Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Another man at the top of his game is Neil Diamond (67), who has grossed $168 million over his last three tours. I attended one of his recent concerts and, man, does he give a performance! While it was fun to sing along to “Sweet Caroline” and “America,” it was his ability to connect with his audience and get them involved in the show that most impressed me. While my group included people from 40 to 60 years of age, we were all up singing and dancing while Diamond performed (with the exception of that one person who was too cool). According to Ben Sisario’s August 12, 2008 New York Times article, “The Marathon Man of Pop,” Diamond is a hardworking performer, “devoted to steady routines.” They include lugging around a grocery bag stuffed with notes for new songs, eating only meals FedExed to him from his dietary consultant, and warming up his band “with light calisthenics and a group whoop.”

Diamond is quoted in Sisario’s article, “I want to know what marathon runners do, because I do the same thing. I run a two-hour marathon every time onstage. So I have my electrolytes kept at a certain level, and I do my carb-loading after the shows for the next night.” This is a man who takes his preparation and daily routine as important and key in making sure he is ready to perform for his audience.

“This is my job,” Diamond continued in the article. “Someone much greater than me gave me that job. He said, ‘You, you with that stupid look on your face — go out and sing until I tell you to stop.’ I haven’t heard the word yet so I’m just going to keep doing it.”

So, while Phelps swims for five hours a day, and 67-year-old Diamond treats life like a marathon, – each pursuing the path for which they believe they were created, what should the rest of us -- mere mortals -- do?

Here’s the answer: Begin living the lives we were created for. As Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Make sure that every minute of your life is worth your while.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.