I’m here today to let you in on a little secret. It’s not something that I’m particularly proud of, and it’s work that I’m always trying to improve upon. But it’s true. And today you’re about to find out something I’m desperately trying to hide.
So here it is. Yes, I’m a doctor. And yes, I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at my job. But you know what? There are a lot of things that I really suck at.
Like really, really suck.
It turns out that achieving success in medicine doesn’t correlate with being good at other parts of my life.
I’m super messy. I lose things easily. Sometimes I eat terrible things and drink too much. I could be in better shape. My relationships aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be. At times, I say really stupid things.
And you know what?
I’ve learned to accept that while I can strive to improve, I may never fully get where I’d like to be.
And that’s OK.
We live in a culture of perfection. And it’s time to let that go. Because there is no perfect.
In medicine, we have learned to sacrifice and achieve and strive for difficult goals. A lot of us think that because we have the tools to succeed in medicine that we should naturally succeed in all other areas of our lives. If you’re like me, you have no problem bearing down and working through challenges. All you need is to work just that little bit harder, right?
But you can’t do everything or be everything that you want to be. That’s OK.
I’m here to say that it’s OK to suck, and it’s OK to screw up.
I think we as a group really struggle with failure, but I think it’s time that we start to embrace that we’re just as flawed as everyone else. I mean, if you think of a normal distribution curve … well, you’re really unlikely to be above average on every attribute that makes you human.
There’s always work to do, and there always will be. And that’s OK.
Learning to accept this is a very powerful thing. It gives us permission to make mistakes — a little breathing room.
Let’s admit that it’s OK that we don’t have it all together, and neither does anyone else. We’re all just trying our best and figuring things out as we go along.
It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to improve. Just give yourself a break: No one has it all figured out. It’s time to start celebrating our imperfections. We all have them, and that’s totally normal.
Hey, I’m a terrible cook. And that’s OK!
It’s OK to suck at things.
It’s OK to screw up.
To not have everything under control.
Maybe you wish you were in better shape.
If you only had more free time.
Or more money.
Maybe you wish you were a better doctor.
That you didn’t miss that diagnosis.
If only you could work harder, smarter, or faster.
But you know what: You’re imperfect and bound to fail sometimes.
Just like the rest of us.
That’s part of being human.
And that’s OK.
Navpreet Sahsi is an emergency physician who blogs at Physician, Heal Thyself.
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