You cannot tell whether a person is good or bad by his vicissitudes in life. Good and bad fortunes are matters of fate. Good and bad actions are Man’s Way. – Hagakure
Three serious surgeries in four months — the dude faced it all, head-on, like a champ. And he never complained once. My brother is my frickin’ hero.
Honestly, I know you really don’t give a shit about my brother’s lot in life. Most people read blogs just to acquire very specific information — learn a new healthy recipe or exercise, figure out just the right amount of carbs to eat for fat loss, hacks to add zeros to your bank accounts or followers to your fan base, etc.
It’s a greet and tweet-style world these days baby. You want to get in, grab the goods, get out, and get on with your life. I get it man.
Sometimes when I’m reading a fitness blog and the author goes off on a tangent (like I am about to do today) about their personal philosophy, life lessons, role models, or worldviews, I start thinking to myself, “Shut the hell up already and just tell me how many grams of protein to eat to pack on more muscle. Go write about your feelings in a fucking journal Angela Landsbury.”
Hahahaha…ironic coming from me, huh, the master of philosophy infused fitness and long-winded posts? But I at least know the truth — most people online these days, including myself, think our opinions matter way more than they actually do.
The democratization of media platforms has created an illusion that we’re all mini-celebrities living in our own reality shows. Well, as we know, regardless of the ratings, most reality shows are full of useless crap. For the most part, they are really just about ego building, ego projection, or ego masturbation for the self-proclaimed “stars”.
But then again…
I also think that sometimes being an open book about pretty much everything, and speaking (or writing) about whatever is on your mind at that moment in time, without a filter, is one of the best ways to help those around you. I mean with most content these days being pre-scripted with a hidden agenda, that rawness is one of the few places where some real value remains.
So it’s kind of a Catch 22 for me as a writer. Should I share what’s on my mind from time to time based on my life experiences, or never drift from the 6-pack script?
I don’t know man. I’d rather roll with the randomness of it all then try to fit everything into some fake online persona or PR-crafted brand. So sometimes I favor an artist’s mentality — puke some stuff up from the gut and then just see where it goes.
This is one of those posts. And I respect your time enough to forewarn you of that.
But that’s the beauty of blogs. We both win regardless.
Whether its the straightforward strategies or the extra stuff once in a while, you get to decide whether you want to click away to something else (keep that hippie bullshit to yourself homeboy) or continue on because the topic for the day sounds relevant to what you got going on in your life.
As a writer, I get to ensure that the blog stays an authentic expression of who I am, and what I’m passionate about. And right now, at this very moment in time, I’m most passionate about motivating people to stop fucking complaining about everything, and to start taking action about whatever it is that they are constantly complaining about.
Because baby, I just can’t take it anymore.
THE BEST LESSONS COME FROM THOSE WHO LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know…The Master doesn’t talk. He acts…He teaches without teaching. – Tao Te Ching
There are plenty of pontificating gurus that talk one way, but live another. That’s why their advice sounds good in theory, but falls flat in the real world. If you constantly follow frauds, you might get that “rah-rah” feeling once in a while, but most likely will keep getting nowhere with your personal growth or goals.
I’ve always learned the most from people who live a certain way and lead by example. They take action and just do what they do infinitely more than they talk about it. They are the grinders, not the attention grabbers. They prefer the solitude of the process more so than any praise that comes from the glorification of it.
But ironically and unfortunately for the rest of us, these types of people are rarely writers, coaches, teachers, or blog posters. They don’t like theorizing about strategies. They don’t care to commercialize them. They are too busy living them.
If you want to learn from these rare people, the only option is the old school method of apprenticeship. You just spend as much time with them as they will allow, and absorb what you can along the way.
Much lesser men like me might write about these people from time to time, and attempt to translate lessons from the way they live into some actionable strategies. That’s what I am trying to do with this post.
It’s an honorable task for a hero’s sidekick I think. Otherwise, those valuable lessons would be lost amongst the modern sea of bullshit artists. At least with some strategies that have passed the real world effectiveness test, the rest of us get to try to do the best we can with them.
A WALK TO REMEMBER
What IS is more important than WHAT SHOULD BE. Too many people are looking at “what is” from a position of thinking “what should be”. — Bruce Lee.
One such glorious hero I’ve been lucky enough to learn from is Chaz Michaels Michaels. But that’s mainly in the physique, performance sports, and performance art realms…
Since this is a post about personal philosophy and living life a certain way, I want to tell you about another dude I’ve been lucky enough to learn from — my brother.
You don’t need to know the details, but suffice it to say that my brother was born with a variety of serious medical conditions — so much so that he had over a dozen surgeries by the time he was 18. The hospital was a second home for him as a kid.
At my mom’s funeral, my brother told us a story that he had never told us before. It has been stuck in my head ever since. That was almost 18 months ago.
He told the story about how one night he was up late in the hospital after one of his surgeries, complaining away, and asking questions like, “why me, why me?”
My mom took his hands and told him that it was OK to be angry, it was OK to cry, and it was OK to be scared. But the one thing she didn’t want to hear from him was a bunch of whining and complaining.
My mom then took him over and walked him through the children’s cancer wing. My brother saw kids his own age battling not just to get normal physiological processes functioning like he was. They were battling for their very lives.
“Someone, somewhere, always has it way worse than you do son. So quit fucking complaining.”
Now I doubt she said that to him in that situation, when he was a kid. But I guarantee that’s how Ol’ Patty would say it to him, me, you, or anyone else within earshot, right now, if she were still around.
My brother went on to say that was the one lesson he learned from our mom that he would remember forever.
And it’s something I’ve learned from him. He never actually talked about that until the funeral. But he’s lived that lesson every day of his life, ever since I can remember. And in the end, the way you live is the post powerful and impactful teacher to those around you. And that’s regardless of whether you are setting a good or bad example.
We all knew about my brother’s unique health conditions growing up. As unfair as they were for any kid to have to deal with, I often wondered why I never heard him complain about anything. Ever. Not even once! He just faced everything head-on, and persevered through whatever came his way.
SOME LESSONS LAST A LIFETIME
Courage is gritting one’s teeth; it is simply doing that and pushing ahead, paying no attention to the circumstances. — Hagakure.
Unfortunately, complications from my brother’s hereditary issues have resurfaced. And as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, he has recently undergone 3 surgeries in the last 4 months in an attempt to get important physiological processes functioning properly again.
I’ve been spending more time with my brother throughout, and as a result we have re-kindled the student/teacher apprenticeship of our childhood.
And I needed it man. Being with my brother made me realize I had developed some bad habits living in the Silicon Bay in America Y2K.
Most despicably, I had become an entitled complainer, complaining about everything. This or that happened. I deserved this or that. Such and such is unfair and unjust, I want what so and so has without actually working for it, etc.
Watching my brother deal with his situation, without complaining, was the bitch slap in the face I needed. I originally thought I was hanging out more to help him. But I soon realized despite his situation, it was really the way it always has been — he was the one helping me infinitely more, by just living a certain way.
Now it’s not like my bro is one of those happy-go-lucky, positive talk people that you know is more fucked up than anyone. “Hey, I just had 3 surgeries and I feel fantastic. Everything happens for a reason because life is all about flowers and sunshine. Lets go get a snow cone.”
I mean he would tell it like it is if you asked, “I’m in a lot of pain. Its like a 9.” “Yeah dude, I feel awful. It sucks.” “I don’t know if I can take another surgery. The body can only bounce back so many times.” Etc.
But the difference between most people these days is that his words were few and far between a ton of action. My brother did what he needed to do on a daily basis to get through. He kept putting one foot in front of the other and walking on, instead of whining on and on. That’s what he’s always done.
I meant it when I said it – my brother is my hero. Now I know he’s just a piece of shit to you (because you don’t know him, so why the hell would you care?). Regardless, maybe his story and style will help you with whatever challenges or adversity you are facing in your own life. The main lesson is this…
TAKE ACTION MORE THAN COMPLAIN
It is not what happens that counts. It is how you react. Your mental attitude determines what you make of it, either a stepping stone or stumbling block. – Bruce Lee
The Land of Opportunity has become The Land of Entitlement. We’ve become a bunch of whiners, a bunch of complainers these days. Online, in the coffee shop, at work, etc. — bitching and moaning about every little thing — the disease is everywhere. The worst part is it is highly contagious. It’s gone airborne.
The tough love truth is that every second that you waste complaining about something is one that you could have used to make a change. And no one ever got anywhere, or improved their situation, by complaining. It is wasted effort.
It’s easy to question one’s fate in any aspect of life, especially when it’s not going your way. That is the natural reaction and certainly understandable. For the most part, however, it’s wasted energy.
We can’t change the challenges that life has put in front of us. We can feel sorry for ourselves. We can wish our situation were different. But the hand that has been dealt is the hand that has been dealt.
In the end, you gotta play the game with what you’ve got. You can waste precious time focusing on what you can’t control, and then just fold. Or you can focus on the moves that you actually can make, take some bold actions, and make a play at winning the game.
So put one foot in front of the other, walk on, and make a difference. Don’t bitch, and don’t wait around for a savior to come solve all of your problems for you. Do your best to solve them for yourself.
Thanks brother for teaching me this lesson, and allowing me to share it with my friends here. It has helped me more than you could ever know. And I hope this random rant ultimately helps a few of you too.
THE (QUIT) BITCHING SUMMARY
When you understand what I am telling you, apply what you have learned to your everyday life…I am not interested with your talk about my ideas. I am more interested in your applying them to your life. ~Miyamoto Musashi
- There is always someone who has it way better than you, and there is always someone who has it way worse than you. Who gives a shit? Either way, it doesn’t effect what you need to do to get through your own struggles, and improve your own situation.
- So stop fucking complaining already (that’s from my mama).
- Instead, take action, and start changing the situation that you are complaining about. Sure, we all gotta let shit out from time-to-time. But I believe it should be at least a 3:1 action-to-bitching ratio.
- Most importantly, don’t Just Read or Talk About It. Just Do It.
- And finally, don’t expect a pat on the back. The true reward is realizing that you are the master of your own ship, no matter how rough or smooth the sea can be sometimes.
RISE ABOVE: 7 STRATEGIES TO CRUSH ADVERSITY
Sometimes life can throw you some curveballs. Every once in a while, it lands a freakin’ haymaker right on your chin. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been alive long enough.
Adversity. We all face it my friend.
In our sports, or our health and fitness endeavors. How can you overcome the odds and succeed against great challenges or competition? How can you stay on track in a world full of temptations and distractions? How can you come back from failed game plans, devastating losses, or unexpected injuries and setbacks?
In our business or career pursuits. How can you merge passion and personal fulfillment with professional and financial success? How can you keep fighting on if your first attempts fail? How can reach your goals while sticking to your core values, and without burning out, breaking, or giving up?
In our personal life and relationships. How can you best support those that are suffering and struggling around you? How can you deal with your own baggage and bullshit? How do you find some peace of mind and clarity amongst the modern chaos?
Life can be full of challenges. Instead of running from them when they do arise, staying in bed to hide, burying your head in the sand to procrastinate, or drowning your sorrow in drugs to escape; you are better off developing the right mindset to roll with it all, whatever may come. Read the rest of this entry
I sat down to write a completely different blog post today. My plan was to catch you up on all of the stuff I’ve been doing to fulfill my duty as your “People’s Nutrition Educator” – researching for and speaking at nutrition conferences, doing interviews and podcasts, etc.
I promise to do that soon, because I have a ton of outlines, notes, and research quotes that I think you’ll find interesting and informative.
But alas, that must wait. There are more important issues we must talk about today. Not often, but every once in a while, I like to talk about things that are more thought provoking (and probably more helpful to you) than protein grams and 6-packs. Read the rest of this entry
I was going to formally release my new book — The Way of the Cancer Warrior: 34 Strategies For Your Cancer War — next Tuesday. But an article on it came out in the Huffington Post Today! Thanks for all of your help Tory.
So I guess this is the early release party. I’m always down for a good party man. And if the message is strong and you believe it can help, why wait baby? In a few emails out to some friends who were helping me test the book, I was telling them this may be the best thing I’ve done in my life up to this point. At least for personal fulfillment anyways.
The Way of the Cancer Warrior applies martial arts strategies, sports psychology principles and warrior philosophy to the battle against cancer. Each section starts with a few motivational quotes and is followed by practical application guidelines. It is a resource meant to help patients, healthcare professionals, caretakers, family members and friends collectively fight back against the greatest enemy this life has to offer. — Huff Post Books
There is no question that cancer sucks. When diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness, our society is often quick to refer to battle terminology; we go to war. Some accept and appreciate the analogy; others despise it. But if we are going to go to war with cancer, why not have some positive reinforcement?
Nate Miyaki, a fitness author, athlete, educator and the son of a heroic man who lost his battle with cancer, thinks cancer sucks too. Miyaki’s new book, The Way of the Cancer Warrior, is how he is fighting back. — Huff Post Books
If you’d like to read the article, you can check it out here: Huff Post Books: The Blog
If you’d like to know about the history behind the book, I set up a page here on the site. It has an intro video, a more in depth book description, and some warrior quotes to get you started (facing any challenge you are currently facing in life). I hope to share with you the story behind why this book was written, what it’s all about, and how I think it can help. Here’s the link: CancerWarrior Page
Alright, who brought the champagne. Lets pop the top and get this thing rolling…
As I was working on “The Way of the Cancer Warrior” project this morning, these quotes reminded me of my dad, and the fierce battle he fought against cancer. Who he was and what he did continues to inspire me every day.
Now maybe you will see these and think, dude, you need to grow up. You’re a frickin’ 35 year-old quoting warrior philosophy like a teenager, and literally thinks he is a modern day Ronin (a vagabond, a samurai with no master). Get a haircut and get a real job.
But maybe, just maybe, they will help you face some struggle or challenge you are facing today, with courage and conviction.
THE WARRIOR’S WAY
1. No matter what it is, there is nothing that cannot be done. If one manifests the determination, he can move heaven and earth as he pleases. — Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai.
2. Do not think of possible outcomes until you have finished with your battle. To do so is foolish and takes your mind off the primary objective, which is to destroy the enemy. ~Miyamoto Musashi
3. The power of faith – thoughts backed by faith will overcome all obstacles…Faith makes it possible to achieve that which man’s mind can conceive and believe. It is a well known fact that one comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false…Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind. ~Bruce Lee
4. This will be accomplished if only courage is fixed in one’s heart. If one’s sword is broken, he will strike with his hands. If his hands are cut off, he will press the enemy down with his shoulders. If his shoulders are cut away, he will bite through ten or fifteen enemy necks with his teeth. Courage is such a thing. — Hagakure: Book of the Samurai.
5. The warrior does not depend on anything but himself to beat the enemy… Only through a constant search from within, based on one’s own lifestyle, can the truth be known. It is absolutely a personal thing. Commercialism does nothing to enhance the reality of truth. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
6. Do not acknowledge the possibility that the enemy is stronger than you are. Do not accept the possibility that the enemy is smarter than you are in any way whatsoever…The Way of the warrior does not permit you to accept an inferior position to anything. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
7. Flexibility is a very important attitude. Things will not always go your way regardless of your practice and your attempts to define your own existence…You attack with a technique and it does not work. You try it again and it still does not work. Switch! You must never rely on only one particular attitude to get a job done. The enemy may be prepared for this technique in a way that you may not have anticipated, so it is indeed foolish to try to continue with it. ~Miyamoto Musashi
8. By thinking you must complete the job you will run out of time. By considering things like how many men the enemy has, time piles up; in the end you will give up. No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end. You will finish the greater part of it. – Hagakure: Book of the Samurai
9. The only shame in dying incorrectly is to die a stupid and meaningless death. To die as a warrior means to have crossed swords and either won or lost without any consideration for winning or losing. ~Miyamoto Musashi
10. If a retainer will just think about what he is to do for the day at hand, he will be able to do anything. If it is a single day’s work, one should be able to put up with it. Tomorrow, too, is but a single day. — Hagakure.
Thanks pops for showing me Your Way. I miss you man…