Our lizard brain works like Gmail’s priority inbox. It looks at our reactions to stimuli over time and then categorizes some as important and others as junk. For example, it learns quickly that a call from our scary boss ought to send our pulse shooting up and ensure maximum alertness. It does a magnificent job with this. The only hitch is that it depends on signals from our thinking mind. And, our thinking mind is often dominated by the short term emotional half that finds it hard to differentiate between what is urgent and what is important.
So, the first time we cancel our basketball game for a meeting, it automatically gives meetings higher weight to meetings over health. I’m sure you recognize these signals – coffee over sleep, a drink to kill frustration instead of a work out, food that kills us (a.k.a comfort food) over healthy food and good conversation, etc.
Juggling health is a bit like juggling a glass ball as we walk up a hill. And, we walk up the hill every day as we get older. When we’re kids, dropping the glass ball means we just need to bend down, pick it up, fix it and start climbing up again to regain lost ground. It is both easier to fix it with a bit of super glue and easy to make up lost ground as we aren’t too high up the hill. It also helps that we’re pretty fit.
As we grow older, however, dropping the glass ball means higher damage as it rolls further down than it used to. This acts as a multiplier as it gets correspondingly harder to make up lost ground because we also get out of breath quicker.
So, watch that glass ball. And, watch those signals… for as we live as our days, so we decide our lives.