Rich Roll was having a heart attack on his staircase. He was fat. He hated his work. A few years later he ran, swam, biked, 703 miles in seven days when he was 45 years old. When he was 40 he had a job he was unhappy at but he was still trying to live the American dream: the two cars, the beautiful family, partnership at a law firm. That moment on the staircase was one of three or four turning points in Rich Roll’s life that forced him to say: “I have a small window to change for the better.” And then he did it. But what’s interesting to me is that Rich Roll is an addict. I’m an addict. Many people I know are addicts. Many addictions are bad for you. When I was younger I was addicted to just about everything that could possibly be harmful to me. Rich Roll, when he was 31 years old and a high-priced lawyer, had to check himself into a 100 day rehab after he was drunk-driving the wrong way down a one way street.

While in rehab he noticed something interesting. When he was 40, he wasn’t drinking but he threw those obsessions into his NEXT unhealthy addiction. Like three Wendy’s cheeseburgers. He threw himself into the lifestyle of top lawyer, 80 hours a week, eat whatever you can. But that moment on the stairs made him realize, with heart disease in his family, that he was at risk. So he started a seven day cleanse. And it did. At the end of the juicing he felt incredibly energetic and cleansed. This was his third addiction. Gradually he went from juicing to a “junk vegetarian” style (pizza, etc) to real plant-based vegan lifestyle. So one day he went for a run. He ran 24 miles. His biggest run prior that was 8 miles! And that was 22 years earlier. Sorry, Rich, if I’m getting the numbers slightly wrong. After that he realized this was some latent ability that was coming out so he started to train. He trained every day.

He started running in “Iron Man” competitions. Then the competitions got more and more intense until he did his 700 mile Hawaii run. 5 Irons Mans in 7 days. This was his fourth addiction. He was named one of the 50 fittest men in the world. But he was still a lawyer part-time and training part-time. He wrote a book about his lifestyle. He started giving talks for free. Spreading the world on this healthy lifestyle that had changed his life, invigorated his relationships, and catapulted him to being one of the healthiest people in the world. This was his fifth addiction. He couldn’t stop spreading the word about what was happening to him. Gradually he started making a living at his new career and he gave up his job as a lawyer. His book “Plantpower” is about to come out, describing his lifestyle even more. Rich and I are one year apart in age. I can’t even run down the block although I try to live a healthy lifestyle.

People always demonize addiction. Don’t be an addict! But there are positive addictions. Competence, Positive relationships, Autonomy. And maybe one more thing: Growth every day in all three of those areas. If you do those things, I can tell you you will feel well-being today, no matter what else is going on in your life. When I was talking to Rich for an upcoming podcast, he would use the same language often when describing a bad addiction and a positive addiction. When he went from negative to positive in his life he also suddenly went from AMBITION to MEANING. There’s a lot of great books recently about habits and developing positive habits. A positive habit might be: brush your teeth twice a day. What’s the difference between a habit and an addiction? I think there is a gray area here but roughly – a habit you can control. An addiction feels out of your control. I bet that if Rich didn’t exercise for a week he would feel physically ill.

I bet exercising and health are addictions for him. What happened to Rich Roll? He told me that during his time in rehab, someone asked him, “are you a human being having a spiritual experience or a spiritual being having a human experience”. He said the question threw him off. He had never even thought in those terms before. It was always the straight line: school, law school, lawyer, partner, family, two car garage, retirement. What does that question even mean? The truth is: it doesn’t have to mean anything. It just has to make you think. It has to give you a little bump off the straight line. To tear you apart a little inside so you realize there’s a world outside the one you’ve been living in. I try to turn on my inner addict every day. I look at what I’m doing and I try to be competent, have good relationships, and the freedom to do what I want. Or grow towards those things. Maybe it means meet new people. Or be creative in some way. Or try to get better at something. Or start saying “No” more to the people who are trying to direct my life in ways good for them but not for me. If I do that, I know I will get excited and my inner addict will turn on. And everyone’s inner addict is different. I will NEVER run 100 miles. Or even one mile. But every six months my life has changed almost 100% as a result. It’s a gradual process. You can’t be a “positive addict” overnight.

  • Always have a jug of water on the dinner table
  • Watch sunrise & sunset
  • Noosa Surf club
  • Dramatizes scenes from the book
  • Popcorn, pretzels, corn chips, and other snack foods
  • Chronic tearing of the eyes
  • ¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Gold: $291

Try to avoid touching your face in general. Taking this step will prevent any germs that may be on your hands from having a chance to make you sick. Be certain to especially wash your hands before and after you eat. If germs get onto the food you are eating, they will have no problem getting into your body. Another precaution to take is to keep your home or work area clean. Taking the time to get rid of the germs on these surfaces before they are transferred to you will also decrease your chance of getting sick. Avoiding a lot of close contact with people can also be helpful. Crowded areas can be hazardous because you might not always know who is sick. Try to spend as little time as possible in large groups or crowds. During the cold and flu season you should drink lots of water. It is a good idea, though, to drink only from a reliable source.

Bring a water bottle with you to work. Try not to use any public water fountains. These devices are good places for germs to collect and proliferate. Another step which you can take to keep from getting ill is to get vaccinated against the flu. Vaccines are designed to boost immunity against certain viruses. After getting the flu vaccine shot, you may start to develop some minor flu-like symptoms. This is normal, however, because vaccines work by infecting the body with a small amount of weakened virus. The body then has a chance to develop antibodies against the flu. These antibodies will destroy a real flu virus in the event one attacks your body. Finally, the best way to prevent becoming ill is to maintain habits of good health. Get adequate exercise and sleep, drink lots of water, and keep a balanced diet. If you have any questions about these preventive measures, you can consult your doctor or physician assistant. Preventive medicine is often the focus of a physician assistant’s work. He or she will know the most cutting-edge ways to prevent illness and injury. Take the time to become familiar with how to keep yourself and your family healthy.

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