Oprah's tips to Live Long and Prosper…

photo by nattu 

I try to make it to the gym most weekdays and it seems my schedule works out best generally late in the afternoon.

It turns out that Oprah is on from 4 to 5 and although I generally watch something like CNN or MSNBC, there are some days when Oprah has some pretty interesting stuff going on.  (I know I’m at risk of losing my man card, but there’s only so much Wolf Blitzer I can take since the election overload we’ve just gone through).

Today’s show was Oprah and Dr. Oz talking to the author of ‘The Blue Zones‘, a guy named Dan Buettner that’s spent the last 7 years researching people around the world that live well beyond the average life span and are healthy, active and vital (the areas they live in are called the blue zones).

In addition to the basic good health stuff like the right diet and exercise, there were a few common traits that Mr. Buettner uncovered that I thought were interesting.  Oddly enough these all apply to having successful and long lived businesses as well.

Unexpected Traits for Longevity

As with all of these kinds of studies, there isn’t a totally common thread – the people in Sardinia Italy credited their diet of wine, goat’s milk and cheese as a major factor for their longevity, but the 7th Day Adventists in Loma Linda California credit their success in part to being teetotalling vegans that don’t drink milk or eat cheese.

However there were some commonalities – here are the three traits that stood out to me (based on the discussion, not necessarily a set list):

1.  Having a purpose

The author defines this loosely as ‘Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning’.  For a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners, their business and their success are that driving force.  That’s both a good thing and a bad thing.  Good because you want to have passion for what you do, but bad if that’s really the only thing keeping you going – it’s not good to be too single threaded.

Making money may be your purpose for your business, but you are more likely to have long term success if you can build in some deeper purpose that you and your employees can really get behind.

If you’re interested in more on this – here’s a good article on Finding Your Purpose to Live Longer.

2.  Staying Socially Connected with friends, family and loved ones

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on the benefits of Online Social Networking – I don’t know that health and longevity fall into that category, but anything you can do to establish and maintain real (and positive) relationships is a good thing.

The examples they used on the show stressed the importance of having a routine – often daily of getting together with friends and family and relaxing (stress reduction seemed to be a common theme as well).

From a business perspective, creating and maintaining win-win relationships falls into this category.  Your chances for long term success go up a lot if you have business relationships you can count on for support, referrals and general help.

3.  Having a good optimistic outlook and a healthy sense of humor

I think it’s hard to overstate how important a good attitude is towards everything.  Your quality of life, how you view challenges and opportunities and your ability to keep swinging for the fences are all tied back to being optimistic.  Balancing that with the ability to laugh at yourself (and others) is certainly the recipe for success – in business and in life.

There were some other interesting things (i.e. 90% of the benefit attributed to red wine is really due to alcohol in any form, so two drinks of whatever on a regular basis is better for you than not drinking at all…).

What are your thoughts on living a long life or having your business for a long time?  I’d love to hear some other thoughts and opinions – share them here!

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach