I recently read a book called Heart of a Champion: Inspiring True Stories of Challenge and Triumph by an olympic pole-vaulter from the 1950’s named Bob Richards. As far as sports books go, it was probably one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. He really breaks down the mental mindset it takes to be a winner. This book is loaded with gems. I would consider it a must read for any athlete.
Being in healthcare now, what struck me the most was a quote I would like to share with you. “We should realize that health is the predication upon which great things in life are built. A nation that is not strong physically, or a person who is not strong physically, cannot accomplish great things. I will go so far as to say this – and it may hurt some folks – but I believe that there is a relationship between physical discipline and the discipline of the mind and spirit and emotions. The person who is not physically fit is indicating a basic pattern of weakness in certain areas, and I think that when a nation becomes weak, something bad has happened to the fiber of the people.” – Bob Richards
Now I may make some people mad here, but I have to say that part of the reason we are struggling as a nation is because we have lost our fiber. Take a look around. Everywhere you go, people are looking larger and larger. Our country pays more for medical bills than any other country in the world and still we are getting sicker and sicker. Clearly doing the same thing over and over again isn’t working. More and more, it seems that I am finding an attitude of apathy regarding health as well. People just appear to do what they want because they have the mindset that they’re going to get sick anyway so why should I change?
The reality of things is that it’s far from that. Why do champions win? It’s because they have control. They realize that what they put in their bodies affects athletic performance. They realize that you can’t reach a goal on luck, that there’s no such thing as a “natural born athlete.” Take Olympic Champion Usain Bolt for instance. That guy has shattered every record out there in his events from the time he was a junior athlete to now being a pro. Was he just born with it? Or has he put it hours upon hours of training time to reach the goal? In the same way, our goals of being healthy don’t just happen. How many people try a diet and quit after a week? a day? an hour? How about exercise? Some of you may have gone and tried to exercise, made it one day, and then the next day quit because you were too sore, it was too hard, etc. What if Thomas Edison took one try at making a light bulb and quit? Or what if our founding fathers would have decided that trying to live free was just too much work? Where would we be?
I don’t write this to chastise anyone in particular. If we desire to be great people, the first thing we have to take control of is our health. That means we have to eat well, we must exercise, and begin to believe that we are truly great people. As he says in his book, if all you can do is make one mistake less per day, then you will be moving toward greatness.
Yours in Health,
Dr. James Ashley, DC