When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered: “Modern man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future, that he doesn’t enjoy the present. The result being that he doesn’t live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Building a business is hard work. Running a startup is intense. Executing that new project takes a massive effort. And since you take it seriously, you give it all you’ve got. Maybe you need to travel a lot. Maybe you have the responsibility for your employees. Maybe you do all of the work by yourself.
The question is: What is it for?
We tend to confuse running our business, with running around chasing busyness. It’s even our go-to reply when someone shows interest in how we’re doing. We look at them, puzzled. Like they can’t see that for themselves: We’re ambitious entrepreneurs. We’re busy!
We Wear Our Busyness As A Badge Of Honor.
What Do You Label Your Badge?
There’s the I-don’t-need-more-than-4 hours-of-sleep badge, the you-seriously-think-I-have-time-to-exercise badge, and my personal favorite, the I’ve-deserved-to-crash-on-the-couch-eat-burgers-drink-beers-empty-a-bag-of-chips-and-watch-Netflix-tonight badge.
Here’s the thing: The single most important asset to turn that thing you’re working on into a success, is not the thing itself, it’s you.
You can have new ideas. You can start a new business. You can do almost anything you want. What you can’t do, is create a new you.
Following this logic, it’s incredibly important to take good care of yourself. If you’re your most important asset to success, it doesn’t make sense to do otherwise. Yet, we continue to procrastinate on living healthier.
You Won’t Miss It Until It’s Gone
“Did you have anything planned for the next few days?” The cardiologist asks me while he pushes me in a wheelchair towards the elevator. He’s in his mid-fifties, has grey curly hair, and a stereotypical doctor’s voice. “I’m boarding a plane to Sweden tonight for the second part of my world trip.” I reply. He stops, raises his eyebrows and looks at me as if he should bring me straight to the mental department.
“You’re serious?” he asks. He lowers his glasses to the tip of his nose while ignoring my as-confident-as-possible nod, and says: “For the next few weeks, you’re under my responsibility. This means you’re not doing anything, and you’re certainly not going anywhere…”
Long story short, I had an inflamed heart membrane: pericarditis. It took me two months of recovery before I was back to my old physical self. The point of the story is this: You only miss things when they’re gone. This holds true for our health as well.
Reading This, You Might Think, This Won’t Happen To Me.
That’s exactly what I thought. Now think back to the last time you were sentenced to your bed or couch by a fever. Feeling ill. Under a blanket. Binge-watching the last season of House of Cards. That’s when you realize you can’t get anything done if you’re not fit. That’s automatically the moment we start drinking orange juice until the vitamin C shoots from our ears to prevent this from ever happening again.
These examples are events that happen. You can’t always prevent them. But you can lower the chances of them happening. Start now. Be wise. Don’t be someone who needs a wake-up call like this.
Where Do I Start?
It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees when there’s so much information on nutrition and a thousand different exercise programs out there. Honestly, if you use your common sense and maybe a Google search (search for “Crossfit”), taking better care of yourself is not that difficult as all those lifestyle experts make us think.
I could get into all the science-based medical reasons for why it’s better to eat broccoli instead of a big mac. But you’re smart. You get it. Exercising is better than not exercising. Eating healthy is better than eating junk. And getting enough sleep is better than being chronically exhausted.
Instead Of Only Running Your Startup, You Could Start By Running More Yourself.
Use the exercise to get your mind off things. Use it as a social activity. Or time dedicated to yourself. You could go to sleep an hour early. You could eat that broccoli tonight. You could forward this article to friends you care about and invite them over for a healthy meal. And you could put away your screen right now and do 10 push-ups.
Start Small. Pick One, And Stick To It.
That way, maybe, just maybe - we could reframe the badge of honor. If you consider your business important, acknowledge you’re the most important asset to turn it into a success.
Next time someone asks how you’re doing, earn your bragging rights because you take good care of yourself.
Smile. And tell them you feel great.