From the monthly archives: "August 2013"


87609737Saw the tagline, “Same job for 5 years no raise, living the dream…” on Twitter the other day, and I liked it. The line got me thinking about value—both for oneself and others. Now I’m not trying to embarrass anybody by pulling out this tagline, but I think we all can reflect on, and maybe even learn from, the reality that this statement embodies.

I am intrigued by how many people just do not understand the concept of value, particularly the measure of value, which is one of the five functions of money. What something is worth to another person depends on how much they need it (demand), and how easily one can attain that same thing elsewhere (supply). If the item—and this can be an employee performing a certain task, duty or service—is readily available without much difference between sources, then its value will not be very high. If something is specialized, or harder to get, and people need or want that thing, then the value for that item or person providing it will be high. Now obviously economics becomes more complicated as we consider things like minimum wage, regulation and other factors, but in the general sense, monetary compensation is determined by worth to others.

going-out-of-businessSo how does this apply to individuals or businesses? Well on the side of business, perceived value is set in the pricing of goods or services. Again in a general sense, the market will tell a business if the prices it has set really reflect its worth. I say “in general” because other factors, of course, are involved in whether a company is profitable or not—things like marketing, understanding one’s demographics or niche, overhead costs, and so forth—which ultimately will determine the life or death of that business. So in the big picture a company has to be valuable in terms of goods, services and price to the people and communities it serves.

For individuals, two types of worth are important to consider: self-worth (how valuable you are to yourself) and worth to others. Self-worth is important because it determines how we think of ourselves, the goals we set, the risks we take, and ultimately how big we allow ourselves to dream. Low self-worth individuals keep themselves thinking and playing small, they allow others to walk all over them, and they allow fear (based on not feeling worthy enough) to guide their actions, and thus govern what they receive in life.

self-esteemMany of us have had low self-worth at some point in our lives. And many of us have also changed those patterns of belief within ourselves, and have thus gotten to experience the profound transformations that occur as a result of doing so. You may wonder how self-worth is truly and permanently changed in individuals, but this I will have to save for another post.* Just suffice it to say that it can be changed by anyone.

The other type of value is one’s worth to others. What do you provide for the world; what do you provide for others? Do you do something that makes other peoples’ lives easier? Have you created something—a tool perhaps (an app, software, process, etc.)? Do you make beautiful things? Do you make people look or feel beautiful? Do you do specialized work, like adjust the spine, clean pools, build things, or something that takes skill and know-how? Do you have special knowledge—of the law, of the human body, of metaphysics, of connecting to God? What do you do that other people can benefit from? And within your area of expertise, what makes you different from the others that do similar work? Aha! And this final question is what brings us back to square one.

rodman-reboundYou see, in the real world, what makes you special (self and other worth) is the most important factor in determining how much money you make. People are only going to pay you if you provide them with something they value. I remember a young street girl in Berkeley where I was a university student asking me for money one day; when I refused, she offered to recite a poem for a price. Now while I’m sure that she was a uniquely talented artist, her offer simply held no value for me. Had she offered to teach me physics or write a paper for me, on the other hand, I might have considered it…but clearly her solicitation was not considering the concept of value in an exchange.

url-12The same holds true in any monetary exchange including employment. If you work for a company and you do nothing to increase your value to them, then the chances that you will get a pay increase are pretty slim. Time served is simply not enough. Employees don’t always understand that laws prevent companies from just dumping people that don’t stand out, but you can probably bet (now that you are reading this) that your failure to get a pay raise is a direct reflection of your value to the company. It means that your work isn’t very much different from that of your peers; and it probably also means that the company believes if you were to leave—on your own volition, of course—that they probably couldn’t do any worse with somebody else, and they might even do better. That’s value connected to supply and demand!

The big moneySo how can you get a pay increase? You must demonstrate value to the person or company employing you, and that value has to be above and beyond what your competitors (peers) are offering. You first must be crystal clear on what that person or company values. This is where many people fail. They think that it should be something like time served, or a winning personality, or something else that likely only has value to them. But please understand that companies exist to earn profit. This is not an evil thing. Companies also provide goods and services, yes, and thus they provide a value to the world; but in the end: no profit = no company. And no company means every person working for that company is now unemployed. You see, it’s easy to vilify business in its quest for profits, but in the end many lives are connected to the life or death of a company, so considering the big picture is more realistic than what many do when evaluating the ethics of capitalism.

Here’s the bottom line: You want a pay raise—you need to show that business how you will help them be more profitable, period.

Champagne-Toast (Copy)If you can’t show a company how you will help them be profitable, then why would they value you above the average employee? Oh you think you are entitled to it over time…not if the company is not hugely successful you’re not. Yes if a company explodes—like Google, Facebook, or the government—then you’ll get a pay increase just for being on the team. But that’s not 99% of businesses: Profitability and extreme profitability are not the same, so if you aren’t showing your value to the company—how you individually and uniquely help that company be profitable—then you can hold your breath for your ten-year gold Rolex, because you probably aren’t going to get much of a pay hike unless the entire market goes upward. But if you can show your employer (clients) how what you do is valuable for them, and how if you were to no longer do it they might actually be less profitable and maybe even lose money (time, health, their freedom, etc), then you will be of utmost value to them, and I promise you, any smart company will pay for that.

*If you would love to know how to increase your self-worth your worth to others, and thus your financial worth, I am available for consultations: contact drnick@drnickcampos.com

flat,550x550,075,f One way that fear can keep us from achieving what we want:

We often hold ourselves back by using limited perceptions to imagine what our obstacles might be, but in reality we have no idea of what we will actually encounter in any endeavor. We think that we understand how the game is played, so we can, to some degree, know how things will carry out, but all we really have is an idea of what we think should happen, a script that only exists in our minds. Funny how the things we assume will challenge us are very often not the real obstacles; but other things come, things we can’t predict or even imagine until we actually take the leap. You have to understand that you will find a new way to solve the problems that you couldn’t even conceive were coming; and that you will forge who you are exactly by carrying out a unique struggle in that area of life in which you are choosing to play. So don’t hold yourself back from playing—you will get more out of life by not allowing your unfounded fears to guide you.

mind-body-spirit

Two important studies for mind-body dynamics have been recently published showing more evidence for the crucial role of the mind in the healing process.While it might be tempting to think that healing is of a purely physical nature, evidence is surfacing to show us just how integral the mind really is in the process. These current studies just deepen the possibility that the mental is as important as physical when it comes to the body’s recovery, restoration and repair.

The most interesting aspect of these findings, however, are being largely ignored by the researchers, I believe. While I agree with the conclusions on both studies, I think that they are merely touching the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps they feel the necessity to remain conservative in their analysis, so as not to push any paradigmatic parameters, but I think their results reveal something even bigger—and a massive opening for further research. Check it:

The first study, published in the December 2012 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science, looked at people who had undergone surgery for the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a common and serious knee injury. Participants were split into two groups—one receiving rehab only and one receiving rehab plus guided imagery (a form of visualization). Both groups completed six months of rehab. The guided imagery was carried out with the help of a therapist, and included mentally rehearsing physical therapy exercises, as well as visualizing the physiological healing process—for example, scar tissue breaking up and gentle stretching. The group practicing the guided imagery showed greater improvement in knee stability and decreased levels of stress hormones. Wow!

The second study, conducted at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and published in the February 2012 issue of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, looked at a group of patients scheduled to undergo gallbladder removal. Again the patients were split into two groups—one receiving standard care only, and the other receiving standard care plus relaxation and guided imagery techniques for three days prior and seven days after surgery.

“We used a relaxation intervention to try to reduce stress and therefore get a better inflammatory response to surgery and improve healing.” ~ Elizabeth Broadbent, professor of medicine, University of Auckland, in New Zealand

Visualize HealingThe first three days of guided imagery were focused on being relaxed and ready for the surgery, while the seven days following the procedure were focused on the body’s healing process (the group visualized oxygen and nutrients travelling to the wound site and helping the body knit the skin back together, easing discomfort, and providing “soothing relief.”) The group practicing the imaging techniques reported a larger reduction in stress than the control group, while their wound showed signs of greater collagen deposition and faster healing. Booyah!

But here is where I feel that both sets of  authors might be practicing a bit of conservative caution. They believe that their results showed, most predominantly, a decreased stress response, which is what improved healing. Now there’s no doubt in my mind that this is an essential piece to the puzzle—yet it is merely one piece, I believe, and a small one at that. What these studies say to me is that the mind is a major player in the healing process (and all physiological processes for that matter), and by using it in a focused manner—by visualizing details of the physiological mechanism of healing—we can actually guide the process along. Because, you see, I am certain we ‘create’ physical phenomena all the time. We already know that we can stimulate physiological processes (like heart rate and ventilation) by visualizing physical exertion (like running on a treadmill). So it’s no surprise to me that study participants increased their healing response by visualizing it happening on the cellular and molecular level.

I introduce this concept in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, where I describe the digestive process in detail, and encourage readers to visualize the process as they eat a meal, to enhance digestion (more on this in a future post). Yes I am sure guided imagery also helped the subjects relax, and that the decreased stress response assisted in recovery by creating an environment conducive to healing. But I just can’t ignore the real possibility that by mentally visualizing the physical processes unfolding the entire phenomenon is enhanced in some way. It makes me recall the neurological findings that our bodies already carry out some ‘conscious’ physical actions before we are actually aware of them. So, somehow, we are not as conscious of our actions as we think. Just tells me there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to our physiological processes—obvious when we consider things like daily autonomic functions, but maybe not so much (although equally possible) when considering less rhythmic, yet equally regular, processes like healing.

Mind-body healingNow I know at least one criticism to my thoughts on this subject will be: But people heal all the time without visualizing the process, so that can’t be the sole, or even the primary, factor in healing…to which I would reply: Right, because on some level everybody is in-tune with the fact that, as living organisms, we do heal…so that belief, that understanding, that expectation, is already playing a role in the healing process, even if unconsciously. However, by focusing conscious thought on the healing process itself, I believe that it is possible to enhance the outcome, and these studies only seem to add credence to this notion. The real beauty in all of this is that for the open-minded scientist these findings are preliminary data that can and should lead to more detailed studies in the future investigating the mind’s role in the physiological mechanisms that make up the healing process. Pretty cool if you ask me.


food allergiesSeveral months ago I wrote a post on food sensitivities, and how I believe this ubiquitous human trait to be at the root of the inordinate amount of digestive disorders plaguing the US and much of the western world today. I would like to take this time to explain the process by which I believe food sensitivities move from a source of irritation, to symptoms, to chronic conditions, to frank diseases over time; and I will also discuss how this process is currently dealt with by the mainstream medical machine (your doctors). Once I am finished, I think you will clearly understand why I think this dynamic is what’s really leading to the explosion of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in modern society.

As I have explained before, I believe that every person on this planet is sensitive to a variety of foods. These sensitivities differ from individual to individual. They can be as unique in their totality as the person possessing them. Some people are sensitive to nuts, some to dairy and others to shellfish—yes, your typical food allergens; the one’s that medical science recognizes and even tests for.

Berry + Walnut Salad with Strawberry Vinagrette (Copy)But some people are sensitive to foods that modern medicine would never consider causative agents in your typical GI disorders. Berries, melons, leafy green vegetables, chocolate, mint can all be disruptive to some people. I know—I happen to be sensitive to every one of these foods, each causing me symptoms that over time can become quite serious (I’ve done the research). And I have seen everything from chicken, to blueberries, to tomatoes cause symptoms in my children. Now while I believe that food sensitivities vary among people, I am quite certain that they follow a pattern of inheritance. One of my children definitely shares my sensitivities, while the other is similar to her mother, a food sensitivity body-type inheritance if you will.

I wish to be clear that I am not talking about food allergies here, which are a very distinct type of immune reaction to undigested proteins. The body sees these proteins as foreign and, as a result, goes on attack. This is precisely what medical science looks for when they do food allergy testing. The foods typically known to cause allergic reactions (some life threatening, like anaphylaxis) are eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, shellfish, soy and wheat (the “big eight”).

Food sensitivities, however, are somewhat controversial among medical professionals (particularly in the UK and Netherlands), and thus do not show up on the radar of most medical doctors. Although I know a handful of rather open-minded and wise docs, I am certain that most shrug-off the notion that food sensitivities are primary causative factors to many GI symptoms epidemic in modern society. This is a big mistake.

Symptoms-of-Acid-Reflux

After consuming a food that one is sensitive to, the body can respond in a number of different ways. My observation is that there exists a sensitivity spectrum within each person, such that some foods will cause a worse reaction than others in a person. For instance, I can actually have a few berries here and there—a blessing as I absolutely love them—and an occasional green salad won’t bother me too much, despite the fact that I can barely digest lettuce (I’ll spare you from the gory details, but let’s just say my body removes it as quickly as possible). Too much of either, however, and I get heartburn (acid reflux) and watery stool respectively (Sorry! Some gory details are necessary). Pork is another food I must be cautious with. While I love salami, more than just a little leads to some serious heartburn for me, which can last as long as a few days. Chocolate, on the other hand, hits me hard: I’ve had multiple episodes of severe gastritis, which on at least one occasion had sent me to the ER, where I had my healthy appendix graciously removed (because the notion that food sensitivities might be leading to a severe case of gastritis just wasn’t in the playbook [read: consciousness] of the staff there).

All of these GI symptoms—from the minor to the severe—are simply the body’s attempt to remove an ingested food item that is acting like a poison to that body-type. I will admit, though, that I do not know the exact mechanism of the food sensitivity reactions. That will be for medical science to figure out once they finally acknowledge the prevalence and etiology of the phenomenon. But I am rather confident that most GI symptoms are the body’s intelligent response to the ingestion of a food which is an irritant (in the case of foods which lie on the milder side of the spectrum) or toxin (chocolate in me) to that body.

acid reflux medication

Think about it: Halitosis, hiccups, heartburn, excessive gas, bloating, cramping, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea—all are symptoms of the body trying to either remove an ingested food item, or the effects of that item being digested incompletely. But since your average medical doctor will likely not consider food sensitivities as a factor in your GI disorder, what do you think happens? Yes, he or she will go into the standard medical playbook, consider the symptoms only, and prescribe a treatment based on the severity and duration of those symptoms. Short-term and mild GI symptoms (those on the lower end of the spectrum) will get medicated, while the more severe and chronic cases will receive first a bevy of diagnostic testing (to observe how your physiology is changing—think endoscopy and colonoscopy) and then either medication, surgery or both. No doubt some docs will consider diet to a slight degree in your case management, but rarely will they do so as a serious or long term approach. And that’s where the real fun begins.

So the patient goes home with his or her medication and goes back to business as usual. You see, the rationale behind the medical approach to GI disorders, in general, is that it’s due to a genetic predisposition. In other words, they believe that by chance one just overproduces gastric acid leading to reflux; or by poor luck of the draw, one’s intestinal motility lags, so digested food is passed through the system slowly (causing constipation). The answer, then, is to overcome this genetic defect in physiological function by prescribing a powerful chemical substance. So essentially the medical message is, “Sorry you’re just one unlucky sucker, but you’re also lucky because we have the solution—medicine!” Now does this message really make sense?

roll-the-dice

Try applying that logic to any other physical phenomenon and you will see how truly pathetic it is. It’s akin to believing in spirits, and you know how science feels about that… This belief, which unfortunately has been infused into the consciousness of the general public, leads to symptom suppression, which works for a short time only, since the actual cause of symptoms has not been addressed. Ultimately, the body will work hard to overcome this suppression, because symptoms are not only the body’s response to insult, but also its communication—a way of letting us know that something is wrong. In this case, digestive symptoms are our body’s way of letting us know that we are poisoning it. And how does the human body overcome medicinal suppression—by increasing its physiological response, which in turn, increases symptoms.

So in practical terms: If you take heartburn meds for long enough, your body will fight back with greater heartburn. If you take antiflatulents, anti-diarrheals or anti-constipation meds long-term, then just watch your body rebound with even worse flatulence, worse diarrhea and worse constipation, whatever the case might be. Don’t believe me? Then go for it, but if you’re wise you’ll just take a look around you at all the people suffering from digestive disorders, and you’ll see them playing out the exact scenario I am describing.

Stomach-Cancer

Stomach Cancer

Over time this cycle of increasing GI symptoms, to suppression with medications, to even worse GI symptoms, to suppression with more potent medication, to even worse symptoms, is what I believe is the precursor to serious GI diseases—things like Barrett’s esophagus, stomach cancer, acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis, gallstones, Crohn’s disease, and colon cancer. I’m fairly confident that every one of these disorders results from repeatedly eating foods that the body is sensitive to, and ultimately, they act as a form of poison leading to pathophysiology and frank disease.

I’d like to finish by asking two final questions: One, do you really think pharmaceutical scientists, medical doctors, herb pushers or anybody else selling an outside-in remedy for your digestive disorders is smarter than your own body? And two, do you really think that the random chance, crummy luck of the genetic draw explanation for the prevalence of digestive disorders in the western world makes more sense than the innate intelligence of the body communicating through symptoms explanation? I thought so. Listen to your body.

More to come.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved. Web Services by David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design