When I began my own fitness journey, I didn’t necessarily have an end goal in mind.
If I’m being honest, at first I just needed the structure in my day. Something to drag my ass out of bed, pull myself out of the dark places my mind could wander to in those days, and clear my mind with the therapy of hard labour.
But then I changed.
I decided I wanted to look better. I was in a city surrounded by beautiful women (I was in Barcelona) and I decided that I wanted to look more attractive. While many things were fucked in my life and in my mind back then, one of the biggest causes for my lack of confidence was that I’d not had a women look at me in that way in years.
But becoming more attractive to women – did that mean getting big, like a lumberjack, or getting lean like a soccer player?
Khal Drago or Tyler Durden?
Very quickly I learned that my end goals would dictate the sort of training I should do, the diet I would eat and the lifestyle I would live. I also (incorrectly) assumed that there was a single “correct” physique that would be more universally attractive to all women.
So I needed to make a choice (and unknowingly at the time, this choice would shape the entire training philosophy of my Mens Self-Help book, Modern Viking!)
I needed to decide – did I want to be Big or did I want to be Lean?
One of the most popular myths about Viking raids was their love for enjoying their female plunder. Biased perhaps when all accounts of your raids are written by the sore losers, but we do know the Vikings participated in slave trade and we also know that, unfortunately like every ancient (and some modern) army invasions, raging testosterone made most conquering armies lose their minds a little.
Fortunately, adopting a Modern Viking mindset and understanding what that could mean as a guide to self improvement as a man, is not always a literal path.
I embarked on a new Viking raid myself last week, changing location from Barcelona, Spain to London, England. If I’m being honest, as a Modern Viking I made the decision to go raiding for pretty classic Viking: new wealth, new experiences, new lands and perhaps, new women!
Vikings were blessed with a freedom from worry and anxiety because of their mindset on fate. Emboldened by their religious beliefs and driven by a desire to enjoy the theatre of life, they were able to release themselves from the stress and unhappiness of worrying over choices because a large part of their destiny was already being written by someone else.
Because the Vikings believed that the fate/destiny, or urðr, of every man was already decided (in a fairly solid but still somewhat malleable way).
They believed that the 3 Norns (diving beings) sat beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree of life. There, they weaved the threads of each man’s life. Urðr (fate), Verðandi (present) and Skuld (future) would record the knowledge and destiny of every man and God. They and they alone held the knowledge of the world and the knowledge of fate because they saw everything, everything that could come to pass and everything that would come to pass.
Well, until Odin half killed himself to also earn some of that knowledge too!
When a Viking charged into an enemies shield wall, or he decided whether to join a Viking campaign to England or to Frankia, he knew that he needn’t worry about making the incorrect choice. There was no correct or incorrect choice – only the Gods knew for sure. So his only role in life was to throw himself at the situation with all that he had, all that his skills and training allowed him to, and to enjoy the journey of life in this world before his journey would take him to Valhalla.
Vikings embraced the idea that a man can only know so much about his destiny, and the possibilities of each branch of choice he made. He embraced that he held a measure of free will over his destiny, but he also accepted that the Gods forged part of his fate too. His best choice was to make the very best of every story that the Norns weaved into his life.
Here’s how you can be inspired by our Viking ancestors and release yourself from a worrying situation by remembering that Only The Gods Know.
When you have a scarcity mindset, you’re in a state of mind where all you can focus on is getting something which you don’t have (or desperately feel like you need). In fact, you feel the absence of that thing so much that attaining it consumes your every thought.
It could be money, sex, a new car, a girlfriend, the latest iPhone…
When you are in a state of scarcity mindset, you block out other needs and desires, and your ability to think clearly and make decisions is impaired. Scarcity mindset blocks happiness and enjoyment because you’re unable to focus on positive emotions until the missing part of your life is filled.
If a Norse Jarl was worried about being extremely poor, and perhaps worried that his poverty put his position at risk, he might be consumed by the single desire to raid Christian monasteries. He’ll panic and fluster and scream at his men and act irrational, working on nothing other than putting together a band of warriors to go Viking.
However, by losing his full vision and not thinking strategically, he will probably miss the rival Jarl in a neighbouring territory creating alliances through marriage, slowly building in strength until he can usurp the Jarl stuck in scarcity mindset.
Scarcity mindset makes you dumb. It makes you ineffective, and it can seriously ruin your chances of becoming King.
I want to explore how scarcity of resources (money, cars, possessions) can seriously affect your happiness and ability to think clearly and more importantly, how to make changes in your mindset to avoid scarcity mindset and gain an abundance mindset.