Gary C. Halbert
Written and Published by:
Gary C. Halbert t Cherrywood Publishing
3101 S.W. 34th Ave. #905-467 t Ocala, FL34474
Phone: (305) 534-7577
June 12, 1984
This letter is going to be the first in
a long series of letters in which I will attempt to communicate
to you a lot of the important things I have learned in the last
I am going to try to teach
you what I have learned about selling by mail, getting and staying
healthy, how to get along with people, and, in general, how
to have a good life without getting yourself all screwed up.
There will also be stuff about sex, drugs and rock and roll!
I'm going to try to write to you every day of the week (except
Sunday) and spend about one hour on each letter. That way, by
the time I get out of here we should have covered a lot of ground.
Also, I intend to reread these letters
myself after I am finished and use them as source material for
a book I have wanted to write for a long time. The book, unless
I come up with a better title, will be called:
How To Be Your Own Messiah
These letters will ramble around somewhat.
I'm going to try to keep the flow going so I am not going to
slow down to edit these letters and, therefore, don't expect
them to be as precisely written as my ads and other writings.
Anyway, let's get started. As you know, today is my
birthday and, strange as it may seem, it hasn't been a bad one under the
circumstances. For one thing I got your birthday letter and the cards your
Mom sent me and, for another, today is the first day I was able to run
"the hill" non-stop. Being able to do that really made me feel
good. The hill is a real son of a gun. It is very steep and, by my
calculations, it is about 8/10 of a mile. I went around the hill 5 times
for a total of 4 miles and, as I said, on one of those circuits (the third
one), I did it running (actually it was more of a slow jog) non-stop.
You know what? When I came in here, just
three weeks ago, it was hard for me just to walk
once around that darn hill. And, before I am finished, I'll
bet you I can run around that hill ten times (8 miles) without
Well, anyway, this all leads
me to the first and most important thing I want to write about
which is improving and maintaining your health and physical
fitness. I'll have a lot more to say about this subject later
but today I just want to "warm up" a little bit and
tell you a few good ideas that you can start using everyday.
The first thing I want to talk about is
"road work". Road work is walking, jogging and running.
And, in my opinion, you should do about one hour of road work
everyday of the week except Sunday. I believe the best time
to do your road work is right after you get out of bed.
In fact, in my opinion, the best groove
to get into is get out of bed, (early) wash your face, brush
your teeth, use the bathroom, etc., and then, eat a piece of
fruit (I think a banana is the best) and then hit
That's it. Just get out that front door
and start moving. Walk, run, jog. Keep moving for about 1/2
hour and then turn around and come back. You know, I really
do believe this is the very best way in the world to start the
day. It cleans you out, it settles you down and it gives you
a nice glow that will stay with you throughout the day. It will
also make you more clearheaded and improve the quality of your
thinking. The benefits are enormous and, believe me, if you
start doing this right away (like the day after you get this
letter!) it won't be long at all till you become positively
addicted to your early morning workout.
By the way, this addiction is not just
psychological. It is a real honest-to-God drug addiction. But
don't let that scare you. This is what's known as a positive
addiction. A positive addiction is simply being addicted to
something (like exercise) that improves the quality of your
life. A negative addiction, on the other hand, is being addicted
to something (like cigarettes) that lowers the quality of your life.
What happens when you do road work is
that, after about forty minutes, your brain begins to secrete
what some people refer to as "survival chemicals".
The names of these chemicals, as far as I know, are beta endorphins
and norephinphrine. Some people say these chemicals are 200
times stronger than morphine and, in my opinion, the feeling
you get is sort of like a good drug high except that the "high"
is not artificial and you become zestful rather than speedy
and, unlike a drug high, this is a high that is good for you.
If I seem to be going on and on about
this it is because it is so important and it is something you
can do right away!
And, actually, of everything
I have learned about in my entire life, this stuff about doing
road work the first thing in the morning is very close to being
the most important thing of all.
So I really hope you get started
on this morning road work program as soon as you get this letter
and I also hope it becomes a habit for all the rest of your
I Love You and Good Luck!
P.S. Please get me a copy of "The Joy of
Running" by Theodore Kostrubala.
Well, that's it. You've just read Chapter 1 of
"The Boron Letters". Chapter 2 will follow in a few short
Gary C. Halbert
P.S. You want to do some
of your friends a favor? Have them read my book "The Boron
Letters"... even if... they are not interested in marketing.
Why? Because this book also deals with life... and... they will
be able to benefit from these experiences.
This first letter is short yet contains far more than the reader probably sees and I would wager, that this first letter is most over looked or taken for granted.
The lesson on health he is teaching is crystal clear and it is not lost on me that he chose this topic first. His father died at the young age of 59 of heart failure and that spooked him just as my father’s death has spooked me. He did live ten years longer than his dad and it wasn’t due to modern medicine by any means. He was very hard on his body until he was middle age, but then he would fall in and out of work out phases.
At one point he was running up to 13 miles on the beach and ate only health food. Unfortunately he had an arterial blockage that caused his death, but the ME confirmed that other than that he was in great shape for his age.
I did try jogging and never liked it. The time it takes to get the endorphins running to the brain to make you feel high takes too long for me. It is also too hard on my knees.
We all love the high or endorphin rush we get from exercising for a long time and we all love that calm mellow glow we have when we are done, but I don’t look forward to the process of getting to that point.
For me, exercise should be fun from the get go and not a WORK out simply because if it is fun and therefore easier to find the motivation to do it and keep doing it.
I prefer non-competitive sports instead. There is very little equipment in sport chalet that I have not tried at one time or another and the only activity that really stuck with me is bicycling. It is easier for me because when I ride, it feels like exploring and not so much like exercise.
When he wrote the first letter, I was 15 and at that age all young men think they are invincible to what ails old people. I knew I would have to take better care of myself, but I thought it was something for later in life. It reminds me of a line in a song on the Faces album. “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.”
In fact, that song always reminds me of my pop. I imagine him telling my son about women’s ways (and then me correcting him).
Anyway, there is a lesson he didn’t outright express in this first part of the letter. When he talks about how when he first got there it was hard just to walk around the hill and very soon he was running up it.
When I got my first mountain bike I decided to ride it to Mullhulland Dr. and basically that was a three-mile road that varied from around 3 degrees to at least 45 degrees in some spots.
The first day I went to conquer the hill I made it a whopping 1/8th of a mile. I decided to try again the next day only this time I vowed to get off and walk if I had to.
This time I took it slower and knowing this was going to be tough, I decided to try and peddle in a gear that seemed too easy.
Well I am sure you can guess the end of this story. Yes I made it all the way up on my second attempt and the moral isn’t just to not give up.
The moral of my dad’s workout story and mine is the same and it applies to all of life. Try things at least twice. Just the second attempt at anything hard will be much easier. Not a little bit but by A LOT. It is true of almost everything, not just sports.
All first attempts are sloppy and lame. Most people will quit after their first experience with things that don’t go so well, but if you are like my pop and I, then you KNOW that the first attempt is almost destined to fail and you will learn enough to get a better assessment of the whole picture and what it will really takes to attain a goal on your second attempt.
Just that much more ambition will propel you ahead of 95% of everyone walking the earth.
The sad part is, we all already know this lesson, but we have to remind ourselves of it. Anyone who ever learned to ride a bike remembers their first attempt to learn because it ended with blood. Oops, anyone old enough not to have the advantage of today’s protective gear that is.
As people get older they start to decide whether they like stuff based on their first experience. Maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks simply because, if he doesn’t get it the first time he gives up.
Everyone wants to climb the mountain, but the big difference between those at the top and those still on the bottom is simply a matter of showing up tomorrow to give it just one more shot.
The other lesson he touches on is getting up early to do road work and that too has a business lesson and a VERY important lesson as well.
I think he wrote about this in his newsletter, but he used to teach people something I called “the four square lesson on life”. It was something he picked up from a great book called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. It is a great lesson and relates to the one in the story.
The lesson is this. Everything you do can be categorized as either important or not important. Also everything you do can be categorized as urgent or not urgent.
To make it easy to explain we will use a 4 square box:
As you can see the chart is divided into fourths or quartiles, which is what the Q is for.
Basically things that are found in Q1 are urgent and important and would be things like getting a broken arm fixed.
Things that are urgent but not important would be things like getting to the toy store before it closes.
We all decide what is important to each of us, but for the most part what is important but not urgent are things such as working out or getting a prostate exam.
The final category is hardly worth mentioning because it is neither urgent nor important and it has things like reading a classic novel. You do them if you want to, but if not, it doesn’t matter at all.
We all spend much of our day taking care of what falls into Q1 and then Q3. Later, if there is time left over and depending on our mood we will relax and do things that would fall into Q4 or maybe even take the time to do some of the things in Q2.
Winners in life and successful people spend a lot more time doing things that fall into Q2 than most people.
If you take the time to think about it, everything you do in Q2 helps avoid having to do so much in Q1. If you spend a lot of time working out you should spend less time at the doctor’s office. If you take care of things that are important before they become urgent, then the only things that become urgent will be beyond your control or unimportant.
At the end of the letter he talks about getting it done early because he knows that it is something that falls into Q2. The point is we all have to deal with what is important and urgent. However, early in the morning is the only time most of us can avoid dealing with regular chores long enough to take care of things categorized in Q2.
Once the world wakes up and the e-mail messages, text messages and phone calls start your time will quickly get consumed with things that are urgent.
The rule is the same for business. Take care of important things first and early before you lose the chance. If you have a marketing campaign to test, the earlier the better. If you are writing copy for an ad, do it early before the phone starts ringing.
If I had to guess, I’d say 90% of all successful people get up early and most of the other ten percent stay up late for the same reason. While everyone sleeps or watches the boob tube they can get stuff done without being interrupted.
Copyright © Gary C. Halbert. All Rights Reserved.