Treat the time you wakeup as the central-axis point of your being.
The point that keeps everything in balance.
The point that sets everything you want to happen in motion.
The point from which all order springs.
Don’t lie in. Don’t hit snooze. Don’t think about it.
Just. Get. Up.
No matter how bad your nights sleep, make sure you wake up at the same time.
Every. Single. Day.
This will be hard at first (if you’re not doing this already), but the longer term benefits are massive – especially for those who have trouble sleeping.
Because our bodies are biological clocks that love routine. When we wake up at the same time we reinforce our circadian rhythm.
Not only does this prompt us to go to bed at the same time, it allows our bodily functions and cycles to operate at optimum efficiency – keeping us as strong as a mother fucking Ox y’all!
(Add to this regularly scheduled meal times and you’ll really start to notice shit changing for you. In fact, you’ll notice your shit happening at the exact same time every single day, like clockwork.)
Waking up on the dot affects everything. Energy, metabolism, mood…
Conversely, when our lifestyle has been out of sync with our circadian rhythm for a long time, we start to put ourselves at greater risk to all sorts of diseases and mental health issues. (Check out this article for more info.)
And you can take all of this from a pilot who has been disrupting his circadian rhythm for ten years now with one exception: this past year.
Because of COVID I’ve seen a lot less flying through the night and a lot more regular sleep.
How do you feel, you ask?
Strong as a mother fucking Ox y’all! (And also scared for my job, but let’s blow past that…)
Now allow me to let you in on a couple of tips within this tip!
It takes 40 days or so to form a new habit. So stick with it. It will pay off.
Do I have to get up at 5am, you ask?
No, not at all.
The other important thing to understand is that you have a unique chronotype. (Have a look at this article for more info or take this quiz to help you find out which.)
I happen to be a wolf (side note: awesome).
I hate early mornings. I like to take things slow when I do get up – which is later than most I’ll admit.
I meditate, do a little journalling and reading with a leisurely coffee, and then I do some exercise and/or stretching before I crack on with the day.
I’m at my most alert in the evenings. So when everyone else sits down to binge watch Netflix, that’s when I get to work.
Unfortunately for us wolves, society is biased towards bears and lions (early birds). I used to believe I was lazy for the longest time.
It wasn’t until I understood my chronotpye that I really started listening to my body instead of forcing it. This in turn allowed me to formulate a routine that has me firing on all four cylinders.
It’s important to stress that while the early bird may catch the worm, the night owl gets to hunt mice mother fuckers!
So don’t feel bad about setting your schedule to match your chronotype.
We’re all different!
Whether that means you get up at 4am or 11am, the most important thing is that you wake up at the same time.
Hello lovely readers and welcome to my monthly newsletter! Included is a round up of what I’ve written about this past August. To begin with are some thoughts on what has been a difficult month for me personally. I hope that you can draw some inspiration from my words. Love to all X
To be honest with you I’ve been struggling recently.
My spirit has taken a hit after returning to a long-haul roster for first time since January. Having to spend my layovers confined to some very tired looking hotel rooms – including a week at an airport hotel – has been difficult for me.
The joy of getting lost in some of the world’s most exciting cities has always been one of my favourite pastimes. To get out of the hotel room always provided my mind with the outlet it needed to remain sane despite the loss of sleep.
Getting lost in the back streets of Roma, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea from a beach in Tel Aviv, hiring a bike and riding across the golden gate bridge on a beautiful summers day in San Fransisco…
Need I remind myself of how extraordinarily privileged I am to have enjoyed all of these things as part of my job.
Yet, as I sit from my hotel room admiring the city scape over Sydney’s darling harbour, I can’t help but pine for the outdoors. It would be a perfect day to climb the harbour bridge or head down to bondi beach. The world is a forbidden fruit at the moment that makes me want it even more.
I feel I’ve done extremely well to make the most of this year but the truth is it’s beginning to catch up with me. I feel so sad as I sit and write these words. As wonderful an outlet as blogging has been, the human spirit struggles in isolation.
There’s something else that’s been bothering me since returning to work. Something that’s become much more apparent since returning from a long period of regular sleep. That is just how important it has been for my mental health. The body simply isn’t designed to miss a nights sleep, let alone 3 or 4 times a month as is so often the case.
When you start to do the maths it becomes a little scary.
3 to 4 nights of missed sleep per month is roughly equal to 1 year’s worth of sleep lost during the course of 10! A milestone I will reach very soon. At the age of 33, staring down the barrel of doing this for another 30, makes me want to pull the trigger now.
The warning signs are present – both physically and mentally. My body has started to tell me things my heart doesn’t want to hear. Winning the battle against depression and anxiety in my work is one thing, saving my longer term health is another. There is nothing more important than your health.
I already know I can only do this job for a handful more years. Still, I desperately don’t want the last of those years to be like this. I want to leave on my terms – knowing that it was because I chose to leave, not because my health forced me to. I want to leave simply because I know in my heart that it’s the right time to do so, with no regrets. Unfortunately this may well be out of my control. Whether it’s the coronavirus or my health that forces my hand, I have to be prepared to move on. To accept that some things are simply out of my control.
With all that said, today, I still have a job and it’s never been more important to remain grateful for that fact. To remember how my job helps the world keep ticking at a time when it’s all but ground to a halt. To remember that beyond all of this I still love to fly aeroplanes.
Some thoughts about freedom and responsibility. From the article:
“Freedom demands we choose our responsibilities. The same way that having a life demands we protect it. If you want freedom of choice then you have to choose to take responsibility for your life. If you don’t someone else will choose your responsibilities for you. The danger is they will use that for their own profit and power by forming a narrative you refused to take responsibility for forming yourself. In doing so they will shut your mind from your heart. The moment that happens you’ve lost your freedom.”
I had a lot of fun writing this one – dishing out some timeless advice about how to write a to-do list that doesn’t make you want to jump off a building. As I wrote:
“Why exactly does writing out our responsibilities on paper cause some us to run away from them faster than a teenage boy climaxes? After all we know this kind of behaviour doesn’t help us, yet we can’t help ourselves. Sometimes all we want is to tell life to go fuck itself and so we do, even if that means fucking ourselves in the process.“
A more heartfelt piece that explores that question, “Am I doing this because of love or fear?” As I wrote:
“I felt it was such an insightful way of asking yourself why or why not you should do something – whatever that may be – as you go about your day. The more I contemplated it over the following weeks, the more I realised how powerful it was as a guiding force in keeping the values I hold close to my heart, clear in my mind. After all, I believe all our feelings and actions are driven, on a basis level, by one of these two underlying emotions. This question is a great way of bringing to light, exactly which one of these two emotions is driving your actions at any particular moment.”
My weekly newsletter designed to rewrite the narrative that Mondays are the most depressing day of the week and to get you in the mood for the week ahead. Following a 4:3:2:1 approach, it contains 4 exceptional thoughts from me (ha), 3 admittedly better quotes from others, and 2 things I’ve been reading and/or listening to in the week that have helped me grow. It finishes with 1 something silly to designed to make you lovely readers smile. The link above was this weeks post. Below are from the rest of the month. Enjoy!
That’s everything from me for the wonderful month of August guys and gals. I’d like to finish by thanking all you lovely readers for taking the time to read my pokey little blog. Although it’s not been the best month of the year for me mentally – you have all helped tremendously. You really have given me strength to carry on.
For anyone else who is struggling may I add that it’s perfectly ok if you are. It’s very important to allow yourself to feel sad when you do. We must mourn the past if we are to live freely in the present. To do that you have to show up for your emotions. Ultimately that’s what I believe courage is, showing up for your emotions however they are, however difficult they may be.
If you want to drop me a line in the comments section please do. I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please don’t be afraid to speak up. I’m a stupid man but I have a big heart. All I want is to help all of you as you have helped me. Together we are better.
“One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one’s own self. In brief, this is dharma. Anything else is succumbing to desire.”
— MAHĀBHĀRATA 13.114.8 (CRITICAL EDITION)
It’s ironic that the fictional character Joey from friends, who everyone laughed at for being a bit slow, was also the character to come out with one of the most profound statements of the entire show when he argued with Phoebe that,
“There is no such thing as a truly self-less good deed.”
I agree with him.
Whether you’d care to admit it almost every action we make is motivated on some level by selfish intent. Even a charitable act is motivated on some level by your desire to feel good.
That’s not to say there is anything wrong with this – in fact, quite the opposite – it’s just something to be aware of. After all, if we weren’t motivated on some level by a desire to feel good, or to avoid feeling bad, then why would we do anything? We need something to motivate us. For that reason there has to be an element of self-interest behind our actions.
Anyway, why do I bring this up?
I heard the expression intelligent self-interest mentioned on a podcast a while back. This got me thinking about what this means and how we can make our self-interests more intelligent.
When I dug a little deeper I came to understand, although they are described/defined somewhat differently by various articles on the subject we can, broadly speaking, look at self-interest on three different levels.
Those are unintelligent (or stupid as I like to think of it), intelligent and enlightened self-interest.
This post is going to define each and look at how we can cultivate the latter two.
What is unintelligent self-interest?
Unintelligent self-interest is the personal interest of an individual that, if pursued, hurts others and/or themselves.
Some obvious examples of unintelligent-interest include binge watching NETFLIX, drug abuse, smoking, mindlessly scrolling on social media, etc.
You know, all the things you shouldn’t be doing that every blogger and his dog bang on about everyday. (All the things I’ve done before, and in some cases still do…)
These are unintelligent forms of self interest because they satisfy a desire at the expense of our longer term health and happiness.
We also tend to think because I’m only doing these things to myself that’s ok. I’m not hurting anyone else.
But that’s wrong.
What hurts you ultimately hurts others. By not working to resolve past trauma or avoiding negative emotions instead of doing what you ought to, you can trust me when I tell you this, not only does this hurt yourself it also hurts those around you.
How then can we make our self-interests more intelligent and what does it mean?
What is intelligent self interest?
Intelligent self-interest is still about acting in ways that suit you, however, it also considers the ways in which it helps others.
It is about thinking of the other person while acting for yourself, i.e. you’re not acting without regard for others.
Some obvious examples of intelligent self-interest include meditation, exercise, a healthy diet, plentiful sleep, etc.
You know, all the things you should do that every blogger and his dog bang on about everyday.
These are intelligent forms of self interest because you’re acting in a way that not only benefits your own longer term health and happiness, it also benefits others.
After all, a happier and healthier you is a happier and healthier world. Further, you cannot look after others without first looking after yourself.
One of the problems that proponents of such activities have is the way in which they frame their motivations. They talk on and on about the benefits they have for you. How meditation, exercise and a balanced diet helps you.
Often they over emphasise the benefits these activities have for you without considering the larger reasons beyond the immediate.
If you want to make mediation a habit, as an example, it’s far better to consider how taking the time to cultivate mindfulness is of benefit to your family and friends, as well as yourself.
One way to do this is by asking yourself the following question:
I believe one of the major reasons our motivations stall is because we don’t feel we’re good enough (fear) and so give up far too easily. This is a problem many of us have when focusing solely on ourselves. If you take the focus away from yourself and instead remind yourself of the other people in your life for whom you’re doing these things (love), you’re far more likely to stick with it.
At least I know I am.
Instead of beating ourselves up for not being good enough and metaphorically whipping ourselves to do something about it, why not focus on feeling good about doing the things that ultimately help others too?
It’s a win win.
This brings us to the final level on the self-interest scale that I made up. The question I have is how can we act in enlightened self-interest that helps others? How can we see that helping others does in fact help ourselves? Let’s first explore what it means.
What is enlightened self-interest?
Enlightened self-interest is acting for others without expecting anything in return.
Some obvious examples of enlightened self-interest include donating to charity, volunteer work, saving someones life, etc.
You know, all the things every blogger and his dog probably should be going on about everyday but don’t.
These are acts done from the goodness of ones hearts. They aren’t done in expectation of gaining anything personally.
I would make a point that this is very different to acting out of a sense of responsibility or obligation – because you think it’s the right thing to do.
It’s far deeper than that.
Enlightened self-interest understands that although no obvious attributable gain for oneself has been made, a bit like the beautiful philosophical idea of karma, what comes around goes around.
People who act in enlightened self-interest understand we are all part of the same world. That by hurting another you’re ultimately hurting yourself.
This is why it’s heavily related to the Golden rule: To treat others as you would like others to treat you.
Or, to put it as a question, one can ask themselves,
How would I want others to help me if I were in their position?
Enlightened self-interests come about as a by-product of truly wanting to help this world, as you would like it to be for you. By thinking in terms of how your actions will affect others we can, bit by bit, develop enlightened self-interest naturally. It’s simply a matter of acting in the interests of your heart.
(As always I welcome ALL comments and ideas on this blog. If you have anything to add or any other suggestions about how develop more intelligent self-interest I’d love to hear from you in the comments sections below)
Hello fine readers and welcome to my Monthly review! Every day I ask myself the question – What did I learn? – and write some thoughts in response. The following is a collection of my favourites.
I should say most of these thoughts and/or ideas are heavily influenced by what I’ve been reading and the people I’ve been talking to. In some cases they are simply quotes by others. I hope you enjoy.
Setting your intention matters a great deal. An intention to be mindful in all that you do. ‘Unitasking’ is key. Concentrate on the one thing you are doing and give it your undivided attention! You will derive much more pleasure in life when acting like this.
Mindfulness is only one part of the puzzle. Compassion is the other. Being compassionate has to start with yourself. Forgiving yourself for feeling tired and disconnected – Recovery from depression and anxiety takes time. You’re doing really well. Look what you managed to achieve today. Be proud of yourself.
Scrolling is the new smoking. You need to significantly reduce it. Otherwise it leads to cognitive fatigue. Idea – should aim to have a phone free day every week and keep my phone in another room to the one I’m in while at home (That way I’ll be going to it for a very deliberate reason – not just to mindlessly scroll)!
A good nights sleep starts the minute you wake up. Starting your day is just as important as how you finish it. Don’t look at you phone until out of the bathroom – ie Don’t make it the first thing you look at in the morning! Use it only to log your weight and write in your journal before meditation. Otherwise leave it in the bedroom till you’ve finished exercising and had something to eat.
It matters that you care. It really matters. Pay attention. Small acts with great love everyday.
‘The essence of bravery is refusing to give up on anyone or anything’
Forgiveness in this world is really lacking. For me forgiving myself and also other people in this world I believe to be doing very bad things is something to pay more attention to. Every act I make has a positive ripple effect. No matter how small, if done with love and compassion, it will effect the world in a positive way. Keep going. Keep smiling. Remain hopeful. Love yourself and by extension the whole world and everything in it.
Forgiveness is a natural process. It does not matter if you are able to forgive someone or yourself yet, what matters is the intention to forgive that other person or yourself. That way the door is open for the process – however long – to take place.
Everything I need and want, I already have. The most important thing for me is to learn how to enjoy it.
“The path of awakening is simply a process of wakeful, profound relaxing. We see what is here right now and we let go into life exactly as it is” – Tara Brach
Reaching out to friends and family and checking in on them is so important. Especially now during this difficult time. It’s important to let them know we are here and also that we are safe. Family and friends are everything. We are nothing without each other.
I was wrong about the coronavirus. It’s not been an overreaction – people are dying and medical staff are stretched thin. We must all do our part to help protect the most vulnerable in society. COVID 19 is an opportunity to spend time at home with our family and practise mindfulness. It’s an opportunity to send love out to all our friends and family. To really connect from isolation. We live in an extraordinary time in which we are incredibly lucky to be able to do so. To know so much. To prepare and mobilise behind a common cause so quickly as a result. There is still so much to be grateful for.
Life is one big lesson in acceptance. Now is the perfect time to practise that. There is so much out of our control but what we can control has the ability to empower us.
If you see through yourself you will see through everyone. Then you will love them. – Anthony De Mello
What we react to is self generated and has nothing to do with the outside world. A negative feeling comes from YOU – nothing else. It’s all part of our conditioning – illusions created by our minds – from attachments that we have been conditioned to believe are important despite reality. By remaining truly aware and questioning the tricks of our conditioned mind with both compassion and curiosity, we can began to see the illusions for what they truly are and break down the false identities we all cling to. This will bring you back to life. To the here and now which is, of course, the only reality.
My emotions are a direct result of my thinking mind – nothing else. To stop negative emotions it’s me who has to change. Not the world. Not anyone else.
Think in terms of others. Helping your self is not selfish. It’s the opposite of selfish. Helping yourself helps others. Fixing your back means you’re no longer distracted by it – which means you can focus your attention on more important matters. Looking after your finances helps build security for your family.
Good parenting starts with being compassionate towards yourself!
Show up to your children’s emotions with compassion. It’s ok to feel sadness or anger. Ask them what it is that they need?
Life is a long beautiful melody. You have to let it play out. Don’t cling. There will be long low sad bits and high happy ecstatic peaks. Don’t cling to them. Don’t think those parts of the melody define you. If you replay one part of it over and over it’s no longer a melody. It’s ruined. Let it play out.
Taking to yourself in the third person is an awesome mindfulness hack.eg David is feeling stressed. David is thinking lots. David is looking at his phone. It helps to unidentify with your thoughts, feelings and emotions. You become the observer of your thoughts without falling into the trap of thinking you are your thoughts. It’s another reminder to wake up!
Everything is a process. All I have to do is observe. Observe with curiosity and compassion. Look at yourself with curiosity and compassion. Remain present and your natural wisdom will guide you. Have faith.
Everything is always now. It can’t be any other way. The past and the future come from the mind only. They are illusions that distract awareness of the present moment. Everything you need is available to you in the present. Stay there.
Showing up on the bad days matters more so than on the good days. Remember your’e saying something to yourself every time you show up about who you are and who you want to become. The same is true when you don’t.
Am I making this decision because of love or fear? – Dr Vivek Murthy – Such an insightful way of asking yourself why or why not you should do something.
Following on from my 4 part 2019 review, below are my pledges and goals for the coming year. I intend to do a monthly review of these goals as a way of holding myself on accountable as the year progresses. I hope you enjoy!
MY 2020 PLEDGES
By the end of 2020 my wife and I will have begun trying for a second child (or be pregnant with the second (and last!) on the way).
With regards to work I will be “command ready” having worked to further my operation and confidence to its highest ever level. I will have attended a performance based course to help in this regard. I will have taken an extended period of 3 months off work from May till July.
Health wise, I will be far more consistent with regards to my exercise and healthy living habits, sticking to my morning and evening routines that incorporates yoga and/or some other form of physical exercise. I will have completed one alcohol free week every month plus one alcohol free month during the year. My eating habits will much improved following a ‘slow carb diet’ 5 days a week. I’ll also have found a new activity based hobby that I enjoy outside of the home. As a result I’ll be as fit as ever having achieved my desired body fat percentage of 14%. My back injury will have completely healed.
My mental health will be vastly improved due to a more consistent practice of meditation, reading and writing that I’ll have better incorporated into both my morning and evening routines. I will have attended at least one silent retreat and a transcendental course to further my practise. I will have opened up to my parents about my previous difficulties and become much closer to them as a result. I will talk to my wife every single night when at home before bed.
In my spare time I will continue to write everyday. My first goal will be to write and publish a children’s book for wiggles. I will also start a new blog that explores the question of how to live a healthier and happier life at home and at work, as well as being a better father, husband and all round human being. I will have taken the time to volunteer and start annual donations to two new charities.
At home I will be far more environmentally conscious having done a large amount of research into how I can live more sustainably. This will act as a model for Wiggles as he grows up.
Financially we’ll be in very good shape having organised a better tracking/savings system as we look to the future. We will have made a significant investment into my brother’s hedge fund and also a third property. I will have also invested in renewable technologies and/or an environmental project aimed at helping save the planet. Insurance wise we will have reviewed and updated all our policies and plans as necessary and have set up a will.
MY 2020 GOALS
Meditate 365 days/year
Attend a silent retreat
Complete a course in transcendental meditation
5 x Exercise days/week
4 x Alcohol free days/week
1 x Alcohol free week/month
1 x Alcohol free month/year
5 x low carb/high protein days/week (during intermittent fasting window 12 till 8)
4 x long fast/year (24hr-76hr)
14% body-fat goal
Heal back injury
Find new activity based hobby to commit weekly
Oxfam Trail Walker 2020?
Be ‘Command Ready’ by 2021
Complete Performance course through work
Logbook journal after every flight – write 1 thing I did well and 1 thing I could do better
Take an extended period off work (3 months following LASIK? – May – July)
Publish first children’s book
Start new blog (with a particular focus on health this year)
Post 1 new article/week
Write daily (As a minimum in my 5MJ)
Read 2 books/month
Set Liam goals to help his achieve throughout the year
Date night x 1/week
Talk to my wife every night when at home
Open up to Mum and Dad
Environmental research/piece on blog about how to live more sustainably/responsibly at home for the family to centre around
Set goals and make changes based on this research
Skiing Japan Trip (February)
April/May getaway with Holly
Silent retreat (May in Bhutan?)
UK Trip (June)
Croatia and Serbia – Villa plus Ogi and Mia wedding (September/October)
File/pay UK Taxes
File/pay HK Taxes
Research new mortgage for London apartment
Invest in my brother’s fund
Invest in third property
Sort better tracking/savings system with longer term goals in mind