Health is true Wealth
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, strength cannot fight, intelligence cannot be applied, art cannot become manifest, wealth becomes useless.”
– Ancient Greek physician Herophilus
The last three months has been a period of soul searching and reflection. I wish to share the gist of the two incidents which happened this quarter which rather forced me to think on these lines. And I truly believe there is a lesson for each one of you too.
As Otto Bismarck said “A fool learns from his experiences while a wise learns from other experiences ”
So, friends, this is the first piece in my series “An Investor’s search for meaning” (the title inspired by Viktor Frankl’s master piece “Man’s search for meaning”).
Wealth without Health is useless
Work, Work, Work
I am a certified workaholic. To be honest, workaholic is a wrong word. I don’t consider what I do as work. It is something what I love to do. And what you love to do is not really work. Anyway, not getting into work Vs passion, that I will leave it for another day.
When I say “workaholic” I meant I can work for 17 hours a day and be good with 4-5 hours’ sleep 7 days a week. While some you can appreciate and relate to this- It is obvious it is not “healthy”. Healthy at multiple levels- Work Life Balance, Health, Quality of life and much more.
Few weeks back I was down with a medical condition which needed me to spend some time completely away from work. While I lying down in my house recuperating, I remembered the phrase in Malayalam which my father would often tell me as he saw his son glued to the laptop even in the middle of the night.
Only if you have a Wall
Loosely translated to English it means “Only if you have a wall can you draw a picture” (In those days canvas and drawing paper was not common. While this is the literal meaning- the real meaning is “Only if you have your health you can do / enjoy other pleasures / leisure’s in life”.
Whenever I heard this cryptic one-liner, I will give a smile and brush it aside. But as I was recovering from poor health due to years of body abuse and neglect, I could see my family, friends and well wishers were really concerned and tried to do their best but beyond a point they were helpless.
Story of Ratnakar
I remembered the story from Hindu mythology. In this a common man Ratnakar, unable to feed his family takes up robbery. One day he attacks the sage Narada.
The wise Narada asks him, why are you doing this? He answered: “for his “family” for which the sage asked him whether his family would also share his sins? Ratnakar was very confident and on reaching home asked his wife and children narrated this incident and tried to confirm his assumption.
But to his utter surprise he was told that while they understood the circumstances, he had to undertake dacoity, they would not be a participant in sharing his sins. The rest is history and this robber goes on to become Maharishi Valmiki.
While we are no dacoits, nor do we aspire to become a sage it would be wise to remember that while family, friends and well-wishers care for you, understand you and will want the best for you- but your health is in your hands and if your body fails they will take care of you to the extent possible but the consequences and pain has to be borne by you alone.
So friends, take it upon yourself to take good care of your health. It does not mean you should not have the occasional party or the occasional late-night movie or occasional binge fest on junk food. It means that you will have no one else to blame if you neglect your body.
Our body is a sophisticated machine and like we take good care of them with periodic maintenance, use only approved spare parts, use it within the limits stipulated by the manufacturer, we should also take good care of our body / health with periodic rejuvenation, good health supplements, regular exercise and should not push it beyond limits for extended period.
And as another great Greek physician Hippocrates said
“Health is the greatest of the human blessings” and a hallmark of a truly wealthy person.”
Lesson : Wealth without Health is Useless
So the key takeaway for reader / investor: You can burn the midnight oil, turn over every rock, work be graveyard shift chasing your dreams and securing your financial future and those of your loved ones; but remember to take care of your health. If your body fails no one not even your dearest ones can give you a spare one.
Stay Healthy. Happy Investing
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