The Health and Wellness Industry FAQ: Finding Your Cheese in a Field of Dreams…
Wellness Exists at the intersection of Contentment and Aspiration.
To live there, You Must First Choose to Move Out of the Village of Someday…
Over the years I’ve been asked a number of questions about the health and wellness industry. This is question #9 of the top 10 most frequently asked questions. The responses are, of course, neither right nor wrong. They are simply my impressions from over 35 years of field experience.
QUESTION #9: What is the number one health and wellness misconception?
RESPONSE: Actually, it’s hard to narrow it down to one particular misconception. That said, IF I had to name one, and only one, it would be the delusion that, “If you build it they will come.”
The suggestion that if given awareness, access and affordability, adults will choose healthy living for themselves and for their children is false, dangerous and distracting. Research shows that in a fast-paced, stressful world where “Survival” tramples “Thrival,” the metaphoric choice of (a) a cookie (instant gratification) or (b) an apple (avoiding the possibility of heart disease, later) is no contest. The brain says, “Cookie, now…apple, later!”
You see, what parts the cornstalks and spurs action is not an objective analysis of “right” or “wrong,” “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Action is kicked into gear by an emotional drive to feel good; to do those things that bring SUBJECTIVE enjoyment, relief and/or respite. In the moment, the behavior is always perceived as advancing one’s self-interest (including neutralizing or slowing metastatic pain and discomfort). Morally, this is neither good nor bad; it simply is. Sometimes the actions are beneficial to one, some or all; sometimes they are harmful. However, most of the time, they have no impact, either way. We are social, emotional beings influenced by tribe expectation, stimulation and convenience.
Fact: Cost, group dynamics (behavioral clustering) and law influence personal choice more than the threat of downstream poor health.
In very simplistic terms, what this means is that city-planners, employers and wellness practitioners need to spend less time fine-tuning treatment models and more time on primordial prevention, protective infrastructures and ways to help individuals discover what shakes their bones and lifts their spirits. Once that is done, sit back, clear the trampled field, yell “Play Ball!” and enjoy the game!
Or, another way to put this—and please excuse me while I switch metaphors—the challenge isn’t to build a better mousetrap…the challenge is to provide more appealing cheese.
Think of it as:
“Finding Your Cheese in a Field of Dreams!
Sorry about that… 😉