Lessons From Losses: How We Live Matters – Be A Renegade!

In the safety profession we often refer to “lessons from losses.”  These are losses critically studied in order to prevent their recurrence and to provide a safer, healthier tomorrow.  I have a personal “loss” in my life.  Someone very dear to me is terribly ill with arteriosclerosis.  She is suffering – a lot.  Her life and lifestyle are forever changed.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  Risk factors include overweight and obesity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, lack of physical activity, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, age and family history.  While age and family history cannot be altered, the remaining risk factors for heart disease are most often tied to our behavioral choices and decisions:

  1. Eat Healthy!  Decide today to eat a life-giving diet packed with nutrients and void of processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and names of items you can’t pronounce or identify.  Decide you won’t be  imprisoned by poor dietary decisions and sugar addiction.  Withdraw from sugar.  Learn about whole foods.  Determine how you will respond to your cravings.  Become an educated renegade!
  2. Move It! Decide today to get movin’ – anyway you can and every day.  Walk, dance, swim, run, yoga, bike — whatever is the most pleasing to you.  Move for 10, 20, 30 or 90 minutes.  Determine to enjoy it and you will enjoy it!  In addition to heart health, concentration improves, depression lifts, anxiety fades into the background and a glow begins to appear.  Just say “No” to a sedentary lifestyle.
  3. Quit Smoking! Decide today to quit.  Vocalize that you are no longer a smoker.  Avoid your favorite “smoking locations”.  Make a list of ways to reduce your anxiety and cravings when they appear.  Determine to be the master of your life and not a slave to addiction.  Many have gone before you.
  4. Forgive! Decide today to forgive everyone who has ever harmed you.  Let them off the hook – your life quality will soar!  Unresolved anger, resentments and entitlements are a one way path to destruction.  Determine today and every day that you are free to live without these poisonous conditions.
  5. Take Care! Decide today to take care of yourself.  You can do it.  Rearrange your life.  Adequate sleep is imperative.  Laugh out loud.  Find companionship as loneliness is a silent killer.

Frame your decisions:  “I don’t eat processed foods”,  “I don’t hold grudges”,  “I don’t smoke”,  “I like to move around”,  “I make sleep my priority”,  “Love is not in short supply”.  Your behavior will follow your decisions.

Lessons From Losses.  Decide to live a great life.  How we live matters.  It’s still a matter or more “wins” than “losses”!

Lethal Distraction

We seem to be writing a good bit about distraction lately.  As a career safety professional, I spend much of my time investigating the root cause of accidents because it is only by discovering the root cause that we can prevent a future accident.  It is what I call my Best Practice.  It is similar to looking for the root cause of disease rather than the treatment of disease.  Isn’t it a better practice to prevent accidents and disease rather than mitigate and treat?

Distraction has become the root cause of the majority of workplace accidents and incidents.  Distraction causes automobile accidents, slips, trips and falls, spills, cuts, chemical injuries, and all forms of unsafe work practice.  The worst workplace accident in the history of our country – The DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill – has a root cause of distraction.

There has been a cultural shift toward pre-occupation with technology (pings and dings), relationship issues (think social media) and economic problems (it’s the economy stupid – Bill Clinton’s I believe).  In addition, many employees have medical problems and take medications that impair their concentration and lead to mindless behaviors.  Understanding this growing trend of distraction is the first step toward creating an environment that is distraction free and that focuses on the safe completion of work tasks.

As we look toward the beginning of 2013 won’t you join me in becoming more mindful of your decisions and behaviors, especially as they are related to safe work practices?