Sunday, September 29, 2013

What 5% of the Effort, Produces 95% of the Results?

 My good friend Ken Leistner, (Dr. HIT) used to discuss and advocate how to put out 115% effort all the time -- in whatever one does, which seems to work while one is young and seems to have inexhaustible recovery ability, even as one was almost constantly injured and recovering from such enthusiasm -- but there eventually comes a time for all of us to realize that going to the well too many times and exhausting it, comes with the risk that one day, one might not recover, but then go into an irreversible decline until one's ultimate and inevitable death -- which is the old way of dying, rather than the new way of living.

We still see that mentality at work in the thinking that increasing stress, enables us to better tolerate it -- but only up to a point that it overwhelms us, and then destroys us -- because we don't have infinite ability to adapt and recovery, but will succumb as the more appropriate fate.  That is the reason, most traditional exercise and conditioning strategies and regimens, seems not to be effective in the mature human being -- and actually may wear them out faster, reducing their resiliency and recovery.

During the 80s, when many of my friends were well into their careers working with top athletes, and seeing what worked for that small unrepresentative population samples, I got sidetracked in working with the the disabled, elderly and terminal on the other extreme -- which posed a much more interesting question, of not what would work with the most gifted individuals in that respect -- but what would work even among the most hopeless individuals and conditions?

And that was the more important question to ask, as people do not remain young, competitive and combative all their lives, but eventually mature and mellow out, and "age" in that familiar pattern -- of not recovering from their efforts and battles, but then seem to enter into lifelong declines -- that seem irreversible -- despite one's even added determination to give even more to their efforts.  but the results are not forthcoming, as so they abandon those efforts, and give up thinking that anything works, and that life from here on out, is simply a losing proposition -- and they can no longer get ahead, except by deluding themselves into thinking that is so -- and then disappearing from public view as people do when in hopeless decline and deterioration to become mere shells of their former selves they want nobody to witness, as they can sense the horror of those reactions to seeing them -- and the pity it evokes.

That's quite a comedown from those formerly at the peak of their game -- now in rapid retreat from everything in life -- even their own images in the mirror.  The brief moment of glory, is no compensation for a lifelong decline and deterioration that stretches over many decades -- affecting all one does, and can no longer do, and is impaired and distressed at every moment in life.  So is there something one can do, some way one can train -- that keeps one at 95% of their fullest potential, and not 110% -- followed by lifelong, irreversible decline without recovery and respite?

That seems to be the much more valuable, and sensible question to ask.  What keeps one at 95% capacity most of the time, and the excess capacity untapped, goes to building one's margin of reserves and recovery ability -- for a lifetime of unintended challenges a full life will embrace?  It is important to exercise those limits, as the key to one's survival strategy -- and not routinely go beyond them thinking one grows invulnerable by doing so routinely -- losing sight of one's abilities in overestimating them on every occasion.  That's how fatal and debilitating accidents occur -- thinking one grows invulnerable to them, by risking them always.

Many are conditioned to those responses -- rather than fine-tuning the fine-lines that separates success from failure, and doom.  What is the margin of safety and reserve, one must maintain -- and actually increase, so as to enhance one's survival throughout a long life -- thrive, and prosper?  That is the obvious great frontier of these times -- as many live longer, but most don't do it on the terms they would like -- which would fundamentally revolutionize that stage of life, and make it truly a golden age.

"More" and "how much," seems to be the wrong approach -- because it is not working, no matter how insistent they are that what "works" at a young age, works for all ages, no matter what -- when the obvious truth of the matter is that it isn't working as one ages, because it is not the solution -- that fails in time, or there would be no problem -- and one could just continue to do what one has always done before, with the same great results -- but instead, one just gets injured, or dies prematurely, often in an unprecedented rapid decline.

So always a great question, has been what is sustainable for a long and prosperous lifetime -- and not just a one-shot deal that is as quickly extinguished, in every generation of newcomers willing to do anything for a brief moment in that glory and fame?  A few make it, but countless more merely perish -- in vain.  But more importantly, is the feeling that they are still improving, or just an utter failure, with no meaning and purpose of any improvement, and only increasing decline and despair that anything matters anymore -- but then one will just continue to go through the motions -- until one can't.  That's no way to live a life -- or to condition oneself to live.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Cost of Living is No Paradise

"Paradise" should not cost more -- but less.  Implied in that, is that in paradise is where the best things in life are free -- or so inexpensive as to be virtually free -- and not that only the very wealthy can afford them.  That is no paradise, as it certainly is no bargain.

In the coming years, many of the last age of affluence, will be retiring, and a few will be looking for new places to retire to -- with virtually the whole world available to them -- but of course at a price.  If money were no object, then anyplace would be the best place to live -- but for most, money is a paramount consideration, and one cannot make that decision on the wrong premise that cost does not matter, for surely, it determines what one will even consider being affordable and practical.  Otherwise, it just doesn't exist -- for all practical purposes and considerations.

There's just not enough "unlimited, free money" to go around -- so there has to be some way of distributing it on some basis other than just who "wants" it more, and can think of the many ways they can spend it -- on travel, fine dining, amusements and entertainment, "political and other contributions," etc.

Underlying all those considerations, is what those in that society consider "fair exchange," which some consider to be everything they can get -- with no regard to what they should give in return, if anything.    In some lawless and desperate societies, everything one has, is what the other desires to get -- which makes it very dangerous to be the richest person in that society -- so necessarily, they have to hire an entourage of bodyguards and build walls to ensure their safety, to enjoy their "paradise" behind those walls.

But for most, that will not be enough -- if they fear to venture beyond it -- for still, most of the world lies beyond the boundaries one can erect and defend, and that is the world one lives in.  If one has it all, while those around them have nothing -- then one's life and well-being is in constant jeopardy and peril -- especially from those who also covet that life.  Thus the best and safest society/community to be in, is that where there is no exclusive enclave of wealth and privilege beyond what every other citizen also has.

And while those sentiments are often expressed, the realities of their execution and institutions, often belie that egality -- in favor of greater entitlements only for a few -- often as their birthright, or nobility -- in this time or another.  That has come down in modern times to be the culture of celebrity and popularity -- even over merit.  That has been the corrupting force throughout civilization and history -- even if called seniority -- over merit.

As long as those forces are at work, the wrong values are enshrined -- to perpetuate the status quo -- just because it's always been done that way, and that is all one needs to make it right for all time.  That unfortunately, is the greatest handicap of any modern society -- the caste system -- implied or institutionalized, and the barriers to overcome it, usually represented by money, or the lack of it.

Rarely in the world, does one find a community in which the newcomer is just as equal as its most senior (entitled) citizen -- and that is the paradise, that makes the cost of living low for all -- and not just the privileged and self-selected few.  It is not about money -- but values.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Living and Dying

The overarching theme is that everybody has to learn to take better care of THEMSELVES first -- so that others won't have to do it for them.

A lot of these people are not in the best condition at any point in their lives before they begin a prolonged terminal decline -- from whatever their best health and condition was.

The person in optimal health will continue to improve their health and condition -- to assure their best life -- all their lives, but only a rare few presently have this view of life.  Many others, begin to deteriorate as soon as they get out of high school, and there is nobody telling them what to do and how to live their lives -- which is the beginning of a lifetime of dependency, supported by institutionalized codependency.

Some now even measure their success in life -- by how much they can get other people to do things for them.  They "rely almost totally on the kindness of strangers," and ultimately on their friends and family -- but never themselves -- to assure their best lives.

After a lifetime of living this way, they are not going to be capable of taking care of themselves in their old age -- as many never mastered as young people, or any other prime of their lives.  It was one straight shot downhill.  The obvious cases are the obesity, chain-smoking, drugs and alcohol, addictive dependencies and codependencies -- from which many plunge into their terminal conditions.

But if one is in one's best health, doing all the right things, few can fault one if disaster should strike -- but fully 95% are not beginning at that base level from which to deteriorate -- and dragging everybody down with them, as the only way they know how to do and live their lives.

We also need to learn how to die better -- as well as live better, which is the summation of one's living.  In such a society, the young will not have to sacrifice themselves for the dying, or the old for the young, etc.  No one should have to live for another.  Everybody will have the fullest responsibility to live for themselves -- or to die with dignity and courage -- and not dragging everybody else into the grave with them -- which is the horror of these dying experiences, that should not be the model for the future but the past that we turn away from.

We have to create a better way -- of living and dying, or we are stuck with the present dysfunction.