July 18, 2005
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend, 

      I think I can identify with Martha. Her collision with the criminal justice system is beyond my experience, but that leg-bracelet, electronic monitor is a point of connection. I'm beginning to feel a little pinched-in: for the next three months, my activities are confined to the three time zones of North America. When you spend extended time in a particular culture, it's wise to become familiar with the nuances that are unique to the tribal group that surrounds you. Over the last 90 days, I've had the opportunity to disconnect from our American vibe. In Africa, I was reminded of a tip I picked up there, years ago: Americans have watches ... but Africans have time.

      Mention the term "bankruptcy," and most folks think "money." Truth is, in the US of A, the most widespread deficit - afflicting the greatest percentage of the populace - is a shortage of time. Most of us have more money than we really need (though less than we really want), while bemoaning the lack of adequate hours in our day. In most of Suburbia, an unencumbered hour is an endangered species.

      Steven Aldana is a PhD professor of lifestyle medicine (in this case, a fancy description of a guy with common sense). He granted an interview to Bottom Line/Personal to explore the question: How to add 20 wonderful years to your life. If you don't have an extra hour this week ... would it help at all to tack-on an extra couple of decades on the back-end of life, to polish off those to-do list items that have been backin'- up on you?

      He has all of the latest/greatest scientific research to substantiate his positions, but his credentialed counsel is clearly a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). How could you outlive the less informed?

      >> Eat a quarter-cup of nuts, five times a week. Antioxidants and protective phytochemicals are hiding inside. The payoff? Lower LDL cholesterol; add ... 2.5 years.

      >> Kick your fruit/vegetable intake from two to five servings per day. Various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other killers are allergic to produce. You'll add ... 2 to 4 years.

      >> Add 10 grams of fiber each day; heart attack risk drops 14%. Add another 10, you drop another 14. Colon cancer hates whole wheat, too. Extra life? Gain another ... 2 to 4 years.

      >> Eat more fat: trade french fry fat for salmon fat. Eat olives instead of Doritos. Tuna trumps sausage. Instead of figuring out what to do if you have a heart attack, you'll have to figure out what to do ... with an extra ... 3 to 5 years.

      >> Drop a few pounds. If you're 10 kilos over your ideal weight, you're 50% more likely to develop heart disease. Global warming may raise sea level; belt expanding may reduce your life span. If you do what it takes to keep your BMI (Body Mass Index) in the pink, you'll add ... 11 years.

      >> Sweat for 30 minutes, six times a week. Find your groove - exercise your discipline in disciplined exercise - and pump up your lifespan by ... 2 to 5 years.

      If you want to add those days/weeks/months/years to your life, it requires a response. You can believe these to be credible ... but, unless you move from assent to action, you'll ensure that your friends will attend your funeral: you'll beat 'em to the box.

      Interesting, isn't it? Do all those things ... and win an extra 20 years. What would you be willing to do ... to win an extra 1,000,000 years... or, 10,000,000?

      In a live interview, 3000 years ago, God offered great counsel about enriching and extending life: " 'Because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.' " (Psalm 91:14-16)

      It makes great sense to do what it takes to maximize your life on earth; it makes even better sense to do what it takes to maximize your life in heaven ...

Bob Shank

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