The Laws of Wellness: Keys to Understanding Your Chances for a Healthy Life

Most educated people have heard of God’s laws (contentious, confusing, conflicting and confounding), the law of Gravity, the law of Thermodynamics, the law of the Land, Parkinson’s law, Murphy’s law and so on. Most are named after the author of a succinct observation described by the law. Laws range from A (i.e., Aitken’s law – describes how vowel length is conditioned by environment) to Z (Zipf’s law – a linguistic observation that a few words are used often but most are used rarely).

As the wellness field grows and evolves, perhaps it’s time for a REAL wellness law-or many such laws. If so, why not associate as many as possible with one’s own name?

Grandiose, perhaps, but if I don’t do it, someone else surely will and that person just might make a mess of it. Wellness in corporate America and elsewhere in the world is described and presented in wildly inappropriate and dysfunctional ways; why not eradicate the babble with a few transformative REAL wellness laws? Such laws, if they make sense and lead humanity to sounder thinking, might well contribute modestly to improved health and life outcomes.

By the way, one does not have to formulate a law that is named in his/her honor or even be aware of a law to be affected by and to live in accordance with it. We have all complied with Galileo and Newton’s laws about gravity, well before we became aware of them.

Anyone who wants a law to bear his or her name should present some credentials. Mine are modest, simple but adequate for the honor. As of this writing, I have written 15 books, posted well over a thousand essays at Seekwellness.com/wellness, 74 eight to twelve-page hard copy wellness reports commencing in 1984, 657 weekly electronic REAL wellness newsletters, at least a thousand lecture presentations in a dozen countries while spending 43 years (since 1970) dreaming about the ways to and chances of vastly improved environments and cultures for greater health and happiness.

All of which has led to this moment-the time when I offer the universe Ardell’s two laws of REAL wellness.

Ardell’s 1st Law of REAL Wellness: Random Chance, Natural Selection and Contingencies Trump All Else

Life’s largest events often follow random, seemingly inconsequential small actions of which we remain unaware.

Secular rational freethinkers place stock in knowledge, commitment, reason and persistence in shaping and fine-tuning lifestyle habits. We embrace perspectives and behaviors on matters existential and otherwise designed to render positive states of enjoyment and well-being. We consciously seek happiness, freedom, physical fitness, love, mutually satisfying relationships and multiple skills. What matters most, what affects our successes and outcomes, appears more or less to be under our field of control. Alas, this functional and preferred way of thinking is largely illusory. There are three far more consequential realities not under your influence in any way. Furthermore, these three factors render the quality and duration of your existence unpredictable and unknowable. They are: 1) random chance or fortune; 2) natural selection; and 3) contingencies.

Ardell’s 2nd Law of REAL Wellness: Relative to Ardell’s 1st Law of REAL wellness, other REAL wellness laws don’t amount to much.

Considering the immense black hole power of the first law, additional such laws play a modest role in efforts to shape life quality and longevity.

But, that does not obviate the case for added laws of REAL wellness. The fact is that most of the eponymous laws on the books are useless to most people but are yet of interest and even helpful for a few. I’m in my eighth decade; I’m not aware of any occasion when I would have benefited from an awareness of Aitken’s law or Zipf’s law. I heard of neither until I began the research for this essay. Ditto tons of other laws.

Relative to the 1st law above, this law and those that follow do not amount to much. Nevertheless, I hereby offer a few more, just the same. They can’t hurt.

Ardell’s 3rd Law of REAL Wellness: Finding your passion is fine but keep going-become great at it.

Since few of us enjoy royal lineage or handsome trusts that assure first-class travel in life with little or no need for labor, we must choose trades of sorts to pay our way through life. Thus, we are wise to adopt a long-term goal of studying and laboring at a trade that will prove enjoyable and satisfying, as well as properly remunerative.

When this challenge is met, your way of earning a living won’t seem like work.

Thus the 3rd law – master a passion. Start by following varied interests and, after years and years if not decades of trial and error, settle into one of them, immersing yourself in it.

Be somewhat realistic but guard against premature realism-while not everyone can get elected, be in the movies or play in the NBA or NFL, a select few can. Focus on what excites talents and gifts. Put in the time required to qualify for Carnegie Hall (i.e., practice, practice, practice-take account of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule).

The goal here is that at some point in your career somebody, somewhere, for some good or strange reason, will pay you to do what you enjoy doing-because you are so spectacular at whatever it is you have honed to a level of artful mastery.

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