Like a car our body starts wearing out as the miles start piling up to the point that we eventually die. There are some things that we can do to slow down the process and increase the total miles that we can operate. My Dad used to say that if I would change the oil every 3,000 miles in my car, and tune up the engine every 6 months that the total miles would be much more than if haphazard maintenance was practiced.
We wear out both mentally and physically, and the last years of our life are often very unproductive, which is sad because we have years of experience and wisdom, and we have the potential to be a powerful and positive influence on others. The things that will make a huge difference in prolonging our life and the vitality of our life are the very things that most of us older people naturally avoid, accelerating the aging process. The first principle that I wrote about yesterday is continually doing new things, learning new skills, and learning new information.
The second principle is actually the most powerful of the 6 I learned about according to the studies and research of the fellow I listened to on a podcast yesterday in the airport while waiting for my flight to Boise, Idaho. The second principle or practice is to spend a lot of time with people socially, talking and interacting with them. It isn’t just normal chit chat, but working hard and thinking how to be gracious in our speech in order to maintain unity and peace with those we are spending time with. The most powerful part of our conversation with others that stimulates both our mind and our body to renew itself is when we consider and think all of the time we are listening and talking on how to bless and enhance the lives of those we are with. All of the time that we are with people we are self-coaching ourselves on how to become more persuasive graciously, how to be more influential in our behavior and speech, in order to be a reason that those we are with grow and improve their lives. The natural thing that many older people do is to isolate themselves more and more because social interactions with people wears them out and tends to irritate them. God created us for community and isolation greatly accelerates the aging process. Another tendency of older people is to become more opinionated in their views and beliefs and less concerned about offending others with the way they express those opinions and views, and the resulting conflicts and tension stimulates the inclination to withdraw and spend less and less time in social interaction with others.
As I was listening and then writing about this principle I was reminded of a basic principle in the Bible, “If we give to others, God will give to us, what we give to others God will give to us, and how much we give to others determines how much God will give to us”.