How lifestyle supports success
There's a company that is losing money every quarter. Its departments are bloated, dysfunctional and hemorrhaging cash. Everyday it slides further into debt.
Luckily it has a visionary CEO at its helm.
This CEO is something else. He is always coming up with amazing ideas and never runs out of aspirations. And every quarter he unveils huge plans on how they're going to make this new product and add this new department and build this new branch. Surely that will solve things. And like clockwork the new projects end up underfunded and fall apart.
A moment you probably are familiar with: when hopeful dreams are met against the cold fist of reality...
One day he decided to stop looking at dreams and aspirations and instead deal with what's in front of him. Before he could add departments, he had to deal with those he already had.
He started to ask questions like:
- Why are we running out of money?
- Where does the money come from?
- Where does it go to?
- What projects are we running?
- What purposes do those projects fulfill?
- Are these projects in line with our company wants?
- What can we do to improve efficiency and overall satisfaction?
Moving away from metaphors
Your body isn't that different from a company:
- Limited resources: time, money, mental energy, physical energy, will power.
- Expenditures: Work, school, hobbies, relationships, physical activity, leisure activities.
- Income: Food, hydration, activity (more on this later), rest
- Depreciation/Maintenance: Mental, physical, psychological
And often times your body is running at its actual capacity. It's not like people feel like going to the gym but choose not to. Or have the willpower to resist temptation but choose not to use it. The same way the dyfunctional company is running at its actual capacity.
It's not running at full potential capacity but the circumstances and configuration leads it to run in a gimped state.
Don't add; Replace.
You don't need new departments. What you need is to start cutting out the departments that are wasting resources or are the most inefficient. For example, a lot of people spend 2, 3, 5, 7 hours playing video games. Is it really worth it to spend that much time and effort on video games? Is this massive investment yielding a massive return? Cut back on those departments and suddenly you have a lot more free time and energy.
But Mike, Nature abhors a vacuum!
Very true. So once you cut something, replace it. Expand the essential departments that were oppressed under the old regime. These are usually the departments that are most lacking:
Department of Recovery
Your body is a machine with an absurd amount of actions and reactions going on throughout it. 100 Trillion cells have to work together just for you to be alive. Those cells also need a break to recover in order to perform at the optimal capacity.
So lets look at two types of recovery
Sleep: I've covered this in depth here. Basically, *Donald Trump voice* most important thing you can do.
Stress relief: This is going to be very brief and general. Stress is basically alertness, or more specifically the Stress Response. Anytime your body is alert it experiences a stress response. You know things like getting overwhelmed at work or sitting in traffic causes stress. But other things cause stress such as physical activity, mental anxiety, tasks that require mental exertion such as video games/using the computer, and a lot more.
The way to deal with stress is:
- I) Reducing exposure to it.
- II) Employing stress relief measures such as:
- Low stimulus activity - stretching, reading a book, walking in nature
- Structuring your day so you don't get overwhelmed
- Dealing with anxiety and negative thoughts.
Department Of Nourishment
For your body to run in the first place it needs a wide variety of nutrients such as:
- Essential Fats
- Amino Acids (From Proteins)
- Calories for energy
- A ton of other stuff not mentioned or not discovered yet.
Obviously there are mega volumes written on nutrition. Here are the important steps to take:
- Drink half of your weight (lbs) in ozs of water. So a 200lb person should drink 100oz. Your hydration needs will depend on many factors such as climate, activity level, body composition etc. The rule of thumb I follow and recommend is to always have water accessible.
- Eat whole, natural foods.
- Avoid processed foods and sugars. The more ingredients a food item has the worse it is for you.
- Eat balanced meals (Protein/Carbs/Fats/Veggies).
- Eat a varied diet to maximize all the different nutrients.
- Follow your diet plan!
Department of Activity
Contrary to common belief but activity is essential to optimal function. Activity is defined as any kind of movement not just exercise.
- Supports body functions
- Plays a critical role in maintaining your joints
- Improves cardio health
- Improves energy levels
- Helps depression and anxiety
- Increases circulation -- pretty important since that's how nutrients get delivered to cells and waste gets cleared out
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Increases glycogen stores in the brain/muscles
- Increases Lifespan
- A ton of other stuff that you really care about.
So how to boost this one? Start with 'An Activity A Day'. Every day do some kind of activity. Go for a walk, swim, play a sport, go to the gym, bike. Whatever. Just stop sitting.
That's a glimpse of what good lifestyle is about and what role it plays in supporting you and your goals. Focus on dealing with real problems and fixing things; Don't get stuck looking to the future and chasing pipe dreams.
What was the lifestyle improvement that made the biggest change in your life? Were you surprised?