In writing my book on corporate life cycles, which discusses what causes organizations to age, e.g., become bureaucratized, and how to rejuvenate them, I wondered why growing systems, people, and organizations have lots of energy while aging systems have little to no energy.
The observations supported my hypothesis. But the cause still remained unknown. So I wondered to myself: If I can decipher the cause maybe I can figure out not only how to rejuvenate organizations, which I have proven I know how to do, but to retard the aging of people too.
It was a subject that became very relevant to me as I started to feel my age at 77.
I think I found an answer.
Look at a fetus. You can not distinguish between the nose and the toe. It is all one mass. Integrated. Look at a budding flower. All leaves are still together.
What happens as the system starts growing? The leaves separate, and for a child the limbs grow... it starts to disintegrate.
But we disintegrate when we are old too.
What is the difference?
My formula of success, anyway you define success, was helpful in answering the question.
Since energy is fixed at any point in time, the energy has to be allocated to both internal and external integration. Whatever is used by one of them is not available for the other one.
When we are young, we start by being very integrated and we stay integrated internally, and although growing, no energy is wasted on dealing with internal disintegration. Thus, all available energy is spent on external integration. This is why when young, we appear very energetic.
Our body organs have a fixed life span. Like all material. With tear and wear they start functioning less effectively.
The problem is that each organ has a different life span. Because of that, with the passage of time the body as a system starts to disintegrate. Now the body needs to dedicate energy to deal with this disintegration, to make the system work in spite of it.
The energy which was spent externally now gets redirected internally and we appear less energetic. That is called AGING.
How do we retard aging?
You can not change your genetic determination. That is a given. It decides (and spells out) just how long in time you have for the life span of your organs. Maybe, maybe, with superb health care I suppose you can add a year or two or max three to the life span. It is like a car. Its engine has a life span of say XYZ miles. With care you can add another thousand miles or so, but that is it.
While you cannot extend your life, you can definitely shorten it. How? With disintegration. Physical, mental or social disintegration. When that happens your externally dedicated energy goes to take care of this disintegration and you age.
The way then to retard aging is to watch for causes of disintegration. Like stress. That is a big energy consumer.
Like wear and tear due to travel and time zone changes, sleep deprivation, and a diet that is destructive to your organs.
Do you realize that people that are in love look younger, radiant? And people that hate look old. Washed up.
Love integrates. Hate disintegrates.
So the way to retard aging, not to prolong life but not to die younger than the genetic code provides you with, is to love.
Do you love your job? Your spouse? Your car? Your home, your city? Your country? Your parents? Your shoes? Everything counts. Everything either gives or takes away energy from you.
Stop whatever offends your body organs; whatever offends you spiritually. Emotionally. Socially.
The more love in your life, the longer you will live and the younger you will feel.