Earlier I also wrote a post on “Sickness or Longevity having close association to a person’s character and work he or she does” (Part 1).
In this post, I will focus on character and the exercise one does.
On one hand, this post is partly a continuation of my earlier post. On the other hand, it was prompted by the recent collapsed our Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during a cabinet meeting when he was hit by stroke. There are also other triggering points as well as listed below.
Few weeks ago, I was deeply saddened by the decease of my ex-corporate boss Mr. M from Europe. I was told he passed away after taking a rest from his jogging. He was age 65. In my entire corporate career, he was the corporate boss who commanded the most respect from me.
Mr. M brought with him lifetime of experiences working in many different places in America and Europe. He is extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and it is not just in the work, but extended to many aspects of lives. Mr. M is extremely righteous and always holds high integrity and ethnics without failing to take care of his subordinates, me included.
In another incident, a friend of mine in his mid-30s went into coma diagnosed to be caused by brain stroke. Yes, 30s of age with stroke!!! His wife and a little daughter are by his side. God bless, he is awake now, albiet still bedridden and unable to talk.
Life is so unpredictable!
2 years ago, my ex-broker who was then in his late 40s/early 50s also passed away abruptly due to brain stroke. Read: Shocking News - Life is unpredictable
Breach you limits in work, you go down! "So what if you excel in work?"
Minister Heng SK, only just took over one of the toughest ministerial jobs (Finance Minister) last October and now he is nursing in ICU at an age of just 53. Not that old really.
Singapore PM Lee HL was diagnosed to have lymphoma cancer in 1992 (age ~40 then). Last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery. Another minister Khaw Boon Wan also underwent artery bypass in 2010.
If a person having responsible, hardworking and “difficult to let go” personalities, when faces with huge burdens on the shoulders, will almost coherently overwork until he/she is eventually undermined by illness. I was also a victim of severe sickness due to overwork in the past.
Take things too hard, you go down! "So what if you are Steve Jobs or already financially freed?"
Steve Jobs died of cancer at a relatively young age of 56. Singapore Dennis Ng, who claimed to already achieve financial freedom and was a high-profile financial management expert died of heart attack during a seminar at an even younger age of 43.
What do these two persons have in common? Overheating passion in the things they do. This is good!
What is not so good is both Jobs and Ng were also known to be having extremely high self-esteem, easily irritated and gets impatient easily when people disagree and refuse to listen or learn from them. In other words, they really take things too hard.
Perhaps the mojo is in the “Right Temperament Deep Down”!
"Deep down", meaning not just appear to have good temperament but truthfully with open mind and open heart! People who appear to have good temperament on the outside (just that they don't say out) but often think otherwise and keeping everything to themselves will inevitably fall into the trap of "taking things too hard!" as well.
Look at the many successful investors who can control their temperament well and yet outspoken are still very active in the investment world even at a very old age. This is also explicitly explained in my Part 1 post.
Breach your limits during exercise, you go down! "You really think you are iron man?"
As I mentioned earlier, my ex-corporate boss passed away during jogging. The exact reason of his death was unknown to me. However I was previously told that he always enjoyed jogging long distance. He also had a competitive nature, always determined and always pushed for perfection. Maybe he pushed too hard!
By the way, he passed away after retiring about a year! I heard it was somewhat a retirement that was enforced rather than voluntary. This will mean that he did not really already plan what he wanted to do way prior to his retirement! Could this be one reason that can possibly make him less engaged in life and being weakened spiritually?
Kishore Mahbubani, age 67 a former diplomat and currently Dean of Lee Kuan Yew school enjoys jogging as a way of relaxing his mind. He jogs regularly for 8 km and had severe chest pains at least three times this year. In believing that determination could overcome pain, he kept on running. Eventually he went through bypass surgery last month because his arteries are blocked.
Minister Khaw Boon Wan in 2010 initially denied that he had heart problem. In an interview after his heart bypassed surgery, he said the following:
“I felt that I was in top physical form,” wrote MrKhaw.“To prove it, I actually intensified my exercise routines. I used to run on (the) treadmill three times a week; I increased it to five. Each time, I ran at my usual pace of 8km per hour for half an hour.”
My cousin and my cousin-in-law with age in their late thirties and early forties were fanatics of Marathon running one to two years ago. They always post pictures of them in Facebook running and running, training and training. Finally my cousin-in-law collapsed and was in critical condition needing immediate admission into hospital in the midst of a race. Since then, I have never see any posts of them running again!
Last year, Canadian Broker firm Canaccord Genuity’s CEO P
died after Falling ill during Triathlon at age 52. In 2009,
Singaporean CEO of Deutsche Telekom Asia, Mr Calvin Lee Wee
Sing, 42, died while competing in a Singapore International
When I was an NSF, my friend's father passed away in his 40s during a badminton match due to heart arrest. I was told my friend’s dad is always very health conscious and exercise regularly. Another friend of mine also saw his father, a regular shutter, hit by stroke during a badminton match. I was told by my friend that his father, despite the old age always have the "Ai Yan Ma Su" (Hokkien translation: want to win) attitude. So what if he won the match but almost lost his life!
Even Liew Mun Leong, former CEO of CapitaLand a figure widely respected, still wake up every morning at 6am and jog 5-6 km each day, as mentioned by his speech last year at NUS. My own blood brother holding very senior position in corporate, always brag about how he can run long distance and exercise intensively for an hour or so, and how he can push himself to the limit.
Forget that Ego for a second!
So if you think that the harder you work, the harder you need to run to relieve your stress, better think again!
Honesty, why do you have to put your body to intense strain when you are doing something that is supposedly relaxing and enjoying. And straining it "Everyday some more?"
These are the so-called very successful and rich people in life, definitely not young and with abundance of life and work experiences.
So what are they trying to prove? Is this really wisdom in life?
There is this thing calls "Man Ego"!
No matter how old you are or who you are, or how wise you think you are, or how young you are already achieve financial freedom etc, when Man Ego is compromised, sometimes you will get blinded and cannot really see the "real" light in life.
It's all about feeling good and having fun!
My health deficiency, a blessing instead
I inherited health deficiency since birth (I only know it in later years), and therefore I never have good stamina and never fancy long distance running as a boy until today. Looking back, it is definitely a blessing in disguise! For otherwise given my strong “always want to win” character in the past, I will definitely push myself to the limits. For e.g it can be during a run which I will then likely to collapse and never recover again!
Jogging and Swimming
Today, I go jogging or swimming often but it is really primarily to feel good and then to enjoy the greenery of the park or to indulge in the pool to ward off the heat. Most important of all, I enjoy my jogging or swimming together with my children. It strengthens our relationships and make us happy!
At age 18-19, I started muscular exercise to “beef” up due to my skinny physique. I neither have “washboard” six packs nor very defined muscles now. Nonetheless going to gym for muscular exercise back then is one of the best choices I made in my life. It is a hobby that has sticks with me for almost twenty years now. It not just makes me feels good both physically and mentally, it also makes me happy.
Please do not be mistaken muscular training for always dumbbell weights training. We can use our own body weight as well. For e.g. push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunge, planks etc. The mix of gym and personal body weight exercises give me more variety and very importantly a lot more "fun" during the exercise.
Remember that it is more fun and NOT more pain! J
Pushing your muscles to the limit is a much safer bet, than pushing your heart to the limit!
For many years now, I had seldom or never pushed myself very hard during my muscular training. In recent times, it is always limited to 20 to 45 minutes duration. Frankly, even if I did stress my muscles during workout, I do feel it is perfectly ok for myself as long as there is no prolong “stressing” and there are sufficient rest in between sets and between days. For instance, antagonizing our muscle group within 1 minute maximum, intensively, then stop, and rest for two minutes and repeat for a couple of sets.
Here you will learn more about “burst training made popular by Dr Pompa!”. This is an excellent piece of advice. Burst exercise according to Dr Pompa also anti-age. In the same post, I also mentioned about meditating which is an excellent way to relieve myself spiritually and surprising my illness just go away after that miraculously.
Burst exercise for anti-aging is not vanity as many mistaken! Afterall, there is nothing wrong with vanity!
Apparently, whether you are healthy or not, sometimes it is all written on your face if you look radiant or not? So if you think you are really healthy because you eat healthy and exercise a lot, think again! Instead, go take a look of yourself NOW in the mirror if you are really telling the truth? :-)
By the way, I hear lesser bodybuilders collapse or die during muscular training compare to athletes who push themselves to the limit for a prolonged period of time. Arnold Schwarzenegger actually has an inherent heart problem since birth and underwent heart surgery. He still “pumps iron” today and looks good at age 68. Likewise, Sylvester Stallone who is one year older still looks radiant.
Given a choice, I will definitely prefer to stress my muscles for less than one minute each time, rather than to stress my heart for hours! Often times you can be rich and successful but it does not mean you have the wisdom in taking care of yourself. Very often “Man Ego” can be the cause of many health related problems!
Why Lee Kuan Yew is different?
Well, I also wanted to highlight that I cannot remember when did I ever read that our founding father Lee Kuan Yew fallen sick during his tenure as our country leader. Perhaps the job of leader is almost like his destiny! Nothing and nobody subjected him to do so!
Moreover LKY had hobbies of golfing, swimming and in his memoir understood that he also have many friends all over the world. This strengthened him spiritually. He also always had an intriguing mind to learn. This strengthened him mentally. I have also not read him saying he will run long distance and push himself to the limit physically to achieve success (or ego?). LKY also wisely chose to step back early and hand the baton to Goh Chok Tong, while he can easily rule Singapore for another decade or so.
Above all, LKY smartest move is to choose an incredibly capable and remarkably wise wife for him to share his burden. One burden, two people share….so it is effectively ½ the load!
This is true wisdom!
Rolf’s final thoughts
Ultimately I reckon that physical and spiritual exercise must go hand in hand together with a balance lifestyle and reasonably healthy diet with pleasure. In fact healthy diet is not just only eating healthy like fresh organic etc. I will touch on diet possibly on Part 3 later.
You may have thought where do I get all these “cock and bull” contrarian theory from? Lest not forget, I am not very old (like 60s?), and furthermore not very rich and not very successful.
Hmmm … I can only attribute it partly to my somewhat humble and roller coaster life experiences in relationships, health and work. Maybe also my understanding of myself well and essentially I am thankful for the exposures I received over my career travelling to many parts of the world and having the honour of working with people of different races, countries and across different society classes.
Last but not least, I reckon that I have one very strong trait or motto in life which has so far help me to enlighten in my life more quickly. See below:
Non Mihi Solum!
(Not for Myself Alone)