Monday, February 29, 2016

Reading - Winter '15/16 - "When I cannot find contentment in myself, it is useless to seek it elsewhere."

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert B. Cialdini
Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo Adventure by Greg Rucka
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Limitless: A Novel by Alan Glynn
In The Steps Of Bruce Lee: JKD Without Limits by Burton Richardson
COAN: The Man, The Myth, The Method: The Life, Times & Training of The Greatest Powerlifter of All-Time by Marty Gallagher
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
The Choice by Og Mandino
EAT-FAT ∆ GET-FIT Essentials: Low Carb Wellness Made Easy by Ted Neckowicz
The Purposeful Primitive by Marty Gallagher

The Tithe Volume 1 by Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal
Empire: Uprising Volume 1 by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson
Uber Volume 4 & 5  by Kieron Gillen and Caanan White
Challengers of the Unknown Must Die! by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Lazarus Volume 4: Poison Paperback by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark
Grayson Vol. 1: Agents Of Spyral & Vol. 2: We All Die at Dawn  by Tom King, Tim Seeley & Mikel Janin 


Excerpts:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Reciprocity, Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Scarcity, Authority

The Choice 
"What must be shall be; and that which is a necessity to him that struggles is little more than choice to him that is willing." - Seneca

"So many of us spend our lives searching for happiness. Like children hunting for Easter eggs, we dash hither and yon hoping to discover some mystical bluebird. Life would be so different, we sigh, if only we were happy. And so, one hurries home to be happy and another flees home to be happy. One is getting married to be happy and another is getting divorced to be happy. One takes expensive cruises to be happy and another labors overtime to be happy. Endless search.  Wasted years.  Madness...  I choose a better way to live!  Henceforth, my pursuit of happiness has ended. How blind I have been! Now I know that happiness hides not in that new house, that new career, that new friend. And it is never for sale. When I cannot find contentment in myself, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. Whenever I depend on things outside myself to supply me with joy I am doomed to disappointment. Happiness, I see now, has nothing to do with getting. It consists of being satisfied with what I've got and what I haven't got.  Few things are necessary to make the wise man happy while no amount of material wealth would satisfy a fool. I am not a fool. I have drawn a circle around me. Whenever I reach across it I will be giving, not taking. My needs are few. So long as I have something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for, I shall be happy. Now I know that the only source of happiness is within me, and I will begin to share it."

"So many of us think ourselves into smallness, into inferiority, by thinking downward. We are held back by too much caution. We are timid about venturing. We are not bold enough. And so we die before we reach middle age, although we will not be lowered into the ground until we pass three score and ten. What happened to the grand dreams of our youth? Suicide. Struck down by our caution, our lack of faith in ourselves and our abilities. Opportunities? There are many. But always there was risk. Do we dare? We vacillate. Time hurries by. Opportunity gone. We anguish. The years roll on. Finally, we convince ourselves that it’s too late and settle for cheap imitations of life. We envy the achievers. How lucky they are. I choose a better way to live! Henceforth, I will take every risk and embrace every opportunity that may provide a better life for me and my family. I no longer believe that a rolling stone gathers no moss. Better to be in motion, even if the energy is wasted, than buried forever in a shady plot. That will come soon enough. I will despise myself later if I look back on my life and realize that I had the talent and the ability to do great things but could not find the courage to try. I know what I can do, and I know how little I have done. I have frittered away my opportunities like children at the seashore who fill their hands with sand and then let the grains all fall through their open fists. It is not too late for me. I can still fill my hands. I can still shape a future of success and happiness. I am capable of great wonders, and now I know that my achievements will never rise higher than my faith in myself. I have new faith. I was made in the image of God. I was not created to fail. Defeat? Possible. Quit? Never again!"

Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo Adventure 
“Thing about the galaxy, there’s as many versions of the truth as there are stars. Got an old friend who’s fond of saying that truth is greatly dependent on your point of view. Truth ain’t the same as fact, kid. You believe what you want to believe."

COAN: The Man, The Myth, The Method
"Art? Culture? In the face of the iron facts of biology such things are ridiculous, the exponents of such things only the more ridiculous." - Jack London

"We are all subject to the same biological facts-of-life. As it relates to weight training, this is both a blessing and a curse."

To succeed in powerlifting you need to be methodical. This is a learned mental trait. If you have a lazy mind-set, you will have lackadaisical training sessions yielding lame results. The second variety of mind power is the ability to psyche yourself up for an all-out effort. This is a learned mental attitude that improves with repeated practice.

Killing Rommel
In my experience, valor in action counts for far less than simply performing one’s commonplace task without cocking it up. This is by no means as simple as it sounds.

The role of the officer, in my experience, is nothing grander than to stand sentinel over himself and his men, towards the end of keeping them from forgetting who they are and what their objective is, how to get there, and what equipment they’re supposed to have when they arrive. Oh, and getting back. That’s the tricky part.

Nothing relieves Irish despair. The Irishman’s complaint lies not with his circumstances, which might be rendered brilliant by labour or luck, but with the injust of existence itself. Death! How could a benevolent Deity gift us with life, only to set such a cruel term upon it? Irish despair knows no remedy. Money doesn’t help. Love fades; fame is fleeting. The only cures are booze and sentiment. That’s why the Irish are such noble drunks and glorious poets. No one sings like the Irish or mourns like them.

You've been taught as an officer never to pretend to know something you don't.   Now I'll give you a corollary: never try to make up for one mistake by committing a greater one.

With this, I understand the perverse logic of war and the true tragedy of armed conflict. The enemy against whom we fight are human beings like ourselves, individuals with whom each of us might have been friends except for the deranged fictions of nation, doctrine, race and religion, and whom now we must murder (as they seek to murder us) in the name of those very same fictions. And yet, knowing all this and understanding it, still, in some depraved and ineluctable way, we and they must live it out to the bloody finish.


Limitless
Why should data cluster in predictable patterns? Why should there be a structure to the financial markets?’ I paused, waiting for someone to say something, but when no one did I went on, ‘because the markets are the product of human activity, and humans follow trends – it’s that simple.’ Kevin had gone pale by this stage. ‘And of course the trends are usually the same … one, aversion to risk, and two, follow the herd.’   

Because any time I’d thought of her over the past ten years, the person I’d automatically visualized had been the thin shiny Melissa of circa 1988, the one with long black hair and prominent cheekbones...  But the Melissa of those days, apparently, had unravelled in time and space and was a ghost now. I was never going to see her again, never going to bump into her in the street. She’d been supplanted by the Melissa I hadn’t kept up with, the one who’d gotten married again and had kids, who’d worked for Iroquois magazine, the one who’d allowed her teeming, tumultuous brain to be damaged, and permanently so, by some untried, untested and previously unknown pharmaceutical product...

The Purposeful Primitive
Hugh would tell us when we complained of tiredness to fire down more calories. “Eat your way through sticking points!” He’d say. If the poundage was feeling heavy on Saturday weighing 216, push your bodyweight to 220 by Wednesday and make those weights seem light. This was a man-killer approach: train till you begin hallucinating, eat tons of food, drink four quarts or more of milk daily then rest until the 2nd weekly slaughter fest. This approach worked wonders for aggressive young men intent on becoming massively muscled competitive powerlifters.

If you scrape away all the different rationale and reasons people engage in fitness-related activities, the bottom line is that they want to modify their physique, change their body from what it is into what they want it to be. Being dissatisfied with their physical status quo, they will rearrange their lives and devote time, money and effort towards triggering transformation.

People who successfully transform physically transform psychologically.

Ori Hofmekler says, “Life in paradise should be rugged!” We are primordially programmed for struggle yet we seek to avoid struggle at all cost. Struggle is the precursor to true transformation: without struggle there is no transformation.

Basic barbell and dumbbell exercises done with incredible intensity then backed up with lots of calories result in the construction of new muscle. If you are selective about the ample calories you eat, if you practice periodic cardiovascular exercise, stored body fat is mobilized and oxidized. If eating and training are perfectly attuned to one another, synergy takes hold and results are dramatically accelerated.

True physical renovation requires that we seek the path of maximum resistance, both figuratively and literally.

Physical transformation is all about struggle and effort.

Most trainees are genuinely unaware of the sheer physical effort required to trigger tangible results. No one has ever taken them aside and said, “Look—unless you really extend yourself—I mean REALLY extend yourself—unless you press the effort accelerator to the floorboard, unless you take it to the limit and beyond, consistently and repeatedly—nothing of any real physical significance is going to occur. Capacity is a Shifting Target If you train with the requisite effort, you can’t go very long. If you can, you’re not going hard enough. Going through the motions, i.e., using the same poundage in the same exercises for the same number of sets and same number of repetitions, week after week, doing the same things in the same ways, is going to net zero results. Only by pushing the body past current capacity, only through dogged struggle, only by attempting to equal or exceed your previous best, will anything of muscular significance occur.

The human body does not favorably reconfigure itself in response to ease and sameness. The body only grows new muscle and becomes stronger when pushed into new territory. Those who go through the motions (staying within their comfort zone) can train for a long time. Those who train intensely enough to trigger hypertrophy have between 30 and 75 minutes before the sheer intensity of the effort causes them to run out of energy. Super hard and super heavy training drains physical energy and also drains psychic energy. Only the trained, experienced individual, a member of the athletic elite, can train hard longer than an hour.

When you have a larger frame of physiological and psychological reference, you come to understand that by striving, by continually and unrelentingly pushing yourself in order to keep apace with your betters, you improve—or you break down, physically or psychologically. A good training partner has a responsibility to himself and to his partners. You are required to show up on time at the designated training venue, ready, willing and able to blast the living dog-shit out of some muscle, lift or body part.

Better To Use a Lousy System with Great Intensity Than A Sophisticated System Halfheartedly

Easier is not better in resistance training.

Initially, beneficial changes are legislated through willpower. However, all acts of willpower must cease at some point. Eventually you want genuine enthusiasm to take over from willpower. When enthusiasm powers the psychological process, chances of success radically improve. Willpower is a finite mental propellant. Once you burn through your quota, it takes a long time to restock. Enthusiasm is infinite. It replenishes itself.

Human nature loves to repeat pleasurable experience and if hard, intense, endorphin-releasing training is perceived as pleasurable, the Mind will seek to repeat this pleasurable experience. The more you train the better the gains, the better the gains the more you train…round and round it goes.

Disciplined eating is a psychological horse of a different color. It is far more difficult to become enthused about legislated eating. No endorphin-releasing pleasures, no training partners, no mathematical sense of accomplishment…eating requires the modification of conditioning and overcoming habit force. In our approach, proper nutrition is arrived at through the principle of creeping incrementalism. Tiny steps are taken, nutritionally speaking, using a wide range of foods and the end result is that the individual morphs detrimental eating habits into beneficial habits—new habits replace old ones—some through sheer trickery.

In the world of eating Taste is King. To pretend taste doesn’t matter or that it can be overcome through suppression or by some massive act of willpower is na├»ve, simplistic and doomed to failure.

Look for ways to make exercise fun. Certain physical activities are genuinely fun, but you need to make an effort to find them. Weight training can be quite enjoyable, particularly when planning is used. Half our brain is rational and logical and quite masculine while the other half of the brain is intuitive and spontaneous, artistic and feminine. A wonderful physical feeling descends and envelops the trainee after a properly aggressive progressive resistance workout. A state of physical well-being is brought on by the pure physical effort exerted.

Baby workouts, going through the motions, are insufficient to release endorphins and insufficient to trigger muscular hypertrophy.

The Mind can be our most powerful ally in our effort to reconfigure our physiques. Have the rational side of the brain design a plan of attack and let the intuitive side take over during the actual workout.

Concentration increases in direct proportion to the decease of internal chatter.

Can you take athletic efforts seriously enough to make changes in how you conduct yourself during the workout? Once you are able to develop real focus and concentration, performance skyrockets. Improved results equate to more muscle mass and less body fat.

We cannot gorge for years (or decades) on artificial, processed, highly refined foods containing noxious elements, without consequence. If fed a continual diet of food garbage, over time we destroy ourselves...

As long as we view dieting as an odious task of self-denial, a repugnant and extended exercise in stressful willpower, we will never turn the corner. Tangible results generate genuine enthusiasm for the process. When exercise becomes enjoyable and dieting becomes effortless, enthusiasm has supplanted willpower. Enthusiasm is an infinite mental propellant and can propel the process indefinitely.

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