Health is not an end in itself. The goal of any human life is the sustained achievement of happiness. Each individual has the freedom and right to define what happiness means to them (up to the point where it does not infringe upon the rights of others). Although it is generally true that health must be a consideration in reaching and maintaining that goal, we must realize that the requirements for attaining optimal health very often lie in contradiction with the behaviors that bring a person happiness.
Janet and Frederick meet in college, fall in love, marry and have a child. Both employed in successful careers, they cherish their evenings and weekends together while raising their son. Their diet is heavy in red meat and carbohydrates, and the activities they both enjoy, along with their child, are playing video games, watching movies, and maintaining small gardens of flowers and vegetables. Unfortunately, while Janet’s genetic background can tolerate this diet and rather sedentary lifestyle, Frederick gains weight, and develops indicators for heart disease and diabetes as he approaches his early 40s.
When his cholesterol and A1C levels reach national guidelines for recommending treatment, his physician tells him that he must eliminate red meat, eat minimal carbohydrates, and immediately start an intensive exercise regimen. Frightened into compliance, Frederick announces he will now be a vegetarian, and begin spending each weekend hiking and bicycling.
Initially supportive, over the next several weeks his wife and son find their family dynamics disrupted. Dinners are stressful – Janet tries vegetarian dishes, finds them inedible, and returns to preparing their traditional meals while providing Frederick with salads. Frederick resents the temptation of meat and sugary deserts being served in his presence, and chooses to eat alone in his study. On weekends, he spends most of the day away from the family biking and hiking. Within a few months, though he loses 20 pounds and no longer feels sleepy after meals, his life with his family has deteriorated into a daily emotional battleground. Frederick has gained health and lost happiness.
The central motivation behind the HumLife360 architecture is assisting our customers not in finding optimal health, but in finding the optimal balance between health and personal happiness. For Frederick, we may provide suggestions to try a virtual reality gaming system, which requires the user to get off the couch and move around the room. Or to try eating half of the portion of meat he would usually eat at dinner, and add a small salad. In this way he can gradually improve his health, while not disrupting the family life that is the core of his happiness.