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Accumulating a Wealth of Health

My wife, Joenelle, and are laying in bed, winding down after a long, but joyful weekend in Chicago with friends. We are exhausted and neither of us are looking forward to the early Monday we have ahead of us. Jo will be starting a long week of work and I'll be flying to Kentucky for a speaking event.

"I feel like I'm running on empty," Jo says to me as she scratches our dog Finn, who is laying next to her. The phrase strikes me and seems to stick in my mind. I'd heard this phrase hundreds of times, but for some reason it seems to resonate differently with me this time.

I wake up the next morning at 3:49am, an hour and a half before my alarm is supposed to go off. For some reason, all I can think about is an article I'd skimmed a few weeks prior about our health. I start to dig and find the part of the article that made the phrase "run on empty" resonate with me so profoundly the night before.

The article discusses the origins of the World Health Organization's definition of health. in 1948 the WHO defined health as, "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Years later, in 1986, they refined their definition by adding that health is, "a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.”

It was that addendum that allowed Joenelle's off-the-cuff comment to strike me so deeply. Having never really experienced any true health issues, I began to realize that I might be taking my health for granted.

Rather than viewing it as a resource, or something that can be accumulated, invested, or wasted, I viewed it as an inheritance, something that was being given, that I deserved.

If we are to make the most of our lives, we must view health as a resource to be gained or lost based on the decisions we make. And I am not just referring to physical health, but our mental, social, and spiritual health as well.

I don't intend to sound insensitive towards those that may have uncontrollable factors robbing them of their health. I understand there are certain genetic and environmental factors beyond our control that leech our resource of health from us. However, the research states that non-medical factors account for 80-90% of our health. Meaning the choices we make largely determine how much health we accrue or spend in our lifetime.

Some people will spend their entire lives trying to accumulate money, relationships, knowledge, or status. Instead, let us accumulate a wealth of health. Not for the sake of simply being healthy, but for the sake of living a better, fuller life.


62% of Americans worry about their health daily.


Start doing one thing to accumulate health.


What is one habit in your life that is robbing you of your health?


“The single most powerful item in our preventive tool kit is exercise..."

- Peter Attia MD, Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity

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