You are an onion…

The title, somewhat bizarre, might lure you into thinking, ‘how dare you call me an onion.’ Well, let me explain.. (I have actually written about this in the first part of my book which is coming soon, I promise…)
When I was 13 years old I started high school in Zimbabwe at a very interesting time in my life. The goal, to play cricket for Zimbabwe.

I went to high school at one of the best cricketing schools in the country, a private school that was heavily influenced by ‘old school’ boarding school culture. Despite having played provincial cricket at a young age and being captain of my primary school team for my final year, I was not known at the new big high school.

I don’t quite know what went wrong within the plan, but I think my troubles started in the classroom and just after I was placed in the A team for cricket. I was in the bottom ‘C’ stream of my year in classes, I struggled socially with the kids in my year and worked hard to get into the ‘B’ stream.

High school felt like I had stepped into another world, a world which I had no place in. I was always a, ‘solid B’ kind of student. Never really awesome, some potential but laziness and day dreaming about sport led me towards under utilised potential in the class room.

Despite that I was keen to break free from the ‘C’ Stream and my attitude towards the classes and improving myself to get to the next stream wasn’t something that made me a really cool dude in my high school year. My time at that school ended after bullying and some traumatic experiences. I was too shy to stand up for myself and when I did it was too late which caused more problems for me.

As a result of what happened I lost my focus with cricket and gave up on it, I spent more time focusing on golf. I also developed a want to be liked, a fear of confrontation and desire to have good friendships.

Throughout my years I have always tried to be nice to people, mindful of other people as best I can, sometimes to my own detriment. I’ll delve deeper into this in my book. The reality is I have spent a lot of time in my life trying to learn from various incidents and experiences that I thought all happened to me, it wasn’t until I read a book recently that I realised things happened because of me…

The book is called, ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck.’

Known as; ‘A Counterintuitive Way To Living A Good Life.’

I know what you might be thinking, “How does the title align with a positive outcome?” At least that is what struck me when I read the title, but the deeper I got into the book the more I realised that the author had some great points to make. I’ve highlighted some of the key points that stood out to me below:

  1. You should care about things in life, just not everything, and certainly not things that don’t serve or uphold your values. 
  2. Understanding that wanting a positive experience is actually a negative experience; however, accepting a negative experience is a positive experience. e.g. If you are constantly wanting the best body in the gym you are engraining a negative experience because as your parameters for progression change so too does your perception of what you want. Therefore you’ll never get what you want. On the flip side, understanding that you are not where you want to be and that you can change some aspects of your body to be the best version of yourself, then that is a positive experience. 
  3. Negative emotions are a call to action – positive emotions are rewards for taking action. This is a big one for me, too many times in my life I have seen a negative emotion as an attachment to harbour resentment for myself or others. (I still struggle with this today.) The reality is that negative emotions should be the kick in the arse that we need to sort our situations out. e.g. I’m not happy about my fitness levels and feel sad. Take Action! I’m annoyed because I should be making better choices. Take Action! 
  4. The self awareness onion has many layers… We all have layers, some are more in tune with the layers than others. The layers are listed below.
    1. The understanding of our emotions 
    2. The ability to ask why we have certain emotions
    3. Our personal values

Specifically on the fourth point, our deepest layer as a human being is going to be our value layer. if we have pretty poor values then the rest of the onion becomes pretty bad.

Good values are:

  1. Reality Based
  2. Socially constructive
  3. Immediate and controllable

Bad values are:

  1. Superstitious
  2. Socially destructive
  3. Not immediate or controllable

The point the author drives home and this is one I can truly vouch for is that if you are miserable in your current situation it is because you feel that you lack control of something in your life. Like ‘bad luck’ has been thrust upon you. The reality is that we are responsible for everything in our lives, because it is our life. We are in control of how we interpret, react and or respond to everything in our lives. Blame and fault are past tense whereas responsibility is present tense.

I can truly vouch for the fact that it wasn’t until I took responsibility for my own health and stopped blaming my depression that I started to emerge from a dark point in my life. I had to change my values towards health and wellbeing before I took a step in the right direction. The positive emotions of success in reaching a goal are rewards for taking action. Which is why I talk to my clients about their ‘wins’. Understanding and recognising your ‘wins’ is how you know you’ve taken action.

So, this post has a little bit of everything in it today, you can apply it to life and fitness. Most of all you can use it to assess yourself and drive yourself forwards. Remember you are an onion and your layers and emotions can truly govern your circumstances.

I wasn’t 22 stone and miserable because someone threw 100000 cakes in my mouth, I was 22 stone because I had lost my way, I had lost sight of my values and allowed negative emotions to define me instead of challenging me to be better.

If you are feeling down and out, or know someone who is then this is your chance to explain to them (or yourself)that you need to take action and become the best and strongest version of yourself that you can!

Have a great week.

Stay Strong and Keep Moving!


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