In this issue...

Feature article: The four principles of Personal Evolution.

Some quick tips for applying the four principles.

Mirror neurons, an insight into human learning patterns.

It’s February and 2008 is well underway. Speaking of which, I hope you have all had an enjoyable valentines day. I certainly had a good time, my wife and I went for dinner at the most beautiful restaurant right on the Parramatta river, which is the river that leads out into Sydney harbour.

This is the first “real” issue of the Endless Human Potential newsletter under the new format. As I mentioned a few days ago, the newsletter will arrive once a month and includes a feature article, tips, advice, research, news etc.

You may want to save this issue or print it off for later reading. This issue is rather lengthy but contains some valuable information that I guarantee will become useful IF you apply it. Remember, always do things full-assed or no-assed, never half-assed.

Feature Article: The Four Principles of Personal Evolution

The four principles or areas of focus of Personal Evolution are the guiding principles that lead the way for everything else taught by Personal Evolution. Everyone has certain values, principles and beliefs that guide them throughout their lives, some are conscious choices and others are unconscious patterns of thought and behaviour that have been set up early in life as a result of reference experiences, conditioning and influence.

Personal Evolution has been set up in a way that is structured according to these four principles. The teachings of Personal Evolution change with the times and with new developments in research and the application of such research but all new material, tools and knowledge still applies to the fundamental principles.

Principle One: Personal Evolution.

That’s not a typo, our first principle is indeed the name of our organisation. So what is personal evolution? Many people, organisations, families, countries etc, go through life hoping for the best without checking where they have been, where they are now and their future direction. Another thing is that some people tend to just follow what they have been conditioned or led to believe by those they consider superior to themselves in a certain area. Have you ever questioned why some piece of information is useful or why one way of doing something is the best way available? Most people don’t, they just follow what the masses are doing and the belief is that if everyone else is doing it this way then it must be the best way.

The principle of personal evolution is about setting up a direction as opposed to goals, then moving in that direction in the most efficient manner. Sometimes this involves changing your approach many times and very frequently but not carelessly. This principle is inspired by many things and one of those is the teachings of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. One aspect of this is to hack away at the unessentials until you’re left with the most efficient, economical and effective tools available rather than following out-dated, complicated traditions just because that’s just “how it is”.

Basically put, Personal Evolution is about evolving in the most efficient manner where those that refuse to let go and adapt will be left behind, it’s just how nature works, survival of the fittest. Another way of looking at is being at the top of your game consistently. This involves “nipping things in the bud” before they get out of hand and too far along such as any weaknesses you may have and anything in your life that may not be 100% effective.

Principle Two: Function.

They say we are in the information age but I believe we are in the image age unfortunately. Image is a primary focus of so many people, organisations etc. It has gotten to the point where what appears on the outside is all that matters regardless of whether or not it has any use. Businesses are more concerned with fancy catch phrases, advertising campaigns and “hooks” than they are about the product or service they are selling. Individuals have been led in the same direction, just go to a health club and survey most of the people there about their goals, most will express some kind of external want above all else.

Personal Evolution is concerned with function rather than image. To use health/fitness as an example, we have people going to gyms and building large muscles on machines and strutting around in skimpy clothing with little regard for how efficient and effective the body they have built actually is. Training muscles in isolation all the time will give a great muscular appearance but at the same time they are hindering any kind of functional use for these muscles because muscles are designed to function synergistically in groups in a coordinated and phasic fashion.

This doesn’t just apply to health and fitness either, it applies to everything else. Personal Evolution is concerned first with how efficiently something functions as opposed to how something may appear to function. This includes your body, your mind, your environment etc. The great thing is that with peak function you can give off a congruence that out-matches anything developed for image alone.

Principle Three: Energy.

Without energy the universe would be dead, actually to be more accurate the universe would probably not exist. We are surrounded by energy, gravity is energy, light is energy, sound is energy and so are the vibrations produced by sound, the human body requires energy to be produced and metabolised in different ways for different tasks and so on. The principle of energy is simply there to keep various balances of energy in mind when we apply anything to ourselves or others.

Just to be clear though, the energy principle is not just about the esoteric teachings of ancient people such as Jesus, Reiki masters etc. The principle of energy applies in many ways from common science to the more obscure.

Just to give you an example; energy is required in the human body in order to accomplish any task. We have three energy systems for different levels of energy output, there is the phospho-creatine system, which provides energy for short and very intense bouts of exertion, this is effective up to around ten seconds, once we push beyond this system the lactate system kicks in, this lasts up to several minutes and is the primary energy system used in sporting events such as the 400 metres, the last system is the aerobic system, which, as the name suggests, pertains to oxygen and it’s role in metabolising fuel to be used as energy for long duration, sub-maximal output. All of these energy systems use different substrates to make the basic cellular fuel ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).

That is a very basic explanation of the energy systems of the human body. In addition to the various energy systems there are many other factors to consider in human beings to support various types of activity. One example is the autonomic nervous system, which controls things like heart rate, energy metabolism, body temperature etc. There are two divisions, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is associated with the “fight or flight” response, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, stress etc. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is associated with relaxation, sleep, decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure etc. For the body to function optimally there needs to be a balance between these two divisions of the nervous system and this balance can be optimised by the 24 hour energy rhythm. Basically put, the body cannot distinguish between different types of stress, this includes emotional stress, physical trauma, physical exertion and every other type of heightened activity. In order to be adequately balanced and maintain homeostasis (internally balanced conditions), both the SNS and the PNS must be conditioned to function in tandem with each other in a complimentary fashion. This can be obtained through physical and mental conditioning and maintenance.

In addition to the science based tools of human energy systems, this principle also applies to more obscure aspects including; chi (prana, mana, Qi, ki, life force etc), masculine and feminine energy balance, the energy conditions in interactions involving other people, collective energy (that of the larger environment), mental/emotional energy and mechanical energy involved in movement. Energy is a complex topic and applies to almost anything and everything within Personal Evolution and life in general.

Principle Four: Holistic Ecology.

A lot of the aspects of energy apply to holistic ecology. Holistic ecology is all about the whole rather than the parts. So many people try to piece things together their whole lives and continually experience frustration because one thing that might provide benefits in one area may cause problems in another area, this means it’s not ecological. Personal Evolution takes into account the whole system rather than the pieces that make up that system. The system I am referring to is any system, it is the system of the human body and each of it’s individual systems and how they interact with each other, it is family/social systems, community systems, the global system etc.

Holistic ecology takes into account the effects that something has on something else. Thes can be immediate effects, cumulative effects, delayed effects and chain reactions. This makes things much easier when trying to figure out the cause of a problem. Instead of looking at the individual affected part, the whole system is taken into account and the root cause is traced back to it’s origin and from there we can eliminate the symptoms as well as taking care of the initial cause to ensure it doesn’t resurface. This is the most effective approach in accomplishing anything because not only do we apply this principle in finding and fixing a problem, it is also taken into account when we want to accomplish something. If some area of performance needs to be improved within the body such as an increase in sporting performance than we search for a way to accomplish this in an ecological way so it doesn’t negatively impact other areas. The same applies to changes in other areas of life, we need to ensure that people and other things in our environment are not effected to accomplish certain ends. By taking this approach we can effectively produce results that spread in an organic manner rather than something that either stops where it is or causes other consequences that are not desirable.

An example of holistic ecology in action in the physical body; you go to the doctor with a sore ankle, he/she takes a look at it and tells you that it rolls inward causing pressure on some of the ligaments, the solution is to use orthotic shoe inserts to correct the problem. The only thing is that the cause of why that ankle was rolling inward has not been addressed and once the orthotics aren’t used anymore the problem resurfaces. Our approach would be to look at the ankle and do exactly what the doctor did to start with and that’s to identify the immediate cause of the problem, which is the rolling ankle. Then we take it further and look at why that ankle is rolling, this could be caused by weak muscles in the plantar facia causing a fallen arch. Then we look at what caused this problem and trace it back from there. It could have been something far from the identified problem such as originating from poor posture due to a tightness in the scalene muscles of the neck, which led to tightness of the upper trapezius muscle on that side, which led to weakness of pectoralis minor because of how the body has been moving etc.

An example of holistic ecology in action in mental/emotional circumstances; lets say someone has an alcohol addiction. They come along and express their goal for quitting drinking. Traditional methods would deal with the chemical and emotional addiction to the substance only. Personal Evolution would again begin in the same way and quickly move to the root cause of why the addiction happened in the first place. This could have been due to some emotional event that happened a long time ago that was not dealt with effectively and caused the person to numb their pain with a substance. It could also be some kind of character trait that causes that person to become easily addicted to anything and in that case we would unconsciously alter that character rather than solely dealing with the substance addiction. This would ensure that something worse doesn’t take it’s place. In addition to this we would take careful consideration in the other consequences of our methods for dealing with the problem and then follow through with tools that can be applied indefinitely and the person will likely finish up in a better position than before the problem started.

Holistic ecology also applies to larger systems and the balance of those systems and can be utilised in anything from business to medicine or parenting to politics. It’s a way of thinking and applying everything else that someone does.

This concludes the introduction to the four principles of Personal Evolution. Because Personal Evolution is an organisation that deals with physical health/fitness and mental/emotional control, a lot of the applications have been described in these contexts but that’s not to say that they can’t be applied to everything else. The great part about these principles is that they are not rigid and are highly adaptable. They can be applied in any way that benefits the individual using them. This is a nice change to things you may have learned in the past where things are just the way they are and you dare not question them. Personal Evolution encourages everyone to question things that they don’t understand or that don’t quite seem to “sit right”. This in itself is applying the initial principle of Personal Evolution.

Some quick tips for applying the four Personal Evolution Principles

The first tip is Personal Evolution itself. This is a term I coined and is also the name of our organisation. In the feature article above I introduced you to the concept, so by now I hope you have a basic understanding of what it’s about.

Personal Evolution is something applied by every single successful person in the history of mankind. Without evolving personally and consistently over time there is no chance of ever achieving desirable results. Just as the old saying goes, “continue to do what you have always done, continue to get what you have always got”.

Personal Evolution is simple, both for health/fitness and for every other area of your life. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity though, it’s often the simplest of concepts that are the most powerful.

To apply Personal Evolution, regularly audit your own life and your current situation. Once you know where you are you can find solutions to things that aren’t working 100%. I always like to use the best of what’s available at the time, even if I have to learn something new. To give a metaphor, think of automotive design and engineering. Every year there are new cars, each of the new designs has used the latest research available at that time, when some new and more effective research becomes available then they use that rather than sticking with the old. It’s not that the old stuff didn’t work, it did, it’s just that now there is something better and tomorrow there will be something better again. Follow this same pattern and give 100%, not 95%. It reminds of a Bruce Lee quote, “if I’m gonna punch then man I’m gonna punch”. In other words, don’t just dip your toe in the water to test the temperature, dive in and move forward ferociously.

The second tip is for function. I won’t spend too much time on this one because it’s so simple and pretty much explains itself.

First identify what your purpose is with anything you want to achieve. Next gather some information on what will achieve this end in the most efficient and effective way. Use your common sense to put it into a workable format to provide direction. Lastly apply your plan with enough flexibility to change things along the way to produce a better result, this ensures you adhere to principle one.

The overall message is, focus on the best way to do something based on the outcome you want rather than the easiest, the coolest, the biggest or the one that most boosts the ego.

The third tip applies to energy. This is a complex topic and involves quite a lot of science when you delve into it. However here is a tip for physical energy in relation to stress and physiology and another for psychological/mental energy in relation to other people and your own thought processes. This will cover a bit of research on the brain’s hypothalamus.

The human body is put under stress all the time, then we watch TV and sleep in an attempt to balance the stress with relaxation. The funny thing is that the body doesn’t recognise different types of stress; stress on the cardiovascular system through exercise is the same as mental stress within your job, it’s all stress and needs to be balanced.

An easy way to do this is to use all three energy systems in your exercise programme/physical activity pursuits. For example, performing regular aerobic exercise stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with stress. In order to achieve training adaptations your body will increase parasympathetic nervous system function at rest, this is associated with relaxation. Effects are marked by things such as increased oxygen absorption, lower resting heart rate etc.

Balance your exercise with high intensity, moderate intensity and low intensity and spend time each day meditating or doing something else relaxing, this helps to balance out the stresses and results in a clearer, healthier and more efficient you.

Another benefit of this is that the brain’s hypothalamus is the regulatory system of your body, it hates change. It maintains body temperature, maintains your body weight “set-point”, heart rate and many other functions. The hypothalamus achieves this by sending messages to your endocrine system to release certain hormones on a constant basis. By exercising consistently over time, you will essentially be retraining your hypothalamus to create a new set-point and your health will eventually run on autopilot.

In regard to psychological energy, one aspect often overlooked is masculine and feminine energy. If a person, a nation, a company or any system has too much masculine energy then it will be all gung ho and may make rash and harsh decisions that result in problems that could be avoided by thinking it through. On the other hand, if there is all feminine energy then there will be an absence of logic and practicality as well as efficiency. Decisions will be made based on emotion, which can lead to all kinds of problems.

The tip here is to balance out the two types of energy within yourself first, if you’re a man then put yourself in a woman’s shoes from time to time, vice versa for women. This helps to get the best from both types of thinking. Also do the same in the workplace, your home and everywhere else, accept solutions to problems from both sides so you have a balance, not a slave driving empire like the Romans or a slow, chit chatty environment like the country women’s association.

Last comes holistic ecology. I’ll keep this one brief. In order to apply this you need to think about cause and effect, pretend you are Einstein. Take a broad look at things by “zooming out” and considering the interactions of everything within the system. This applies to the human body, a family, a local community, a country and any other system.

To see if you qualify for a complimentary evaluation and consultation with an experienced and qualified trainer, contact us via one of the links at the bottom of this email.

Mirror Neurons, an insight into human learning patterns

I will keep this piece of information simple and in lay terms because it can get a bit technical, which is not necessary for you to understand what it’s all about.

It has been known for many years that whenever we perform a task such as riding a bike our brain fires off neurological connections every time so that we learn to get better at it every time we do it. Simple concept right? Of course it is, most people know that, it’s also how addictions are created but that’s another article.

The new research is what is more exciting. Over the last decade scientists have discovered that when we watch someone else perform a task we have a set of neurons that connect in an identical pattern to the ones that connect when we are the ones actually doing the task. So in other words, when we witness someone do something, we make connections in our brain in the same way as actually doing it.

Watch someone do something often enough and it has been shown that you can improve in your ability to do the same thing without having even physically done it yet. This is encouraging for people who have limited use in their limbs or for those who are injured for an extended period. It was shown in various studies that if someone with a broken leg in a cast watches someone run, walk, squat etc, the mirror neurons will be firing and actually contribute to recovery by stimulating the motor neurons in the injured leg. This results in far less atrophy.

This is encouraging also for learning anything at a more rapid rate. By visualising and exposing yourself to the things you want to master, you will actually be able to master them at a much more rapid rate than if you just performed the task.

That concludes the February 2008 issue of the Endless Human Potential newsletter. Stick around next month for another packed issue. You will receive an email a few days prior to the next issue to let you know about the content of the upcoming newsletter.

Don’t forget to forward this on to your friends.

To your health, wealth and happiness,

Chris Lyons.
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