« Lease vs. ownership

June 12, 2016 • 1 min read

Fitness

I recently came across a quote that changed the way I think about fitness:

Warren Buffett: “…Let’s say that when I turned sixteen, a genie had appeared to me. And that genie said, ‘Warren, I’m going to give you the car of your choice. It’ll be here tomorrow morning with a big bow tied on it. Brand-new. And it’s all yours.’ Having heard all the genie stories, I would say, ‘What’s the catch?’ And the genie would answer, ‘There’s only one catch. This is the last car you’re ever going to get in your life. So it’s got to last a lifetime.’ If that had happened, I would have picked out that car. But, can you imagine, knowing it had to last a lifetime, what I would do with it? I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I’d have it fixed right away because I wouldn’t want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime. That’s exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just life the car would be. It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”

I have a small extension to suggest to this model of thinking about your body. I’d say, as of now, we typically get a 75-year lease (and not “full ownership”) on this car. If companies like Calico succeed in their mission to enable people to lead longer and healthier lives, that lease term will keep getting extended. And, if they can get to immortality, this lease would then become full ownership. It would be interesting to see how we think about health and fitness changes when that happens.