Dr Patrick Owusu

The year, 2023 is here with us. A year that promises good news for those whose lives are premised on determination.

At the start of this year, 2023, I wrote an article on Building a Happy Life. In that article, I shared four universally-putative principles which result in total happiness. These are: spirituality, intuitive soul-searching, being organised and enthusiastically, learning to be disciplined in our endeavours.

In that article, I defined happiness as ‘the peaceful state of one's mind.’ Happiness is a relative subject matter. The reason is, what makes one happy may differ from one community to another. However, these universal principles bring a sense of happiness to one’s life.

Today, we examine this piece, Building an Excellent Life which is an extension of the previous article, Building A Happy Life. An excellent life is a life of honour, progress and uniqueness. An excellent life is a life of confidence and vitality. It takes diligent people to experience an excellent life. How do we experience it? Here are two principles to guide you:

1. Place Value on Your Health
Have you ever heard of this chestnut or anecdote, Your Health Is Your Wealth? Yes, your health is your wealth! It means, once you lose it, it may take years to recover. So, why don't you pay particular attention to your health now? It is your gain! Our health is the physical foundation for our subsistence. You cannot perform better in your chosen field, if you do away with prioritizing your health needs. In 2023, focus your attention on these areas:

a. Rest

b. Exercise

c. Proper Eating Habits

A. Rest
Ask intelligent and successful people about the secret of their success, and you shall hear them say, after every achievable event, they reward themselves with enough rest in order to rejuvenate their minds. If you are overly anxious about making more money at the expense of relaxing intermittently within the year, the accumulated fatigue can seriously have a negative impact on your health.

There are several forms of rest. It involves making time to sleep, visiting attractive and educative places, making time for your family, sightseeing, etc. Do you know that sleep gives the body enough time to heal and regenerate? Yes. It does reduce the causes of depression and stress. Thus, making time to sleep at a scheduled scale, makes you have a sound mind devoid of trepidation.

B. Exercise
Most people lead busy lives because of the nature of the global economic system. Notwithstanding, the benefits of exercise usually tone the body to enable it shoulder the burdens and ruggedness of life. The gradual introduction of exercise leads to longer patterns of fitness as against adopting a harsh workout period, especially at the start of each New Year which does next to nothing for your body.

According to most health experts, a simple way to start is to walk. Walking programmes can be adapted to suit any age group, and fortunately, it is less likely to cause injury or wear and tear on the joints. Regular walking, especially brisk walking has many health benefits. Research suggests that, it can cut your chances of a heart attack by as much as 50%, reduce the risk of a mild stroke by up to 40% and it can also make you twice as likely to survive a diagnosis of breast cancer. So, make time for your body!

C. Proper Eating Habit
The sustainability of your body largely depends on the kind of food one eats. You have to decide on the amount of calories the body needs on a daily basis. Again, don't be afraid of fatty foods without which the body functions incorrectly. However, it is important to choose the right kind of fat.  Most animal fats and vegetable oils are high in fat that raise your cholesterol level; the bad cholesterol. If you give your body the right tool, it will flush out the excess cholesterol in the body.

 Foods that are high in monosaturated fatty acids are; olive oil, nuts, fish oil and various seeds oil which are relatively 'good' fats. Adding these 'good' fats to your weekly diet can lower your cholesterol level. Furthermore, introduce more fruits and vegetables to your daily meal schedule. Take note of this: Fruits containing citric acid such as pineapple, and orange shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach. The reason is, they increase acid production in your gut, and thereby increasing the risk of gastritis and gastric ulcers.

Additionally, research suggests that, taking these acidic fruits on an empty stomach can slow down your digestive system. It is better to take critic fruits, at least 20 minutes after your meal. On the other hand, non-citric fruits can be taken on an empty stomach, usually 20 minutes before a meal or at least, 2 hours after a meal. It must be noted that, when your stomach is empty, the absorption of vitamins and nutrients from non-citric fruits is the most effective.

As much as possible, avoid alcohol intake. Alcohol has hidden calories. Drinking to gain appetite worsens your health. The best is to quit taking in alcohol beverages, so you don't worsen the functions of your liver and kidney in the nearest possible time. Finally, under this section is, water intake. Develop the habit of drinking much water in place of soft drinks and other flavoured beverages. Greater percentage of your body composition is made up of water. Depending on your body mass index, take in enough water to prevent dehydration.

2. Be Positive

An excellent life thrives on a positive mindset. Life is full of challenges. Yes. On a daily basis, we are confronted with thick challenges. From family issues, to getting and maintaining a job, making enough money to taking care of yourself, nuclear and extended family members, reinforcing your health, building a positive connection with the right people among others. Indeed, we are surrounded with so many challenges in life that, a positive lifestyle is the ultimate decision. It takes patience, self-belief, wisdom, being in the right environment, and developing a God-fearing heart to stay positive in every insufferable situation. I have a broad mindset concerning life’s issues. I have a philosophy that says, 'There is honey in every carcass. All you need is to find it.' In other words, make the best of every difficult situation.

Most at times, we have no control over what happens in our lives. However, what matters most is how we react to such. Growing up, one of the habits I learnt was building my life around positivity instead of distractions. Thus, I have no time for destructive gossip and matters of no relevance. I see good in every situation. That urge comes from the power of broad-mindedness, stemming from a wider perspective in my deliberations. In that case, I speak less but do incisive thinking. So, l thoughtfully weigh life's issues from a bigger picture. I believe, this is one of the postures to make us enjoy life to its fullest. Let me share this story on positivity with you. I believe, it will encourage you to stay positive in life.

A few years ago, I was contracted by a corporate body in one of our cities, as their consultant. My responsibility was to help reinforce the structures in that company. For months, my team and l spent tireless numbers of hours to restructure the company's organogram, rewrite their core values, vision, and mission statements, and hold six (6) hours of leadership training sessions for the core corporate executives and the line-managers on a daily basis. It was really a tough exercise! In the line of duty, we suggested a few changes in the operationalization of activities after our presentation to the corporate executives. In other words, we had the option to turn abstract concepts into measurable observations.

In my good frame of mind, I never knew that one of the project managers was deeply offended with all the changes I suggested. At a board meeting, he wouldn't greet me. In addition, whenever he saw my team and l, he wouldn't even attend any of our training programmes in the afternoon. His attitude looked saucy, rude, and disrespectful. For weeks, my mobile phone was full of insults from this project manager. Fascinatingly, I never responded to any of his ill-fated messages let alone, give a deeper attention to the sarcastic content of his messages on his display status. This l got to know from my team members who only hinted me on this act of sarcasm or cynicism by this project manager. Grippingly, as a principle, I don't even read messages on people's status as my mind is wired on positivity instead of distractions. Most people have emotional problems and the least misunderstanding of issues can lead to unthinkable reactions in writing, either on social media platforms or otherwise. It takes a mature person to methodically control their emotions in times of challenges.

A few months later, after our work with this said company was over, the project manager in his occupational cap, being convinced by his own guilty conscience, walked to me in private to humbly apologise for his unpleasant attitude. Afterwards, he asked me a question: He said, ''How come you weren't offended by my ill-attitude and never, out of haste responded to all my insults? Again, in spite of the way l mistreated you, you were extremely nice to me. Each night, before going to bed, I thought about your way of life.” He remarked.

Grinning or smiling, I said, 'For the whole three months of supporting your company, l never paid attention to your negative attitude. Again, I never read any of your messages, sensing your heart of emptiness. In addition, l never discussed your behaviour with anyone. Instead, l was always focused on your positivity and not your unconstructiveness.’ Later, he realised that most of the messages I provided them at board meetings and on their company's WhatsApp platforms were mere coincidence to the circumstances surrounding his life and his role at the company's working site.

Around this time, tears rolled down his cheeks, as he cried like a baby for being deceived by self-opinionated issues which have taken the best out of his life. Previously, his life had been filled with pride, sullenness, selfishness and a sense of superiority complex. He had built a strong resistance around him, making him unyielding for any sensible correction until a positive vibe changed his life. After helping him to overcome all these complexities, I guided him to widen his scope in life and pay attention to the bigger picture of excellence.

Today, both of us are the best of friends. Whenever I'm in their city, in his car, he picks me up from the bus terminal or the airport to my destination. Friends, that is the beauty of building love and brotherliness, intertwined with a positive attitude. It is better to have a free mind in life else, the appearance of your rival sends ‘butterflies’ into your tummy.

You can decide to see every open door as a trap or an opportunity. The decision is yours. Many times, we allow life's storms to 'bully' us because we focus our energies on the negative instead of the positive. We worry over useless things and open our hearts to unconstructiveness as we assume that, that is how everyone is. We say what we are not supposed to say in order to draw sycophants to our domain. We lie to have our dreams achieved. We argue over unnecessary, needless, and unpardonable issues and consequently, lose our energies to depression.

Painfully in life, we pay more attention to what we lose and not what we can gain in our life's pursuit. A half-filled glass of water can be half-empty or half-full depending on how you look at it. In much the same way, your challenges can be negative or positive depending on how you perceive it.

The magnitude of the force that keeps you going should always be greater than the magnitude of the force that resists you. Do you know how airplanes are able to move ahead in spite of any heavy stormy weather? The reason is, the pilot understands that, to move forward, a greater force must be applied to resist the force of the approaching wind. That is the power of positivity. So, magnify it! You have only one life to live. You cannot live your life under the desk of undesirable images.

Life is progressive. It does not wait for backward thinkers. However, focused and deep thinkers soar higher beyond the limits of the skies to win life's unsurmountable hurdles. Winners never quit. In silence, they work their way to the top whilst placing much value on their health. Secondly, they do not dwell on ugly attitudes but move by positivity. In 2023, this must be your foundation - your health and a positive vibe.

The writer is an Academic, Visiting Lecturer, Leadership Consultant and a Reverend Minister with the WordSprings City Church, Kumasi-Ghana. Email:

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.