Scientists refer to this seeming paradox as being derived from the nature of quantum reality and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Ignorance can be a “strength.” For example, when we want to identify someone, the photons that arrive at our retinas will be different depending on the many other factors surrounding that person.
However, we tend to disregard most of the objects, colors, or obstacles in the way and conclude that it is Mary. We learn to become oblivious to those other things in our path. In a similar manner, we are born with specialized hairs in our ears that enable us to hear tones; however, most of us are, to some degree, tone-deaf. It’s an unconscious process that our brains are wired for. Why aren’t we all musicians?
Why is this important for all physicians? We do the same thing with our medical-oriented brains. We ignore the things that are not relevant to us at the time and remember the one thing we’ve chosen to retain.
Remarkably, we navigate the medical school learning process in a similar way. Some students are naturally inclined to remember everything, while others are not.
If you have never trained your mind for medical school, considering your future in medical practice or have a clear vision of your aspirations, then you will react only to the immediate activities required or recommended for your advancement.
How many first-year medical students even contemplate their future in medicine beyond recurring self-imagined scenarios?
Are students even reminded by the faculty about what is expected of them after graduation? For instance, the ability to establish a private medical practice without a background in business education or to manage a practice successfully. Thousands of graduating seniors suddenly start thinking about these matters one day—too late to adequately prepare.
It’s a world of decisions that must be made all at once: residency or internship? Can I build a practice and avoid mistakes? Wouldn’t you expect that someone in the college pre-med faculty would have guided you on what to expect and how best to prepare for your future?
Wouldn’t you think that at some point during the four years, a medical staff professor would have enlightened you about future aspects you may never have considered important, such as business education—the foundation of every business’s profits—and management?
The day I graduated from medical school in 1962, I was only looking towards an internship. I had never made any plans and was ignorant about business and finances. All I knew about physicians four years earlier was that they worked hard and had long office hours.
I may have failed high school choir, indicating that I was missing some of those miraculous sound-sensing hairs in my ears. However, I regret not receiving guidance about my future in medicine. It should be a mandatory addition for every small business owner, just like for physicians.
I can think of a thousand ways to radically improve private medical practice management and profits, ensuring the perpetual growth and income of every physician’s professional medical practice. I can convince every physician, whether new or with many years of experience, of the value of using the right business tools at the right time and for the right objectives.
Another thing I continue to regret is my business ignorance and why I lost my private medical practice due to financial reasons.
It was only ten years after leaving medical practice when I conducted extensive research in medical education that I understood why I lost my practice—business ignorance. When I discovered the large number of physicians who annually lost their practices for the same reason, it highlighted the shortcomings in the medical school education system.
This realization made me angry, prompting me to write and publish a book on the issue. I hoped to inform medical students and practicing physicians about how to address the many business problems they are forced to contend with today. I suspect that most physicians have no idea what the source of their problems is, other than self-blame for perceived weaknesses—thinking, “I should have done this or that, but I didn’t.”
When we don’t understand the root causes of our problems, the natural tendency is to blame ourselves in multiple ways.
I firmly believe that all private medical practices in our nation have suffered serious damage because no medical schools in our country offer or provide a business education for medical students. Today, I can’t envision practicing medicine without a background in business education. The long-term consequence is the destruction of private medical practice.
This article and our way of thinking and acting can be explained by the concept of “cognitive dissonance.” Subconsciously, it occurs when we desire something we can’t have, experience inconsistencies in attitude and behavior, lack adequate justification, face inconsistencies between commitment and information, and selectively expose ourselves to certain information.
When medical students’ minds are overwhelmed by academic requirements and decisions, it’s not hard to see that each of the issues described above creates a perfect environment for cognitive dissonance to thrive.
This psychological approach is also a perfect strategy for medical school scholars to use on students whose uncertain minds are spinning like a whirlwind, preventing them from recognizing the benefits and value of business education for their future medical careers.
The absence of factors like necessary justification, appropriate information, and exposure to the benefits explains why business education has been absent from the curriculum of medical students in all medical schools for the past century. Now, you understand why you might be hesitant to embrace business education—it was never presented to you as a great way to enhance your income whenever you need it.
Curtis G. Graham is a physician.