READ: Relaxation, Exercise, Attitude, Diet. It’s a simple recipe for well-being and prosperity in life as well as business. RMA Automotive’s Global Technical Director Peter Lawson attributes much of his life and career success to this formula for personal balance. “Health and wellbeing is the foundation of who you are and what you can do,” he says. “A positive attitude supports a healthy, fit body, which in turn supports a sharp, responsive mind, which in turn further reinforces a positive attitude – that sense that you can overcome any obstacle.”
An investment in yourself is guaranteed to pay dividends
Success in business and life is all about controlling the things you can control and letting go of the things you can’t. Your own personal well-being is chief among these. “If you’re worried about health, stop worrying and do something about it,” Lawson says. “Anything can be achieved if you want it enough. But, like anything worthwhile in life, you have to put your heart and soul into it.”
Lawson is in good company here. Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, and former US President Barack Obama all consider exercise as an integral part of their success.
Of course, we’ve all been told that exercise is good for us. But what many people don’t realize is that regular exercise is actually linked to higher levels of professional success. A 2012 study in the Journal of Labor Research found that people who do regular exercise earn 6-10% higher wages.
Regular exercise means making a schedule for yourself and sticking to it. If you set aside time for a run, a swim, weightlifting, yoga, or whatever it may be, you will soon see results that go beyond the physical.
“A common mistake people make is to think they don’t have the energy to exercise. Interestingly, the more you exercise, the more energy you have,” says Lawson.
You’ll find that exercise helps you release stress and improve blood circulation, helping you sleep better at night – which in turn frees up your mind to focus better during the day. In this way, exercise makes for a perfect parallel to a successful professional life: Set aside time for hard work in specific areas, and then reap the rewards.
Learn to READ
After a long day at work, there is a real temptation to simply lounge on the couch and turn your mind off. But taking the time to exercise, even if it’s just for half an hour, will make relaxing afterwards much more enjoyable. And make no mistake – relaxation is vital as well.
A crucial component of success is the ability to compartmentalize. At certain times, you have to focus on specific tasks, and filter out everything else. Although it may sound counterintuitive, this same approach also applies to relaxation. Once in a while, you have to leave work at work and give your mind a break.
When most people think of relaxation, they think about watching TV or having a drink with friends. But optimal forms of relaxation actually allow your mind to escape completely. So, read a fiction novel, join a yoga class, or practice the ultimate form of relaxation: meditation.
You’ll also find that when you think long and hard about a given problem, and then put it out of your mind, the solution will often come to you when you return to the problem in due time. This phenomenon is referred to as “subconscious work”, and it is explained at length in the bestseller How to Solve It from renowned mathematician George Pólya.
Food for thought
Making the whole process work depends on a nutritious and balanced diet. The right diet allows you to work efficiently, exercise productively, and even get more satisfaction out of relaxing. Of course, there’s scientific backing for the importance of nutritious food as well. Our brains need to be fed the right nutrients, which is why a proper diet is every bit as important for your mind as it is for your body. An area of particular focus for Lawson is to minimize sugar intake, as this is one of health’s worst enemies.
When considering your personal habits and lifestyle, it’s essential to view good health as the foundation for success – both at home and in the workplace. As Lawson says, “Look after yourself and your self will look after you – things have a habit of simply falling into place.”
The power of attitude
Your attitude – or mindset – is the machine behind it all. Finding true relaxations requires the right mindset, as does the motivation to exercise, especially when you aren’t in the mood. And, proper diet is all about your mind telling you what it wants. Attitude is the biggest factor of success as it determines everything we do. Lawson calls this ‘the art of the possible.’
As William Shakespeare said, “All is ready if the mind be so.”