With an overabundance of resources and tools available, the U.S. on paper, is a country that "should" be leading the way as far as healthy living is concerned. However, as the old adage goes, "you can't judge a book by its cover." This adage is spot-on when describing health and vitality in the U.S.

The 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health was released and the U.S. was nowhere near the top of the list. This comes after reports that American life expectancy is declining and an aging population is rapidly ascending upward. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, life expectancy in China is on track to surpass the U.S. by 2040.

The Bloomberg index takes life expectancy into consideration, along with risks like tobacco use and obesity. It also takes into consideration environmental factors including access to clean water and sanitation. 

Countries such as Spain (who came out on top), Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland placed ahead of the U.S. Not a total shock. Cuba placing ahead of the U.S.? Big shock.

Cuba, it turns out, ranked above the U.S. because of an emphasis on preventative care, as opposed to a focus on illness and disease. In other words, being proactive rather than reactive.

That's a very American mentality in the business world, too. Look no further than Blockbuster, which didn't survive because they waited for business to decline before investing in marketing and promotion. The transportation and hotel industries waited and didn't anticipate so customers went elsewhere.

There's a common mantra in both business and health: Fortune favors the bold. It's even more paramount to engrain this mentality into your everyday being.

Shift from a reactive to a proactive mentality.

An effective way to slip into this mentality is to forecast problems and seek to alleviate them before they arrive by front-loading your work. For example, a financial advisor would advise his clients to set aside accounts for their retirement, general wealth building, and dumb mistakes (because no one is immune to hiccups).

By front-loading your work, you're attempting to predict future events that could prevent you from accomplishing your goals or maximizing your potential. While you can't predict all future events, you can certainly forecast a couple of high-probability scenarios that could derail progress.

For example, if you have a product business selling cupcakes, you can include a note in every item sent off. This note would encourage feedback and request that dissatisfied customers call a number for a couple of free cupcakes for the inconvenience.

This subtly front-loads the work of potential complaints and lessens the potential damage of critical customer feedback. You might even earn some positive word of mouth benefits from being proactive, too.

It's a strategy that puts you in the driver's seat and allows you to gain some control back, instead of always playing defense. We live in the golden age of information with an excess of resources--but all of this is a moot point without shifting your perspective.

Published on: Feb 27, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.