Why is health a casualty of success? - Executips


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Why is health a casualty of success?


I won a few awards and I paid for them with my lungs. When I was younger, I was a good copywriter but I couldn’t write without smoking. I would consume maybe one and a half packs a day. Now I have a permanent pulmonary disease.

Professionals are most driven between the ages of 20 and 40 that’s why they are deceived by their body’s youth. They may feel immortal despite all the tobacco, alcohol, sugary food, office stress, and all-nighter parties. 

Famous achievers were not good role models. Many may have heard that Margaret Thatcher and Madonna would sleep only 4 hours a day. Billionaire Marc Cuban worked up to 2 a.m. every day, and Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, is active 130 hours a week. Ordinary employees like me are only required 40 over 5 days.

We work hard not just for ourselves but also for those we love. But those who love us want us to be healthy.


Arianna Huffington, the founder of HuffPost, used to sleep only 4 hours a day. One day she just snapped out of consciousness, broke her jaw when she fell, and woke up in a pool of blood. That was her literal wake-up call.

In Today.Com, neurologist Nathaniel Watson said "We live in a 24-hour society. Our economy is constantly churning. We have media at our fingertips all day and all night." This is a case of technology making our lives more stressful instead of relaxed.

When I was a young creative director, my favorite “inspirational” mantras for my staff were “Go the extra mile,” “turn night into day,’ and “there is no finish line.” I have changed my mind owing to the midlife crisis. When I moved to a new company, I established “Quality of work and quality of life” as our twin goals.

Like Arianna (and me, hahaha), many extremely aggressive leaders have rediscovered the healthy habit of sleeping. The list would include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and LinkedIn Chief Human Resource Officer Pat Wadors. The HR chief even advised that an interviewee bragging about voluntary sleep deprivation should be given a red flag.

Proper sleep is now officially supported by the US military and has also become a priority program of professional athletic teams. 

Good sleep heals our organs, tissues, and cells. In addition, it keeps our mind smarter during the day. Alibaba founder Jack Ma testified: “If I lose sleep, the problem will still be there. If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it.”

Diet and exercise

Upwardly-mobile people have the money to buy anything they desire. Coupled with a hectic calendar, it is so tempting for them to go for meals that are convenient, satisfying, filling, and “rewarding,” but not necessarily healthy.

Another health concern today is that most professions glue us to our office chairs for endless hours. The result is a sedentary lifestyle which can give us a 112% higher risk for Type A diabetes, 147% higher risk for heart disease, and 22-49% higher risk of early death.

Our predisposition to illness may vary based on our genetic makeup. Nothing can make us more sure of our condition than a regular check-up. However, that’s another important thing that busy people postpone in favor of “urgent” matters in the office.

Most important habit

It is still true that success will not come easy to those who are too comfortable. We have to create some value for the world in order to be rewarded. Some of us are not even pursuing this glossy thing called “success.” We only need to struggle to survive.

Even though we have to work for our dreams and our family, we indeed need to survive our labors.

Fortunately, more and more people have been waking up without the scary Arianna moment. The Forbes website wrote “Countless successful people…have discovered the connection between fitness and success.”

They still work hard but never neglect their health which Forbes described as “the single most important habit for achieving super success.”

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