Everyday life is just rushing by. Dates, projects, friends and other topics keep us busy. So it is important not to fall by the wayside and to lead your way back to a healthy life. What does healthy actually mean?
Today’s article will focus on the values that lead us to a healthier life.
Have you discovered the Holy Grail yourself? Then maybe it is still worth reading the article and expanding on it through your own experiences.
The book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” is about the lawyer Julian Mantle, who tells his younger colleague about his life-changing experience in the monastery.
That’s where he ended up after a life-threatening collapse and realizing that his current lifestyle had brought him to this point. His old lifestyle consisted of exchanging his soul for a bulging bank account and living each day according to the motto “Live fast, die young”.
In doing so, he enumerates seven timeless values that everyone can apply to their own lives. Values that help you to live a healthy and fulfilled life.
I for my part always find it valuable to let all the thoughts from such books work on me and to take over the valuable points and also to complete them.
A breakdown like Julian Mantle’s experience can, in my opinion, affect any one of us. Regardless of whether we are entrepreneurs, employees, parents or even unemployed.
After all that I have been able to learn over the last few years, in the end it is all about finding the right balance between all the areas of my life. And the things that need to be balanced are many and varied. Starting with the relationships I have, my physical and mental health, my financial situation, my stress level, …
If one of these areas becomes unbalanced, it can also cause all the others to collapse. Therefore it is important to reflect again and again. For yourself, but even better with the support of others. A burnout is not something that somebody causes intentionally and hardly anyone sees him coming towards himself.
“I have learned that self-mastery and the consistent care one’s mind, body and soul are essential to finding one’s higher self and living the life of one’s dream.”“The monk who sold his ferrari“
The 7 values, which author Robin Sharma lists in his book, should help to stay in balance and to lead a healthy life. For this article I have reinterpreted his statements according to my own understanding and added my own thoughts.
So if you want to experience the whole wisdom of an “enlightened monk”, you should read the book again for yourself. For my part, I have read according to the biblical motto: “Examine everything and keep the good”. And I would like to share that at this point.
Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It not only improves your life, it improves the lives of the people around you.”“The monk who sold his ferrari“
Control your mind
According to science, every single day we have 60,000 – 70,000 individual thoughts with which we are concerned. More than 95% of them are the same as the day before.
The way we get into the habit of thinking has a decisive influence on how we act and how we feel. Our feelings shape our character, and our actions determine what we do with our lives.
Everything begins in our mind. Therefore we should be alert to what we feed our mind. We can follow an exciting vision and deal with interesting topics, or we can deal with the failures of our past and the many small inconveniences our life brings us every day.
I sometimes experience that someone becomes almost prayerfully aware of how bad they are in certain things. Or someone who defines himself almost exclusively through his illness.
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I don’t want to deny anyone that their condition is not bad enough or that I don’t understand them. But maybe it is also advisable to take a new perspective on his situation if you are not satisfied with it.
Inspiring is to read about people who have decided to make the best out of their situation despite their state of health or a handicap.
I am thinking of Samuel Koch or Nick Vujicic, who make the best of their physical limitations, or Viktor Frankl, who as a prisoner in a concentration camp decided to keep a positive attitude to life despite the crimes and atrocities. (I still want to read his book “… nevertheless say yes to life”)
So we can learn that we have an influence on how we react to external circumstances. Covey called this living proactively in his book. So we are not reactive and let ourselves be pushed around by our environment but try to actively shape our environment ourselves. This change of perspective can change our life in the long run.
If we manage to rethink more positive than negative thoughts every day, our 60,000 daily thoughts will be predominantly positive in the long run and fundamentally change our actions and feelings. Quasi a compound interest effect in our world of thoughts (can be calculated in Excel).
We can promote our positive thinking by practicing gratitude, avoiding unnecessary comparisons and stopping perceiving mistakes as negative. Every mistake we make contains a valuable lesson for which we can be grateful. And in every difficult situation, a challenge that makes us grow.
The difference between people who are cheerful and optimistic and those who are consistently miserable is the way they interpret and process the circumstances.Freely translated and interpreted from “the monk who sold his ferrari”
Follow your destiny
And how do we control the positive thoughts and things that we repeat in our head every day? A good way is to seek a vision. A goal that you are heading towards and that motivates you. What do I want to have achieved in my life? What influence do I want to have had? Which problem do I want to solve? What ability do I want to be known for?
The secret of success is the consistency of purposeBenjamin Disraeli
With a vision, you don’t wiggle around aimlessly and let life push you around, but you have a larger goal to which you are heading and which motivates you. No one sits in their car and drives around aimlessly for two days just to see where they end up. But if I plan to make a trip to Europe to Madrid by car, I will arrive there at some point.
A vision should always be inspiring. A clear picture of what you want to achieve, which carries you away, but maybe even others and motivates you to take difficult steps. If you pursue the right goal, the path to it is already a fulfilment.
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
To develop visions means to stop trading time for a living and to start spending time on the creation of your own life. An inspiring thought, isn’t it?
An equation that fell on my feet again in the book and which I have heard several times elsewhere is
luck = preparation and opportunity
Because if you take a closer look at all the “overnight” successes, you will find that most of them consist of consistent and long-standing pursuit of goals including many, many defeats, until the opportunity arose and made your own idea fly. Or stop for a landing, like on Space X, where the last possible landing attempt was successful and ensured the success of the company.
Secret of happiness: Find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it.The monk who sold his ferrari
Whoever places his life under a vision and communicates this vision will also be connected with it. People who share the values of this vision will automatically begin to support you. Simply because a person with a clear calling is easier to grasp.
First Action Step?
Find inspiring images of values, goals and visions you have. You can also record them in a “Book of Dreams”.
The purpose of life is a life of purposeThe monk who sold his ferrari
Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy of life and work and a methodical concept. I first came across the topic during my training at Siemens. There was a CIP process (Continuous Improvement Process) there, which was aimed at encouraging all employees in their development.
The only limits on your life are those that you set yourselfThe monk who sold his ferrari
Kaizen itself means translated roughly “change for the better”, i.e. the endeavour to become a little better every day than the day before. In terms of healthy living, it means actively taking care of the three areas of body, soul and spirit.
How the methodical concept “kaizen” works in detail, I will leave out at this point. Everybody can read it on Wikipedia or maybe I’ll make a blog post about it again. At this point it is mainly about consciously reflecting again and again and striving for improvement.
To tell yourself that you don’t have time to improve yourself, be it your mind, spirit or body, is almost the same as not stopping at the gas station because you are too busy driving. Eventually it will catch up with you. You will have to walk back to get the gas.Free translated “The monk who sold his ferrari“
How can I improve my body?
Those who know me know that I am neither a top athlete, pumper, vegan nor any other specialist in the field of health. Nevertheless, I do a lot of things here and try to find my own balance and improve my health condition again and again. Books such as “How not to die”, “The Timehorizon Principle” or this “from the monk” have helped me a lot to find my way back to a good path again and again.
Here are the impulses that I found valuable for me. I start with nutrition.
Eating more healthily
As some people know, I’m not a vegetarian. I like a good steak and I have decided for myself that even unhealthy food is healthy, if it makes me feel good.
Therefore my philosophy has become:
Eat what you like, but maintain a healthy relationshipMy philosophy
I’m cutting down, so I don’t cut down on what I eat. But I make sure I incorporate scientific knowledge into my meal plan.
It is a fact that excessive meat consumption is unhealthy and fresh fruit and vegetables are very good for your health. Therefore I try to eat vegetarian during the week and look forward to steak at the weekend. It even tastes better when I feel it.
In addition, I try to significantly increase the proportion of “live foods” (everything that is created by the natural interaction of sun, air, soil and water and has not been processed by a machine).
Unfortunately not so easy, because these things cannot survive as long as the can of ravioli in the cupboard and you have to shop much more often and plan better. But the organs thank you for it because they don’t have to work overtime to digest all the crap.
Fill your plate with fresh vegetables, fruits and grains and you might just live foreverThe monk who sold his ferrari
Movement is also important. Over the last few months, the Promodoro technique has helped me a lot in the past few months to avoid sitting at my desk for endless hours at a stretch. With the help of this technique, I try to bring as much variety into my everyday work as possible. I sometimes work standing, sitting and even lying down. In addition, the little breaks are perfect for a few sports exercises or for a short break.
On days when I can manage this change and I work 100% according to Promodoro, I am much more relaxed in the evening and even managed to do much more during the day. Because not every day is like any other, it’s always difficult to get back into the rhythm once it’s been disturbed. Discipline and good colleagues who remind you of this are a big help.
That’s a good tactic in any case, to find a sparring partner who either pursues the same goal or at least has to be accountable to you again and again. If necessary, also extrinsically motivated by a bet.
Regular sports rituals are also important. Here it helps to skilfully anchor sport to an agenda item. Currently in the home office, I have discovered the time just before lunch. Before that it was the time directly after getting up. Working on one’s habits is another process by which one slowly improves.
The last point is unfortunately very difficult for me every day. I like to pack my day full. I have a lot more ideas and thoughts than can fit into one day. That is why I often end up in bed much too late.
But sleep is very important for the body and for regeneration. Often I lie awake for a long time and think about all kinds of topics. I have not yet found a secret recipe here. But I try to work on sleep hygiene, i.e. I don’t have a TV in the bedroom, I try to avoid media consumption before going to sleep and I try to use the bed only for sleeping. Sometimes with more and sometimes with less success.
What can I do for my mind?
It is the same with the mind as with the stomach: you can only ask it to do things that it can digest.Winston Churchill
The last section was already about nutrition. We also nourish our spirit daily. The only question is with what. Here it helps to occasionally reflect on how we feed ourselves. Again and again I find that the amount of pure entertainment without intellectual added value (I count TikTok, fail videos or similar on YouTube, pure zapping on TV, …) secretly increases again and again. And before you know it, you’ve searched through another series on the weekend.
I don’t want to judge all this and some nonsense just part of the relaxation. But like with food, everything should have a healthy standard and only regular reflection helps.
- What am I consuming right now? How much?
- What is my goal? (Relaxation/Learning/Society)
- What is my healthy standard?
- Am I within the healthy range?
What dominates? The quantity or the quality. I try to decrease the former and increase the latter in my reflections. So I prefer a good film (quality), which I watch consciously, to a series marathon with sound from my smartphone (quantity).
Also when reading, I try to work more with the book (quality) than by speedreading, audio books or similar hacks to increase the book throughput of my mind (quantity).
That’s why book recommendations (quality) are so important to me and I get very attentive when someone tells me about an inspiring book.
When driving a car I avoid the nonsense on the radio (quantity) and listen to podcasts from people who inspire me (quality).
And what about the soul?
We can be physically fit and well-educated, and we will not be happy if our soul atrophies because we push ourselves to the limits of our strength.
Therefore it is important to pay attention to your mental state. Also here an occasional reflection is advisable. How do I react to certain circumstances? Are there any triggers that cause me to react violently? Are there things that make me feel uncomfortable? This usually indicates unresolved conflicts or unspoken problems.
For the soul it is valuable to pause again and again and to seek peace. I like to go for walks and look at the nature behind our house, or listen to music without lyrics, so that I can concentrate on my thoughts.
But you can also go into silence more consciously. Find places without distraction or meditate. The mind has to get the chance to talk empty, so that the soul can have its say ?
At least that’s what I think. Only when the last thoughts and reflections have been completed do we begin to occupy ourselves with ourselves and listen deeper inside ourselves.
I also get new strength from friends and from my wife. In exchange and in company with others I notice that my soul has its say and comes to life. I need that. It helps me to draw new strength again.
We laugh not because we are happy, but we are happy because we laugh. We should start the day with joy. Playing the game of laughter and being grateful for everything we have.
Another point is gratitude. To be aware again and again how blessed we are and what is going well in life strengthens the soul muscle. I also try to avoid dealing with my problems too intensively and prayerfully.
In case of problems and fears it helps me to find answers to the three scenarios:
- What do I do when things go bad?
- What do I do if it goes as expected?
- What do I do when it’s going mega good?
Once I’ve thought through the scenarios, there’s not much more I can do than wait and try to deal with other things.
Because I am convinced that our soul does not benefit so much from us wallowing in our worries and fears like a sow in the mud.
Last thought: How much are you laughing? Sometimes it’s important to be a child again and just do nonsense. When was the last time you caused a surprised head shake in your partner or friends? Maybe it’s about time again ?
Hah, and one addendum: I think multitasking is one thing that stresses us more than it helps. It is totally valuable to be 100% present and enjoy the now. We will come back to that later.
How can I practically improve my health?
A feedback loop is the core of every improvement. You reflect again and again on how well you have improved in the individual areas, what went well and what went badly. This is the only way to work in a truly sustainable way and in healthy small steps.
I talked to a few people and discovered very different ways of dealing with people. Some people really reflect on each day and plan the next day the evening before. I find that remarkable. I myself am too tired somewhere in the evening. So I have decided on three points in time: Annual, quarterly and monthly. So I set myself personal goals during these periods and reflect on them at the end of the period.
For reflection I have heard the most different ways. Some capture you on a visible whiteboard or pinboard in your apartment. Others with the help of apps or paper journals. I myself have chosen my diary for this purpose. It has become a little treasure of experiences and reflections. And if you look at the last few days while writing your diary anyway, it’s a good idea to evaluate them with regard to your goals.
Failure means not having the courage to try, no more and no less. The only thing that stands between most people and their dreams is the fear of failure. Nevertheless, failure is essential for the success of any endeavor.The monk who sold his ferrari
Living with discipline
Granted, I had to get used to the word “discipline” first. At first I associated it with not very good pictures. In my head came memories from childhood and stories from old times, where “discipline and order” still prevailed. I also associated it more with the unreflective following of rules and laws in totalitarian regimes.
What the personality development books are more about is self-discipline or self-control. The ability to free oneself from one’s impulses and live self-confidently. I think that throws a different light on the matter.
I also needed something to see a piece of freedom in self-discipline. How can I be free when I “restrict” myself and impose rules on myself. That’s kind of contradictory, isn’t it?
A quote from the book brings us a bit closer:
Most people have freedom. They can go wherever they want and do whatever they want. But too many people are also slaves to their urges. They have become reactive rather than proactive, which means that they are like sea foam beating against a rocky shore and going in any direction the tide takes them.The monk who sold his ferrari
If I follow my instincts powerlessly, I am not free. So I voluntarily set myself the goal of taking it off. But if I do not show self-discipline by ignoring the candy cabinet or by eating beyond my sense of satiety, I remain a slave to my drives and do not have the freedom to realize my goals (in this case losing weight).
At the latest when the health consequences catch up with you and the restrictions become physically noticeable, you notice how the lack of self-discipline restricts your own freedom.
A book that has really helped me in the topic of discipline is “Atomic Habits”. It is about how habits work and how you can change them. It also helps me to listen to books and podcasts on the topic to remind myself to be more disciplined.
Other helpful tools for self-discipline are small rewards and, most importantly, sparring partners who always point out to you when you break your own rules.
Respect your time
Memento mori – Be aware of mortality. About two years ago I wrote a blog article about it. Our time on earth is limited and every minute we spend there is only one time. With every breath it passes: Time.
So time is a precious commodity, a gift. Time can be exchanged for many things, but nothing can be exchanged back for time. How do we invest our time?
Time management is not just something you can focus on in the office and on the job and throw away at the end of the day. It is a holistic system that can make all areas of our lives more balanced and fulfilling if used correctly.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.The monk who sold his ferrari
I admit, there are days when I need this and I love it: bumming. Just doing nothing or watching movies for hours and not worrying about planning or something like that. Live passivity, even the food is delivered by the delivery service on such days.
But I have to realize that this “state” makes me totally dissatisfied after a few days. A little structure doesn’t seem to hurt at all. And when I look back like this, especially the weekends and holidays are very relaxing, where I thought about it beforehand and still gave the day a certain structure.
So it makes a lot of sense to set small limits and think about how you want to spend the weekend or the holiday. It is simply satisfying to look back and see what one could see and experience during a day/weekend or holiday.
To respect and enjoy the time, it is also important to live and be present in the now. You sometimes miss totally intense conversations when you are talking to the rest of the world via instant messaging, or your head is already in the morning or yesterday.
The moment counts. What you can experience now, you will never be able to experience again. And believe me, it is often the little things that you could miss at some point.
Almost 10 years ago I was involved in a severe traffic accident and was confined to my hospital bed for several weeks. Everyday things like going to the toilet, taking a shower or eating were suddenly no longer a matter of course. Things that we otherwise perceive as a waste of time become a kind of weekly goal in such a moment.
I still remember how good it felt for me when I could go for a walk outside for the first time. That experience taught me to appreciate everyday things as well. Not to wait until you can fulfill your dreams, but to live your dream already now.
Pareto and Promodoro
In the book “The monk who sold his Ferrari” the “Ancient Rule of Twenty” is mentioned.
The principle that 80 % of the results are achieved with 20 % of the effort. The remaining 20 % of the results then require another 80 % of the remaining effort.
This principle was previously known to me as the Pareto principle. To be aware that great results can usually be achieved with manageable effort. The fact that a large part of our time is somehow inefficiently used helps to select our work packages more specifically. Some things seem to be urgent and important, but have little or no impact.
Here we can learn to say “no”. An important habit if you want to respect your time more. Saying “yes” to the 20% of things where we can use our abilities to achieve the key performance. And saying “no” to the things where we perform 80% of the time and only contribute 20% to the result.
I always enjoy Pareto events like Hacking Friday or Hackathons because they focus on the 20% of the Pareto principle and you feel incredibly productive.
I was also able to discover that Promodoro, as a way of working, helps you to sharpen your Pareto vision. Promodoro always forces you to take a step back from work and reflect again. Far too often, I find myself doing ineffective work or taking the wrong approach to my current work package. Furthermore, this way of working also gives you a better sense of time, which helps you to perceive time much more consciously.
Giving selflessly and serving others
No matter what you have achieved, no matter how many vacation homes you have purchased, no matter how many cars are in your driveway, the quality of your life will depend on the quality of your contribution to society.The monk who sold his ferrari
What is your contribution to our society? Will you leave this planet a better or worse place?
We live in a crass time, in which we have left many ills behind and now live in unprecedented luxury. In contrast to the past, the life of the average citizen is not so different from the life of those in power.
Whereas in the past the bourgeoisie was concerned with helping each other to survive and giving up the few possessions they had for the preservation of existence, today we usually exchange our money for meaning.
Who drives the fastest, most beautiful car? Who drives to the most exotic holiday destinations? Who celebrates the fattest parties? Who builds the biggest house…
The struggle for common survival has given way to the struggle for the greatest importance for society. We have become more independent, can take care of ourselves.
This development reinforces the perceived deficiency mentality. The impression is created that what others gain is lost for ourselves. The value of my big Audi decreases when my neighbor drives one too.
I often find myself having to swallow a sinking feeling in my stomach when someone else brings home a great success and it may not work out for me everywhere. What a stupid way of thinking!
We have to make ourselves aware again that successes of our neighbour are also our successes. That where something grows, we can grow with it. Here it helps again and again to practice gratitude to oneself.
The one who begins to give selflessly begins to break through the restrictive patterns of the deficiency mentality. We are richly endowed and we can express this by giving ourselves and the values entrusted to us. Be it in voluntary work or through donations.
And everyone who gives selflessly is an impulse for others to give as well. A chain reaction with compound interest effect.
When you work to improve the lives of others, you indirectly elevate your own life in the process.The monk who sold his ferrari
If you are committed to improving the lives of others, you indirectly enrich your own life.
“A good deed every day” is not only a scout motto, but can also become our life motto.
Learned that if you live moves to a more magical dimension when you start striving to make the world a better placeThe monk who sold his ferrari
Accepting the present
But the real key to remembering is that happiness is a journey, not a destination. Live for today.The monk who sold his ferrari
But the real key to remember is that happiness is a journey, not a destination. Live for today
In parts, this point has already come up again and again in the other values. But because it is so important, it gets its own section.
A point that I leave out of consideration far too often.
The calendar is full, so is the todo list. And so you rush through the day. In the evening, at the end of the day, you start to reflect for the first time. In the best case, you feel productive and successful – but you haven’t noticed many beautiful moments of the day.
Why not plan a little more time after the meeting in Berlin and take a look at the “foreign environment” before you take the train back. Otherwise, you might not be able to do that until your next holiday. And instead of fleetingly working off a few points on your “Somewhen-Maybe” list while waiting for the train on your departure, you could just enjoy the weather with a good coffee and be in the moment.
What is the point of owning the largest house in the area if you have not taken the time to create a living
At the end of life, you don’t look back at the money you earned, but at the life you lived. So you should never sacrifice the happiness of the moment for an achievement.
Live each day as if it were your last. There is no certainty that tomorrow will offer the same freedoms, the same opportunities as today. The current Covid-19 pandemic makes that very clear to us right now. Only weeks ago, I would not have believed the restrictions we have to live with today. Back then it would have been easy for me to do my daily workout in the swimming pool or to go climbing more often. I even signed a new gym contract a few days before the whole thing started. But I never used it because I was lazy. And now that it’s no longer working, it annoys me.
In that sense, enjoy your day and stay healthy!
(Cover Photo by Veronique Estie on Unsplash)