I will survive!….. I know a man who spent his youth playing ball outside every opportunity he could find and with his strong natural athletic abilities led his varsity team to many victories. Over the years he suffered many sports related injuries and now he has arthritis and other pains that limit his athletic abilities. His NEW favorite line is “No one ever gets hurt sitting on the couch”. But for serious medical / health related reasons he has no choice but to force himself to do 45 minutes of cardio 6 days a week just for survival. He wakes up at 4 am, while the newspaper delivery men are still pressing snooze and forces himself to go to the one place he can’t stand: the gym. He has no choice but to eat a very restrictive and limited diet and to exercise daily or ….well, or “else”. What power the instinct of survival can have on us. This man understood the power of survival and did not want to wait until it was too late to change his ways. That’s DISCIPLINE. As I age I think to myself that I wish I had the discipline I had in my youth. When I graduated college it was the early 90s and the economy wasn’t as bad as it is today but it was pretty dismal and jobs were difficult to find. I ended up accepting my first job that paid just barely enough to cover my share of the rent in an overpriced Manhattan apartment with 2 other roommates. Luckily in NYC there was ladies drink free night every night and the walk across town to buy half price groceries was actually pleasurable. I would buy fruit and bagels from the street vendors to get me through the week. Ironically I was blissfully happy. (Wow, the power of youth: but alas that’s a different blog). When my career advanced into a sales and commission based job I had no choice but to make it work. I had no backup plan other than to succeed. It boiled down to: If I wanted to eat I had to push myself to get up earlier, to work harder than my colleagues…my work ethic became my means of survival. I had no choice but to be disciplined. Somewhere along the way, among the path of success I lost a bit of that discipline. In sales they refer to a successful salesman who gets arrogant and therefore lazy as someone who got “fat”. I was constantly reminded by my mentors that “you are only as good as your last sale”. Those words prevented me from getting “fat” mentally and kept me “hungry” for more success. How can we apply this hunger to prevent us from getting “fat” not just metaphorically but physically as well? We are not willing to put ourselves into survival mode because we do not need to. When we are content or safe or comfortable in our situation we get “fat” both mentally and let’s be honest, physically. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into or stay with old bad habits when we get comfortable with our situation. When I think about the obesity issue (60% of Americans and growing) I ask myself what is it going to take to scare us into embracing discipline and to eat healthier and exercise? – Did you know that having a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the normal range can cause risk of mortality. The fact that being overweight can lead to diseases that cause death is nothing new. What is concerning is that we seem to be immune to this fact. Why isn’t fear of mortality enough?? Isn’t it enough to know that if you don’t eat right you can die? The power of survival is a supreme force…. Lesson learned: Don’t wait until it’s too late to change your ways. Step it up a notch as if you have to not because you want to.

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