Daily Blog #6

All we need is love.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney alluded to the most powerful force on earth in 1967 with their hit “All You Need Is Love”. Their song resonated with 400 million people worldwide that day and will forever be heard on music streaming channels such as Apple, Spotify and Pandora. For good reason too, the song has great vocals, and a catchy tune that delivers a message that is easy to get behind. It also came out during a movement of world peace which is a wonderful idealistic aspiration. But is it realistic or is love misinterpreted by many? Is love as fuzzy and warm as we think or is there a darkness that comes with it?

When nature is in perfect harmony death and life remain in balance. Many of us say we don’t want war, but the truth is that war rages every day in many forms. If there was no war, moments of peace would not be as precious as they are. There is no “happily ever after” in life, as pessimistic as that sounds. As long as there is another human on the planet there will always be conflicting ideas and motives. Mahatma Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see in the world” and he’s right. But how easy is it to do good all the time? That itself is a fight to not succumb to your emotions and temptations, so does that mean love is war?

A good friend of mine who has contributed a great deal in the field of psychology for 50+ years asked me the question “What is love?” to which I fumbled some answer “it’s a feeling you get when blah blah blah” or something like that. His response was “It’s a great investment of energy and time into something or someone you feel strongly for”. Most of us can agree with his definition. To me his words are what make the Beatles’ hippie anthem so profound, we all need love. Love is the most powerful force. Everything great in the world is a product of love… Great music, great food, achieving excellence, overcoming adversity, our family, our freedom. Even war. Although often mistaken for affection, love can be dark, love can be discipline, love can be death.. Many of us like to perceive it as roses and rainbows but love in its pure form, like nature, can be ugly. It is struggle, it is sacrifice, it is blood, it is pain. True love will only be discovered through hardship. So embrace love, feel love, give love. Love is where you are.

Daily blog #5

The skill we are all missing…

Have you ever met a person who can’t get off the topic of themselves? You probably don’t have a good feeling associated with their name, in fact you likely don’t enjoy being around them. Upon meeting they dive straight into the details of their lives and what is important to them, completely tuning you out. If you behave this way on a first date it’s safe to say there won’t be a next. The truth is we all know someone like this, and it may even be you.

There’s an old saying “walk a mile in his shoes”. If it’s not already clear to you it means that we should try to understand someone before criticizing or judging them. A common example of this in my field would be someone showing up late for their Jiu Jitsu class. I’ve made the mistake of punishing someone with push ups only to find out they were late because they lost their aunt and the funeral ran late. Imagine how terrible you would feel! This could have been avoided if I were to try and get some information about my student and why they were late. Another example is labelling a person as racist because they aren’t joining you in a protest or taking the fight to their social media. Without complete confirmation, you are you likely making the classic mistake that I and so many others have made of assuming you know what you’re talking about. In Scott Adams’ book Loserthink you will discover that humans oftentimes don’t know what they are talking about and are rarely right. Our desire to be right comes from the “fear of the unknown” which causes us to try and close the gap between unsure and sure. This can be great for urging us to solve problems but it can also make us seem like a fool at times.

The reason this is important for you to know is that life is made up of relationships. In business, in work, in career and in love life. If you are not trying to develop empathy, even towards those with opposing views, you will eventually become trapped in a bubble of people with the same view as you. A less than ideal learning environment. So before you start pointing the finger, try to understand why people make the decisions they do. Is there something you can change, is there something you can do for them, do they understand something that you don’t? These are the questions that should be taking up your mental space if you are trying to climb life’s ladder. I can honestly say as soon as I started to apply this way of thinking my life almost instantly became richer and so will yours. You will have better and more meaningful relationships which will result in a happier, more fulfilling life.

Daily blog #4

Learning Courage from the White Belt

In the world of Jiu Jitsu you will find countless stories of empowerment from bullied kids to women who have been assaulted and OG’s (older men) and everything in between. Yet as proven as Jiu Jitsu is as a martial art in the highest levels of combat (UFC) to your average person defending themselves on the street, few take the first step of showing up for their first lesson.

As an instructor, I admire those who choose to take their first lesson. Not only do I make them aware of that fact but I make it my duty to treat them like a king or queen because of the fear they overcame to show up. Really. For someone with no martial arts background who is not in great physical shape, to walk into a stranger’s academy and take a lesson is a complete demonstration of courage. That person is a true warrior who I have endless respect for. I know many seasoned practitioners who wouldn’t do that and not only because their senseis don’t allow them to go to other schools. There is also an endless amount of buff, tattooed young guys who you think would be there in a heartbeat but no. It’s your mom with three kids who works a full time job or your 60 year old property manager or teacher who not only goes to their first lesson but keeps coming back for more, as hungry as a Doberman locked up for days.

When you start to see the “tough guys” are actually the ones who won’t show up for their first lesson but if they do are most likely to quit, you may reconsider what courage is and see it within yourself. I firmly believe anyone at any point in time is capable of improving their lives in some way from the homeless guy under the bridge to Tony Robbins or Donald Trump. But your actions will start with courage, courage you have that you may not have recognized until you realize how much farther you can go than the “tough guy”. You never know when one single idea or experience can completely change your view or life course so I encourage you, take your first Jiu Jitsu lesson and cheers to you having the courage to do it!

Daily Blog #3

Riots and Martial Arts

Riots… Not actions of warriors but of the weak. Rioters are akin to the one year old who cries and throws their toys on the floor to get your attention. Although the one year old lacks the cowardice of the rioter. Their actions are impulsive and instinctive, “I need this problem solved!”, they cry. The rioter only acts strong in large numbers. Alone, the rioter will tremble at the knees like a frightened puppy because there is little depth or substance beneath the surface. No values, no morals, no code and worst of all no heart. An empty vessel.

Had the rioter been trained in Martial Arts from a young age things might have been different. They might know what is honorable and what is not, what is an act of strength and courage and what is not. If the rioter were a Martial Artist they might have the skills to uphold their values and protect what they is right. Instead they succumb to weakness.

Martial artists are familiar with the Japanese term “Bu-shi-do”. Bushido translates to “the warrior’s way”, the code by which the Martial Artist lives. The essence of Bushido is to die. When faced with life or death, the samurai must learn to choose death. Self-sacrifice over personal gain. A hard way of life that requires constant practice and discipline. Such is the way of the warrior.

Daily blog #2

A Leap of Faith

Many things involve a leap of faith. Some things we may regret but most we will simply go on with life and even hold fond memories. That time you got the courage to go ask your now significant other out on a date. The time you applied for that job and are now a huge part of the company. Or even the nerves you get performing in front of thousands of people as an artist or a public speaker, yet you move and influence millions of people worldwide.

I have a suggestion. It is that you use your nerves as a compass and follow it. Some of the best things in life will come from that phone call or conversation you wanted to put off. In nature we had to deal with the unknown daily and it made us highly adaptive as a result. Understand what is at stake if you do or don’t do what it is that you want to avoid. Program yourself to make the decision that makes you grow the most.

Daily Blog #1

 “I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others.” So simply stated is this verse in the  Napoleon Hill classic, Think and Grow Rich. I’m not a religious person but I have read the Bible and there’s a verse, or part of one that has always stuck with me. It goes “give and it shall be given you”. Although vague we can agree it’s pretty simple. Many of us will even recognize its validity, yet most of us struggle when it comes to action.  

My observation, mostly through my own experiences, is that we are held back by self obsession. We feel that we deserve to be applauded or encouraged for the things we do. But ask yourself, does a plummer expect to be congratulated for his work or is he just doing his job?

By choosing to dwell on how we are being affected by our actions (such as writing a blog or vlog) we hold back and miss opportunities to positively impact others. If you acknowledge this (maybe you already did) you’re a step ahead.

Recognition is the first step, how else do you expect to fight it? Self awareness, self acknowledgment, acceptance however you may phrase it, is the first battle. We must own it if we plan to do anything about it. 

The next step is to design a plan that corresponds with the specific outcome we desire, whether it’s money or great experiences. I choose the latter. 

The final step is action. The good news is that power is yours. You are as much the problem as the solution. By doing more for others, the more you will attract those like you. Over time you will develop relationships with people who will want your success almost as much as you do. The only thing stopping you will be the daily battle with your good ol’ pal from Day 1. Self obsession. A good exercise can be to ask yourself daily. What did I do selfishly and what did I do selflessly? If the “selfish” list is longer you know what you need to do. Selfish deeds are necessary for survival and general well being but we must not let it consume us.

Cyberbullying is a myth

“There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so” – William Shakespeare

Let me start by saying, if you get your feelings hurt easily stop reading and return to the safety of your bubble where all your ideas are correct. I’m going to keep it real because I feel so strongly on this topic and I believe it will be beneficial in combatting what gives life to cyber-bullying. Now, I empathize tremendously with people who live their lives enduring psychological and emotional abuse.. It is not my intention to put them down or reduce their pain and their struggles. However, we can all agree that feeling sorry for them will not help them. They need a source of strength and it will not come from being babied or “felt sorry for”. In fact, quite the opposite. My goal in writing this is to direct you to a community of strong people, wherever you are. Or join mine at www.teamhargett.com or www.ribeirojiujitsulaquinta.com

The reason I feel I understand those being bullied comes from the reason I was drawn to Martial Arts (admittedly not %100 true because it seemed awesome and fun to throw spinning kicks and take out 20 bad guys). But, it was also an answer to the vulnerability and struggle I felt as a kid. My intention is also not to put any of the blame on those being bullied, but to share some perspective that may help them or their caretakers. I will however, ask that you hold yourself accountable to your part in the situation.

First, I hate being in a meeting where someone can only point out problems while offering zero solutions. And that is what most people do when it comes to cyber-bullying. They point out how wrong it is, how the internet is bad, they can’t believe it.. Blah blah blah. There are many ways to deal with these types of situations if you focus on the outcomes you want to create instead of focusing on the problems themselves. Dwelling on those things is a way of living in the past. Here are my suggestions:

1. Take a break from social media. You won’t die, life will go on, you can re-enter when your life is together. Use the internet purposefully while knowing that you can create happiness outside of it. Like any skill you may just not be good at it yet.

2. Learn not to be so sensitive. Understand that there will always be douchebags in life so deal with it, work on yourself and know that your time is coming and so is theirs.. Life has a funny way of giving us what we deserve. So good luck to the a**holes out there (huge thumbs up). They’ll probably be your valet in a decade if you play your cards right.

3. Enroll in Martial Arts, and not the BS ones where you dance around and get a black belt at age 12 but one where you learn how to control an aggressive person (such as Jiu Jitsu) and one that develops your mind and body also. The beauty of Jiu Jitsu is it can be highly effective without you having to throw a single punch. This will be important too if any real bullying is to take place. You can effectively neutralize someone larger and avoid any legal troubles in school or outside of school. I am happy to advise you on selecting a great school.

4. Screenshot this a-hole’s conversation with you and put it on the internet (girls I’m talking about you too, actually there’s a better word for you that I won’t leave here since this will stay here forever but really), your local news agency probably has a twitter or Instagram. Maybe they’ll get behind your story. Put this ding dong’s stuff all over the internet. Someone may listen. And when they come to you and ask how you could do that, tell them they shouldn’t be so stupid and to watch what they say.. You don’t have to do the last part but it is the truth. If it comes to this point, you can’t be concerned with what other people think. You need to teach them why adults don’t get away with this sort of rude and unnecessary behavior. If you don’t believe this to be the case, ask Antonio Brown.

5. Understand that their projections towards you are their weakness. Strong and confident people bring others up, weak people put them down. No matter how popular they are or how strong they look, they are little punk bitches and those are big facts.

6. Talk to them. Why do they feel the need to treat you wrongly? Is there a misunderstanding? What did you do to them? If you can’t talk it out, don’t waste your time thinking about this person. Maybe they don’t realize the effect their actions are having. But don’t sit there and speculate. Find out. Use words, but avoid getting emotional.

7. Talk to the parent of this person. Have a conversation, maybe they’re reasonable, maybe not. Maybe they’re blind to it all and so is the kid.  Maybe your parent/guardian is the better person for this. The optimistic side of me wants to believe there is a nice part in every person just as much there is a dark side but you won’t know until you find out. 

8. Do things that build your confidence. Don’t be cooped up in your room ruled by your electronic devices. Build some shit, get good at push ups, learn a skill. Start developing habits that make you feel valuable. Even if they don’t now, they will.

9. Find better friends. Or find friends in general, go to a church group, the ymca, volunteer somewhere. Or don’t have friends at all. Focus on what you like and get good at that. Your true friends are the ones that like you for who you are and see something special in you. It’s possible that right now you don’t have those people around you or you have some work to do but if you believe everything is out of your control then it almost certainly is. 

Second, a lot of this is brought on by a culture and society that applauds being weak. Where else would the motivation to become a better version of yourself come from if people didn’t pick on you or make fun of you. You’re supposed to learn how to deal with it, and if you don’t I got news for you. The real world is going to be even worse. This “problem” has to do with the fact that we are not teaching the importance of being strong, and if we are, many of us are not leading by example. Even if the other person is wrong in the way they treat you, there are still valuable lessons you can take from it and grow from.

Finally, we need our focus to be on what is truly important in our own lives for us to have a better life. Education, health, working hard, learning to be tough and being good to others. Things become much simpler once we block out all the noise from the BS we have going on around us. If you are doing what matters and doing it well, your time will come. You have everything you need. Greek philosopher Marcus Aurelius said “If it’s endurable, endure it. Stop complaining.”. Know that you will have to work hard and suffer like every human that advanced civilization. Or you can sit there and talk about how you were a victim and you were wronged while going nowhere. I completely empathize with those who are struggling, it’s going to suck, it’s going to be hard, you may hurt, you may cry, you may feel like nobody cares about you and maybe that’s the case at this moment but you can improve your situation. Don’t expect anyone to make your life better or easier for you. Instead, focus on developing yourself, look to people you admire and follow their lead, unfortunately that person won’t always be a parent. I want to end by saying that this is %100 in your control and if you don’t think so, you are right. Thanks for reading this, if you know anyone who needs to read this, please send it to them so we can stop seeing cyber-bullying ads which does nothing for the person being bullied. Seriously, let’s keep this word from ending up in a future dictionary. We don’t need awareness, we need stronger humans who are going to help others and it starts with you.

To utilize the power of the mind, you must exclude your mind from the world. -Wim Hof

Pain, fear and change.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins

Have you ever had salt in a wound? That Canker Sore in your mouth you feel every time you go to take a bite of something. Ouch! The remedy? You grab a finger full of salt and dab that sucker. It hurts… Bad. But, after doing that a few times it becomes tolerable or disappears. Isn’t that how we receive most positive changes? For an alcoholic to quit drinking, an unhealthy person to change their lifestyle, for a beginner to walk into a Jiu Jitsu school for the first time, the task at hand can seem like climbing Mount Everest.. Grueling.. Hard. Impossible. You wonder why you are putting yourself through this. But only because you can’t see the breathtaking view from the bottom of the mountain. So if we know it’s good for us, why don’t we do it? The obvious answer is pain, the underlying answer is change, we don’t like it.

If change makes you nervous, it should. This is a protective mechanism for survival to make us aware of changes in our environment. This is “supernecessary”, as UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal says, but unhealthy if we allow it to rule our decision making. In the book “The Gift of Fear”, Gavin de Becker highlights the importance of fear and it’s necessity in our interest of survival. Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain much like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again, so we avoid it whenever we can.

We also fear change because we fear that we might lose what’s associated with that change. An example may be losing our feeling of comfort at the cost of asking a girl on a date in order to win her affection. Another way to say this is “fear of failure”. Research shows that gamblers who are having a losing day are most likely to bet the long shots. This demonstrates how our aversion to loss can cause logic to fly out the window.

Understand it is natural to have fear, we all have it, and having a healthy amount of it will ensure you make better decisions. My dad never laid hands on me but I always had a healthy fear of him which caused me to behave (most of the time). Kids who don’t have fear are a danger to themselves and potentially others or they are just downright spoiled brats. Fear can be good. Change can also be good. Pain can too. Below I will list four things I’ve studied that may help you understand how to deal with pain, fear and change.

  1. Purpose

Having a “why”  may be our biggest influence when it comes to decision making. For example: You want to get stronger so you can attract a mate but you have never been to the gym. Your “why” is what will get you past the uncomfortable stage of entering a new environment like the gym, assuming your desire is strong enough.

2. Accomplishment

You must believe you can change. Studies show that about half of the people who struggle from fear of change simply believe they won’t be able to. This is why it’s important to win battles daily big or small (get up early, make your bed, exercise, apply for a job/keep your job/get a promotion) . A big part of your ability to do new things is your past successes.

3. Clarity

If we are clear on why the change is happening, we are less likely to view it as an error or something that is happening to us. Unhappy people fear change, while happy people create positive change. Don’t victimize yourself. If you don’t believe you are the creator of your circumstance, true or not you, have lost all hope. An example would be you know it is going to “hurt” to accomplish your goal of 100 push ups. Because the burning in your muscles won’t come as a surprise to you, you are more likely to accomplish your goal and endure the pain to make the change.

4. Core

One thing that will remain is your core, your principles, your values. It is more likely the change will add to your character and strengthen who you are than take from it. Change is capable of affecting external things but rarely the internal. Example: You want to move and take this job but are worried you won’t like it and won’t find new friends or fit in. If that turns out to be true and you hate it, you will still be who you are plus the lessons and experience. Control what you can control, yourself.

Understandably, things like pain, fear and change are not so easy to overcome. After all, the best artists in the world still have stage fright before a big show. But they endure the pain of change and overcome their fear of public humiliation because they crave the end result. By becoming aware of our aversion to the pain of change we can learn to endure many of life’s struggles that will ultimately lead to our happiness and fulfillment.

“If it is endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.” -Marcus Aurelius

Minimalism.. The answer to COVID Part 2/2

In the last post we left off in the middle of the five quintessential needs for basic human survival. Below are the following three, enjoy!

Food –  How we fuel ourselves will not only directly affect our performance but the way we feel. Sure, we all love a decadent cheat meal ever so often but the reward of a delicious treat is even better after a day of fasting or a week of exercising discipline and good choices. If your diet resembles that of a hotdog eating contestant in addition to sugary drinks, chances are you won’t feel great. Physically and pyschologically. For many of us, it comes down to discipline and cutting out the unnecessary stuff. For those who struggle or have more specialized needs, I will defer you to www.teamhargett.com My sister in law Amy is a nutrition coach and has had a great deal of success with a wide variety of people including myself.

Exercise – Done correctly this will be one of the most valuable skillsets you will ever add. But you must never forget, training is a skill and skills are developed over time and if we stop using them, they will fade. When I talk about exercise I am not talking about being able to spaz your way through a set of some nonsense exercise which serves no purpose than to fatigue you. I am referring to the skills of being able to move well in a variety of ways as we were designed and move well I should say. Skills must be constantly evolving, you don’t ever “learn computers” it is a lifelong practice. If it seems daunting, I will say this “keep it simple” and start with a routine. Block out 15 minutes to move and get a light sweat daily. If you need more direction you can get started on the same Team Hargett website. If you have pain, contact them and they will get you on the right path. If you stay consistent and aim to make small improvements daily, just like a good investment, you will be amazed at what you accrue over a number of years.

Sleep –  The most powerful healing tool you are born with that can cure both physical and psychological needs. It used to be more rare to meet people who had trouble sleeping, now it seems there is an ever growing population of sleep-dysfunctional kids. The answer is simple for most. Have a schedule. Your body operates on what is called a “circadian rythym”, all that is important to know is that you have a routine that your body can become accustomed to. The military has figured this out very well. You get up when they tell you to, not when you want to. And after a hard day of work, you’ll be pooped and want to crash. I have to laugh when people tell me “I’m not a morning person” because neither was I. You are more powerful than you know, all it takes is a plan and steps towards your goal, no matter how small or how slow, as long as you are moving you are following the plan. I understand this is not the solution to everything but I think many of us can agree it’s a great place to start and can remove a lot of unnecessary stresses from our lives.

Minimalism.. The answer to COVID Part 1/2

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

Everyone deserves to know how to live a minimal life… Our needs as humans tend to be very simple. Being able to break away from the ever-growing noise and distraction can be a breath of fresh air. Billionaire and inventor Elon Musk recently announced he is selling all his belongings to the point of owning no home. Why a billionaire would do that is unbeknownst to many, yet one reason he did quote on the Joe Rogan podcast was that his possessions could not be used against him. Yes, our possessions can be used against us. They can cost us energy, they can cause us to worry and stress. In as stressful a time as now, due to COVID-19, they can distract us from the fact that our needs are very simple and by learning to live a minimal life, we are able to focus on what truly matters. Now this can also be interpreted in a familial and relationship sense but what I am referring to is your health and vitality as nature intended. You will hear me reference nature because I see a world where people are becoming more and more disconnected from who we are as humans. It is truly sad to see. For many of us, our happiness lies truly in front of our eyes yet we allow material things and how many followers we have on Instagram to blind us from what is important. In this post and the following, I will cover 5 quintessential needs, not in too much depth (it is up to you to practice and understand them) for the sake of keeping it simple and highlighting the basics. In this blog we’ll start with the first two.

Air – Our first exercise and our last, the element we can go the least amount of time without. Not only is it essential for our life and overall health but studies have shown that not intaking adequate amounts of oxygen, compounded over time, can diminish memory performance and induce emotional liability as well as result in motor impairments. Basically, proper breathing is something worth learning about about and practicing. See if you notice times when you hold your breath or tense up throughout the day. That is why many successful people will advocate a breathing routine to have clearer thinking and reduce stress. As my Jiu Jitsu sensei Saulo Ribeiro says “if you don’t breathe, you die”, scientific fact and it is true whether it is quickly or slowly.

Water – The next element that we can go the least amount of time without. There is not a definite recommended amount (the 8 glasses a day is BS) but it’s definitely something to start tracking. The right amount if you are active is oftentimes more than you want to drink. I myself at 170 lbs bodyweight aim for 256 oz (2 gallons) daily. The trade off is most certainly more bathroom trips than you desire and it can be difficult to implement when travelling long distances but this should be your second priority upon waking. Also, keep in mind that other beverages (sodas, caffeine, alcohol) dehydrate you so when you drink them you need to drink even more water! The good news is when you have a daily goal you will find it much hard to drink the other crap. Assuming your goal is more than 8 glasses of course, and if it isn’t don’t feel bad. I know people who drink one glass and are in their 50’s! Can you imagine? On a serious note I knew a basketball player that developed a kidney condition due to improper hydration and strenuous training. He was rushed to the hospital during a basketball practice. Fortunately, most of us do not have such extreme physical demands but if you were in a shipwreck and got stranded on an island, we could agree that water would be your number one resource for survival.