Why Give a Damn:

The greatest truth is this: if the health of the individual is not cared for then all the big ideas die when the thinker becomes too ill or tired or burned-out to carry them out. The big thinkers are going to need health on their side to get it done.


The author of this post, Ann Garvin is an author, speaker and professor of health, stress management, research methods and media literacy.

Saving the world is a big pursuit. There must be planning, preparation, a crew of people, skill building and time. Lots and lots of time. It’s a long confidence game. It’s an endurance event. It’s aerobic.

People need clean water, there’s no time for a balanced diet

The people that embark on world saving ventures are big thinkers. As children they were the kind of kids who didn’t just decorate a tri-board for the third grade science fair, they built an erupting volcano, complete with marshmallow whip for frothy realism. When selling Girl Scout Cookies door-to-door these little girls set up shop at the Red Cross where cookies and blood go hand in hand and beat all selling records.

These are exactly the people needed for the biggest problems in the world: the unafraid, the creative, the out of box thinkers. So, it’s absolutely ridiculous, unreasonable even for these people to attend to a fussy body, needy with the small details of health. I can just hear them in my mind, “People need clean water, there’s no time for a balanced diet,” Or, “Sleep is for sissies when Malaria is on the loose.” When the world is at stake, fatalistic comments such as these might likely be uttered in defense of a lackadaisical health regime.

These are exactly the people needed for the biggest problems in the world: the unafraid, the creative, the out of box thinkers

When saving the world is on the agenda, however, the phrase the devil is in the details should be about health first and entrepreneur budgets second. Because, the greatest truth is this: if the health of the individual is not cared for then all the big ideas die when the thinker becomes too ill or tired or burned-out to carry them out.

So saving the world is going to take some time and saving the thinkers, that’s going to take stamina. Neither pursuit is easy. Just look at the statistics of long, complicated pursuits; doctorate programs 40% drop out rate, marriage 50% attrition, and living in general; 1 in 2 people die of heart disease which does not bode well for the long con–the greatest con of all which is convincing people that it is in our own best interests financially and otherwise, to save the world. The thinkers are going to need health on their side to get it done.

Saving the world is going to take some time and saving the thinkers, that’s going to take stamina

Therefore, it is not frivolous pampering when we say the body needs eight hours of sleep a night and fruits and vegetables to keep an upright primate, upright. We are not, blowing smoke when physiologists say that sitting kills and exercise is as important to mental health as finding work you like and potentially providing clean water for a village. Too much saturated fat, found in those easy to order pizza slices during long planning meetings, will plug a big thinker’s arteries just as fast as those of us who don’t have a save the world agenda.

So consider this one last fact. That while the singer, Warren Zevon may have made these words famous: “So much to do, there’s plenty on the farm I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. You might also be reminded that Warren died at the age of 56. Too young that’s for certain and with probably a lot of ideas left in his head.

About the author

Ann Garvin

Ann Garvin

Ann is an author, speaker and educator. As professor of health, stress management, research methods and media literacy at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, she has worked extensively in psychometrics, statistics and psychology. Ann is the author of On Maggie’s Watch & The Dog Year (Berkley Penguin, 2014).