I really have to brag a little, because I’m a dad and I’m supposed to. My son is first in the nation on the 1000-meter swim among all 13-year old’s. While I would like to say that this is entirely genetics (of which I contributed 50%), I would have to say that this is not true. Isaac wins because he pays the bill. He goes to practice, he gives it everything he’s got, and he thinks about how he can improve. He does this day in and day out. His mother and I do not coerce him to do this -- he does it because he loves it. By the way, I hope you won’t mention this article to him, because I don’t want him to get a big head.
Isaac gets nervous prior to longer races. In our attempts to calm him we asked the question: “Why are you so nervous, are you afraid you won’t win?” His response is, “No -- I know it will be painful.” Indeed, we have seen him crawl out of the pool and lay on his back with blue lips and his chest heaving. And we have seen him vomit all over the pool deck after a particularly grueling race.
My point is, that there is good pain and there is bad pain. Isaac suffers the pain of practice, so that he will not experience the pain of defeat. When it comes to health it seems the same process occurs. You will suffer when you quit cigarettes, or you will suffer from cancer later. You will suffer by depriving yourself of that delicious cheesecake, or you will suffer from sticking yourself with insulin needles. You will experience pain when you exercise, or you will experience pain from a fall that was easily preventable by even a modicum of activity.
I have said before that 98% of bad health outcomes is due to behaviors that can be altered. And I believe it. Sure, some people have genetic ailments, but even many of these can be improved by behavior changes or medication. High cholesterol, but the vegan diet not working? Well here is some cholesterol medication! High blood pressure, but the low salt diet not working? Here is some blood pressure medication! People die prematurely and in pain mostly due to ignorance, laziness, and to avoid suffering. Suffer Good!