Optimizing Your Health Post 3
If health optimization is something that we all desire, then why have we become so unhealthy? There are many potential reasons for this, but you must consider the changes in our lifestyle paradigm as they compare to a more ancestral paradigm.
Human beings are not weak, frail, poorly adapted creatures. It’s not that we are not well-suited to life on this planet. The reason we have thrived and increased in number as a species is because we were the result of an enormous number of influences over a long period of time that resulted in incredibly complex and robust organisms whose design potentiated the possibility of long and healthy lives. Regardless of what you believe about how we got here, the only way we could exist in the numbers that we do today is that we are very well-designed and capable of having long and healthy lifespans.
If we now find ourselves regressing, becoming increasingly sick, having our lifespans shortened, and our healthspans—the period of time in our lives when we’re healthy—shortened even more, then something has happened. Something has changed, but what is that something?
There are many potential answers to that question, and there’s probably some truth in all of them. I’m not here to describe all the influences on why we are losing our health and our potential, but I can name a few that have clearly influenced our species over time.
Our genetics adapted and changed over a very long period of time to be optimized to a particular style of life. That style of life is very different than the one we have been conditioned into over the past couple hundred years. You cannot take a complex system that was finely tuned to a particular set of inputs over an enormous period of time and expect it to suddenly adapt and thrive when you change those inputs in such a short period of time.
The bottom line is that our modern lifestyles have stopped honoring the ancestral designs of our bodies and minds. That’s why we’re becoming sick—the system is breaking down because it’s receiving too much of the wrong information and not enough of the right information.
If we want to optimize our health, we must begin to improve the information that our body receives. It’s that simple. The good news is that, despite the infinite complexity of our biological systems, the actual information needed to allow those systems to optimize and thrive is relatively simple to acquire. Also, identifying the wrong information—or the information that causes the system to malfunction—is somewhat easy.
If you maximize your exposure to the right information, your systems can usually deal with small amounts of the wrong information. That’s because we are resilient. We are designed well.
Why would we, after reflection of our own deep desires and a strong orientation to living our best life, go out every day and engage in a lifestyle that’s making us sick? At least part of that answer is that most of our habits, preferences, and behaviors were conditioned into us before we were ever at an age of conscious choice.
In fact, many aspects of our health began to be determined when we were just a sperm and an ovum and had not yet been conceived.
Many of the influences of who you are and your state of health actually started before you were even conceived. Then, after conception, while you were still developing in utero, there were other influences that impacted who you’ve become. You then went through years of nurturing and behavioral conditioning in which you really weren’t consciously choosing your belief system or your preferences. You can only begin to honor a truth when you know and understand that truth and the implications of it.
You can only begin to make true conscious choices about who you are, what you prefer, and what you do if you understand your mind and what influences those choices.
All of us were born into a time and culture in which our modern marketplace of goods and services has figured out some basic principles of the human mind. Those who produce goods and services have figured out how to influence what we choose to do and what we choose to spend our money on. That understanding has been used to manipulate our behaviors and our preferences so that we often choose to engage in behaviors that we think we enjoy but are actually making us sick.
This is not a conspiracy theory. The marketplace is pragmatic and impersonal. It simply sells us what we want. But what we think we want may never have been what our bodies really want. We must be willing to examine our preferences and honestly assess if they’re truly consistent with our deepest desires to live our best life. We must be willing to deal with these issues. If we’re not, we will be swept up into a culture that sells out our potential and our health in exchange for cheap and false comforts.
This is an uncomfortable concept, but I promise you it’s true. If you begin to study your own mind and understand the differences between your reward system and your neocortex, your mammalian brain and its programming, and your higher mind and its executive functions, you’ll see that what I’m stating is true.
If the current information coming into your body is making you sick and taking your potential, then you must correct that information. There is no other way. There is no prescription, surgery, supplement, gadget, or hack that can create good health and the experience of good health if the information your body needs is not provided. And even if it is, if the amount of bad information your body is exposed to is continuous and more than it can handle, then it will eventually break down.
Ultimately, we must make this correction. Our marketplace is not going to make it for us, and the healthcare system is not equipped to do this for you. I understand what’s going on in healthcare delivery. I understand why your time with your physician continues to be shortened while you pay more and get less. I understand why you often have to wait a long time in a stressful environment to try and have a therapeutic encounter with a healing professional. I understand why the resources that you need to thrive and optimize are not available to you as they’re not covered by your insurance plan.
This could be an entire series in itself, and the point of this series is not to point out all the ways in which the healthcare system is failing us. The point of this series is not to attribute blame or try and fix the marketplace and the healthcare system. The point of this series is to inform you of this truth so you can take care of yourself. You must do this for yourself.
I think the more we know and the more we can help each other, the more success we’ll have. But only we can do this for ourselves. No one is coming to save us. There is no public policy, no advancement in medicinal therapy, no improvements in the healthcare system, and no fundamental changes in the marketplace of goods and services that is going to save us from this problem.
We must choose for ourselves to contemplate and acknowledge the truth, examine ourselves, and be willing to commit to a new journey. We must do this without judgment or blame of others or ourselves. We must do this with self-forgiveness and acceptance. We must accept that this will be a long journey, and that we are playing the long game, not the short game. We cannot overhaul our physiology overnight if it’s been subject to the wrong information for years or decades.
However, if you begin to correct the information your body is receiving, it will begin to return to good health. It just takes time and we must be patient with the process. We must have the right targets in mind. This cannot be about how we look in our bathing suits or if we will ever have 6-pack abs or the perfect cholesterol score. This is about the optimization of your health.
The end point is different for each individual. The end point is a fully optimized you, a fully alive you, a human being realizing the fullness of their potential and using it for the betterment of themselves and others. This is worth pursuing, but we must be open to our bodies’ truths.
The truth of your design and potential can set you free, but only if you claim your potential for yourself.