I’m going to diverge from the usual entrepreneur stuff I write about and talk about using the entrepreneurial approach to solve hard problems with health. Many of us go through these things, but we never talk about them publicly for fear of seeming vulnerable.
I am no longer afraid to talk. Or be vulnerable. I feel invincible and I love myself. (Why? That comes in Part 2)
I used to run a lot a few years ago, until I started getting foot injuries. Plantar Fascitis (inflammation of the heel) was the worst. My feet hurt all day. Walking alone was painful. This is what it looks like:
I did all the usual things: physical therapy, stop running, take anti-inflammation medication. I saw 4 doctors and specialists. I even had custom orthotics made for my feet that a podiatrist recommended. Nothing worked. Surgery was the next option.
Surgery just sounded terrible. So I started reading and came across this book called Born to Run, which is a true story about a hidden Mexican tribe where people run hundreds of miles daily just to get food and stuff, and never get injured. The idea was simple: barefoot running. Shoes are the source of the problem, not the solution.
So I tried it. Got rid of the thick Nikes, and got Nike Free. Got Vibrams. And in less than a month, a 2-year problem that could not be cured by medication, orthotics or anything else was GONE. Forever.
Then one day, several weeks later, I found my old orthotics and put them on my feet. To my surprise, the orthotics did not fit any more. The SHAPE of my feet had permanently changed. More specifically, my feet were no longer as flat, and the arch holding them up was stronger.
My Podiatrist and doctors couldn’t believe it. They still don’t. The shape of your feet does not permanently change. But mine did. And I have the orthotics to prove it.
What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? Everything.
The key principle is the same: don’t be force-fed by what doctors (or the status-quo) tells you. The knowledge of the world is incomplete at best. Mainstream wisdom or science does not encompass everything. Just as you believe that there is a better way to build a product and take it to market, you must believe that there are unconventional and undiscovered solutions to things as deep and personal as health problems. The current medical establishment, just like the current business establishment, does not know everything and cannot always give you the best solution.
Since then, Murti and I have logged hundreds of miles in hiking. We’ve hiked the grand canyon together. He’s taken it to another level and completed several marathons. It’s one of the most liberating things in the world, being close to nature through running and hiking.