The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Higher Education

Strangely, I find myself spending quite a bit of time on college campuses these days.  This endeavor, next to hanging around with teenagers, has become one of my favorite trips when I want to leave the real world for a bit.  You would think Bill was speaking to my teenage grandkids: 

Excerpts from Bill Gates’ speech to Mount Whitney High School, Visalia, California: 

Rule  1 – Life is not fair; get used to it…

Rule  4 – If you think your teacher is tough; wait ’til you get a boss…

Rule  7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were.  So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule  8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life…

Rule 11 – Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.   

Ah yes, nerds.  We find lots of them on campuses – have for years.  They have made technology advances I could not even have dreamed of.  Of course, they are highly educated; just ask Daniel Joseph Boorstin: 

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know. 

Thankfully in our world today, some of the brightest technology minds of modern society had “a little extra time” in between classes to come to know what we didn’t know.  And then they established the powerhouse brands we have all come to rely on – Dell PCs; Windows; Facebook; to name a few. 

And how brilliant was Steve Jobs?  Without his ability to combine vision + technology innovation + attention to the most minute detail, who knows how we would be accessing digital music; watching movies with astounding, computer-generated special effects, or even updating Facebook.  How many are reading this post from your iPad?  Wow!  Here’s a salute to one terrific nerd! 

So there I am a few times each month now, attending a MeetUp for Writers that gathers on Regis University’s campus; driving to Colorado Springs to attend an Air Force Academy football game; returning to my alma mater Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois – the birthplace of Carl Sandburg, a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  In fact, I’ve spent more time in the Knox College library during these annual weekend visits than I spent me entire four years of undergraduate enrollment.  (That’s why I think I’m working for a nerd today!) 

But education, continuing education, is not only important to our professional pursuits; to me, it is personally gratifying.  And, my passion for learning might be catching – I’m proud to say my 35 year old son has decided a college degree is a good idea after all.  He’s finishing his sophomore studies in pursuit of an electrical engineering degree. 

And although this man from my profession is not renowned for his technology skills (nor would you think of him as a nerd) we can all benefit from the words of the master sales teacher and motivator, Zig Ziglar:

 It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.                              


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I am not what I don’t eat

I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day.  He’s a colleague and a mentor.  We were discussing the job climate and the challenges of finding a good position “at my age”.  Not that I’m an ancient relic or anything – but once you’re over 50, some hiring managers think you are. 

One thing we discussed was appearance, especially weight.  It’s no secret that obesity in America is out of control today.  Sales people are certainly not immune to this affliction.  So the battle of the bulge needs continuous attention.  No exception here (although I’m very proud to say that I am within 12 pounds of my 1975 collegiate basketball playing weight).  Getting back to this point reminds me of a quote from Margaret Thatcher:

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Lord knows, I’m engaged in a life-long series of battles!  And weight control needs daily attention, don’t you agree?

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of our jobs; our in-box; our quota-performance.  It’s easy to get hooked on working extended hours instead of working out.  Add-in business travel and our eating habits can really take a turn for the worse, yes?  Fast food, airport dining, and hotel room service are definitely not our waistline’s friend.  

There is nowhere to hide and our appearance tells a hiring manager a lot about us.  But our health is much more important than just our job.   To make matters worse, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about food, diet, and approaches to maintaining a healthy weight.  Let me help you avoid a few pit falls.  Here’s a little “accepted wisdom” I picked up on one of my out-of-town trips (yep, from a person losing their battle of the bulge):

 Question:     How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

Answer:       Well, if you have a body, and you have body fat, your ratio is one-to-one.  If you have two bodies, your ratio is two-to-one, etc.

Question:     I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life.  Is this true?

Answer:       How could that be true?  Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it.  Everything wears out eventually, so how could speeding up your heart make you live longer?  If you want to live longer – take a nap.

Question:     My wife says I should cut down on meat, and eat more fruits and vegetables.  What do you say?

Answer:       Look, what does a cow eat?  Corn.  And what’s corn?  A vegetable.  So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system.

Question:     Is beer bad for you?

Answer:       Look, it goes to the earlier point about vegetables.  As we all know, scientists divide everything in the world into three categories: animal, mineral, and vegetable.  Well, we all know that beer is not an animal, and it’s not on the periodic table of elements, so that only leaves one thing, right?  My advice:  Have a burger and a beer and tell everyone you’re on a vegetarian diet.

                                                                            Unknown Sage

It was actually Colonel Harlan Sanders (yes, that Colonel Sanders believe it or not) who said;

“Make sure you don’t wind up the richest person in the cemetery.  You can’t do business from there.”

Being overweight is nothing to take lightly!  And I mean it’s more important than our next job interview.


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Wisdom from our kids

Wisdom from our kids

“Never tell your Mom her diet is not working.  Never trust a dog to watch your food.  And if your Dad asks, Do I look stupid?, don’t answer.”

Unknown Sage

A year ago, in January of 2010 I responded to a radio ad and signed up for a thirteen week, “Maximize Living Boot Camp” by Dr. Joseph Singh (check out  OK; it was the New Year and traditionally every New Year I make a resolution to lose weight.  (I know, I know – what a novel idea!  Bet you’ve never heard that one before.)

Starting out at 6’3” and 237 pounds, I knew that the last time I weighed 200 pounds was in 1975 – my final year of playing collegiate basketball.  And then I thought, “Why would 2010 be any different”?  Would I go on a strict diet?  Been there, done that.  You, too?  Would it be the workouts?  Probably not; I already work out, and I think I am in decent shape (for someone my size!).  Will I abandon Grande Caramel Macchiatos?  Well, I’ve never actually had a Grande Caramel Macchiato (although I hear they’re very addicting!).  So what would be different?

Maybe it would be a renewed commitment to finish what I start. Unfortunately, we’ve all heard that before too, even say it ourselves, right?  Even received expert advice on it, like:

“My therapist told me a way to achieve peace was to finish things I started.  Today, I finished 2 bags of potato chips, a lemon pie, a fifth of Jack Daniels, and a small box of chocolate candy.  I feel better already!”

                                                                            Unknown Sage

I think regaining control over my weight has a lot to do with my approach to daily successes (and failures).  Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  Seems applicable to weight loss, or for that matter, any other personal improvement goals we set each year.

Yes I know; I’ve also heard that Churchill was a bit of a kook.  Like the story told of a Woman Member of Parliament who, after an extensive tirade at a social function, scornfully told the Prime Minister, “Mr. Churchill, you are drunk”, to which Churchill replied, “And you Madame, are ugly.  But I shall be sober tomorrow.”  (Ah, I digress.)

Back to Dr. Joe – In 2010, I completed three, thirteen-week boot camps; binged for six weeks on holiday food and adult beverages from Thanksgiving through New Year’s; and finished the year at 212 pounds!   By January of 2012, I will weigh 200 pounds (yes, yes, another New Year’s Resolution.)  How?  Well, I learned a lot from Dr. Joe – nutritional education (it’s amazing how much sugar is in everything we eat); regular exercise; group support (hey, welcome to my blog!).  But mostly I think it will be just about me; my ability to finish things; just staying focused each day; and when I “fall off the wagon” I won’t stay off the wagon, I’ll get back on as quickly as I can.

Brings to mind a thought, a proverb actually, that we can leverage each day in 2011 for our diet, our job, and any other important goals we set:

“Fall down seven times.  Stand up eight.”

                                                                           Japanese Proverb

So here’s to continuing the pursuit of getting to a little less of me in 2011.  How about you?


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