Many years ago I heard a quote that struck me as profound but until recently I did not know its origins. The quote was “You're the same today as you'll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I now know that this wisdom came from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, a successful speaker and author who passed away in 2008.
Nearly a decade ago I joined a group of very bright business execs and I was asked to give a talk entitled “Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses”. The purpose was to emphasize the importance of receiving the highest level heart care so as not to be a victim to the number one killer of business leaders. The talk was so well received it become a book, Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses. A health care executive read it and sent me his top 13 quotes from the book. I wanted to share them with you.
1) “The current practices for the detection of silent heart artery disease the number one killer in the Western world (including the number one killer of executives) leave much to be desired and improved upon.”
2) “Remember, the initial sign of vascular disease in 50% of people is sudden death so don’t delay”
3) “Make no mistake, the common lifestyle habits such as smoking, eating processed foods, gaining weight, skipping exercise and excessive stress with poor management skills and subsequent poor sleep, are the main factors to blame.”
4) “If you are one of those vulnerable to some of the less obvious heart attack risk factors, which can be measured and modified, wouldn’t you want to know?”
5) “I told her words like diabetes, arthritis, obesity and hypertension were diagnoses that fit neatly into billing codes and research papers but they were not causes.”
6) “Behavioral change is motivated not by knowledge alone, but also by supportive social environment and the availability of facilitative services.”
7) “Weight is not a behavioral habit, but is rather a combination of calories in, calories out, genetic inputs, cultural forces, the health of your intestinal “microbiome”, stress and other factors.”
8) “Lifestyle medicine is the most powerful and proven way to avoid falling over the waterfall into the abyss below and requiring the acute medical care medical system which may successfully rescue you and patch you back together with the marvels of modern medicine.”
9) “Without question, emotions can have impact on the heart. Why do we smoke? Why do we skip workouts? Why do we reach for French fries when we know they are a fast track to disease and death? Often the answer is poor stress management. Stress can kill.”
10) “Heart attacks can be prevented over 90% of the time by managing your lifestyle as well as you manage your business.”
11) “It is never too late to change, and change should start today.”
12) A bulletproof heart is not a fantasy.”
13) “A person with good health has 1,000 dream while a person with poor health has only one dream.”
It sometimes takes a while to find your passion and focus but I have found mine. I want to help 1 million people avoid a heart attack. This is not far-fetched at all. There are hundreds of thousands of heart attacks, many fatal, occurring in the United States alone each year. Many scientific studies have concluded that 80-90% of them can be prevented with early detection and lifestyle intervention. I think the number is well over 90%.
We are living in amazing times but we can only enjoy them if we are alive. It is possible to live a heart disease free life and it is possible starting right now. That is, it is possible if you meet the right people and read the right books.