The Mindfulness Blog

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The Health Benefits World Is Flat

Is our personal health a "benefit", or is it something else? Something fundamental-- something more like what we lawyers might refer to as the sine qua non of our existence?

If one were to ask the "experts" who advise the leaders of our profession, the first question they would likely ask is: What does sine qua non mean? In contrast, the first thing they would likely think (but not say) is: Can I monetize it? As turns out to be the case so often, what we think and what we say, are often not the same.

Which causes me to wonder-- are our health "benefits" brokers selling us the same old beans (likely to cause gas) or overblown rhetoric (tinged with a bit of pomposity) that amounts to little more than a warmed-over version of: That's the way health has always been "done"?

Having practiced in the "Windy City" for almost 40 years, I've heard a lot of both beans and rhetoric. It was mildly humorous before, but it's definitely not, any longer. I bear no animosity toward any of those folks but before I go quietly into the night, I have to give voice to the two words that Roberto Duran spoke to Mike Tyson, in ending their much bally-hoo'd fight: "No mas".

Two observations, then I'll move on to other things that might have a snowball's chance of actually changing. First, both our physical health and our mental health are critical components of lawyer wellbeing. Full stop. Second, the process by which lawyer wellbeing decisions are currently being made, is no longer effective-- it's financially entrenched in non-thinking advice that is grounded in monetary gain. Again, full stop.

I know I'm just "talking to the hand", but I have to ask the question that a lot of folks apparently don't want to ask: Is the status quo really working, when it comes to the protection of lawyer wellbeing? Having asked the question, I'll also provide the answer (over objection) -- "no".

I don't advocate throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, but I do suggest we reexamine the utility of certain traditional tools (e.g., the role of health insurance in promoting lawyer wellbeing), and the repurposing or reimagining of those tools.

Gravity is a physical reality we are not likely to ever change. Man-made "realities", however-- like the so-called reality of wellbeing as just a health benefit-- can and will change. It's up to us to determine when and how.


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