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.