Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Alcohol and personal performance

I’m fond of a glass of wine with dinner. During my younger days I was fortunate enough to work with some really talented people in the wine industry. So for me a sociable bottle of wine is both a great pleasure and a source of interest and nostalgia.

Now that my younger days are almost behind me, however, I am faced with the inescapable but boring fact that one or two glasses of wine does nothing for my performance the next day. It’s not a hangover but neither is it a bounce-out-of-bed-and-go-get-em kind of feeling. A glass of wine simply slows me down a little.

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent – traditionally a time of fasting or abstinence - the forty days and forty nights before Easter. As Lent does not include Sundays, it is almost 7 weeks. So, you’ve guessed it –that’s 7 weeks without alcohol for me. Although blogging about it on Getting to Excellent isn’t exactly News at Ten, I am hoping that by going public with my resolution, my resolve will be strengthened. On verra.

The Church of England is Twittering about Lent http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr2109.html . Whatever next? With just 10 followers as I write, I hope their message of simple acts of generosity gathers greater momentum.

On a more commercial note, not drinking alcohol has a bigger following than one might imagine. David Beckham, Prince Andrew, A A Gill, Russell Brand (really?) and Donald Trump are all teetotal. In fact the list is so long, I’m beginning to think I am in a bit of a minority.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_teetotalers .

So from both a spiritual and a performance point of view, I hope that the next forty days and forty nights might teach me something. And I’m sure my friends hope that I can pull the whole thing off without whingeing too much.

2 comments:

  1. When I was a senior manager in a trade union, Good Lunches were commonplace. The pub next to the office was equidistant between us and the NUT and their General Secretary, all 20 stones of him, was frequently to be seen in there.

    This has largely died out now (I think the people I see in restaurants at lunchtime must go home afterwards) and it's probably because people recognise the extent to which their performance suffers if they have a drink at lunchtime.

    But I have a problem believing that a glass of wine with one's dinner affects one's ability to get up in the morning. When I did a cookery course after I'd finished my MBA, Darina Allen (for it was she) commented on the fact that non-stainless steel knives were now illegal in the EU by saying that she had no idea how civilisation coped in the years before stainless steel. I feel the same way about wine. For thousands of years people have enjoyed glasses of wine with their meals. Yes has that caused Sodom and Gomorrah to descend on us?

    I am sure giving up wine for Lent is a good way of testing one's resolve (as if Caroline needed to test her resolve). But the thought behind it, that wine with one's dinner is harmful to one's performance, I think lacks an evidence base except amongst those who think that wine is inherently damaging at all times.

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  2. I am as reluctant as anyone to give up my glass of wine with dinner, but with Lent came the idea and the seed was sown. Chocolate would have been far too easy for me – and it has no known link to Performance Management, evidence-based or otherwise.

    For those who suffer no ill effects I can only say that I am jealous. I am sure that weight, height and gender come into it – and how we react to any food or drink is very personal. I also find that some days I suffer no ill effects, yet other days are a different story.

    I understand there to be scientific evidence that wine in moderation is actively good for health, so I will have a good excuse once Easter arrives.

    As the forty days and forty nights, plus Sundays, currently seem like a very long time, it remains to be seen how much resolve I actually have. But thanks for the vote of confidence!

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