Are we eating and working ourselves to death?
We eat food and die of food. We get a job and die of the job. We do too much work, and end up stressed and brain dead. We eat food and end up heavier than we need to be and ill. Yet, you can choose a much safer route. It’s all about choice.
The two things we need the most in life, food and work, have become life thieves. Moreover, stealing the very life, they are supposed to sustain.
You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Things can’t appear any more hopeless, and for some, surrender may seem the only viable option available to them
Well – welcome to the 21st Century life reality.
We all work to survive and eat to live. The unemployed or underemployed look forward to the day they will have something or enough to do. Those that aren’t eating enough look forward to the day they will have enough to feed on
Traditionally, work and food are looked at through the scarcity lens. It’s more often than not a supply-deficit situation
Ironically – for some other people, the world throws at them a different question in regards to work and food – oversupply.
For those in employment, there just is too much work to do. You must be familiar with the mantra: doing more for less.
As far as our feeding habits are concerned, we seem to be eating in excess, even when we bite on so little. For example: fixing the negative impact of eating a small bar of chocolate may require multiple trips to the gym.
Apparently, even when we eat so little quantity, we push our bodies to the limit. The nutrition efficacy index is in real terms, impacted more than the actual act of eating whatever we choose to eat.
Society’s over-supply challenge
Yes, the two things we need most in life, food and work, have become life thieves.
We see too much stress at work – obesity and very high body mass index (BMI).
On the trains, roads, and air: are walking, driving, commuting and flying zombies. Human weighing scales may soon be recalibrated. The first two quartiles of the weighing scale are increasingly idle. The starting index for a weighing scale may quickly become 100kgs+
We consider the above, life’s oversupply challenge. Modern food apparently provides more fat than is needed by our bodies. Work, even after the advent of the computer has become too high. Where was this extra work hiding? Why this so-called new food?
It sounds like man has tried to solve one problem but created another.
It’s true that the world has become too effective and efficient at what it does – and has achieved high efficacy in solving specific problem domains. However, the cost to humanity of this new-world is too much.
We explore below reasons for the status quo – we must also add that there are many more causes that we don’t know or are beyond the scope of this blog
- The demise of the work/social life boundary – work in the 19th and part of the 20th century, was reductionist in nature and had strict limits. Work could only be done on the factory floor; it was impossible to do work in the bedroom. Fast forward to the 21st century, and the digital, fast moving, 24/7 work environment has redefined work boundaries. The 8 – 5 work routine is no more. The new knowledge-work has burst traditional boundaries and follows us to our bedrooms.
We should stop talking about the so-called official working hours. After all, the critical work tool is knowledge and is carried in your head and mobile phone. The latter two are with you all the time. So why not work everywhere and all the time?
How can we avoid burn out if we have signed on to the 24/7 work circuit?
- Mercantilism and feeding – the mercantile culture has redefined our feeding habits. We grew up eating traditional food interspersed with fresh fruit harvested directly from the garden. Mercantilism has brought a dangerous convenience lifestyle and with it, disdain for our healthy feeding habits and food. Can you believe that countries in East Africa are now importing processed fish from China? 70% of the food we eat is processed
How will such feeding habits not kill us? What happened to our own root and other African diets?
- Sedentary lifestyle – the so-called knowledge job entails too much sitting and minimal physical exercise. Our bodies aren’t exercised enough – the WHO recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week for every human being. The 24/7, everywhere job can’t allow us to achieve this feat
So, if work and food are killing humanity, what is wrong and what can we do?
It’s a simple and straight response – choice. You can control or mitigate all the above, if you effectively deploy your power to choose
You don’t have to die working in a call centre when you can choose to go back to the farm – after all, commercial farming may be the next big thing in places like East Africa. Even climate-change effects on the farm can be mitigated if you choose to do so. For those that are more senior, you can steer clear of a toxic corporate suite and choose to do what makes you happy – It’s choosing personal satisfaction over money. The latter is the employed professional’s acid test and we know, it’s never a linear matter. It’s multifaceted and complex – but you still hold the key, choice
You can also choose what you eat and how much of a sedentary lifestyle you want to accept in your life. What is the reason for eating bad and not exercising in East Africa? The weather is excellent all year round
We interpret the above enigma as choosing to do the right thing vs doing things the right way. It’s an effectiveness/efficiency game. And it’s not a zero-sum game. It appears like we have chosen to live an efficient, but not necessarily effective lifestyle
The long and short is: it’s all about choice
Have a blessed week!