Years ago my mentor challenged me with a few simple questions. The questions were:
- What are you reading?
- What are you eating?
- What are you watching?
- Who are you around?
Time passed before I truly understood the profound nature of these simple questions: How you utilize your time defines you.
Essentially, my friend and mentor helped me examine my conscious. This self-examination made me appreciate how unhealthy and mindless “things” can interrupt our daily tasks.
There are many self-help books available to those interested in improving their lot. Improving for some is easy, for others (like me) it is a challenge. I’m discovering as I age that when I attend celebrations, barbeques, and parties I seek meaningful conversations with people. Those conversation must preclude reality shows and “Cop Talk”.
The questions from my mentor made so much sense that I decided to act on them.
I started by deleting my Facebook account. Just like that I freed up at least an hour a day. A recent study by Harvard University revealed that the average person checks one of their devices 85 times a day, and spends 90 minutes a day on their phone. That adds up to 23 days a year, 3.9 years of the average person’s life is spent staring at a phone screen.
It is important to start slowly. I started this healthy habit: when I go out with my wife, I leave my phone at home. Less distraction equals more time spent focused on my bride. It’s a win-win situation.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ
The most interesting people I know are book readers. They love books. Some of my finest conversations begin with, “What are you currently reading?” Going to court, cops have plenty of down time. I would cringe seeing officers staring at the wall like bored zombies waiting for the judge to finally appear.
I brought books to court and thought, “I am getting paid to read this book!” I read inspiring biographies about people that came from the bottom and made something of themselves. Great books feed us. They are bread for the head, a pleasant departure from the world.
Buy that book you’ve always wanted to read, now!
WHO DO YOU HANG-OUT WITH?
As my father often said, “Birds of a feather flock together.” We can choose to fly with the eagles or quack with the ducks.
The guy sitting on the same barstool daily, talking negatively about his second wife will not make you a better spouse, parent or offspring. You won’t become wiser or wealthier. He will drag you down. Remember the old phrase, “Misery loves company.”
Find people that are better than you, smarter, more ethical and/or well-balanced who have a plan for their life. Your behavior will change to fit-in with theirs. If you don’t know anyone like that, approach one whom you don’t know. Introduce yourself. Say, “I admire how you conduct yourself and I would like to take you to lunch to find out how you got where you are.” If they say no, you’ve been admiring a lousy role model.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU WATCH
I have a friend who watches the news ALL DAY — EVERY DAY. That is NOT a healthy practice. Author Rolf Dobelli stated that watching the news constantly triggers the limbic system. Rolf goes on to say that this deregulates your immune system and your body can find itself in a state of chronic stress.
You may find yourself with high cortisol levels which cause impaired digestion, nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side effects include fear, aggression, tunnel vision and desensitization.
The news rarely reports good stories. With all the murders, violence and political corruption, (particularly in places like Chicago), the news can be downright depressing. Most of you see it first hand at work, why watch it again on the nightly news?
I’ve learned many positive habits by going back to school. One habit many of my professors had in common was NO television in their homes. Many professors listened to classical music at the office and at home. NOT one professor that I admired wasted their time with “Housewives of Orange County”.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Recently, while I was walking through the mall, I noticed an enormous group of people in a long line at a McDonald’s restaurant. Next to the McDonald’s was a restaurant with healthier choices, a salad bar and no lines.
Most people know that fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is NOT the healthiest option. But people still make that unhealthy choice anyway. They are willing to forgo the pain of discipline in favor of the agony of regret.
Here are some simple ideas that may help you get on track:
- Make an effort to eat well for one day.
- Start journaling what you eat.
- At the grocery store, buy more colors: apples, oranges, bananas, broccoli, beats and carrots.
You will feel better and have more energy! This time of year, who doesn’t want to have more energy and feel better? The answer is simple, which is not the same as ‘easy’.
The solution relies on you:
- Cultivate a new love for learning.
- Make time to renew your childlike curiosity.
- Start 2019 off with a bang!
- Go where your interests lead you.
Let’s make 2019 our best year ever and God Bless my Brothers and Sisters in Blue all across America.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life – yours.
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Thank you for taking the time to read this message and allowing me to share this touching story with you. I can be contacted with questions or input: EMAIL ME or call me at (386) 763-3000.