In 1592, Shakespeare dramatized the Battle of Bosworth Field in Richard III (Act 4 Scene 4) and portrayed King Richard III on his horse bogged in a mud pit, unable to move. King Richard shouted, “A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!” Is a horse on the same level as a kingdom?
In the days of old, rhymes were used to parody historical political events, people, royalty, etc. The lyrics allowed the common folk to do three things – two obvious and the other one not so apparent. The first objective was to go around the restrictions on free speech or dissent as it was known then. The second factor is that it taught kids to remember. Rhymes were easy to remember allowed for that learning to be passed down.
Follow the logic and consequences of a rhyme that was used to teach children. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost. All for want of a horseshoe nail. The nail didn’t cause the kingdom to be lost. But, it shows logic, consequence, and the trivial thing that could start an unintentional result.
The third point evolved as a process to apply logic to consequences – explain what might or could happen if you did what was always done before. Hence the poem above. It came from a period two hundred years before King Richard III and was published officially two hundred years after King Richard III by Benjamin Franklin. Small action, often unintended, can have huge impacts on our lives.
“I wish I had done this or that” is a common refrain we tell ourselves when consequences have happened that could have been prevented. It is a part of living. Even if we know better, we develop habits that keep us from making the right choice.
Think about our health. How many things are you doing today to be healthy ten, twenty, thirty, or more years from now? How many things are you doing today that is considered unhealthy? And there are many things we don’t know. What causes a person to age? I ask that question often to my audiences. Smoking, overweight, and not exercising are the top three answers. They contribute and exacerbate the aging process, but are not causes. They are factors.
One of the causes of aging is the natural loss of human growth hormone. We can replenish human growth hormone in several ways as we age. The easiest way for me is to fast, to abstain from eating. Fasting causes our bodies to increase levels of human growth hormone rapidly. Yet, even knowledgeable people choose not to fast as a healthy option. They know that it is an essential factor that decreases the risk of age-related disease, yet they choose not to do this or other actions that yield similar results.
Why? There are many reasons. Choices usually involve two options. One option is pro. The other option is a con. Even armed with knowledge and evidence that making a pro decision benefits us the most, we choose to avoid it. We decide to do something else. Was it because we desire to avoid pain or to gain pleasure?
We make decisions daily. Some good and some bad. We need to make bad decisions to become successful. We need to learn from our mistakes. It seems that most of us don’t know when to stop making mistakes and to learn from them.
I generally do not eat after six pm if I can avoid it. However, last night I ate around seven pm. I ate more than I should have. I knew better. But it tasted so good. I could have taken half of it home with me, but I chose not to. Why? At that moment the please overwhelmed the future pleasure of a similar experience. I did not sleep as well as I usually do because of the late eating and an extra full belly.
Even when we know better, we choose to make poor decisions. Healthy living demands constant and continual tenacity to do the right thing. The other part of the equation is knowing what the right thing to do is! Most of us don’t. Choices have consequences!