30 wisdoms of life

In this article I emphasize what I regard as 30 wisdoms of life – whether these are based on sound knowledge or own experiences, both endeavors and shortcomings – and in conjunction with this I do also make some suggestions on how to optimize one’s disposable extra income and leisure time. Overall it has a male perspective as its point of departure, but many of these things are also applicable for females.

1. Think of life as a poker game
As has been established as a fact, poker is not gambling but a game of skill. However, it does definitely include some degree of chance and luck too.

Hence, poker is the perfect metaphor for life because it is both about to master the skill of when to be offensive and when to be defensive (push/pull), and to understand when one has made a mistake or been the victim of particular – whether lucky or unlucky – circumstances. Moreover, it is about to grow and to fortify self-confidence, and to not tilt too much when one experiences a setback; perhaps to take a break and then continue to play with a (partially) new and hopefully more succesful strategy. Furthermore, one can also mention the importance of to avoid hubris, stay foucused, and to always maintain some degree of self-critical introspection.

2. Think of life as a curvilinear process
Life is a linear process in the sense that people are born and eventually dies, but it is never a linear process with regard to achievements and wellbeing since one’s life goes up and down – for some much more uphill than downhill. However, it is seldom perfect for anyone; one should not think that it should be either.

3. Do have a balanced approach to many things in life
Classic Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have discussed the importance of balance with regard to many dimensions of human existence, such as power, money, happiness, food etcetera.

This is often quite logic and obvious, but even so many people drag themselves into various extremes, such as overeating and -drinking. One can use water as an example: it is completely essential for human existence, but if a person drinks too much within a too narrow timeframe it is detrimental and even lethal. The same way of thinking and acting can and should be applied to a lot of other things in life.

4. Learn the essence of karma
Karma has several meanings, of which some are religious and moral and related to beliefs within Buddhism and Hinduism and the idea that one can be born to something better or worse in next life, and that one’s actions will lead to consequences (the sum of all actions).

However, a third meaning is non-religious and -moral, namely the karmic law about cause and effect – to understand how things are causally interrelated. For example: if one eats too many calories then one will inevitably add (fat)weight and vice versa. It is not a moral question but a scientific question, yet still many want to make into a moral, like the oft-repeated assumption that a person ‘deserves’ to eat junk food because they somehow think that they do. Part of a constructive process in order to become more free as an individual human being, is to stop making scientific topics into moral matters.

5. Do not put other people on a pedestal
It is important to not idolize people, whether those in one’s own environment or distant celebrities, because it is based on illusions about reality – people are seldom as good as one might think that they are. Additionally, it makes oneself subordinated and is thus counterproductive.

A quite striking example is when I visited Hollywood in 2006 and went to a film gala premier. I was not particularly fascinated by all the prominent celebrities, unlike all the fans who stood outside, screaming and adoring their idols, and as ironic as it may seem, some guards asked me if I wanted to come inside when I passed by the entrance, while not a single one of the pathetic fans were let in. The reason is, of course, that they appeared to not be able to handle themselves in that sort of situation and environment. They chose to make themselves subordinated losers.

6. Find role models, not idols
To worship other people is not constructive, and in the best case it is harmless. However, to have role models are important.

Notice the pluralis – one should have several, in different phases and contexts of life, rather than one particular role model. This is partly due to that as a person one does often engage in different activities and occupations througout life.

7. Let yourself be influenced and inspired by other people but do not imitate them
To mimic other individuals is not constructive and often deemed to fail, but to be influnced and inspired by different people and phenomena –  which then are mixed with one’s particular personality, conditions and preferences – can indeed be positive and constructive, and be related to many different areas such as behavior, fashion, training and writing style.

8. Obtain a positive habituation
People feel well, looked upon in a longer timeframe and on average, when they have certain positive habituations, such as to eat, sleep, train and study at particular times of the day. Of course one can do partial deviations from one’s schedule, for instance when one travels or party, but to stick to the good habituations is what generally is constructive and the proper way to live.

9. Learn from your experiences but do not get stuck in the past
As the German philologist and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) has emphasized in The Use and Abuse of History, it is important to not get stuck in the past, whether positive or negative experiences. It is relevant to consider both one’s good and bad sides and experiences, and everything that happens in one’s life hinges on the past which we ought to learn from. But it is still the present and the future that should be the main focus, and this is partly related to the idea that one should not live on old merits for too long, whether for oneself or in a social context, but instead strive for continuous development. Essentially one should not ruminate about the past.

10. Do not categorize yourself or other people
Since the upper-secondary school time onwards, my bodyweight has shifted between 63-79 kilograms. Hence, it has not really been any extremes in this regard but still a relatively wide spectrum. When I was 16 I was slim and weighed about 63 kilograms and felt that I could eat almost anything without gaining (fat)weight.

However, in the middle of the upper-secondary school period I started to gain some fat weight – almost 10 kilos – before I realized that one simply cannot eat junk food for several days of the week without unwanted consequences. Since I started with fitness when I was about 20, I have had periods of both bulk and diet, mostly due to strategic reasons but to some extent also because of bad habits, and the shape has shifted accordingly.

These patterns symbolize that one should seldom categorize and essentialize people, whether oneself or other individuals. Sometimes we tend to use simplified etiquettes such as ‘thin’, ‘fit’, ‘normal’, ‘fat’, ‘smart’, ‘ugly’ etcetera in order to describe our environments and the people that dwell in them. But nothing lasts forever and few if any things are completely static and unchangeable – and that is true for all. Hence, do not underestimate your own or other people’s ability to change, and just because you feel that you have had a setback or peak in life you should not think that it will last. Panta rhei.

11. Metrosexual rather than machismo
This is somethings that is unhesitatingly linked to the current era of manhood, but some of these things may also be more ‘timeless’. It is a vast topic to investigate, but one can at lewast briefly conclude that when it comes to the false, dichotomous choice between being a soft beta male or a macho man one should chose to be metrosexual instead. This is what most people will earn from, and to let everyone be ‘winners’ is what creates a better and more equal society (even though competition between males will still persist).

Hence, take care of your looks, clothes, hygiene, and way of being, and make it into a habit and lifestyle. It does not have to be particularly expensive and time-consuming and just a few simple changes in these respects might be just it. One can find inspiration and influences from a vast amount of people and contexts, for instance here.

12. Strive for a balanced narcissism
Narcissism, to love oneself too much, is within the frames of differential psychology not a question of either/or but one of degree and how it expresses itself among different individuals. In current times narcissism is generally speaking acceptable, even encouraged, as long as it does not get too excessive, and the cliche that one should love oneself is in fact largely true. Thus, strive for a balanced narcissism without extremes.

Such negative extremes include to think that one is (much) better than one actually is, and to have too long periods of self-absorption. If one is too self-absorbed and introvert then may lose social skills (or interpersonal ability) and completely ignore external validation, and if one is too self-centered and extrovert then one might be too dependable on external validation and in worse case even unbearable to socialize with.

13. Do not ‘be yourself’ but the best version of yourself
Virtually all personality traits are 40-60% inherited. This is indeed a very complex topic, and I have no intent of trying to examine it here, but it can still be concretized and simplified through the platitude that one should always ‘be oneself’ (just be yourself).

I consider this cliche to be partly misleading, and instead think that one should strive for to be the best version of oneself. To reiterate myself – no one is perfect and one cannot affect everything. But one can change quite a lot by good decision-making. Hence, do not blame your supposedly static personality but instead strive for to optimize your personality, alongside behavior and looks. People will appreciate you more, although some might be jealous if/when you are too good.

14. To give does not imply to get
As has been pointed out in relationship to karma, it does not exist any immanent justice in the world – at least it does appear so for most individuals. However, many people – because of an overall sound inner moral compass – have not yet come to understand this and expect that what one gives is what one gets in return, whether from friends, family or exmployers.

Things do not work that way, generally speaking, though. Of course one will in many cases get good things in return and vice versa, but quite often the almost complete opposite is the case. The most striking example is celebrities who publish a trivial photo and consequently get hundreds of thousand, even millions, of ‘likes’ in return by their numerous Instagram followers, while some common people will put efforts, year after year, but not get anything or very little in return.

15. It can always become even worse
Within the frames of various media channels one can learn that person X has lost Y amount of pounds or kilograms. But why did person X gain that much weight in the first instance? This ubiqitous phenomenon is related to many things in life: it can actually become even worse. Sometimes the wind will turn almost naturally, from something good or bad to its respective opposite, but the living nightmare can also become more frightening, which then makes it even more difficult to cope with the difficulties in question.

Therefore one should not walk around with the false conviction that things will resolve themsleves – even in a welfare country like Sweden – but instead cope with the problems, sooner rather than later.

16. Drink alcohol selectively
If one really has to chose between to drink and to not drink alcohol, then one should chose not to. But if one looks upon the Western sphere’s most popular drug in a little more balanced way, a more fruitful strategy would be to it selectively. That is, to do it at special occasions, such as during a overseas stay or in conjunction with a particular party. With few acceptions: save your money and health until the right time for festivity comes.

17. Travel when the opportunity comes
To travel is to widen one’s inner horizon and to enrich one’s own life (and sometimes other people’s lives too). Despite all negative things that may linked to these activities, it is something that one ought to do when the economic and temporal conditions make it possible. Nothing new under the sun but still true.

18. Do not romantize things in life
Johann Wolfgang von Goethes world-famous epistolary novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774) – as well as much that have been written about so called game in much more recent years – teach males to be less of romantic idealists and more of crass realists. To romantize love, women, relationships and life overall may offer more meaning (or rather, a pretense of meaning) but may also lead a person on paths that are to no one’s good.

Of course, one may be romantic during certain phases and at particular situations of life, but to be guided by a false shimmer of beautiful illusions (pretty lies) should definitely be avoided. As parodoxical as it may seem, a more realstic and cynical approach in this respect may in fact lead to more romanances.

19. Learn to be alone but do not get stuck in loneliness
In a sequence of the phenomenal film Donnie Darko (2001), Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Donnie says that all creatures will eventually die alone. It is a little bit misguiding but still correct in one way of looking at it, and it is true about life too. Loneliness will seldom enable the individual to gain strength – rather the opposite – but to spend some time alone and be pleased with it is important in order to develop as a person and sometimes also completely necessary.

When I visited Mt. Fuji in Japan in 2009, I did not speak to anyone for two whole days and this rather brief period of time lead to that I started to talk to myself and laugh at my own jokes that I made up in my head. Hence, it appears to be favorable to return to social settings after some time of enriching loneliness. As is explained in the brilliant film Into the wild (2007) it is important to net get stuck in loneliness, whether phsysically or mentally.

20. Appreciate your friends and family
Friends come and go but it is important that some relationships persist. Because if they don’t, then one gets stuck in loneliness.

21. Do (almost) never be arrogant to other people
Far from all people deserve one’s descency, and it is not one’s responsibility to give everyone positive attention. If someone is arrogant one may also respond with similar measures. However, to generally speaking be arrogant is negative, often counterproductive, and a sign of one’s own weakness; a kind of defence mechanism.

22. Do never take someone or something for granted
This is a cliche that is true, a real wisdom. Of course, one can and should predict various scenarios and sequence of events that will most likely happen, and many people’s behavior tend to be quite predictable. But to not distinguish the probabalistic from the deterministic may lead to desillusions or cognitive dissonance with regard to both people and events.

23. Cowardice limits one’s life while courage enlarges it
A large share of people, especially in more developed countries such as Sweden, have never ever before had better preconditions for to experience and accomplish interesting and important things. Still many let themselves be held back by cowardice. It is when one is at least a little bit brave that good things will happen. As philosophers such as Plato asserted for almost 2500 years ago it is of course of chief significance to avoid recklessness (always remember the dynamics of push/pull), but without some degree of proper courage not much will happen. And this is the case with for instance relationships, traveling, work, education and many other things.

24. Visions are not reality
Another platitude, especially among companies but also within the domains of politics, education and among people in general, is the idea that one ought to have visions. Of course, it really is important, and as an individual it is constructive to visualize one’s ideas and goals. It is in fact hard not to.

But even the visions that become real are in every case only approximate depictions of one’s earlier, inner sensations. For instance, The United States is not as fantastic as one may think if one has various popular culture as points of reference; not even Miami Beach or Manhattan.

25. Read many books
Like to travel – even if one does not actually move spatially when one heads into the world’s of literature – literature is about expand the inner existential room and to enrich one’s own life. Another good thing with literature is that it is more or less free of charge, abd available for almost everone. Here are a few tips of what to read.

26. Hide your weaknesses and compromising sides
To be open-hearted and honest can be liberating and advantageous in several ways, but honesty can often be turned against oneself, sometimes even by so called friends. One should not lie but to stress out loud what one has experienced and thinks about this and that is seldom a fruitful strategy. And if one really has to express something of the potentially compromising sort, save it until very special occasions.

27. What feels right is not always what is right
The cliche says that one ought to trust one’s own gut feeling. But how substantial is this oft-repeated phrase? People are guided by both instincts, experiences and knowledge, and in many cases that of which feels right is also what is right. But at the same time, there are oceans of examples that point in the opposite direction. For instance, cowardly people do trust their own gut feelings, don’t they? Courage, will, common sense, consideration and knowledge are often better loadstars than various gut feelings.

28. Refine your talents
As a person one may wish for to develop many different potential aspects of oneself throughout life, whether theoretical or practical, but there are also certain skills and/or that one may try to refine as much as possible. To try to accomplish this is to give life meaning, to create goals, and may under certain circumstances lead to fantastic results and experiences.

29. Be patient
The proper outlook on the relationship between short-term and long-term perspectives is neither simple nor obvious. Because on one hand one may die tomorrow and should thus focus on the present, but on the other hand a certain degree of long-term thinking and planning is required in order to aim for more important goals. That is indeed the case with for instance intellectual, physical and career development, as well as to save money for traveling.

30. Father time is always breathing down your neck
As has been said just above, one ought to be patient but at the same time always remember that time is constantly and inexorably breathing down one’s neck. If one wants to experience things one should start to work on that now.

The golden mean of fitness – Buddha or Aristotle?

Two of the world’s most distinguished thinkers are Gothama Buddha (also known as Siddharta Gautama and Buddha Shakyamuni) and Aristotle, both who lived almost 2500 years ago but whose wisdoms are still – at least some of them – actual in the contemporary, largely globalized and modernized world and societies.

There are a lot of aspects that can be emphasized in this regard, but I will only briefly look upon one particular component. That is, the so called the golden mean (영어) or middle way, and which one of these – Aristotle’ or Buddha’s interpretations of this very same phenomenon – that seems most relevant today.

Since Buddha’s teachings are linked to particular historical, cultural, political and social conditions that shaped what are now known as Nepal and northern India, his understanding of the middle way is intimately connected to on one hand Brahmanism, which nowadays is understood as a proto-Hinduic tradition, and the Brahmans are still considered to be the highest caste in the varna hierarchy; and Sramanism. With regard to the latter, he searched for an intermediary way or balance between the Brahmanic priesthood’s caste and ritualistic decadence, and the severe asceticism of what is usually understood as Sramanism. In the modern era one can distinguish traits and tenets of Sramanism in Jainism in particular, which has about five millions adherents.

Of course, Buddhas’s teachings are also related to ‘super-natural’ phenomena and/or exaggerations with regard to extreme asceticism (meditating while fasting), but the main point is that these ideas have shaped the Buddhist monastery. It differs from one main branch of Buddhism to another, and from one sub-branch within the respective main branch to another (and perhaps also to some extent from one monastery to another), but generally speaking Buddhist monks are not allowed to eat at all after noon, which reflects upon the historical Buddha’s understanding of ‘the middle way’ or golden mean. It is a pre-modern form of intermittent fasting, although not at all linked to physical exercise of the modern sort. Instead Buddhist monks meditate all day long.

Aristotle’s idea of the golden mean (also understood as ‘the middle way’, or the intermediary level between different extremes) is also related to particular historical, cultural, political and social conditions. He lived and did mostly dwell in Athens in Greece, a city-state. Needless to say, his teachings are not connected to contemporary fitness and wellness, but – particularly in The Nikomachean Ethics – he still discussed the physical abilities and nutrional dimensions of human existence:

But though our present account is of this nature we must give what help we can. First, then, let us consider this, that it is the nature of such things to be destroyed by defect and excess, as we see in the case of strength and of health (for to gain light on things imperceptible we must use the evidence of sensible things); both excessive and defective exercise destroys the strength, and similarly drink or food which is above or below a certain amount destroys the health, while that which is proportionate both produces and increases and preserves it.

With the uttermost respect for Buddha and early Buddhism, I nevertheless think that Aristotle’s general guidelines are more appropriate regarding both physical exercise, recovery and nutrition. I am indeed found of intermittent fasting, but if one exercises in the afternoon or evening it is much more reasonable to eat most of one’s total daily intake of calories at later times of the day. For that reason, I would rather reverse the Buddhist eating schedule so to speak, from before noon until afternoon.

It is notable that in East Asian traditions, such as Taoism and Confucianism, one can find largely congruent ethical elements and guidelines, and some of Aristotle’s ideas have of course also shaped Christianity and Islam.

In Sweden people do often call the equivalent of the golden mean ‘lagom’, but this word has actually another meaning for me than for many other people, which I have explained in an earlier post.

Två av världshistoriens mest distingerade tänkare är Buddha Gautama (även känd som Siddharta Gautama och Buddha Shakyamuni) och Aristoteles, vars idéer – eller i alla fall några av dem – alltjämt är aktuella och applicerbara på moderna och nutida förhållanden, trots att de är nästan 2500 år gamla. Det finns mycket att säga om detta, och många tänkbara aspekter att belysa, så jag ska därför bara kort ta upp en sådan, nämligen frågan om “den gyllene medelvägen”.

Eftersom buddhismen är knuten till särskilda historiska, kulturella, politiska och sociala betingelser, innebär Buddhas förståelse av den gyllene medelvägen en mellanposition mellan brahamanismen – i dag förstådd som dels en tradition kopplad till hinduism, samt relaterad till det högsta kastet inom denna religion och i Indien som land – och sramanismen, som i sin tur innebär en oerhört sträng, så gott som svältaktig asketism.

Budda – efter att ha upplevt båda – vände sig mot båda positionerna, som han såg som två negativa ytterligheter, och ansåg att man måste vara i alla fall något så när mätt för att kunna meditera men samtidigt inte ge efter för de fysiologiska och mentala begären, inklusive mat och sex. Därför får munkar bara äta fram till och med middag, och därefter meditera under en fasteperiod som varar under resten av dygnet.

Aristoteles – vars filosofi inte heller kan förstås utan att ta hänsyn till historiska, kulturella, politiska och sociala faktorer som påverkade dåtidens Aten – syn på den gyllene medelvägen, och därmed strävan efter en konstruktiv balans i tillvaron, framstår dock i jämförelse med buddhismen som mer världslig och även mer applicerbar på nuvarande förhållanden beträffande kost, träning och sömn.

Det hela påminner en del om det svenska begreppet “lagom”, men jag själv har en annan syn på detta än många andra. Detta eftersom det “normala” i dag är att äta skräpmat och ofta hamna på kaloriöverskott, vilket är en väldigt ny företeelse i den mänskliga historien och på många sätt en negativ utveckling.

Noterbart är att man kan hitta liknande förhållningssätt inom östasiatiska traditioner som konfucianism och taoism, samt inom kristendom och islam – två religioner som delvis har påverkats av Aristoteles idéer.

lntellectual and physical role models

Who are, or should be, one’s intellectual and aesthetic role models?

We live in a knowledge society in which certain shares of the population are more or less experts in their respective fields or sub-fields. Hence, it is only logical to be inspired and influenced by a lot of different people, and categories of people, whether they are academics or bodybuilders or not. It is also reasonable to be affected – hopefully only in constructive ways, though – by certain friends and family members, and people that one meets in the public or semi-public sphere, such as at the gym or at work.

Still there are some, more or less well-known people, who may be larger influences and sources of inspiration than other. If I could only name one intellectual role model or main source of inspiration, it has to be Aristotle (아리스토텔레스). But if I might add some more, I would also mention Plato (플라톤), Buddha Sakyamuni and Confucius, and in modern times, José Ortega y Gasset and Yukio Mishima.

Physically and aesthetically it is a bit harder to pick just one or a few indidvuals since there are so many great athletes out there, whether only very locally, nationally and/or globally well-known. For instance, when I worked out in Uppsala between 2005-2010 (if I was not abroad) I often saw Mikael Hijazi (or chatted with his likewise very fit brother), which has had a great physique for many years.

Nevertheless I think that Jeremy Buendia has perhaps the most proportional and symmertrical body, and with just enough muscles, than I can come to think of. I will do my best in order to come a bit closer to his physique and condition. Correspondingly one can aim for the levels of knowledge and insight of the above-mentioned intellectuals.

Hopefully other people could also apply the same strategies with regard to their own development and in order to set reasonable goals.

Vilka är eller bör vara ens förebilder, intellektuellt och fysikmässigt?

I ett kunskapssamhälle där många är mer eller mindre experter inom sitt särskilda område är det naturligt att man inspireras och influeras av ett flertal människor inklusive de i ens omgivning – familj, vänner, bekanta, människor man möter i den offentliga sfären etcetera.

Samtidigt är det givetvis så att det finns en del som har större betydelse än andra i det avseendet. Till exempel är Aristoteles en av den europeiska historiens främsta tänkare och mycket av det han har skrivit gäller så att säga än i dag, vilket är en anledning till att man kan se honom som särskilt betydelsefull. Man skulle även kunna addera andra historiskt viktiga gestalter som Platon, Buddha Sakyamuni och Konfucius, vars visdomar fortfarande citeras frekvent.

I modern tid finns det förstås oerhört många att nämna, men personligen är jag särskilt influerad av den spanske filosofen och essäisten José Ortega y Gasset och den japanske författaren Yukio Mishima (främst stilen i böckerna men det var förstås även väldigt intressant att han tränade och hade ett filosofiskt perspektiv på fysisk utveckling).

Fysiskt och estetiskt är det svårare att nämna endast en eller ett fåtal eftersom det finns så oerhört många vältränade personer, vare sig dessa endast är på sin höjd lokalt kända eller nationellt och/eller globalt uppmärksammade. Till exempel när jag tränade i Uppsala mellan 2005-2010 (om jag inte var utomlands) såg jag ofta Mikael Hijazi eller hans utåtriktade bror Alexander, som i alla fall då var ungefär lika vältränad, och insåg att det finns mycket att förbättra hos en själv. Man skulle så klart kunna lägga till många, många fler.

Skulle jag dock välja endast en i detta avseende får det dock bli Jeremy Buendia, som har en oerhört symmetrisk, proportionerlig och välbalanserad fysik med lagom mycket muskler. Något att själv sträva efter.

Neither a beast nor a god

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.
– Aristotle

Sometimes so called individualists tend to forget that they (we) are always – more or less – dependent on other people. One wants to feel strong but is in fact mostly quite weak if standing alone. Not just in the sense that all of us are being part of a larger society, which hinges on economic, moral and other main conditions, but also because sometimes we need direct and indirect support from people in our surroundings. Perhaps Christmas is the right time to come to think of that.

Hence, I want to give my sincerest gratitude to all who are supporting me in virtually everything that I do and aim for, almost regardless of the concrete results. That is, of course, particularly my family and a small number of close friends, but also a number of new ‘becoming-friends’ and acquintances (sometimes the lines between these categories are somewhat blurry, partly because it is a continuous process rather than relationships being static).

Since this year – like last year, although with more emphasis upon academic perspectives in 2014  – has been quite much about the Korean wave in my case, I think that this live version of ‘O Holy Night’ by Tae-yeon from 소녀시대 is appropriate to put into the end of this blog post. Especially since I visited a pleasant advent concert in the Skeppsholmen church today (with good company), which honored me a bright feeling of life and existence, although without this particular, very famous song which instead is included here.

Ibland glömmer så kallade individualister bort att de (vi) alltid är, mer eller mindre, beroende av andra människor. Man vill känna sig stark på egen hand, men oftast är man faktiskt inte det. Inte bara såtillvida att alla är del av ett större samhälle, som betingas av ekonomiska, moraliska och andra huvudfaktorer, utan för att man behöver direkt eller indirekt stöd av andra i ens omgivning.

Därför vill jag passa på att särskilt tacka alla som har givit mig support under det gångna året, oavsett hur det går med saker och ting. För min, och många andras, del innebär det förstås i första hand familj och ett fåtal nära vänner, men även så att säga en del nya vänner och bekanta är också betydelsefulla (gränserna är flytande och relationer är inte statiska). Julen är kanske en särskilt passande tidpunkt för att påminnas om det.

Nedan ett liveklipp med Tae-yeon från 소녀시대 , som framför ‘O Holy Night’. Eftersom den koreanska vågen har spelat så stor roll för min del under det gångna året, liksom det föregående, så är det passande. Tidigare i dag var jag också på en angenäm julkonsert i Skeppsholmskyrkan och fick därmed den rätta julstämningen. Dock framfördes inte just denna sång, varför det även därför är ett lämpligt låtval i det här sammanhanget.

5 benefits with a fitness lifestyle

1. Physical aesthetics is postmodern art at its best
As I have briefly asserted earlier, physical aesthetics, particularly the body type which dominates the fitness field at these times, i.e. Men’s physique (or a body resembling that kind of physique), can be considered as ‘postmodern’ or late-modern art in one of the most interesting regards that one can come to think of. Why? Because you sculpture your own body through a continuous pattern of training, nutrition and recovery, and you do also apply a number of simple yet scientific principles within the frames of this process.

Additionally, the ideal – even if it is partly changing over time and space – has a history of close to 2500 years, which makes it into a phenomenon – irrespective of people’s general opinions about fitness and bodybuilding – which is closely linked to Western cultural history. Over the years, I have noticed a number of athletes who have emphasized this dimension but it should be done even more so, because it is a truly unique thing.

Moreover, it may help people to see things more objectively and to face reality. This is being done by for instance to evaluate one’s body in comparison to other individuals, but also with regard to the main factors which underlie progress (or regress), such as genetics, training, nutrition and rest.

2. It tests one’s inner character
The other phenotype, that is mainly one’s own body, does of course constitute the main part of the concrete results of continuous training, dietary habits and recovery, but as I have likewise stated before, this is always related to an inner mentality. As Aristotle has said:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Apart from habituation, to cut body fat to the extent that one does only have 3-6% left tests the internal character to an even larger degree. (As an example, look at these two successful competitors and think about the extent of their perseverance.) To prepare for a competition is as much about the on-going process towards this particular set goal as it is to showcase on stage, even if the latter is regarded as the highlight of this route.

3. Yes – girls and women do generally appreciate a well-sculptured body (no matter what most of them might say)
Regardless of what girls and women may say in public – even in private – or through social media channels, most of them do actually appreciate a more or less muscular and well-defined body over average body types. Of course most of them might be truly honest when they assert that they do not like the extremes, such as having two per cent of body fat and/or to look like a heavy-weight bodybuilder, but very few persons constitute that kind of peripheral phenomena, and hence it is a quite irrelevant remark.

This is not the same as to stress that it is the most important factor in this regard, and among for instance social status, behavior, personality, level of income, age, fashion and looks, some factors tend to be more important than other.

One can in turn highlight and give some context to this by an instructive example. For instance, it is widely known that girls and women do generally prefer taller than shorter men, but does that mean that Tom Cruise (up until his 40s at least) cannot, or could not, date tall super models (or virtually all women) regardless of their height and level of beauty? Celebrity status does almost always seem to beat other factors such as looks and even level of income.

However, all other things being equal, a well-shaped (and taller, if he would have been) Tom Cruise in his 20s or 30s is, or was, preferable than him being in his 40s or 50s. Analogously, for Average Joe, it is always better to be in good shape than in dull shape.

A good physique – i.e. to have a quite low percentage of body fat and some considerable degree of muscularity – does have at least two positive features in this regard: one is direct and is that it makes one look better in the eyes’ of most beholders, and the other is indirect and is that it tend to increase one’s confidence, which in turn is a very important factor within this area and increases the probability of meeting someone who might be interested.

4. A fitness lifestyle can be combined with many other constructive things – and it may be quite cheap
To train, let’s say, five or sex times a week is of course somewhat time-consuming, but it does only steal about 10 hours – and that does generally include the time which is eventually being used in order to go to the gym, probably shower afterwards, and get back home – of one’s free time.

Hence, many persons may still have quite a lot of time left to do other things, and if one consequently invest less time and money into eating out and partying, being drunk and hung-over, it creates free ‘time-spaces’ in one’s schedule that can be used in order to do constructive things such as for instance to learn new languages, and in parallel with that process save money in order to be able to travel.

The good thing is that regardless of personal inclinations, a fitness lifestyle may be constructive for many, although of course not all people, so that if one is a nerdy person one can read books, and if one is more extrovert, then one can let’s say focus more on the dating market and/or to extend one’s social network. (Or both, to some extent). It is quite flexible with regard to the time that one does not spend in the gym. And that is – even for fanatics – most of one’s available free time.

However, if one does have a family – especially younger kids – then one has to make a lot of priorities and cannot expect the same results and same amount of time for oneself. It almost goes without saying. But even the busiest father or mother can eat vegetables, tuna and quark.

 5. It does generally improve one’s health
A life full of fruit, vegetables, protein, amino acids and weight-lifting cannot safeguard from neither common colds, nor any other kind of disease, regardless of category. However, understood in a broader way, it still does have a lot of benefits in this respect, and might at least decrease the probability of catching a common cold or a number of other diseases and ailments.

A fitness lifestyle makes one stronger, healthier, more energetic – and perhaps even somewhat smarter.

1. Estetisk fysik är postmodern konst när den är som bäst
Som jag kortfattat har förkunnat tidigare: processen som det innebär att bygga en estetisk fysik, manifesterar ett slags “postmodern” konst i och med att man skulpterar sin egen kropp med hjälp av träning, kost, och återhämtning, samt applicerar ett antal enkla men alltjämt vetenskapliga principer i och med detta.

Dessutom utgör det ett nästan 2500 år gammalt ideal att ha en lagom muskulös och samtidigt väldefinierad fysik. På köpet får man också en mer objektiv syn på orsak och verkan, och vad som leder till resultat, till exempel när det gäller sådant som gener, träning, progression, sömn och kosthållning.

2. Det sätter ens inre karaktär på prov
Det är det yttre som utgör de synliga resultaten av denna ständigt pågående process, men detta är alltid sprunget ur en inre mentalitet. Vanebildningen är därför särskilt viktig, vilket Aristoteles skrev om redan på sin tid. Det viktiga är därmed det man gör generellt, inte undantagen. Att missa ett träningspass och/eller slarva med kosten bör således vara temporära avvikelser.

3. De flesta tjejer och kvinnor uppskattar en bra fysik – oavsett vad de ibland säger
En bra fysik, det vill säga att ha relativt låg fettprocent och en ansenlig mängd muskler, har både direkta och indirekta fördelar i det här sammanhanget: man ger ett bra intryck hos många, samtidigt som ens självförtroende ökar.

Det är dock inte detsamma som att säga att det är den viktigaste faktorn i sammanhanget, utan sådant som beteende, personlighet, socioekonomisk status, och social status är minst lika viktigt eller viktigare. Allt annat än lika är det dock fördelaktigt att vara vältränad (och oftast längre, för övrigt), även för superkändisar som till exempel Tom Cruise.

4. En fitnesslivsstil kan kombineras med andra konstruktiva saker – och är dessutom relativt billig
Även om man tränar så mycket som säg sex pass i veckan återstår fortfarande ganska mycket fritid till att exempelvis förkovra sig i litteratur eller vara social och träffa andra människor. Om det dessutom leder till att man nästan enbart äter en viss typ av livsmedel och skär ner på sådant som utekvällar och bakfyllor, kan det även leda till en förhållandevis billig livsstil som öppnar upp möjligheten för att spara pengar till resor.

Som småbarnsförälder är det snart sagt omöjligt att kunna hålla på med detta i samma utsträckning, men även för den mest upptagna mamman eller pappan är det i praktiken möjligt att äta kalorisnål, protein- och näringsrik kost, och kanske också att åtminstone träna några gånger i veckan.

5. Det förbättrar överlag ens hälsa
Ett liv fullt av frukt, grönsaker, naturell kvarg och tonfisk kan inte hindra en från att bli förkyld eller för all del mer allvarligt sjuk, men det har likväl många bekräftade fördelar i detta avseende och kan åtminstone minska sannolikheten för att drabbas av diverse sjukdomar och krämpor.