Your body is the vehicle you use to traverse Life. Every vehicle performs more smoothly and over a longer period of time when it is well maintained. Small, consistent actions, repeated over time, lead to remarkable results.
My first car was a 1962 Ford Fairlane; blue, with bucket seats. I don’t remember how much it cost – I paid for it working part time as a bag boy at Winn Dixie. I loved that car but I drove it hard — teenage driver. And I never did anything to maintain it. Never changed the oil. Never checked belts or hoses. Rarely checked the air in the tires . . . unless one got really low. I did not take care of the car and it didn’t last very long.
It required several years and getting stuck with broken down cars for me to learn the importance of maintenance – doing the small but important tasks to keep the car running smoothly. But I eventually got the lesson. Every machine performs better longer when it is properly maintained and cared for. And this includes you and me.
Production and Production Capability
In The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey discusses the concept of “P/PC Balance”. “P” stands for Production – getting the desired results from an asset, such as a car. “PC” indicates “Production Capability” – the capacity of the asset to produce the desire results. You must take measures to insure production capability or you lose the desired production of the asset. [Covey]
Covey uses the example from Aesop’s fable about the goose and the golden eggs. The goose is the production capability, the golden eggs are the production. If you don’t take care of the goose, you eventually lose the golden eggs.
Small Actions, Compounded Over Time
So it is with our bodies. We can run them – sometime for years – without paying much attention to PC — production capability. We eat junk, food-like substances, rarely exercise, give over to worry and stress. And in reality, you can go for months or years without any warnings of the problems that are building.
If, when you ate a cheeseburger, you immediately had a heart attack, you probably wouldn’t eat that many cheeseburgers. Or if you got diabetes right after you drank a can of soda, you likely wouldn’t drink many sodas. On the other hand, if you developed a lean, fit body after 30 minutes of exercise, you’d be at the gym this morning.
That is what makes proper maintenance so hard to do. One cheeseburger won’t make any difference in your weight or general health. One workout won’t leave any sign of improvement. Driving my car a few miles without changing the oil probably didn’t do any lasting harm.
But over time, these small actions accrue and compound. They are working for you or they are working against you. Simple daily disciplines – small productive actions repeated consistently over time – add up to the difference between failure or success. [Olsen] Take care of your “production capability” and you can be productive for many years.
Self-care is one of the 6 principles of the Excelerated Life™ and Excelerated Self-Care™ is one of the 16 practices. Excelerated Self-Care™ isn’t selfishness. It is selfullness — filling yourself up from the inside. Taking care of yourself is necessary for you to make your best contribution to the world.
The Excelerator Jump Start™ – Selffulness: Taking Excellent Care of Yourself is a good place to begin. The Excelerator Jump Start ™ provides quick actions you can take to begin taking excellent care of yourself right now. You can get a copy here.
Small Simple Daily Disciplines
Remember how the story of the goose and the golden eggs ends? The farmer becomes impatient and doesn’t want to wait for one egg per day. He decides to kill the goose and get all the eggs at once. Of course, when he kills her, he finds no eggs at all. And now he has destroyed the “production capability” – the chance of ever getting another golden egg.
Small, simple daily disciplines repeated consistently over time add up to success. Begin today to take excellent care of yourself by taking one small step. Pick the one activity from the Excelerator Jump Start ™ that appeals to you the most. Find a way to do that small step today. Then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. And . . .
Your Biggest Asset
YOU are your biggest asset. Everything you are, everything you do, everything you have depends on how you use your physical, mental, and emotional faculties. So, how are you treating your biggest asset? If you’ve been neglecting the maintenance of you, now’s the time to change that.
If we are to give our best to the world (“P”), we must maintain ourselves in the best possible condition (“PC”). Each day, our actions move us closer to or further away from health and vitality. Take the actions that move you in the right direction. That is embracing the Excelerated Life ™ !
Excelerated self-care ™ — taking excellent care of yourself — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits Of Highly Successful People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989
Olson, Jeff. The Slight Edge. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2005-2013