“This adds 10 IQ points to your personal brand”.  This was the first comment from my work colleagues when they saw me pull out my reading glasses for the first time. This was immediately followed by the traditional ribbing about age catching up on me and the joys of being in my 40’s. “All the better to read the p/l’s from the various divisions”, was my response, “so you can stop noting the negative stuff in 8 point font!”

The reality is that I didn’t even know how much my reading was suffering before having a check-up and getting fitted for reading glasses. A friend of mine, Titus Wu from Titus Eyecare, randomly asked when was the last time I had my eyes thoroughly tested. (This was not completely random in that Titus is an optometrist in Singapore specialising in cornea reshaping).

“When I went for my driving license in 1987”, I replied.

“Don’t you think it is time to have another check?” was his natural reply.

“Next required check is 70 so I have a wee ways to go”.

“I owe you a favour man. Drop by the clinic and I will do it for you”.

Titus’s clinic is state of the art. Gone were the old reading charts that I was expecting. Digital images displayed at different distances, peripheral vision checks and eye analysis were only some of the tests that I went through. The conclusion: I need reading glasses. We then trialled different lenses to get the perfect solution, and before I knew it, my reading had a new lease of life.

As men we are often blasé about our health. The Kiwi/Aussie dictum, ‘she’ll be right mate’ is extremely applicable to our approach to health. This needs to be replaced by ‘prevention is better than cure’ if men are going to take their health seriously. Since then I have introduced a regular, and thorough, medical check-up into my yearly routine and have taken stock of the various areas of my health that I need to monitor.

The assessment of one’s faculties is not just about prevention but also about optimal performance. My job relies on my mental focus and I’m constantly looking to find ways of mastering my craft. The irony is that I am acutely mindful of my mental health and taking stock to make sure that I remain balanced, not overly stressed, and rest when required. As a psychologist, my approach has always been holistic. Those who follow me on LinkedIn know that many of my shared links discuss the benefits of sleep, food and exercise for general well-being, focus and optimal performance. However, this is different from creating a proactive approach to extensive health check-ups, which is obviously as, if not more, important.

Getting reading glasses, and the process leading up to this, reinforced for me the need for a proactive approach to holistic health monitoring. Men’s health is not just about avoiding illness, it is about optimal performance. So as the month of November comes to a close, the month of Movember and the month of men’s health, I challenge all my male readers to start a proactive schedule to assessing their physical health to maximise performance. Quite simply, you owe it to yourself, and speaking from experience: once in place there is no looking back.