Nowadays, as the health and wellbeing industry continues to grow at an increasing rate, more and more people are looking for ways to develop their mental performance and cognitive abilities, to achieve more and improve their health. From mindfulness to NLP; athletes, business leaders and influencers are thronging to these systems to optimise their performance and get better results.
We caught up with one of London’s leading performance consultants, Amu Chandra, who has worked with CEO’s, athletes and business start-ups. He joined us for an interview so that we could learn more about how we can develop our learning abilities, communicate effectively and optimise our mental performance. He tells us more about the work he does, the training he offers and the results he’s getting with his clients…
Thanks Amu, for agreeing to this interview with us at Keep Fit Kingdom! OK, so let’s dive right in…
Your life is based around helping others to be happy and successful. Is this in fact what helps you to be happy?
Thanks and you’re welcome. Well, in life many people chase happiness and success as if these are tangible things that exist outside, somewhere in the world, to be discovered like a pearl in the ocean. People escape one surrounding, when things aren’t going so great, and they chase some other distant perfect world where they will find happiness. But you just end up running forever, chasing something and you don’t really know what it looks like. Two people can look at the same thing, and one is happy and the other isn’t. What is this telling you? There is no happiness, as some tangible ethereal substance, within that object. The happiness came from within.
People seem to forget the age old importance of service. This is a powerful word. In a modern individualistic neoliberal world where each man is an island, and his productivity, his industrious virtues, his competitive desires will determine his fortune, perhaps at the expensive of others, people forget this. And we are conditioned from young to follow this doctrine. We compare exam results, and compete for university places, then we chase rivals at work – you see graduates in banks and firms with copies of Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’. The workplace becomes a battle field, as does life. But where is service in all of this? Mankind, human society, has always known the importance of service, because it is the essence of what binds society, what is definitive of Man. Humans are social creatures whose gifts are in our capacity to interact and integrate, specialise and learn. In this process of specialisation and exchange, service becomes king. And good service is important. We must serve each other. This is our strength. War is easy. Great predators can go to battle. A tiger can maul you, try going to war with a bear. But only man can serve at such scale and with such skill. Our gift is to serve, and our meaning and purpose comes from this.
When we serve with true passion, when we connect with our purpose, and utilise this as a powerful resource to help other, we generate meaning. We give value, and we receive it ourselves. Yes, happiness will come from this.
If you could get everyone to make one positive change in their life, what would that be?
The one positive change they need. You don’t ask the clouds which crop they will rain on. They just rain. Only the crop knows how it must grow. How it must utilise these resources for change. And the rain will assist in this. It’s not my place to tell someone what positive change they need, they must know within themselves.
All your clients seeking help are at the beginning of their journey. Where did your journey begin and how did you come to adopt your positive outlook?
Many years ago I had a string of experiences which woke me up to new things. I had become disillusioned with many things in my life. I was always a seeker. I travelled. I worked. I loved. I did many things, but an emptiness was there. A wondering. Then I began to discover a few things, and I began to learn things which fundamentally altered my perspective. These tools and learning are the same things I carry with me when I install change in others today. When I work with clients, I see their path, wherever they might be on it. We’ve all learnt things. Through our life we might have acquired a lot of knowledge, had many experiences and told many stories. Thus, people are rarely at at the ‘beginning’ of their journey. They’ve already trodden much of the path. They are already half way navigating their own journey. Only when we realise this we realise that change has already begun. We’ve been changing our whole lives. And it’s easy to continue doing something that you’ve always done. Why would people look to begin something they’re already doing?
Do you believe daily positive affirmations can change a person’s negative thinking habits for the long term?
Yes. But why change habits when you can replace them? If I have an old sandwich left in the fridge, I don’t ‘change’ it to a new sandwich to make it less unsavoury. I don’t put a ribbon on it to make it look less unpleasant. I throw it out. Discard it. Replace it. Sometimes you just need to get a new sandwich. When you receive something pleasant, enjoyable, satisfying, anything that makes you feel good, why would you not want more of that? Would you not want to discard the old unpleasant thing and replace it with something new and enticing? And once you have it, wouldn’t you want to keep it, continue it, increase it? Let it grow, progress, repeat. More of it.
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic programming) is something I believe in and have successfully practiced in the past. Have you practiced NLP in any part of your life before?
Yes, NLP is a very useful and effective set of tools, which I have used for many years. Alfred Korzybski said “the map is not the territory”, and in its essence NLP as a framework rests upon this important premise. If this experiential awareness is a set of internal representations, manifested through the mechanics of my own neurology, then how am I creating what I’m experiencing? And could I create something different? In what ways are you generating your unique experience, and allowing the subjective parameters of your perspective, your own individual lens, to shape your experience?
What types of fitness exercises do you think best contribute to a well balanced, positive and happy lifestyle?
There are many different system, styles, schools, forms techniques and method of physical fitness. In a growing world, this continues to expand. And knowledge proliferates and diversifies. Now we know so many different ways to train the body, from capoeira to Tai Chi. One might follow one practice or another. There is not necessary a right or wrong. Just circumstances.
In my life I’ve found Yoga core to how I train my body. Yes, the biomechanics of it are certainly conducive to systematic development of the body. From conditioning of the muscles to regulation of the hormones, this comprehensive approach to conditioning the human body has taught me many things and guided my use of the body and my understanding of it.
Resistance training is also good. As a teenager I began, like so many others of that ilk, lifting weights and developing the muscles in this manner. Many studies show the benefits of resistance training, and many medical professionals recommend this. There is enough information out there, but I’ve found resistance training to be highly beneficial, when practiced properly and systematically. There’s an old gym adage: “leave your ego at the door”. I think this is a more valuable teaching than any. No matter what you’re doing to train and condition your body, make sure you mind knows its state and has a control that directs itself towards the desires account. Fatals flaws lie in subduing this knowing intellect to the forces of ego, and sacrificing proper direction for vanity. Balance, control, purpose – these things are important. Remember that when you’re training. Let slip your state of awareness, and allow carelessness and you will suffer the consequences. Many have. Be wise.
How do you stay motivated on a daily basis?
Meditation. If you have learnt this you may already know the utility of such practices. If you have meditated you may have experienced these possibilities. In meditation I find these meanings. The enemy of motivation is disillusionment. We find motivation from meaning. We must discover this meaning and let it overwhelm us. When you feel a powerful, burning, unyielding sense of meaning, how can you not be motivated?
Do you believe that people can manifest the life they dream of?
Of course. But what’s wrong with dreaming of the life you’ve already manifested? Sometimes there are many good things we’ve already manifested, we just have to realise it. Why look at pictures of cars in magazines, when there’s one in your drive way? The point is not whether there is a distant static image in the future to be manifested or not manifested. What matters is that you’re still manifesting.
What are your favourite motivational or inspirational quotes?
Muhammed Ali said: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” That really gets me. We have limited time on this earth. What are we going to do with it?
Who do you look up to for inspiration, who are your mentors, coaches, teachers?
I’ve had many. Sometimes we have more mentors than we realise. Think about it – who have you learned something from? Who has taught you things? If you really think about it, you begin to realise that it may be far more people than you realised. We’re learning things from those around us all the time. In even the slightest minutiae of daily life, in the fragment moments, there are stories to be told. People around us are teaching us something new all the time. All we have to do is listen. Pay attention. Though I’ve had many great mentors and teachers, I like to consider everyone I meet a teacher in some capacity. Clients can be teachers. Their stories can inspire you.
If you’d like to learn more about Amu’s coaching and consulting services, and book a session for you or your company, get in touch with him via Facebook and LinkedIn.