Ep. 34: Former President George W. Bush - A Window Into Family Life, Stress and Curiosity


Former President George W. Bush

Today is a special July 4th edition of Health Gig where we are replaying a wonderful conversation with former President George W. Bush. The original conversation took place in early 2018 before the passing of Barbara Bush and former President George H.W. Bush. Doro leads today's conversation with her brother the only way she knows how, which is from her heart. 

In this intimate interview former President George W. Bush talks about his relationship with his parents throughout his childhood, his family life and how to manage life’s priorities. 

He also shares his daily fitness routine during and after his presidency.  He often used family life, deep friendships and his personal conviction to combat stress throughout his presidency.  

He talks about how, in recent years, the challenge of painting became a life changing experience. He explains how it was interesting to start a new skill from zero because you are constantly learning and you can never know everything. He states, “painting is a liberating experience because it gets you out of the moment”.

He talks about his library, the Dalai Lama and some of his favorite moments of his presidency. His spontaneous, joyful and up-front personality shows through in this family interview.

More From George W. Bush

Official Website www.GeorgeWBush.com

Facebook @georgewbush @TheBushCenter @GWBLibrary

Twitter @TheBushCenter 

Instagram @georgewbush @thebushcenter 


Former President George W. Bush Books

Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors

Decision Points

41: A Portrait of My Father

A Charge to Keep: My Journey to the White House


Learn more about BB&R and Achieving Optimal Health Conference by visiting BBRconsulting.us

Show Notes

  • [03:08] My health improved a lot by showing discipline. I exercised daily. I ought to rest more but I don't. I'm one of these people that need to exercise in order to stay physically fit and psychologically healthy. So I do elliptical when I'm at the ranch and I ride mountain bikes when I vacation in Florida.

  •  [04:14] I ran a marathon right after Dad lost his presidency I was so despondent I decided to have a project and the project was to get conditioned for the marathon.

  • [06:30] Yeah. During the presidency press was fascinated whether or not I could sleep or not. And I tried to explain to them that I worked out extremely hard so that sleep came easier than it would have.

  • [08:23] Well I think great is a great day is one that you feel joyful. 

  • [09:15] Mother liked to play tennis and golf. Dad loved tennis and golf. My dad became a jogger at one point.

  • [10:26] Did you care for yourself differently when you were president than you do now? 

  • [10:38] Well you know the commute to the gym from the Oval Office is 45 seconds. And the thing about the president the question is what priorities do you have in life. Right. I mean I can't tell you what people said to me you know I'd love to exercise but I don't have the time. It's like saying you know I don't have the time for my kids. It’s like saying you know I don't have the time for my kids. In other words it's really essential to set priorities and of exercise as a priority. Then you can make time for it no matter how busy you are. And so for example rather than you know take time out for a big lunch or an hour for lunch you know you can take time out for 45 minutes of exercise. 

  • [11:41] And so for example Christmas parties where I would shake hands and have a picture with like five or six thousand people a Christmas season and toward the end of that, your neck muscles and jaw got a little tight. We had a bone crusher there at the White House osteopath. That was real helpful at times to crack your neck and loosen up your body -- so massages are an important to health. I think I'd get weekly massages. You know you come back on these long flights overseas and get a message to come in and really help keep your body functioning well.

  • [12:52] I think managing stress, being around family helped, because they got your mind off the issues of the day.

  • [16:45] There had been two of us, John Kennedy for a brief moment, had both parents alive during the presidency. And I had both parents alive during the presidency which was incredibly helpful and nurturing. 

  • [18:16] People want to follow somebody with a vision and that vision has to be informed by principles. 

  • [23:29] And well look there is no life without death and there's inevitability to it.

  • [28:32] Well I'm a person it has to be busy, engaged. And it turns out that writing books giving speeches working at the Bush Center exercising was not enough. And by chance and a lot of life happens this way if you have an open mind. By chance a guy suggested I read Winston Churchill's essay painting as a pastime which I did and I'm a big admirer of Churchill's. And I basically said if this guy can paint, I can paint. I told Laura and a friend of hers named Pam who is an artist and happen to be at the house that day Dan Nelson. And I said you know, I want to paint. And they both looked at me. OK. And they weren't discouraging, they were somewhat skeptical. 

  • [31:39] Painting is a learning experience. There's no like limits. You can't possibly conquer painting. And I was it's constantly changing a constant challenge, which is what I like about it

  • [32:32] I like painting people. I love painting faces. Maybe it's because I like people.

  • [33:28] But the thing is what I'm so you know flabbergasted that you can go in which I think is such a great teaching lesson that you can go from ground zero. Yeah to if you're passionate about something you can learn something new and be good at what keeps you healthy at any age.

  • [43:29] One of my favorite quotes is from Teddy Roosevelt when he said it's not the critic who counts not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena and the quote goes on. I think that's a great quote because it's about a willingness to tackle tough things and understand that as you do so, there’s gonna be critics. But you know if you're convinced of what you're doing, then it's important to push on.

Thank you for joining us on HealthGig. We loved having you with us. We hope you'll tune in again next week. In the meantime, be sure to like and subscribe to this podcast, and follow us on healthgigpod.com.

“It's really essential to set priorities, and if exercise is a priority, then you can make time for it no matter how busy you are.”– Former President George W. Bush

“People want to follow somebody with a vision and that vision has to be informed by principles” - Former President George W. Bush

“Painting is a learning experience. There are no limits. You can't possibly conquer painting. It’s a constant challenge, which is what I like about it.” - Former President George W. Bush

“I think a great day is one that you feel joyful.” - Former President George W. Bush


#George W Bush #Winston Churchill #Dan Nevins #Chris Turner #Bush Library #Teddy Roosevelt #Bush Paintings #Stress #Sara Young #massage