Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on March 17, 2009

93-year-old fitness expert Terry Robinson offers you advice for a long and happy life.

As the moon lights the blackened sky, it is cold and quiet as Terry Robinson awakens. It is 2 am and most people are asleep as he does a series of mild stretches to warm up his body.

Soon Terry steps into a hot shower and afterwards, he offers God a gentle prayer expressing his gratitude for the well-being of others as well as for himself. In the solitude he finds peace. He then has breakfast and reads until 4:15 am when a car arrives to take him to work.

Ten minutes later, Terry enters The Sports Club/LA, a popular high end Los Angeles health club he helps to manage. He inspects the facility to be sure the bathrooms and showers sparkle and the exercise equipment is in top working condition. At 5 am, he unlocks the doors and with a big smile warmly greets the arriving members, many by name.

How can Terry be so vibrant at 93? “One thing people have to know about longevity,” he stated “Is old age has to come but you don’t have to remain old. It’s your choice to remain young.” How? Here are 10-Tips from Terry to live a long and happy life and retain your youthful vigor:

Be active. “My choice is to work. Leonardo da Vinci [1452 – 1519] said ‘Inactivity saps the vigors of the mind and body.’ Keep active. Vitality is our will to live and to grow. You know how you get vitality? You’re active all day mentally and physically. Don’t sit on your touché.”

Be Involved. “Never give-up work. If you can’t get a paycheck, you can still volunteer for a charity or for a hospital. It’s important to be involved with people and to have a sense of purpose.”

Take care of your body. “A healthy body commands little attention. It’s the sick body that needs constant attention. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. Socrates [469 BC – 399 BC] said, ‘Your body is your home. Care for it. It is your temple of life so make yourself a perfect body.’ ”

Walk. If you are able, Terry would like you to walk. “Your legs are very important. Your legs squeeze and push blood back to the heart. That is why they tell heart attack victims to walk. Breathe deeply. That is what keeps the brain alive. Oxygen and blood.”

Exercise. “Hippocrates, the father of medicine [460 BC – 370 BC] invented the medicine ball, the first piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment. Medicine balls are in athletic clubs all over the world today.” Terry suggests you use one to tone your muscles and for cardiovascular exercise.

Lift Light. As a young man, Terry was an amateur boxing champion and later a body building champion. “Heavy weights are for young people. For many years I’ve lifted light weights for a large number of repetitions to keep my body well toned and to avoid injuries.” If you would like to do as Terry does, but know little about exercise, he encourages you to use a trainer.

Use water for healing. “The word, spa means health through water. The Latin: Sanus Per Aquam. There are Roman baths from the 17th century BC that are still in use today. Today, because they are so effective spas are in gyms, hotels and apartment complexes the world over.” If you have access to a spa, let the heat heal your muscles. Otherwise use the heat of your shower or bath.

Read, “I read four books a month. I read everything and anything. Books can teach us about the past, present and future. No matter what I read, I gain knowledge. I’m reading the new (John) Grisham book [a legal thriller, ‘The Associate’] Think of it this way, ‘Like the sun dispels darkness a good book is to knowledge.’ It is also important to read because it keeps your brain sharp.”

Avoid Stress. “I don’t know anything about stress,” said Terry with a chuckle. “I’m too blessed to be stressed. I don’t allow myself to get stressed. Life is joy. Relax and release your stress. It’s all mental. Just be happy and bring joy into the lives of others without asking anything in return.”

Terry lives his life as stress free as possible. When he finishes work, a car takes him home where he takes a nap before having lunch and then pursuing his other activities which include a leisurely walk, swimming and painting. He is an award winning artist whose paintings and sketches are on display in many offices and homes, including Anne’s and mine.

Companionship. Most important of all for Terry is being with “my little Silvia,” his companion of 35-years. They met a year and a half after a drunk driver smashed her car and left her a paraplegic in a wheel chair.

“I was in the hospital a week,” said Silvia who was a single mother raising her son Guy. “Then 6 to 7 months in intensive rehab.”

“Silvia lived there,” Terry said. “She couldn’t move her body. But then as she got better she had no place to go so she lived with her parents.”

“For the rest of my life I would be confined to a wheel chair,” added Silvia. “I didn’t want to go out and be seen like this. It is very hard to see your high heels and your beautiful dresses and not be able to wear them ever again. My heart ached and my self-confidence was gone. I withdrew from the world.”

Then one day seemingly from out of nowhere, everything began to change.

“My sister was working in a health club Terry was managing and told him about me. He wanted to help and came over to the house and began giving me physical therapy. He also treated me like I was normal and he would say, ‘You have to get out’ and he insisted on taking me out.

“Eventually he even took me with him when he traveled to Philadelphia, New York and Miami and every place else he went,” said Silvia, her voice rising sharply. “I was no longer limited!” Then she was silent for a moment.

“He gave me life again,” Silvia said softly. “I was reborn.” And with Terry’s guidance, she became “handy-capable” as Terry calls it, and she’s handy-capable today.

When Terry began to date Silvia, “A lot of my friends said, Hey, what are you doing dating her,” Terry recalled. “She’s in a wheel chair. I said, what are you doing? We’re all sitting in chairs for large portions of our lives. So what was different about Silvia or anyone else that sits in a wheel chair.” And ignoring the skepticism of others, he found the love of his life.

“She is my partner,” said Terry as joy echoed in his voice. “Everyone should have a partner.” It’s the most important point of all for being together has made an enormous difference in their lives and a loving companion could in yours as well.

Success Tip of the Week: Terry is at peace with himself and he wishes the same for you. If you’ll follow his advice, you too could live a long and happy life; one filled with peace, energy and love.

In the next KazanToday: A compassionate and dedicated teacher who uplifted thousands of lives.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!