The San Diego Zoo invited me out to plan for an extended summer performance. It is one of the biggest and best Zoos in the world with over 3500 rare and endangered animals. Their primary goals are the health of their animals and protecting endangered species.
Tigers ... up close
As an introduction, they escorted my wife Cindy and I on a behind the scenes look at the animals. We got to see the bengals up close and personal. Tigers, even in captivity, are ferocious. Their growl is so deep, it feels as if it is vibrating your bones. Your hair will stand on end. When a full size Bengal Tiger growls at you from two feet away, you feel like you are going to wet your pants.
Henry David Thoreau, said “We really don’t want to tame tigers, any more than we want to make sheep ferocious.” It was a thrill to see how well cared for and healthy these magnificent animals were. They explained the work required to keep them in peak condition. The Zoo must give them the right food. They must have the right environment at considerable expense. The tigers must learn self-care instincts from an adult tiger. Health, Wealth and Wisdom.
San Diego's other charms
Ever since then, San Diego has been one of our favorite Cities. The weather, the ocean, the shopping, the hotels, the natural beauty of the area, is so perfect as a destination. Because of the amenities, they book thousands of corporate events there every year. I have flown in and performed in that fair city, for an amazing variety of organizations.
Many of them are in the Health and Wellness industry. Hospitals, Pharmaceuticals, Senior Care Homes, Clinics, Medical devices, Health Insurance, Life insurance. I enhance their conferences as a motivational speaker, entertainer, storyteller, and artist. These organizations have something in common with the San Diego Zoo. They are trying to help people be ‘Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.’
The illusion of health
Often, we go down illogical paths in the quest for better health, wealth and wisdom. My latest trip out to San Diego was for Thrivent Financial. On the flight, the young woman sitting next to me pulled a two layer plastic tackle box out of her giant carry-on. It was full of pills. “Food supplements” she said, somewhat embarrassed. Food supplements!? She could have fed a family of twelve with all those things. It had forty individual compartments (I counted). How many pills do you need to stay healthy? I could not resist sneaking a photo of this amazing collection of pills.
Speaking at Thrivent Financial on matters of health
Thrivent Financial is one of the largest in the health insurance industry. They held their convention at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel on Huntington Beach. The evening was clear and lovely. The Hyatt Regency was spectacular. The people I met from Thrivent were as cordial and friendly as I have ever met. Inspiring and entertaining people is what I do best. My speaking, stories and sand art were a big hit.
My seventieth birthday is coming up next month. Thanks to good genes and God’s grace, I am not on any medication and planning on running a 10K for my birthday. So, I have some thoughts in the health department I shared with that audience, and now will share with you.
I would ask one simple question about your Health. What habits or activities or relationships are toxic to health? The simplest way to improve your long term health, is to stop those things that are causing damage. The most obvious ones are smoking, drinking or eating in excess. and working in toxic environments.
The ones not so obvious are stressors, bad decisions and damaging relationships. We must have the courage, or seek the help to stop. It can be a long process but the payoff in the long run, is huge. There are many things you have no control over, but you can choose today to take small steps to improve your health.
Listen to those with wisdom
I don’t know about you but asking for directions has always been hard for me. It was simple and it would have saved me thousands of hours, many tanks of gas and endless aggravation from my wife. At some point in my more mature years, I began to realize what a simple thing it was.
There are no dumb questions
Nobody thought I was dumb or stupid or ridiculous to ask. I have heard many wise people say, "The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask." The wisdom of all the ages, is not found on Google. Looking back on many years of wandering, I can pinpoint when I lost my way and made wrong turns.
This has made me a passionate seeker for advice, wisdom and the right directions. Most people, older ones especially, have a delight in dispensing their experiences. They will tell you about their mistakes, their failures and how to get on the right road.
The three principles of wealth
I have had a long relationship with Thrivent Financial. With their help, I have learned three important rules.
- Spend less than you make.
- Save and invest a little from every paycheck.
- Don’t buy anything on time.
Living by these three rules, over the long haul, will give you financial security. One book I recommend is The Millionaire Next Door. It tells stories of ordinary people who have followed the three principles of wealth to become millionaires. Trust me, I have seen it happen.
Life is like a tiger
I felt the hot breath of that Bengal Tiger at the San Diego Zoo. True, there was a sturdy, wire mesh between me and those teeth. I did not wet my pants, but the memory reminds me how real the possibility was.
In some ways life is like caring for a tiger. You feed it, you care for it and train it and keep it under control. If not. It will bite you.