Health is our wealth so don’t leave it too late...

Micheál O’Mathúna, CEO & Founder of The Health Zone, talks about his life, inspirations and the importance of health
Health is our wealth so don’t leave it too late...
Micheál O'Mathúna, CEO & Founder The Health Zones.

TELL us about yourself;

I am the Founder of The Health Zone, which is an organisation I created to empower and support people to be healthier, happier, more authentic and realise their full potential in their lives.

The Health Zone started as a tiny little radio show on UCC Radio over three years ago when I was studying for an MA in Journalism and New Media. The show now has more than 30,000 listeners every month from countries such as Ireland, UK, USA, Canada and Australia. You can listen to some of the interviews here: www.thehealthzones.com

I am also a Facilitator of The Artist’s Way — which is a transformative 13 week programme to support and encourage people to be more creative and authentic in their lives.

I’m involved as well in organising the Cork Autism Conferencem which is taking place this September 30, 2018m in the Rochestown Park Hotel. Last year more than 500 people were in attendance and the event completely sold out.

Where were you born?

In Bishopstown. I have lived and travelled to many different countries since then such as Canada, USA, South Africa, India, Australia and Sri Lanka. South America is next on the list.

Where do you live?

In Ballincollig It’s a great place to live as I am only a 10 minute commute from the city. There is also a fantastic regional park which has walking and bike lanes.

Family?

My mother and father. I also have three brothers, two of whom are married. I also have a brother with autism.

My grandfather Patrick O’Mahony shared the same prison cell in Spike Island with the former President of UCC, Alfred O’Rahilly, back in the early 1900s. Both my grandfathers were very patriotic and lovers of the Irish language.

Earliest childhood memory?

I think my earliest childhood memory was throwing clocks down the stairs when I was about two or three years of age. I think I wanted to get rid of time. Interestingly, I still have an issue in regards to alarm clocks and snooze buttons.

Person you most admire?

Nelson Mandela, because he illustrates the power of forgiveness. When Mandela walked out of prison, he let go of the past and chose to forgive his perpetrators. When asked why he wasn’t’ angry with them, he said “If you get angry, you give your power away”. He is a brilliant example of how the human spirit can be hugely resilient in the face of adversity.

Person who most irritates you?

Anybody who is arrogant or is disrespectful towards other people, really annoys me. Everybody has a right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Poor customer service also annoys me, especially restaurant and bar staff who say “What do you want?” A more polite and customer-friendly way is to ask “How may I help you?” The customer is always king!

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

The Dalai Lama. He would change our viewpoint in regards to money. He said what surprised him the most about man was “he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Too often, the health of people is compromised by ourselves an organisations for the sake of the short term gain of money. Health really is wealth. Usually, we only realise this when we lose our health, then become aware of the importance of it.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

In 2014, I travelled around India for six months. While I was there I learnt various health practices. I trained as a yoga teacher and even as a laughing yoga teacher. I really loved the culture and their way of living. I found people had a very strong sense of community and supportive spirit. They appeared to be living more from their hearts rather than their heads in their day to day living. People in India were extremely hospitable towards me as well. When I visited Indian people’s homes there, I was treated as a king. Often I was given the best seat and bed in the house. I hope to return some day soon but maybe not for as long.

Favourite TV programme?

I would say Father Ted. I love it! Even though I have probably watched it nearly 10 times now, it never seems to lose its ability to generate a laugh. It will always be a classic!

Favourite radio show?

I don’t listen to much radio, to be honest, however I do love listening to podcasts. I listened to S-Town recently. Absolutely brilliant and worth checking out! The series is produced by the creators of the podcast Serial. I also like to listen to a podcast by author of The Four-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris. He has some amazing guests on the show.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I have been told I make a mean and delicious chicken stir fry with basmati rice.

Favourite restaurant?

I really love Iyers restaurant on Popes Quay. They do amazing authentic Indian food which always reminds me of the time I spent in India. Worth checking out.

Last book you read?

Mindset by Carol Dweck. The book is about the empowering effects of developing and having a growth mindset in every area of your life from your work, education, relationships and health. It is a useful way to help people to realise their potential and take action towards their goals without the fear of failure, which can often stop people from taking the action in the first place.

Best book you read?

I would say one of them was Awareness by Anthony de Mello. It was a really insightful and thought-provoking book which taught me about the importance of becoming aware of what I am thinking, believing, feeling and acting. It really challenged me to wake up in every aspect of my life.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I downloaded an app recently which tells me how much time I have spent on my smart phone and restricts my time on it. Very useful and sometimes very alarming as well.

Favourite song?

Oh Danny Boy. I have been told I sing a mean Johnny Cash version of it.

One person you would like to see in concert?

I would say Elvis Presley if he was still alive. I watched a film about his life in the 2017 Cork Film Festival. It was really tragic how his life ended at such as early age The King Lives on!

Do you have a pet?

No, but if I was going to have a pet it would be a dog.

Morning person or night owl?

Night owl. I find that I am more productive in the evening rather than the morning. My brain seems to be more alert and in tune around then.

Your proudest moment?

Interviewing Conversations Of God author, Neale Donald Walsch for my radio show, The Health Zone. I had requested an interview from him several times, however I didn’t get a favourable response. About nine months ago he agreed to be interviewed. I have been a big fan of his work for many years.

Spendthrift or saver?

A bit of both... I seem to go through phases. Depends on the season really. I think I tend to spend more money during the spring and the summer months. I feel that I am a bit like a squirrel during the autumn and winter months.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

Greater education, support and empowerment for children and teenagers in regards to emotional intelligence and living an authentic and creative life.

Too often when we are growing up we are not taught to listen and trust ourselves.

What makes you happy?

Playing music and singing with a group of friends around a fire. I also love travelling to new, interesting and exotic places and meeting different people.

My measure of happiness has changed over the years. I believe it is important to have your own measure of happiness, which works for you, rather than adopting some else’s version.

How would you like to be remembered?

Somebody who knew how to live life and made a positive difference in other people’s lives.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am currently organising a very special workshop with Dr Gabor Mate in Cork on June 30 for two days. It looks like the event will sell out. You can find out more info here: www.thehealthzones.com/events

The Health Zone has also been shortlisted for the Cork Business Association awards which are on January 20.

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