Being Your Own Boss or How to Beat a Heart Attack

A study recently published in The Lancet, a highly respected British medical journal, suggest a feeling of little or no control at work puts people at a 50 % greater risk of heart attack than the people in executive positions. This is a comprehensive study, using 7,372 men and women who worked for the British civil service. They were tracked from 1985 to 1993, so substantial has been reviewed.

An earlier study found that British bureaucrats with low-status jobs had a significantly larger risk of heart disease. Generally, their health was worse and they died sooner; they were more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise.

This study examined the effects of smoking, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and the feeling of loss of control.

When they adjusted to discount the effect of the feeling out of control, the increased risk of heart disease among low-status workers dropped to just 18%, making it the loss of control issue the biggest item identified in the study.

Dr. Robert Carney, professor of medical physiology at Washington University says, "The issue of control is a relatively new idea, but certainly one that make a lot of sense."

If you are stuck in a dead-end job that you hate, now could be the time to consider whether you would be successful as your own boss. What better vehicle is there for that than real estate? It is non-gender, age, religion or health biased. You don't have to be rich, big or beautiful to be successful in real estate investing. You don't even need to be original or smart, as there are lots of How to books out there. You do have to be willing to take that first leap. (You can't jump a chasm in several small steps.)

Do you have the self discipline to get up at a reasonable hour without the pressure of a time clock? Do you enjoy doing something different every day? Can you adjust your lifestyle to accommodate the financial changes that could occur without a paycheck coming in on a regular basis? Is your family ready to make a commitment to having you under foot all day? Are you self motivated to set goals and work toward achieving them? If you think being your own boss will give you a lot more time, think again. You will never work harder than for yourself, but you will be rewarded according to your efforts. Therein lies the satisfaction quotient that can make or break it for most people. If you can conquer the FEAR FACTOR, the rest will fall in place as you learn.

Dr. Carney suggests that stress hormones could trigger higher levels of fibrinogen. These can raise the pulse and make the heart less flexible in responding to changing demands. "Low control, but not high demand, at work is associated with increased incidence of heart disease independently of measures of socioeconomic status, and low control is associated with higher plasma fibrinogen concentrations."

The study suggests that there are few remedies for this situation. I contend that in this country, we have many options for changing our work status. The entrepreneurial spirit lives strong, and there is no reason not to change our status if we wish. I know of a very successful real estate investor who was a school janitor. He recently built a beautiful new home. When I asked him what was different about his job as a investor, he said, "Level of control. Now I do my own thing, in my own way, in my own time. I love it!"

Consider the consequences of staying in a job that you know offers only a paycheck. While paychecks are nice, so is the freedom to choose if you really want to work 14 hours one day and 4 the next. Real estate investing offers that choice.

Being your own boss does put you in control. If you can control yourself, your heart will love you.

JoAnn Lawson, Metro East Landlords Assoc., Columbia, Illinois Reprinted with permission. [Information from AP]

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