I’ll be honest I was slightly sceptical before reading this book.
Don’t get me wrong, the proposition is intriguing and articulately argued with almost evangelical passion by the author – including a powerful, compelling personal experience that I won’t spoil for you here.
But would it work for us workaday exercisers rather than committed athletes?
So I tested ‘the truth’ in challenging circumstances – while using a gym bike on holiday which can rarely be described as a pleasure or an attempt to improve performance rather a dutiful chore to burn calories.
Now, this normally involves teeth-gritting effort to pedal faster so I decided to take the overriding element of Mike Bowden advice – to relax and focus on easing areas of bodily tension.
Rather than hunch over the handlebars and grip them tightly in order to supposedly eek out extra effort – I took the opposite tack. And, guess what? It worked.
And not little by little either but great leaps of improvement – further distance in the same time or - and worth testing the theory I reasoned – reaching a set distance in a faster time.
Have I continued adopting this approach after returning from my hols? You bet. Again, I am cycling and doing other exercise better, easier and with provable results.
Now, there’s more to The Truth of Movement than being urged to relax and hold you shape and posture – although to be fair the latter ‘walk tall’ point wouldn’t be lost on many some of us slouchers and our badly crept in habits – everything is scientifically reasoned without drifting into reading like a physiological textbook.
This is Bowden’s third book and undoubtedly the best from this emerging author.
Now, some of this may seem like fairly old hat to professional sportsmen – sprinters endlessly need to fight the temptation to tense up when striving for the finishing line while boxers requre fast twitch, loose muscle than being heavily muscle bound.
But how much of this has ever been shaped for us mere mortals – or indeed placed inside a holistic lifestyle approach?
In fact, books that focus on these latter points tend to give sport and exercise short shrift and only in a wellbeing context.
In this sense Bowden, a martial arts practitioner and coach for some 30 years, breaks welcome and accessible new ground.
Best of all, The Truth of Movement makes exercise more enjoyable. I now pedal on my home exercise bike hands often free and mindful that tension can hinder not help which also makes listening to music while exercising a totally fresh experience.
Why not read the book and give it a go?
Chris Green Media
There are memorable moments in your life that stand out more than others. Regardless of what you achieve and how important it is to you, it’s the feelings that get engraved deep within you.
I can easily recall the feelings of overwhelming love as I held my newborn daughters in my arms. I was bursting with pride when I was father of the bride, seeing my daughter committed herself to marriage and my grandson fills me with joy every time I see him.
Memories fade of the overtime I’ve earned and the promotions that I’ve had. Beating my sales targets that never seemed to have existed, nor the completion of the most intricate task. They get filed in an abstract past that got me through the day, but the emotion that it invokes, the feelings that you associate with the occasion, references the things that matter.
As much as it’s easy to link emotions with family and loved ones, the same can apply with other aspects of your life and the things you achieve. Passing my driving test gave me an overwhelming sense of freedom. Completing the three-peak challenge a huge sense of satisfaction and publishing my latest book on Amazon and massive sense of pride.
I’d worked hard over the last six months recalling finer details of my past fitness and martial arts practices. For quite some time I’ve been a maverick challenging the status quo and gaining a deep understanding, hence the title of my book “Truth of Movement”. I believe we accept what we are told without question and that is my point, we should question so we can understand.
When we experience an emotion in our daily lives, we often recall similar experiences that had given us the same feeling before. Therefore, we associate the feelings and these events in the same category. You will be far more likely to remember how you felt rather than what you did.
Truth of Movement by Mike Bowden http://amzn.eu/azCDmxw
When we think of lifestyle and the choices it offers, our first thoughts often turn to how we should carve out more leisure time to do all the things we feel are passing us by. We get frustrated by the sea-saw of work life balance and start to resent all the obstacles in our way.
In the equation we very rarely focus on lifestyle choices within our workplace and how we can gain some of the missing gratification that’s readily available on a daily basis. As either an employee or an employer, often we see the workplace as a process that gives us a means to an end rather than an integral part of our overall wellbeing.
Therefore, why can’t we allow our place of employ to have a personality of its own, to become a living, breathing entity that satisfies some of our lifestyle requirements? Work life balance should never be about compromise, as they can exist in the same space at the same time. Bringing to life a workplace so it has a heartbeat, a warm spirit and a genuine persona that people can have a relationship with is as important as the bonds held with friends and family.
Previous companies that have held me in their employ for the long term didn’t do so through pay rises or promotion, but more so due to the sense of belonging. If we can transform a system driven environment with structures and strategies into an authentic creature with a pulse and purpose, we will not only attract like minded employees to engage in the culture, but also gain the buy in from enthusiastic customers, everyone wins.
Helping professional people get to the next level
I speak to many people, either managers or business owners who say a common problem is communication. Often professional people have conversations with the wrong people, such as work colleagues, family or friends. These all mean well but don't really understand the issues or frustrations that you face on a daily basis. Often, they have their own agenda, which is in conflict with what you need to focus on so they unintentionally hamper your progress and dull your spirit.
They say it’s tough at the top, but in fact every step towards that pinnacle can be one of relentless stress and unremitting pressure. Overcoming the obstacles and taking on the challenges is credit to the person who claims the prize, but who encourages you to get there and what happens next?
Whether you are a Managing Director or the latest executive it can be difficult to find the right people that will bolster your enthusiasm and give you the freedom to explore ideas, therefore plans often grind to a halt before they even get off the ground.
Eventually you end up with a pile of frustrations, a filing cabinet of regrets and a waste paper bin filled with good ideas that could have propelled you to the next level. So, you can either continue to tread water or you can start swimming the choice is yours.
Helping professional people get to the next level
I recently spent time talking to students at a local college. I was interested to listen to their goals and objectives but was left a little flat after hearing their lack of vision or enthusiasm. Maybe I expected more because I was brought up in a generation of entrepreneurs and yuppies.
I asked one of the students what he was studying and he replied a course in computer studies. I felt encouraged that he was trying to better his life and tried to prompt further positive dialog. I questioned him on where he hope his studying would take him, what career did he hope to follow. His response left me deflated, he said “ just a job”.
I desperately wanted to help this vulnerable child to get some perspective and direction so it tried a visualisation technique with him. I suggested that he imagined what type of company he would like to work for, where they are based, what type of industry they cater for, how many people worked there, and what job he wanted to have. The next practical stage was to find the person already doing that job and asked them how they got there.
I’ve done a lot of walking and climbed many mountains. When you stand at the bottom and look at the top, it may seem almost impossible to know how to get to the pinnacle. When you are standing on the top looking down you can see every path to the summit.
By getting the student to talk to someone already doing the job they aspire to have, the experienced employee has already written the map. It creates a shortcut to success.
I recently had a conversation about Succession Planning with an Accountant that I knew. I asked him what his plans where when he wanted to retire. He happily informed me that he would sell his client list and reap the rewards. I agreed with him that his assets consisted of a series of relationships but challenged him on how loyal they would be.
I suggested 50% of his client would discontinue the relationship with the new owner almost immediately and the others would dwindle away over a period of time, reducing the value of his treasured list. He became quite protective of his prized database, but I explained further what I meant by it.
I suggested for example, that if the dentist he used decided to sell their practice, it would create a change point where their clients would have an opportunity to re-evaluate their relationship with that surgery. After all they would have no knowledge of the new dentist. They would have a choice, either to shop around for a new dentist or give unknown loyalty to the new business owner. They could possibly opt for another surgery that was either nearer, cheaper or by referral, but whatever the outcome an indirect choice had been given to them.
The accountant’s business was no different; he was trying to entice clients because of what he did rather than why he did it. He was relying on the commitment of his clients without giving any emotional value back. He wasn’t trying to get his customers to engage with his common cause or believes, so there is no tangible reason why should they remain loyal.
He had made himself a commodity within own business and the possible demise of his life’s work didn’t make him feel great. He started to realise the need for emotional satisfaction for himself and his customers that would satisfy their existence. He had to create an engaging commitment that was far more than money alone. He had to find a way of getting his clients to buy into his passionate for business and why they should remain loyal to his brand, even after he had gone.
Isn't it strange how one person sees a task as a chore, whereas someone else sees it as a challenge, yet it is the same task? Attitude controls our perception and installs our passion. It will either make us receptive or defensive.
We generally consider the word "attitude" to be a negative trait, but if you take attitude in the correct context, it can be a very powerful motivator to strive and achieve. Someone with a positive attitude will drive forward taking obstacles in their stride, creating opportunities and changing outcomes. Someone with a negative attitude can create barriers to be defensive and sabotage change.
Naturally in our daily life we sit somewhere in the middle. Circumstances, stimuli and emotions, can all be factors that determine our attitude at any specific time. Being mindful that we have the power to affect our attitude, it will ultimately determine the outcome. It is interesting to consider that we can control our attitude rather than letting our attitude control us. Are we a passenger in our vehicle of life or are we the driver? The choice is yours.
I believe emotion to be a reactive state brought on by what has happened. Therefore attitude is our conscious effort to make something happen. It is proactive and within our control to change the future. Everyone must have a reason to do something, whether that to be through choice or necessity but attitude creates our passion and our desire.
I believe our body posture has a huge impact on our mood and how we interpret what is going on in our daily lives. Our positive or negative stance will ultimately determine the way we perceive information from the world around us. My own body posture has had a huge effect on my attitude and persona. A song that constantly plays through my mind until my subconscious brain believes it to be true, is a song from my childhood sung by Val Doonican called “Walk Tall”.
“Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye. That’s what my mama told me when I was about knee high. She said son be a proud man and hold your head up high. Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye”.
Whenever I stooped and hid my face, whenever I dropped my glaze and tried to get lost in the crowd, good old Val starts singing to me from his famous rocking chair. I realised that gravity wasn’t pulling me down, it was my lazy demeanour that was too comfortable and was creating the same effect on my mood.
Next time you read a book try to be mindful of your posture. Read a section hunched over the pages and then again with your head up and shoulders back. Although the words are the same it’s amazing how you will interpret the text in a different way. You will change your task from a chore to a pleasure and register the content more easily.
Now try the same thing when you talk to other people. Allow your back to straighten and forehead to lift. Pull your shoulders back and smile. There are so many books written on body language and posture, yet we all fail to adopt these techniques in our everyday life. Even when you talk to people on the telephone, your posture determines your tone and how others receive your message.
I have always been very ambitious, striving to make my family financially secure. I measured success with the size of my wage packet and the material things that I could buy. I wanted to be proud of my achievements and gain the respect of my peers. My prosperous retail career was founded on long and unsociable hours often working in excess of a 60 hour week. Over many years the situation became unsustainable and something had to break.
I reached a point in my life when I couldn't reconcile the huge golf between my successful career and the collateral damage left in my wake. My drive and ambition to secure a career had cost me dearly with my family life and left me feeling a total failure. When the phoenix rose from the ashes of my midlife crisis, I realised that I had midlife choices. I had an opportunity to change my hamster wheel lifestyle to something more meaningful.
Regardless of how long you have followed your path or invested in your future, you still have the choice to change if it no longer serves you. We start our plans with naïve optimism but gain valuable experience along the way. Often we become so fixated on the outcome that we fail to recognise the impact on ourselves and our environment until the pain becomes unbearable. If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently?
Most business owners follow a similar pattern, trying to beat their competitors with a faster service or larger discounts, but either way it’s a huge business expense that doesn’t drive behaviour. To a degree, it may be cost effective in the short-term to buy customers but it’s not inspiring and it doesn’t create loyalty.
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it!!
To give you an example, why would you buy double-glazing from any company, it’s a very competitive industry with lots of competent companies. You are likely to commit yourself to making a purchase of several thousand pounds and need to leave a sizable deposit without knowing what the result will be like.
Most companies can offer a similar product, made to a similar standard and fitted just as well as their competitors. It becomes a sterile process of comparing prices, haggling for discounts and hoping as a consumer that you’ve made the right decision, it can become a matter of luck.
The inspired few companies out there don’t sell windows they tap directly into the emotional drivers that people want. They sell comfort and security; also they sell reliability and reassurance. These aren’t items on their price list, but are far more important to the end user than any sales pitch a keen representative can muster. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it!! The focus should be, to match an emotional solution to an emotional problem, and for the end user to engage with the real reasons why you want to help them.