Years ago, a mentor recommended reading two of Ayn Rand’s classics: The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. After getting past the 900-page length and microscopic print, I decided to “Get it Done.”
Rand’s novels have a principle that applies to all of us. It is “your contradictions will do you in.” Like the drama and shock that plays out in the news when a minister is caught with a prostitute, our health contradictions are subtler and less news-worthy, but possibly life-threatening.
A while back, a patient was incredibly inquisitive about all things health. She glowed when discussing nutrition, an exciting focus in her life. Exercise was not far behind. There was only one huge contradiction she refused to see: she was a smoker and wouldn’t give cigarettes up. Daily vitamins do not overcome a daily smoking habit.
A wonderful man I’ve met through church and the gym will often quiz me about his health. He is a regular at the gym, so I naturally expected a healthy focus in all areas of his life. It turns out he eats daily –yes, daily – at McDonalds. Isn’t that life-threatening? When discussing his dinner, his options did little to surpass his lunch at McDonalds. This contradiction will not be overcome by regular trips to the gym.
Since none of us are perfect, we all have at least one health contradiction. I fight the potato chip or chocolate ice-cream battle daily. I usually win, but it’s nonetheless a battle. What’s your contradiction? Do you rationalize – as in “ration lies” – to allow yourself to attempt to bypass the best you?
Stay strong. Stay tough.
“Discipline is freedom,” as Navy Seal John “Jocko” Willink always says.