Philip Roth: Old age is not a battle. Old age is a massacre.
Alright now, thanks to a friend I just finished this book pictured to the left. Being Mortal discusses death and how it should be handled by all parties involved: doctors, friends, family, etc. The unfortunate truth is that we will not live forever. Knowing that we should be prepared. I mean, shouldn't we have the right to die on our own terms?
Nobody lives forever (no matter how many times you take your vitamins and say your prayers). We wear down and wear down until we can't wear down anymore. There was once a time when death was accepted stoically. It was accepted without fear or self pity. There was only hope that you've done enough to gain forgiveness from your God in the afterlife. Those days are no more. Enter a nursing home and see that there is a certain amount of hopelessness in those places. There was also a time when family took in the dying. Gawande grew up in India and one thing his father noticed when he moved to the states is how independent life has become in America. Modernization led to a decrease in the role that family plays during a time of death. Families looked elsewhere for care of the elderly or ill family members. When this occurs, all autonomy is lost for the sick. They lose control of their life. Their life is now under the control of a medical professional who focuses on repairing health. They are dumped into facilities without much social interaction. Over time, this wears on the individual. There is no medication for the soul. There is an amazing story about a facility managing the elderly who saw a huge decrease in perceived pain and decreased medication. What brought it all on? Two dogs and 100 birds. Life repairs life.
There is one recurring theme throughout this book and it involves courage. Author Atul Gawande is a doctor. He spent his early years practicing medicine telling patients what they wanted to hear. He was not always 100% honest. The truth could have been devastating and he avoided being blatantly honest. He lacked courage in that regard. Over time, he realized that the patients who had the best end of their life were the ones who displayed courage. They had the courage to confront the reality of their own mortality and the courage to seek out the truth from their doctor. If that doctor didn't give it to them, they often went elsewhere. Gawande realized this when his own father became ill. They explored any, and every option imaginable to make his final days the best they could be. And this is where the lesson comes in. Often times it is perspective that needs to be adjusted, and unfortunately, it usually takes a near death experience for your perspective to change. I know this is true in my life. So be courageous, do not hesitate to seek out the truth, and keep an open mind. You never know when a life-altering event will change your story forever!
What is going on everybody? I hope you all had a great holiday! I know I did. I was fortunate to watch a ton of games this past week, and in the words of Bart Scott, I "CAN'T WAIT" to see how the playoff picture ends up in the AFC and NFC this weekend
Games to Watch this week:
Last Sunday was supposed to be a day to remember. It was a day the money-man, Johnny Manziel was going to get his first career start. I was looking forward to this one and had the DVR set. Unfortunately, I messed something up and the game didn't record. Based off of Johnny's stat line, it looks like I did not miss much!
Every head coach is "married" to their quarterback. If there QB is a clunker, then they will be out of work. Look back at some examples: JP Losman & Dick Jauron, Tim Tebow & Josh McDaniels, and Brian Billick & Kyle Boller. As you can see, these coaches didn't last long because they missed in the draft when bringing in their QB of the future. Will Mike Pettine and Johnny Football be a part of this group? Or will they be named with the likes of Brees & Payton, Belichick & Brady and Rodgers & McCartney? It is too early to tell but if I had to put money on it, I'd vote for the former!
Now on to the games I did see:
Anything you want to see my discuss or breakdown? Post it in the comment box and I will answer it ASAP!
I finally did it...I got away for a few days to relax. My lovely girlfriend and I went down to Virginia to visit a college friend of hers (Go Hokies!) right outside of Blacksburg, Virginia. I was looking forward to this trip and didn't put much thought into how lifestyles differ a few hours South of the Mason Dixon Line. But... after seeing references to Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, driving past 5-6 clusters of the three crosses pictured to the left, and seeing a few "Kiss my Rebel Ass" bumper stickers, I knew I was heading into a different place then what we have here in the Lehigh Valley.
Now, I had to occupy my time on the ride down there so I begun looking up things involving the three crosses. Apparently there are over 1800 of these throughout the world. I have never seen them before until this trip. I then begun looking into the Confederacy, how and when it started. I read something that amazed me: seven states seceded from the Union when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Talk about dealing with adversity in a high profile job. This wouldn't be the first, or last, major dealing he dealt with throughout his life.
Good ol' Honest Abe. He was a self-educated man who is believed to only have one year of formal schooling. How does a man with only one year of schooling become one of the greatest leaders of our country? He did it with communication. He is believed to be one of the greatest communicators of all-time. He spent his life focusing on ways to become a better speaker. A more eloquent writer. A great debater, a humorist and also on becoming a tremendous conversationalist. But like most humans, he had flaws. He had a temper that early in life, led him to express emotion and lash out in debates and make things personal with his opponent. But as he aged, he begun to show great discipline. His anger occasionally consumed him, but he found better ways to outlet the negativity. He wrote angry letters to critics, generals, and whoever else pissed him off but chose to never mail them. It was his way of letting off steam. This discipline was the true character of his presidency. Lastly, Lincoln held true to his beliefs. He chose to do something that led to tons of criticism. He was elected because of his position on slavery. But the amendment to abolish slavery needed a Civil War and five years to come to fruition. Many lives were lost because of this decision. Lincoln felt it necessary. He felt it necessary because it is what he thought needed to be done to make America a better place, long after his presidency concluded.
These qualities are still what makes a leader great. For one, communication is huge. If you're not a great communicator then make an effort to improve. It can be done, trust me. The next lesson is self-discipline. No matter what happens, you may want to express your mind, call of from work, miss an assignment, etc., but it is self-discipline that is going to separate you from the rest. Everyone has those feelings. The great ones push through. And most important, if you are in a leadership position, strive to be a Level 5 Leader. In Good to Great, Jim Collins defines Level 5 Leadership as: "Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy- these leaders are paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will". Also, a Level 5 Leader is one who strives to the team, organization, business, or country in better hands when he exits. Lincoln displayed all of these qualities (in my opinion anyway)! So a relaxing trip to the South taught some great lessons on leadership!
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!