Life Domination – Lesson I: How to Get Control Over Your Life

Life Domination – Lesson I: How to Get Control Over Your Life

Life Domination – Lesson I: How to Get Control Over Your Life

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Written by Damian Minichowski & translated by Lisa Randl

Today’s article will serve as basis for a new sub-category here on Aesir Sports. It will be a completely different approach – one that hasn’t existed on this platform before – and I think it will add a spiritual thought into this project, which I’ve missed for quite some time: a philosophical character.

Maybe some of you noticed that I have concerned myself extensively with the subject of (sports) pyschology within the last few months – in terms of my studies at the university as well as in terms of my private interest. Several pieces of work serve as witnesses of this development (amongst them a few articles, which got published on Team-Andro.com, one of the biggest German online bodybuilding platforms out there – these articles target women and general athletes and focus around the psychological effects of training). The examination of numerous papers, several articles from other authors, bloggers as well as a little bit of self-reflection about my own life have made me aware of how important the mindset, ideals, morality and the general view on your own philosophy of life is. It is something that I’d like to summarize under the concept of self-respect. Its the ability of being able to look in the mirror in the morning without a bad feeling or agony. It is the ability to stand up for your beliefs, even if you meet resistance. But above all it is a matter of integrity and authenticity – these leads you to the ability to master your life without a bad conscience and without regret.

It does not matter if you have already been thinking about such questions before or not – I believe that this content provides some kind of benefit for everyone. Of course, to reflect on your life you don’t have to be a philosopher – but it helps tremendously if you just keep yourself busy with certain aspects and read about such topics, which have never been of any concern for you yet. It is not about simply writing down some thoughts, no. It is about a demonstration and pointing out something that actually has always been there for a long time, although nobody bothered with writing it down (or reading it).

Life Domination – Lesson I: How to Get Control Over Your Life

What Are We Doing Here? Where Does The Journey Lead Us?

The reasons for why we started working out in the first place are legion. A lot of people just want to lose some weight, because they feel uncomfortable or bulky with their unwanted body weight. Others come from the opposite corner: They feel too thin and scrawny (and some are even underweight). Perhaps they lack valuable (life) energy – after all, their bodies have limited energy resources or maybe they have suffered from some serious personal misfortunes (e.g. eating disorders) in the past. The path of (athletic) sports, if properly applied and implemented, can be a real reward which results in a healthy weight gain and – ultimately – may also lead to an active life and more joy. Nowadays, we live in a high-tech information age, where we have exchanged shovel, ax and plow for pens, laptops and phones.

The last decades have been a turning point of humanity in the western hemisphere. Our civilization is moving less and less in course of an enlarging service society, while our eating habits are heading in an alarming direction. We eat fast food instead of fresh meat and locally grown vegetables, which remained free of artificial additives and other shit. We find cakes, ice cream and sugar, as well as fat-soaked pastries on our plates, also HCFS products and fruit juices, instead of naturally grown fruit (which certainly should be consumed to a limited degree). Alcohol and other drugs are used till the loss of consciousness and beyond – our society is dominated by hedonism and consumerism. Impatient and spoiled as it is, it changes the modern human being in frightening proportions and directions. Some individuals even see an increasing degeneration of society. In fact – if we have an unbiased look at the on-going development (despite smartphones, designer furniture and high-tech equipment), it is not looking too well for our species‘ future.

You-Don-T-Have-To-Be-Great-UnknownApart from the majority there is bastion, a small enclave of sports fanatics and heavy lifting people who distance themselves from too much idleness and simple gluttony. Whether for optical-cosmetic reasons, as a stress killer or because it is a requirement for their health: They are overrunning fitness centers and hardcore gyms, subscribe themselves and exercise like wild barbarian Germans. They are looking for diet concepts and systems which build the base for their obsessive eating habits. Each gram and every kilocalorie is fixed in the minutest details to two decimal places. Some of them even have a small pharmacy with a noteable supplement diversity in their kitchen, while others simply go “back to nature”. They eat only grass-fed beef, pasture butter and home-grown seasonal vegetables, that doesn’t contain any flavor enhancers or preservatives. Everyone has his own personal lifestyle recipe; individually and matched at the highest level to their own living conditions. Many do not realize that such an approach provides something like a constant variable in their life, which can be used as a guideline. After all, this is what makes us human beings – we just love to organize and structure stuff, we like to search for complex patterns and optimize. In some ways this is, of course, a sort of pedantry, but it is the pursuit of perfection that drives us continuously and does not let us go. You can argue about whether such a structured, wedged in a corset, life is pleasant or not, but it’s a daily challenge that provides the possibility to grow and proceed. In my opinion this is a fact – without any doubt.

Alright, let us return to the really importan part: The reasons for engaging in sports (and stone-cold iron training in particular) and to eat accordingly to physical goals are also legion. There is an intrigueing concept I’ve encountered over and over again while researching the topic of sports psychology. Do you want to know what it is? Well, it is the concept of the mind-body connection. This visualization of the interdependencies between body and spirit is something that has strongly inspired and influenced me over the last few months. To be honest: Most people are not aware of this process, because it is rather quietly working in secret and grows on its own, until – one day – you stumble upon this theory by accident. Whether you read or hear about it (or maybe learn it from others)… the eminent importance and the extent of this relationship only becomes apparent when you realize how much of an impact our mind has on the biochemistry of the body. (For those of you who want to know more, I would recommend the audiobook series on Mental Toughness which helped me quite a lot to deepen my understanding on this topic).

A simple example how the mindset can influence the perception (and therefore creates a new reality) will be shown below: Imagine two rather similar scenarios.

Scenario A

You wake up in the morning and notice that your alarm clock has (once again) not rung at the set time – that would not be that bad, but today is quite important to you, because there is an important  meeting, where you have to go through a not-less-important presentation to win interest of one of your clients (and secure a big deal). Your entire future career will dependent on the next few hours. A glance at the clock tells you that you have another 20 minutes before the meeting starts.

In a complete hurry you jump into your car and go – breakfast is, of course, cancelled for today. At first, it still looks as if you can make it in time – the „green wave“ is easing your way. You turn onto the highway and put the pedal to the metal. You have just ten more minutes to make it in time. Everything is still possible and beads of sweat are already rolling over your forehead. Your body is being „bathed“ in cortisol, a stress hormone. Actually, ever since your panicky reaction at the sight of the alarm clock your body operates in ”fight-or-flight” mode. Suddenly you hear a loud bang and note how the car leans slightly to one side.

“Oh God, not now. Fucking car! “You’re close to tears. Then you maneuver your vehicle to the side, jump out of the car and hurry for the margins tool. Meanwhile, you’re completely worn-out, all sweaty and soaked in oil. To make the situation even worse you slip while unscrewing one of the wheels and now you have a big scrave at your left hand. You are not versed with changing tires and therefore you need about 20 minutes until you’re back on the road. You just think: “Why did this have to happen to me on this day?!”

You storm into the meeting where everybody – business partners as well as colleagues – have gathered already. These folks are staring at you with wide eyes, because you look as if you have been involved in a course fight. While excusing yourself you realize that you have forgetten the prepared documents for your presentation on your desk at home. The eye contact with your boss tells you that he is not amused. Not even slightly. You start your presentation without your documents and completely fail, because your mind is stuck to this fucked up situation. In the end, the customer seems not to be really satisfied with your performance and therefore puts you off with the words “We’ll be in touch.”

This, ladies and gentleman, is a homemade fiasco – what a day!

Scenario B

Let’s take the same situation, same time. The alarm clock has failed its job and you rush out of your bed. Luckily, you’ve prepared your clothes on yesterdays evening already, you’re shaved and you’ve put the documents for your very important presentation where you notice and see them.

You dress up and grab the documents. Time to hit the road: “Alright, let’s do this!” You catch the „green wave“ and you have a good feeling. “Still got 20 minutes to go? That will be easy!” But don’t get carried away – you know that you have to remain calm and you don’t want to get carless. So you turn on the freeway. 15 minutes to go.

BAM! A loud bang and the car starts to lurch. “Oh gosh flat tire,” you start thinking. Okay, never mind. What do we need to do now? You maneuver your car to the breakdown line, hop out of the car and start changing the flat tire – or sort off…you do’t simply change the tire: You make it a contest! “10 minutes, this will be a new record! My colleagues wll laugh out loud when they hear the story.” You work continously and precisely without panicking. After 12 minutes you are finished and you are back on track heading to your meeting point.

With a slight delay of 5 minutes you enter the meeting. You’re well prepared, since you took a careful look at the documents in the evening before and, well – of course – you didn’t forget them at home. You tell your adventurous story from this morning and earn a few laughs. “Flexibility”, you say, “is an important ability everyone should have. Even if it means changing a flat tire while heading to an important business meeting.” Now you have everyone on your side and the client seems impressed. You’re confident. Once you start your presentation, you find it quite easy to forget about all the stress in the morning and you concentrate on the essentials. You’re in the flow-zone.

After everything is said and done, your boss looks pleased while the customer is completely off the hook.

“Looks like a fied deal,” you think to yourself while having your closing. What a day!

Do you see the differences between the two situations? We have two identical scenarios, but we also have two different personality types.

Mr. A, a fatalist who likes to see himself as the victim of circumstances. He feels constantly overwhelmed, because things do not work out as he would like. However, Mr.B is the complete opposite of Mr. A. Sure, he’s too late, too and therefore, he is in a dilemma – but instead of losing his head, he remains cool and competente. Things do seldom work out like planned. Gotta know this.

Le’ts take the breakdown on the highway for example: He does not lose his mind. Instead of panicking, he creates a competition out of the need to change the tire. Since he remained cool, he could easily remember how to change it, although he might not have done it for quite some time – this has not only saved him 5 minutes; he also remained uninjured. This could’ve happened anyone and there is no need to cry over spilled milk.

You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do: Roll up your sleeves and tackle the obstacle. When life gives you lemons, you just have to make lemonade.

This is power of the mindset. How do you deal with such situations? Do you see yourself as the victim or are you the leading role in a movie and stay in command? Do you think that the perception is cast in solid cement? Do you really thing that you can’t shape the environment and the circumstances you’re in? Then read on…

Perception, Reality and our lives

Quote: Listen, learn, growYou should already be aware of fundamental role and impact of your mindset and how things seem to you. Your thinking style, and by this I mean your attitude and mindset, can be trained and changed. Our brain is a very complex structure and not just solid entity – it adapts steadily and it is very good at it [1].

Every thought that we have, every emotion that we devote ourselves to, and every action that we perform – it all influences us at every single moment; sometimes it even influences the rest of our lives. An old proverb says: “Cogito, ergo sum” – I think, therefore I am. Believe me when I say that we are always thinking. We ponder our lives, we reflect on our actions, reassess and evaluate ourselves (and our belief systems) every single day.

You want to know about reality? Well, you create it. It is the sum of you perceptions, your senses and you experiences gained from the past.

Nowadays we live in a dynamic, ever-changing world and react to these changes according to our knowledge and belief. Or at least we should do that.

Why do we torture ourselves every day to a job we loath? Why not start looking for a new, better one? Why do we spend time with people, who annoy us? Do we really have to waste our time with individuals that put us down or harm us? Why do not we throw them out of our lives? Why are we unhappy with our appearance? Everybody decides on his own how to spend his time. You’re free to start working out, move your body and feed it properly. Did you ever ask yourself why so many people work their asses off in the gym? Maybe because it’s for their own good? Their satisfaction? Their salvation?

All of these things lie in our own hands and we can do anything we want – if we decide to. You think it is your predetermined fate to be in the situation you are right now? You believe that there is nothing in the world that can change your circumstances? Okay. You’re right. It is your time to feel sorry for yourself. But not only that: You want everyone to know about it, too. You want them to see how bad things went for you. While in fact, you just might be an attention-whore. Do you really think that other people don’t have problems themselves? Everybody does, but not everyone bathes himself inself-pitiness. Nothing is gained from that.

Let me tell you what keeps you from doing what you want to do most eagerly: It’s not your peers, it’s not your job, it’s no higher entity and it’s most certainly not fate. The only thing that keeps you from doing things you actually want is your fucking comfort zone. You do not want to leave it, because you fear the change. You appreciate the convenience too much, and therefore you refuse to do something for yourself. You’d rather prefer to keep your small and tiny card house, existing out of five cards, instead of trying to enlarge it, because you don’t want to take the risk to make it collapse at some point. You are too easily satisfied with what you already have and therefore you don’t want to risk this for a better life. What about “No risk, no fun?” I say: “No risk, no gain.”

“Never let others tell you what you’re capable of – only you know what you’re prepared to do”. – Mike Mahler, Live Life Aggressively!

… those times are gone, my fellow readers. Each of us may lose orientation and feel lost every now and then. Sometimes we’re just puppets dealing with circumstances. There is no escape and we have to endure it. However it is up to us how we deal with all this. As Christian Zippel, a famous German coach and author put it aptly: Our generation is freeborn. We grew up without ever facing war, in a democratic social structure, we have (theoretically) all opportunities we might wish for. We have the freedom to choose our profession, we can live our religion, we can travel wherever we want and we can pretty much do anything, as long as it does not violate the law. We do not need to suite others – and no hypothetical ideals nor social factors will ever change that.

Quote: Fuck what they thinkIf someone does annoy or harm me all the time, you can rest assured that I will get rid of him and his so-called “friendship”. If my boss is an ungrateful asshole, then I will look for a job where my work is met with appreciation. If my girlfriend is cheating on me, then I will jag her in the wilderness – no matter how hard she cries and looks for excuses. This has nothing to do with “sociality”. These are concepts of integrity, common sense and an integrated personal desire towards a fullfilling and satisfied life. Everybody wants to be happy.

And this is what some people have to be reminded of: We do not live in order to please others. And to be honest, I don’t want to live close together with the majority of today’s society. It is up to me to decide who I welcome into my life and my environment, so it ought to be me to decide who is leaving, if I am not satisfied with the situation at hand. Hypocrites, liars, sycophants and especially false friends should be rigiorously be removed from your life. Of course, such decision might not be easy to settle with, but if there is an urgent need to do (because you will get hurt in this situation), then this should simplify the outcome, since it is the best thing to do.

The fact that anyone can actually do and be what he or she wants (you just have to be aware of it!), is a leading cause of why a rising number of youngsters fall into some kind of paralysis, a state of shock and immobility. They’re inable to act, because of frustration and resentment, so they aim rather low than high, because this minimizes the likelihood of getting disappointed. They look for shelter in alcohol and drugs. They survive working in the week, just to save themselves into the redeeming binge Friday. They indulged in polygyny and drown their sorrows and most of their worries (and dreams) in excess and intoxication – as a result they wake up with a hangover on a Sunday morning with gaps in their memory in a strangers bed (and, mind you, this is not even the worst scenario I can think of).

This is our Brave New World.

What Does It Actually Mean to Take Responsibility and Control Over Your Own Life?

There a 2 things that can put you into the position to take resposibility for your own life: Your (evoked) changes and your (taken) actions. The moment when you make a decision and do everything to achieve this goal, will change your life in its foundations. No changes, no life – that is to say: No growth.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor once has expressed it aptly:

“Frightened of change? But what can exist without it? What’s Closer to Nature’s heart? Can you take a hot bath and leave the firewood as it was? Eat food without Transforming IT? Can any vital process take place without something being changed? Can not you see? It’s just the same with you – and just as vital to nature.” – Marcus Aurelius

Life means change. Pantha rei – everything flows. The cosmos and the universe, the stars, the earth, nature and our mind – all that is existing in a neverending stream…and with short blink of an eye the present lies already in the past and a new reality reveals itself to us with every additional second of our life – and it repeats itself over and over. But you have to be willing to accept this new reality and the resulting paths and options that actually await at every corner. You never know what life might have destinied you to do and you never know what will come next. That’s the beauty of life. In fact, problems are life’s way to point out areas in our life, where we need to grow. These are challenges, where we can prove ourselves.

A Closing Circle: Unity of Body & Mind

Let’s wrap this lesson up.

In the beginning I mentioned the so-called mind-body connection. Just as working out shapes our body, it also has an impact on our mind. We draw new energy form a strenuous workout – well, of course not quite immediately, but our body gets aware of the increased requirement of strength and energy and it adapts and reacts to various external stimuli. The body needs to improve and prepare for a returning confrontation, because these small improvements might turn out to be crucial for future’s survival. Always remember: If there is an action, there will be a reaction to it, too. We get stronger, tougher and our energy levels rise. We also get more self-confidence and aquire a “winning mentality” – your body will do everything possible in order to ensure survival. Not only from a physical standing point but also from an psychological.perspective.

It would be a mistake to regard this process as a one-street way, because our body is in constant contact with our spirit – there is a feedback loop integrated which leads to a self-perpetuating cycle. You might know the saying: Successful people tend to stay successful. It’s the perpetual motion of a strong positive mindset. If mind and body are in harmony, we are able to accomplish great things and nothing and no one can stop us in such a state: „Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” (Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich)

This mind-body connection, once established, will change your life forever. It will bring you total control, regardless of whether you are just at home, find yourself at work, in the gym or on a holiday trip. It will emit its light into every corner of your life – only then you will be really free to do what you’ve dreamed of.

A Philosophical Approach: The “I Can”-Mentality; Life Domination

Up until now Aesir Sports was a platform that has been primarily dealing with body building and physical development. Progressive training, adequate nutrition and rest were (are and remain) the three basic pillars for the long-term success in our beloved sport. This won’t change, but as the saying goes: “Man shall not live by bread alone.” We simply extend the spectrum to another facet, because even the spirit wants to be cultivated and challenged. Maybe you have great genetics and lots of potential, but if you do not learn to be disciplined and don’t lift your ass from the ground (you sluggard!), then even the best initial endowment, the potential and all the talent is not worth a thing. The idea of ​​life is not to stay where we began. It’s about constantly evolving: Physically, mentally and spiritually.

Quote: Deicide, commit, succeedLife Domination is the new philosophic part of the blog, dealing with a broad range of topics on how to sharpen your mind, how to nourish it, how to strengthen the mind-body connection and how to draw attention to things that just haunt through my head – and therefore are considerd by me to be worth to get discussed in public. Imagine this section as a kind of life-guide. It may not always be exemplary nor easy to follow, but maybe a little guidance in the MMORPG called “life,” which is constantly challenging and forcing you to think about yourself, your present life and your goals.

Do you really live your life according to your own wishes or are you just doing what others tell you? Are you surrounded with people who pull you down? People who don’t are up for the best of you? Do you deal with them, just because you think you have to be social? Do you treat those, who hurt you with kid gloves? And what about your dreams and desires? Are you pursueing persistently or are you just wasting your time with nonsense?

Just answer the essential question: Do you have control over your own life or just a mere punching ball for society? I think it’s time for a little Life Domination.

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Picture sources: Bildquelle Titelbild: Flickr / Moyan_Brenn ; CC Lizenz

About the Author

Damian “Furor Germanicus” Minichowski is the founder and mastermind behind the bodybuilding and nutrition online magazine Aesir Sports (AesirSports.net & AesirSports.de). Besides numerous authorships Damian is writing for several well known and respected weightlifting and fitness magazines. He authored more than 200 articles about bodybuilding, training, training philosophy, nutrition, health and supplementation already.

Damian worked as a long-term fitness coach in local gyms. Currently he is working as a consultant for a supplement manufacturer. His profession lies in evidenced-based article writing and revolves about one of his biggest passions in life – Physical fitness, nutrition, supplementation and health.

People who landed on this page, looked for the following search terms: Life Domination, How to control life, Life Control. Controlling Life, Life Advice, Getting in Charge.

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