Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Contrasts ....

Something I have come to realise my friends ... and it is this: we need to experience cold to fully appreciate warmth - we need to experience poverty to fully appreciate financial security - we need to experience discomfort to fully appreciate comfort - we need to experience a loss to fully appreciate a win.

A simple meal is more fully appreciated by a person who has been really hungry - the mostly lavish of meals is not as appreciated by someone who eats well regularly.

Without struggle and hardship - how would we know joy?

Monday, October 16, 2017


The Heart Wins!

When I was a kid, I was promised that if I worked hard, got a good education, I would succeed in life. As I looked around, I saw exactly that; engineers, doctors, plumbers, they all had jobs .. they were all getting paid. It all seemed so reasonable. The only thing was …. didn’t like the idea of going to University, getting a degree and entering the job market! As it turns out, I am glad I ignored everyones advice … and followed my own heart.

The tools we needed 30 years ago, were a very different set than those needed today. If we rely on the school-system to provide us with the tools we need to succeed in life, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

I have made many, many decisions in my life that were as far from sensible as a decision could be … and most of them, have worked out very well for me. My inner-voice, as it turned out, was worth listening to. 

As someone once told me “one of the most important distinctions we should learn to make is the distinction between fact and opinion” (Robert Kiyosaki) My own opinion is that this is a very useful piece of advice. 

Sometimes the opinions of others are worth listening to, and sometimes they are not. Whenever you think you need to choose between heart and mind - remember this - the heart (in this sense) actually resides in the mind. It may be worth listening carefully …. JBW

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Some things ...

There are things that people cannot take from you … your integrity, your humility, your authenticity. No … these things cannot be taken from us …. these things, for any that way inclined, need to be given away freely. 

Monday, October 09, 2017


Not quite right …

Just the right brand of insanity is what is needed for awesome living. Well, I say that, because if ‘sane’ = ‘normal’ which = ‘sample falling into the middle part of the bell-curve of human behaviour’ … then I do not wish to be fully nor ‘appropriately’ sane. And I wouldn’t wish it so upon anyone else either.

I celebrate the differences between us - the fact that were all see the sunrise differently, think about things differently, experience differently, etc. 

‘Normal’ is that label that pigeon-holes for convenience … but convenient for whom? And to what end?

Celebrate the differences between people, I say. Those differences create tensions, divergent beliefs, varying opinions and unique perspectives … the juxtaposition of this thought upon that gives rise to the infinitely complex fabric of humanity. The differences between us are what makes the ride all that more interesting … JBW

Saturday, October 07, 2017


When Shit Goes South

Plans have a way of laughing in our faces. We have accidents, bump into unforeseen events, get sick … trip over our feet. We are awesome stumblers - but we are equally awesome ‘recoverers’. 

The toddler toddles - then walks, then runs, then leaps … next thing you know the toddler is dancing on the high-wire. Our stumbles and lurchings are highly instructive. We are adaptive machines who learn by making errors and making adjustments. 

As the old saying goes - ‘pressure makes diamonds’


Tuesday, October 03, 2017


Back on the horse ...

When the vagaries of life have shunted you off-mission - get back on track as soon as you can - this is exactly how great gains are made. 

I am always impressed by people who find a way to get back on the horse after being bucked off for this or that reason. Call it resilience - fortitude or just plain stubbornness … but this habit is one of the ones that can make a huge difference in our lives.

Sunday, October 01, 2017


At the heart of it ...

A teacher - at the heart of it, needs to always be a student. Great teaching is driven by just the right blend of understanding, skill, passion and communication - and to embrace such an undertaking for any meaningful length of time requires a sustained effort - and such an effort is only sustainable if we are constantly imbued with curiosity ourselves. - JBW

Monday, September 25, 2017


Whats the math on …

When I went to school, I always found math difficult. My dad used to try to explain it to me - it was easy for him - but my mind struggled. 

Later in life though, I saw the math in many things. It’s strange how we all develop in different areas, at different stages of our lives. Some of us have to ‘experience’ before understanding - others are adept at learning by rote - others still come to things effortlessly at certain times - for inexplicable reasons. 

There is math at the foundation of all things. I wonder if the math teachers I knew - are aware of this fact? Perhaps.

We look around and geometry in everything … the rectangular shape of the screen you are looking at now - the concentric circles formed as we drop a pebble in the pond - the 90 degree spin as we transition to an armbar from the mount …

Numbers not only play a role … they are elegant, and wonderful. Imagine a world in which we did not see numbers … hard, if not impossible to do. 

Embracing the math of life … requires an excursion down the rabbit-hole ….

Sunday, September 17, 2017


By design ...

I think of the design-process as a kind of predictive instrument. When I designed my home for example, I was in a way, trying to predict how I was going to live - which way I was going to turn when I came downstairs in the morning, etc. In designing a class, I am predicting how i want that class to unfold. I imagine how I want the end-result to be - and then reverse engineer back through a design-process that will gives me what outcome I want. 

In an effort to design our lives - we can predict - mentally wind time backward a bit - and jump-start design-engine into life. This has worked for me at least - in loads of areas. 

I think design - along with ‘organisational models’ should be taught in school - as basic subjects. Math, chemistry and physics are interesting - but design and organisational skills gets stuff done. - JBW

Monday, August 28, 2017


Speculation …

Every time we make a decision in life, we are speculating. Decisions are in a way, speculative choices. Speculation is a bet on the future; on how we think the future might unfold. Throughout the course of my life, I have been accused of being too speculative - of taking too many risks - of wandering too far from the beaten path (thanks in part to some unusual people who understood the value and learning that lies beyond the well-trodden path). Taking risks, as it turns out, is something that we can ‘normalise’ pretty quickly; and doing so, open ourselves up to possibility and adventure …

Friday, August 25, 2017


Fight IQ - LIFE IQ

Ever since I was 17 years old, I instinctively understood that a holistic approach to martial arts training was the way of the future. A balanced blend of kicking, striking, clinch work, takedown, ground control and submissions has always appealed to me. I have to admit though, I was not only drawn to this wholistic approach because of it’s obvious efficacy - but rather for a much simpler and somewhat obvious reason … it was more ‘interesting’, more exciting, there was much more to learn, more to sample, more to keep me interested and motivated. In short, I abhored boredom.

I believe in the power of congruence. I want to approach my martial arts training the same way I approach the bigger puzzle that we call ‘life’. In life, I want to know a lot about a few things but also a little about a lot of things. This approach allows us to make better decisions and to be highly adaptable - but again, it also keeps us from becoming bored. 

A driving fundamental of why human beings are so successful on the planet is our ability to adapt. Our diversity, our ability to re-create how we interact with the environment, is what makes us special. So to not embrace this fundamental on a personal level, would be in my view, a wasted opportunity.

Read something you would not normally read, watch a movie you might not ordinarily watch, talk to someone you might not ordinarily talk to; travel, learn, experiment, broaden your outlook; learn another language, eat something you’ve never eaten before … this is living life beyond the scope of the ordinary. 

Be a renaissance man - or woman.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Choices ...

Consequences continually unfold - as a result of both action or inaction. Choosing not to act, is of course, in itself an action off sorts. Making choices is integral to being alive - a bold life unfolds from the habit of making bold choices. Sometimes - frightening choices. - JBW

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Looking Good and Going Nowhere - Embrace the Wobble.

This is one of my favourites. I heard it from author, Robert Kiyosaki some 30 years ago. I am actually quite surprised at how much he said, that stuck with me. he was an excellent instructor/communicator! One of the best!

He was all about being okay with making mistakes. We all learn like heat-seeking missiles, he said. We launch in a random direction, and make a series of ever-decreasing adjustments, until we home in on the target/goal. The missile keeps asking ‘hotter or colder’ and adjusts accordingly. We need to embrace the information to zero in on what we want. 

When a kid learns to ride a bike, the are okay with wobbling, falling off, crashing into things, etc. They adjust very quickly, and are soon riding down mountain trails. 

When I went to school, mistakes were discouraged. we were only rewarded for ‘wins’ - not ‘losses’ -= and so many of us developed an aversion to losing/experimenting, etc. yikes! Luckily for me, I quickly ‘recovered’ when I left school - and learned to embrace the /losing/falling/failing side of the learning equation. 

It’s easy to  keep ’looking good’ - to stay well within our limitations - to limit our ‘wobbles’ - it’s just that in playing that way, we won’t get anywhere. hence the saying - Looking Good and Going Nowhere!

Embrace the wobble! - JBW

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


Change ... and Choice.

When I started BJJ - there was no internet!
When the first UFC kicked off - people didn’t know what a website was! By the time the 10th UFC was aired - we still hadn’t heard of e-mail!
Things have changed, evolved and morphed at a rapidly increasing rate over the past two decades. The ability to adapt, and keep up (even get ahead of) changes in the world around us, becomes more and more relevant every day. I have talked to people who have started a four year course at University, only to realise, as they neared the end of their course, that the filed was no longer relevant! Yikes!
In many ways, it’s as if we are all running in a marathon … it takes effort just to keep up with the pack; let alone get out in front … that requires something special.
Personally, I like a rapidly changing environment … I feel I am up for it. To thrive in that kind of environment is both stimulating and challenging - but it does take energy and at times, an effort of will.
But after any race - we need rest. And I do believe very strongly in the importance of rest and rejuvenation. For me that takes the form of watching a movie, reading a book, getting out in the wilds and doing some hiking with a pack on my back, etc.
Wishing everyone a great week ahead … do something different this week. read something you wouldn’t normally read - watch a movie you would normally think of watching - try a new technique on the mat - eat a new kind of food - have a chat with someone you don’t know - get yourself a digital wallet and buy a part of a Bitcoin! Change happens ... we can ignore it - adapt to it - even revel in it. Those are our choices. - JBW

Monday, August 07, 2017


The problem with Soda Pop

So very often in life, Shiny Objects pull us off-mission.
We set out to do something, spot some other thing out of the corner of our eye, become distracted from our original intention (sometimes permanently so) … and wonder why we are not making progress.

Now I am not one obsessed with ‘goals’ and the acquisition of such … but I do, tend to ‘see things through’ once I have started. If we want to get something done, and it is important to us to get that thing done … we should resist the pull and allure of random ’shiny objects. 

Shiny Objects Distract Again … Plans on Pause. The problem with Soda Pop.

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Average Joe

The famous, the wealthy, the elite … or the common man all have much in common. 
They each have only 24 hours in their day. The can pretty much all eat healthy food. They all have a roof over their head. In short, there are more similarities than differences between between an extraordinarily wealthy person and a person who earns an average wage. 

Happiness is happiness, for the rich or average like. Both the rich and the average can choose to be healthy, they can both read the same books, watch the same tv shows, sleep in similar beds. 

Many average people bemoan the wealthy and spend time wishing they had access to wealth … when in reality, most of the great things we can experience in life are available to most of us. 

Warren Buffet (worlds greatest investor) still drives the same car he has 20 years ago; lives in an average house in an average neighbourhood and by all accounts, buys breakfast at Mcdonalds most mornings. He dresses in normal clothes and speaks like an average man. he is, by all outward appearances, very average in his appetites … he just likes (and excels) at a particular kind of game that makes him a lot of money (the business game)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


Understand where the danger is! And don’t be there!

This is a fundamental concept that is often overlooked. I remember being on the receiving end of this lesson, early in my BJJ development. My coach stood back, three or four paces from me and asked if I thought he could knock me out from there; I replied ‘no!’ He then asked me to clinch him tightly and asked again ‘can I knock you out now?’; I replied ‘no!’. He then asked me where he would need to be to have the best chance of knocking me out; I stood a couple of feet away from him and said ‘Around here’. He looked at me, smiled his little smile and said … ‘Don’t be there!’

Knowing where not to be, is as important as knowing where we should be. This works on and off the mat. There are basic things we just shouldn’t do - don’t play with lions, don’t pick up snakes, don’t swim in a raging river, don’t spend more than we earn and live on credit cards … yet weirdly, there are plenty of people who still do these things. They usually pay a high price for their stupid choices. Darwinian forces are, thankfully, there to sort things out for the rest of us. 

Basics people … basics!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


The distinctions between Saving, Investment and Speculation ... in life

Something I have struggled with - but have come to understand over time - is how to make distinctions between these three things:
  • investing
  • saving
  • speculating
Not only in a fiscal sense - but in other areas of my life as well.

These are all very different things … although there is some overlap; perhaps enough overlap that it becomes very easy to conflate all three into one one ‘murky’ concept. For the larger part of my life I saw no meaningful difference between these things; nowadays, I see a little more clearly; and am hoping to share it with any of you who are ready …

Investing is about putting something up (time/money) in order to produce a return in the future. We invest time in learning a new technique, a new language, etc - in the knowledge that we will be able to ‘use’ it in the future. 
Investing is ultimately about ‘producing something’ that was not there before.

Saving is about putting something to one side for future use. When we do this in a fiscal sense, we hope to do so in a way where we at least keep abreast with inflation. Saving is about ‘setting aside’; about delaying gratification; about consolidation, in some sense. 
Saving is ultimately about ‘preserving’. 

Speculating is about taking risks; ideally risks that we can manage. This is more about seeking an ‘above average’ return … but doing so in an environment/area where there is also a real possibility of suffering an ‘above average’ loss. The rule of thumb is simple here; only speculate with what you can afford to lose - whether it be time/money/whatever. 

Speculating is ultimately about ‘educated gambling’.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Throwing a wide net ...

I like reading, listening to podcasts, watching videos/programs, listening to a wide range of other people’s views and then trying to tidy it all up into a view that I am happy to hold - at least until I am convinced otherwise (in fact, often hoping that I am). This goes to the heart of what learning is all about; we gather as much information as we can, and then make assessments, arrive at conclusions and form opinions about the world we live in. - JBW

Monday, July 17, 2017


Talking and thinking ...

When people are speaking, they are basically thinking out loud. When we listen to someone bluster and rant; or grunt and deride - we get an insight into the way they think. When we listen to someone describe a carefully considered opinion, we get an insight into the way they think. We utter and mutter and in so doing, we reveal our thinking.

Talking is (to a large degree) just thinking out loud. Getting our thoughts and opinions in order pays dividends over time; the clearer we are with our thinking, the better we become at communicating with others.

As we all crystallise our opinions on things and polish the lens through which we view the world, we can begin to improve our ability to express our thinking and our views to others. Through reading, debate, conversation, life-experience, travel and study we become better at articulating our world view and in so doing, we become better positioned to make our own contributions on the landscapes we inhabit. - JBW

Sunday, July 16, 2017


The spark ...

From my childhood

An over-reaction perhaps … but in response to being bullied for a couple of years as a child, I looked to martial arts training as a solution. Back then, there were very few training opportunities available to me - so my father (who really knew his way around a fight) taught me what would later serve as a fairly solid foundation for my life’s pursuit.

Comic-books, rather than video games, were the thing back then. I, like most kids, has a large collection. I was endlessly fascinated by the ads I saw therein; they promised all kinds of wonderment … and at the time, were a kind of inspiration for how I would later on, design my life.

It’s funny, almost comical (pun right there) how certain things inspire and motivate us. I have always felt that inspiration comes first - and everything else follows. We ‘reality-making’ beings … everything starts with a thought, an internal whim … a spark of the imagination. - JBW

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Collateral Benefit …

I have long been interested in the concept of collateral benefit.
This is the idea that even though I might choose to do something for personal reasons - if others stand to directly benefit from my choices and actions - then I have a very strong indicator that I am on a successful path.

I understand on a visceral level that this is ‘deep principle’ at work. In fact, I use the collateral benefit structure to ‘test’ my own decisions about doing things in my own life. 
‘Does this helps others?’ - YES/NO
‘Do I want to do this?’ - YES/NO
Yes/yes … and and the way forward is clear.

The bee collects the pollen - and in doing so, effects cross-pollination between plants. Yes/Yes. And so the world works. - JBW

Friday, June 09, 2017



It isn’t so important to talk about integrity - just be a person of your word. it isn’t so important to talk about loyalty - just be loyal. It isn’t so important to talk about being generous - just be kind. Talk is easy - our actions define who we really are. 

Imagine your married and your spouse keeps telling you how loyal he or she is - yikes - that would be worrisome! Humans are creatures of action … and oft times, our chatter and verbiage let’s us down.

One of my very favourite sayings - from a book entitled ARMOR by John Steakley - is as follows: ‘You are what you do when it counts’. The protagonist in the book is called Felix; the inspiration behind the naming of my boy. A great read about fear, taming instinct and becoming. One of the messages of the story, is that it doesn’t so much matter what you feel or say - ultimately it is what you do that really matters - and especially, what you do, when under pressure, highly inconvenienced or when your actions actually ‘cost’ you. 

We are defined by our actions … words are important, yes - but actions leave footprints and have real effect on the world.

  • JBW

Thursday, June 08, 2017


Durability ...

Durability is a good trait - a useful trait for life - and one that can make the difference between us ‘folding’ under pressure or ’pushing through’. Durability, can be both a physical durability and also, a thing of the mind. Mental durability is perhaps, the more important of the two.

There are all kinds of mental durability - we might have the kind of durability that allows us to more easily process criticism than others - we may have the kind of durability that equips us to push through hardship when others might throw in the towel - we  might have a durability of memory, allowing us to recall things and lessons we have learned a long time ago - we might posses the kind of mental durability that us to perform the mental gymnastics needed to solve certain kinds of problems, etc.

Durability is something we can hone and develop. Physical durability to easy to acquire … strength and conditioning training allows us to make big gains in this area; mental durability is more tricky as their are so many flavours available to us. The approach though, to the acquisition of durability is almost always the same - we expose ourselves, little by little, to the challenging thing … and over time, our mental faculties adapt and we become more durable. 

Increasing our exposure to stress - of various kinds - can greatly increase our durability. Our minds don’t like stress, in the same way that our physical; bodies don’t like physical stress … it is not the stress though, that is good, it is our response to that stress that makes us stronger and more durable. Durability - the invisible Superpower. 


Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Another Bedrock Misunderstanding ...

The Universe is my friend: The universe, like nature, is not your friend - it doesn’t care if you live well or die horribly - the universe is not a conscious entity. We can think warm and fuzzy thoughts about nature and how we should live in harmony with it but an earthquake or a lion will both still dispatch us in short order. Instead sending your thoughts out into the universe in the hope that something wonderful will happen, just plan and take action - that’s how actual stuff gets done. - JBW

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