Tag Archives: mental health

You don’t need to be the best, just be better.

Handstand press ups*, pull ups, pistols and sprinting.
 
You could forge a strong, lean, athletic body with those 4 simple movements.
 
A bouns is that they all can be done away from a gym and without any kit, well less for finding somewhere to hang to do pull ups that is.
 
*What many see as a handstand push up is actually a headstand push up as the head touches the floor shortening ROM, a true handstand push up would have your head pass the line of you hands (think hands on boxes with a gap for your head).
 
Given the endless amount of options we have to crave body out of fine marble the big question is this; why do so many struggle?
 
Well my friends there is one answer possessed by this weary soul.
 
It’s not the only answer, however for many it’s the right one.
 
Are your ready for it…..
 
You simply don’t want ‘it’ enough.
 
The ‘it’ can be anything to you however the simple truth is that you just don’t want to achieve success the badly.
 
I know right, what a dick.
 
You are a literal miracle of creation as are many others and if you take just one minute to look around you you’ll see just how many people have taken this for granted and wasted the gift they were given.
 
How can you tell?
 
Poor posture, sloppy movement, obesity, ill health (from lifestyle choice, not unfortunate circumstance or medical issue).
 
People pissing away their lives is everywhere to be seen.
 
Yet even in knowing this and instead of taking some responsibility for their own self they make excuses, dillydally and just generally let themselves rot away all under the guise of –
 
“If only I had XYZ/perfect set of circumstances things would be different.”
 
No, they wouldn’t be different because you’d not change.
 
If you haven’t changed yet why would you change now?
 
Typically two answers become relevant to this ^^
 
1 – Fear (they got scared in to change)
2 – Th pain they currently live with finally because too much
 
The truth is that no one likes to be told they’re only folly and yet it’s not that they’re unaware of it’s existence, they just choose to be ignorant and find any/every excuses to justify their weakness and fragility.
 
Given the above an dhow easy it is to make change to yourself, why don’t you do it?
 
Remember you don’t need a gym (as shown above).
 
You can buy some kettlebells, sandbags or even weights for you own home (you don’t need a full kitted out gym, just enough to challenge you) and proceed to do 15-20min daily practice/movement.
 
15-20min a day, everyone who isn’t an invalid has time for that, what they lack is the desire.
 
Give the above some consideration.
 
Reflect on your excuses, then take a look at yourself in the mirror and say these simple words:
 
“I’m done listening to & believing your bullshit. From now on I’m going to do better. I’m going to be better. I may never be the best, but I will be better tomorrow than I am today.”
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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A Habit for Every Mood

Habits are funny things.
 
Much like anything we have one for every mood or situation.
 
Some make us feel good, others motivate us and a few do nothing better than punish and stall of progress.
 
Over they years I’ve become more adept at finding out a persons reason why they have these little patterns.
 
Personally knowing has always been a priority.
 
It’s just my inherent personality trait, some call it being nosey and others say far worse, yet knowing has always been that insatiable lust of mine.
 
To not have considered every option, sacrilege.
 
It probably came form being an only child and spending countless hours alone quietly playing with the same few toys and each time comping up with a new story.
 
Of course without knowing more there was only so many situations I could pull from thin air because truly original ideas are few and far between.
 
Habits, much like knowledge, don’t just come thin air for the most part. You’ll find we either pick them up from watching others or then being suggested to us.
 
After all a habit was once a choice you consciously made.
 
Might not be what people want to hear however it’s the truth in the largest majority of situations.
 
In regards to your habits do you know which ones you have for which mood?
 
Take 5min to make a list.
 
What is your immediate reaction in the following:
 
– Happy
– Sad
– Angry
– Confused
– Tired
– Focused
 
The list can be longer and for any mood/emotion you can think of and I bet you will have a habit for each, be that to get you in to or out of the desired emotional state.
 
Once you know what habits are anchored to what emotions you can begin to understand why this is and start that lengthy and often painful process of letting go the ones which are detrimental and creating new more productive ones.
 
While this is simple it won’t be easy.
 
Growth never is though.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Nom Nom Nom

Is there a food that you just can’t live without?
 
Many have at least one.
 
Some have a fridge full, that must be consumed under various circumstances or when certain conditions are met.
 
To some this may be called addiction, others it’s meal prep.
 
Depending on how you view things.
 
Consistency of the foods we eat isn’t actually that hard to achieve, if you think about it logically you’ll find people stick with select foods day in day out.
 
The difference is often the quality of food.
 
Taking this in to consideration you can swap one food habit with another, if only it was that easy.
 
Which realistically it is, however if you’re not willing to let go of a food or something that is perhaps not the most optimal choice for your health, you may want to question why.
 
Plenty of people understand what they should do.
 
Especially in regards to nutrition, yet they don’t.
 
Why?
 
Emotion, that is the reason, or at least what it boils down to in the end.
 
Becoming married to a certain food, or even stye of eating can be quite detrimental.
 
If you have the ability to have something just because you want it, and yet can as easily go without then I’d say you’ve found that place where you’ve got all your plates spinning well.
 
When someone says “I have to have….” alarm bells ring.
 
Less for medical reasons no one needs to have anything. Want to have, perhaps.
 
Self control, will power, what ever you call restraint, it’s being mindful and aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and more importantly being okay with it.
 
By okay with it I mean this in regards to accepting any or all potential consequences that come with said choice.
 
It is common we will tend to leave ourselves ‘outs’.
 
Reasons for our choices that make us feel less bad about the choice we made food wise, yet if you end up feeling that way do you ever stop to ask why?
 
Hopefully you’ve noticed the common theme.
 
Asking why, being able to understand, learn and grow from each choice and layer you peel back in regards to delving in to your depths.
 
A little bit about how I eat.
 
I just eat based on what I feel I need, the mythical ‘listening to my body’ kind of thing.
 
There are no set times to eat.
 
No set meal frequency or specific meals/macros to be hit.
 
I’ve done my time playing with those factors to see what impact they had, which can be described as minimal.
 
Some days I will not eat until the evening, not because of some protocol telling me to, merely because life gets in the way and food waits until later.
 
No I didn’t get hangry because I’m not 6months old and still clasping my mothers tit for sustenance.
 
While food can indeed affect your mood, you have to understand that you will be aware of this impending shift and if you choose to be ‘hangry’ then it’s a choice you’ve made willingly.
 
Yep, that’s why people get pissy and then say “I haven’t eaten.” as if it exonerates them.
 
Umm, no, you know you’re hungry and you’re using that as your excuse to be a prize bell-end, congrats you’ve unlocked an achievement.
 
Now I’m sure some will be running to PubMed to find all the studies on low blood sugar, fluctuating concentration levels and a whole host of other information to justify them being a little bit of a dick when they get hungry.
 
Please feel free to do this, just understand it still doesn’t change the fact that if you know you’re hungry and choose to be a dick, you’re choosing to be a dick, end of.
 
You will often find the only people capable of such things are those privileged enough to do so.
 
People that don’t have a choice just get on with it.
 
How do your nutritional habits affect you?
 
Take some time to sit and reflect on this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Calories & Your Mind

A friend of mine brought up a great point yesterday in a conversation.
 
‘If people know what they need to do to lose fat or achieve a gym based goal, and essentially how easy it is why is it they struggle? I feel it’s more the mental side of things that need addressing than the fact of calories in/calories out.’
 
^^ I’m paraphrasing, however that is the overall gist.
 
Solid point, right?
 
When it comes to the mental state of the masses I have one thing to say on the topic.
 
You, me and everyone else are broken.
 
Yep, many come from similar backgrounds of dysfunctional families, emotional traumas, social compromises and much more.
 
Those few that have their shit together are rare.
 
Essentially they’re the unicorns of the world, much like kids who grow up with both parents happily married, a loving pair of siblings and they house with a white picket fence.
 
Mental health has been given far more of the spotlight over these last few years, for good reason too.
 
It can play a large role in how a person progresses through life, yet many will not ever want to delve in to their own psyche, at least not until they’re ready, which might be never.
 
You’d be amazed how many would rather live shrouded by indifference than step out in to clarity.
 
Then we have people that will fall back on their mental health issues to keep themselves protected and firmly routed in the place they currently reside.
 
Stack all of this up and then try to throw in a body composition related goal such as fat loss or LBM gain and you’ve got quite the recipe for struggle.
 
While achieving goals is often simple, it’s rarely easy.
 
Take for example someone who gets dumped due to putting on a hefty amount of comfort weight in a relationship.
 
Once it happens the person decides to make a change, and often succeed.
 
The find a new partner, a better one, kinda.
 
Once again they begin putting their lost comfort weight back on and the cycle repeats, perhaps for their entire life and many won’t ever stop to ask why.
 
This is where knowing a little about your own mental pitfalls can be rather advantageous.
 
In regards to the example above, food is often linked to our emotions or rather a missed emotional need that isn’t being met, as such we get that need which our partner/significant other isn’t attending to filled by food.
 
One thing to remember is that when something is missing from our lives we will often find ways to plug that hole.
 
It can be in the form of food, fornication with people other than our other half, drugs or something else entirely.
 
Emotional leakage you might call it.
 
Then what we use to plug that hole is nothing more than a low quality band aid, which will of course come off and need replacing, I guess it’s back to the fridge then.
 
Being completely at peace with who you are is rare.
 
In fact some people never achieve it.
 
This can cause many to think there is something wrong with them, when that could’t be further from the truth because the majority of everyone else is int he exact same place.
 
Of course it doesn’t help that people life their ‘fantasy’ life on social media which gives off the image they’ve got all their shit together, which they haven’t.
 
If they had they wouldn’t be needed to share it every 5minutes via their mobile apps.
 
So, in regards to what my friend said, mental health is a massive factor because unless you’ve got the courage to step in to the unknown part of your own self, then even something as simple as losing some excess body fat can become an insurmountable task.
 
How well do you know yourself?
 
Ask yourself the questions that you haven’t yet dared to, it might just be the first step you need.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Struggle Struggle Struggle

Motivation.

It’s quite an interesting word really.

We will often hear people talk about how to stay motivated when things get tough, or how to reignite a lost motivation and anything that is of a similar disposition, and while the intentions are good it is a sad truth that it rarely helps, if at all.

Talking a good game to achieve that instantaneous boots in moral is easy.

People can get a similar dopamine hit from merely talking about what they re going to do, in fact if you take the time to dig in to the science surrounding it you’ll find that the brain scans etc are almost indistinguishable in terms of response, meaning from a glance (without knowing exactly what to look for), you’d not see any really difference.

Same goes for the biochemical responses, to a degree.

That’s a rather fascinating little thing to know, however don’t take my word for it, please delve down that rabbit hole.

Anyway, back to motivation.

Aiming to sustain it, reignite it, or draw on some special reserve is largely a fruitless endeavour because it isn’t motivation that keeps us going, it’s resilience.

It is easy to see how people think it’s that people are highly motivated, however this not really how it works because you will find that the aforementioned is more akin to gasoline and added to the fire for that initial oomph in to action and after that you’re going to need something more substantial to keep that furnace going.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you what that ‘thing’ is to you because I’m not you.

For me it’s a simple case of enjoying the struggle and having go fight my way through a tough challenge because once I come out the other end of it all I will know a lot more about myself.

This is what sustains me through the resistances I meet when pursuing a goal.

It’s a conscience choice to keep moving forwards, that’s all.

If you can make yourself doing the thing you need to do, then in the end you’ll find what once seemed like an insurmountable task wasn’t really that bad, even if the struggle is real it’s better to embrace it every step of the way and just do what needs to be done, than it is to rely on bursts of motivation.

Of course this is only one perspective.

Having lofty goals can be a good thing, you’d be surprised that if you are to ask for the Moon how often once all was said and done it would be given to you.

Aim high, fight on, enjoy your motivation while it’s there just don’t rely on it and prepare for the struggle.

Once you come out the other end, it’ll all be worth it.

Enjoy,
Ross

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A little lesson in effort.

Morning All,
 
When was the last time you really put any effort in to something?
 
I’m not talking about ‘kinda effort’.
 
The on being referred to is that which makes you so uncomfortable you don’t even want to start it because you know it’s going to be a struggle each and every time.
 
This is the kid of effort that changes you fundamentally as a person when you come out the other end.
 
A level of effort that make soy want to quit daily.
 
That is what I mean.
 
If you can’t think of the last time you experienced something like this then perhaps you’re coasting.
 
There can’t be peaks without valleys.
 
If you never have that gut wrenching dread of something you need to be doing then the chances are you’re not truly challenging yourself.
 
Of course this is not to say you won’t have those ‘good times’, you know the ones, where everything falls in to place and it’s all to easy.
 
That my friends is a peak.
 
You’re reaping the rewards from he fruit of your labour and because of the effort you put in, each bite of success tastes all the sweeter for it.
 
That is what we strive.
 
Many had a taste of that in it’s lowest form when they started going to the gym, lsat some weight, got hot and finally overcame a fear.
 
After this though people take their foot off the gas because they’re now happy, content, a cog in the machine of mediocrity, as it were.
 
You can spot someone of this ilk because they will get very offended by reading something like this and say arbitrary things such as:
 
“If you’re happy that’s what matters.”
 
“You shouldn’t care what anybody else thinks.”
 
Blah blah blah.
 
Mediocrity, that is what that is, big firmly in the comfort zone that sucks everyone in and won’t let them leave because if someone was to break out and start to better themselves and achieve more they’d make everyone else feel bad, and we can’t have that in our sensitive modern world.
 
Life is struggle.
 
Life is suffering.
 
Life is meant to be tough so that when the times are good you appreciate them so much more and become truly thankful for that which the mediocre take for granted.
 
No one owes you a damn thing, remember that.
 
So my good people who read these little rants, when was the last time you put in a real effort in to something?
 
The kind of effort that changed you at your core.
 
The kind that made you a better human.
 
The kind that makes life so much sweeter in the end.
 
I humbly ask you to leave a comment below, an honest comment, not one that you think sounds like what you should say, a comment that is what you want to say no matter how un-PC it sounds.
 
I look forward to reading them.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Getting in our own heads.

Psychology truly is fascinating.

It’s especially interesting to give it some thought while sat pretentiously drinking coffee, because that’s the sign of true intellect, apparently 😂

Take 5 minutes and listen to what people are talking about around you, if possible try to find the ones who are discussing their stress and reaction to said stress.

What habits do they give in to?
Are there any childish reactions?
Is their continued suffering really worth that extra slice of cake?

It’s not uncommon that people are emotional eaters.

Even when you try to be helpful and provide guidance that will steer them in the direction health & longevity, they will still have a retort akin to “Oh, well everything in moderation.”.

No, just no.

Did you know that some people can’t do moderation, and that there are others who really need to stop putting their hand int he cookie jar because of declining health.

These mindsets of “You deserve a treat, you’ve been good.” are drummed in to us as children.

Yep, parents use sweet and certain foods as punishment, reward, basically tools to control a child’s behaviour and this is where many develop a warped mindset with food as it becomes their comfort, their friend, their torturer, their master.

I’m sure some will read this and get offended, because people are quite weak mentally these days and claim that they enjoy the taste of foods, etc etc.

To those people, guess what, everyone (or most people) enjoy food, however if you proceed to eat like an idiot with not a thought to your health you will pay the price in the long run, if you’re not already paying it and it all starts with the psychology of how people relate to food.

Food is just food, it is not something that should control you and if it does then you may wish to seek out some guidance to overcome this and take back control and realise you’re the master.

Personal question for you, have you ever had an eating disorder?

An alarming amount of people have at one stage or current do, so don’t feel you’re alone, there are plenty of others who understand the peace you’re in.

If you also know this, what keeps you in it?

To me this is the fascinating part, because many often choose to stay in a vicious and potentially abusive cycle, because the pain of living any other way seem too great.

Is that how you feel?

Food can have quite the hold over people, I would know.

Food was never used as a tool to control my behaviour as a child so I didn’t grow up with any particular affinity to a food (junk or otherwise), my own personal issue came from being in a highly competitive field that required weight monitoring, again the food itself wasn’t the issue.

Over time various things were learnt, one being a family predisposition (fathers side) to Gluten, most of them have Celiac, this poisoned my mind because it gave me something to latch on to, a logical excuse for not doing certain things, not eating certain foods, basically a reason to become neurotic.

As you can imagine a tricky relationship with food started to develop, this caused various issues in both mental health, physical health along with putting quite the strain on relationships.

Of course at the time it’s never us that is the problem, or the way we eat, nor the way we think, it’s everyone else who does’t understand. We become so enamoured with what we know or rather feel we know that we stop listening to anything that doesn’t fit the narrative we want it to fit.

A dangerous and lonely place to be, so much so that we seek out people in a similar place, that say similar things and it makes us much worse for it.

Think of it like this, where is the worst place for a meth addict to be?

Surrounded by others who hold the attitude of “It’s okay, I need it, we need it, why should we let them take it away from us, it’s ours, our precious.” – extreme example, however one that is easy to understand.

It is hard to break away from a particular mindset by surrounding yourself with people who also think that way, doing that is only going to further confirm the bias that what is being done is okay, when it might be quite harmful to us, again, a place I’ve personally been in.

The only way to move forwards is to speak to those people that perhaps anger or frighten us, not the ones that pander to our biases.

Overtime sense was seen and a swift realisation came.

To be more than we are, we must be prepared to accept the pain of change and seek out those that will tell us what we don’t want to hear as that is often what we need to hear.

While their is comfort in the familiar, just because it si comfortable it doesn’t mean it’s any good for you.

Anyway, enough of that reminiscing.

Share your thoughts, not what you think people want to hear mind you, YOUR thoughts and what food means to you and if possible where you feel this attitude came from.

I look forwards to reading them.
Ross

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One move to rule them all

The kettlebell snatch, what a great move.
 
Do you know if there was only time and space enough to do one movement several times a week this would be a high contender.
 
Here is why:
 
– Epic cardiovascular hit
– A true test of mental fortitude
– Power, Strength, Endurance & Muscle is the consequence
– Nothing in the posterior chain gets missed
– Posture, core and grip strength are built
– It’s fun, plus you can get in some quality work in sub 5min
 
What is not to like about a movement that can do all of that in such a short space of time.
 
You will also find that depending on the style of technique used it can affect the results you get, commonly you will find two main styles.
 
 
 
The first will yield slightly more strength, the second more CV due to it being a movement of efficiency.
 
Personally I’d advise you utilise both.
 
If you have never done this before than I would suggest you hire a coach to teach you, someone from StrongFirst (or RKC) or an active Kettlebell Sport competitor would be my recommendations for a high quality of instructor.
 
For the sake of thought theory, let us say that you’re going to do the above movement because you life dictates that all you can do for a period of time, say 50 days straight.
 
Yes, I said 50 days straight.
 
How can you train everyday and not tear up your hands or injure yourself?
 
That’s easy, you wave the volume of each session along with the length and you may also do well to see each day as a practice rather than a ‘workout’ because people seem to link the latter word with killing themselves; this is not conducive to long term progress.
 
Here is how you can structure a short cycle of days that repeat.
 
Day 1 – Long Session, 45min, light bell, aim for 200+ reps
Day 2 – Short Intense practice – 5min, AMRAP
Day 3 – 30min session, heavy kettlebell ladders 1-2-3-4-5
Day 4 – Short Intense practice – 10min, AMRAP
Day 5 – 20min Session – medium weight/volume (tech work)
Repeat
 
Also, don’t be afraid to have a session that consists of singles and perhaps doesn’t go beyond 25 reps each arm, it’s okay, technical sessions such as that allow a great amount of recovery while still keeping your body in the groove.
 
You don’t have to kill yourself each time you go in the gym, maybe once or twice a week going hell for leather is good, any more might not be conducive to long term health of performance.
 
Essentially you auto-regulate the training and go by feel.
 
Can you periodise it, yep, that will take some planning though and while that is my person approach some people don’t have the inclination to do such things. As such you’d do well to have a training diary and simply track what you’re doing.
 
Follow a Heavy-Light-Medium-LIght-Repeat approach.
 
Try the above for 50days, trust me, it will be worth it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Is it really your body you should hate?

Do you hate your body?

You shouldn’t, it does a lot for you.

A lot of people certainly do, yet there is something that many forget when they are steeped in their loathing.

It’s not your bodies fault it is the way it is.

Honestly, for the most part it does it’s best to keep going for you, despite the excessive amount of calories you force in to it via sub optimal food choices, calorically dense beverages, or even the sleep depriving activities you subject it too.

Regardless of what you do to it, it does it’s best.

So, let us say you have a few extra lbs, who’s to blame?

Is it your body because it’s out to get you and store as much excess body fat as possible so that you have a lower value in the overall dominance hierarchy, or is it because of ‘you’?

*’you’ being mental attitude, bad habits, lifestyle choices, essentially your consciousness, you mind as it were.

Our bodies are vessels, nothing more.

We are in control of them because nothing happens without some form of thought process first (for the most part, medical exceptions that affect mental/hormonal health/perceptions of reality or control excluded).

A lot of people find it easier to blame poor genetics, a bad hand that life dealt them, basically anything else other than themselves.

You’d be surprised how many people keep their ‘genetics’ int he fridge or wine rack.

It is in everyone to take control, all you need it to look inward and honestly think for yourself for a change.

“I think, therefore I am.”

Wow, this is getting quite deep 🤔

Don’t hate your body, appreciate it because what you see aesthetically is not a reflection of a ‘naughty/bad body’ it’s a reflection of YOUR mental state, of your mind, a reflection of what we might call ‘you’.

Your body is not to blame, you are, remember that, accept it and change it.

Change your attitude and you will change your life.

Give it some thought.
Ross

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Three Letters

I have something I’d like you to do.
 
Not for my benefit, for yours.
 
Write three letters.
 
All of them to yourself.
 
Your past self, your future self, your present self.
 
When writing the first letter to the past, tell them everything that has a happened, what went wrong and what went right and those all important lessons you wish you’d known back then yet would have promptly ignored if you did get taught them.
 
As we all know, our younger selves always know what’s best for them, until we get older and realise that is a far cry from the truth.
 
After you’ve written to the past, now you want to write a letter to your present from the future you.
 
In this letter take your time and look beyond what you can see or understand, while you might not have anything spring to mind immediately, hang in there, answer will come.
 
Write down what your future self would say about your current situations, addressing how what you feel may be a major problem now was actually not what you made it out to be. Your future self will tell you the larger perspective on the situation and see the behaviours that will lead to the most beneficial and hopefully, peaceful resolution to your conflicts.
 
They may even tell you about those risks you didn’t want to take, like asking that person out who you see every day, they may tell you you asked and they said yes, listen to your future self, they’ve been in the places you have yet to be.
 
A much older you will show you that things tend to work out in the end and how you can make it so.
 
The last letter will be from the you in the now to the you in the now.
 
In it speak about why you wrote what you did to the past you and what the words from the future you mean to you now.
 
Cover anything, everything, or nothing.
 
Express all your current fears, hopes and dreams, talk of current, past and perhaps future regret, hold nothing back because the only person to read this letter will be you, if there is a better time to be honest with yourself I know not of it.
 
You’ll feel much better once you do.
 
Doing this will help you start to see things as they are, not filled with anything other than appreciation of the fragility of it all.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
 
Stop reading here until you’ve written your own letters.
 
**************************************************
 
Here is what I learnt from the letters, you may learn the same, you may not.
 
Take a look for yourself, just don’t take these was yours, you have your own 🙂
 
The letter from the past taught Humility and that I wasn’t always right.
 
The letter from the future taught Faith and that even after all the shit hit the fan it always worked out in the end.
 
The last letter, arguably gave the most important lesson of all, it’s only me, everyday, as such I carry the burdens, the glory, it’s all on me.
The last letter taught me to see and accept responsibility.
 
Acceptance of all I was, all what I did, all what I may do, what I’m doing and how the only consistent factor in all this life is me and that it’s my responsibility to lead the life that I choose.
 
What goes well or not, it’s a result of my choices and mine alone, I am responsible, that’s it.

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