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Saturday Bike Rides with Bob: Living Well

Posted by Joe Antle on May 2, 2021 9:20 AM EDT
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We know from global research done by Gallup Inc. a few years ago and published in a book called "Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements of Wellbeing" by author Jim Harter and former Gallup researcher and author Tom Rath, that wellness and wellbeing...

...are linked to a number of actions that most people can control.  

In fact, in the research and in Mr. Rath's and Mr. Harter's book with the rather straightforward title, there are five essential elements that together define wellbeing and lives well-lived.  In previous blog posts, we have provided context and content for these five essential elements and have generally seen them as a framework upon which to build innovation in terms of reducing demand and costs of the healthcare system.  Our logic has been based on the notion that if we can reduce demand for healthcare by improvements in healthier lifestyles then we can correspondingly reduce the costs of sustained healthcare in the five major sources of chronic illnesses (diabetes 2/obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental health/drug addiction, and orthopedic degeneration).  Many experts project that these conditions and their impact on the total costs of America's healthcare system make the majority of total U.S. healthcare costs.  In fact, the share of health care costs borne by those with chronic disease is disproportionate to the number of people affected. An estimated 90% or more of health care costs are attributed to the treatment of chronic diseases and mental health and substance abuse.  

By way of reminder, the five essential elements of wellbeing that are pointed out in the Gallup Inc. global research and Rath and Harter's book are financial wellbeing, career wellbeing, physical wellbeing, social wellbeing, and community wellbeing.  There are of course many dimensions of each of these five essential elements, but success on any and all of them can greatly impact the quality of one's life.

So, in my most recent Saturday with Bob bike ride, I posed the question to Bob of what he felt has been the keys to a life well-lived either from his own perspective, from his reading and training, and from the wisdom he has gained in his lifelong path to retiring in good physical health, with appropriate financial resources from a meaningful career to enable him to do the things he would like to do in terms of time spent with friends both long-time and new and to contribute to a better community well into what he hopes will be a very long lifetime.

In fairness to Bob, he had not read the book so during the bulk of our bike ride, he offered his insights based largely on what has brought him to where he is today, arguably one of the happiest times of his life.  Since in a previous blog post I have shared that I value Bob's wisdom and his lifelong impact on the lives of others, I would heartily and hastily recommend his perspective to anyone.  And it probably goes without saying so, that I would take his insights to heart as well.

Given our Saturday bike rides typically last about 45 minutes and we then conclude with a bottle of water, the more than an hour together to discuss and learn commonsense perspectives on meaningful topics is time "well spent".  And particularly so when the topics are related to "living well".  For Bob is someone who others who know him well would say has enjoyed a "life well lived"

Here are the three things that Bob shared with me on our bike ride and concluding discussion afterward.  In sharing them in a response to my question, he hardly hesitated.  Meaning, that Bob has probably thought about this topic many times before and has perhaps embraced it as a framework for continuing his approach to better living as he goes forward and continues to live a happy, healthy, and purpose-filled life.

"Bob's Three Essentials of Wellbeing":

1. Thoroughly research the keys to best practices for the things that are important to you in your life.  

Bob suggested that this is much easier in recent years due in large part to the Internet and many sources of quality and rich information.  Invest time each day in improving your understanding of the things that will make your life happier, healthier, and more meaningful.  Have the discipline to understand it begins with your own commitment to become better equipped to live a better life and not depend on others to "spoon-feed" solutions and guidance to you.  But also include others as sources of valuable information and perspective (much as I did in asking his perspective during our bike ride).

2. Don't deny yourself the opportunities to experience life more fully by playing too safe and by being afraid to take reasonable chances.

Much as we have learned about why successful organizations rarely become successful during times of disruption or see and develop breakthrough innovations based on the principles of disruptive innovation, Bob shared that he as well as many others focuses too much on "playing safe".  Many people are taught to embrace not taking any risks and abide by a fear of failure versus the discovery of new experiences that can enrich their lives and enable them to enrich the lives of others in the process.  Bob cited some experiences where he could have taken the path less traveled and chose to go with the tried and true actions.  Here has also emphasized the importance of discipline as a way to balance the risk with having a focused approach to explore new directions without overstepping or jumping headlong recklessly in pursuit of new directions.  His point of knowing your strengths and leveraging them as you move boldly in new directions is a way forward for all people to mitigate the risks while fully benefitting from the new experiences and opportunities that new directions may provide.

Here Bob also emphasized the rejection of "following idols" versus understanding values and enabling a deeper understanding of other perspectives in order to now limit a deeper and richer understanding of how to live a better life.

3. Nourish and embrace one's spirituality.

Bob is a devout Christian.  So, it is clear in his life, that following those moral, spiritual and life-enhancing principles are a source of energy, pride, and life-sustaining purpose for him.  However, in his remarks, it is clear that he was not necessarily promoting his specific religious beliefs as much as he was promoting the importance of understanding or trying to understand the existence of a higher being and calling.  And the ethical imperative all people have to live a life based on the principles of fairness, freedom, putting others ahead of one's self, and following a more righteous path.

In closing, Bob's insights influenced me to think that there could be a couple of other "essentials to well-being".  And it made me realize that by excelling in various essential elements that one can have an impact on others as well.  For example, career wellbeing may have a large influence on financial wellbeing and social wellbeing could positively influence community wellbeing and so on.  So, for me Bob's contributions to the research are along two fronts----discipline and spirituality have an impact on one's wellbeing.  And perhaps those may be significant contributors or amplifiers to the research-driven five essentials of wellbeing that have been promoted by Gallum Inc.'s global research: financial, career, physical, social, community...discipline, and spiritual.

There is 1 comment



I think that this is an excellent blog post. Bob must be a very savvy and focused individual. My only comment is that in the technical sense of the word, discipline is a quality or a kind of attribute that will help individuals deliver on the five essential elements of wellbeing according to Gallup Inc.'s research. However, there are many different theories that exist about the elements that make up a life well-lived and on wellbeing. Gallup's is based on global research from a well-respected research organization. Nonetheless, it is based on "opinion research" which is a bit different than scientific empirical evidence. So, with that said, in my humble opinion, I think that Bob's opinion that spirituality is a key element of wellbeing is well-founded. I agree 100% with that point of view.

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Thomas Edwards

3 months ago

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