The stress of running our family hotel coupled with poor lifestyle habits – from improper rest to a bad diet, killed my father at forty two. At work, industry seniors did double-shifts for weeks without a break and rarely ate a proper meal on time... because my 24x7 sector exalted such professionals as “dedicated”.
We feed our guests and looked after their welfare but not our own. It takes a toll by way of burnout, depression and even death – on an individual, his family and his work.
Inspiration came from my maternal grand-parents, both good swimmers and long-distance cyclists in their early years, incidentally non-vegetarians, who lived healthily into their nineties while continuing to at-least walk and stretch each day. On the other hand, I saw colleagues who rather than blame their long hours and tough schedules, committed time to their health... exuding better energy and way better productivity. This is what I wanted for myself and everyone around me.
Since an early age, I trained in the National Cadet Corps (NCC), yoga, martial arts and meditation. These helped me stay anchored through challenges at work and at home. I also learnt other fitness habits from many entrepreneurs, colleagues and coaches.
Nowadays we’re told that wellness, well-being, fitness, etc. are different things... but rather than getting into semantics or technical definitions about what represents good health the most holistically, I’ve used them interchangeably in this piece, for the sake of ease in understanding.
Here’s an approach I find useful in developing one’s personal fitness.
The body, mind and spirit are the 3 pillars of health through which we face the world. Damage to one or more of them diminishes our productivity, and can destroy our capacity to meet challenges. A malfunction here, and all our business intellect and capabilities become pointless, and so managing this “system” with our thoughts, words and actions, is of utmost importance.
Listen to motivational words from others and engage in positive self-talk.
Pillar 1 - The Body: Exercise, Nourish and Rest
Pillar 2 - The Mind: Engage
Pillar 3 - The Spirit: Purpose
You can choose from a limitless range of other activities and an array of experts who can help you.
I believe the secret to self-preservation and growth is ensuring that the moment you find a weakness in one of these 3 pillars, you must engage in activities that reinforce it as well as the other two. This resurrects the weak pillar and restores the balance among the three.
For instance, if you’re feeling low, you could exercise your body with a half-hour speed-walk to experience an upliftment in your spirit. More than one walk-dose may be required to sustain that upliftment. Though it will not resolve the core of the problem, it’ll certainly give you the opportunity to think through and work out the problem in a more focussed manner.
Similarly, if one’s body is damaged, we must leverage the other two pillars – our mind and spirit. Evidence of this lies in the legendary stories of people using their “will power” to overcome tremendous bodily constraints through illness / accidents.
I urge you all to find activities of your choice and commit time to explore them, changing those that don’t suit you. Half an hour for yourself, is just 2% of your day.
“Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been, for who you can become” – Hal Elrod.