011: How To Age Well | Atul Gawande | ‘Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End’

By Maya Mathias | Academics


The aging process isn’t what we think it is.  And that’s why we suffer through it.

If you’re reading this. there’s a high chance you’re in the prime of life, at or near the peak of your contribution to family and society.

So the last thing you need to be thinking about is aging and dying, right?

Not so fast.  It’s precisely this denial and avoidance of the aging process that gets us into serious trouble when it does show up.  I’ve seen enough rude shocks in the lives of family and friends who were struck with terminal illnesses or unforeseen diseases and frailties.  And the ones who gave it some thought beforehand tend to ride the avalanche better than most.

In this episode, I share some fascinating insights and ideas from Atul Gawande’s book ‘Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End’.  It’s an unflinching look at the realities and joys of the aging process (yes, there can be joy even when we’re at death’s door), through the lens of a surgeon who deals with it at work and, more recently, in his personal life.  What I love about the book is that it has large doses of both head and heart – lots of research and statistics, and tons of real-life stories that illustrate the impact of mortality-related choices and emotions.   Unless we transition from this earth through an accident or a swift and sudden disease, most of us will need to navigate this stage of aging for ourselves and via the ones we love.  Saying goodbye is not just about the physical decline – it is as much, if not more so, about the internal journey we take through our sense of vitality, meaning and legacy.

I end the episode with questions, ideas and resources to aid and ease our journeys into this final phase of life.(And check out the webinar that I talk about here. )


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Till next time, remember to live well and lead large.

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About the Author

Maya Mathias helps her clients lead with the strategic mind of a scientist, the resilient heart of a warrior and the inventive soul of an artist. Read more about Maya here.

Jinggo September 14, 2015

Good Piece,I think the idea behind fcsuoing as much on innovation is to make one model or strategy work and help a lot more number of people, as opposed to only helping a few in a similar time frame, but I guess(in agreement with your post) equal attention needs to be to solving problems we already have solutions for 🙂

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