Measuring the Body

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Here’s an excerpt from Sam Carpenter’s book Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less…       
Eight years ago, in the depths of my workplace chaos, I was also dealing with a very sick body and an exhausted mind. I was delirious during the day and couldn’t sleep at night. My doctor had me on antidepressants, and then Ritalin, convinced I was “depressed,” my 100-hour workweeks notwithstanding. 

But as a result of my mini-enlightenment regarding the systems of my business, I grasped that my body was likewise a collection of systems. I bore down on the revelation, and asked, “Of what are these systems composed?” It was obvious: my body’s composition is of chemicals. With this realization, I asked my doctor to give me a wide range of blood tests. Convinced of my “depression,” at first he balked at the idea, but then conceded. 

The blood analysis showed my adrenal glands had shut down and my master hormone, DHEA, was not in evidence. The “stress hormone,” Cortisol, was in the stratosphere, another important hormone was deficient, and to cap it off, I was chronically dehydrated. 

My task was to work on each of the systems individually, and one by one, bring each back to normalcy. Once I got all four dysfunctional systems back to efficiency, I would have a balanced, holistic body and an alert mind. How could it be otherwise? 

For the next two years, I took the blood tests repeatedly, as I watched my bodily intake, added relevant supplements to my diet, and modified my lifestyle, bringing my various chemical systems back into balance. My chemical makeup was a mess at the beginning but was completely in tune at the end of those two years. I was physically strong again, and my thinking was clear. 

Was it that simple? Yes and no. On the one hand, the road to recovery was obvious—what I had to do was clear. On the other hand, it was sometimes a struggle to be self-disciplined enough to do what needed to be done. I stumbled once in awhile, but I succeeded enough to improve things dramatically. Do I still stumble? Yes! 

How about you? Are you sure the chemicals that compose your body are OK? If they are not, could this be affecting your physical and mental performance? Consider taking your health into your own hands by directing your doctor to perform full-screen blood tests. Then again, your solution may not require a doctor. If your chemicals are OK, maybe you just need to get regular exercise, eat better, and find more sleep. 

A final thought about measuring your body. If you are addicted to a substance, however benign, an imbalance exists. Any foreign substance throws things off —so a good starting point is to quit those substances and face the world “cold turkey.” It won’t be easy, but you’ll be in select company. 

There is no better place than one’s body to start getting things straightened out. Using systems strategy to analyze the physical body—the vehicle that holds and transports consciousness—is perhaps the most “outside-and-slightly-elevated” position one can take.

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