By the end of the year…

Following on from the whole “having goals” and stuff… I’ve decided Im going to make an actual effort to pass the “Arduous Pack Hike Test” by the end of the year. Not really for any other reason than its the standard used by the emergency services where I live to assess your fitness to undertake specialist rescue qualifications, or to actually be proficient at them, you need to have a reasonably good standard of fitness.

At this point in time, my fitness level sucks. Its not as bad as what it used to be, but its not anywhere near brilliant.

Part of this motivation is to track it online here. So I can sorta chart my journey… there are other reasons I am trying to get my fitness up, but Im not discussing those online.

So what is the “Arduous Pack Hike Test”

In Metric terms, its the ability to walk 4.8km with a 20kg pack in less than 45 minutes. Im sure that sounds easy, but I assure you, its not. I used to get on the treadmill and try and do 6km/hr for 30 mins.

Let me just do the math here… 6km/hr for 30 minutes = 3km

I was practically out of breath by the end of it, with no pack weighing me down.

The “Pack Test” as its called, is a measure of aerobic capacity, muscular strength and muscular endurance. It is a good indicator of your ability to undertake sustained physical activity over a prolonged period of time.

So why is that so important?

Take for instance a Road Accident Rescue scenario… there is a person trapped in a car, and their continued survival may be dependant on your ability to hold and operate a Combi-Tool (aka Jaws of Life) in an efficient manner.

Not only do you have to be able to hold and operate it, but you need to be able to concentrate on what you’re doing because you need to make the cuts and spreads in the right spots, as well as communicate with others around you and to follow directions of any spotters. You also need to be able to do it in a time critical fashion. If you dont have the requisite level of fitness, your ability to focus will dimish and you may become complacent or make mistakes which could lead to further complications.

Take another scenario… say a High Angle Rescue, these generally dont happen right where you park the truck, you need to be able to carry several kilos of equipment such as Larkin Frames, stretchers, gear bags, ropes and other materials over extended and possibly difficult terrain. All whilst someone is waiting for you to come get them.

You need to have the ability to not just undertake the effort, but maintain it over a reasonably long period of time. Its a marathon, not a sprint.

So, how does one train for this sort of thing?

My source for this information cannot be shared publicly. 

Step 1

Walk 1610 metres in 15 minutes. Continue doing this until you can do it very easily (ie: your heart rate remains in the required range.

Step 2

Increase walk to 2415 metres within 22.5 minutes. Continue until you can do this easily.

Step 3

Increase distance to 4830 metres, irrespective of time. Continue until you can do this easily.

Step 4

Walk 4830 metres within 45 minutes. Continue until you can do this easily.

Step 5

Once you can easily do the 4830 metres in under 45 minutes up to 3 times a week, increase the weight you carry to 5kg. Continue the walks until you can do this within the required heart range and time frame.

Step 6

Gradually increase the weight until it reaches 20.4kg. Continue the walks up to 2-3 times a week, ensuring you are within the time range and heart rate.

Heart Rate??

To work out your optimal heart rate, you need to apply the following formula:

(220 – Age) x 0.75

Or in my case: 180 x 0.75 = 135bpm.

Cardiovascular fitness is measured on how hard your heart needs to pump to get blood around the body to where its needed. So if your heart is going absolutely ballistic, your fitness is low and your body needs to essentially acclimatise.

I just took my heart rate using my phone, 89bpm and thats resting. Thats above average, so yeah, this training will be good for me ūüôā

What else can affect this…

Well, currently Im sitting on 127.5kg. Thats not great. My BMI is pretty high (obese). However I’ve not put a lot of stock in using BMI as a measure. It doesnt take into account body types… for instance, a Rugby Player can be the same weight as me, but is incredibly fit, whereas a gymnast who is short and light might be perpetually underweight but healthy.

What I do take stock in is other measurements, like my waist. I’ve gone down from a size 46 inch pant to nearly a 42. Those 4 inches whilst not noticeable to me, have been to others. Plus I get satisfaction to fit into clothes that I havent for quite some time.

Its just a walk, cant you just walk really fast?

Its about more than just going for a walk. Im planning on starting at the gym in the near future, as well as fixing my pushbike up to ride it to the station. There are some brutal hills which I would also like to conquer one day as well.

Where have you come from?

When I first started this whole weight loss journey in October last year, I was topping out at around 140kg. I was also diagnosed with Non-Insulin dependant diabetes. My diet was shit to put it bluntly, I was eating too much junk food because I just couldnt be bothered.

It is a vicious cycle, you are grossly overweight, you lose motivation because you’re tired (think about it, your body has to work extra hard to cart that weight around), so you just want something quick and easy, which is takeaways… ¬†you crave sugary drinks because of the boost your get from them. You snack because you have to replace the energy burned by the high sugar.

Because you’re so tired, you tend to stay in a sedentary position. For me its gaming. I could sit on my ass all day just gaming. For work, I sit on my ass except when Im walking around the building to go to meetings, or get lunch.

By training for this pack test, Im hoping to get my fitness up so that I can feel better about myself, and have the knowledge that I am doing everything I can to be the best person I can be. Im not doing this so that I can have killer abs, and rock an 8-pack. I just want to be able to attend whatever emergency happens and know, day or night. I got this!

The only problems you can fix are your own.

Based on my last post I realised I had more to say, about life lessons that I want to share with you.

You know how you always give the best advice, but never follow it yourself. Im all about making myself accountable through honesty.

A life lesson I had a hard time learning was that maybe I was the cause of a lot of my own problems. I had (and some would argue, still do) a pretty massive ego. I am the problem solver, I am the fixer, I am the master of making shit happen. If the situation sucks, I will sort that shit out and will take on and down anyone who gets in my way!

So naturally cos I was perfect, my problems were never me. It was everyone else.

Didnt get the promotion at work? They were holding me back cos I am too useful and make them look too good.

I wasnt happy with a particular situation! I would have the “courage” to stand up and make the changes. I thought it was an admirable trait because I wouldnt be silenced, I would work my¬† Machiavellian wiles to change everything.

Things not so good at home? Insert just about every excuse under the sun about how its not my fault.

When I think about it now…

I didnt get the promotion because I was cocky and expected it (and should I have got it, I wouldnt have been a good fit for the role. Thats not so say it was the right decision on their part but in a way Im kinda glad I didnt. The decision I feel was personally and not professionally made)

The particular situation… I was the only one who seemed to want to change the status quo. Rather than being a hero, I was the fall guy. I was the convenient person to blame when things went wrong, anything I did was wrong and essentially people were just content to waddle along and not rock the boat. Why change when its just too much effort. The situation is still shitty, but I no longer have to deal with it.

Things at home… after the 100th or 200th argument about why I was a pretty shit partner… my wife stuck with me and we rode it out. I realised that if I wanted there to be change, I wouldnt be able to change her, I would have to change myself.

That seemed to be a recurring theme. People had been telling me for years that only I can control my reaction to things that happen. I believed that if I didnt blow up, people would think it was okay to treat me like shit. If I accepted other peoples crap, they would continue to heap it on me.

In essence, it wasnt me… it was everyone else.

So there I was one day, standing in the kitchen at some ungodly hour of the morning… wondering if I was gonna be still married in the morning, hating life, hating my job, hating everyone… I looked over at the knife block and that super cool looking Butchers knife…

Left to right is just for show… up and down will get results!

Thats when it finally fuckin’ clicked… the only way I was gonna sort out all of this shit was to sort myself out. I had to stop trying to fix everyone else to suit me, I had to fix me to stop giving a fuck about shit I couldnt control.

I went to the GP, got a mental health plan and got myself off to a shrink. My mood state was extremely poor. I was severely depressed. I had literally stopped feeling joy and could only see the negative in everything.

First thing the shrink tells me… you cant control other people, just how you react to them. I still held onto the belief that I was truly bending over backwards for other people and that they should cut me a little slack, show a little consideration… knowing full well that at the end of the day… people have their own problems and they couldnt give a shit about mine.

This was all happening at the same time as I was making the other changes in my life to get the hell out of a shitty situation.

So truth be told, I am on medication for my issues. As with most things, I am impatient and I was like “Why isnt these stupid meds working”. I was told it would take about six weeks to kick in, but hell man, thats too long!!! I want results now!

But I stayed the course and one day it dawned on me… I wasnt blowing up at a moments notice. I wasnt getting that rush of blood to the head when I felt someone was slighting me and it was on! I was calmer. I was looking at things more objectively. I was looking inside for solutions rather than outward.

Im not perfect, and I have my moments. I can still fire up at a moments notice, but I realise a lot sooner that its ridiculous and I should just stop it.

I still get pissed off, and it shows. As my wife says “You dont have a poker face… when you’re pissed off… you make sure everyone knows it with that look on your face”. People still push my buttons… but I know they wont change just cos Im in a bad mood.

Now, rather than getting all huffy and pissed off… I just remind myself that realistically its 10 minutes out of my day to do something for someone. I am still annoyed, but I can only control my reaction. Its okay to be pissed off, its not okay to punish someone for pissing me off.

So there is truth in the saying, you cant change other people, but you can change yourself. Take stock of all your “problems”, and work out which ones actually dont matter. If someone is giving you the shits, they wont change… so dont put yourself in a position for them to annoy you.

You can set the rules of the relationship but you cant make people follow them. There is a fine line between being assertive and being an asshole.

Rather than blame others for your shit situation, work out how you contributed to it… how did your actions let things get so bad? What can you change to improve the situation.

I really dont want to say it but…

Be the change you want to see in others…

Im not advocating that you should seek out the blame when things go wrong… but own whatever happens afterwards… as I mentioned before, I was beaten up at a train station many years ago. I was having a bad day, some one was mouthing off to me and I mouthed off back. Four of them tried to take me down. Was it my fault I got targeted…

  • I probably looked pissed off.
  • I look like a white collar dork at the best of times (so they probably perceived me as a soft target)
  • They mouthed off to me and I wasnt going to take shit from some snotty fuckin’ teenager. How fuckin’ dare they start shit with me.
  • I should probably have known better given that I preach “situational awareness”. Rush of blood to the head… I felt good putting them in their place. That lasted all of about 90 seconds when they surrounded me.

So whilst they had to make the conscious decision to try and rob me… it would be easy to say I was completely blameless. I wasnt. I escalated when I shouldnt have and I had to deal with sitting in an emergency ward for 8 hours, giving police statements and worrying that every Islander teenager that I saw was the ones who beat me and they wanted round two.

Im not an inherently violent person. I generally would rather help someone than hurt them. I figure there is more benefit in working together than working against each other. I also know that should the situation arise, I am the one who runs towards the problem rather than away. Not entirely a good trait, because its part ego and part wanting to prove I am up to the challenge.

This is why when dealing with people younger than me, I try to impart some wisdom… look to de-escalate the situation rather than fire up. If someone calls you a name, agree with them… “You’re fat”… “Yeah, I am… sucks huh”. Essentially, shut the situation down. Give them nowhere to go.

The big one when I was young was calling someone gay, a fag, a poofter… thats my goddamn masculinity you’re threatening there mate, I dont want people to think Im a ring pirate! Im all thats man baby!

Bearing in mind, this was more than 20 years ago, and it was a different time.

But now, if someone was to say that to me, I would just say something like “No wonder I find you attractive”, or “Well you know, gotta pay the rent somehow”.

Its just 5 seconds out of my day to deal with that idiot… they’ll be stumped for a comeback, and I wont even remember what they looked like.

Essentially, whilst its not your fault… you still have to own the consequences. That night at the train station, I did try and de-escalate, I apologised, I pointed out the security cameras (I knew I was getting beaten down, I wanted to make sure it was caught on camera at least) and tried to walk away. I knew the beating was coming, so I took it.

Does that make me a Beta Male? Does that make me weak? Shouldnt I have fought back a lot harder… rather than just try and protect myself, I should have shown them that Im not the guy to fuck with.

I made that conscious decision, because I knew if I fought back, they would fight harder, more would probably join in and I could probably end up dead or disabled. I knew I could protect myself enough so I would be able to walk away.

I know that if I had fought back, I would be forever waiting for payback. They wanted to assert their dominance, and they got to do it. There was no reason for them to go on with it after the fact. I didnt know them. They didnt know me. They were snot nosed punks and they got their kicks, I got to continue living. I do genuinely feel sorry for the person they pulled a knife on at the next train station. That knife could have ended up in me.

So yeah, in conclusion… take the advice if you want to…

Next time someone is giving you grief, or your not happy with the way things are going… ask yourself… what can I change about myself to improve the situation.

Your problems are not unique.

Think about a time when things didnt go your way… when you did everything you could… but it just didnt work out. Maybe its not a once off, maybe it happens all the time. Maybe somedays, it feels like the universe is kicking you in the ass!

I used to feel like that all the time, no matter what I did, no matter what I tried… it just never worked out.

I wasnt attractive enough for that girl to like me.
I wasnt rich enough to afford an overseas holiday.
I wasnt enough of a kiss ass to get that promotion.
Im just an ugly fuckin’ loser, so I may as well just be an ugly fuckin’ loser.

Surprise, surprise… McCain Superfries… self fulfilling prophecy. The inside of my head was a toxic wasteland of negativity based on what I perceived to be happening around me. We live in an age where everything is hyperconnected, where everyones¬†insta-perfect lives are on display for everyone to see. Where the pretty people seem to be having the most fun, whilst us trolls are left to do the actual work. They group together to conspire against us trolls… to mock and ridicule us because we are not as perfect as them.

This is a pretty juvenile way of looking at things. When you’re a teenager, everything is happening right now. If things arent perfect right now, your life is over! As with most things however, as you get older you realise that shit happens, assholes cause it.

If you’re having issues, chances are someone else has had the same issue. Thats not to say your problems arent your own, you need to own that shit, but if you were to ask 100 random people if they feel attractive enough, do they earn enough money, are they happy with their life… chances are a huge percentage of them would say “Oh HELL NO!!!”

Say you happen across a magical wish granting genie who does a reverse Shrek on you, so you’re rich, hot and given everything that would make you happy… Im guessing you’ll be asking “Whats next?”.. As a species, we are conditioned to never be happy with what we have, we focus on what we dont have… so you have a brand new Ferrari… in a few years its not so new… you have a trillion Insta Followers and get firehosed with products and promo opportunities… that trip to the tropical paradise will feel more like work than a holiday.

You see a trend here, todays solutions are really just the start of tomorrows problems.

So ask yourself, which problems are you willing to put up with? What problems are you willing to endure to feel like you’re living life.

If we’re being honest… one of my problems was my commitment to the Emergency Services. I’ve been doing in the service for nearly 20 years (15 years in the current service). I’ve been with my now wife for 11 years now. It was my thing. I was all in and I was lovin’ it. I was out all the time, I was somebody in the unit…

Then we moved, bought a house in a different area so I had to move units. Where I ended up, was not a good experience for me. I might address that in a future blog post. Long story short, I was nobody, I was over eager too early and I had some issues with certain things. Like a true idiot, my ego convinced me I could fix these problems.

Two issues:

  1. These problems didnt want to be fixed.
  2. I went about it the wrong way.

I was pissed off, I was upset, I was annoyed… and it showed. I was slowly starting to hate the service because everywhere I turned it felt like I was wasting my time. I would bitch to anyone who would listen (and sometimes still do)… but only to make sure people are aware I was actively against the toxic environment.

The follow on effects was that my personality changed… I was bitter and cynical. I was always looking at how fucked up the entire situation was. The problems I was having was systematic of the service as a whole, not just in one specific location. Other people having an awesome experience would often shout me down and I think I started to get a bit of a reputation. I wanted to change the entire service so that changes would be required in a specific area.

In all honesty, it was like David and Goliath, where Goliath completely fuckin’ owned David in a nanosecond.

On the home front, this caused issues because I was not a good person to be around. I would pick fights or start arguments cos I was always in a bad mood and one thing lead to another.

In my mind, I knew if I just persisted, I would finally triumph. People would see my logic and reasoning and finally I would get my justification. My wife, initially supportive, basically washed her hands of it. She was sick of hearing it. She was sick of the bitching. She was sick of the drama. I couldnt even talk about it. If I did, she would just shut me down and tell me she didnt care.

Throw in some other stuff happening, and as a team we made the decision to do something about it. I used to think short of moving to a new place and making a new start there was nothing I could do.

So we decided to move to a new place and make a new start.

This didnt come without problems… finding money, dealing with banks, being perpetually broke, dealing with builders, making time to do the inspections, having the “discussions” (arguments) about what we want to do in the new house, finding more money to pay for the upgrades to fixtures and features.

It was frustrating as fuck, but I loved it. I knew I had an out from a shitty situation, I had something positive to look forward to and my wife was happy I was being more positive.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished and work started to suck, but I nipped that mofo in the butt really quickly too. Also another blog post for another time.

The point Im trying to illustrate, and the one Mark Manson says, is to concentrate on the problems that you are happy to put up with. Deal with the problems you can actually do something about. Problems that speak to your character, to what you believe in, to what matters most.

Failure is the path to success

How are you feeling right now? Are you successful?

If you answered yes… why are you successful? What makes you a success?

If you answered no… then why dont you feel like a success? If you had it, would you truly be happy?

We are conditioned as a society to focus on what we dont have. Drive an old car? POOR. Dont own your own house? SLACK. Own your own house, but not in a “good” suburb? Are you single? Do you feel like everyone hates you? Do the people you want to like you… dont? Are you too fat? Not fashionable? Hate your job? Hate your life?

In this day and age, we are bombarded with messages of what “success” is… for a guy, you have to have Brad Pitt’s good looks, Jeff Bezo’s bank balance, drive a car thats cost rivals the GDP of a Third World Nation and you have have an permenantly Insta-Ready supermodel/influencer girlfriend who you bang like a champion after you attend yet another glamourous event.

I’ve already written about this¬†so I wont rehash it… but look at it from a different tack. Everywhere you look there is a story about someone who is younger, prettier and more successful than you… they are #blessed with good fortune… there are musical prodigys, there are champion athletes, there are movie stars… the list goes on.

What these stories dont tell you is the countless hours of practice, study and countless failures that went into that success. Think about Kendall Jenner… I dont like to, in fact I am so anti-Kardashian its not funny… but yeah… she grew up with all the success and trappings of riches… she has a veritable team of people whose job it is to make her up, dress her, train her and moderate all her social media to present this perfectly curated existence.

Now think back to the infamous Pepsi ad she shot… irrespective of trying to solve the whole #BlackLivesMatter with soft drink, the whole ad tried to represent to the dirty unwashed that “shes just like you”. It failed miserably. She got absolutely caned for her efforts. Pepsi took a huge hit as well. It was a massive epic fail on her part, for someone who is sooo protective of her image, she learned that even she isnt above reproach.

Enter massive Mea Culpa from her six months later  on her show

“Obviously, if I knew that this was gonna be the outcome, I would have never done something like this”, she said, sobbing.

Cut to an on-camera interview with Khloe, who explained to the audience: “Kendall did a commercial and basically caused a huge controversy. It sucks, cause Kendall’s been taking the blame for it all. Kendall tries really hard to be socially conscious and aware of the jobs that she takes and to really think about how things affect other people, so it weighs really heavy on her heart.”

Producers showed some critical tweets about the commercial, such as, “So many adults had to f— up in so many unique and equally tone deaf ways to make this awful ad, it’s honestly breathtaking.”

Later, Kendall explained why she filmed the commercial in the first place – when she got the offer, she was thrilled to join the list of celebrities who have done Pepsi ads, from Michael Jackson to Beyonce to Britney Spears.

“I trusted everyone. I trusted the teams,” she told the camera.

“But after I saw the reaction and I read what people had to say about it, I most definitely saw what went wrong. I was so stuck, and I really didn’t know what to do, that I completely shut down.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Reading this article whilst I was typing, I was hoping to find something redeeming in the article about learning a lesson from failure… there is none!!!

Her response was basically that she just wanted to be more famous, joining the ranks of other entertainers and it wasnt her fault… and she feels really bad… she never meant for this to happen. She trusted other people and they failed her.

This raises the point I actually wanted to make, have you ever noticed those people who never take responsibility for screwing up?

Its not my fault that I lost my temper at you, I had a bad day at work.
Its not my fault that Im late… the coffee place took forever to make my drink.
Its not my fault that people think Im an asshole, they just dont like the fact I like to keep it real.

The asshole one really resonates with me. I suffered from that for a long time. I consider myself a Zero Bullshit person. I wont suffer fuckwits kindly. Case in point, I once told someone who fucked up that they should stop and apologise to every tree they pass for wasting the oxygen they produce. The reason I am Zero Bullshit is because I’ve been jerked around by too many people to have it continually happen again and again. Of course, to those people I offended, I was an asshole who was just too much work to deal with, so they’d stop dealing with me, actively excluding me.

Thats not to say there arent flashes of it now and again, but I was failing as a co-worker, as a friend, as a team member.

Okay, so I’ve failed… I fucked up… what do I do now?

Well in one sentence… OWN YOUR SHIT! If you fucked up, cop to it. Admit you made a mistake. Dont try and reduce the blame, just stand tall before the man and admit your mistakes. Its gonna hurt, its gonna suck and its definately not the easy way out.

Of course, there are limitations to this… dont expect your partner to be okay with you admitting you’ve cheated, or your Boss to be ok with you losing the company money through constant errors.

The companion to failure is consequences… there are always consequences. Even when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place decision wise… you cant always win… sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.

Growth as a person is about accepting those consequences. It will go a long way towards reducing any lasting consequences.

What should Kendall have done?

Rather than waiting six months and drumming up publicity for the long awaited response… rather than playing the victim… she should have come out straight away and said:

“I made an error of judgement, I was too focussed on joining the likes of Britney, Michael Jackson, Beyonce as ambassadors for the brand. I should have been more considerate to peoples feelings about this very important subject. In future, I will choose my projects more wisely and with greater oversight so that I can make sure I truly reflect the values that I hold close to my heart”.

Further reading of the article, Pepsi actually apologised.. not for upsetting the people with such a ridiculous ad… but for putting Kendall in that position. They did mention that they see themselves as a diverse company and did not see that the scene in question would cause such a hassle.

I guess this is the second issue when it comes to owning up to your failures. You can always tell when someone is stage managing their apology. You can tell when its being done for the sake of closing the issue down rather than learning from their mistake.

The whole apology issue in this case absolutely smacks of insincerity. Sure, she might feel bad… but why wait so long? Why do it on a TV show? Why not address it head on, right away and admit it was ultimately her responsibility to ensure she reflects her core values.

Sure, she’s young. Inexperienced. She is surrounded by a team of PR professionals literally every single waking moment. They could have coached her, they could have set up the opportunities… no… these experts probably figured “lets sell the rights to #KendallApologises” or something.

The reason Im banging on so hard about this, is that many people look at these oxygen thieves as role models. What is that teaching people? Dont fess up, dont confront your problems until its beneficial to you… just ignore it and hope it goes away… and if it wont, do the least amount possible, play the victim and blame everyone but yourself.

So now you’ve got that out of your system, tell me why accepting failure and its consequences will make me a better person

To fuck up is a human trait. We all do it. I do it constantly. Writing this blog, should the wrong person read it, I will be apologising for any misconcieved slight. The first question I’d have to answer is why I never told them about it.

My first response would be because I didnt see the need to. I wasnt writing about my truly personal life and definately not writing about them. Im keeping all their secrets intact but baring my own.

Strike 1

But maybe Id want to share in it, its definately a passion of yours…

Yeah, but I wanted to write with the freedom and not worry what others thought…

Strike 2

So why write it all? If you were sooo worried people were gonna read it?

Cos its cathartic… I get to rant and take it out on the anonymous public…

Strike 3

So why make it public

YOUUUUU’RE OUT!

Anyway… admitting when you’ve made a mistake is the first step in fixing the problem. Hiding the problem means that one day you will get found out. Something that could have been dealt with there and then is now a lot worse because time has passed.

Sometimes its better to just rip the bandaid off… its gonna hurt, its gonna suck and yeah you’re ego is gonna take a hit. Ultimately, its better than doing nothing.

 

Why the friendzone is a myth.

I was writing about something completely different, inspiration struck… deal wtih it

This is something I used to ask myself all the time… if women like nice guys, why do they always end up with assholes? The ones who will treat them mean, but they stay keen. Who will show up for all the fun stuff, but none of the boring stuff… who in your mind, treat the object of your affection like a piece of crap, but they cant get enough of it.

I think everyone in teenage years, through to their mid-20’s has these type of feelings. That is of course excluding those lucky few who find their soul mate… blah blah whatever..

Like most guys, I fell into the friendzone more often than not. My belief was that it was because I wasnt conventionally attractive. I wasnt the starting Second Rower for the school Rugby team, so why would anyone find me attractive? A slightly overweight sci-fi geek, who considered daily life a struggle in class warfare, who was so convinced that he was a fucking troll that he when he did ask a girl out, she thought he was joking. He took it hard and was pissed off… but it was just another chapter in the suckage of life really.

Truth being, I was soooo socially awkward that it was easier to convince myself that no one wanted to date me, so why bother… I shudder when I think back to that time. I hid behind an asshole persona because hey, its easier to be disliked than try and have everyone like you. In my mind, we worshipped at the altar of Stupidity… the cool kids all smoked, drank, did drugs, fucked around, treated teachers like crap… and we aspired to be like them? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??? Of course, to a teenage mind, life after high school is a million years away… this problem is right now.

The point Im trying to make is that in later years, I ended up in the friend zone more often than I care to imagine. As I got older… I realised what a bullshit construct it was…

Soo… what is this “friend zone” you speak of?

friendzonedThink about this… you like someone, I mean really like… but your not confident enough the feelings are reciprocated. So in order to be close to them, you become friends with them… hoping one day they will come to the realisation that you are 10 levels of awesome and they need you in their life… without you having to actually ask them out and make your intentions clear.

How this is more typically portrayed is that the girl strings the guy along, keeping him around cos he is useful. Essentially treating him like a boyfriend, but without the romance behind it.

As you can imagine, it can be a very soul crushing, spirit destroying place to end up. On one hand, you get to be around the object of your affection, on the other hand you know that she’s just not that into you.

Essentially she sees you as a friend… you see her as more.

So whats it like in this “Zone of Friends” you say?

It sucks. Royally. Its a complete mind fuck watching the person you are convinced is your one chance at true happiness and you know given the chance, you could prove that… but for now, you’ll be on the other end of the phone as she bitches about her boyfriend and how he stood her up to go drinking with his mates.

You joke that if you were her boyfriend, you would never do that. You would tend to her every need, her every whim. She would be the centre of your universe.

Its a shame we’re such good friends…¬†

Please note, I say this with a hint of sarcasm. With age comes experience, and a hormone filled adolescent mind, like the Sith, only deals in absolutes! You dont want to be friends, you want to be more. What? Like SUPER FRIENDS???.

So you just bide your time, getting all Petyr Beylish, sewing the seeds of mistrust, so she will dump his ass and realise that her one true love was under her nose all along.

Yeah, the perennial 80’s Teen movie trope.. I dont need to date the quarterback when my quirky best friend is the one I was meant to be with. Thats why he selflessly helped me with my plans, all the while holding back his true feelings…

Bad news: This doesnt happen in real life.

When the friend zone feels like the phantom zone!

So yeah, no matter how hard you try… every woman you have in your life doesnt see you as a compatible romantic partner… its not your fault, you’re a gentleman, you’re a confidant, you’re always there for her. It must be her fault… yeah… her fault. She’s a bitch. Its not your fault she cant see how awesome you are… you’ve given her plenty of chances to notice… fuck women, they’re all bitches… their all whores… if they wanna date assholes, go for it… no point running to me when they treat you like shit…

There is an entire sub-culture of men who believe this is the case… they are called “Incels”, or Involuntary Celibates. They’d totally do the sex, but no one will do it with them.

Its pretty much everyone elses fault, but theirs… society has conditioned women to only go after the assholes… and leave people like us behind until they one day realise that they could have had us all along but didnt want us.

This movement, and I will call it a movement, because it comes down to the individual and not the group, tend to feel entitled… like women are a sub-par species… they should know their role… it is to serve men. They should be grateful that a man is showing interest in them.

The more rejection they feel, the more steadfast they tend to become in their beliefs and will often take it to extremes… if a woman gives them a hug, they go for the pash. If a woman is dressed provactively, they will take that as an invitation to force themselves upon her. They deserve this, they’ve been rejected so many times, and women like assholes… Im just being forthright and not a beta-male bitch!

So why is this all bullshit?

The friendzone is a construct. It exists solely as something to hide behind and not face your fears. It exists as a way for you to feel that closeness but without any of the risk, which of course can morph into resentment because you realise, she isnt into you.

So lets flip it around…

You have a female friend who is always hanging around, texting you, being playful, being nice… they put heart emojis around your name in their contacts. You like hanging out with them, you have similar interests, but you are really hoping that other girl you have your eye on will return your calls.

Your friend jokes with you that you spend a lot of time together and they really like it. They hug you just a little too hard, you almost feel the brush of their lips on your neck. They breathe in ever so slightly, then release you and head on their way, occasionally turning around to see if you are watching them.

Over time, she becomes a little more obvious, but you see her as friend. Nothing more. That other chick still hasnt returned your call, but she will.

Then one day, she just comes out and says it…

I really like you
I like you too…
I mean, really like like…
Like super like?
Yeah, you could call it a super like… you know… if she never calls you back, I guess we could go out together…

How you handle this next part… thats on you… do you realise that “Holy crap, she’s amazing”, or do you play it off like its nothing? Do you remind her that you’re such good friends and nothing more.

Society, hyper connectivity and the “always on” culture.

Think about your celebrity crush. Think about your “type”. Do you like girls who always seem to be¬†Insta-ready? Do you like guys who look like they leapt out of bed, into the surf and then off to the super important international business man international business meeting?

In this day and age, everything is “always on”… we carry around with us a portal to infinite knowledge, connectivity, convenience and worst of all… its on 24/7 bombarding us with stories, pictures, movies, all sorts of media of people with their perfect lives, their constant successes… kinda makes you feel like a loser in comparison.

Celebrities, influencers, insta-glamourous people… all #Blessed and #noFilter and #wokeuplikethis. Its all inspirational quotes. Its all mantra’s. Its all “Be positive and the universe will provide that pony”….

AND PEOPLE EAT THIS SHIT UP AND ASK FOR SECONDS!

So naturally when we’re bombarded with this, we think success looks like being a six figure baller, with an 8-pack and a supermodel under each arm because we cant decide if we want to go Chanel or Victoria’s Secret tonight.

Women have the same issues, there is an entire industry built around making women feel shit about themselves until they buy this miracle product that will give them the best left eyebrow… I heard a story that in the 18th/19th Century, dog urine was used as an anti-ageing serum.

And you know what… harsh truth… they say its on the inside that counts? BULLSHIT! You size a person up in seconds… people are drawn to aesthetics… if you put Natalie Portman in a line up with Maiyim Bialik… pretty sure the contest is going to be judged on looks, not on the fact they are both highly educated. Put Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Tara Reid against a rather homely looking girl who has a PhD in Astrophysics… once again, she could have the nicest personality but who do you think the average guy is gonna go for?

AAAND THIS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT… is the problem. Relationships are seen like trophies. You have to have the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend… we need to be just like all those other people with their perfect lives… we need to have a perfect life too.

Pro-Tip for all you guys complaining about being in the friend zone:¬†Look at who you feel has friendzoned you… is your attraction anything more than superficial… what is it you actually like about them?

How do I get out of the friend zone?

If you think you’re in the friend zone, you’re never getting out.

You dont leave the friend zone until you stop believing in it. Sure, there are cottage industries of douche-lords who will tell you to project confidence, be persistent, be funny, be charming, go to the gym, work out, buy my books, see my seminars… neg the living shit out of her… find her evil asshole boyfriend or object of her affection and destroy him!!

fz2

On the other hand, you could you know… just ask her out. Do it properly. Dont just crop dust an invitation to an event at her and hope for the best.

If she’s single and you’re single… chances are she might actually feel the same way you do, but she’s equally as nervous as you are. Take the initiative… be bold. You dont know if you dont ask.

But be prepared… she could also just not see you like that, or she might not be in the right head space, or you know… just as confused as you are because HOLY CRAP… he finally asked me out… taken his sweet ass time!

The only stipulation I’d make is that you make sure she knows its a date… so if you’re going to a movie, dinner first (never afterwards!) and somewhere nice! Dont dress up a casual get together that you do all the time as something more than what it normally is. Do something different, out of the ordinary!

FriendZone is actually a very sexist concept…

rickandmortyfzSo that female friend from before… the one who is totally into you… she’s just laid her feelings bare… are you now obligated to feel the same way? Should you be grateful that she feels that way about you? I mean, she’s put the effort into being your friend, shouldnt the next step be for you to be together?

Sadly, thats how a lot of guys feel…

Are women vending machines? I mean, you feed them the kindness and friendship coins and you get the woman as your selection?

Are women like video games? You play for long enough and eventually you win?

Relationships are not transactional. There isnt a loyalty card where once you fill it, you get to have sex with woman of your choice, and she is obligated to… because you know… loyalty card!

She may not realise your feelings, or if she does, actually values your friendship despite the literal emotional and psychological mine field she has to navigate to ensure you dont get the wrong idea, knowing full well there is a really awkward conversation one day. She may actually care about you, and wants to let you down gently so that you can still be friends… she may not even be aware that she’s taking you for granted…

So guys, take some goddamn responsibility for your actions.

You are not victims of being put in the friendzone. You are not victims. Take ownership of the fact that as much as it hurts, she’s just not into you and maybe its time to look elsewhere if you want a relationship.

I guess I never answered the question, if women like nice guys, why do they go home with assholes…

Cos generally those assholes have some form of confidence. They know what they want, and go and get it. They may be playing a numbers game, where they keep trying till they win. They may be good at talking to the women… they dont hide in the shadows and hope she finally comes to her senses… they dont employ subterfuge or play the victim card.

They dont use niceness and friendship to manipulate a woman into a relationship.

Thats not to say they arent grand level douche-lords… but they have something she finds attractive or needs at that moment… or maybe she is just using him… he might be after a relationship, but shes just after a fling! Maybe she’s just trying to prove a point, to feel attractive…

If there is one thing I have learnt over the years, when it comes to relationships… nothing is black and white…

 

The answer to violence is NEVER more violence

On the weekend, a couple of kids were robbed at the train station where I used to live. Im not going to provide names or links, not will I screen shot any of the truly horrifying-in-the-sense-that-people-are-this-retarded Facebook posts I’ve seen in the Community groups.

I did fire up at a Politician on Social Media because he was using it for political point scoring… not to say it was an unfortunate or tragic event, but to bag out the current premier… when pressed, he wouldnt provide a coherent answer but rather referred us to outdated election materials.

I have been a victim of assault at a train station. I am not bragging, but 4 Islander boys couldnt take me down. Instead, they ran for the train, got off the next station and robbed someone else… why did they come after me… cos they percieved I had disrespected them.

I am not comparing what happened to me to what happened on the weekend, but this was in the days before Protective Service Officers on Victorian public transport and only one guy tried to help me. Im sure if I look hard enough, there is probably Youtube footage of it.  Just checked, doesnt appear to be.

So the long and short of it, according the news was that two teenagers were waiting for a bus when a large group of other teenagers, of African appearance, approached them and asked the time. When he pulled out his phone to check, they demanded he hand it over, with his shoes and a gold necklace. They also made him unlock his phone and turn off the Apple ID. The bashing occurred I would imagine when the kids said No they werent handing over his stuff.

This is where the story gets a little hazy… a large group of African Teenagers, but only two did the bashing. The PSO’s were quite a distance away (which is understandable because the trainline goes below road level and is about 100m from the bus stops). The way the story is told though is that it was apparently two seperate incidents because either one of the kids, or commuters alerted the PSO’s.

Now I dont know about you, but I couldnt run 100m along a train platform, up nearly two stories of stairs, then another 150m to the bus stops in World Record breaking time, especially when Im carrying around 10-15kg of operational gear. The PSO’s were lambasted because they did nothing.

I should point out for those reading along, PSO’s are armed with Glocks and Capsicum spray.

When two PSO’s are confronted by a large group, fuck it, gang of individuals who are threatening a member of the public, they would have two options. They could pull out their service weapons and threaten the gang, or they could conduct harm minimisation and call for back up which would be better prepared and in larger numbers to handle the situation.

The general public, especially the kids dad, expected the PSO’s to essentially start shooting!

Now, assuming the PSO’s made it there before it was all over, the first thing they would have done is seen a large group of people. Their priority would have been to help the victims, get statements and then let the Police deal with it from there.

If they had of drawn their weapons, Im pretty sure the situation would have escalated and someone would have either gotten shot, or the PSO’s attacked as well. I dont know enough about the whole situation to make an educated assessment, nor am I actually qualified to do so.

The backlash however has been nothing short of disgusting.

Australia like to tout itself as the lucky country, where everyone is your mate and its just one year long BBQ… well, if you’re a White European, this might be the case… if you’re not… then damn son, you’re shit out of luck!

Lets just say the White Australia Policy was only ended in 1966… Aboriginals were legally given the vote in 1967.

Just doing a quick Wikipedia search to check my facts...

Relaxation of restrictions

Australian policy began to shift towards significantly increasing immigration. Legislative changes over the next few decades continuously opened up immigration in Australia.[26]

Labor Party Chifley Government:

  • 1947 The¬†Chifley Labor Government¬†relaxed the Immigration Restriction Act allowing non-Europeans the right to settle permanently in Australia for business reasons.

Liberal-Country Party¬†Menzies Government (1949‚Äď1966):

  • 1949 Immigration Minister¬†Harold Holt¬†permitted 800 non-European refugees to stay, and Japanese war brides to be admitted.[35]
  • 1950 External Affairs Minister¬†Percy Spender¬†instigated the¬†Colombo Plan, under which students from Asian countries were admitted to study at Australian universities.
  • 1957 Non-Europeans with 15 years’ residence in Australia were allowed to become citizens.
  • 1958¬†Migration Act 1958¬†abolished the dictation test and introduced a simpler system for entry. Immigration Minister, Sir¬†Alick Downer, announced that ‘distinguished and highly qualified Asians’ might immigrate.
  • 1959 Australians were permitted to sponsor Asian spouses for citizenship.
  • 1964 Conditions of entry for people of non-European stock were relaxed.

I mention this because Immigration is a hot button topic in Australia at the moment. It has been for quite some time, when Pauline Hanson gave her maiden speech in 1997 decrying the “Asian Invasion” and she was blasted as a racist and a redneck, I’ve seen those same people who decried her policies now calling her a visionary!

The current minority of choice are the South Sudanese, or if one is not available, all Muslims, all the time. If you dont have one handy, Indians or Chinese… actually any Asian really.

The kids who did the bashing, were apparently South Sudanese. I wont lie, there is a bit of a community of them in that area, but for the most part, they are just young kids. They’ve embraced the¬†Gangsta lifestyle because it looks powerful to them. Coloured men, saying “fuck you” to authority, gettin’ all the bitchez, smackin’ all the ho’s, smokin’ dem bluntz. Whatever… for the most part I would argue they just wanna look tough, play basketball and pretend they are kings among men.

Then of course, there are the actual gang members who argue that the environment they came from, to rob, cheat, assault and do whatever they want, is all they know… they are a problem. They form their gangs with the sole purpose of being criminals.

In their defence, Ned Kelly is a national hero in Australia, cos he wore a suit of armor and was a bush ranger, when actually he was a thief and a murderer. He killed Police officers… so I can see why people consider him a hero and the rest of us what he actually is. He didnt thumb his nose at authority, he outright broke the law. If it wasnt for that suit of armour, he’d be a footnote in history.

Back to the point, there is no denying there is a gang problem in Victoria. In Dandenong, there is APEX, an African gang that was responsible for a large spate of violence at various events, car jackings, robberies… by the end of it, I think people were just claiming to be part of the gang.

This of course, led to escalations… everyone trying to prove they were the biggest, the baddest, the most down trodden, the most victimised. Every one of the had a hard luck story about how difficult it was living in what is essentially fucking paradise compared to where they came from.

So yeah, long story short, the cries for the longest has been to “deport the fucking lot of them“. Yeah, no ifs, no buts, DEPORT! If you cant deport the kids, deport the parents because they should be responsible for their kids… and take them with them. Not even jail time, just put em on the plane and fuck em off back home.

Of course, thats the answer to any problem with immigration… “FUCK OFF, WE’RE FULL”.

Just recently, there was a rally in St Kilda regarding the immigration problem….¬†problem? Issue?? It was rather well attended by the left and the right… you know… ANTIFA and whatever flavour of proud Aryan you would care for (we’re not Nazi’s… we just think that an entire race should be wiped off the face of the planet and that would solve all problems)… rhetoric was spewed and of course, punches were thrown… but neither side threw the first one… everyone was a victim that day.

It wouldnt be fair to leave the left wing people out of this little rant… they bleat about free speech and acceptance, hiding behind the their own PC rhetoric to try and claim moral superiority because “we’re standing up for the underdogs”… standing up, starting fights, causing mayhem and basically being a nuisance… but as long as they can claim that moral high ground of course.

Just to be clear… both sides are ridiculous!

So yeah, I guess Australia is less Crocodile Dundee and more Mad Max after all huh?

What was the educated communities response to these kids being robbed at the bus stop? To pillory the two PSO’s and the next day… teenagers patrolling the station stopping anyone of African descent, with baseball bats.

The difference, people were applauding these kids! The same ones who would have a go about the gang problem, about all the weapons they apparently carry… they are applauding these kids like they would a man who robbed stage coaches and murdered people.

There are cries of “take back our streets”, “take back our country”, “we will no longer be afraid”… which is playing right into the hands of these right wing fucktards who see this as justification for starting shit for the sake of starting shit… but calling it a safety patrol!

If you have a look at recent events, where the entire community has been polarised by attacks on the public..

Jill Meagher –¬†raped and killed by a white guy who was out on bail and had a history of sexual assaults.
Eurydice Dixon –¬†raped and killed 900m from her house, once again… white guy.
Gargasoulas –¬†The guy was high on Ice, thought God told him to drive down the Bourke St mall, killing 10 and injuring many more. Not African.
Aiia Maasarwe –¬†Killed by a NOT AFRICAN guy who had a crush on her.

Lets go back further…

Martin Bryant –¬†The guy who shot up the town of Port Arthur in 1996… white as a sheet.
The Lindt Siege –¬†It was a Muslim guy sure… but a radicalised one, not Malik the guy who works in the next cubicle over. Same with the Somali guy shot in Bourke St recently… double points… Muslim, Western Suburbs and Radicalised!

As I said before, there has been a lot of stupidity from this community… Air BnB’s getting trashed, brazen shop lifting, riots…. but on the scale of 1 to Martin Bryant… it had less to do with ethnicity and more to do with gang mentality and entitlement.

So this is the problem as I see it… its all about escalation. People dont try and de-escalate issues anymore. If someone comes at you with their fists, you come back with a knife… they come back at you with a gun… you respond, they respond… no one seems to be able to take their licks anymore. You wanted to fight, you lost, move on. Sure, pride hurts… but who cares? In the grand scheme of things… isnt it just easier to be over and done with.

When I was attacked at the train station years ago, I did plead with them, I did apologise to them. I even told them I’d had a bad day, pointed out the security camera right above me. Nope, four on one. I could have fought back, probably would have taken a few down with me, but in the long run I would then have to live in fear of the reprisal. Next time, they’d probably pull that knife out they were carrying, and used to rob the kid at the next train station… or I could start carrying a weapon… however…

If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.

Thats the same with these kids who decided to patrol the train station after the robbery and assault. They were not there to protect, they wanted to get in peoples faces, they wanted to wave their bats around and feel like big men. They had become the thing they apparently stood against.

Batman was an uber rich playboy philanthropist vigilante. He didnt kill people, but he definintely put his share in hospital. Dont get me wrong, Batman is awesome! As a practical reality however… he is not. Vigilantism is nothing something that should be condoned. The Police, love em or hate em, are there to do a job. You might hate the “the jacks” but when your house gets broken into, your car stolen, your child assaulted… who you gonna expect to show up and do something about it?

In my capacity as an Emergency Services volunteer, we work along side the Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance service etc… and I’ve seen some pretty horrific stuff. I’ve carted murder victims out of streams, provided lighting at fatal car accidents, retrieved bodies from industrial accidents… this is not my every day… it is for them.

Same for the PSO’s… if you’re literally the first line of defence against idiots doing stupid stuff night in, night out… it takes a toll… but to have the audacity to question their competence and call for their sacking because they didnt want to escalate a situation that would have resulted in more injuries, maybe fatalities and consequences that would stay with you a lifetime…

Besides, you could always use your 15 seconds of fame to start a GoFundMe page to replace all the stuff that got stolen… oh wait… they did that.

Everyone has problems…

Ever wanted to live a problem free existence? Good luck with that. No matter where you go… what you do… life is filled with problems.

Want to rekindle your relationship with your partner, so you think.. Yeah, we will have a dedicated date night… where its just us and we can reconnect.

Sounds good in theory, but the PROBLEM is now you have to think of something to do each date night, make sure you have the money to go to dinner, or go bowling, to pay a baby sitter to look after the kids. On top of that, you need to be in the right headspace to enjoy this date night, and you have to come up with activities or things to do that dont totally suck and show how much you are committed.

I want to be absolutely jacked! I wanna be able to bounce a 20c piece off my abs!

The problem is that you will essentially need to find the time to work out, on top of all your other priorities, mixed with making sure you eat right… and that you dont lose motivation if things dont happen as quickly as you’d hope.

If you think about it, on a long enough timeline, everyone has money problems, relationship problems, work ¬†problems… life is inherently pretty shitty. Even those Insta-Famous douche bags have problems…

My problems are paying two mortgages whilst trying to sell a house, their problems might be that the kombucha they are drinking isnt ethically sourced. In their mind, my problem is probably on par with theirs.

The picture above is¬†Disappointment Panda,¬†Mark Manson’s answer to a superhero. He would go door to door dropping truth bombs on people… trying to get them to look at their problems in different ways.

I didnt draw the picture btw, I googled it… hover over it and you should get the link to the original artist and site.¬†

Good Problems vs Bad Problems

Take my point above having to pay two mortgages. Its killing me. I cant really afford it. I was hoping to have sold one of the houses by now. You might be thinking this is a veiled humblebrag about having two houses… I geniunely want to sell one of them so that I can set up my current or new house the way we want.

Now I could focus on the negative aspects of this situation:

  • Im broke pretty much three days after pay day.
  • I have to juggle my finances pretty heavily. I have to plan almost a month in advance.
  • I have to wear several failed direct debits because they fall out of sync.
  • I have to deal with the feeling that every week we have an open house, people come through to look but dont make offers to buy.
  • I moved further out for my new house, so whilst I still work in the city, I have a pretty long commute each day… and its not cheap!
  • The longer it sits empty, the lower I will have to go on the price to sell it.

In the past I would have taken the stress this generates and taken it out on my nearest and dearest. I would have been in a foul mood because I just cant seem to get on top of the financial dogpile, however lets look at the positives.

  • I have the house of my dreams now.
  • I live in a really good area that is up and coming.
  • I get to volunteer at an excellent Emergency Services unit.
  • We got a nicer house, on a bigger block that has everything we want.
  • Once we do sell the old house, we will have the money to finish it off the way we want… outdoor kitchens, new PC, Theatre Room etc.
  • We are not totally in over our heads, this is just a temporary set back.

I guess whilst the negative aspects do exist and I have to acknowledge that, that shouldnt be at the expense of the positive aspects. I knew going into this that it was a possibility and I prepared as much as I could for it.

You have to take responsibility for your problems…

Once you identify what the problem is… you can then get to work about solving it. Are you unhappy because you’re poor? Are you pissed off because your partner doesnt do the washing? Are you upset because your friends piked on you once again and you were really looking forward to catching up?

Lets look at the first thing, being poor. Define poor. Is the fact my workmates have stopped asking if I want to order anything because I take my lunch because I cant afford takeaway every day make me poor? Probably not cos I can still afford to eat.

Is that to say someone who is unemployed is poor because the Government only gives them a pittance to live on? Sure. But thats not the actual problem. They are relying on the Government for their hand out, rather than saying “I cant live on what they give me, I need to improve my situation”.

I need to tread carefully here because I could either sound elitist or dismissive of peoples geniune situation… poverty is a cycle and no one WANTS to be there, however it is just a problem that can be solved… if you want to take responsibility for it.

When I first started at the company I work for, there was this expectation that seniority meant advancement. You did your time and you got bumped up. Unfortunately thats not the way it actually works, politics and favourtism aside, competence and ability define your success, not the fact you’ve been there for the longest time.

I hated being on the phones, I hated working in debt collection, Id been doing it for way too long by the time I started at the company… and I had people whose only experience was customer service, trying to coach me on how to collect debt. I was SEVERELY PISSED OFF!. It felt like my only skill was calling people and convincing them to pay their bills, more specifically their bills to us first and then everyone second.

I also had a reputation as a bit of an IT whiz, simply cos I was extremely proficient with Microsoft Office and general PC troubleshooting. So I was offered an opportunity where I was well over my head, I fucked it up, but learnt what I had to do not to fuck it up in the future.

I taught myself to code. I was pretty bad at it to begin with. I had no idea what I was doing… but as they say… to a sufficiently primitive species, science looks like magic. This got me promoted into a support area of the team where I re-wrote many of the automated procedures. 15 years later Im still there, albeit working on large scale multi-department high criticality systems and process re-engineering. Yay me… whatever.

Point Im trying to make is that someone I worked with was complaining about how they had been there for 10 years in the same role and there was never a chance to get promoted. I told them that you cant wait for opportunities, you need to make your own. Doesnt have to be anything fancy… just ask to step up for a day, take on the role to see if you like it. Next time a senior goes on leave, they’ll probably give you the relief role.

That was too hard. Why do the work with none of the reward.

They left the organisation about six months later to start an online business. I havent heard from them since. The rumour was that we had to call them to collect a debt.

So the whole problem with being poor. Sure its easy for someone like me who hasnt known real poverty to say “Just do something about it”. I have been poor and heavily in debt. I got a second job working nights in a restaurant for cash in hand. It took me nearly 18 months until I was back on my feet again. I took responsibility for the shitty situation I found myself in and found a way out. It wasnt luck, it wasnt because Im white, it wasnt because I come from a pretty solid middle class background. No one hunted me down to offer me the job. I had to get off my ass and do something about it.

I challenge others to do the same. When life hands you lemons, grab some tequila and salt, slam those fuckers down and get to working out what it would take to get out of this predicament. Take responsibility for fixing the shitty situation rather than wallowing in it.

The example Manson uses in his book is finding a baby on your doorstep, you didnt ask for it, but its currently your problem to deal with, whether you ignore it or do something about it is on you. That is also to say that any outcomes are also on you.

Gretzky says that you miss 100% of the shots you dont take, which is true… just because you want to solve the problem doesnt mean you’ll get it right the first time. It might take several attempts to get to where you want to be. However, as I’ve said before… the joy isnt in the destination, its in the journey... the simple act of doing something about it will instantly make you feel better.

Notice I didnt say “trying to do something about it”… trying implies you’ve given up. Doing implies its still a work in progress.

You are taking responsibility for your problems and you’re taking active steps to address it. Its your problem to solve. When you achieve your goal, solve your problem, get to where you want to be… dont even think the journey stops there!

Todays solutions drive tomorrows problems…

But while y’all washin’, watch him
He gon’ make it to a Benz out of that Datsun
He got that ambition, baby, look at his eyes
This week he moppin’ floors, next week it’s the fries
So stick by his side
I know there’s dudes ballin’, and yeah, that’s nice
And they gonna keep callin’ and tryin’, but you stay right, girl
And when you get on, he’ll leave yo’ ass for a white girl

Gold Digger – Kanye West

I know… shitty song to demonstrate the point Im trying to make.. but think about this… you solve your problem. In the case of the song, its a woman who wants to find a rich guy to string along to finance her lifestyle.

Todays solution: Find a soon to be rich dude and youre life is set.
Tomorrows problem: That rich dude can now do better than you and he drops your ass.

The problem that the lady would need to solve is how to remain important and relevant to her guy so that he doesnt feel the need to cast her aside like an unwanted possession. I mean, its pretty clear she was only in it for the money… end result… he still has money but she doesnt have what he wants…

In a more abstract sense… consider this… what is the number one problem youd like to solve.. right now… first thing that comes to mind.

Consider what it would take to solve that problem…

Now… consider what problems arise from that solution.

How would you solve for those? Do you need to solve for those?

Are you prepared to weather the sacrifice and pain to achieve that solution.

Case in point… about six months ago, I was diagnosed with non insulin dependant diabetes. I was sweating like a pig, drinking water like no ones business… this meant I had to go to the toilet alot, it also meant I sweated alot. My diet, for the want of a better word was atrocious. I had just about given up and resigned myself to a pretty shitty situation. I was stressed out, angry, pissed off… I was not a happy camper.

I kinda suspected I had diabetes because I was showing all the symptoms, even though previous tests had come back negative. I went in, did my blood test. Within two days I got called personally to make an appointment, not the usual email or text message… it was MAKE AN APPOINTMENT URGENTLY. So I did.

I had the diabeetus! TLDR on this, your blood sugar is supposed to be below 6 mmol. I was 24. I was pretty much permenantly hyperglycaemic. Rather than just stick me on insulin, the doc decided to wait and see what happened with medication because it was an insane jump inside of 12 months.

My choices were to accept this reality and do something about it, or ignore it and it gets worse but I dont have to deal with my new responsibilities.

Of course, I finally had the kick up the butt to improve my diet. I told my wife and she went into full planning mode. We were looking up recipes for what I could and couldnt eat. No more takeway was the first step. I was fine with it, but it also meant I would have to cook more often, which would mean I would have to meal prep more often, which would mean I would have to shop more often. This was all on top of everything else I had going on at the time.

I dutifully went to the diabetic nurse and got my monitor and signed up for the NDSS. I listened to what she had to say. I relayed all the information to my wife because if nothing else, she makes an excellent gatekeeper.. she will keep me honest. Every few months I go see the Diabetes Educator, and we review my progress. Im supposed to be keeping a food diary… but yeah, Im not always making good choices.

My problem is that I had the diabeetus… my solution was to improve my diet… my new problem was that I had to improve my diet! Im incredibly time poor, I mean just in the sense that I usually dont get home till 7pm and I do the majority of the cooking. I’ve still had days where I’ve eaten fast food… only because its the last possible option, or I genuinely dont give a shit. Over the Christmas break, this happened a bit, but once I recognised it was happening… back to the diet and being good.

However, combined with all the exercise I get moving between houses… I’ve lost a bit of weight. Ive also been able to fit into clothes that havent fit me for years. My goal is to get my waist measurement under a metre… at this point its 106cm… it used to be 117. Thats since October last year. Im not using my weight as a metric at this point because Im built like a rugby player… and muscle weighs more than fat.

Essentially I am just focussing on the positive aspects of my problem. Diets are a pain in the ass because it takes longer to do things, like rolled oats instead of instant porridge… shop for, then cook a dinner rather than buying take away.

Ive taken responsbility for my problem and solving it, by sticking to my diet as much as possible, regularly checking my bloods, keeping the damn food diary… when I fill it in…, Im looking to start group exercise in the next month and so on. This is what you would consider a “good problem”. Its one Im willing to endure and work on.

So think about what your current problems are… how can you take responsibility for them, and to what point are you willing to do something about it?