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The Canary in The Coal Mine

The Canary in The Coal Mine

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a Canary in a Coal Mine?

Life for a canary in any coal mine can best be described with three words…“SHORT BUT MEANINGFUL.”

The mining occupation has always been among the most hazardous…largely due to poor ventilation systems.

The solution? Bring a yellow canary down to the mine with you.

Why? It’s actually quite simple…canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, which make them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups.

As long as the bird kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary signaled an immediate evacuation…as in drop everything and run for the exit.

Lest your wondering if I have finally stepped off the curb into oncoming traffic…I’d encourage you see this message to its conclusion as this post is meant to serve as an early warning signal that could very well save you from becoming the canary in your own coal mine.

Let’s talk about…


An occupational hazard is defined as a working condition that can lead to physical or psychological pain and even death.

All occupations have hazards.

The four main types of occupational hazards are as follows:

1. Chemical Hazards. Exposure to chemical substances causes injury when they are absorbed through skin and inhaling or ingesting.

As a result, people may suffer from respiratory diseases, skin diseases, allergy, heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders.

2. Biological Hazards. These hazards are manifested by diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, vi­ruses, insects, dietary deficiencies, excessive drinking, allergies, brain fever, imbalances and tetanus. All these tell upon a persons health.

3. Environmental Hazards. Environmental hazards may include noise, air and water pollution, vibration and shocks, radiation, excessive heat and cold, heights and unstable flooring as well as poor ventilation.

These hazards cause redness of eyes, genetic disorders, cancer, sterility, hearing loss, nerve injury and many types of physical pain.

4. Psychological Hazards. These types of hazards include stress caused by various stressors such as task and role demands, organizational leadership, unfocused goals, deadline and quotas, lack of group cohesion, interpersonal conflicts, value conflicts, bias and bigotry, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, rapid technological changes…as well as life and career changes.

These types of hazards lead to emotional disturbances which impact self-esteem, self-worth, enthusiasm and peace of mind…and which in turn lead to energy depletion, physical exhaustion and impaired health.

For the purposes of this message, we’re going to focus on the enormous impact of both environmental and psychological hazards.


People like to think they have a “ strong character,” and that this character of theirs will endure, no matter the situation.

Well…it’s not really so.

People are HIGHLY VULNERABLE to the incentives and behaviors of their environment…and often the best a person can do, if he wants to behave in a certain manner, is to choose carefully the environment that will go to work on his or her character.

An occupational hazard of the Internet blogger or YouTuber, for instance, is that she becomes the sort of person who says whatever she thinks will get her the most attention, likes and shares rather than what she knows is true, tasteful and informative. She does this so often that she forgets the difference.

An occupational hazard for anyone in the media business, is that in their rush to be the first to “break the news” and obtain bragging rights, they place speed, bias and personal opinion ahead of truth and facts and in doing so…they forsake their journalist responsibilities.

An occupational hazard for someone who works for an undisciplined, unenthusiastic, unfocused or morally deficient manager or company, is that they lower their standards, conform to mediocrity and simply waste some of the best years of their lives.

An occupational hazard for a politician, is that by taking money from lobbyists…they immediately become yes men and little more than pawns…MERE SERVANTS for the private interests of their paying masters.

They become seduced by the power and privilege of the office and spend more time focused on getting reelected and less time on serving the needs of the very people who voted for them.

The occupational hazards of being a CEO or even a Board Member for a public corporation is that the temptation, when deciding how to behave…wind up placing too little weight on long-term decisions, and far too much weight on short-term quarterly goals and appeasing shareholders greedy demands for quick profit.

For those in a position of power and influence in any vocation, an occupational hazard is to believe that they are beyond reproach and rather than use their power and influence to help, serve, empower and lift up others, they do the exact opposite…intimidate, bully, harass and control.

An occupational hazard for an ambitious young person who goes to work at an Investment Banking firm is that they become easily corrupted by the system.

And, rather than build a life of substance and contribution…they soon go to work gaming ratings companies and designing securities to fail so they might make a killing off the investors they dupe into buying them.

They actively go to work on rigging various markets at the expense of the wider society, and encouraging all sorts of people to do stuff with their capital and their companies that they have no business doing.

THE INTENSE PRESSURE TO CONFORM…to not make waves, to simply go along with the accepted norm has got to be one of the most the most depressing experiences of life…a true occupational hazard…a trap that far too many have fallen victim to.

Remember, what you put up with, you end up with.

That’s why we must understand that the greatest influence in our life is our environment.


The environment we find ourselves in affects our moods, ability to form relationships, effectiveness in work or play, our health, our earning ability, grades in school, peace of mind, self-confidence, attitudes, our belief systems—environment impacts everything.

I want you to…imagine yourself in an environment where you are CHALLENGED, supported and feel more alive than you have in years.

I want you to…imagine yourself in an environment where your talents are nurtured, where risk-taking was encouraged, and where your passion and creativity is unleashed.

I want you to…imaging yourself in an environment where integrity, honor and doing the right thing was applauded, where transparency was truly transparent, and where trust and respect were the only acceptable forms of behavior.

I want you to…imagine yourself in an environment that reinforces the MINDSET you need, that helps you drive the RESULTS you want and encourages you to take the necessary steps to live the LIFE you deserve.

Wouldn’t you feel like you could do anything…that the world was your proverbial oyster…that no force on earth could possibly stop, spook or slow you down?

Isn’t it time to recapture your passion, your playfulness, your curiosity, and your inner strength to TRANSFORM and fast-track absolutely anything you want in life?

As mentioned previously…people are highly vulnerable to the incentives and behaviors of their environment, and often the best a person can do, if he wants to behave in a certain manner, is to choose carefully the environment that will go to work on his or her character.

That’s why I created the 100 Day Challenge…to provide you with the framework, encouragement and environment you need to live a life of abundance, joy and fulfillment.

A large part of being successful in life depends upon each one of us utilizing and managing our environment to assist us in living a life of excellence and personal mastery.

So watch yourself…protect and love yourself…and be very aware of falling victim to occupational hazards…because if you don’t, you’ll quickly suck the oxygen and integrity out of your character and become the canary in your own self-created coal mine.

Everything Counts!

Gary Ryan Blair

P.S. Ready to upgrade your life and make this your best year ever?

I’ve created a game plan and video series for catapulting your life and career to extraordinary heights. If you follow this daily, you’ll be able to get more accomplished in the first 100 days of the new year than most people will do over the course of ten years.

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