Aim high in ’18: Happy New Year from The Iron Qualities

Hello friends,

Season’s greetings and a Happy New Year from The House of Iron Qualities.

2017 was a pretty crazy year – lots of changes, lots of upheavals. Some people liked it, others didn’t. But change – good and bad – is inevitable.

And that includes you and me. We’re not the same people we were 12 months ago. And at this time of year, we all tend to reflect on who and where we are in our lives; we identify what we don’t like and make promises to ourselves to fix these things. Most of the time these promises are quickly broken, but at least the intent is there.

 

Good intentions can lead to positive change

Ok, maybe you didn’t realise everything you planned or wanted to this year but if you set high targets for yourself and work towards them, you’ll be in a better place than you were yesterday. It’s like Vince Lombardi said:


“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we catch excellence.”


 

 

The recipe for success here is to always stay aware of what you want to do with your life and where you want to take it. Don’t just wait until the end of the year to assess how much progress you’ve made – do this regularly and recalibrate if needed.

I was guilty of not doing this enough in 2017. For a large part of the year, I was drifting, letting life take control of me instead of taking control of where I wanted my life to go. I lost focus on the Iron Qualities project and other things took up more of my time than they should have.

It should be the other way around – take control. Make things happen in your life. Don’t be content to simply allow things to happen to you.

Despite all that, I’ve learned new things and gained new wisdom this year. Sure, there are things I need to work on in 2018, and I’ll do that. And so should you. Have high expectations for yourself.

 

Aim high – Make big plans

There’s a tendency these days for people to be quick to hate, be negative and take offense at anything. Don’t fall into those traps. Focus on what needs focusing on to make you the best person you can be. Focus on building yourself up, not tearing others down. Use the Iron Qualities to guide you in this.

Then go out and learn through living, not just reading about it. Put yourself into the arena. Make mistakes, learn through experience. Take the positive from those experiences and use it to become the best version of yourself you can be. The more time and effort you dedicate to realising the high expectations you set for yourself, the closer you’ll get to that ideal.

But remember – the ideal doesn’t exist. Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s ok to feel that you’ve fallen short or that there is still more work to be done, because the work that needs doing is living. By at least trying to improve yourself, you’ll be a better person than you were yesterday. And the good news is that the journey towards self-improvement never stops. There will always be something new to learn and do to make you better than you were yesterday.

Happy New Year. Aim high in 2018

 

Time is money – don’t waste it

Hello friends,

You’ve probably noticed I’ve gone A.W.O.L from the blogging world for a few months. Yes, for one reason or another, I lost my way a little and didn’t / couldn’t dedicate enough time to the world of Iron Qualities.

No excuses – if you want to do something badly enough you’ll find the time and energy to do it. I allowed myself to get side-tracked and obviously didn’t want it enough. But that’s all been and gone now. I’m back, full of beans and ready to get this show on the road again.

But in getting back on track, I got to thinking about the seven months where I haven’t been creating, sharing and growing. That’s seven months I’ll never get back. I am now seven months older, seven months closer to dying and I can never go back to who and where I was seven months ago and do things differently. (not unless a flying DeLorean and some plutonium suddenly appear in my life. 1.21 Gigawatts!)

An old saying popped into my head while I was thinking about this: “Time is money.” I did a quick Google search and found out that the phrase is originally credited to Benjamin Franklin, who used it in an essay (Advice to a Young Tradesman, 1748). In that essay, he wrote:

 


“Remember that Time is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or rather thrown away Five Shillings besides.”

 

Time is a commodity we all get when we're born. But we only have a limited amount. How you use it can make a huge difference in what kind of person you become. Click through and spend a little of that time reading more

Makes sense. But I was thinking of this phrase a little differently

 

Look at it this way: We are all born and we all die. That’s a fact. So we have a limited number of days to live. A limited amount of time. How you choose to spend that time is up to you. And looking at time this way, it becomes a commodity that you SPEND.

Think about it – you can SPEND time learning about finance and how to save for your future. You can SPEND time in the gym making yourself healthy, strong and fit. You can SPEND time boozing with your mates and get wasted. Or you can SPEND time lying on your sofa scratching your ass and watching TV every weekend.

Some of those activities are a good way to spend time and you will see a return on your investment. The other activities…not so much

So for the past seven months, I wasn’t investing my time how I should have been. I let my job consume too much of my time and energy. Yes friends, Bo has a day-job. I need a means to pay the bills until The Iron Qualities becomes the global phenomenon we all know it is destined to be.

 

I’m not the only person in the world who has had this problem

 

It all started with industrialisation and now, economic and technological progress has led to higher wages and a generally higher standard of living in First World Countries. But we often work long hours and have less free time. Maybe you have a job that pays good overtime rates. So you work longer hours to make more money. But remember – you are working for someone else – producing things for the company’s benefit, not your own. At the same time, you are LOSING TIME to do the things you really want to do or should be doing.

And maybe you find yourself rising through the ranks in your company. As your progress in your career, you get more responsibility. And more stress. And you find yourself thinking about work, even when you’re not there. Your free-time investment and value have degenerated.

And it can be degenerated even further by the sheer amount of information that we have access to these days. Granted – technology has done a lot for us over the years to make life easier and more convenient. You can now control your finances; keep in touch with friends and family; go shopping using a fraction of the time and effort it would have taken before.

 

Time is money, yes. But time is also consumption. Time is change. And it’s measured by tracking the progress of change

Access to information is so abundant these days that there is a danger of spending our time getting drowned in it

 

How many times have you seen or heard about someone spending hours on Facebook stalking the lives of others; or watching one video clip after another of cute furry animals on Instagram? Or maybe you’ve found yourself getting lost in the rabbit hole of another Youtube marathon…watching a video of a random Japanese guy wearing a horse mask hunting for truffles to the sound of Kraftwerk…when all you wanted to do was find out the best way to slice onions.

It is so easy to get swept along by the all these things and let them run your life. You can easily end up on autopilot and before you know it…yes…seven months have passed and those ambitions you set out to achieve are as far away as ever.

The need to understand the most efficient way to spend your time and focus on your goals to improve yourself is greater than ever before. We have a great opportunity – we live in a time where we truly can do anything we put our mind to. And we can make technology work for us to help us realise these ambitions.

 

But remember the importance of time in all this

 

Time is money, yes. But time is also consumption. Time is change. And it’s measured by tracking the progress of change. The world turns and the sun moves across the sky. When the sun returns to the same place, a day has passed. Enough days pass, it becomes a month. Then a year. And so on.

It’s the same with you and me. Look at yourself and assess if and how you have changed over a period. If you’ve changed in a positive way, that’s a good time. If you haven’t changed at all or changed in a negative way…well, that’s bad time.

But don’t dwell on it – the time is spent and it’s gone. We always move forward. You’ve lost that part of your time allocation. Good news is – you’ve still got some time currency left to use as best you can.

Me? The last seven months haven’t been as productive as I would have liked. But I’ve still grown. I’ve still learned new things. And I will take all this forward with me and do my best with it to maximise my time investment.

And so it is with you – in terms of experience and skills (and money), you can be as rich as you want. It all comes down to how you chose to invest your time. The great thing is, you have a choice. Use it.

I am – therefore I don’t think: How to communicate with confidence

Decisiveness. And confidence that you’ve weighed up the options and made the right decision. That’s what a man has. No faffing about. No maybes. Just decisions and action.

Here’s a true story for you: A friend of mine once worked for a large multi-national airline and had access to the Executive level guys. The CEO of this company once offered my friend some advice on how to be a successful leader: “Never use the words ‘I think’ in a meeting. If you want to come across as someone with confidence, when you say something, state it as fact. Most of the time, people will just accept it.”

Leaders should inspire confidence. If you’re following your General into battle, you want to be sure they know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about.

If they start saying things like “I think we should do this…..” or “I’m not sure whether we should do A or B…let’s go for A”, guys are going to be like “dude – does this guy even know what he’s doing?”

Nobody knows all the answers all the time. Nobody. The skill here is going with your gut, accepting that as your truth and rolling with the consequences.

A man has self-confidence. Not arrogance. And this is not about bullshitting. Because when you get called out on your bullshit enough times, you quickly lose credibility.

No it’s more subtle than that. This is about communicating with confidence.  Taking the default position that you are right in what you’re saying until proven otherwise.

Perception is reality - so do what you can to communicate so others see you as the confident, self-assured man you know you can be. Don't think you can, KNOW you can.

 

Mr Miyagi – a legend of men – had it right:

 


“Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later…get squish just like grape. “Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” (get squished) just like grape.”

 

There is no “guess so.” Using words like “I guess so” or “I think” make you look like a wet blanket. But we are men and we sleep on a bed of nails. We say things like “yes” and “no” and “I’m sure” and “definitely not”.

Similarly, when we do something, we do it. We’re all in. There are no half-measures and no token attempts. Yoda – another one of our male role models – nails this one:


“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

 

Side note and philosophical wondering:  Is Yoda still classed as a male if he’s a) a different species and b) a puppet?

 

Don’t say ‘I think’ – and don’t apologise

And for those times when someone does call you out and – importantly – can prove you’re wrong, admit you were mistaken and move on. But don’t apologise. We only apologise when we have made massive boo-boos like running over our neighbour’s dog; forgetting our mum’s birthday or coming home after a heavy night of tequila and barfing all over the bathroom.

 

So with all this in mind, I’m going to leave you with three tips that will definitely make you more decisive. For sure. For real.

  1. Remove the phrase “I Think…” from your vocabulary. It doesn’t exist for you any more. If you’re more than 60% sure about something, “it is”. Less than 60% sure? “I don’t know.” Don’t be afraid to put your balls on the line here.
  2. Answer questions definitively “yes” or “no”. Being tentative and using maybes means people don’t know where they stand with you. And you become less trustworthy and dependable. Don’t want to go out with your boys for beers and burgers? Just say so. Nothing worse than saying “maybe” and then flaking at the last minute. Don’t be that guy.
  3. And following on from point #2 – follow-through on what you say. If you definitely say “yes” to something (good for you, by the way), make sure you effing do it. Similarly, if you take a stand on something – make sure your actions back that stance up. Don’t be the guy who says Disney movies are for pussies and kids and then gets caught coming out of the cinema having just watched Beauty and the Beast.

 

It’s ok not to know something, it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to be wrong. Go with your gut. But GO. Take ownership of yourself

  • If you’re going to be a leader, then lead. That means inspiring confidence in those that follow you. It’s your way or the highway
  • If you’re not going to lead, then follow. And there will be a time for this – you can’t be a hero every time
  • And if you don’t feel strongly enough about something to lead OR follow – then get out of the fight

Perception is reality – so do what you can to be perceived as the confident, self-assured man you know you can be. Don’t think you can, KNOW you can.

 

Iron Qualities Essentials Chapter 1: Tools

 

We live in a disposable world. So much of what we use today is designed for short-term temporary use. Gadgets have become more and more specialised to do particular jobs and we end up hoarding a big steaming pile of useless shit.

Men who are interested in becoming the best they can be take a minimalist approach. Strip away what is useless and keep only what is useful. What is essential.

That’s right. Despite what that fox says in ‘The Little Prince’, what is essential is not always invisible to the eye. There are real, physical things that every man should have at his disposal in order to blaze a trail through this big old world.

A man of Iron Qualities is ready to face what life has to throw at him. And he does it with the help of these Iron Qualities Essentials – things that civilisation has invented and refined over the years that help us to do what needs to be done. Efficiently and without fuss.

A man of Iron Qualities is ready to face what life has to throw at him. And he does it with the help of these Iron Qualities Essentials - things that civilisation has invented and refined over the years that help us to do what needs to be done. Click through to read more about 5 essential tools every man should have

 

Here’s the thing: You don’t need every damn gadget under the sun

But there are definitely some select items that will help you conquer life. Go out and get what is useful, look after it, and get rid of the rest.

Be the man who says “Don’t worry – I got this.”

And Big Daddy Bo here has a real life example for you.

A while back, I bought a new sofa. A sweet three-seater sofa bed in charcoal grey that…..blah blah blah whatever.

Anyway, I live on the second floor of an apartment block. So my job that day was to get the new sofa into my flat and remove the old one. I got it done, but not without the help of some Iron Qualities essentials.

The first thing we had to do was measure to make sure this bad boy would fit within the dimensions of my building. So I pulled out essential item #1…

 

Three metres of measurement goodness that fits in your pocket?? Yes. This thing can be used for all kinds of measuring needs and helps distinguish between perception and reality

The Tape Measure

Five metres of measurement goodness that fits in your pocket?? Yes. This thing can be used for all kinds of measuring needs. The skill is matching those measurements with reality…

I took some measurements and jotted down the dimensions of my doorways and elevator and apartment.

The tape measure never lies. Unfortunately, my desire to get my new sofa into my flat blinded me from the cold, hard truth of numbers and geometry. I would find that out soon enough but for now, the challenge was set.

When the delivery guys arrived with the sofa, we soon realised it’s girth was too much for the elevator to receive. So we had to take the scenic route up two flights of stairs.

It took four men and a lot of sweat and grunting to get this thing up to the second floor. And when we got there, it wouldn’t fit through the doorway to my hall. Geometry had bested us again.

To progress further, we needed to remove the wooden-framed glass panel beside the door in order to create some pivot space. Thus began the side-quest.

We needed a couple of essentials to get this panel removed, the first one being a….

 

A putty knife is versatile as hell. You can use it to chisel wood; spot-fix chips and holes in a wall; reglaze a window or scrape off paint or wallpaper.

Putty Knife

Really Bo?? A putty knife is an essential tool for a man?? Yes my friend, and here’s why: It’s versatile as hell. You can use it to spot-fix chips and holes in a wall; re-glaze a window or scrape off paint or wallpaper. And on the day of the sofa, it became a wood chisel. I worked it into the joints of the wood panels and began separating them. But of course, a chisel is no good unless you have a…

 

A decent-sized claw hammer will have enough weight behind it to knock nails into walls and build furniture. And the claw is used to pry out stubborn nails and re-shape bent ones

Claw Hammer

Because beating things with a heavy object. A decent-sized claw hammer will have enough weight behind it to knock nails into walls and build furniture. And the claw is used to pry out stubborn nails and re-shape bent ones. I used my hammer that day to first take apart that panel and then build it back up again.

But things are never as simple as all that. And there were parts of that wooden frame that were proven a little stubborn and refusing to cooperate with the putty knife / claw hammer combo. Not even a problem to a man equipped with determination and a…

 

Less intimidating (and expensive) than a power saw and not as long and cumbersome as a traditional saw. A decent hacksaw will serve you well for almost all of your household sawing needs

Hacksaw

Less intimidating (and expensive) than a power saw and not as long and cumbersome as a traditional saw. A decent hacksaw will serve you well for almost all of your household sawing needs. It can cut through cable, steel, hard plastics…and wooden panels and frames. Yes, even those.

And that was pretty much it. We manoeuvred the sofa into place in my living room with a little effort and when it was all done and in place, all that was left was cutting the string that we used to hold the bed part of the sofa in place while we lifted it up the stairs. It felt like a ceremonial ribbon cutting – an way of saying bye to the old sofa and welcoming this new piece into my life. And for this job, only one tool would do…

 

The very definition of a refined multi-tasking gadget

Swiss Army Knife

This badboy is the very definition of a refined multi-tasking gadget. Seriously, I have used it for so many things over the years. It has screwdrivers, a corkscrew, scissors, tweezers and knives. Classic multi-tasking. And on sofa delivery day, I used it for two purposes:

1 – Cutting that string from the sofa

2 – To crack open a well-earned icy cold Bohemian-style beer

Job done. Sofa in living room and Bo lying on it, beer in hand. And all with the help of five essential items.

 

If you’re starting from scratch, it will take some time and money to build up your collection of essentials

But don’t be tempted into taking shortcuts and buying cheaper alternatives. Go for the best quality you can afford. Often, these things are often not as expensive as you think – the five items in this article probably cost less than £50 all in. And that’s for decent quality.

I’ve only talked about five such items in this article. There are more. Hopefully you have at least a couple of these things. If not, don’t worry. Have patience – build and refine your collection over time. The journey to becoming the best you can be never ends.

Samuel: An Inspirational Man of Iron Qualities

It’s been a while since we’ve highlighted a Man of Iron Qualities on here. The last one was Conor McGregor back in December 2016.

McGregor is unrelenting in his determination to succeed and consistently demonstrates a positive spirit and drive that has taken him to the very top of the UFC.

But the guy I want to talk about today takes these traits to a whole new level.

Samuel is a Year 8 student at the Manchester Creative and Media Academy and he suffers from Cerebral Palsy. He’s also a big football fan and his favourite team is Manchester United.

He recently got a chance to visit the club’s training ground thanks to the Manchester United Foundation – a charity that uses football to engage and inspire young people to build a better life for themselves and unite the communities in which they live. And it was through a promotional video of his visit that I came across Samuel and his inspirational outlook on life.

 

In the video, we see 11 year-old Samuel meeting several Man Utd players during the day – which he describes as “the best day of my life.”

And while it’s nice to see the Manchester United Foundation help make a young kid’s day and the players give something back to the community, what stands out when you watch this video is Samuel.

We see a boy who possesses an amazingly positive outlook on life. He has a passion for football and nothing is going to stop him from actively enjoying this passion. Not even Cerebral Palsy.

 


“Having Cerebral Palsy is very hard to get with, but I don’t really take that as a big issue. I just get on with it.”

 

 

Samuel is an 11 year-old with Cerebral Palsy. But he doesn't let that stop him from going out and achieving his dreams and ambitions. Read on to find out about this inspirational young man

In fact, he does more than get on with it

After receiving support from the Foundation’s coaches, he now turns out for his school team, playing as a goalkeeper:

 


“When we’re in a match or in training, I use my knees to move around and jump…Having a Manchester United Foundation coach is amazing. I thought I couldn’t enter the football team, then my coach gave me a chance…and from there I got better.”

 

A positive attitude and steely determination are great assets that every man should strive towards. But in order to become the best we can be, we need a strong network of like-minded people. And Samuel is no different.

He has been able to play football for his school team and become a better goalkeeper because his friend helps him with his frame and plays football with him, while his football coach helped him develop and improve his football skills.

Samuel has friends and mentors who help him become a better player. And you and I are no different. Find mentors. Be a mentor. Support your friends when they need you. Reach out for support from your friends when you need it.

This is how we help others become better men. And how we can become better men ourselves.

 

This story is not about sport, football or Manchester United

It’s about the power of positivity and the determination to do your best and keep going – no matter the circumstances. It’s about the lessons Samuel can teach us all about how to live our lives every day.

Samuel has made the choice to enjoy life – and football – as much as he can. And it’s not easy or always comfortable for Samuel to play football. But that doesn’t stop him:

 


“Playing football is a bit difficult to be honest. I can’t really get around because when it’s cold my body just gets stiff. But I still try.”

 

 

And here’s the thing. We will all struggle from time to time

Most of us don’t have the luxury of being dealt a pair of Aces at this big poker game called life.

But you’re still at the table. Playing. So play – and play the hand you’ve been dealt. Don’t waste time thinking about how you would have played another hand. That’s the secret to living a fulfilling life – doing your best with what you have.

And what are you going to do if you haven’t been given every skill or opportunity or circumstance that you want? Are you going to piss and moan about it and give up on your dreams and ambitions?

It’s the easiest thing in the world to make excuses and give up. It’s never going to be easy. There will always be obstacles in the way that roadblock your progress. But what separates true men from the rest is how we react to these circumstances.

So many men give up and resign themselves to a life of being miserable and talking about what they could have done. Don’t be that man.

 

Be the man who keeps going despite circumstances, not because of them

The life well-lived is one where you do something to improve yourself every day – whether that be by learning something new, practising a skill or learning a new one. You keep taking steps forward – no matter how small those steps are.

So you improvise, adapt and overcome. Just like Samuel. And when you’re feeling like giving up, take inspiration from him just as he took inspiration from his heroes who play for Manchester United:

 


“(the players) show good emotions to keep going no matter what…when they are doing it I am saying to myself ‘never, never, never give up’. I mean, I’m in a wheelchair and I never give up. I don’t even care about having a wheelchair. Just try. Try your hardest.

 

 

A true inspiration

I’m so glad I saw this video and got the chance to experience Samuel’s amazing attitude to life. He has inspired me to keep going with my efforts to be the best I can be. And judging by the general reaction to this video, he has also inspired many others around the world.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t – or aren’t – making as much progress as you would like. You keep going. There is no end of the journey.

Keep going. Keep trying. Keep moving forward. Never give up.

Just like Samuel.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to the Iron Qualities

It’s celebration time at the House of the Iron Qualities. No, this isn’t a delayed Christmas party – the Iron Qualities is celebrating its first birthday
so I’ll be popping open a little bottle of champagne to celebrate.

Wait…no. That doesn’t sound right. Lose the champagne. I’ll be cracking open a six pack of cold malt sodas, chugging the hell out of them and crushing the cans on my forehead.

That’s better.

The Iron Qualities is one year old. Click on to read about what we did in year one and to what there is to look forward to in Year Two and beyond

 

I started this blog as a way to document my thoughts on what it means to be a man in today’s world. To seek out and remember all the lessons our ancestors taught us about how to be men. And through this process I wanted to help myself and hopefully others to gain a little enlightenment and become better men.

I initially thought the ideas and life lessons that took us on the journey from boyhood to manhood had been lost and corrupted in a sea of modern-day apathy, information overload and political correctness.

But in the last year, I have learned that the concepts that make males ‘men’ are still alive and well. And by paying attention and actively looking for the life lessons that help us become the best we can be, we can find them.

There are others who feel the same way I do – I learned that too. My audience started small, and it still is thanks to my disgustingly bad marketing skills. But either through word of mouth or people stumbling across the site by pure fluke, it has gradually grown as men organically discover this site and find something that clicks with them.

In Year Two, I’m going to up the ante. I will keep pushing forward, spreading the word and sharing what I learn on my journey to become the best I can be. I had ambitions to write many more blog posts than I actually did in Year One, so there’s plenty more quality content to come. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

So thanks for checking out The Iron Qualities in Year One. If you read anything this year that made an impact, it would be great to hear from you. You can holler at me through Twitter or Facebook.

Ok. Retrospection done. I’m not going to get all gushy and sentimental. We reflect briefly, then keep moving forward. That’s the Iron Qualities way.

We keep doing and pursuing. All action, all day. Kicking ass and…..ok that’ enough. Where’s that six pack…..

What you can learn from losing

 

Losing sucks. It can sting like a bitch, kick like a mule and cut like a knife.

You’ll lose many times in your life. That’s the truth. Losing is part of living.

But is losing really all that bad? It depends.

You can wallow in your defeat, make excuses and feel sorry for yourself. Or you can analyse it, learn from it and come back stronger.

Guess which path a man chooses?

Losing is part of living. It can make you or break you. And if you take the time to reflect on defeat and disappointment, you can learn a lot about yourself. Click through to find out more about how losing can actually help

 

“You lost today kid. Doesn’t mean you have to like it”

Fedora (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

 

Despite what you’ve probably been told at school growing up, competition is a good thing. It IS the winning that counts – NOT just the taking part. Medals for participation…no.

I understand the concept – I get it. We don’t want to make anyone feel sad about not getting on the podium. Everyone deserves to share the spotlight. We are all special little sunbeams.

But here’s the thing – the real world doesn’t work like that. If you leave that warm fluffy comfort zone with the belief that everyone wins by default, you will be in for many rude awakenings my friend.

My history teacher always used to remind us of a quote used by Winston Churchill: “History is written by the victors.” And it’s true. When you win, you get to call the shots.

Winning feels good. It is the successful achievement of a pursuit and vindication of ability. A sign of dominance or an indicator of progress.

Losing usually means one of the following:

  • You are not doing something right
  • Someone else does it better
  • You are doing the wrong thing
  • You have not fully exploited the opportunity
  • You have not explored and mastered new ways of thinking and doing

And many men can’t get their head around this fact. How many times do you hear things like this:

“Why can’t I get a girlfriend? I’m a nice guy. It’s not fair”

“I’ve been in the same position at my company for 6 years but I can’t get a pay-rise. It’s not fair.”

Yes. It’s not fair. It’s never about fair. There are winners and – in order for there to be winners – there must be losers.

 

Conflict makes us men. It drives us and teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves. Hey - speaking of valuable lessons, why not click through and read more pearls of wisdom from your friend Bo

 

So when losing pulls down your pants and boots you in the ass, you have a choice:

  • Like it, give up and resign yourself to defeat
  • Don’t like it, and do something about it

Take Conor McGregor for example. He’s one of the biggest stars in the UFC right now and the first man in the sport to hold two belts simultaneously. But he has felt the sting of defeat when he faced Nate Diaz in their first fight.

Did it hurt him? Absolutely. Did it dent his confidence? No doubt. Did he roll over and accept it? Judge for yourself:


“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. I will celebrate this – like you should. You should celebrate all adversity because it makes you grow. It makes you stronger.”

 

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin

 

Mankind has got to where it is today through a long history of evolving ways of living, working and thinking. And throughout history, only what is useful and innovative remains. What is useless is thrown out.

Men who improvise, adapt and overcome – that’s who we want to be. Just like Dick Fosbury (hehe…Dick)

Fosbury was an above-average high jumper in his High School years in Portland, Oregon. He struggled with the jump technique and was failing to make a mark in the sport at any kind of level.

Dick could have given up. He could have decided that high jumping wasn’t for him. Instead, he experimented with different techniques. And after two years of trial and error, he had perfected a method that involved jumping over the bar backwards, head first.

He broke his school record and then finished second in the State Championships using his new approach – now known as the ‘Fosbury Flop’.

At College, some of his coaches tried to convince him to continue working on the old ‘straddle’ high jump method. They still weren’t convinced by the the Flop. But when he broke the College record in 1965, the Fosbury Flop gained popularity and became the technique of choice for many athletes.

He continued perfecting the Fosbury Flop and in 1968, he won the US Olympic Trails and earned the right to represent his country in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

You know where this is going right….he smashed it at the Olympics – winning gold with an Olympic record of 2.24m. Happy days for Dick.

Fosbury was successful because he was first a loser. Lack of success at High School and a desire to succeed forced him to look at things a different way. He innovated for competitive advantage and to become a winner. The rest is history.

Don’t forget about your boy Dick.

 

When things don't work out and you think you've done everything right, taking time to understand WHY you failed can be time well spent. Click through and read on my friend

 

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work

Thomas Edison

 

Competition drives advances in civilisation. We’ve got to where we are today because those who came before us were prepared to try new ways of doing things to gain a competitive advantage.

And when you try new things or take a chance, sometimes it doesn’t work out. And you lose. Then you have a choice – give up, or try again. It’s only those who totally give up who actually lose.

Loads of great and successful men in history were losers at one time or another. Check it:

  • James Earl Jones had a stammer as a child and barely spoke. Today he’s probably best known as one of the most famous voices in cinematic history – Darth effing Vader.
  • Walt Disney got fired by a newspaper for having no imagination and had a number of businesses go bust before he went on to create all those lovable little animated characters and make a shitload of money.
  • Soichiro Honda. This guy got rejected for a job as an engineer by Toyota and made his own scooters in his spare time. He eventually grew this business into the Honda company that we all know today.

All these guys tried – and failed – at something at one time or or another. But they followed their passions, kept on trucking and success eventually found them.

And that’s the thing – it’s ok to lose. In fact, we need to lose sometimes.

 

Don't be afraid of losing. Don't be afraid of failure. Live in the moment and go for it. There is nothing worse than a live unlived

 

Many of us are so afraid to try….and lose. But to be the best man you can be, you need conflict. You need competition. You need to be fighting in the arena. And you need to lose.

Losing is a test of your resolution and an opportunity for you to discover weaknesses in yourself that you can work on. Don’t weep and moan about but, but take some time to think about what went wrong and how you can learn from it. It might be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but you will learn something new about yourself.

Winning is easy. It’s confirmation that you have done something right. Past tense. But don’t let it make you complacent. We continually improve to make ourselves better. That journey never ends.

 

Losing for the win

We are men. We are not afraid of losing. Losing does not break us. But it can make us better.

Losing builds character. Nobody is born a natural at anything. Skill and self-confidence in your abilities is built over lots and lots of trail and error. You will only know what really works by first understanding what doesn’t work.

Live in the moment. Trust your gut. Believe in your abilities. And test yourself against the world. Don’t think about the prospect of something not working out or that fact that you might not succeed.

Get out there. Try things. Fail. Fall over. Lose. And ultimately win.

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.