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Performance, Metabolism, & Suffering

By: Michael Blankenship |

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re sharing a story that illustrates how suffering can be meaningful, some new data that indicates metabolism doesn’t decrease with age, and a video of Simon Sinek discussing why trust is more important than performance (according to the Navy SEALs). 


Joy in Suffering

I heard this story from a family member during Christmas time and while I’m not sure of its origin, it’s a powerful illustration of how suffering can be meaningful.

In a poor third-world country, a local hears tell of a missionary visiting a nearby village.

Excited to meet this newcomer, the local spend several days diligently crafting a crude wooden doll as a gift for the missionary. 

Then the local journeys to the village where the missionary is staying. 

The journey is several days through the jungle, up and over large hills, and the local who takes it upon himself does not have any shoes to wear for the journey.

By the time he reaches the village where the missionary is staying, his feet are blistered, bruised, and bleeding. 

He gives the gift to the missionary and the missionary says, “Oh my goodness. Thank you for this gift. But why did you do this to yourself to give me this gift? Your feet are bleeding and bruised!”

The local looks at his feet, smiles, and replies, “The walk is part of the gift.”

Metabolism Vs. Age

Ever heard that your metabolism (i.e. the baseline amount of calories you burn) decreases with age?

Or how about that a men’s metabolism is higher than women’s? 

Us too. 

But a new study published in Science indicates that both of those statements might be misconceptions. 

The researchers collected data from 6,421 people ranging in age from 8 days to 95 years old — including height, weight, body fat percentage, and average metabolic rate for men, women, and various age groups. 

Here’s what they discovered (via Everyday Health)…

  • After accounting for body size and muscle mass, men and women have similar metabolic rates. 
  • From infancy to 1 year old, metabolic rate surged until it was about 50 percent higher than it will be during adulthood.
  • From 1 to 20 years old,  metabolism decreased by almost 3 percent a year.
  • From 20 to 60, metabolism didn’t change.
  • After age 60, metabolism decreased by 0.7 percent annually

The article from Everyday Health explains… 

“These data suggest that the `middle age spread’ that we all know about anecdotally or personally is not due to a change in intrinsic metabolism as had been long thought,” says Rozalyn Anderson, PhD, coauthor of an editorial accompanying the study and a professor at the school of medicine and public health at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “It is far more likely now that changes in behavior are at the root of it.”

The study had its limitations (which you can read about here), but there’s now strong evidence that our baseline metabolism does not decrease with age — at least not to the degree that we expected. 

But that’s good news.

This puts the weight (pun intended) of our continued health on our own two shoulders… and makes a “slowing metabolism” a bad excuse for living a sedentary lifestyle. 

Performance Vs. Trust

In business, we have a tendency to value professional performance over integrity, dignity, or even leadership ability. 

And Simon Sinek explains why that’s a problem by comparing most business recruitment philosophies to that of the highest performing organization on the planet — the Navy SEALs. 

Check out the full video here. Or read the excerpt below. 

I worked with the Navy Seals and I asked them, how do you pick the guys who go on Seal Team 6? Because they’re the best of the best of the best. 

And they drew a graph for me [SEE ABOVE GRAPH]… 

The way they defined [performance] is your skills and your capabilities to get the job done. 

[Trust] is how are you off the battlefield, what kind of person are you? 

The way they put it is, ‘I may trust you with my life [i.e. performance], but do I trust you with my money and my wife [i.e. trust].’

Of course, nobody wants this person — a low performer, low trust. And of course, everybody wants this person — a high performer, high trust. 

But what they learned is that this person — a high performer, low trust — is a toxic leader and a toxic team member.

And they would rather have a medium performer, high trust person.

Extra Stuff

Here is some other random stuff we found interesting this last week!

This Week’s Photo

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“A motorcyclist competes in the Dakar Rally near Wadi Ad Dawasir, Saudi Arabia” via The Week

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

How do eight eights add up to one thousand?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Here’s this week’s journaling prompt! Take a few moments this week to jot down your thoughts. 

To you, what are dignity and integrity? What does it look like for you to live a life that is true to those two words?

This Week’s Challenge

What’s a better investment than your health (whether mental or physical)? That’s right… nothing. This week find a way to invest in your health. That might mean hiring a therapist, buying a few books, or purchasing an exercise program. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: 888 + 88 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 1000.

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