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Jul 21, 2004


Dylan Greene

I think if the president is saying something about this on TV and radio will fall on deaf ears. How about corporations take this responsibility? Give companies incentives to make sure their employees are living healthy lives.

Some examples:
- Fresh fruit instead of candy bars in the snack machines.
- Juice and water instead of sodas.
- Morning stretches or yoga (does Japanese companies still do this?).
- Discounted gym membership as part of health care coverage.
- Discourage bringing work home (to reduce stress, increase time at home for preparing cooked meals, exercising, reading books, etc)

Right now I think Americans think more about their job than their own health and self-being. I think this comes from the ever-growing pressure companies are placing on employees to work harder to make that company more money than the previous year.

Not too long ago I partook in a weekly Monday meeting at a large company I was visiting for work. The team meeting began with each person saying what books they were reading and physical activity they did over the weekend. It had nothing to do with business, but everything to do with the employees.


I agree with Dylan regading both the corporate assistance and political involvement. My company has a full gym in the corporate office and offers 5 dollar donations to charities for every hour exercised in a 3 month period. They offer the charitable donations to the regional offices but we have been denied subsidized gym dues. Overall (although it doesn't extend to regional offices like mine) I think we do have a healthy "work hard. Play hard" mindset. They have comfy leather couches, a pool table and a foozball table in the break area.
On the flip side, to address the political endorsement of a "Back to Basics" campaign; Dallas Mayor, Laura Miller, looked like a real nincompoomp after the 4th of July fireworks failed miserably for our community and the front page of the Dallas Morning News showed her working out with school children and Ronald McDonald. The newspaper probably exaggerates her involvement in healthwise activities as one of her platforms is reducing the number of overweight people in Dallas. We were at the top of the list nationwide unfortunately. I believe her goal is good but effectiveness is lost when constituents have other agendas. Her perceived true leadershiip ability has probably been undermined by the fact that she is only seen at 5k runs.

Bill Eisenhauer

I'm happy to say that I adhere to all those "basic" rules, although jogging in the heat of the Summer in Dallas makes me wonder if there is a net positive effect.

But here is a suggestion.

Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com) is piloting an interesting way to spread ideas such as this one. Check out: http://www.changethis.com. Its basically a site to enable people to share "manifestos". Your idea sounds like an example. Obviously, manifestos that make sense will thrive and be shared. Manifestos that do not, will die on the vine.

So there you go...if you do this, its possible I'll hear about it through other channels. :)

Richard Brooks

I hate to have a pessimistic view on this because the basic idea is very sensible and the effects would be quite positive, no doubt...however it seems to me an imporant basic human trait which simple living requires today is self-restraint: controlling one's appetites, planning one's time, deciding not to take the easy course, resisting inertia, etc. I'm not sure that Americans today are willing and/or able to manage this on a day-to-day basis.

Joel Nelson

Very interesting topic. Wouldn't it be interesting to come up the the 3 or so 'Laws of Common Sense' sorta like the Isaac Asimov's 3 laws for robots. Or would that make us mere robots?

Of course we may fight each other on what the basic common sense rules might be but could be a way to get people to at least try to actually use some of them :-)

No fees, no voting, and no leader remind me of the Open Source movement. I still believe it's a good thing and maybe the only way to make it work.

I pretty much reject the idea that corporations, government and business should provide us with only the right choices. Not 'fresh fruit instead of', but 'in addition to', so we can make the right choice on our own. We ought to do things of our own will as good or bad as it may be. Of course businesses want more and more and expect more dedication. But remember, only the workers that are buying into that, are working there. Fortunately it's not me (though I tried it). Kudo's to companies with common sense ideas.

I'm not sure about the having companies give dollars to charities for you for your physical participation. Still seems like you ought to do that yourself if you so choose. I do realize however that most people don't 'Choose'.

What motivates people in general is obviously a large topic and it would be nice if we could get rid of all the advertising that steer the sheep in certain directions and beliefs. You have to choose not to watch TV, etc. And I like to hang out with those that do.

I will definately check out those sites listed above, sounds interesting. Keep up the good thoughts!

Graham Glass

Hi Joel, thanks for the feedback. Your comment re: the analogy with open source is thought provoking. I'll definitely think some more about the parallels!

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