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The Human Body

  • "If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred. "
  • ~ Walt Whitman, American poet, 1819 – 1892
  • "The body is the soul’s image; therefore keep it pure. "
  • ~ Sixtus I, Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 115—125

Insane World

Huge numbers of people seem to fall into one of two undesirable categories. Those in the first group don’t take care of their bodies and, as a result, these people are often overweight and/or in poor health. Those in the second group are very concerned about their appearance, and employ artificial means, including bizarre diets, drugs, and plastic surgery, to improve their looks. Those in the first group look and feel bad; the members of the second group look, and are, artificial. I’m not sure which is worse.

Living Sanely

Maintaining your health and improving your appearance are ways of creating value. You should strive to improve your physical health and appearance in accordance with your priorities. For some people, staying in top physical shape is one of their primary ways of creating value, and they will be willing to devote large amounts of time and energy to exercise. Others may only be willing to devote the minimal amount of time necessary to maintain adequate physical health, with no concern for their appearance. Either approach, or anything in between, may be valid.

The following two rules of living sanely are especially relevant to issues of health and appearance:

• Don’t compare yourself to others.
• Be honest.

Rule number one means that you make the most of your own health and appearance, without reference to others. To the extent that you are willing to devote time and energy to improving your appearance, your standard of improvement should be yourself, not others. For example, if you exercise by running, you might focus on improving your speed, not on comparing yourself with how fast someone else runs, which is irrelevant.

The most important principal of living sanely is honesty.

Cosmetic surgery that enlarges some portion of a person’s body by filling it with plastic is a fundamental lie; they are trying to appear to be something they are not. An honest person accepts the natural framework of their body, and makes the most of it – naturally.

Just as keeping score in business requires playing by certain rules, rules apply to your appearance and your body. In both business and fitness, the purpose of the rules is the same: to pro-vide the discipline and framework in which you, rather than someone else, creates value. If your body is beautiful because of drugs or plastic surgery, it’s the chemist or surgeon who has created that value. If you make your body beautiful through exercise, you have created value — something of which you can be proud.


On exercise and diet as honest ways of creating value through improved health and appearance.

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Chapter 17 of 35