The degree to which we might be more or less conservative in our choices will depend largely on our personalities and circumstances. What is clear is that a life without choice or adventure is a life where we are less likely to grow beyond who we are today; a life with too little structure and too much fun will also limit our capacity to develop the habits we need to succeed.
Similarly, we need to make good choices about keeping the right company along the way. The right friends know when to push us and when to hold us back. They know when to laugh and when to be serious. Sometimes we will be very close to them and they will give us the precious gift of intimacy; sometimes they will be quite distant, giving us the benefit of an objectivity and a role model that we need to reflect on who we are becoming.
We also need to know how to move from the illusion of absolute safety into identifying, building and maintaining the right appetite to take appropriate risks. Life isn’t safe; there are and will always be dangers to our personal and collective security along the way and we need to know how to encounter them and navigate through or around them. Some of them will pay off and some of them will not. There will be ups and downs along the way. But we won’t learn much if we avoid them all. Neither are we likely to survive unscathed if we take them all on.
Above all, on The Pathway to Excellence, we must build the experience that allows us to know our bodies and take care of our physical and mental health. We need to listen out for the warning signs of impending hurt and try to do what we can to take action to avoid it or, if that is not possible, to reduce the amount of harm. We need to understand how to build structures in our lives that help us to establish the reservoir of good health that will act as our strongest possible defence to specific occasions of poor health. We need to employ good thinking about this. We need to do what aligns with our sense of what is good and right, no matter how hard the temptations of the moment or the attractions of being popular might interfere with this. We need to do more of what is good for us in the long term and make decisions on this basis rather than on what is seductively easy and attractive in the short term. We need to avoid rationalising bad choices with arguments that are framed with the purpose of self-justification that applying an objective analysis about what might really benefit us and those around us.
And then we need to do it.
We can contemplate the state of our Health by considering the following questions:
- Do I have access to a trusted doctor or other health practitioner for routine check-ups and as needed for professional help in addressing an illness or a health concern?
- Do I have good sleep routines, and am aware and knowledgeable about how much sleep I need to perform well?
- Do I keep myself informed about the health effects of substance use, monitor my behaviours, and make good and responsible choices for me?
- Am I informed about healthy living, and make good choices about diet and exercise?
- Am I knowledgeable about take responsibility for my sexual health, making the right choices for me and always having respect for others.