Saturday, August 31, 2013

The right way to encourage friends

When your friend is down... when your friend is experiencing a setback.. when you friend is hurt.. when you friend has failed.. What do you do?

Every brainless idiot knows the answer to that - Encourage them.

We hear the cries all the time. From something as simple as "I'm so sick and tired of life" to "I failed my test......................". It can be anything - injuries, failure, rejections, emotional breakdown, etc. Our response?

"It's okay, you did a great job!". "You're not a failure, you're perfect the way you are". "You deserve a break, go take the day off!". "Give yourself a break!". "It's okay, don't be too hard on yourself!"

We often misunderstand encouragement for comforting. To comfort your friend is not to encourage him or her. Sometimes to encourage your friend is to have to hurt them further in the process to bring out a side of them they never knew existed.

The moment you start your "encouragement" with "it's okay", you are leading them to feel comforted. To comfort them is help them get over their feelings of disappointment/sadness/failure. These feelings can make or break a person. These feeling ARE what make or break people. Removing the feelings keep them where they are. Give them the soft mentality that whenever they fail, it's okay because they have comforting friends around.
Handing them the sense of security that you will always be there for them may seem like what friends should do, but what does it result in? It makes them feel okay with what they are not okay with deep down.

When it comes to make or break feelings, the rightful duty of a friend should be to make sure the feelings make them, not break them. Certainly not remove the feeling altogether.

So your friend failed the test. So your friend tried so hard and so many times but never made the school team. So your friend has been trying so hard but can't lose weight. So your friend is just sick and tired of life he/she wants to throw in the towel and quit. Your friend is crying. What do you do?

Encourage, not comfort. Never say it's okay, even if it is. Credit their effort if it was there, but never say that "so long you've tried your best it's enough". Not that it's not true, but trying your best isn't the effort one puts in during a particular period of time. Trying your best doesn't end when you fail, it ends when you succeed. So to say that would be to imply that it's over, game over. Which is never the case. As you can see, that was a comfort, not an encouragement.

How do we encourage? Feed the fire. When someone is down, there's heavy emotion, heavy feelings. Feed it and get them to use it to drive themselves. Encouragement is simply letting them know, it's not over. It's not yet time to settle and accept failure. Comfort is precisely that - helping one accept failure. To encourage, we must never speak in a way of closure. "It's okay." "You tried your best", these are phrases that implies it's over... closure. Letting them know the game is not over is encouragement. "A setback is a set up for a come back", "So you're hurt, I dare you to go through it. I dare you to suffer. At the end of pain is success. Pain is temporary.". Notice the difference? You have led them to see their situation from a positive point of view and still part of the game. You get them to use their situation and feelings and channel it to becoming who they are - Make them. Whereas the former phrases you have let them to believe it's over, it's okay, let's go eat ice cream now.

Of course using cliché motivational phrases aren't always the ideal. You have to be down to earth and real. Keep the words your very own. Throw in quotes, as a form of quotes not words, if you want but explain them. Speak from your own heart and your friend will listen and not think it's some cliché bullshit.

If you think hugging your friend, whispering words of COMFORT and treating them to ice-cream or a meal is being a good friend, your intentions are right but actions are wrong. That's what you should do to your enemies if you're the type that wants to see them lose.

I must warn that you won't become the most ideal/liked person to go to as far as friends in trouble are concerned. The fact your friend is down, he/she is probably already looking for comfort. You may get hated in the process, seen as insensitive and not understanding. Your friend might snap and go bananas on you for being such a hard ass. The tougher friends will rise easily. The weaker ones will think you're a lousy friend and you'll just have to bear with them losing it and encourage them longer.

I can't say for a fact everyone can be encouraged. Perhaps it's a matter of skill that determines who you are able to encourage because some might be so weak/soft-minded and buried in the idea of failure it won't be easy digging them up. Sometimes them having to lose it on you is part of the process of them reaching the point to which they had enough and will go all out for what they want.

Nonetheless, letting your friend think you're an insensitive mofo is better than comforting them in my opinion. At least you know you are not responsible for them never reaching their goals. At least you did not preach a weak mind set. Preaching a weak mind set leads to a weak mind set. So be hard, be an encouragement. Don't comfort.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Overcoming Insecurities

So common is it to be insecure that it almost seems as though to be insecure is to be human and to be human is to be insecure. What does that imply? It implies that people who are insecure stopped believing it is actually possible to be secure; they have accepted the idea that humans are insecure.

"I'm so fat"
"I'm too short"
"I'm ugly"
"I'm weak"
"My thighs are too big"
"My waist is too thick"
"Nobody likes me"

The ever so familiar phrases. You've either thought it, said it or heard it.

Insecurity is nothing more than a problem. Just like any problem, to solve it, you have to understand it. The method in which most people try to solve their insecurities is by trying to change from without. Changing the physical. Changing the surface of the problem. If they feel too fat, they try to lose weight. If they feel ugly, they sit by and wish they could be better looking. Trying to do that is like a gambling addict trying to solve his problem by disallowing himself into casino ABC, his regular casino. Eventually, he's going to end up at another casino XYZ because he has failed to solve the root of his problem.
Likewise for insecurity, if we only tackle the physical problem, say weight for instance, we will find that sooner or later, we start to become insecure over something else. We must change from within.

So what about insecurity is there to understand? Insecurity works because 2 conditions exist. Most people will recognize the first but fail to see the second.

The first will be low self-esteem or low self-confidence. Let's use "fat" as the constant point of reference here to keep things simple. Low self-confidence isn't to think you are fat when you are not. That is EFFECT of low self-confidence, not low self-confidence in itself. Being able to identify a flaw of yourself ACCURATELY isn't low self-confidence, that's being able to maintain self-integrity(avoid self-denial). Trying to identify the standing of your self-confidence from whether you find yourself fat is then impossible because you can't actually tell if it is low self-confidence or truth, if it is high self-confidence or denial. Low self-confidence is you under-valuing your self-worth. Regardless of whether you are actually fat or not, when your self-worth is valued high(which is should always be), you will, even as you identify yourself as being fat(when you really are), be able to not be affected. It will not become an insecurity because you have already valued yourself well. If you're not fat, you won't identify yourself as fat. For you have valued yourself well and able to look at each body part without biasness against yourself. Think about it, people who value themselves lowly will look at their body and pick out a million flaws of which most aren't actually flaws. People who value themselves appropriately high will pick out only true flaws. Of course over valuation could mean being in denial over certain flaws not existing - but that's not the topic here. Nonetheless, when self-valuation is high, flaw or no flaw, they have already valued themselves enough that they know a flaw doesn't dampen who they are in reality.

To think that self-valuation being low is not the cause but the result of thinking one is fat is to be half right. In many cases, it is both. It hence ends up in a vicious cycle.

The second condition is caring about what others think. Sure you may feel your worth is nothing. Your self-worth may be rock bottom. You may find yourself ugly, fat, short, stupid, everything. But if you don't care what others think, you will never be affected. You will never be insecure. What is there to be insecure about! You couldn't care less what others think. Couldn't give any less of a fuck some might say. But when you are conscious over everything YOU THINK others think about you, you will think that they think of you the way you think of yourself. So if you value yourself so lowly, you will think others think likewise.

Alright, so much for understanding the problem. What's understanding the problem without solutions. If you think hard enough you will realise that despite me speaking of the 2 conditions as being completely unrelated, they are in fact related. The second condition is the result of the first. Yet both conditions must be met(meaning it's possible to meet one without the other) because the second condition is not certain a result of the first. It is possible to have low self-worth but not care about what others think. And it is possible to care about what others think while having high self-value. Both of which would have been the result of other factors like past experiences, ways self-rationalization, etc.

The solution then has to be fixing the problems which essentially is raising self-worth. Even if caring about what others think was the result of other factors, raising self-worth will impede the amount you care or are affected by what you think others think. However if it is the result of other factors then the solution for that particular problem is going to have to be tailored by the cause of it. Which may be very specific to individual.

Nonetheless, raising self-worth will definitely eliminate the first conditioning hence removing insecurity. It is also highly likely to solve the second condition or at least improve it.

Improving self-worth................... easier said than done!!!!!!!!! How do we go about doing that? We do that by means of becoming what my idol would call the strongest versions of ourselves.

There are many ways to explain what that really means but to sum it up simply, it means you become the person you believe is the best possible version of you. Be it chasing after a passion/goal/interest and perfecting it or excelling in your studies/career or doing each and every daily task with perfection. Whichever you think the best version of you would be doing, you do, and then become. Most often it would be the combination of all I have mentioned and more.

Even as we pursue our goals or improve our career, it is not as simple as working harder. We are talking about the strongest and best versions of yourself here, not stronger and better. So even as your pursue them, it has to be pursued by doing everything possible to be the best you can be at what you set out to be. We are not talking about improvement here, we are talking about self-worth. Self-worth doesn't come from trying harder, it doesn't come from being better.. Self-worth comes from knowing you are the best you there can be and that comes from doing the best you can. See how this ties in with one of my older post?

Monday, August 5, 2013

"IIFYM & IF: Only for the weak?" 2: Comments and responses.

My original post has been misunderstood greatly. To make everything clear, I'll share 2 comments and my reply to each.

 Anonymous 1:
I cant speak flr IIFYM. butI don't quite agree about IF. It takes a lot of discipline to carry out intermittent fasting. As society evolves , so should people. Just because old school methods work for some people doesn't mean the new ones are bad. At the end of the day, everyone is aiming for results. I'm an avid IF-er for almost a year. Desmond doesn't believe in IF and we have no arguments or problems with it. There's not need to waste time trying to convince people why u think your methods are superior. It's about working smart now, not jjust working hard. If no hard work and discipline is put in, there will not be result no matter what kind of diet a person is on. #justsaying. Everyone is different. If something's IIFYM is good, he can keep doing it. I have friends with great physiques in the US who won nationals using IIFYM. So I'm just saying everyone has a certain way of lifestyle. Just respect what they do and carry on with what you do.

My response:
I agree with you 100%! But I think you've missed my point. Do hear me out
I've stressed in the post I'm not debating which is better and this is merely an example I am trying to make about character. I am by no means a person who has any reputation to talk about which method is superior. But that isn't what I'm trying to get across.

What I'm saying is that some people don't do IF or IIFYM because they actually think it's better. They do it because it's easier to them. That puts them in a weak position because they have made a decision, an action, coming from a place a fear; the fear to work hard. As Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, "Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds". And in this case, I'm not concerned with their actions, I'm concerned with the sentiment from which they have proceeded. In other words, the "why" for which they chose such dieting methods. This puts the truth of the matter(which is actually better for them in the results point of view) off the table and irrelevant. They have proceeded to make a decision based on and coming from a weak place. Fear. So even if let's just presume IF is superior in this example, they should still choose bro science if that's what they honestly feel is better. I just mentioned to wee kiat just now that I rather fail with the right character(or even because of it) than succeed with(or because of) the wrong character.

Then of course I find it more troubling with people who deny themselves this truth. Because the biggest problem is not knowing that there is even one. At least people who tell themselves they chose IF because it's easier know they come from a weak place. But people who deny themselves this(if it's the truth) don't even realize they aren't the strongest versions of themselves.
Of course what irritates me is when they go on to belittle bro science, sub-consciously part of self assurance to carry on denial. Human nature. Psychology.

So don't get me wrong, this isn't one of those "this is better than that" or "Whichever works best for you" debate/post. It's really nothing to do with fitness(the point I'm making). Just the actions and variables here in this example. And of course, I'm trying to get this idea directed to the fitness people. But the point itself has no relation to bodybuilding or fitness.

Anonymous 2:

Happened to stumble upon your blog while randomly surfing. Before I begin I'd just like to say that I mean no offense to you in any way and I'm not here to start a fight. I'm here to voice my opinion, open it up for discussion and hopefully in turn we both learn something new from this. If you are however, offended by my post then I apologize in advance and you can just remove this if you deem it to be necessary.

I'd like to start by saying that I don't agree with what you posted in this article. Yes, I am an avid fan of IIFYM and IF but not for the reasons you pointed out.

For one from my inference you lack a clear understanding of how IIFYM works. You failed to point out the importance of fiber which precedes all other nutrients in terms of priority. With that said, to hit that prerequisite amount of fiber one would have to consume largely (80% upwards) 'clean' food as 'bro science' would define it to be. It is due to this same fiber requirement that most of my meals are made up of whole, unprocessed food for it would be next to impossible to hit my numbers with KFC and McDonald's all day. What IIFYM does is allow that one or two slips of what bro scientists would define as 'bad' food in on a daily basis, without compromising whatever goals I'm working towards.

Back to your point on why people use IIFYM. I don't see it as an 'easier' way or delusional way to avoid obsession over food intake. Au contraire, I would say that IIFYM is on par with if not EVEN MORE obsessive than the average bro science diet. While you obsess over meal timings, I obsess over my grams of nutrient intake. I frustrate when it comes to finding food to fit the numbers. I spend time, effort and energy calculating and working out the math to make sure I eat what is right and what is enough. I weigh and measure my food to get an accurate understanding of how much I'm putting into my body. From my perspective, that doesn't seem so much easier than simply eating chicken breast and broccoli 6 times a day.

Elliot Hulse said "Every action is measured from the sentiment of which it precedes". Likewise, I go through so much scrutinizing and details when it comes to my food because I want to know exact quantities of what I am putting into my body to get whatever results I may be achieving. Again, I fail to see how this makes things any bit easier than a bro diet.

I use IIFYM for the fact that it is sustainable. I don't believe one method is superior to another. To me, science and bro science can go fly a kite. If it works, it works. If both methods work then I don't require some endless debacle on which method is superior because they're both going to get me results. But at the end of the day I believe in consistency. If a person is more likely to stay on a bro science diet, then yes, I would encourage him to do that over IIFYM. But for the most part, for most people including myself, IIFYM is something that is more sustainable in the long run. Something that I see myself doing months and years down the road. Not something that I will follow for a while then decide to screw everything up a week later. So my argument here is sustainability. I believe one should follow what he can be consistent with.

I have friends on both ends of the spectrum, with some finding it easier to stick to a bro diet so they don't have to frustrate over counting macros and fitting food and whatnot, while others find it easier to stick to brown rice and tilapia instead. So one is not superior to the other. It's just what you can stay on that matters.

Again I emphasize that I'm not here to start a fight. You are obviously more experienced than me in this area, and thus I took the effort to type all this out. Reason being I want to learn more, so I'd like to hear what you have to say with regards to this. I look forward to your reply.

My response:
WJ, first I'll like to say I am not offended one bit! In fact I love hearing different perspectives and points of views. Hard to find people who are interested in speaking about such things and of those who are, in such topics, hard to find people who won't be offended while discussing. And I'm really glad to have someone I don't even know type out such a long post with regards to mine.

You'll be surprised to know but I agree with everything you said. I'm all in for what works best for you. It's music to my ears when someone agrees with that.

I think however, you've slightly misunderstood my post. The fact that you brought up any specific details that is related to either IIFYM, IF, Bro Science suggest I've been misunderstood. Which isn't you fault because a lot of my friends who have read this have misunderstood this as well. Be it because of my poor ability to communicate effectively or that my perspective is really difficult to see/comprehend.
I would like to be clear that I did not mention a couple of things you seem to have interpreted.

Firstly, I am not here to discuss which method is better. So any discussion about which works, the science, the practicality, or anything of that nature is irrelevant.

Secondly, I did not mention which method is superior(perhaps the title let you to interpret otherwise)

Thirdly, I did not mention that IIFYM is easier. I mentioned people do it(relax, read fourthly) because they THINK it's easier. The key word is "think". That said, it doesn't matter if it is easier or not. The sentiment from which this person has proceeded was based on what he/she thought to be true, not what actually is true. Hope you get this one, it's really crucial and everyone misses it. I should have emphasized it more.

Fourthly, I did not explicitly say nor imply that everyone who uses IIFYM and IF is under this denial or did it because they thought it was easier. There are people who genuinely think it's better for them and that is the sentiment from which they based their decision and actions on.

Fifthly(just for fun!), Elliot Hulse didn't exactly said that. Well, he did, but he was quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. :) Glad to know you watch him too, the man is just awesome.

LASTLY(finally..), I did not mention what others to be doing as wrong in any sense of that word. Which is why I said I'm steering this into a whole different perspective. We need to leave this "bodybuilding & fitness" world and step out onto neutral ground. The point I am making in this post has nothing to do with bodybuilding or fitness. If you take your perspective, which is a perspective that I used to have and still understand, respect and sometimes still employ that you do what works for you. If it means you'll stick to it, do it. Whatever will yield you the best end result(physically) at the end of it all, factoring in both scientific theory and practicality issues. Yet all I am doing(you should be familiar with this if you watch EH) is offering a completely different perspective. I'm looking at a bigger picture here. Sure, that will yield you the best results physically. However, the sentiment from which you proceeded(aka choosing one method over the other based on fear or laziness) will transcend into your character. Hence my title with the given question mark. Weak in terms of character. Question mark because I'm not saying it applies to all who use it, so I'm avoiding making a statement while keeping it interesting. So if one were to let fear or laziness dictate the course of action to be different(or even the same!) from what the individual BELIEVES is the better method here, one is very much likely to have this characteristic in all other aspects of life. To which this is weak character to me, but never wrong. There is no wrong to such a thing. Just better or worse. End of the day, my message is bring to light the perspective of how something like this can affect who you are. Or since you're familiar with EH, his philosophy to which I am a big advocate, how this determines whether you are becoming a stronger version of yourself or not.

Hope you see my point. To know if you have seen it, just ask yourself if you feel it disagrees with you points; because it doesn't. I agree to all you have said even before you have said it because I do understand IIFYM and IF quite comprehensively(I know the common misconceptions people have), and I lived by your theories/opinions even before I started this blog! So I can't possibly be disagreeing with you lol!

Cheers buddy!

That's.... long,