Life is short, so make yours extraordinary. Capitalize on what makes you, YOU, and be your own, unapologetic self.
The Almighty designed us as unique but imperfectly flawed individuals, prone to sin and blundering error. But that’s the great part of being human; we’re EXPECTED to sin and blunder and make mistakes. Huge mistakes. These are the means for exploration and learning, otherwise we’d wither into uninspiring nothingness. Keep this in mind each day, a reminder that life is a journey into uncharted territory and new adventure. This requires risk--the risk of failure, the risk of losing something huge in the process, and the risk of utter embarrassment.
But risks are not inherently bad. To learn, to flourish, one must every now-and-then, go out on a limb and take a chance. Be daring, if what you seek is worthy. What is worthiness? Worthiness is any endeavor that improves you for the sake of someone else, without disadvantaging another. See the big picture—the common good. You’re a single but vital cell contributing to the entire organism of humanity.
Risk losing sight of the shore. Risk falling flat on your face and then getting back up. Life is all about trial and error, chances and second chances. Venture out--you’ll be amazed to discover what’s out there, sometimes right outside your door.
love this quote:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
That was Hellen Keller, struck BLIND and DEAF at 19 months of age.
Bring yourself to your workplace. No matter where you work or how boring your occupation may seem, you can make it more pleasurable and more meaningful by bringing your unique self into the equation.
I do this myself, or try. For instance, I run barefoot, outside, in public. At first it was awkward and strange, stumbling about like a fool, enduring wise-ass remarks from strangers and drive-by teenagers. I got over the embarrassment, didn’t care what others thought, and kept at it. I do it for its childlike simplicity, because it’s liberating and sometimes painful, but in a good way. “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” the Marines say. But each time I run, it empties my head, and I get to bask in the sublime beauty of the here-and-now. And despite a tough and sometimes brutal day as a physician, the stress and anxiety melt, and everything just feels right with the world. And this carries into the workplace.
I often share this and other personal stories with patients to help them discover that same joy in their own way; a bit of unconventional therapy, so to speak, beyond the colder, scientific realm of hardcore medicine. I stay curious, keep a sense of humor and risk being foolish. I blend in my passion for art and writing, displaying and sharing some of my art where I work. I write and illustrate the educational content used in-office and online on a patient-centered blog and website, often with an unorthodox, unusual and sometimes weird bent. I also incorporate this same approach in the teaching of residents and medical students.
What I’m trying to say is: make your work--your everyday life--your pleasure. It’s more humanizing and more satisfying for you, your coworkers and the people you are entrusted to help and serve. Heck, it’s a lot more fun and can be a real blast at times, especially when another is engaged in-the-moment with you. It’s like escapism, but without needing to escape. It could very well be the remedy for burnout. It might be the link to the fountain of youth, not by dialing down your age or adding years to your life, but (paraphrasing Abe Lincoln) by increasing the life in your years. All of this stems from one’s personal experience, meant to share with others, in order to enrich their lives as well as the one living it.
Think of life’s journey as a great adventure novel with a captivating plot and an awesome finish.
Life is short. Live it well and leave nothing in the tank. Get down and dirty, run it out with all your heart and soul, and finish gloriously by sliding into home plate, leaving nothing behind.
S. Fong, M.D.
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