Sunday, April 17, 2005

FastCompany has an interesting article this month titled, “Change Or Die,” which includes this quote:

“If you look at people after coronary-artery bypass grafting two years later, 90% of them have not changed their lifestyle [to avoid repeat surgery, which is probable], says Dr. Edward Miller, dean and CEO at Johns Hopkins. “And that’s been studied over and over and over again….Even though they know they have a very bad disease and they know they should change their lifestyle, for whatever reason, they can’t.”

This prompted the front cover text:

Change or DIE. What if you were given that choice? For real. What if it weren’t just the rhetoric that confuses corporate performance with life or death, but actual life or death? Yours. What if a doctor said you had to make tough changes in the way you think and act—or your time would end soon? Could you change? Here are the scientifically studied odds: nine to one. That’s nine to one against you.

It’s a startling thought. We all like to think that, if the chips are down, and we’re faced with tough decisions, we’ll make the right choices. But statistically, we don’t (at least not when it comes to eating and living healthy lives). Why not?

The answer, I think, is the most common one: It Depends. Many times, it’s because our poor choices are comforting to us; in a high-stress world of demanding jobs and over-busy households, when you’re in line at McDonald’s and you know the rest of your day will be full, who wants a salad? Sometimes, we simply don’t know how to change; who can find a full half an hour in a day to exercise?

I don’t think it’s laziness, partly because I think that laziness is usually a sign of a deeper psychological issue.

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