RULE ONE MAKE A HEALTHY CHOICE
Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself.
—George Bernard Shaw, playwright
I went from 207 pounds down to 156 and a 34-inch waistline.
A WORD ON PREPARATION
As I mentioned in the Introduction, my first six of the 13 Rules focus on how you PREPARE—the things you do before you ever get in front of anybody who's counting on you for something, like a customer, for example. Preparation is critical to your success.
No matter how many times a seasoned high-altitude mountain climber attacks a mountain peak like, say, Mt. Everest, the process always begins the same way—with preparation. Not one step is taken up that mountain until all preparations are thoroughly checked out. This means a detailed going over of all planning and equipment to make sure the strategy is sound and that everything works. Climbers spend weeks and months getting used to the climate in the area before ever venturing up the mountain. There are many stories of failed and tragic expeditions up high mountains because the planning wasn't right or the equipment didn't perform properly.
In life, failing to prepare is where most people fall short of the mark, especially on the job. They don't think they need to prepare because they've done something so many times they believe they can practically do it in their sleep. Or they think that it really doesn't make any difference. They let their egos get in the way of good judgment. Don't be one of these statistics. Get on the right track with thorough preparation before you start your day. By the time you walk in the front door of your office or place of work you should be primed and ready to "hit the bricks running." If you don't latch onto this basic idea about the importance of preparation YOU ARE DOOMED. Period.
We don't climb anything until we know what we're doing and with what. Nothing happens in our day until everything is checked out first. If you're not prepared, you might as well stay home. Your performance will always reflect how well prepared you are. It's true in sports, in how you make investments—even in your personal life with family, where it really counts big and, of course, obviously where you work. It's true about everything in life. If you're counting on luck to get you through, remember this: Luck is for losers. Winners play it smart and plan ahead.
Deciding where to begin with My 13 Rules was actually quite easy. When you review the list of rules in the Introduction, it's pretty obvious that nothing positive is going to happen, even with the best of intentions, if you're not up to the task—and that means being as fit as you can be. That's why I'm talking about my first rule, Make a healthy choice, right up front. Without a healthy mind, a healthy spirit, and a healthy body, you are not as complete a person as you could be. Mental, emotional, and physical stability are the three pieces to the puzzle of maintaining your good health.
Your Good Health—Life's Starting Point
To me, good health is not about a race to become smarter or stronger than the next guy or gal. It's not about being healthier than someone else. The contest I'm talking about is only between you and yourself. God didn't make us all the same. Each one of us is unique. We weren't all blessed with the same good health any more than we have the same gift of smarts. But that's okay. I'm talking about making the most of what you do have! That's the only yardstick you need. Ask yourself, "Am I all that I can be?" If you answered, "No," you've got the right book in your hands.
If you don't think you're a particularly healthy person, I could spend hours talking to you about people I know who are not (and never have been) in good health. Yet, somehow, through sheer grit and determination, they were bound to succeed and live as complete and healthy lives as they possibly could. While they may not have been in the best of health, they all decided they would control what attitude they would wear when they woke up each morning to start their day. That might not be easy for many, but it is the secret to living a full and successful life. Let me share examples of two very special people who figured that out and succeeded in life in spite of severe health obstacles.
A case in point is Lance Armstrong, the winner of a record seven consecutive Tour de France races that recognize the world's greatest cyclist. If you would've seen him three years before he won the first of those seven races, you wouldn't have given him a chance in hell of surviving what he faced back then. Lance was stricken with a cancer that spread to his lungs, abdomen, and brain. His outlook was not good. He was given less than a 40 percent chance of survival following surgery and therapy. But survive he did! Following his illness, his astounding rise to dominance as the world's greatest cyclist was almost unbelievable. But his victories on a bicycle were nothing compared to his triumph over death. He has since gone on to champion the cause for treatment and support for those afflicted with cancer. He is a model of determination, fitness, and survival—all marks of a true champion.
Another example that comes to mind is the late Steve Jobs, CEO of the consumer electronics giant, Apple, who battled pancreatic cancer for more than seven years before finally succumbing to the disease. During this time, and in spite of this painful form of cancer, Apple designed and launched some of its most successful and imaginative products under Jobs's innovative and inspiring leadership. It is a testament to his courage, his work ethic, and his love of the company he founded. There are many more individuals I could go on and on about.
These real winners in life never took the easy path, even when faced with poor health. Instead of looking for pity, they accepted their situations and then made the courageous decision to be everything they could possibly be in this life before checking out. Nothing was allowed to get in the way of their achieving what they set out to do. When faced with a challenge to their health, they all said, "Bring it on." And because they did, we now have inspiring examples of what each of us has the potential to be—regardless of what health obstacles are thrown in our path.
To get into the right frame of mind mentally and emotionally to take on life, start by taking care of yourself physically. For most of us the problem is not a condition, a disease, or illness—it's neglect!
Listen up! Listen to your body—it's trying to tell you something!
A Mirror Always Tells the Truth
The key to being as healthy as you can be is, in a word, discipline. That brings us to the biggest culprits of why many people aren't healthy (and don't look healthy)—diet and exercise. Nothing makes an overweight person feel more uncomfortable and guilty than these two subjects. The vast majority of people don't like talking about them, and it shows. I KNOW. I WAS ONE OF THEM.
During the early years of my sales career success, I admit to being a workaholic. I was there night and day making calls, closing deals, and preparing for the next day. I think remembering my days as a kid with nothing was the biggest reason I would stop at nothing to make as much money as I could. As a result, I had very little time for myself and my family. I spent most of it in a chair, on the phone, or with customers. I never exercised. I never took the time for that. I was "too busy"(Continues…)
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