What we’re now seeing – whether in Kuwait, China, Brazil, Bangladesh or the U.S. – is that the world needs wellness! Diseases and conditions traditionally associated with urbanization and higher standards of living, aka “Western lifestyle,” are not only happening in non-Western parts of the world, but seem to be happening at a faster rate in countries outside of the US. For example, the rise in childhood obesity is happening 30% faster in developing countries than in wealthier nations.
So, what can we do? The last step I recommend, drawn from my book Workplace Wellness that Works, is to go global. That is, we need to share best practices across borders.
As captured by Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones, a team of researchers uncovered 5 regions in the world that had remarkably high percentages of centenarians who were not only surviving, but thriving. Their findings have helped us to better understand the life-long practices that lead to longevity, which include things like having a sense of belonging or “moving naturally” (as opposed to “exercising”). One of my favorite findings is the benefits of “wine@5.”
They also uncovered the importance of retaining the “right outlook,” which entails knowing one’s purpose. The Blue Zones team found that nearly every centenarian they interviewed lived with their family. Not only did this mean that they were cared for, but it also meant that they had a sustained sense of purpose, as each was expected to contribute toward running the household.
Another favorite of mine that points to the power of sharing ideas across borders is “Ciclovia.” 40 years ago, the city of Bogota, Colombia launched “Ciclovia” – an event that takes place every Sunday in which miles of city roads are closed off to traffic from 7 am – 2 pm and opened up to pedestrians and cyclists. This weekly event, which has become a firm part of the city’s culture, is now Bogota's most famous export. Cities around the world have followed suit, including my own city of San Francisco.
So, your mission going forward is to collect global best practices – through reading, but also by actually visiting different parts of the world, which is exactly what I’ve set out to do. Then, bring these ideas back and experiment, much the way Edison did!
During a 2015 visit to Bogota where I delivered a keynote at the Wellbeing Symposium, I took time out to take part in Ciclovia!
This is the final Step 10, out of 10 Steps, drawn from my book Workplace Wellness That Works.