Why Being an Entrepreneur Could Save Your Life (and Make You More Attractive)

What precipice are you running on today?

While running this morning, I was thinking about you, wondering how many of you entrepreneurs and creatives are already out “running” for your lives. Are you finding it chilly? And maybe more than a little lonely? Why are you the only one “out here,” in the dark, with rain in your eyes, trying to stare down … the future?  Your critics? Your Muse?

Some of you run while thinking, “Maybe there’s nothing out here…”

Some of you run with your Internal Critic hissing, “What makes YOU so special? Has no one really ever thought of your great idea before? Surely someone’s already tried this idea…it’s too brilliant, or simple! You’re deluded. Why aren’t you home in bed with your spouse, friend, or cat? Why aren’t you snoozing obliviously until your alarm goes off, alerting you to another day working for someone else?”

I propose you aren’t in your cozy bed asleep for one simple and profound reason…because you really suck at it. You’re pathetic at the “comfortable working for someone else” part. (Disclaimer: There’s also a small possibility that you’re a monomaniacal sociopath…but you’ll have to ask your spouse, friend or cat … and if you don’t have any, you have your answer!)

Entrepreneurs and artists! You are out in the rain, in the dark, on the edge because you have to be …because you DON’T suck at that.

You are curious, inspired, “called,” or even “touched.” You’re out here pushing the edge because resting comfortably in bed, safe in the knowledge that you are working to make someone else rich, could simply…

 …kill you.

You are “out here” because this is where you are the healthiest.

No, really…I’m not kidding.

If you are called to ask bigger questions, dream bigger dreams, the unhealthiest thing you can do is live in denial of that (with the exception of smoking, shooting up, or selling your body for risky sex). There is precious little medical research proving this specific link between creative entrepreneurship and health. However, medicine has demonstrated the positive impacts of autonomy and optimism, characteristics which entrepreneurs as a group seem to possess in abundance. There is further evidence from psychological, sociological and economic research that people who are “engaged” in something bigger than their paychecks are healthier than the average Joe and Jane, even when routinely working 16 hour days. The ability to take on things that challenge current skills keeps the mind young. The ability to surprise one’s self and others improves attractiveness and confidence.

It’s unlikely that your level of engagement can reverse unfortunate genetics, however. If your clan members have a bad habit of dying early, don’t ignore that fact. Seek competent, proactive health advice while you can still turn the boat around.

A strange spell is cast over your daily health decisions when you are finally doing your Right Work. Choosing water over soda becomes a noble act when done in service of your “art.”  The early morning run that primes you to create your next masterpiece pays far greater dividends than running to ward off eventual death, even if you run exactly the same time, distance and intensity. Showing up for your greater “Why” creates the kind of stress that builds muscle rather than clogs coronaries.

There is a health price to be paid for not doing what you are “called” to do. There’s not enough alcohol, drugs, food, or sex in the world to dodge what you were born to be, no matter how scary that seems.  The minute you let that “spark” carry you, caring for your health becomes a means of fanning that flame, rather than an outside authority you must resist.

Image credit: R’eyes

About Cory Annis

It’s hard for people who are busy changing the world to fit their lives to a doctor’s schedule. Now any mobile device can promote a stable relationship with your trusted physician adviser anywhere in the world. Dr. Cory Annis is the MD for Entrepreneurs and founder of Unorthodoc.com, the virtual doctor's office and health adviser for entrepreneurs and business nomads, located at the intersection of Health & Wealth. Take her free Healthy Wealth Challenge today.