a curiosity that drives him to innovate and improve
  • He is driven towards his goal with a single-minded focus

$4bn? He has the Iron Qualities. And that is priceless.

The fear of getting punched and five things you can do about it

My good friend Mike Black once said something that stuck with me: “The fear of getting punched in the face is worse than the punch itself.”

I’ve thought about that from time to time since he said it. And you know what – he’s absolutely right.

 

The fear of getting punched | The Iron Qualities

 

And why are we afraid of getting punched?

It’s the thought of the physical pain. The thought of someone throwing their fist at you and busting your face wide open. And the pain that goes along with that.

But here’s the thing – in the heat of the moment, a punch doesn’t hurt half as much as all that. You’re high on adrenaline – it’s fight or flight, nothing else. You get tunnel vision and if you get hit, the pain doesn’t register. That comes later like a hangover after pounding several six-packs of Bronsons.

It’s natural to try to avoid a slap in the face. It’s unpleasant and annoying. But the pain – when it arrives – is temporary and will not totally put you out of commission most of the time.

And if it does, chances are you’ve been knocked the fuck out and you won’t remember a thing about it anyway.

So if you ever find yourself in a barroom brawl – go with it. Live in the moment. Take the punches and keep swinging. Here’s a textbook example – Clint Eastwood & Conan the Barbarian’s father in a 2 vs 45 man handicap match (cut to 00:35 if you’re not a fan of Country music and Spoiler Alert: Eastwood and Conan Senior kick ass and take names)

 

 

 

Be at peace with the truth: In a fight, you will get punched and bleed. And so will the other guy

Live in the moment. Like when you were a boy. Climbing trees, seeing how fast you could go on your bike, staging a mini Wrestlemania in your back yard.

There were no thoughts about how much it would hurt if we fell from that tree, crashed our bikes or couldn’t escape that figure-four leglock.

When you live in the moment, the fear disappears. We are single-minded. Trying to achieve only one thing. And doing it one millisecond at a time. There is no future beyond that.

 

Negative thinking leads to inaction

These negative thoughts stop us from taking action. And not just when we’re in a physical confrontation.

Far better to unleash that inner child and go for it. And if it doesn’t work out…so what? It’s not a failure – just an opportunity to learn. Take the learning from it and move on.

But I digress. Let’s get back to getting punched. And the fear.

So what can we do to get rid of that fear? Here’s five quick tips:

1 – Get punched in a controlled environment

Sounds a bit counter-intuitive…but join a boxing, kickboxing or MMA club. Not only will you get as fit as two fit things, you will also get used to physical conflict and getting punched. But in a safe and controlled space

2 – Always keep your eyes open

You need to observe what the hell is going on if things ever do get aggressive. Closing your eyes in anticipation of a punch is a bad idea. Keep those peepers open. Observe. And exploit any observed openings

3 – Never turn your back

If someone gets behind you, that means you can’t see them. That in turn means you don’t know what is going to happen. Just like the previous point, all observed information is knowledge. So keep facing forward. Keep moving forward

4 – Don’t flinch

A tough one to do. But if someone fakes a punch and you flinch you will probably have closed your eyes too. Which is bad (see point #2). So flinching is bad. But you can fix this by following the advice in point #1

5 – Keep moving

A moving target is harder to hit. You might not have the skill to float like a butterfly, but even dancing like a chicken is better than standing in one place waiting to get smacked.

 

When someone punches you in the face it causes pain, shock and surprise

It makes us feel belittled, controlled, bested and it has the intention of scaring, exploiting, hurting and dominating us. It causes both emotional and physical pain.

Most of us are risk averse. It’s a self-preservation thing. Getting punched causes damage and so it’s a risk of fighting.

But we need to take risks to become the best we can be and learn new things. We need to step into the arena and be prepared to take a hit.

Challenging ourselves will absolutely lead to some pain and discomfort. We might get punched in the face. It might bleed, bring tears to our eyes, cause brain fog and wind us. But we can’t win if we don’t fight.

That fool Balboa had it right: “It’s not about how hard you hit – it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.”

Nathanial Poe: A Man of Iron Qualities

Michael Mann’s 1992 film ‘The Last of the Mohicans’  is a special piece of cinema. In fact it is so special it has earned one of the highest accolades in film and television in being named in Bo Ideal’s top 5 favourite movies ever. Ace.

One of Bo’s honeys once told him that a truly great movie needed two things –  pretty people and explosions. I guess she hadn’t seen any of Michael Bay’s filmmaking attempts but The Last of the Mohicans has plenty of both.

But what sets it apart from the likes of Bad Boys 2, Pearl Harbour and Transformers? One of the main reasons is the character of Nathaniel Poe – the adopted white son of Chingachgook, last chief of the Mohican tribe and played by the acting juggernaut himself – Daniel Day-Lewis.

This is a character who can teach us all a thing or two about being a man. Anyone who has seen the movie will understand what I mean. And if you are one of the unlucky few who hasn’t – well…get on it. This is a mandatory piece of the Iron Qualities curriculum.

Hawkeye aka Nathaniel Poe

Beholden to none – not living by another’s leave

The character of Poe and his adopted Mohican father and brother live off the land in Frontier lands in Young America during the mid 1700s. They make a living trading furs and hunting what food they need.

They are living in the middle of the French and Indian War and they become entangled in it when they rescue the daughter (played by Madeleine Stowe) of a high-ranking British Officer from a group of Huron Indians.

Poe and his family escort Stowe’s character and her daughter to the British Fort where her father is based. Following a seige and heavy artillary bombardment by the French, the Fort is eventually surrendered by the British who are allowed to leave the Fort and head back to Albany in peace.

They are ambushed on the way by those pesky Huron Indians again and Poe, Stowe’s character and the rest of his family go on the run, which eventually leads to one of the great climaxes in movie history.

 

Nathaniel Poe – kicking the shit out of adversity since 1755

So the character of Poe gets caught up in some serious adversity in the movie. And like I always say – men of Iron Qualities face adversity head-on and kick the shit out of it. Poe is no different.

From the very first scene of the film, the Iron Qualities of Poe and his adopted father and brother assault our eyes and ears. We find them on the hunt in the woods where they snag themselves a pretty impressive looking stag. Not for game – but for food. Out of necessity.

Poe and his boys are able to comfortably live off the land – demonstrating some top notch tracking and hunting skills. In the modern world of convenience where we have GPS and supermarkets, these skills are less and less in demand. But men of Iron Qualities seek to be self-sufficient and I’ll tell you what – if there was ever a Zombie Apocalypse, I would absolutely want Nathaniel Poe at my side.

Poe and Bo vs the Zombies…the dream team. It’s like when Hulk Hogan teamed with the Ultimate Warrior to fight the Triangle of Terror at Summerslam ’91.

 

Poe is looking at you, Miss

And as this is Hollywood, there is a love interest. In this case, Madeleine Stowe. Poe sets his eyes on her pretty quickly but doesn’t turn into a pathetic swooning mess in the process. He maintains focus on what needs to be done and a honey will always fail the test when it come to breaking this resolve.

When he does focus his attention on her however, he does it directly and with a single-minded purpose. After escorting Stowe’s character and her sister back to the British fort where their father is based, he finds her in the infirmary.

Needless to say, about 5 minutes after this they are smooching behind the bike sheds like a pair of horny teenagers. There’s not a woman alive could resist the Poe stare-down. There was no approach anxiety here…no pickup artist games. Just a self-confidence bordering on cocky. The way it should be.

 

You say dilemma, I say meh

Remember that adversity I talked about earlier and how Poe leaves it bloody and broken on the floor? Let’s talk a little more about that.

Numerous times in the movie, Poe is faced with difficult dilemmas. And each time, he shows that he is not afraid to take decisive action.

  • On the way to the British Fort with Stowe’s character, he stops at the cabin of a friend. They find the cabin burnt out and the charred bodies of his friend and young family laid out everywhere. Poe touches nothing and refuses to bury the bodies, as doing so would have been a sign for the Huron that someone had been there
  • While at the British Fort, Poe speaks about the cabin scene and the implications of what he saw (guerilla warfare by the Huron on the Frontier). He facilitates escape for the local militia so they can defend their homes while he himself stays – an act seen as sedition by the British Officers, which he is improsioned for
  • While on the run from the Huron, Poe and the group are discovered. Rather than fight superior numbers and probably die, he runs away and leaves Stowe and her sister to be taken prisoners; the plan being a rescue attempt later with better odds of survival

 

The Last of the Mohicans

In the final scene of the movie, Poe’s adopted father rightly refers to himself as ‘the last of the Mohicans’. Mohicans here stands for something more than the dying Indian tribe. It’s a way of life that is being eroded and ultimately lost. A way of life that is making way for the modern ways of the Europeans who are fighting all around them.

Poe and his father live outside this world. On the Frontier, “beholden to none, not living by another’s leave.”

In a debate with the Chief of another tribe, Poe comments on the many problems that the French and English bring with them in a cutting piece of foresight:

“Would the Huron make his Algonquin brothers foolish with brandy and steal his lands to sell them for gold to the white man? Would the Huron have greed for more land than a man can use?…Would Huron kill tribes with disease? Would the Huron fool Seneca into taking all the animals in the forest for beads & brandy? Those are the ways of Yengeese and Les Francais masters.”

 

Greed, deceit and desire for trivial things. Traits that Poe as an adopted Mohican rejects. Traits that any man worth his salt knows don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

 

 

 

The power of the push-up

The push-up is one of the oldest and probably most well-known strength exercises there is. There’s a simple reason – it requires no equipment, can be done anywhere and works a lot of muscle groups.

If I tell you to work some push-ups into your daily routine you can’t throw me that “I have no time to exercise” excuse. And nor can you whine about expensive gym fees.

All you need is a space on the floor, a couple of minutes and the drive and discipline to keep going until you can go no more.

To be the best you can be, you need to work on all aspects of your lifestyle. Read. Study history. Learn how to be self-sufficient. Eat properly. And keep yourself in the best physical shape you can.

 

The power of push-ups | The Iron Qualities

 

Stay hungry. Stay curious.

Everything you do in your daily life should be a step towards this better version of yourself.

The problem with all this is that it takes time. And when you factor in family, work commitments and socialising with friends, the time pressure becomes even greater.

So we have to be efficient and get the most bang from our buck.

That’s why I love the push-up. It’s simple and effective. And it can absolutely be a fundamental part of a daily routine to keep you – or get you – in solid physical shape.

 

There’s a reason the push-up is a staple of military fitness regimes as well as boxing and MMA classes around the world.

Maybe you want to challenge Arnold’s Mr Olympia legacy. Maybe you want to become the next Georges St Pierre. Or maybe it’s as simple as not wanting to be  a ‘disgusting fat body’, to quote Full Metal Jacket’s Gunnery Sgt Hartman.

Working press-ups into your daily routine will help build a solid base-level of fitness. Regardless of your goals.

It will also bring you one step closer to looking like a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody

 

So you want a breakdown of why push-ups are so good right?

Ok – here it is. A lot of this information comes courtesy of Mark Sisson over at Mark’s Daily Apple. And you can read more about that here.

Push-ups can be classed as a full-body exercise in that they work multiple muscle groups in your body. An effective push-up routine will work your chest, shoulders, triceps and your entire midsection – basically your entire upper body. In fact, pretty much every muscle in your body gets involved in the push-up party. Your lower back, legs and glutes are called into action to keep your hips from sagging or rising too high.

And all you fiends for chiseled abs and 6-packs can relax – your abs along with your lats and traps will be engaged to stabilise your body when you’re pushing your body back up.

And much like many calisthenics and bodyweight exercises, push-ups teach your muscles to work in harmony with one another.

It will also help with balance, coordination and stability, giving you a solid platform to build your regular weights routine on.

 

How to do them

  1. Start on your hands and toes in the ‘plank’ position – i.e. your body is aligned from head to toe
  2. keep your back straight and lower yourself until your chest is about 2-3 inches from the floor
  3. Press back up to the original position
  4. Repeat until you can no longer do the previous step

If you can’t do the traditional version, you can also try the modified push-up where you start on your knees rather than your toes. And if you feel that you’ve mastered the push-up, there are a load of variations you can get your teeth into. All you need to do is adjust the position of your hands or feet, change the elevation or add in some equipment and you have a comprehensive exercise regime.

Variations include the incline, diamond, plyometric and one-arm push-ups. In fact, future Man of the Month Bruce Lee (spoiler alert) was famous for doing a two-finger version.

 

A word of warning:

Don’t get caught in the ego trap of banging out high volume / low quality press-ups. You’re better off doing 10 modified push-ups with perfect form than five full push-ups with hunched shoulders or a drooping neck or hips. Perfect form means you will be working more muscles.

 

Innovation and progress is a good thing. But…

We can get caught in a vicious cycle of innovation for innovation’s sake. Think about all these fitness fads – spinning classes; zumba; Insanity. The concept is the same: do some activity at a high intensity and get your sweat on. You can call it whatever you want, but underneath the name, that’s all it will be.

Sometimes the old ways are the best.

You don’t need an expensive gym membership or a personal trainer to tell you this. Just like you don’t need anyone to create a customised lifting routine that requires lots of equipment.

No. Just lie on the floor and push your body weight until you can’t push no more. At the very least, push-ups will remind your muscles what they are supposed to be doing.

The push-up is about as pure and basic as it gets. And it works.

Many thanks to Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple for his permission to use one of the articles from his site as inspiration for this post.

The Fallen at the Somme

There have been many men is history who had Iron Qualities – those characteristics that make real men. And sometimes, they die too soon before they can really make their mark on the world. I’m taking an opportunity to stop, reflect and remember a generation lost before they could really become men in their own right. The fallen at the Battle of the Somme .

 

The fallen at the Somme

 

1st July 2016 marked the centenary of the start of World War One’s more bloody battles. In the days before, the Allied forces had bombarded the German defensive line with heavy artillery near the banks of the River Somme in north-east France.

The bombardment was supposed to cut through enemy barbed wire and demoralise the German army so that when the Allies went over the top, it would be more a procession than an actual battle.

And so on 1st July 1916 at 7.28am, the Allied British and French forces left their trenches and went over the top expecting little resistance from the German side.

But on that morning, it quickly became clear that the bombing campaign hadn’t really worked as planned. The Allies marched into No Man’s Land shoulder to shoulder and were quickly gunned down by the Germans in a hail of machine-gun fire.

 

The Battle of the Somme began

Instead of achieving a decisive victory that would hasten the end of the War, it turned into one of the bloodiest battles in history. Countless thousands would be killed, go missing in action, or suffer life-changing physical and mental injuries.

The Battle continued until November 1916 and by its end, over 1.3 million were lost or wounded – the majority of those being killed.

1,300,000 lives either ended or changed forever. And all because a young Serbian nationalist killed an Austrian Prince two years earlier.

That assassination in Sarajevo sparked a series of events that eventually led to the events of The Somme. Along a stretch of land near the France-Belgium border, thousands of men lay in trenches opposite each other in conditions that assaulted all five senses.

They coexisted with rats in the thousands and fought their way through mud so deep it could swallow a man whole. Their clothes were heavily infested with lice that made them itch like hell. Disease was everywhere, as was the sound of constant shell bombardment.

‘Our hands are earth, our bodies mud and our eyes puddles of rain’ (Erich Maria Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front)

And that was the last thing those men knew about this world as they went over the top on the blow of a whistle that day in 1916. A world that was ended in an explosion of blood, noise and metal.

Those two words – ‘The Somme’ – now symbolise an entire generation of men lost to the futility of industrialised trench warfare.

There have been countless tributes and memorials to all who died in that Battle. For now, it’s enough to say that on 1st July 1916 some 35,000 men died following orders. And we remember.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow….

 

Back to the basics in nature

Big Daddy Bo took some time out recently for a road trip into nature with some of his boys. I shook up my regular routine and came back with some fresh perspective on shit.

Yes, I went up to the Scottish Highlands for a few glasses of top quality whisky and a browse at some of the scenery. I shut down the engines for a while and took a look at things from a different angle. And what it did was reaffirm for me the importance of breaking routine and smelling the roses – it’s something we should all do a lot more of.

Get in touch with nature

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

I have grown up living life to a series of deadlines. And I’m not alone in that. We rush from one panic to another; one project to another; one deadline to another.

It’s travelling from A to B via the quickest route. And we make big sacrifices to get there. We try to cut corners and we get tunnel vision – we don’t see the bigger picture.

How many times have you wished your life away so you can get through things? Saying things like:

“I wish this week was over”

“Roll on 5pm so I can get out of here”

“I can’t wait until next year”

In those few days in the Scottish wilderness it hit me: Nature doesn’t panic. Nature doesn’t rush. There are no projects or deadlines. Nature just is.

Nature is present just as I should be.

Everything in nature happens in its own time and while I was reflecting on this in Scotland, the importance of yesterday and tomorrow shrank. There was only now and I appreciated that fact a lot more than I normally do when I’m entrenched in my regular routine.

 

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life in the Highlands is very different to that in London or any other city. It’s a slower pace. More simple – and I don’t mean that negatively. The unnecessary complications of urban living are not there. And it feels more real – more authentic.

Everything in its own time – the natural world has composure and patience.

But it’s a way of life that has been lost or forgotten by most of us. Rediscovering what living like this feels like reawakens our instinctive masculine core and cuts away all the bullshit that’s shoved down our throats every day.

 

“The earth has music for those who listen.” – George Santayana

We have over-complicated things and the truly essential skills and knowledge that we need as men has been buried under this pile of bullshit.

Think of the Signal to Noise ratio (SNR). It’s a measure used to compare the level of desired signal to the level of unwanted background noise. Modern lifestyles are mostly noise – things that don’t REALLY matter. Not really.

Does it really matter that you used inconsistent fonts in your powerpoint presentation to the CEO?

Does it really matter that a potential honey flaked on you at the last minute?

Does it really matter that you missed out on tickets to the big Champions League game?

No.

All these things, essentially, are noise. And there is so much of it in our lives that we have to listen REALLY hard to hear the signal.

While there, we rented a place beside Loch Sunart that had a wooden balcony overlooking the water. I sat out there one night with a large glass of whisky. There was no traffic, no people and no noise. And as the stars wheeled in the sky the only sounds were from the occasional bird or fish splashing in the water. Everything felt like signal and it was much easier to hear.

There’s something to be said about a tall glass of whisky, time and silence.

 

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. – John Lubbock

When I was 11 I received a great piece of advice that I never forgot – “Enjoy life, but don’t be afraid to smell the roses once in a while.”

The older I get, the more that advice rings true. But just like a river, the skill is to continually move forward. Smelling the roses is like when that river slows down in a large pool. It slows down…but it does not stop.

Reflect on the past, but don’t live there. Slow down…but don’t stop. Remember and learn…then move on. Don’t get sentimental or nostalgic. The river can only flow one way.

 

“We must constantly look at things in a different way.” John Keating – Dead Poets’ Society

Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society passed on some fierce wisdom to his students. He encourages the boys in his class to constantly look at things in a different way, demonstrating this by standing on his desk in order to see the classroom from a different angle.

That’s what I did – except that before I stood on my desk, I took it into the Scottish wilderness and set it in between some Highland cows and a shitload of nature.

 

“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.” – George Carlin

So that’s it. I went on a short break, broke my regular routine for a while and got a different perspective. And looking at things from a different angle helped me see and understand the importance of the Iron Qualities even more clearly.

You are alive. Smell the roses. Constantly question yourself, where you are and where you’re going.

Don’t just live to work. Don’t just serve. Don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the empty promises. You are not a cog. You are not a machine. You are a person. You are alive. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Don’t just serve. Go out and live. Live deep and suck the marrow out of life.

Be like water

A man should be like water

No – I haven’t joined a hippy commune and gone all New Age on you. But…a man should be like water? Bear with me….

Once when I was in Milan, me and the boys went to a restaurant in the Navigli District. The Naviglio Grande canal runs through the area and there is also a large pool of stagnant water.

Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other nasties and without exaggeration, I was almost literally eaten alive. Literally. On the plus side, the food was great and I washed it down with several beers which numbed the pain. But when I woke in the morning, I looked like I was wearing the ‘King of the Mountains’ Tour de France jersey.

Because stagnant water doesn’t move anywhere, it can become an environmental hazard, harbouring malaria and harmful bacteria. It’s also often contaminated with animal and human faeces.

I live in London. The River Thames runs through it. And there are no mosquitoes. I can’t guarantee there’s no bacteria, dead bodies or pieces of shit in there, but cases of malaria in London are few and far between.

Be like water

Bear with my brothers, this is going somewhere…..

Humans are made up of about 60% water. That means we are predominantly H2O. So a good old water analogy on how to be a man seems like a good way to spend some time.

Bruce Lee once famously advised us to ‘be like water’, saying:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Water can do all these things. It fills any container – man-made or natural. Yes it can drip and it can crash. But it can also remain in one place and become stagnant.

For us men intent on becoming the best we can be what does this mean? It means we have to think of ourselves as rivers and carry out our lives with the same kind of purpose.

A river can cut through rock: Think of the Grand Canyon – it’s only there today because of the Colorado River. Over millions of years, it has sliced right through the American landscape and left us with one of the most amazing natural phenomenon in the world. Given enough time and persistence, a river can leave a huge impression on the world. And so can you – but you have to keep moving…and keep moving forward

A river always moves forward: By the laws of nature, a river can never run backwards. It flows downhill and never passes the same point twice. Water that flows in that river can never return to its source. So it should be with you – we can’t go back in time and change things. Dwelling on the past and wishing it back is not the way. We move forward. There are times when the flow of the river slows right down and we have the chance to reflect on things and smell the roses. We reflect, but we are still moving forward…with a purpose.

A river has purpose: A river begins life as a trickle of water high up in a mountain somewhere. Pure and fresh. It becomes a stream before becoming a full-on river. It goes through many twists and turns; flows violently and fast; flows gently and slow – and eventually makes its way to the ocean where it joins all other rivers. That is its purpose. Live your life with purpose too. Identify what’s important to you and always move towards it. There will be blockages and diversions on the way but just like a river, you keep going. And you WILL get to where you need to be. Stagnant water can’t do this because it doesn’t go anywhere. Water in canals can’t do this because it has been harnessed and told where to go and when

A canal is not a river: Because Milan has no natural rivers running through it, city officials have been building canals there for almost 1000 years to serve the purposes of the city – irrigation and transportation of goods. The water in those canals is controlled to serve the purposes of those in power. Don’t live your life like water in a canal being told which direction to flow and when to flow and why. Move towards your own purpose and always strive to move towards new experiences that serve your purposes.

Be like water my friend, but….

…don’t be a canal serving a purpose that is not yours

…don’t end up a stagnant pool of water going nowhere and filled full of shit, bacteria and sickness

Be a river – find your purpose and move your life towards that purpose. If there are any obstacles in the way you find a way through or around them

A man is a river

Be like water, live like a river

In nature, rivers inevitably flow to the sea and their purpose. Living a life of Iron Qualities isn’t as straightforward or inevitable. First you need to find your goal – what do YOU want to get out of life. And when you figure it out, live a life of intention with everything flowing towards that end goal.

It’s not easy – there are distractions and many things that will throw you off track. It’s a world of convenience, fast food, deadlines, long working hours, corporate mass media telling you what to think/feel/do. Using the water analogy – if you’re not careful you can end up becoming a stagnant pool (without purpose) or a canal (serving someone else’s purpose).

 

Procrastination and distraction are common traps to fall into. Take control.

Live with intention. Live with discipline. Live with purpose. Live with focus. Live with patience. Be like water, live like a river.

 

How about a kick-ass song about a river to end? Ok then, Bo will oblige.