Practice is Muscle Memory.

Music is muscle memory. Singing is muscle memory. Playing the guitar is muscle memory. Anybody who has played an instrument for a while knows that when you practice a piece of music slowly and correctly, you are gaining the ability to reproduce this music correctly.
Once you can reproduce something correctly, you can now speed it up, slow it down, change it, whatever: because the fundamental structure is now a part of you, and you have full control over it’s reproduction.

An easy mistake it is to confuse speed with correctness. Most people when they tend to practice will do something fast, with much effort, and seemingly complete it. However it only takes a simple test in action, or someone with an intuitive understanding of the true principles to watch this practice come crashing down. Like a skyscraper, if you have not carefully laid the foundations meticulously and consciously, then the rest is going to suffer all the more for it.

This applies to any practice: Martial arts, Movement, IT, anything.

Something to ponder in your own life: Where in your life is your integrity suffering because of shaky foundations? And what could you do consciously, and meticulously to fix this?

  • When it comes to the foundations: Principles and then Details are key.

-Ben

If you liked this post, check this one out also! Much love.

Book of the Day #6: The Art of War

IMG_0481.jpgA book recommendation list couldn’t go all the way through without giving due reference at least one of the ancient Chinese classics.

Many of you may have heard of the Art of War, and maybe have a vague idea of what it’s about. But for those of you who don’t, here is a little description on it:

Written by Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese general in the Ming dynasty for his army: this book contains his strategies of war, as informed by the Ancient Taoist philosophy of yin and yang (up and down, left and right ect), and the Law of Mutual arising.

This book is a treatise for those who have an enemy that will not back down. As the book states in the beginning: ‘The best way to win a war is to avoid it at all costs. However, when the enemy will not back down, you must finish it quickly and with the force of 100 boulders.’

The book covers such topics as, battle tactics, encampment, invading enemy territory, espionage, formation and much more.

Although these tactics were inferred for the generals of armies actually going to war, these tactics are surprisingly universal in their law. They touch much of the laws governing our psyche and the universe itself, drawing upon ancient taoist philosophies of balance, mutual arising, and knowledge through no-knowledge.


-Ben

Watch out for the next book of the day. Here’s the last book recommendation 

Book of the day #2: Stuffocation

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From the mind of James Wallman: A strangely endearing book filled with anecdotes covering cultural materialism, the different social reactions against it, and the true solution to our obsession with things: The ‘Experience Revolution’.

Many of us are accumulators not of experience, but of things. This book touches on the way that we as a culture in the west, tend to lean towards this tendency in order to keep up with the Jones’s. Our intuitive disgust as to this state of affairs includes: ultra-hording, minimalism, isolationism, middle-wayism (okay I’m making this up now but you get the point) in order to beat the Jones’s in a game of underground social warfare, ie: We’re more humble than you are.

Wallman explains how we got to this point via the ethos of the industrial revolution post world wars. He proposes a convincing and eloquently stated argument as to how, through social advertising and formal education, we have been conditioned to horde things and work in factories (to create more things). These things have become the currency by which we regard our personal and social value in relation to others.
It turns out that this setup is economically profitable for people in power… ?!

There are also a few Economic lessons in this book including the ’S’ curve that are very interesting to read. I’d recommend the chapter explaining ‘How we got here.’

One need not read it cover to cover, although I did, a single anecdote from each chapter would suffice. This book is important because it shows us ourselves from a perspective that we have felt ill of intuitively, but may not have considered to it’s full extent.

In this day and age of things, this is an important book to have on your shelf and a valuable gift to others.
Since I read this book in 2014, it has been an undercurrent in my shifting world view that has been a true blessing and a truly positive influence on my life, which is truly all that I could ask for from a book of this kind.


-Ben

Watched out for the next book of the day! Here’s the last book recommendation.

Putting Information into Practice. Information Wounds and Remedies.

For those of us who read many books and are curious about many things. There becomes a point at which there is so much information in our heads that we do not know where to start. Sometimes we lose sight of where to go, but we have so many ways to approach it! Whatever it is!

Obviously the first and most important trick here is to understand where you are trying to get to. If you do not have a vision of place, then you are purely wandering.
Once you understand this, you are faced with a multitude of options as to how to be getting there.

The first thing that I and many others have done, logically, is to read as much around the topic as possible. For it comes logically that the more one knows about the subject, the more one will know as to how to approach it; however this is rarely the case. For what happens is that now that you believe that you know so much about the subject, there are so many entry points and things to do (all of which could possibly go wrong) that you are now paralysed as to where to begin. You have shot yourself in the foot with information, and are now immobile.

The longer you leave this information wound, the longer it festers and becomes infected. As with any infection, the first thing to do is to wash it and attempt to disinfect it. The way of doing this in regards to information is to order it. Write down the key points and principles regarding what you have learned, and compare these principles to the goals that you are trying to achieve, the place that you are trying to get to. Now in awareness the incongruence between the two you have a path.
The next thing to do is to put one step in front of the other and move towards it. This is going to take the use of your full faculties, body included. One needs to understand which steps to take in which order, and then put one foot in front of the other. This is the way of moving towards a destination without getting your feet tangled or lost along the way. Write down a step-by-step, actionable list, and apply yourself to each of the steps with true focus and application.

If the information wound becomes truly and irreversibly effective, the fastest way of becoming mobile again, so that the infection does not spread into other areas of your life is to cut of the information for good. Once you have done this, you may start over, or you may decide to begin walking again, without a map, but yet with a sense of direction purpose under your belt. No worries your foot will grow back, this is merely a hypothetical blog post. Cutting off a part of that which you are attached to is sometimes the only way to free you up, in order that something new and fresh can fill the empty vacuum.

Tend to your information wounds, stay vigilant of infection, and most of all take action towards your destination. Nobody ever got to any place merely by thinking about it.  An awareness of balance is necessary in order to stay upright.

‘Information is not knowledge.’ -Albert Einstein


-Ben

If you liked this post then do check this out also. Bless.

Photography by eberhard grossteiger

Is it that can’t you do it, or is it Laziness? Living at your edge.

Is it that you really can’t do it, or is it just laziness?

The answer to this question is: Are you living at your edge? If you are not living at your edge, then straight up the answer is yes, it is laziness. Obviously first, what is an edge?!

Your edge is the edge of your abilities. It is the full amount that you can give at any given moment to the world, in order to move towards your life’s purpose.
Everyone should know there edge. Once one really knows their edge, they can honour it. Only then can you be honest about it to yourself, and to others.

Few people really know their edge. They think they know their edge. They faked it to themselves when it got hard, and over time this faking became habitual. Now they are living way inside their limits and think that they are not capable of breaking beyond this. Yet they hope that one day they can. This is a clear indicator of not living at one’s edge.

Truly, few people are even willing to experiment with living at their edge for just a few days. THIS is why most people are shrinking or growing at a sub-optimal capacity. A closed mind is a shrinking mind.

Your edge is found in the now. At any given moment. Are you doing all that you can do now to give your gifts right in this moment? If the answer is no, then you are not at your edge. That’s fine! No biggie. Not everyone’s up to this kind of challenge. Some people just want to enjoy their lives and be good at what they do… But if you want to be great, then you have got to find your edge man!

Are you rationalising why you can’t do it? Or are you thinking about what the best thing to do would be in a world without fear? This is the difference between the coward and the warrior. A disabled man with mental health difficulties can be more of a warrior than the rich corporate banker. Your edge is only relative to your own potential in the now. A warrior always lives at his edge. A warrior goes to battle because he knows that it is his purpose to give his gifts and protect his people.

If you are living at your edge, if you are a warrior, then you will know that living at your edge involves taking care of yourself in order that you can operate at your highest capacity. There is no point grinding and living at your edge, doing everything that you can do in order to give your gifts to the world if you are only going to burn out in a week’s time! This is not the way to become the strongest you.
The truth is that looking after yourself takes effort.

The trap that most people that begin on their journey towards their own edges fall into the trap of only grinding and working, or even only looking after yourself, because both require equal discipline and effort! I see this all the time.

To do both… now that is a challenge for the individual willing to life their life to the full. To make themselves as great as they can be. To give their flipping gifts fully – No gift left un-given. And this means that you have to cultivate you, otherwise you will run out of life in you. This is not ideal for anyone.

This is basic Yin and Yang stuff. There is a time for work, and a time for rest. Balance is key.

So if you do have a clear vision as to what you want, and are truly willing to condition yourself to give your fullest gifts in the moment, both sides of the spectrum will become clear. You will acquire an enhanced ability to discern. Right from wrong, worth from un-worth, strength from weakness.

You are capable of so much more than you think. You’ve got to be willing to feel the fear, and feel the pain and do it anyway. When you have a higher purpose that is so much more important than a little sweat and tears, that challenge is what makes it so exciting. And in that moment, that’s what makes you great.

Once you know your edge, if you want to be a truly exeptional individual, then you should live just beyond your edge… try it. Watch the reality of your existence expand every day until you begin to realise your true potential.

“And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.” -Ayrton Senna 


-Ben

If you liked this post then check this one out too. I think it’ll help. Bless.