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Health Care: What Ever Happened to Personal Responsibility?

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Dealing with Cause versus Effect

Unless you've been under a rock for the last month, you've heard politician after politician speaking about the issues of health care. While Obama says health care is an important item on his agenda, I beg to differ. Now don't get me wrong, I think his and many others' intentions are good. However, there's a lack of understanding around how this universe works.

If you're familiar at all with my work, you should know by now that "energy flows where attention goes." Notice where the attention is focused in most (if not all) conversations regarding health care. Pay attention, and you'll quickly realize the conversations are not focused on health at all: They're focused on addressing sickness.

All the hoopla regarding death panels, rationing and discontinuing Medicare is the conversation about what to do with people who are sick. Do we let them die or live? Are they worth saving or not? Is this a conversation about health? I think not. The study of how to address sickness is not an advocacy, nor a solution, for health.

I pay a pretty penny already for health insurance that rarely if ever gets used. At the same time, I spend a small fortune (outside of my insurance plan) on proactive health-sustaining solutions such as massage, acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, gym membership, organic foods and much more. All of which my health care provider refuses to pay. My insurance company is laughing all the way to the bank.

In my letter to the president when he took office (click here to read it), I suggested we usher in a new era of responsibility. So far, I haven't seen it in any great measure, and this issue extends beyond health care alone.

Banks and automotive companies that ran their businesses irresponsibly were bailed out with little accountability or with few constructs being put in place. In other words, "You screwed up, but you're not responsible or being held accountable."

I don't know about you, but if I make poor financial decisions in my personal life or business, I've never found anyone (much less the government) ready to bail me out. I currently have a pretty hefty tax bill due to the state of California, and I'm pretty sure they're not going to let me off.

And now, we're consumed with sick care. I'm not too excited to pay for a lung cancer case obtained by smoking two packs of Marlboros per day. What part of "smoking has been proven to cause lung cancer" is unclear?

Likewise, I'm not excited to pay for triple bypass for a person who's spent a lifetime eating burritos, Krispy Kreme and Snickers, whose idea of a workout is clicking the remote on their television.

If I sound insensitive, I apologize. Those who know me know I'm very sensitive to the needs of others. And please understand that needs and wants are not always the same thing.

Sometimes true sensitivity and love is not continuing to enable individuals to continue with the behaviors that got them in a painful situation to begin with. I don't think many parents would allow their small children the opportunity to continually place their hands upon a hot stove.

I realize there are exceptions, but the rule is that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Heart disease is the number one killer overall, and I submit it's largely due to the inability to handle our emotions properly. We don't need more economic stimulus nearly as much as we need a mental and emotional stimulus.

And obesity quickly is approaching the number one cause of death in America. According to the CDC, about 300,000 people per year -- 25,000 per month, 5,769 per week, 821 per day, 34 per hour--die of obesity.

While I care tremendously about the needs of others, I care enough to believe in the age old saying, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

What we need in this world is to quit giving people fish, which enables them in the same disempowering behavior that got them in the predicament to begin with. On this same issue of responsibility and cause versus effect, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention that most welfare recipients in this country are second- and third-generation welfare recipients. We need to incent and reward individuals to learn how to fish!

I'd love to see the Obama administration give an incentive to business owners to buy gym memberships for their team. Or what if we gave an incentive to the individual who took proactive measures to stay healthy?

I got my annual physical last week, and my doctor gladly told me that all my vitals and hormone levels (which I get checked regularly) are at the level of a 28 year old. I'm sure you're aware that my physical chronology is a few years more than that. But health is not about chronology.

Lest you think I boast or that I'm just lucky --think again. Luck has nothing to do with it, and I'm not boastful...I'm grateful. I work my tail-feathers off to take premium care of the body the Creator has given me. If I can travel over 200 days per year and eat healthfully and get a workout in every single day, anyone can. It's people like me that keep the insurance companies in fat city.

What if we restructured insurance plans to pay for alternative measures that actually increase health versus measures that address the effect of neglect?

Emerson stated, "Health is our greatest wealth." He's absolutely correct, yet so few focus on it until it's in jeopardy.

Since I'm not holding my breath that our governmental or collective societal focus is going to turn around all too quickly, let me give you some suggestions for taking personal responsibility that will pay off for you. Here are a few quick tips to add more years to your life and, more importantly, more life to your years.

  1. Start a daily meditation practice. This can be as little as 10-20 minutes but research has proven the stress-relieving and health benefits. Not to mention, it's been proven to extend your life.
  2. Have an empowering social network. If your friends are what I call "energy vampires," always having drama and complaints in their life and always focusing on the negative, you're going to get sucked in. Conversely, if you choose your friends wisely, invest time with those who are inspired by life and have a grand purpose to fulfill, you'll be more inspired as well.
  3. Make your home a sanctuary. Your home should be filled with the things that make you feel peaceful, and it should create an environment that you can't wait to "come home" to.
  4. Work out regularly. Do something for your cardiovascular health, your flexibility as well as your strength at least 3-4 times per week. You'll feel better, look better and have more physical and mental stamina.
  5. Eat to live, don't live to eat. While many foods available may taste good, their nutritional value often ranks right up there with cardboard. Keep your diet high in lean proteins, avoid red meat and fats and get plenty of greens. Greens are living foods filled with energy, and if you want to have high energy, you can't get too much of them.

When we individually begin taking more personal responsibility for our own health and our own lives in every area, we feel more empowered, more inspired and alive and more in control. Transforming our government and our world begins with transforming our self.

That's how you and I change the world.

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