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 imperfect and flawed individuals, prone to sin and blundering error. But that’s the great part of being human; we’re expected to sin, blunder, and make mistakes. We’re made to err for the sake of learning and growth; otherwise, we’d wither into uninspiring nothingness. Keep this in mind each day — that life is a journey, a series of explorations into uncharted territory that opens doors to new adventures. This requires risk — the risk of utter embarrassment, the risk of losing something huge in the process, and the risk of failure.
Risk is not inherently bad. To flourish and learn, we must go out on a limb every now and then. Be daring if what you seek is worthy. What is worthiness? Any endeavor that improves you for the sake of someone else without disadvantaging another. Embrace the big picture — the common good. You’re a single but vital cell contributing to the entire organism of humanity.
Risk falling flat on your face and then getting back up. Life is all about trial and error, chances, and second chances. Venture out and lose sight of the shore; you’ll be amazed to discover what’s out there, sometimes right outside your door.
I 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 the real you to your workplace. No matter where you work or how boring or uninspiring 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 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 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 practice website, often with an unorthodox, unusual, and sometimes weird bent. I also incorporate this same approach in teaching residents and medical students.
What I’m trying to say is: make your work your pleasure. It’s more humanizing and more satisfying for you, your coworkers, and the people you are entrusted to serve. Heck, it’s a lot more fun and can be a real blast sometimes, especially when another is engaged 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 to enrich their lives and those living it.
Plan your 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 in the dirt, run it out with all your heart and soul, and finish gloriously by sliding into home plate tattered and soiled, leaving nothing behind.
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