Dustin Martin has ruled our lives for most of the last six months. He has almost succeeded in taking Donald Trump off the front pages of newspapers, certainly in Victoria, and just walking around Melbourne today his “bodgie” haircut is rife. Whether or not neck tats have multiplied exponentially as well will only be determined when we all go out to play on the beach this summer. He has gone from being the rough diamond we couldn’t fathom to the enigmatic raging bull. We are totally fascinated by what he has done and the mystery of who he is. He is compelling.

“He has been heading down this path to fame since he was a young kid”

He is also a case of not judging a book by its cover as we are all prone to do. Dustin Martin is no fool. There is a feeling he has appeared from stage-left as a 26 year old and started performing these miraculous feats. But in truth he has been heading down this path to fame since he was a young kid in Bendigo. It has been a gradual burn that has become an eruption in 2017. In his own eyes it was what he always wanted to be and the story I loved during the Finals series appeared in the Melbourne Herald Sun featuring his mother, Kathy Knight. Going through his memory box recently she’d found a note he’d written to himself as a youngster. It was written in black pen on blue-lined school paper. It was headed “My Fitness Routine to be an AFL Star.”

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What other young teenage kid talks about his daily football and fitness regime “fuelled by Nutra-Grain and Vita Brits for breakfast, a salad roll for lunch and dinner was a question mark. He drank water and orange juice”. What other kid does those things today anyway, let alone putting it down on paper?

Probably not many but it might prove once and for all how important writing notes, messages, thoughts and ideas can become at any stage in our lives. My old teammate Kevin Sheedy was the first person I’d seen doing this back in 1974 and he has made a good fist of things subsequently. I saw him still writing at a function we were at recently and rang when considering this topic. His reasons are powerful and his personal messages are salutary. They have built his armoury for life.

“I’ve been writing since I was in the army in 1969. I write everyday. My notes are the way I gain knowledge. You are able to borrow the knowledge of others, to learn from their experience, to understand common sense. I cut out stories from obituary notices and write my reflective thoughts on what I’ve read they can be leaders of industry, farmers or grandmothers. I write in movies, listening to the radio. I’ve kept all these notes for almost 50 years and they have helped me follow my dreams. ‘Cause dreams are free.”

“The light of day is always followed by the dark of night”

Not a bad philosophy. I have personally written down quotes and ideas throughout my life. They can be written in bad times as well as good. When the chips are down and when we are flying. The yin and yang of life are real and the light of day is always followed by the dark of night. None of us gets off scot-free. Part of my recovery from depression in 2001/2002 was aided by writing in a big red Collins notebook everything I was feeling and subsequently everything I was going to do about it. It makes frighteningly powerful reading to me even today. The shaky handwriting describing another day sinking deeper into the quicksand, the attempts to pull myself out, the first steps to recovery, “My Life Plan- How I See Myself in the Future” note from 2003, my Affirmations and my “Daily/Regular Actions for Body and Mind.”  The red book sits beside my desk. Because of its near proximity I still reach for it often and because of that I have actioned many of the goals I have set myself.

So often it is suggested that we set out our life goals. Whether in corporate workshops, in real life change situations, in crises, with psychologists, we are given that chance and usually ignore it. “I understand it and I now know what to do about it.” Guess what, I guarantee you that a day later, new and seemingly more pressing information will crowd into your brain and the lightbulb moment will have lost its switch. It might sit somewhere in your memory bank but will never be withdrawn.

“Write down your errors to make sure you don’t keep making them”

Write it down. Write down the gems. Write down your errors to make sure you don’t keep making them, write down the things you have promised yourself without activating them because……you are too busy.

Every time I blog in this manner it is a reminder to myself of an action I need to keep taking to stay on track. I don’t have to dwell on it, I just need the reminder.

I Googled and found a note a lady wrote to herself. It was a list of positive affirmations and it began with the statement “Dear Beautiful Me.” That’s a pretty good start in itself. It went on:

Keep Exploring
Cherish Time
Keep Dreaming
Keep Writing
Keep the Faith

We all have our own such lists and probably haven’t written them down. Dustin Martin was no academic, having left school at 14. But he knew what he wanted, wrote it down, and has succeeded beyond his dreams. Perhaps it’s worth each of us having another attempt at doing it ourselves at whatever age we have reached. Not to do it might be pure laziness which might be part of the problem already. 

My Affirmation No 1. Stop being lazy and write it down.

It works.

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