Basics of Life

By Tom Dardick

We’re all bombarded with products and services that claim to help us live better, healthier lives. Take this supplement, buy this program, ask your doctor about “wunderdrugdujouracin.” While these may or may not be effective, we’ll miss the benefits of a better life if we miss the basics of life. What are the basics of living healthy? Here are some potential daily guidelines:


  1. Eat good things. What are good things? You know what they are. And it's probably not the same for you as it is for somebody else. You might think milk is a good thing. Fine. Drink it. But for some people, they may be lactose intolerant or have allergies, so for them milk wouldn't qualify.
  2. Don't eat bad things. You get to decide here too. Sometimes, we hear about studies that say coffee, chocolate, or eggs are bad for you. Other times, we hear about the amazing benefits of those same foods. You decide for you.
  3. Use your body. Life is a use it or lose it proposition. Be active in whatever way that best suits you in order to engage your physical body.
  4. Do at least one thing that you love. Every day, spend some time in an activity that you can throw yourself into with gusto. It can be for work or pleasure – just so you are 100% engaged.
  5. Do the right things. You know when something is right. You know when something isn’t. Some things are always right, such as treating people with kindness and respect (including yourself) or being true to your word. Some things are situational, like agreeing to help on a project or taking an afternoon off.
  6. Don't do wrong things. See above. Opposize it. (That is a word invented by my friend Tom Costello – I think the meaning is self-evident).
  7. Recharge your batteries. For some people, this means alone time. For others, it means spending time with people. It means getting good sleep, etc. Sometimes it just means slowing down and breathing – really deep, diaphragmatic breaths (remember we’re talking basics here.)
  8. Have Faith. For many this means praying. For some this means meditating. It is simply the recognition that our spirit, like our mind and body, requires care and nourishment too.

The real point is that fundamentals in life are what matter most, and we basically know what they are. The key is summoning the wisdom and discipline to make, to quote Liz Murray, “empowered” choices.


How do we accomplish this? Most of us do well with some fundamentals and we struggle with others.  I believe one key is to not go it alone. We have resources all around us. Again, trust that inner voice. You know who will help you and who may not. Just pick a fundamental, pick somebody to help you and get into action!