Sunday, January 8, 2012

Need More Time? Too Much Stress? Stop Drinking!

Sometimes work just seems to get out of hand and, no matter what you do, it seems like there's not enough time in the day to get done all the things you need to. I've had this experience many times.

In fact, from the middle of 2011 to the end of the year, I felt this way constantly. I was carrying a heavy schedule and also had serious stress from dealing with partners and investors. Sometimes it seemed that I had no one to talk to.

I was doing my best to go out and make sales for my new company and, due to the nature of the business, that meant going out at night and drinking with clients and potential customers. That's really where the problem begins; I like to drink. Sometimes I like it too much.

In Japan, it is very common for business deals to be worked out, not at the office, but at a drinking establishment. I've concluded hundreds of deals this way.

I've concluded so many deals the good old Japanese drinking way that I don't even remember them all.

I also don't remember, often times, how I got home after making those deals. I just woke up the next morning, in bed, with a massive hangover. That's the problem with drinking; it's hard to be a social drinker for me. I like to drink and I like the feeling I get when the alcohol "warms me up." Especially if I am at a rock concert or dealing and meeting with music industry related people.

Even so, I've gone periods when I drank every night for months. I've also gone periods when I didn't drink at all for months. Alcohol is a very powerful drug and your body will still feel the effects of it long after you've stopped drinking. I noticed that, in the times I'd go for months without a drink that if I had even one beer, I'd feel tired the next morning. Really! Even one drink at night will have a sedative effect on you the next morning when you wake up.

If I don't drink for about three or four days, the tiredness feeling starts to go away. Seriously, that's how long it takes; three or four days. If you go without a drink for about a week or two, then you will have completely flushed the alcohol out of your system and start to feel much more energetic.

So, if you are a regular drinker, try that: one day without even a taste of alcohol will make you feel better the next morning. Two weeks will make you feel much better and younger. If you go on a raw food diet and don't drink for six months, you will lose 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and feel like you are 17 years old again. I know, I've done that. (Actually doing that again is my New Year's resolution - that is starting today!!!!)

When I stopped drinking and went completely raw food for six months, I lost 17 kilograms.
This photo was two years ago.

I want to do that again. But I digress....

This is a post about creating more time in your day by abstaining from alcohol. You really can lighten your work load and create more time by doing so.

Last year, in the middle of November, I went to work and saw an old friend of mine who was the founder of a multi-million dollar company and retired a millionaire before 50-years-old. We had a nice talk and I told him that I was extremely over worked, tired and hung-over (funny that, being tired and hung over is not conducive to efficient work and time usage). I told him that I was out with a business acquaintance of ours that we've both known for years. That business acquaintance's name is Ray.

Ray is a world famous concert promoter. He founded Beatink in Japan. That means he does live the life of "Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll" (no drugs in Japan, of course). Ray is a wild one. Wildly successful and wildly crazy sometimes. The night before I had dinner with Ray and we started at 5:00 and by 9:00 pm we had drank a few cocktails and (I think) four bottles of wine. After that, we went back to Ray's house and watched Japanese sixties Sci-Fi Horror flicks. There we drank at least another six bottles of wine. I lost count. The next thing I knew it was 3:30 am and I told Ray that I just had to go home. Ray started yelling,

"Mike Rogers you wimp! Get back here and let's drink some more wine!" 

He was still yelling when I crawled out of the house and I am sure Ray and his girlfriend drank some more (well, actually she doesn't drink that much - Ray drank more)... Like I said, I stumbled out the door and slithered down the stairs to the street. I don't remember how I got home.... Typical.

The next day I had a hellacious hangover and four important meetings to attend to.

That brings me back to meeting and talking with my retired at 50-years-old millionaire friend in the middle of November. I told him about drinking with Ray and he laughed. He knew too well what drinking with Ray was like. I told my friend about how I was burning the candle at both ends and I asked for advice on how I could open up more time for myself. He smiled and laughed and said, 

"Stop drinking."

I protested. How can I stop drinking in Japan? A country that has a culture of sales and personal business relationships built on deals made over drinks?

My friend smiled once again. He said,

"I know another extremely wealthy president of another company who had the same problem so he went to a retired businessman he greatly respected to ask for advice. The retired businessman told him to stop drinking. The wealthy president claimed the same as you do, 'impossible to stop drinking because of the ways of business in Japan.' The retired businessman said, 'Yes. That is true. But drinkers will also understand the sufferings of other drinkers. Tell your friends that you have some sort of illness that prevents you from drinking.'"

That was like a light going off in my head. It's true. I know from experience. When I had a terrible gout attack, and had to stop drinking, none of my friends pressured me to drink: they all felt really sorry for me! Really!

Trust me. Many (most?) guys who drink who are in their fifties or later have had drink-related problems or know someone very close to them who has. We do feel sorry for you if you don't want to drink.

Being a teetotaller has had a very uncool image for years! 

The moral of the story? If you want to feel better and be more productive and wake up fresher, stop drinking. If your peers pressure you, I gave you a good excuse just now: Just say you have gout or border-line diabetes. They'll stop bothering you (or they're not your friends!) By feeling better and being more alert and alive, you will get more work done in a much faster and more efficient process. You probably can't cut down all those meetings, but you can help yourself to get a better rest and to feel younger and more energetic and clear-headed if you stop drinking for a few weeks.

Now, that's how you create more time and less stress for yourself.

Nah. I stopped that three years ago.

As for me, I'm getting ready to start working the new year in earnest from this Tuesday. It takes a lot to get myself ready and mentally prepared to go out and do my best. But I have decided to do it. I want to do it for work, for my health and to help me spend more time with my family. 

I am going to eat raw foods only for a few months and stop drinking starting today. Wish me luck? Any readers out there who wish to join me for a cup of tea?

Thanks to: my dear friends Ray Hearn and Koji Kamibayashi


Ryu Oni said...

Wow, that's amazing! Though I have to say, I don't think I could go without a drink for too long a period of time...though mind you, I'm still 22 and feel like I need to experience the alcoholic lifestyle. And besides, my family runs a Pub back in England- alcohol practically runs through my veins! But since I came to Japan [again] just a few months ago, I've not drunk much alcohol at all- just one or two beers here or there at social gatherings.
I hope, however, that I too will one day be successful, perhaps quitting alcohol altogether will be the key to that?

Andrew Joseph said...

Not drinking in Japan is difficult - especially for a gaijin looking to fit in. Being a popular fellow, I went out with a different group of people several times a week. I did think I was turning into an alcoholic... and eventually quit, started eating natto and went jogging every night. I lost 10lbs in a month and was able to go from gasping at 1600 meters up to 10km. Then I went home to Toronto and started drinking again, but working out 6x a week. I lost weight and sweated booze on the stairmaster (you really could smell the rum pour out of my pores!). Then I met a woman, got married and never went out drinking again or to the gym. My weight went up.
Hmmmmm it seems like the only thing I haven't tried is the raw vegetable diet (which you told me about a few months ago). I am actually allergic to 5 common veggies, but I would be interested in giving this thing a try. I'm just unsure why I would want to live longer! :)
I also love the temperance photo. It's not making for a reason to want to stop drinking... those chicks are at least 8 beers for me to even think about touching their lips.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I don't really drink or smoke. I have smoked an occasional cigarette but was never a smoker and I have the occasional drink but I drink so little that you can't really say I'm a drinker. I sometimes wonder whether I would have been able to keep working if I was a drinker and smoker. Life is an enigma and I guess we'll never know.

boo said...

Good luck this time, Mike. I recommend paleo though, not raw. Given your long residence here, I'm shocked that you never heard that medical excuse before.
I think the industry makes a difference. In any given gathering for me, it always seems there's someone saying they can't drink for health reasons, and the others are careful not to cloud their judgement with more than a couple of drinks on business occasions.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I keep trying to take your advice. I need to buy that book you talked about in that Lew article, Mike. By the way, that Rockwell article is very entertaining. Thanks. - D