Having an awful time at work? Overcome by anxiety or unable to bat away procrastination and lethargy? Dealing with relationship issues or high levels of stress? The problem might not be who you hang around with, your information diet, your routines and habits—any of the things that are typically highlighted as the root causes of such problems. There could be a simpler reason. Daniele Bolelli describes it in On the Warrior’s Path:
“...most human problems have their origin in a bad relationship with the body... Sociologists, politicians, and religious leaders consider the confusion and stress which make up much of modern society as the result of wrong choices and lack of values. I believe the root of it all to be much deeper than that. Values and choices originate from our way of breathing. Breathing well and listening to the voice of the muscles are arts that should be taught in school."
Simply put, the reason X is a problem is because you don’t look after your body and mind.
If I could give you the chance to buy anything in the world, regardless of price or availability, what would it be? Would you buy an expensive car? A Bugatti Veyron? A Rolls Royce? Would you buy a mansion? A penthouse apartment in the city? Would you purchase some art? A sculpture perhaps?
And how would you treat what you bought? If you bought a supercar, would you drive it recklessly? Would you screech around your neighbourhood, accumulating nicks and scratches, knocking the bumper on kerbs? Or would you cherish it? Would you clean it, use it only on track days, be mindful of the tyres and the engine, and keep the inside clean and pristine?
Now, consider this; your mind and your body are tools worth magnitudes more than anything you can buy on this planet. They’re worth more than the most expensive car, the most luxurious mansion, and the most sought-after art combined. Yet we don’t treat them as such.
We cripple our bodies by slouching around. We wear shoes that distort our posture. We avoid discomfort and effort and, consequently, rob our body of it’s most necessary nutrients. And even when we do try to maintain our body’s incredible capacities, we do so in a way that is formulaic, boring, and not-too-tough. We eat shitty food and we don’t get enough sleep. We let ourselves become brittle and weak and then rely on advances in medicine and science to recapture for us what we so willingly threw away.
And the mind? Oh boy, do we take that for granted. We deprive it of a variety of stimuli. We consume low quality information. We stop learning when we leave education. We don’t try to improve our patterns of thought by seeking new ideas and new perspectives, and trying to disprove and break down current ones. Instead, we’re content to let our powers and methods of thought decline and decay. And we accelerate their downfall by surrounding ourselves with a cacophony of un-truths and falsities.
As Mark Verstegen, strength and conditioning coach and author of Every Day is Game Day, observes: “Our society is overfed and undernourished."
Do you think that, if we stopped taking our mind and body for granted and treated them like the magnificent, glorious things they are, we would see most of our problems dissolve? Do you think that, if we cherished the health and vitality of our mind and body the way we obsess over the pursuit and collection of material things, we would be more joyful and energetic? If we were all healthy, vigorous and strong of mind and body, do you think the world would be a better place, and that the people in it would be less prone to depression and hate and stress and existential terror?