Workplace Wellness, Fatigue Prevention, Health Education

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A New Paradigm in Health

Back yesteryear when a Doctor could not find the cause of an ailment, they were sometimes likely to come up with “It’s all in your mind”. Well, maybe they were closer to the truth than we really want to know.

For decades, medical scientists, doctors, pharmacists and other professionals have struggled to understand disease. Whilst trauma medicine has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, still disease seems to be staying one step ahead of the “cure brigade”.

Neutral AttentionWhat is coming to light now is a new paradigm. On some levels it is not new because many have believed this new paradigm for years, even decades. But for some, it is revealing itself as a stunning new reality.

Whilst the current paradigm sees the body as an inter-related set of systems, all functioning independently and together to create a marvelous human machine capable of all manner of things, but prone to malfunction and disease, the new paradigm sees the human form as something quite perfect.

In the new paradigm, there are basically 3 levels of existence.

The primary level is the Genome. This is the part of us that comprises all of our genetic material that makes up what we identify as muscles, bones, blood, organs, skin, etc. If you look at a person, you will see the conglomeration of about 100 trillion cells. The Genome comprises about 10 trillion of these cells.

In November 2015, I attended the Global Wellness Summit and on the last day, Deepak Chopra M.D. delivered a fascinating and powerful presentation on this topic. He posed the question. “Is the human body a noun or is it a verb?” Wow, what a question. He proposed in his answer that it is a verb because it is dynamic and ever changing, completely replacing itself in less than a year in a constant and ongoing cycle.

The next level is the Microbiome which is basically all bacteria. The Microbiome makes up the other 90 trillion cells. Until recently, the Microbiome rarely rated a mention. It was seen as a necessary thing because the bacteria break down food in the gut. But it is so much more than that.

The work being done by amazing scientists like Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph.D. has changed the way we are looking at human life.

The Microbiome is in constant and detailed communication with the Genome. In fact, every cell in the Genome is in some way connected to every cell in the Microbiome.

The Microbiome, in a way, create a cocoon that shrouds the Genome in order to create a balanced and harmonious environment in which the Genome can live, function and thrive. The bacteria that makes up the Microbiome is predominantly aerobic (beneficial) and covers all of the external surfaces of the body, especially the gastrointestinal tract.

Most people do not realise that the gastrointestinal tract, GI tract, is part of the external surface of the body.

When the Microbiome is thriving and healthy, the Genome will thrive. When the Microbiome is degraded and falters, the Genome is prone to mutation. It has been shown that mutations can be corrected simply by restoring the balance in the Microbiome. It can be that simple.

In the past, we used antibiotics indiscriminately and did terrible damage to the integrity of our Microbiome. A short term fix had devastating long term results. I am even questioning the efficacy of antibacterial hand gels and similar products.

In recent years, we have discovered the incredible benefits of fermented foods and beverages and are seeing how they help restore and maintain a healthy Microbiome.

Then there is the third “level”, the Epigenome. The Epigenome describes the non-physical aspect of us that seems to permeate our entire being and extends out into the space around us. Some call it a bioenergetic field. Dr Chopra was sharing in his lecture that it can be detected and measured out to about 3 metres from the surface of the body.

awareness 4In some cultures, this is called a person’s aura. Others refer to it as a sensory envelope and others a field of awareness. Whatever it may be labelled, it is an aspect of human life that has been recognised for centuries.

Coming back to this new paradigm the work of Dr Tanzi and his colleagues has demonstrated that it is through this Epigenome that we experience life. If we experience life as negative, stressful, frightening and difficult, the resultant impact on the Microbiome can be quite devastating.

If, however we experience life with appreciation, compassion, curiosity, joy and goodwill, the impact on the Microbiome is harmonising and restorative.

Recent work by Bruce Lipton and Dr Bernie Siegal and others has shown that a person who is supported to find their life purpose can experience a remarkable turn-around in disease causing gene mutation and actually cure themselves of disease.

So it seems that under this new paradigm, the responsibility lands squarely in our own laps. How we experience life determines our well-being. We can no longer claim that we are stressed because of this or that factor. We are stressed because we are not taking responsibility for our responses to certain stimuli.

For example: You can get really angry because some guy cut you off in the traffic, and work yourself into such a frenzy that by the time you get home you cannot even be civil to your family. Or you could look at the guy who cut you off and hope that everything is ok for him. Who knows, one of his children might have just had a terrible accident and is being rushed to some hospital.

Learning how to become a master of your own universe, to be in complete control of all of your own responses, and to begin to flow good stuff out to others, is the gold key of life. By learning how to tame your own mind and live more from the joy of your own heart, you can not only minimise your risk of disease and degeneration, you can also improve life for others around you.

Now, trying to learn to control your mind with your mind is like putting Count Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank. If you would really like to learn more about how to successfully achieve true harmony and balance, drop me a line and I will send you some resources.

So, if you are not feeling genuinely happy, deeply compassionate, joyful, naturally kind and upbeat, then you have some work to do. How cool to realize it can all be much, much better without anything needing to change around you?

Going right back to where I started this article, as you can perhaps now see, it could very well be your mind that is making you sick.

So, are you up for a bit of a stretch into the unknown, to create the life and the well-being you really want? You could start with some meditation or mindfulness practice, or you could go all the way. Of course, like starting to exercise or to eat better, it is all up to you and whether or not you are prepared to take the next step.

Getting to the Guts of Fatigue!

Coffee SleepYou have probably seen the commercials on TV for products like Yakult and Inner Health Plus. Each promotes the benefits of healthy bacteria in the gut. So what does this all mean and how does it relate to fatigue.

Over the last few years, some extraordinary research has been done on this topic and it has revealed long sought answers to many baffling human ailments.

So what are gut flora. Predominantly, they are bacteria. Most of these bacteria are aerobic and beneficial to your health. They serve many functions. There is now an incredible and clear link between the health of the gut and mood. Studies done on people who ruminated obsessively over repetitive thoughts showed a relief of their condition when fed a continued diet high in healthy micro flora.

One of the challenges, particularly in modern society, is that the consumption of processed foods, food additive chemicals and antibiotics all cause significant depletion of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Many people have very low gut flora profiles and experience many associated health challenges.

A major function of gut flora is to support healthy gene expression. When the gut flora profile is below par, gene expression can be hindered. This can affect your energy level when the genes responsible for vitamin functions in your body do not function as designed. The result is that the vitamins you consume in your food don’t get used in the way they should and you experience a side effect. I may be a minor side effect or it may be significant.

This explains why some people, even though they feel they are eating ok, either experience very low energy or ongoing hunger cravings.

One of the best things any of us can do is to continually support the development and maintenance of our gut micro flora. This can be done by making your own fermented vegetables at home, or brewing your own Kombucha Tea or Water Kefir. All of these are easy to create and the benefits can be quite gob smacking.

To learn how, click on the following links:

Fermented Vegetables

Kombucha Tea

Kefir Water

You will notice a big difference in how you feel. Please get in touch if you need a hand.

Have Pottenger’s Cats arrived in Human form?

Perhaps you are not aware of the studies conducted by Dr Francis Pottenger back in the 1930’s. Taking over his father’s Tuberculosis Research facility, Pottenger was distracted from his usual research by an unlikely discovery. This discovery lead him into a 10 year research program that revealed startling results.

Pottenger was conducting studies on cats, researching his father’s theory that Tuberculosis was caused by adrenal deficiencies. As part of the research it was important that the cats, as test subjects, consumed a consistent and balanced diet, according to relevant theories at the time regarding feline nutrition.

The cats were fed a diet of cooked meat scraps, organ meats, bone, raw mild and cod liver oil.

At a point where the cat population in his holding pen began to outgrow the food supply, additional food was brought in from a new source. These cats were fed raw meats instead of cooked meats. Over time, Pottenger noticed a marked difference in many health markers in these cats. This intrigued him so he decided to develop a completely separate study.

He separated the cats into groups and fed them differing diets from fresh raw meat and milk in one group, right through to a diet of cooked meat and sweetened condensed milk at the other end of the spectrum.

What prevailed was stunning. The cats consuming the raw diet, remained strong, were energetic and active, were interested in things and explored, gave birth to healthy off spring and showed general signs of strength and robust health.

The other cats in the study began to deteriorate. They were weaker, smaller and less active and energetic. Some even failed to land well on their feet when thrown a short distance. As the cats bred, the new generations began showing significant signs of weakness and deformity. Reproductive habits reduced, still births became common, changes in bone structure abounded, tooth and gum disease were almost normal and the cats were often anxious and reactive.

Pottenger’s study revealed was that as the species moved away from a natural diet toward a more processed diet, the health of the animal deteriorated and that deterioration was passed down to following generations.

I got interested in this yesterday as I was talking to an AFL Senior Coach. He is an interesting guy who likes to explore all facets of the preparation of his athletes. He said to me that he felt this generation of young footballers was not as robust as those in the past. He said that whilst they arrive at his club with talent, there is so much they lack and the work that goes into turning them into footballers is costly and time consuming.

He lamented that when he first started in the system, young blokes would arrive, already strong and tough, with incredible natural agility. They could kick with either leg, stood up easily to the intense physical contact of the game, and pretty much arrived at the club ready to go for it and play at the top level. And he said that it was a great deal more physical back then, in fact it was violent. And I agree with him.

He said he felt that it was because kids are so wrapped in cotton wool these days and don’t get outside and “ go for it” after school and on weekends. He said they sit at home because parents feel it is too dangerous to go outside without supervision. Schools have reduced physical education in place of maths and science and in general, the kids grow up without the battle hardening of an adventurous childhood and youth.

I am inclined to agree with him and his viewpoints warrant some investigation. But then I also remembered Pottenger and thought to myself that maybe we are already seeing the genetic developmental drop off resulting from a highly processed diet.

When I was a kid in the 60’s, we got to drink soft drink about once every fortnight, and it was one glass. Kids now, and for several decades, have been consuming it daily, in large quantities. As kids we lived on a farm and drank raw milk. For decades now kids have been drinking pasteurised milk, often with added flavours and sweeteners.

So much food is processed and now so much of the meat that people eat is far from the natural grass fed, free range flesh eaten years ago.

But I suppose we can never really know for sure. It will all just be observation. Cats have a shorter life cycle and over 10 years we can observe and simply assess many generations. With humans, it is a little more challenging.

The closest we can come to a real life human observation is the work done by Weston A. Price who observed the health decline of indigenous populations when they moved away from their traditional diets and lifestyles and began following a modern western way of living. His studies revealed significant and wholesale degradation of health and general wellbeing.

So perhaps our kids are not as robust as prior generations? But what do we do about it now?

I guess the belief that we are an aging population living longer than ever before takes our attention off such things. But, I am afraid that is not a fact, just a sales pitch designed to sell a whole lot of political and commercial agendas.

Perhaps the best way to describe Australians today is “Too rich, too comfortable, too fat, too lazy, over fed and under nourished and living in still trying to convince ourselves we are as tough as the Anzacs”.

And only one part of this causes me irritation. There are passionate, interested, courageous and dedicated parents out there striving to change things for their kids and the get attacked for their efforts. Maybe f we took time to get interested in what they are saying, many more could become inspired, could learn and could lend a hand in changing the status quo.

After all, who is going to fund the healthcare in the future?

 Watch the Pottenger Cats Video….

 

 

 

 

 

The Age of the Corporate Athlete

Back in the 1970’s when Australian Football was just beginning to make the stretch into the modern age of professional sport, myself and many of my friends started to get really interested in the training required for a footballer.

AFLAt the time, most clubs had a “Fitness Advisor”. Most of these men were either former athletes or simply fitness fanatics who had no formal education in any human sciences. However, they were revered due to their athletic success or their capacity for the performance of extraordinary physical efforts.

And in most cases, the training was tough, punishing and gut wrenching. I am sure we missed out on witnessing the craft of many a fine athlete who simply could not tolerate the extreme demands of the training. It seemed there was a contest between the teams during the off season as to which one trained harder.

The reality was though, when we look back with 20-20 hindsight, that most teams where comprehensively over-trained. Injury rates were high.

When we began our push to get into the major clubs in the early 80’s and start to carve out careers as Sports Conditioning Specialists, there were many fixed mindsets we had to work with and slowly create a change. I remember once in an interview with Collingwood Football Club. I was asked what I would do about the club’s reputation for lacking speed. When I answered that I would ear the training to develop speed, the two interviewers looked at me with disdain and said, “Everybody knows speed is a god given thing and it cannot be improved!” I didn’t get that gig!

But all the while, the driving force was a fear of “not being fit enough”. There was little, if any focus on performance. I remember going into another club to take over the program and was told a certain player had to have a “brutal pre-season” or he was out because he just kept running out of gas during the third quarter. The coach looked at me and said I had to give this player extra training because he had great talent but was a disappointment. So I took the player out for coffee and had a chat. He was anxious because his career was on the line. He wanted to improve and had the work ethic to do it. None of it made sense to me so I took him out on the track to watch him run. Gaping flaws in his running technique revealed the problem. So over the next few months he did the work to correct his technique and became one of the clubs finest running players for the next 8 years.

How times have changed. It is all about performance. And the clubs, who were begrudgingly shelling out maybe $80 a week to us “Fitness Advisors” now have Conditioning Budgets in the millions.

So let’s roll this around to Corporate Health.

For years, the backbone of Corporate Health has been testing and seminars. The tests focus on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar. The seminars are typically about stressCorporate Athlete management, nutrition and exercise. They are again, traditionally filled with should and should nots. Health fairs are used to back up these messages and keep people informed. Sometimes a company will install a gym or provide yoga classes but these are notoriously poorly attended. Often they are used as a marketing tool to attract talent.

But like the old football clubs fearing not being fit enough, most of the health messages have had a fundamental aim at creating fear around morbidity through heart disease or the possibility of diabetes or cancer. Very little is about the exciting area of human performance.

I will argue that for change to take place, and for growth to occur, their needs to be inspiration. [tweet_box]When people are inspired, they unleash motivational forces that may have lay dormant for years.[/tweet_box] I argue that Workplace Health and Wellbeing Education should be about inspiring a person to go for something better, to grow and evolve; to enhance themselves.

This can be done by first awakening a viewpoint of what is possible and finding the inspiration in each individual to want to go for something better. This then needs to be followed by education that builds understanding. It then needs to be followed with tips, tools and strategies to unlock their potential.

As the program progresses and the person begins to explore these strategies and starts settling in on the things that are working for them, good health will naturally evolve and disease risk will diminish.

[tweet_box]I get a strong sense that people have “disease warning” fatigue and the message no longer goes in.[/tweet_box]

In this modern day, I believe that Corporate Health and Wellness Programs will be more effective and bring greater value if they are aimed at developing your people, inspiring them to go for goals and then providing the guidance, understanding, strategies and tools to improve their general health, increase their physical fitness and capacity for work and play, and to become more resilient against stress.

I do feel a program that identifies a person more as a “Corporate Athlete” than someone in danger of injury or disease, will be impacting, penetrating and effective.

Let’s stop talking Cholesterol and start talking Creating.

 

Nothing has Changed Except the Camouflage

Nothing has Changed Except the Camouflage

I have to admit I have been studying Nutrition with great interest for well over 30 years. Having a background in Exercise Physiology and having worked in the Fitness Industry since the boom began, nutrition has been a hot topic. What is it that gives you the edge?

When it comes to human performance, there are so many variables that it is easy to promote a belief without much proof. There have been many great debates about the role of Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids, a plethora of micro nutrients and along with all of that, thousands of new and exciting supplements that promised miracles beyond belief.

I’ve seen it all; well, most of it anyway.

And all around me, as time passed by, I have watched the health of this proud nation crumble into a sea of blubber. Obesity, disease and lethargy have overtaken the once proud home of the Bronzed Anzacs.

All the while, I wrote articles, gave lectures, recorded seminars, wrote and developed courses, striving to turn the tide, battling to find the inspirational message that would change the thinking of at least a few. But the harder I worked, the more I was drowned out by the advertising and brilliant marketing of the burgeoning food and drug industries.

Along the way I ran head first into new theories. Often I could not tell if it was something genuinely new, or a clever new campaign of a food industry hidden agenda.

So many of the theories have never made physiological or biochemical sense to me. Often they did not make sense in relation to how human consciousness tends to operate.

Of particular interest in this area is the theories around Palaeolithic dietary habits. The theories abound about how humans in the Palaeolithic periods ate. Some say that it is the most natural of all dietary regimes. In the same writings, some researchers claim that Paleo man had a much shorter life expectancy than modern man.

In recent years, the “Paleo Diet” has really gained a footing. People who follow it tend to lose weight. That is a good thing. But I wonder about its authenticity.

But here is where some of my bias and reservations pop in. First, I am a pure vegetarian. I don’t believe I need meat or any other animal based foods to live. I have been that way for 30 plus years. Second, I was not there (not that I can remember) to witness Paleo man, so I don’t really know. And of course, I am guessing nobody else does either. And sometimes, I feel things like Paleo can be rolled out to justify the consumption of large amounts of meat.

The commonly held belief is that Paleo nutrition consisted largely of meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. The Paleo prescription says that consumption of grains and legumes started following the inception of agriculture and that they human digestive system has not evolved to deal with them. The prescription also warns against processed and refined foods. But then again, I don’t need to be a Paleo advocate to see the sense in this final recommendation.

Paleo ManBut if you really go and search, there is not a whole lot of evidence from the Paleolithic era, in large part because hunter-gatherers move around so much. But the archaeological record that exists has been studied very, very closely and with increasingly sophisticated methods. Daphne Derven, an archaeologist and educator who has studied Palaeolithic man for many years states, “Now we can look at teeth, bones, even seeds in the same context as tools,” she explained. “For instance, it turns out that the East African hominid species nicknamed ‘Nutcracker Man’ developed a powerful jaw and enormous molars not for cracking nuts, as was previously thought, but for chewing grasses, like a grazing animal. That was the main part of his diet.”

Human’s eating grass. Who would have thought? Perhaps if the muscle gyms knew that part, the wheat grass shots would be flying out the door.

Two things really capture my attention about all the Paleo hype. First, the research that I do find interesting reveals that Paleo Poo that has been discovered and analysed, shows an enormous amount of fibre in the Paleo diet. In fact, the average defecation was up to one kilogram in weight, way more than the average today. This indicated a largely plant based diet.

Second, I don’t know about you, but if I had the choice of chasing very fast and evasive animals for food all day with a sharp stick, or simply finding some tasty treats on a tree somewhere, I reckon my lazy side would take over and I’d go the tree every time. Catching animals without modern weaponry….hard work.

In recent years we are learning an enormous amount about pre-biotics and the role of highly fibrous foods. High fibre eating is more about creating thriving gut flora than anything else and so a diet high in rich fibre, like that from grasses, legumes and grains, seems to be of major benefit.

See this is where a study of human consciousness comes in. As all the women out there know, men can be pretty lazy and not big on self-starting. Getting out to go hunt with rudimentary weapons would go against the grain of this laziness.

Second, from the research it appears that insects were a big part of the Paleo diet. Nobody seems to want to talk about that. Eating insects doesn’t really seem to fit through many people’s window.

Further, people want to find a reason why they can indulge in their desires. We see all the time people promoting the benefits of chocolate, which gives them the reason they need to eat plenty without guit. How often have you heard someone say they smoke because it helps to keep their weight down and that it’s better than being overweight?

The same exists for meat eaters. The evidence that meat consumption promotes disease is overwhelming. So those who really love to eat it will likely jump at any reason they can find to eat more of it and feel justified. The Paleo diet does just that. The evidence is there right. Let’s order a steak!

If we are really honest with ourselves, we do love to justify things. I had a friend who was dead against all forms of anabolic steroids. When he was in his 40’s a few things started to slow down. He found a doctor who blamed it on low testosterone, so guess what? He started on testosterone therapy without question, but with incredible justification.

So I have to say that reaching back to Palaolithic man for evidence that eating lots of meat is good, is like reaching back to Noah’s Ark to explain the disappearance of certain species of animal. Nobody knows.

So, I have been contemplating this a lot. Then, as I ran the other morning I had an epiphany. I started to laugh. Here is how it goes.

Back in Palaeolithic times, or even in the bushlands and jungles of Africa and South America where some tribes still live off the offerings of mother earth, everything they need is right there. Animal life, herbs, fruits and vegetables. But all of it has to be sought out and found, then captured or harvested. There are many things that might look like food, but are not.

Even the fruits on the trees are often camouflaged and cannot be seen till one is up close. There are poisonous fruits and herbs that must be avoided. At some intuitive level, animals and humans living in these environments know which is which. But still sometimes they may make mistakes.

In these environments, humans will not likely eat an animal that they find already dead as they are unsure if it is safe to eat. Some religious laws grew out of the directive to people to not eat anything that they did not see bleed and die with their own eye.

In these environments, the humans had to keep going, keep searching, keep persisting, until they found the nutritious food they needed. If they did not, they grew weak and slowly perished.

In modern life it is the same. There is plenty of really good food available. Food that is natural, highly nutritious, and rich in flavour and goodness. But, you have to find it. And it is camouflaged among a variety of offerings that at some level offer no nutrition or are perhaps even poisonous or harmful. To find the good stuff, you have to persist and put in the work, and not get way laid by the easy options.

We are still hunter gatherers, but the terrain and the camouflage have changed. Those who do not go the extra distance and seek out the food they really need, will slowly perish.

My mind relaxed. I now realise that it does not matter what false or synthetic foods are offered. Those who wish to be responsible will keep seeking till they find what they need and will not get caught out eating things that will not allow them to thrive.

But, the amazing thing about market forces is that the more people who seek out the good stuff and find it, the more others will follow the well beaten path and find it too. The tide is turning. It must.

Survival of the fittest is still running, perhaps more than ever.

As for Paleo Man, I wonder if he would eat the animal flesh he finds lying dead on a tray in a supermarket meat department? I have a sense he might take a semi interested sniff and head for the bananas.

 

Compassionate Investigation

Compassionate Investigation

You may or may not know that there are web pages out in cyberspace asserting that the Dalai Lama is a “Nazi fascist cult leader”, Mother Teresa led a “Cult of death” and Nelson Mandela was a “Communist, terrorist murderer.”

And these are not just isolated incidents, there are literally hundreds of links to pages spewing forth this nasty, hate filled and vindictive diatribe.

We all know people who seem to delight in occupying the negative viewpoint. We all have known people who have a nasty intention and simply wish to desecrate good works by shrouding them in suspicion and negative here say.

I am connected to people online who roll out volumes of righteous dogma every time someone presents a viewpoint they do not agree with. It goes on all around us. And the internet is where these viewpoints thrive, gain popularity and somewhere in the dark corners of some universe, become truth.

IT is an amazing phenomena. But it is not new. For centuries, people have had a fascination with rumours and have not been able to resist the urge to pass them on, just in case they are true. We have all been guilty of it sometime in the past. It is the same quality in our collective consciousness that allows Newspapers and other Media Outlets to run a story based on some story, and not on confirmed fact.

Some News Broadcasters in the US live off half-truths that get a nation of gossips and critics ready for a lynching, or even war. It is incredible to watch.

We all know that it goes on. If ever you have been at the wrong and of a slanderous story, you will know how difficult it is to regain your state of innocence; that is if you even concern yourself with trying.

I remember my brother in law sharing a story once. He is a big, overweight man, not overly gifted with social graces. In fact he can be quite uncouth. He was on a very, very crowded tram and needed to pass wind. He thought he would try to do it quietly but was immediately hit by an overwhelmingly disgusting odour.

Trapped and surrounded by people he took the only evasive action available. He looked at the man standing directly in front of him and said out loud, “You dirty animal”. That was it. The man was guilty as charged and the looks of disdain and condemnation would have wilted even the strongest soul.

My brother in law thought it was a funny story, but to me it was a powerful case study of what human beings are capable of.

But this is the piece that I find it hard to reconcile. There are people out in the world doing great work. They are backing themselves and with great courage striding into new ground, creating new and exciting things. There are people in every profession, every industry and every human endeavour doing the things that change the world. And there are people attacking them and doing everything they can to bring them down.

I am always bemused when a Politician, who has decided to dedicate his or her life to serving humanity, is all of a sudden all over the newspapers because they had a DUI charge when they were 22 years of age, or for fathering a child out of wedlock when they were 18 or even indulging in an extra marital affair at some point.

Give me a break. Is anyone on this planet perfect? Western culture has much of its roots deep in Christianity. Didn’t Jesus say things like “He who has not sinned cast the first stone” or “Is not the splinter you see in the other man’s eye not but a reflection of the log in your own?” My apologies to those of you Bible scholars out there who might pick up the error in my presentation of scripture and who may use my error to discount the entire article. Yikes!

The Buddhist say that when you point your finger at another person, you should be mindful of where the other three fingers are pointing.

Harry Palmer wrote, “Preaching Morality is Hidden Confession”.

When people accuse, you know what their attention is stuck on. You know where their transgressions against others lie. So, in general, it is quite easeful to deduce that when people openly criticise and accuse, they are confessing their own sins.

See, here is the bottom line, if someone I know does something that isn’t cool, I can accuse or I can support them to clean it up and restore their moral code. I choose the latter any day. And if I find myself feeling critical of someone, it is a red flag and a good opportunity for me to clean something up in my own space.

So back to the critics, detractors and bashers out there in cyberspace. How do their pages get so high on the search engines? Simply because people click on them and read them. See, the Internet does not need any form of censorship. What it needs is for each of us to give these preachers of doom a wide berth and not read their stuff. Every time we click on a nasty link, we are putting oxygen on a fire of deceit and hate.

Here is a way of making amends. If you accidentally end up on one of these sites, get away quickly. Then, get ten friends to go and click around on the official site of the person being attacked. With good intention, these hate filled cyber assassins can be driven to the bottom of search engines.

And you know, I have to put my 20 cents worth in on Wikipedia. There are so many profiles of good people on Wikipedia that have been created by a detractor or even an enemy. There is enough factual information added to give it legs and the rest is here say and untrue. But it sits there for everyone to read as “Encyclopaedia Fact”. I do suggest caution when researching people on Wikipedia.

So when someone tells me something negative about another person, business or service and they inform me that they have “done their research”, I can be pretty sure they have just been trawling the internet to find something that suited their own viewpoint, to keep them in their own comfort zone.

After all, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa are both icons of personal responsibility and responsibility for the care of others. For some, that is just too confronting. They have not finished blaming and hating. So of course, they have to make them as wrong as possible.

What stance are you going to make? Are you supporting the rumour mills or are you getting in behind the good intentions and creative power of good and courageous people?

Looking After Linked In

Looking After Linked In

I do not know about you, but I feel that Linked In is one of the most exciting resources available to genuine business people today. It opens up so much possibility in the creation of connections, the sharing of information, the promotion of ideas and business offerings and the building of relationships.

The power of the tools to build a profile can see you turn a simple profile into a fully featured online brochure or CV. The groups are brilliant. If you are prepared to get in and roll your sleeves up and engage in the conversations, acknowledge other people’s viewpoints and contribute new ideas for discussion.

The entire platform is brilliant.

But there are a couple of areas that concern me deeply that may undermine the future of this powerful resource.

First, do you ever subscribe to a premium registration? We are all mindful of our cash flow and it is easy to not spend where there is not some level of pressure to spend. But I look at Linked In and see the benefits I gain, I cannot help but ensure that I subscribe, at least for some extended periods, to give back. There is no such thing as a free lunch…or a free launch.

Second, there are so many scammers popping up. You may not notice if you are a person who keeps your connections limited. I, like many, choose to go in the other direction. I am keen to build as many connections as possible to expand the reach of my posts and activities. I welcome every connection.

With this comes a variety of connection requests, most often supposedly from the Gulf Countries and the UK. Some are from India. The first thing you notice is that there is a feel about the profile that is not right. Second, they often put their role up as some level of senior position in Funds Management or Banking. There is very scant professional background.

If I have an overwhelming feeling that the profile is fake, I report it to Linked In. It will get checked out and if after a couple of weeks the profile is still sitting there waiting for me to accept the connection, I will go ahead and accept.

If I have a feeling about a profile but am just not sure, I accept and wait for an email from them. Most of the time, the email arrives. It is telling me about some grand business deal or some funds available and that I need to email them at a given address. The written English in these emails is never great. It is clear now that this profile is not genuine and of course neither is the email.

So, I reject the email is spam and then go to the profile and report it as a misrepresentation.

You see, as a Linked In user, I do not wish o have it over run or tarnished in anyway by thieves, con artists, swindlers and scammers. SO I will take the time out to act when something does not feel right.

I feel it is important to care for the hand that feeds you. And for business, Linked In is potentially an inexhaustible food supply.

Let’s Get the Ladies on Board

Let’s Get the Ladies on Board

Retrace: Back in 1980, I started work at Melbourne’s most up market and luxurious Health Club in South Yarra, The Ultimate Sporting club. The who’s who of society went there, from Barry Humphries to Sam Newman and from Andrew Peacock to visiting artists like James Taylor and Billy Joel.

But the most impressive person I ever met there was Sue Gooding. She worked with us for a while as a Gym Instructor. She was perhaps the most beautiful looking woman I had ever seen, was extremely kind, smart and gentle and was also a former Canadian Women’s Olympic Gymnast. But the thing that got me most was that she was also the Captain of the Canadian Women’s Rugby Union Team.

Girls FootballIn 2001, I was living in Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula. That was perhaps one of the best places I had ever lived. Being a person who likes to get amongst the community, I joined the local football club and played a couple of seasons, and also joined the Management Board of the Red Hill Recreation Reserve. It was a big gig because we had lots of facilities, Senior and Junior Football Clubs, Senior and Junior Cricket Clubs, a Tennis Club, the Red Hill Market and the Red Hill Show as regular users.

At the time, a memo went out from the local football league, seeking to urge the football clubs to start Netball teams for the ladies in the area. The league thought this would be a good way to get more women involved in the football clubs and as a consequence, strengthen the clubs financially.

I read the email and sat dumbstruck for a few moments. Of course, all the Netball keen women in the area already had their teams. Why would they abandon those just to play for a team established by the football club? The delusion and arrogance in the memo was quite shocking.

But the message was clear. The clubs needed to find a way to get more of the local ladies involved. When you get more women at social functions and games, you get more men. The whole thing sprouts wings from there.

So this floated around in my mind. You see, I am a true believer that sports clubs are an essential part of a community. They bring people together. The nurture friendships, common interests and provide those who need it an opportunity to serve; to make a contribution. Along the way, young adults can learn values through their participation in the game and the club.

During that year, my youngest daughter Toneya, took an interest in Football. She had a male teacher who loved the game and he entered a girls’ team in a lightning premiership. 10 Primary schools on the Peninsula sent a girls football team to play in the event.

Toneya was sick all week with the flu, really sick, but she was determined to play. The team needs me to be there she lamented. So on Friday morning she dragged herself out of bed and we headed for the oval.

Now I knew Toneya was a good athlete. She is small, but loves to train and is a very good netballer. At 12 years of age, she was searching for a sport she could make her own. Something awesome was about to unfold.

Over the next 80 minutes, I watched these young ladies go at it with as much ferocity as the boys would. They ran, bumped, marked, kicked, crashed through packs and took to the game like ducks to water. And Toneya, well, in that period of time, she kicked 20 goals.

As I watched, I remembered the memo from the football league. “This is it” I thought, “I am watching the future of local football. If these young girls keep playing, and why wouldn’t they, in 8 years we will have a women’s team playing at the Red Hill Football Club, and the other clubs in the league.”

So I flipped open my phone and rang David Parkin. “David, let me tell you want I am looking at right now.” I went on and explained the scene. I then told him about the memo and my vision for the future.

David is a smart guy who loves football and is passionate about people. He said, “Give me 5 minutes and I will ring Laurie Woodman” who was heavily involved in Football Administration at community level for the AFL.

David rang back and said, “Laurie is arranging a meeting with Mick Daniher at The Victorian Metropolitan Football League. He wants to know if we can come in next Wednesday.”

When I got home I rang an old friend Julie Henry who worked at GP Bates Advertising. They had the AFL Account and I asked her if she could mock up some promotion for women’s football. My goal was to get an under 13 girls competition going for the next season.

The Victorian Metropolitan Football League meeting was great. They decided to fund a female field officer and all looked well. But then the bombshell dropped a few weeks later. They had decided in all their wisdom to establish an Under 17 competition up in the city.

Now this was the very same year 3 young girls had been told they had to stop playing in an under 13 competition because administrators thought they should no longer be matching it with the boys. Under 13 was the exact target age group. From there, start an Under 15’s next year and in 2 more years start under 17’s.

Not one of those young girls who played that day went on to play competition football.

An opportunity went begging. Football and community level could have been very different by now. Is it too late to resurrect the idea? I do not know.

But the one thing I do know, young girls love playing football. Rugby and soccer are wide open for women. What is wrong with AFL?

Tossing the Ball Around

Tossing the Ball Around

It is August 19th, 2013, and I am very excited this morning. I am sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Hamilton in New Zealand. Last night, the All Blacks gave the Wallabies a bit of a spanking, but I am excited.

Did you see the game? Maybe Rugby Union is not your cup of tea, and that is ok. I can forgive you for that. But having been born and partly raised in Queensland, it is in my blood.

I feel like, for the first time in a very long time, the shackles have come off the Wallabies. They stopped being so dour in defence and started to throw the ball around. Their play was exciting, adventurous and they took chances.

They made some mistakes that the All Blacks capitalised on, but they didn’t go into their shells. They just kept at it, running the ball and throwing it around, taking risks.

And the amazing effect was that this seemed to free up the All Blacks as well and they started to play an even more positive brand of Rugby. The game was thrilling and spectacular.

Wait till the Wallabies settle into this new style of play. They will give the World Cup a real shake in 2015.

But, that is not the main source of my excitement. It demonstrates to me a shift in attitude at the pointy end of this country. The Australian Rugby Union is not the government but they still hold our hearts in their hands. Perhaps Cricket Australia is learning this too.

See, I have had this feeling of dismay for so long about the decisions being made in the top end of town. The world economy has been struggling for a long time and the best strategies our corporate leaders can think of is to shut down on spending. They are playing a defensive game and it is killing so many other areas of the economy.

What would happen if they took a different viewpoint and took some risks and started to spend, become ambitious and bold. There may be some different results.

Small businesses depend on big businesses spending money. When big businesses go into “spending shut down” mode, they still make big profits. But, those profits end up in company savings or in the pockets of shareholders and very little of it creeps out into the economy.

Small and medium businesses then tend to follow suit and zip up their wallets and purses and everything slows to a crawl. Then we look at Governments and say they are not doing enough.

This fear based mindset makes a recession more real and keeps it frozen in place, as opposed to building our way out of it.

Economic slow-downs have a huge negative impact, not just because people lose their jobs or because small businesses fail, but also because there is less revenue going into essential community services and many of societies normal support structures begin to break under the strain.

So, let’s bring this back into our own lives. What are we doing? Are we playing it safe like the Wallabies have been, or are we prepared to take a risk and throw the ball around a little?

Are we stopping spending “just in case”, or holding back on more speculative investments, or even holding off on going into the business we always wanted to start….because the time is not right?

Are we investing in the shares of the big companies who are putting the brakes on and sucking the life out of the economy so we can get safe returns? If we are, it could be argued that we are part of the problem.

Are you buying cheap food to save money or are you going for good health and wellbeing and buying the good stuff, and in doing so, supporting positive industries and food suppliers?

This probably all comes back to us shifting our perspective from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” When you step up and do your bit to make the economy grow, you are making a huge contribution to the lives of others. And you don’t have to spend money with the big corporates who are cutting costs and hording wealth either.

This fits in perfectly with a piece of advice Greg Norman once gave me. I asked him about some of the outrageously risky shots he used to take, like a One Wood over the trees on a par 5 dog leg at Huntingdale. He said to me, “My first obligation is the fans. They come to see exciting golf. So, that is what I give them. If I win too, that is a bonus.”

So, is the world seeing your most exciting gifts right now?

John Toomey

0415844919