You 2.0

Making time for mindfulness

If the thought of taking five minutes for yourself has you feeling guilty. And you always prioritise other things. That’s something you need to address.

Nothing should prevent you from taking time for yourself. And if you’re looking for something, that’s effective and easy. Mindfulness is one of the best ways to utilise your time.

There are many mindfulness exercises and meditations you can practise.

Mindful movement, guided meditation, mindful movement, they’re all beneficial.

Why is meditation so hard?

Many avoid silence due to discomfort, not boredom.

Because mindfulness allows your thoughts to become loud. It may bring up uncomfortable thoughts you don’t want to hear.

People go to great lengths to avoid being alone with their thoughts.

I read about an experiment where participants stayed in an empty room by themselves for 20 minutes. In this room was nothing except for a button which administered an electric shock.

A startling 68% of participants pressed the button, and not just once but several times over the 20-minute period. Rather than just be alone with their thoughts in silence, they would electrocute themselves.

Not surprising, considering it’s what people do when they’re drinking, smoking and drugs. Distraction themselves from thoughts and suppression of feelings. Both of which have latent repercussions.

How can I improve at mindfulness?

Being alone with my thoughts used to make me feel uncomfortable because there is no distracting yourself from them. And the silence only amplifies them.

Mindfulness tackles this head on.

When starting out with mindful movement, I’d get frustrated thinking it wasn’t working, or I wasn’t doing it right. I’d get lost in my thoughts and play them out like a mental movie. Realise what I’d done and return to my anchor (what I’m focusing on, i.e., my body or my breathing).

But when I understood that was the purpose of mindfulness it became more appealing. And looking back ‘why was I worried about that?’ I realise it was a fear of fear itself.

Over time, I’ve integrated it into my schedule. And the acknowledgement of these thoughts has become easier and they’ve become less frequent. As a result, my mental clarity has vastly improved. My mind is now quiet where it was once busy and noisy.

This is one of several practises I do for my calmness. If you’d like more information on how to achieve your equanimity, click here

Is work stress effecting home life?

You can’t stay the same, and expect things to change. If you work 60+ hours a week the likelihood is you’ll struggle to focus on your family.

Believe me I’ve been there.

For a long time I was operating on the premise that hard work, long hours and self-sacrifice proved my commitment to my family. And that should suffice.

It’s not easy for someone whose primary identity is that of ‘family breadwinner’ to reassess that identity.

You’re now factoring in the role of Dad and husband.

And when it comes to your relationship, which is definitely not the fairy-tale Disney sold you. Walt forgot to mention that there’d be:




periods of disconnection

Then there’s parenting, which will test you to levels you never knew existed.

the constant requests (average 3 per minute for toddlers)

the tantrums (these were an adventure)

your attention

physical interaction (rough housing)

emotional support (I was lost when starting out)

And on top you also have your needs, to give your best to your profession.

What you need to understand is being a Dad, a husband, a business owner is easy.

But the being good at them, well that takes skill. A skill I call personal development.

Something my coach, helped me to understand is; to change your situation, you have to change yourself. Which is why I hired a coach.

To ensure I wasn’t guilty of mental masturbation; knowing what I should do but not actioning it. That’s called cognitive dissonance, and it’s a very uncomfortable place to live.

So I developed a system to ensure I could execute the essentials everyday.
Yes, at times it was hard (sometimes it seemed impossible). And I wasn’t perfect. But it worked.

Being consistent with the system saw me become a better father, a better husband, and a better person.

Now, if you’re saying to yourself, ‘I want to, but I don’t have the time’. That’s exactly what I used to think. That’s a limiting belief.

And these beliefs create a narrative, an Eco chamber that keeps you stuck.

Chances are you’re already doing these things. They just need a bit of tweaking to improve the quality and achieve the desired outcome.

That’s why I devised the system with the minimum effective dose in mind. The least amount of work (daily habits) that will yield results.

Click on the link here to learn more about my High Value Executive program.

How do I overcome the resistance to take action?

I had this thought, maybe more of an epiphany when I was 22
and until later on in life I didn’t realise it was such a defining moment.

At the time I was working in a sports centre. It’s so vivid.

I was starting some paper work, and when I opened the ledger I noticed this feeling. I caught myself thinking: ‘I don’t want to do it’.

Never before had I noticed this feeling. This acknowledgement and awareness of this inner voice.

It’d probably always been there, influencing me and dictating my actions and behaviours.

And I remember saying to myself right then and there,
‘what if I use this feeling, these thoughts, as a prompt to do the work?’

Since then this approach has helped me do the work I know will benefit me. Regardless of how I feel about it.

I acknowledge the barrage of excuses that come flooding in when it’s time to do the work. I’m aware and attuned to them, and I use them.

I accept the fact I don’t feel like to doing the work in the moment, and that’s fine. I’m just going to do it anyway.

Instead of them stopping me, I use them as a green light. To push through the resistance and do the work.

I know that this resistance is in my head. There is no physical restraint, just thoughts and feelings.

Which don’t have power over me, or control my actions. Because they don’t exist, I mean in a physical sense.

This isn’t to say I don’t experience the feeling of resistance, I still do. But I acknowledge it’s a suggestion from my mind (to avoid discomfort from the work) and I override it.

You might experience this, but might not be aware of it (as I wasn’t). This resistance, this invisible hand that guides you.

And when the time comes to doing something for yourself. That is beneficial personal or professionally, that is when it makes an appearance.
Wham! A stiff jab of an excuse.

Followed by a powerful hooking feeling of anxiousness.

And then comes the finisher, the big overhand limiting belief, which knocks you down.

There’s the obligatory 10 count but you know it’s futile. You’ve already accepted you’ve lost this one.

But once you get wise to your opponent through awareness. You learn to fight back.

You start winning a few rounds here and there, and before you know it you have these feelings of apathy on the ropes.

Winning these mental battles paves the way for you to start taking action and changing your life.

But what you need to understand is these fights will be ongoing, they never stop.

Your opponent, the resistance, is always going to be there. Ready, waiting every time that bell rings.

But every time you face them, you’re stronger. Because you’ve been working on yourself.

You’ve been taking action to build your mental resilience. To control your emotions. To increase your physical vitality.

You have a plan a purpose. You have more support in the crowd.

Now you actually look forward to the fight. And you want them to give you their best shot.

Because you’ve moved up a level. You’re in a different class to your excuses.

How cold exposure can boost your mood

Want to know how to get a high without the guilt or regret? Without the side effects and only a positive impact on your health?

Well here’s how I discovered said means and a guide on how you can do it too.

Trekking in the Himalayas you’re stripped of all comforts and some essentials:

no Wi-Fi
no hot water
no electricity
sometimes no water

So a hot shower at the end of a hard day’s hiking was a pipe dream.

As you go further and further into the mountains everything becomes scarce. The accommodation goes from 1 star to not even a sniff of a star.

Some of the accommodation has showers but no hot water. So you’re faced with a decision. 

To cold shower or not to shower.

My aversion to cold water was very real at the time. But needs must and when I eventually plucked up the courage to take my first cold shower something very interesting happened.

Full disclosure my first experience of cold exposure was traumatic. The searing pain of the cold water, the hyperventilation, the discombobulation from brain freeze.

I remember fighting against the pain telling myself ‘that it wasn’t cold’. Not a good idea!

But I vividly remember the feeling when I got out. I felt so good was elated to the point I was laughing, it felt like I was high.

I thought it might be shock.

As the expedition continued and we ventured further into the baroness of the Khumbu region. The cold showers became more and more frequent.

And the feeling afterwards, the elation was there every time I took one. It became addictive.

And ever since, cold exposure has been part of my day. And my avoidance to the cold has disappeared. No longer does it influence my decisions.

I researched into this strange phenomenon, and I’ve spoken to a neuroscientist. And it turns out it’s the effect cold exposure has on your brain chemistry.

The release of feel good chemicals in your brain Dopamine, neuro epinephrine and epinephrin.

Turns out that cold exposure is super powerful at eliciting these feel good states.

I’ll give you some comparison as to how powerful.

When you drink an alcoholic drink your dopamine levels will 2 X,  peaking at 15 minutes.

And you’ll feel really good.

The bad news is that your dopamine will then drop below your baseline level.

So you’ll start to feel worse than you did before your first drink .

Then your brain will be looking for the next drink to raise your dopamine levels back up.

Some drugs will 2.5 X your dopamine levels which peak at 9 minutes.

This followed by a very rapid decline to below baseline levels aka a crash.

This will see you wanting them more and more, to get you out of these comedowns.

But with cold water immersion your dopamine levels 2.5 X (the same spike as drugs) and they rise for 2.5 hours.

And what’s more, your dopamine levels won’t fall below baseline.

No crash, no comedown. Just the natural high.

The feel good is just one of the many benefits of cold exposure and if you’d like to give it a go you can download my guide.

Cold exposure guide

Speak soon

P.s. If you’d like some information about how I can help you conquer stress and anxiety, so you can improve your health, performance and relationships click here

How to combat fear

Fear impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways. Leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions.

Fear also deters us from taking action we know will benefit us. And our aversion discounts a choice.

Fear’s a powerful emotion that’s instigated by perceived danger or threat. This emotion causes physiological and behavioural changes. And can trigger other emotions such as anger, sadness, and shame.

In responding to this emotion, we may react by avoiding the perceived threat.

Queue the need for a holiday to escape the stressors in life.

But, this only perpetuates the issue.

Escape should not be something we demand from life or feel we need as a coping tool.

As the dependence on being able to escape from stressful situations creates its own problems.

True inner peace comes from the nature of our thoughts, rather than pleasant natural surroundings.

Everything that troubles us, is as it would be on a beach or by the pool.

Mental resilience comes from being able to regain your composure wherever you find yourself. Putting yourself on a mountain top regardless of the circumstances.

Returning to your faculty of reason will see you rise above external events. This is the inner citadel in which you can retreat to.

We’re made stronger by habitualising stress not avoiding it.

Exposure will help you to “climb the fear ladder” by exposure to the object of fear in gradual increments.

For example, if you have social anxiety you could start climbing the fear ladder by smiling at a stranger on your daily commute.

Then build your way up to initiating a conversation with someone at work.

One day, you may feel confident enough to build an intimate relationship.

If we confront our fears, the symptoms of anxiety decrease over time.

Removing the fear and giving you choice.

Which is paramount, because your choices decide your fate. And every step you take determines your destiny.

The power of choice determines our future.

Are you avoiding discomfort?

What I’m talking about here is, physical discomfort.

Everyday I’ll endure some form of physical discomfort.

Because I’m a sadist? Nope, quite the contrary.

I’m using the body to calm the mind.

Aside from the myriad of physiological benefits there are massive psychological benefits to the right kind of physiological discomfort.

Exercise, for example, induces structural and functional changes in the brain. Determining enormous benefit on cognitive functioning.

And cold exposure increases the production of feel good brain chemicals. But unlike nicotine & alcohol, there’s no come down (when those chemicals fall below baseline).

Although you should know, it’s rare that I want to put myself through this discomfort.

But knowing that I’ll feel better for doing them and more importantly, worse for not, is enough to see me get them done.

So, I schedule them in to make them habitual.

And if you’re thinking that I’m spending some ridiculous amount of time doing these.

Think again.

I’m an advocate of the minimum effective dose. The least amount of work that will get me the results I’m after.

Each week I’m doing 4 x 45 minute weight sessions, 7 x 20 minute cardio sessions, 7 x 1 minute cold exposure sessions, 1 x 43 minute swim (the time it takes me to swim a mile).

What daily discomfort do you make part of your day?

Cultivate a different relationship with your emotions

Cultivate a different relationship with your emotions.

Emotions are visitors, they come and go.

You could compare them to people that knock on your door.

You open the door and you meet a nice person and you have a pleasant chat.

Over time you cultivate a friendship with this person. And you invite them in.

That’s what we do with positive emotions.

Now imagine one day you open the door to an entity, something evil.

You slam the door shut because you’re afraid.

The next day is interesting.

You hope the nice person shows up, but you fear the entity might make an appearance.

(The entity being negative emotions).

And over time, we cultivate different relationships with the different emotions.

With the nice emotions we form a friendship.

And with the negative emotions we adopt a negative stance, an avoidance, to keep them out.

We embrace the positive and push away the negative.

Here’s the thing. Until you open the door to the negative (the entity) and invite them in, they’ll always be there.

Inviting them in doesn’t mean you’ll have a good time together, that’s not the aim.

It’s about the relationship.

You invite them in. You offer them a seat. And you listen to them.

And once you’ve listen to them they’ll probably walk out.

Cultivate a different relationship with your negative emotions! Rather than trying to reduce their intensity or occurrence.

Negativity will show up now and then, sooner, later, always.

It’s ok to feel it, and it’s important you do.

Take this first step, even a tiny opening of the door.

Otherwise the entity will keep standing there.

And you’ll fret about it knocking on the door. To a point where you start panicking. Turning off the lights, locking door and boarding it up.

You create a fear of fear. A cycle.

But when you take this first step. You’ll notice you’re no longer afraid of that feeling.

They’ll no longer hold you back from doing what you want to do. And what you need to do to improve your life.

Gratitude should be your attitude

Evolution has attuned us to notice negative stimuli more readily.

And remember them more vividly compared to positive ones.

This threat-focused negativity bias was once imperative to our early ancestors’ survival.

While living in the modern era we may not face the same dangers. The bias still plays an important role as we look for potential threats.

For instance, we become waylaid by criticism.

Hung up on life’s unpleasantries.

And consistently weigh the negative aspects of events more heavily than the positive.

Filtering & disqualifying the positive things that happen, undermining much of life’s richness.

We disregard or dismiss countless enjoyable aspects of everyday life as unimportant.

So, it’s imperative to pay deliberate attention to the good things that happen. Regardless of how small or insignificant they may seem on the surface.

Gratitude has helped me:

feel more positive emotions,
build strong relationships,
relish good experiences,
improve my health,
& deal with adversity

I practice gratitude daily as part of my 321 journaling method.

Writing down 3 things that happened in my day I’m grateful for and why I’m grateful for them.

Practicing gratitude isn’t a huge thing, but the change it’s made to my outlook is.

How to make 2023 your year!

Happy New Year to you.

You may be using this time of the year to address working on yourself, and setting some self improvement goals.

Putting some resolutions together which sees you full of enthusiasm.

You say to yourself ‘this is it, this the year that everything changes’.

And come January 1st you set off like a monkey out of a box.

You follow the spreadsheets of life changing tasks you found on the internet.

Some of them seem a little far fetched. But the motivational guru you saw on Facebook was very confident in telling you that’s what’s required.

So you knuckle down and make a start.

It feels good to know you’re doing something for yourself. Something that will change your situation. Something that will transform your life!

Sure there’s a lot to do and sometimes there are clashes with other responsibilities. But it’s ok, it’ll work itself out. 

A week passes and you’ve noticed the daily actions take a long time. You’re finding that because they take so long you’re not completing them. 

But it’s early days. It’ll work itself out.

Another week passes.

You’ve noticed the no negotiation hardline for working on yourself has been lifted. 

Family and work obligations have now resumed the top spot on your priorities list. And your resolutions have taken a back seat.

February your enthusiasm is fading.

And by March it’s completely gone.

Sound familiar?!

How many years have you experienced this?

It’s commendable that you want to change your situation and become a more integral man.

But the mistake you’ve been making is trying to crowbar in time for these tasks (most of which are redundant).

And you were relying on motivation.

What you have to understand is self improvement comes down to building self control. Which is required to remove the bad habits and replace them with good ones.

And you don’t find time…

…you make time!

By removing the distractions and bad habits from your life. The ones that leach your time and drain your life force.

Doing so will free up time, more than enough time for the good habits, the ones that enrich your life.

I must stress that this is simple, not easy.

And I say it’s not easy because you’re going to have to build self control. To resist temptations from others (this means saying no) and also from your innate drives.

Because giving into these temptations in today’s world is dangerous. 

Social media,
Fast food,

rob you of your time, focus and wellbeing. This is why cutting them out is imperative.

Replacing them with: 

Deep work 
Family time
Investing (money and in yourself)

is when you’ll see an improvement physically, emotionally and spiritually.  

It’s about adopting an essential approach, a disciplined pursuit of less.

Because right now if you had more time, you’d only fill it with more distractions. You need to cut out the distractions and action the essentials.

Improve your life by doing less, not more!

I like to call this the minimum effective dose. Performing small actions that see you make marginal gains. 

After adhering to them for long enough they become habitual. And these habits compound into huge changes.

If you’d like to discuss changing your situation click here.

22 lessons from 2022

1. Confidence is on the other side of fear 


Fear is something that’s hardwired into us. But it’s redundant for most modern day scenarios.

You’ll find confidence when you act despite fear.

2. Invest in yourself

Coaching, courses, communities.

If there was ever a “shortcut” to success. It’s this.

My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

3. Surround yourself with people who are better than you

If you’re the smartest, strongest, or highest achieving person in the room…

…you’re in the wrong room.

The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on us.

4. Gratitude

We’re hardwired to the negative and society perpetuates this.

Gratitude flips the script.

You change the narrative when you start taking stock of what you have instead of what you don’t.

5. Explore your curiosities 

Do you find something interesting? Go and explore it. Start investigating.  

You never know what opportunities it may open for you. 

Don’t wait for others. Do it alone if you have to.

You’ll be much happier doing things you want to do by yourself, than doing things you don’t want to do with others.

6. Outside of your comfort zone is where you grow

Ever experience that uncomfortable feeling when in an unfimilar situation?

It means you’re putting yourself out there! 

If you’re not experiencing this, it means you could be stuck inside your comfort zone.

7. The power of “no”

‘Yes’ is our default social obligation response to appease others, so as not to be ostracized from the group. 

But, saying “yes” to everything is a sure fire way to give up control of your life.

Let the power of “no” liberate you.

8. Consistency is the key that unlocks success

Success requires consistency.

Consistency requires discipline.

Discipline requires you to build effective systems into your life.

Systems are formed through habits.

Make a start.

9. Start journaling

Journaling is fantastic for gaining a better understanding of yourself.

Some of benefits I’ve got from journaling this year:

– Less stressed
– More focused 
– Sense of gratitude
– Increased self-awareness
– Baseline happiness increased. 

10. Relationships

Isolated and alone you’ll struggle.

Relationships are the hand holds that support you in life.

The quality of your relationships has a huge effect on the quality of your life.

Don’t wait on others, reach out, connect.

11. Sleep impacts every aspect of your life

– Mood
– Focus
– Hunger
– Decision making

You’re not getting by on 4 hours sleep, you’ve just gotten used to feeling like shit!

If you want to optimise your life — sleep is the best place to start.

12. Your mind is a monkey in a cage throwing feaces

It urges you to scratch that immediate gratification itch all day.

It spews out random thoughts 24/7.

But once you understand these thoughts are not the truth but stories we get caught up in. And you learn to control those urges. Life get’s a whole lot easier.

13. You can get a whole days work done in 4 hours

This system has improved the quality of my work and saved me so much time:

1. Block out 60-90 minutes (routine)
2. Assign only one task to each block and avoid multitasking
3. Get some coffee and L-theanine before you start 
4. Turn off your phone and notifications on your computer 
5. Listen to instrumental music/binaural beats/brown noise
6. Take 15-minute breaks between blocks

14. Attention is a finite resource

Where you allocate your attention will decide the outcome of your life.

Decide what matters most to you.

Assign your attention accordingly.

15. Silence and time to yourself

In a world where you’re being constantly stimulated it’s imperative that you unplug. Take time to be alone in silence, no music, no devices, no people.

Some options:

– Writing is journaling meditation.
– Hiking is walking meditation.
– Sitting quietly is direct meditation.

16. Your health comes first

Before everything else, before anyone else. 

I’ll use the old adage; ‘fix your own facemask before helping others.’

Optimise these:

– Exercise
– Diet
– Stress
– Sleep

17. Your ability to delay gratification will determine where you end up in life

It sounds extreme, but it’s true.

You wouldn’t plant a seed, and dig it up every 2 days to check on it.

True growth requires patience and discipline.

18. Wealth is the difference between income and spending

Everyone is caught up in upgrading their lifestyle.

Earning more to buy things they don’t need. To keep up with others.

Peace of mind comes from controlling your spending and saving (investing) what you don’t spend.

19. Keep learning

Learning keeps you young.

But remember to apply what you’ve learned. 

Because not doing is the same as not knowing.

20. Discipline > motivation

Everyone is reliant on motivation to take action. That’s why they don’t make any progress.

Motivation is doing it when you feel like it. Discipline is doing it when you don’t!

21. Start the day right

Your morning sets the tone for the day.

What works for me:
– Phone away for the first hour after waking
– Hydrate (water)
– Walk outside (commute) for silence
– Read
– coffee
– Get to work

22. Be happy now

Read that again.

Everyone back loads their life. Putting off happiness until some future scenario has been achieved.

‘I’ll be happy when…’

or they tell themselves

‘I want to be happy.’ 

The problem is…

…when you tell yourself you want happiness, you’re telling your subconcious you don’t have it!

Tell yourself ‘you are’ not ‘you want to be.’