Tag Archives | michigan blogger

Five Reasons to Think Twice Before Getting a Flu Shot

It’s late autumn, the traditional start of the cold and flu season, when you see signs promoting flu shots adorning doctor’s offices, walk-in clinics, pharmacies, even big box retailers. As a result, millions of Americans will dutifully roll up their sleeves and trust that this year’s vaccine will keep them healthy throughout the cold winter months.

via stocksnap.io

But is this ubiquitous vaccine all it’s cracked up to be in terms of protecting you from the flu? Furthermore, is receiving an injection like this year after year the wise thing to do for your long term health? While I don’t claim to be an expert in chemistry, medicine, or biology, I can report that I have never received a flu shot and cannot recall ever contracting the flu. And as a student of health and fitness, I’ve discovered that there are plenty of credible reasons to consider other alternatives to optimizing your health than subjecting yourself to repeated injections of toxic chemicals and virus strains grown on living tissue. Here are five:

1. There is little evidence that flu shots actually work. The flu shot is only able to protect against certain strains of the flu, so if you come into contact with a strain—and there are many–that you are not protected from, then you will still get the flu. According to the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) own website, for example, the 2014-15 flu vaccine was only 19% effective, which means that over 80% of people who received a flu vaccine that year were unprotected from the flu. Worse, according to the data reported by the CDC, since they first recommended that children under 5 receive the flu vaccine just before the 2003-2004 flu season, there has been an average increase of 67% of flu-associated deaths in children. Plus, a 2008 study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. Unfortunately, the data suggests that getting the flu vaccine gives people a false sense of protection from contracting the flu.

2. The flu vaccine, as well as all other vaccines, contain mercury, a harmful heavy metal that can seriously compromise your health. Vaccines contain a preservative called Thimerosal, which contains mercury. The amount of mercury in a multi-dose flu shot is 250 times higher than what is legally classified as hazardous waste. Even so-called, “Thimerosal-free” vaccines contain enough trace amounts of mercury to be considered toxic by the EPA. Side-effects of mercury toxicity include depression, memory loss, attention deficit disorder, digestive disorder, anxiety, cardiovascular problems, respiratory issues, thyroid and other glandular imbalances, and low immune system.

3. The flu vaccines contain many other toxic or hazardous ingredients, including:

    • Aluminum — a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Triton x-100 – a detergent.
    • Phenol (carbolic acid) – also found in weed killer.
    • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
    • Betapropiolactone – a disinfectant.
    • Formaldehyde – classified as a carcinogen.

4. There is a vast difference between ingesting chemicals through eating or drinking verses injecting them into your bloodstream. Even if it were possible to substantiate claims that trace amounts of mercury (found in some species of fish, for example) and other harmful chemicals are too small to cause any problems, remember that, when we swallow something toxic, our digestive processes act as natural filters that greatly reduce the potency. But when you receive a flu shot, toxins are injected into the muscle and pushed directly into the bloodstream which is far stronger and more harmful. This is something the vaccine manufacturers never bother to point out.

5. There are plenty of safe and effective alternatives to protect us from the flu. With so many potential side effects while only protecting against a small number of strains, the good news is there are some natural remedies you can try that are proven to strengthen your immune system without risk of long term health problems. These include:

    • Getting plenty of vitamin D during the winter months.
    • High dose vitamin C (I take 3,000 – 5,000 mg per day…and I haven’t had a cold in nearly 3 years.)
    • Fish oil, one of nature’s most powerful tools to fight colds and flu.
    • Exercise, which produces natural immune-boosting chemicals throughout your body.
    • Eating plenty of “power-foods” like garlic, berries, and cruciferous vegetables.
    • Eliminate sugar. Few things suppress your immune system like sugary drinks and foods.
    • Reduce stress. The only thing worse than sugar to your immune system is subjecting yourself to frequent anger and stress.
    • Sleep. The more research published on sleep, the more clear the connection between sufficient sleep and a healthy immune system.

via stocksnap.io  via stocksnap.io

I know this is, for some, a controversial topic and I don’t claim to be a public health expert. Neither am I in any way suggesting that no one should ever receive a flu shot. But I am convinced that, for most people, trusting in a vaccine to keep you healthy is a bit of a fallacy. Not only are the real consequences—both short and long term—there are also plenty of good alternatives to injecting toxic chemicals into your bloodstream with, at the very best, a 50/50 chance they will even work.

So before you roll up your sleeve and get that painful needle, think it over. What are your thoughts on the flu vaccine? Have you ever considered that there may be harmful consequences from getting a flu shot? Or do you think it has helped you stave off sickness during the winter months? I’d love to get your comments.

Comments { 11 }

Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past

In one of my earlier posts, I discussed the differences between what author and Stanford professor Carolyn Dweck describes as a fixed mindset verses a growth mindset.

In a fixed mindset, people believe that talent and intelligence are fixed traits. They spend their time documenting and defending their brains and talent instead of developing them, creating an urgency to prove themselves over and over. By contrast, in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Seeing themselves as a work in progress, growth mindset people tend to embrace feedback and accept failure as a learning opportunity.

Regardless of our mindset, I believe most people want to grow because growth is at the core of everything in our lives that gives us a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and purpose.

What does “personal growth” mean? How do you define it? If you asked even the most successful people, few could provide a clear, cogent response.

Here are some great descriptions, gathered from some of my favorite authors. Which one of these resonates the most with you?

“Growth is a result of bad habits dropped, wrong priorities changed, and new ways of thinking embraced.” (John Maxwell)

“People who grow consistently are those who embrace the tension between where they are and where they ought to be.” (John Gardiner)

“You will never change anything in your life unless you change something you do daily.” (John Maxwell)

“In order to do more, I’ve got to be more.” (Jim Rohn)

“When your memories exceed your dreams, you’ve stopped growing.” (Andy Stanley)

And finally, here’s my favorite description, from author, business strategist and entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan:

“Growth is always striving to make your future bigger than your past.”

look to the future | rangga aditya armien via stocksnap.io

I love this simple but compelling description. Think about what it means to “make your future bigger than your past.” It’s simple, but not always easy, especially as you grow older. Yet consider the implications of continuously enlarging your future. When you commit yourself to a lifestyle of making your future bigger than your past:

You’re living intentionally. That is, you’re constantly in pursuit of something bigger, better, and more purposeful.
You’re adding value–to yourself, and, more importantly, to others.
Your focus is forward, not neutral or backward.
You are often at the edge of your comfort zone, which is where life really happens.
You engage your imagination. You think BIG.
You’re not afraid to fail.
You are continuously challenged.

If these ideas arouse your interest in pursuing personal growth, I urge you to read Dan Sullivan‘s classic, The Laws of Lifetime Growth: Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past. Each of the ten laws described in this insightful book are like mirrors you can use to reflect your behavior so you can see if it’s supporting or undermining your growth.

While no one wants to reach the end of their lives and experience regret, the truth is, many will. That’s why developing the daily habit of pursuing intentional growth–making your future bigger than your past–is the key to a productive, legacy-producing life.

Question: What is one thing you could start doing today that could make your future bigger than your past?

Comments { 1 }

What Peyton Manning Taught Me about Leadership

Although I’ve never been a big Denver Broncos or Indianapolis Colts fan, I’ve always admired Peyton Manning. His tremendous ability, legendary work ethic, competitive fire, and impressive family legacy (I am old enough to remember watching Peyton’s father, Archie Manning, during his heroic career with the New Orleans Saints in the early 70’s) make him hard not to like.

Two and half years ago, an excellent article in Sports Illustrated magazine honored him as the 2013 Sportsman of the Year, which, after reading, sealed the deal for me as one of my all-time favorite sports figures.

According to the SI story, since 1997, Manning’s senior year at the University of Tennessee, countless numbers of families throughout the Volunteer state have named their sons after him.

And as the article unfolds, it’s easy to see why. Although he grew up in a family that was practically worshiped as royalty, a byproduct of Archie’s college career as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in SEC history, his parents modeled simplicity, personal responsibility, and the value of hard work. And despite Peyton’s amazing talent and prodigious college and professional career, the article highlights how Manning treated everyone, from the head coach to the equipment managers, with the same respect and genuine concern.

The Power of a Personal Note

via stocksnap.io

What I learned the most from this in-depth look at Manning’s life and career, however, was one simple habit he employed that has helped me grow as a leader. As the article explains:

“A son of the genteel South, Manning learned early on the power of the handwritten note… He still remembers the college coaches who wrote him during his recruitment as opposed to the ones who resorted to thoughtless form letters. He would lick his thumb and rub it against the signatures to determine whether they were real. And when Manning left for college, Archie would write him before every fall semester.”

Peyton’s penchant for handwritten notes stuck with him into adulthood, when he entered a promising professional career that would elevate him to national stardom. As anyone who practices penmanship can attest, writing notes takes time and patience. No one would blame him for giving up this bygone practice in exchange for texting or tweeting. But the personal discipline and attention to detail that defined him as a player bled through to how he related to people:

“Throughout his career, Manning has written to coaches and players who retire, as well as widows of coaches and players who pass away. He writes subjects of documentaries he has seen and victims of tragedies he’s heard about. He writes his children every six months, even though they are years away from deciphering his cursive. (His wife) Ashley buys his stationery, cream-colored cards with PEYTON W. MANNING in block letters at the top. It’s hard to find any coach, teammate or staffer who hasn’t received a note from Manning. ‘I got one when my dad passed,’ says (former teammate) Brandon Stokely, ‘and another when Peyton stayed at my house.’ ‘I got one when I retired,’ says former Colts video director Marty Heckshcher. ‘It almost brought me to tears.’ ‘I got one when the Colts let me go,’ says Jon Torine, the former strength coach. ‘It meant more than any paycheck.’

In addition to writing teammates and coaches, Manning asked staffers to go through the hundreds of pieces of mail he received each week as a player, selecting the heart-felt letters and personally responding to many of them:

“To Jack Benson, an eight-year-old in California with cancer: ‘I just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. You have a lot of people pulling for you. Keep fighting, stay positive, and say your prayers.’ To Chris Harris, widow of a youth pastor in Arkansas who was killed in a car accident, ‘I am sorry for your loss. Please know that I am praying for you. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ (Matthew 5:4) I learned that Pastor Harris was an avid Colts fan and had an autographed picture of me in his office. I read an article about Pastor Harris, and I can tell you he was very special. I am proud that he was a fan of mine. May God’s peace be with you.’

Think of the time it took him to write such thoughtful replies. How many high level celebrities can you name who would commit to such deep and personalized correspondence with their fans?

Inspired by the article, the next day I visited my local print shop and ordered my own monogrammed stationery. And since I’ve trained, spoken and posted on the power of consistent habits verses going for big performance leaps, I put my training to work, committing to writing one personal note every work day. (I mailed them on on my way home.) While I mostly send them to employees on their birthdays or work anniversaries, I also send them to friends, colleagues, community volunteers, and anyone I come across who I think would benefit from an encouraging note. I’ve been doing this for the past several years and although I can’t say that I never miss a day (I do, especially when I get busy or travel), I can report that committing to this simple discipline has made a difference in me as a leader. I have had employees stop by my office to share their surprise and gratitude for my note. Several have mentioned that they shared it with their entire family–and others tell me they have it posted on their refrigerator door for months… even years.

The experience tells me this: In an age of digital superficiality, people everywhere are starved for genuine connection. Taking the time to write a thoughtful note can go a long way in making an impact.

Just ask Peyton Manning.

Comments { 4 }

How to Leave a Lasting Legacy: Three Powerful Questions

In 1888, Alfred Nobel had the most shocking experience of his life.

He read his own obituary.

Apparently, Alfred’s brother, Ludwig, was the one who had died, but a French newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred and published his obituary instead. A prominent armaments manufacturer, Alfred had amassed a fortune after he invented dynamite. However, he was shocked to read that, in describing his life, the newspaper named Alfred the “merchant of death” in attributing the destruction and dismemberment of hundreds of thousands of men to his invention.

After reading his own obituary, Alfred was stunned into action at the thought of the horrific legacy he would one day leave behind. Resolving to, in essence, rewrite his life story, he decided to leave the majority of his considerable fortune to create what became known as the Nobel Prizes, awards for those who “confer the greatest benefit on mankind,” as stated in his will. Today, the Nobel Prizes are the highest honor that can be attained in literature, medicine, science, chemistry, and, the most famous of all Nobel Prizes, peace.

In retrospect, Nobel’s unpleasant experience reading his own obituary turned out to be the greatest blessing of his life, propelling him to action and creating a legacy that, 128 years later, continues to challenge and inspire generations of great minds.

Think about that: Consider how this unfortunate mistake by a newspaper turned into an amazing blessing.

Now think about yourself: If you could write your own highlight reel for your life, where would you begin? What would you emphasize? How would you envision the rest of your life in terms of meaningful accomplishment?

Months ago, I ran across an excellent podcast episode on legacy by author and marketing expert Lewis Howes called The School of Greatness. He proposed asking yourself three provocative questions in considering your own legacy:

1) What am I creating with my life? What am I currently creating? What do I want to create? Are they aligned? If not, why not?
2) Who am I impacting by my way of being and how am I impacting them? As Howes asserted in his podcast, if your life’s vision doesn’t go beyond you, you’re living a shallow life. Look at most of history’s greatest people and you’ll notice that their work is like fertile seeds planted into the lives of countless others, continuing to bear fruit generations after they left the earth.
3) How will the world be different because I was here? If you are perfectly happy with maintaining the status quo in your life, chances are you won’t leave much of a legacy. But what if you could identify a noble cause that energized you–something bigger than yourself that inspired you to rely on God, work closely with others and require more of yourself than you imagined?

I love questions like these because they push you to examine your deepest assumptions about your life. And as you prepare to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend, I encourage you to take some time to think these through. Chances are, none of us will ever get the chance to read our own obituary in the local paper, but we all have the chance to, like Alfred Nobel, ensure that we leave something of value behind when we’re gone.

by Trent Yarnell | unsplash

Comments { 1 }