From Survive to Thrive
LG Electronics got their motto right – “Life is Good”. Everything we ever wanted for a few hundred generations is lavished on us: easy, fast, safe transportation without lifting a leg, light as day all night, warm in winter – cool in summer, most jobs safe and not back-breaking any more, most diseases curable, food overabundant. However, not much in our external world forces us into being fit.
Our ancestors had no trouble staying fit. They were very fortunate in not having to worry about any internal concerns: their world itself was challenging enough to maximize exercise and minimize over-eating – and over-thinking and worrying beyond survival itself.
Ironically, the stress of their world’s external challenges was not as tough on the soul as our world. They did not have to motivate themselves internally in the face of a challenging outside world for themselves and their families. Now that pure survival and reacting to our external environment has gone the way of the plow-horse, our internal stress levels paradoxically go beyond fending off Attila the Hun or not starving.
Ours is a faux-freedom from being naturally fit, eating moderately, sleeping adequately, and having our brains occupied externally. That also means that our fitness – physical and emotional – is now entirely up to us and what we choose within ourselves. Motivation for fitness, the right diet, good sleep habits, and handling our worry and stress, must come from within.
Unfortunately, our new external substitutes for a harsh physical environment are the drugs that treat our diseases of life-style. They control our blood pressure, diabetes, the fats in our blood, our digestion, our mood, our heartbeat, our lungs – we can fix just about any organ that our cushy lifestyle has weakened.
However, we can do 5 things coming from inside of ourselves to do what a harsh life did in the past and many drugs do today. We can choose to thrive. It is not high-tech or new: changing our lifestyle slightly can add 10 years to our lives. These are the 6 keys to thriving:
- Not smoking.
- Eating healthy.
- Exercising regularly.
- Maintaining a normal weight.
- Drinking in moderation
But it isn’t that easy – only 8% of Americans, for example, are consistent at all 5. Other studies have also shown the value of de-stressing ourselves and a happy family and social life.
There is huge truth in the old joke about the Zen Pizza Parlor: a lady comes in and pays 500,000d for a 400,000d pizza. She asks the clerk for change, but he replies, “change can only come from within”.