Healthy wealthy and wise – how well are you balanced across these 3 key attributes in your life’s work? Are you in, out or on top?
Gesundheit! You might hear it mentioned in German speaking countries after someone has sneezed. Translated from German it would suggest: “good health”. In English speaking countries it is similar to someone saying “bless you” after a sneeze.
Remember the age old cliché: “early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise”? Or: “In a healthy body rests a healthy mind”? Today I’d like to play with the words around the theme of health, wealth and wisdom.
A number of people have recently asked me how an “old fellow” like me manages to keep in shape”. (Some used more colourful language than that.) So with your permission I’d like to draw on my journey just in case this relates to some of you, OK?
Healthy Wealthy and Wise
To start with, would you agree with me that all three topics – health, wealth and wisdom – need the passing of time to manifest? I’m sure you’ll agree that there is little point in wealth and wisdom, if there is no ongoing health to enjoy it. Would you also agree that wealth usually also follows after a period of investment of time and resources? And that we need some learning and experience over a period of time also before we have knowledge that with time results in wisdom?
None simply arrive or can be bought or found in a pill or anything, can they?
For me they all form part of Balance and all three of them feature in the 8 parts of the “Wheel of Life” (http://www.wheeloflifeinteractive.com/). They are some of what I consider necessary to be present before anyone can speak of “being successful”.
I love the paradox of “In a healthy body rests a healthy mind”. A healthy body would suggest a good balance between consumption and exercise which is the necessary “active” component on the one hand, and the mind being in a restful state implying the converse being required for balance, which is the “passive” component on the other hand. I believe both are absolutely necessary for good health and being “at ease” instead of experiencing “dis-ease”.
OK, so let’s explore these three a little, shall we?
Apart from inheriting some good genes – (my dad turned 93 this year), for me today ongoing health begins with education in the management of habits. Back in 2005 I met and listened to Allan Bolton speak at an event. He has competed in every conceivable Iron Man and other mega-athletic events across the world for over 30 years after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. As a public speaker he talks with passion about health, and he certainly captured my attention at that point.
Having struggled with converting from a corporate CIO role into starting my own business for almost a year at that time, and having developed a solid layer of typical “protective flab” against all the uncertainties that lay ahead, he certainly found a very receptive audience in a pretty large and “flabby” version of me.
I joined his “gut-busters for men” program and over a period of several months shed 14 kilo’s. I’m happy to say that this changed my attitude to health and changed my life for good.
I was also exposed to Dr. John Tickell and his book “Laughter, Sex, Vegetables and Fish” at that time (he suggests they are the only 4 things in life you can’t get too much of).
They both resulted in my relationship to food and exercise changing once and for all.
I learned what foods and in what combination‘s worked for me and how to offset consumption with sensible exercise and movement. I learned that nutrition value, not taste or quantity counts. I learned that it is not about diets but rather ongoing management of habits. I learned about better ratios of plant to animal based food. Also, today my wife and I eat largely but not exclusively organically grown food.
Just to give you what I consider a great example. In gut-busters you get a target of “food consumption points” for each day. Mine was 25 a day across the 3 meals and any snacking in between. This consumption is offset by a target of roughly the same amount of daily exercise points, which determines whether we add, maintain or reduce our weight (or mass – I always prefer to focus on girth dimension than weight). When my belt notch slips one – it’s “time to focus again”).
To illustrate – one Big Mac meal is 30 points – more than a daily consumption allowance for an entire day! One slice of choc mud-cake has 26 points. Any vegetable on the other hand has zero points. Just that you get a perspective on the impacts of what we eat.
I am not terribly disciplined but I do make sure that I get enough movement during a typical week. For instance this last week I was in Melbourne the whole week. I had a 1.5 hour brisk walk at sunrise with one of my favourite clients one morning. I played 9 holes of golf at sunrise the following morning. I did a 1.5 hour mountain bike ride later that week. I did 25 minutes of Tai Chi 3 times this week, each followed with another 25 minutes of stretches, excercises and weights. I think we did two or three half-hour walks with the dog as well. All of these are a mixture of fun and discipline.
Now that’s not always possible depending on my schedule or geography. So I don’t stress about it. Particularly when I’m travelling and hotelling in other cities – have you also found how difficult it is to find healthy food when dependent on hotels and airlines? I do what works when it works and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I just wind up the exercise bit as much as I can.
In terms of mind and body, I do my 25 minutes of Tai Chi with my eyes closed and the muscle memory of the sequences (by the way that program is over 1500 years old!) enables me to meditate at the same time.
And so we learn to stay in shape once we have gotten ourselves back in shape. I needed to think about those 14 kg in my mind as being a typical suitcase we take onto an airplane for a holiday flight and imagine carrying that around my neck all day and every day – a very scary thought that prevents the weight and mass creeping back up again.
One final thought on health, given the above was all about physical health. Please don’t underestimate importance of paying attention to your mental health, your emotional health and your spiritual health. Reading positive mental attitude books and association with uplifting and positive people is a great place to start or to keep working on your own attitude and contentment. I believe that is where all health starts or deteriorates from.
Most of you know that I have developed a significant residential property investment portfolio which has provided the basis for our wealth strategy. That has enabled me over time to be able to do what I was born to do, not what I have to do. I talk about this in It’s not what you make – it’s what you keep.
Wealth to me is about investment leading to great returns. Consistently. Reliably. Providing alternative passive incomes. Not about income, but about net worth. In re-inventing myself from a corporate CIO to running my own coaching practice I needed to invest heavily in training and learning as well as to draw on my investments so that I could keep afloat through the GFC. Those investments have enabled me to have more time flexibility today so I can devote time to fun, association and exercise when I want to.
Joining a gym to learn what worked for me and what doesn’t was an investment. Learning Tai Chi over 2 years was an investment. Buying a mountain bike and an Exercycle plus a bench and weights for home was an investment. They were all necessary pre-requisites for maintaining my health, so I can enjoy my wealth.
And then of course it depends on what we do with the wealth we have generated. How good would it be to have developed enough to be able to be seriously philanthropic with it?
For me wealth is also measured in the quantity and quality of the relationships with those that matter to me – all over the world. Family. Friends. Associates. Communities that matter. What are you investing in each of these?
I believe that wisdom is a function of age in order to be able to learn from our experiences and then adding combination’s of acquired knowledge and skill. I love the term “life experience”. I also believe that what goes around comes around and that the more I am able to “give out” or to share the more wealth and wisdom I will generate.
Ongoing personal development is key. “Leaders are readers”. “Vision comes from standing on enough books”. “Rarely will your financial development come before your personal development”. These are all cliché’s that I strongly subscribe to. I still read at least one personal development book a month and have been doing so for over 20 years.
How much do you invest in developing your wisdom? How much do you look around you for those with wisdom? How hungry are you to ask and to learn from their journeys? How much do others around you look to you for insights? Not to be lectured, but to be guided because of your considered wisdom?
So if these three topics were to measure some important aspects of what we term “success” in life, and you did a quick checkpoint of where you stand in “the business of life” right now, how balanced would you be across these three topics?
On a scale of 1-10 where would you place yourself across the three of them? Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, do you consider yourself healthy, wealthy and wise? Or perhaps pro-actively well on your way towards being healthy, wealthy and wise?
If you are closer to 10 than to one I applaud you. Gesundheit! What could you now do to share that success with others that might look to you for guidance or mentorship or encouragement?
Or if you were at the lower end of the scale, what could you do to grow each of them over a period of time towards a 10 in each camp?
What if you were to make some choices? What if you were to make some decisions? What if you were to set some goals? What if “had a go” and just did “something” towards each of the above each week? What do you think might change for you and also for those around you?
What if you could? And if you think or thought you couldn’t, how might working with a coach help you set some goals and have them hold you accountable to kicking them?