Monthly Article Archives: November 2011

Personal Control: The Lifestyle We Choose that Promotes Physical and Emotional HealthRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

Eighteen years ago I presented at the annual meeting of the Million Dollar Round Table, a conference attended by thousands of the most successful life insurance and financial services professionals in the world. In my plenary talk I described several of the key characteristics of resilient individuals. Afterwards I enjoyed spending time with participants, responding to their thoughtful comments and questions. I found the dialogue challenging and invigorating. The next morning I was fortunate to hear one of the other keynote speakers, Dr. John Tickell, a physician from Australia. He expressed ideas that are more widely accepted today but were not as well publicized two decades ago. He said the genes we inherit can certainly predispose us towards susceptibility to various physical and psychological conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks, but whether these illnesses emerge or not was more within our control than we might realize. Tickell did not cast blame on people who suffered from illnesses, noting that there are individuals who experience “bad luck,” leading a very healthy lifestyle and yet losing their lives at an early age to medical diseases. The proposition that he advanced is that a host of diseases, even those towards which we

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