CARROTS ARE GOOD for you. They provide
a lot of fiber and beta-carotene. I once had a bag of them handy
and munched away on them while I was reading a book. I wasn't
really paying attention to how many I was eating, and didn't
really worry about it because after all, carrots are good for
Later I began to get a stomach ache. It
progressively got worse. I tried to go to sleep but felt sick
to my stomach and the pain and queasiness kept increasing, until
about three in the morning I went to the emergency room. I was
in dead earnest. Something was seriously wrong, and it was only
The doctor asked me some questions and
then pressed on my middle in a specific place, and I threw up.
Aren't you glad I'm telling you this?
The point is, you can do too much of a
good thing. Carrots expand as they absorb water. And I'd eaten
so many carrots that they expanded so much they completely clogged
the place where my stomach empties into the small intestine.
Nothing could pass through it.
Some carrots are better than none, and
some carrots are also better than too many.
Consider this quote from the September
1995 issue of Consumer Reports on Health:
At least 10 studies...[assigned] depressed
volunteers either to exercise, to receive another treatment,
or just to remain inactive [studies have shown depressed people
tend to be rather sedentary]. All 10 studies confirmed that exercise
significantly reduces mild to moderate depression. And the three
studies that compared exercise to psychotherapy found that exercise
was at least as effective.
There is lots of evidence that moderate
and even mild exercise has significant effects on depression,
and yet when people exercise too much or too vigorously, it can
actually cause depression or make it worse. Some is better
than none and better than too much.
I use this principle when I lift weights,
something I very much enjoy. Several times I've injured myself
lifting and every time the injury was caused by doing too much.
Working out intensely makes me euphoric and I used to go too
far because it felt so good. Too many sets, too much weight,
moved too fast, or pulled too far. Since I've been using this
principle, I have been injury free. I haven't gained strength
as fast as I have in the past, but in the long run I'll get further
with fewer injuries.
DREAMS OF GLORY
This principle is not just for food and
exercise. Not that those are trivial, but you can also apply
it with profit to other areas. Many young people awaken to their
potential and want to do something to make the world a better
place. As they go along, they realize the world is a very big
place and it would be nearly impossible to have an impact on
the "whole world."
But we can all have an impact on
our world. We can make a difference to the people in our
lives. But that doesn't seem good enough. The dream of making
a difference in the world can sometimes be replaced by apathy
as people give up. It's a form of all-or-nothing thinking. The
world is almost never all-or-nothing anything. Some is better
As the political writer, Edmund Burke wrote,
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because
he could only do a little." Doing a little, in almost every
circumstance, is better than doing nothing. It's a good rule
of thumb because first of all, it is more enjoyable to do something
than to do nothing. And secondly, you never know where your little
thing will lead.
Paul Rokich just wanted to replant an area
in Utah that had been devastated by a copper smelter. The sulfur
dioxide poured out of the refinery and made a desolate wasteland
out of what was once fourteen thousand acres of beautiful forest.
Paul wanted to bring it back.
It's a big goal, but he wasn't trying to
save the world. Just fourteen thousand acres in Utah. He grew
up nearby and there were no animals, no trees, no bushes, no
birds. Nothing but black and barren earth that even smelled bad.
As a child, he made it his goal to bring the land back to life.
When he grew up, he contacted the smelter
office and asked them if they'd let him onto their property to
plant trees. They said no.
He went to college and studied botany.
One of his professors was an expert in Utah's ecology, and told
Paul his goal was hopeless. Even if he planted trees there, and
even if they grew, the wind would only blow the seeds 40 feet
per year, and that's all the spreading you'd get because there
weren't any squirrels or birds to spread the seeds. And the seeds
from the trees would need another 30 years before they
started producing seeds of their own. So, in essence, the professor
said it would take approximately twenty thousand years to revegitate
that six-square-mile piece of earth. It would be a waste of his
life to try to do it.
He tried to go on with his life. He got
married, had some kids, got a job operating heavy equipment.
But his dream would not die.
Then one night, based on the logic that
some is better than none, he sneaked onto the smelter's property
with a backpack full of seedlings and started planting. For seven
hours, he planted seedlings.
A week later, he did it again. Every week
he made a secret pilgrimage into the wasteland and planted trees,
shrubs and grass. But most of it died.
Even so, some of it lived, and that's better
For fifteen years Paul Rokich did this.
Freezing winds, blistering heat, floods, landslides and fires
destroyed his work again and again. But he kept planting. Some
is better than none.
One night he discovered a highway crew
had come and taken tons of dirt for a road grade, and all the
trees he had painstakingly planted in that area were gone.
But he just kept planting.
Week after week, year after year, he kept
at it, against the opinions of the authorities, against the trespassing
laws, against the devastation of road crews, against the wind
and rain and heat even against plain common sense. He
just kept planting.
And something began to happen.
Things started to take root. Then gophers
appeared. Then rabbits. Then porcupines. The old copper smelter
gave him permission to be on their land. They eventually hired
Paul to do what he was already doing, and provided him with machinery
and crews to work with. Progress accelerated.
Today the place is fourteen thousand acres
of trees and grass and bushes, rich with elk and eagles, and
Paul Rokich has received almost every environmental award Utah
He said, "I thought that if I got
this started, when I was dead and gone people would come and
see it. I never thought I'd live to see it myself!"
You never know how things will turn out.
Sometimes just doing something, however small that something
seems, can lead to something great.