This came to mind today as my jiu jitsu coach said “I’m not a nice person” (yes I have coaches too). Yet he didn't hurt anybody. The difference between nice and kind is doing what is right in the big picture for others. It would've been nice to take it easy on us today at jiu jitsu practice but that would not help us to be better. Instead he was hard on us when we made mistakes. In fact when I messed up he put me into a choke hold. As a result I won’t be making that mistake again.
It may be nice to refrain from telling someone you notice them doing or saying things that cause others to turn away, but is it certainly not kind. You spare their feelings and your own in the short term but allow them to continue to falter. This robs them of the opportunity to improve their social skills which could positively impact their career and lives. This isn’t always easy and sometimes it takes a strong will to say what’s right knowing their may be brushback.
Take the example of a baseball player who admits he's tagged when no one else saw it. This takes integrity. One might argue that this is not helpful, but hurtful to his team who is trying to win the game. However, this integrity is helpful to the game as a whole and providing this example helps everyone on the field to become better people.
Kindness does not always mean hurting other people’s feelings. There are tactful ways to say the things that need be said. Communicating that it’s coming from a place of caring and helping is a good way to accomplish this. In fact leading with that will increase the odds that the other person will be open to listening.
We all know people who seem too nice. Being nice is worrying what others think about you. It's being afraid. Those people who are so nice are often not respected by those for whom they work so hard to earn affection.
Being kind is not always the nice thing to do.
Scott Bitterman MSPE, CSCS
A positive attitude is like a garden, you must nourish it with positive thoughts. In that garden weeds can grow. Weeds are negative thoughts. If you allow negative thoughts to stay in your mind for long periods of time they will replace the positive thoughts and you will find yourself having a negative attitude. Just like when weeds are allowed to grow in the garden they multiply and eventually replace all of the flowers and plants and you have an ugly unattractive bunch of weeds.
Flowers and bushes can also multiply. These are positive thoughts and they need love and attention in order to grow. As the late great Wayne Dyer said, it takes no effort to have negative thoughts. However, it does take effort to keep positive thoughts but that effort is rewarded with more positive thoughts, gratitude, a positive attitude, happiness, and attractiveness.
Positive thoughts will not immediately make you rich and grant you everything that you want, you must follow up with actions to get there. However, having positive thoughts takes away all restrictions to getting what you want either directly or indirectly. Leaving you with a wealth of thought, wealth of being, and the wealth of opportunities that you will see come your way to achieve anything that you want.
Nourish your mind with positive thoughts.
See the video
Get more time back in your day for learning and you will see speedy gains in your development.
Spend your down time learning. While driving listen to books on tape. I learned this tip from Todd Durkin who has built one of America’s top 10 gyms. Do you really need to hear that same song for a third time today? When at home read or watch youtube videos that will help you in your profession instead of binging on Netflix for hours on end.
Practice. Great information cannot help you unless you practice. Make sure you are spending at least 3 hours per day getting practical experience. Preferably in a challenging place. This is also the best way I know to truly find whether or not you enjoy your current craft.
Get feedback. Be in a place where you receive constant feedback on your work says Cal Newport, professor at Georgetown University. This is sometimes tough but accept the feedback given and apply where helpful. Let your ego go and don’t take it personally. It’s not about your personal worth but about improving your skills.
Scott Bitterman MSPE, CSCS
Educator and Owner of Emerge Athletics
Look on the bright side
There is always a bright side to every situation. A lesson or perhaps an opportunity which arises from the loss of another. Search hard for this and learn from any and all events in your life.
Think big picture
Disappointments which effect your day should not affect your week or month. A simple way to achieve this is to see the big picture. Maybe you didn’t get the project at work but does that project get you any closer to your annual, 5 year, or lifetime goals? In most cases probably not. But if so, keep working toward getting the next one!
Make time for the things you enjoy
Love golf? Then make time for it! Enough said.
Watch what you take in
TV, news, or what music you choose can have a large impact on your mindset and your life. Just as in your diet, when you fuel your body with junk you get junk results. The same applies to your media intake. Starting your day by watching the gloom and doom local news will surely start your day on a negative note. Listening to that song about hoes on the way to work probably won’t give you a positive outlook toward women. Reading the newspaper about the latest celebrity gossip adds zero value to your life. Though you know logically that these things aren’t what you believe and value, they have a cumulative subconscious effect on your mood and outlook so why not choose to fuel your subconscious with uplifting, positive information that adds value to your life. Start your day with affirmations, listen to an audiobook that will help develop you personally or professionally on the way to work, and read about someone you admire. Try it for 30 days and let me know your results.
Spend time with positive people and avoid the naysayers whenever possible
We’re surrounded with them. Energy suckers. They seem like good enough people but most every word out of their mouth is a complaint about one thing or another. They bring you down so avoid them at all costs and cut them out of your days by being too busy on developing yourself to speak about the latest catastrophe. Spend your time instead with people who lift you up. People who are encouraging, have similar interests or aspirations, or just plain happy positive people. Start noticing this; some of the people closest to you, especially co-workers, are energy suckers.
Scott Bitterman, MSPE, CSCS, Owner of Emerge Athletics
The holiday season is upon us. Great food and great people surround us. It's very easy to fall into the trap of poor habits during this time, but that’s no excuse to be unhealthy. Here are some tips to stay healthy during the holiday season.
Set cheat times. Plan in advance days and times that you're going to eat all that holiday junk food. For example, Christmas Day or the first night of Hanukkah. Knowing these times will help remind you to eat healthier in the days and hours leading up and avoid going on a binge. It will also set a definite end time so that you don't eat leftover junk for days and feel terrible for the next week.
Keep your exercise schedule. If you work out at 7 AM every day then continue to work out at 7 AM. Keeping this schedule will help you continue to feel good during the holidays, especially when the fuel you're putting in isn't the best.
Enjoy time with loved ones! That's what the holidays are about. Enjoy your break from school, work, and the daily pressures of life. Take time to reflect and be thankful for everything you have.
Now go party!
Scott Bitterman, MSPE, CSCS, Owner of Emerge Athletics
It’s not about how much you can lift.
It’s about how much you can lift with good form. Half reps don’t count and they don’t help you very much. Pick a weight you can handle, pinch your shoulders back, and slowly lower the bar until your upper arms are parallel with the ground. Push the weight back up as quickly as possible while exhaling. That’s a real rep.
Use a spotter.
I‘m not saying you should use a spotter for safety, although that‘s important. I’m saying you should use a spotter because it will help you push more weight. The reason is twofold. First, having someone there to grab the bar in case you fail will ease your mind and allow you to push your limits and put more weight on the bar than you thought you could. Second, a good spotter will also motivate you. Studies have shown that by having a person yell while you struggle to lift a weight will help you get past sticking points. Having someone yelling encouraging words to you enhances this effect.
Don’t wear gloves.
Wearing gloves actually robs you of strength. We all have a reflex in which when pressure is applied to our palms we push back. This automatic push helps us get past the bottom portion of the lift. Wearing gloves blocks the sensors in our palms that recognize this push and therefore stops us from lifting as much weight as we could. Don’t wear gloves. It’s worth a few callouses.
Scott Bitterman, MS, CSCS, Owner of Emerge Athletics.
Many of us don't like to run. We think it's boring, tedious, or just plain hurts. Here are some workouts to get your heart pumping without having to run.
Bicycle. Go out for a bike ride. It's easier on your knees and builds more strength in your legs. Which will make you faster when you actually do decide to run. For a more intense experience try doing Hills. Aside from the physical benefits, it's just a nice way to tour unknown parts of your neighborhood.
Jump rope. Many of us have not done this since grade school, however it's an incredible workout. It may take some time to get back the coordination but it's worth it. After just two minutes of jumping rope most people are in their aerobic zone, breathing hard and building endurance. Keep it up for a bit longer and you'll start to build muscle endurance in your shoulders from holding the rope up for an extended period of time. No wonder professional boxers and martial artist use this as their go-to exercise.
Airdyne bike. This is an often overlooked and underappreciated tool. The Airdyne bike allows you to use your arms as well as your legs to propel the wheel. The wheel is a fan that uses air resistance to match your intensity level so the harder you pedal the more resistance is produced. What makes this tool so valuable is that you can just use your arms. So now on those days when your legs are too sore to run, bike, or jump rope you have an option to do cardio just using your arms.
Hopefully this list of non-running workouts helps you to mix things up!
Scott Bitterman, CSCS
Recently someone became upset with me when I called a 40 minute period when our high school students were allowed free time to be “recess”. In today’s high stakes testing, high accountability, and highly competitive environment we could use more recess.
Remember when recess was the highlight of your day? We would play games, catch up with friends, and get out our nervous energy to return to class with a renewed demeanor to learn. Who misses that in their daily routine? I know I do.
A study at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute has shown that productivity goes up with exercise, especially in the middle of the day. But where is the motivation? Not many people want to run on a treadmill. It's boring. Introducing games however, taps into our playful and competitive spirit. How great would it be to play a game with friends; or for some of us, to throw a dodgeball at a co-worker?
The monotony of our day must be broken. Those problems we were agonizing over before lunch will often be easily solved after stepping away from them for a while and thinking about something else. Or taking some time to breathe and think about nothing at all.
When you think about your day as a whole, taking a break is not wasted time. If getting out helps you to be more efficient during the times when you're working then you become more productive. Spending double the time working and getting half as much done equals less productivity.
This of course would make people happier. The same Stockholm study showed that a happy worker is a productive worker. A happier worker is also there more often and spending less company money on doctor appointments and mental health days. It's not just about the bottom line. It's about living happier and more enjoyable working lives.
Let’s bring recess beyond grade schools. We've struck a chord with elementary students. Let’s learn from them and play!
Physical Education Teacher, Strength Coach, Owner of Emerge Athletics
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). "Exercise at work boosts productivity, Swedish researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906121011.htm>.
Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, Henna Hasson. Employee Self-rated Productivity and Objective Organizational Production Levels. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2011; 53 (8): 838 DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822589c2
Subjects & Authors