Where was my guidance counsellor when I needed him? My process of identifying colleges I would apply to consisted of two things: 1) Is it an engineering school? 2) Can I apply without writing a college essay? It created a very narrow list. I was accepted early to Stevens Institute of Technology, and off I went. It worked for me and I'm incredibly happy with my decision, but I missed out on one thing that I didn't even know existed back then.
The most exciting part of engineering is reverse engineering.
re·verse en·gi·neer·ing: noun the process of extracting knowledge or design information from something for the purpose of reproducing it
Ever take apart a pen to see what makes it click? That's reverse engineering for toddlers. Go and watch the movie Paycheck with Ben Affleck. It doesn't get any better than that. Well, reverse engineering doesn't get any better than that. Certainly there are better movies, but my love for reverse engineering catapults that movie at least 2 full points higher than where the rest of society would rank it.
So how does any of this tie into health? It's a great question and I certainly don't have all the answers, but here's what I got so far.
Our Health Needs Help
For my Ghostbusters fans out there, we are headed towards a disaster of biblical proportions here. Some real wrath of God stuff. In a study done of the 11 nations that we would call our peers, the United States ranked dead last in overall health. The US ranked last in infant mortality, last in access to affordable care, last in efficiency, last in equality, second to last on life expectancy at the age of 60. The list goes on and on. Basically, we're fucked.
The entrepreneur in me looks at this and screams OPPORTUNITY. There has to be a better way. There has to be things we can do at the individual level to improve our health.
Even if I can't fix the US healthcare crisis as a whole, I can inspire healthy living and help others make their health a priority. I can lock arms with those on a similar mission, and through the power of numbers we can begin to make a massive impact.
Too Simple To Fail
At the earliest stages of the reverse engineering process, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty. The best way to improve our health is through simplicity. We need simple, fail-proof systems and make small, incremental change become a habit.
You don't go from overweight and out of shape to LeBron James with the flip of a switch. We need to design systems, roadmaps and processes that begin this journey from wherever you are to wherever you want to be. BUT, these systems must be so absolutely simple that it's almost impossible to fail. Too simple to fail.
One simple change by one simple change, we will improve our health.
This is what I'm working on now. I'm on the earliest pages of this epic journey, and it excites me and terrifies me at the same time. I'm just super excited to take apart the pen that is our health and see what we learn when we put it back together.