When we develop simple rules to live by, much becomes possible because more become doable. You find it is actually easier to get through the day because you have a criterion to do what you must do, want to do or like to do. Yes, this even leaves time in the evening for a guilty pleasure even NetFlix.
I came by a simple formula of necessity, I think, to help me be more accomplished, balanced, and satisfied with my day. This comes from one of the most rigorous boot camps there is—the farm. If one did not pile on enough tools and equipment for the job on the “South 40” one finds himself schlepping back to the barn for say, a nail. Or end up using a hammer as a crescent wrench, or a screwdriver, or a shovel; well, nearly so. Necessity motivates.
I, we, need some easily understood and easier to apply way to get us to the how of things. How is the most vital question we will answer because “nothing happens unless something moves.” (Thanks Einstein). Reality determines the way forward.
But we must be doing the correct things, that which gets us eventually to fulfilling life goals. In this case it is living the Good Life.
So, I came up with a simple formula for focusing the day. A way to cut though the madness of an endless to do list that never gets done. That list that started when I was a teen running the farm and have never finished. It obscured the big picture, allowing me to “sweat” at the end of the day doing the wrong thing. This criterion had to be the essence of simplicity hence—A Formula for life is—S3 = Simple, Suitable, Sustainable.
Following the S3 Formula to Simplify Life for Health, Prosperity and Legacy
Yes, yes, we must individually and especially collaboratively consider the classic who, what, when where, why if and only if analysis leads to action. Some of the best decisions are made only 40-60% informed. Intuition and experience determine when.
Committing to better yourself is potentially a life-changing moment; but it’s only the first, albeit remarkable, step. It’s remarkable because most people fail at this crucial point of beginning. They don’t know how to begin. If they know how to begin, they don’t persist. If they persist, they don’t know how to pursue continuously becoming better at life. The answer to these realities is to just begin.
How Is the Ultimate Question
Keep the formula Commitment = S3 in mind. Let’s use physical conditioning as an example of how to apply the formula. There’s that how again. We begin at the beginning. Things must be simple enough to permit repetition, persistence, internalization, habituation.
• Simple – Study what it means to be conditioned, not just being active, not just exercising, not just getting “in shape.” Conditioning is what we are after. Now that you know the what of it, drill into the how that you make it happen? Develop a true conditioning routine you can do for a lifetime and do it at least three times a week, combined with other exercise for five days of a variety of exercise aimed at conditioning. The body craves variety. Curiously, this is not only one of the best uses of your time, but it multiplies the time you have to do other things you need to, want to do because it adds long, productive, and contented years to your life.
Let’s return to my buddy (ahem) Einstein, the Albert one. He said things should be simple not simpler. Pause and think about this. Take his theory of relativity in E=MC2. It is simple, can’t be made any simpler and it changed the word. With it we uncovered the atom for the not so good and the remarkable greater good.
Back to our example of conditioning. Understand what it is. It is a matter of working on balance, flexibility and speed with strength and endurance too. Note the hierarchy, this is what we need to age well, gracefully. Now there is a great goal! Now that you know simplicity of what it is put it to work.
• Suitable – Make sure your routine suits you – at your age. Work into whole-body conditioning based on body weight and light resistance. Body-weight exercises can be maintained. Remember to include a variety of exercises you’re capable of doing but that challenge you enough to increase your agility, strength, and endurance to where you want it for sustainable health. Be realistic, one alcoholic drink in the evening is healthful. One that is. You will know when you are there, conditioned, when you can take a jaunty pace up a flight or two of stairs. (Don’t you just love the guy or gal who takes the elevator up one flight). Or you can easily handle games with a child. Consider yourself a grandparent in training, even if you are only 20- or 30-something.
I’ll tantalize you with one thing. This is not a dumb question. What kills old people? We never hear discussed that it is simply falling! It is an agonizing way to go. Not as dramatic as the children saying, “Yup, granny had the big one, stopped her in her tracks. Lights Out.” Yes, four of everyone over 65 will fall, many will be injured. Too many will die early, too early from one of the most preventable causes of debilitating injury or death. So, using falling as an example, how do we prepare for this real threat?
Deconstruct a fall. First you don’t want to fall. Thus, we need coordination, and balance. Next, if you fall, you want to take the blow. Thus, we need flexibility and joint strength. Lastly, if we fall and are injured, we want to have real recuperative powers. This means general conditioning, including a good moderate, balanced diet, and meditation (it’s been around thousands of years for a reason, now science proves its value). And we can be conditioned, age appropriately to the very end. What happens if your whole conditioned body, mind, and wellbeing allows you even a few more days to see a golden grandchild born, or finally publish that book of memoirs. Uncountable life events are worth the ‘work’ and years of dedication many times over. Try it you’ll learn, quickly, to like whole body conditioning.
Once you have the simplicity and suitability in work you are set up for sustaining long term health.
• Sustainable – Continuous consistency and sustainability are key. Start slowly even if you exercise then increase to a balanced variety of doing what is good for your wellbeing. A very doable schedule, this from long experience, is to do CrossFit conditioning (we have professional coach supervised senza, I call it Gentlemen’s CrossFit), Monday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday may I suggest a light stationary bike spin of 10 miles and a gentlemanly jog of 1 mile with a swim. On weekends hopefully find a hobby you can do for a lifetime. Some like golf, I like skeet and getting into nature. Start every day with a ten-minute guided mediation (life changing). And throw in a weekly yoga class too.
I can hear the sighs and see an eye roll or two. All of the above routine except the hobby takes just under six hours per week. The trick is to make it a habit, routine, nearly immutable so that it becomes part of you. Your body soon craves it. Everyone, yes, everyone even the driven newly wed with a child on the way can snuggle 6 hours per week into the busiest of schedules. The benefits are too, too numerous to contemplate now. Study this.
You may find you can up-level your routine as your body becomes better conditioned. At your annual physical, track your basic body functioning, resting heart rate, blood panel such pressure, pulse rate, glucose and insulin levels and weight. If you’re already in good condition, aim to at least maintain, if not improve. Set your sights on what’s simple, suitable, and sustainable for you personally. Becoming a New Wave Leader means you age gracefully.
Once you incorporate this formula into your life, you’ll be surprised at its near universal application. Observe how it saves time, increases productivity, and most important, reduces stress, and aches and pains. Moreover, when not if you have an injury, they are minimized, and recovery is rapid enough. And for the ego, this routine focusses on your core. Your waist stays noticeably trim, age appropriately (Kardashians eat your hearts out).
Can you find 6 hours per week, to have a shot at healthy, prosperous, longevity? Approach S3 as if your life depends on it—because it does. Many boomers today will touch 100. We choose to be crotchety or a joy to hang with. With this attitude of life, Boomers can expect to be vital and vigorous into their 90’s. A child born in the early 2000’s will on average live to be 104. What will you do with that ‘lease on life?” We can spend a lengthy career in enjoyable, productive retirement. Think about it. Really, pause now to contemplate the plan to put the how to work.
Life is good. Work on it.
Yours in the New Wave,