Do you ever see other people in their careers and think to yourself, “Maybe I could do that?”
I am a board-certified pediatric physician with over 25 years of experience in private practice, and I recently decided to try my hand at acting.
Much to my surprise, I was awful. It was almost as if there were basic premises of the craft that I did not understand at all. But I suppose that should not have surprised me since I have no training or experience as an actor. I also noticed that when I tried to give other people advice about being an actor, they just laughed at me. So maybe I was wrong. After all, I’m a physician, not an actor.
Then I thought maybe I could be a politician or a talk show host since I do have some experience in those fields: I took a semester of poly sci in college, and over the course of my lifetime, I’ve watched a lot of TV. And not to brag, but I’m also quite good at talking. But to my surprise, I had no success with those roles either. It was almost as if, despite my experience, there was some basic foundation of knowledge and skill in those areas that I was lacking. And sure enough, when I tried to advise others on how they should perform their duties in those fields, I was disregarded yet again. Maybe being a physician was just not enough.
And then it hit me.
Maybe those actors and talk show hosts and politicians have studied and trained and worked for many years in order to become knowledgeable and proficient in their roles. Maybe, just maybe, I am in no way qualified to function as an actor, a talk show host, or a politician because I lack a comprehensive knowledge base in those areas. Maybe I am not qualified to give advice on acting, politics, or talk show hosting because I am a physician and not an actor, politician, or talk show host. If I wanted to do those things, maybe I would have to go back to studying the basic tenets of those fields, get a significant amount of hands-on experience and probably spend years and years of my life trying to do it. Maybe without the proper amount of education and expertise, I would not only make a complete fool of myself, but I would potentially put others at significant risk for failure if they took my advice.
Maybe I just need to accept the fact that to be an actor or a politician or a talk show host requires a level of experience and skill that I simply do not have.
Maybe I should just stay in my lane.
Ellen C. Miele is a pediatrician.
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