As I’ve written in the past, motivation comes from within, but inspiration can be found almost anywhere. Finding a mentor can help inspire a chosen lifestyle to navigate one’s path without having to “re-invent the wheel” at every turn. For me, that mentor was Jack LaLanne. As a little boy I would sit mesmerized to the TV watching Jack (and all his ENERGY) direct ME (personally, because he would talk right into the camera) “to get up, and start moving” and exercising MY BODY! You could hear in his voice the passion he felt toward exercise and the essential role it played in improving people’s lives.
His props consisted of a chair, a towel and his dog, Happy. His 30 minute show ran from 1951-1985; the longest running exercise show EVER on TV. Jack was not a marketer or an advertiser. He was an enthusiast and role model for everyone and believed, “if you were willing to obey the laws of nature, you could be born again!”
He performed physical feats of strength and stamina throughout his life to prove that INACTIVITY was the demon that destroyed a person’s ability to function and thrive. In 1956 (at age 42,) Jack completed 1033 pushups in 23 minutes on the program, “You Asked For It.” In 1974 (at age 60) Jack swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco handcuffed and shackled with a 1,000-pound boat tied to a belt around his waste. In 1975 (at age 61) Jack swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge UNDER WATER towing a 1000 pound boat with his hands and feet bound. In 1984 (at age 70) Jack towed 70 row boats a distance of a mile and a half. It took him 2 1/2 hours.
Some people thought he was crazy; some people thought he was simply a “show off.” The fact is, Jack wanted to prove that a person’s limitations ONLY EXISTED if it existed in their MIND.
As I grew up, I never felt the need to prove great feats of strength and stamina to myself or anyone else. I believed the BIGGER PICTURE taught me the MIND was the most relevant organ to CONDITION.
Without a conditioned mind providing:
limitations would certainly become self imposed. To this day I believe “change for the better” is possible for nearly every person. Jack told me so when I was 5 years old as he looked into that TV camera and uttered his message which I heard loud and clear.
In 2011, my mentor passed away at 96 years of age. Until the end of life, Jack continued to exercise 7 DAYS A WEEK. He exercised with weights for 1 1/2 hours followed by 30 minutes of swimming. He was dedicated to a lifestyle, but his COMMITTMENT TO PEOPLE far outweighed any of the amazing feats he successfully completed.
I hope to live a long and healthy life, but just as importantly, I hope someday to be remembered as that guy who “kinda” looked like Jack LaLanne; who committed his life (the same way Jack did) to helping people achieve a life filled with good quality health, real happiness and true fulfillment.