Eight tips help pave road to success


Learn how to make lemonade out of life's lemons

Following are some tips that have served me well in my personal and professional life.

* Item 1: What you do not know can hurt you.

We go forward into each day and all sorts of things are happening thataffect your life. In this information era, we must strive to gather andto listen to relevant data coming our way, yet we must preen the "SPAM"from the flood of messages that have ill affects in our lives. Things arehappening all around you that can, and do, hurt you.

n Item 2: Ten percent of what we know to be the absolute fact, truthand untouchable information is wrong.

And we don't know what we don't know and we do not know which of thosefacts that we hold so tightly is wrong.

The challenge for us is that from the inventory of "facts"as we know them, to find that 10 percent as quickly as possible.

* Item 3: Learn to make lemonade.

A secret to success is to master making lemonade. The two aforementioneditems will deliver challenges to your door. Each unknown issue that mighthurt you, each bit of information that you know to be the truth-that isinaccurate-will be presented at your feet in the form of a lemon. Considereach setback, each personal trauma, each seeming "speedbump" oflife to be a challenge, consider each issue to be a lemon. In life's travelsenjoy the pleasure of meeting many folks. Some of these folks present somewonderful lemons for your consideration. It is not one's friends that placethe biggest challenges (lemons) at your feet, it will be your detractors,enemies and other difficult people. Consider each person, each situationand each issue a challenge to see the opportunity for lemonade to be made.

Each of life's lemons is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to mature,to move forward. To some, these lemons might be considered a setback, butthis is only true if they are treated as such.

Winners treat each lemon of life to be the next great opportunity thatfills the glass with lemonade. Savor the flavor.

* Item 4: On your nightstand, place an empty glass.

In that glass place a blank 3x5 index card and a pencil to remind yourselfto get up and start each day with an empty glass. When our glass (the mind)is full of preconceived knowledge and prejudices we do not have room inour lives to consider new ideas, new concepts and issues that float by.We must make room in our mind, the empty glass, for novel ideas.

Welcome change. With the empty glass symbol, approach each day seekingto find that 10 percent of what you know to be the fact that needs updatingand seek to find that which will hurt you if such is not discovered.

* Item 5: You will discover many types of personalities.

There will be those who can talk the talk and others that can walk thetalk.

For success, forming alliances in this world is important; a challengefacing each of us is to discover the difference between those who talk thetalk but don't walk the walk. Distinguish between these two by active listeningand do not listen to their rhetoric. Do not seek to listen to the rhetoric,but listen to their deeds for those who can walk the talk speak volumes.

* Item 6: Fill the mind by reading.

Despite the Internet, educational CDs, interactive programs, and of coursethe 200 channels of television, the best way to fill the mind is by reading.

And we are not just talking professional reading. There are many otherelements of life and lessons to learn from non-veterinary issues and relatedtexts.

Two great books from which to learn are Dr. Eric Berne's classic, "GamesPeople Play," and Anthony deMello's "Awareness." They openour eyes to some basics of human behavior and communication.

Communication and cooperation are a central theme of success in the world.We must learn active listening-to our peers, children, supervisors, mentors,and, most of all, our enemies and critics.

Human relations issues are not among the skills learned in anatomy, parasitologyor surgery. We must read, study and come to an understanding of interhumanrelationships. Berne's unveiling of the games we play each day, the conditioningthat we receive that guides us--to live by rote. Armed with his conceptswe can break free of our historical ancestry and prejudices to find happinessand success.

DeMello, in dramatic fashion, opens our minds to the concept of beingaware of "waking up," and to address each "lemon" thatstands in the way of our life's mission.

Consider this challenge: go to your favorite bookstore and purchase $300of personal development books, $300 worth of non-fiction personal bookson leadership, motivation and human relations and read them all. This willimpact your life. (Berne's and DeMello's books might need to be ordered.)

* Item 7: We all wish to be successful. But just what is success?Before we can determine success, we must define it.

But first, this divot. Dr. George Pelligrino, MD, a leader in the considerationof professional ethics, says "to be the complete physician, one mustbe equal parts technically competent and genuinely compassionate."So we have the benchmark to use in clinical medicine (if that is what wechoose for our professional life mission.)

I offer this definition of success: Live your life in 25-year segments.Twenty-five years after graduation, plan to answer this question: considerthe four elements of life-professional, personal, fun and financial. Areyou happy with the balance in life that you have achieved? If you can sayyes, then you have been a success on your terms and by your standards.

The message of success: live each day as it comes, but keep an eye oneach 25-year segment. The next one will be finished very quickly.

* Item 8: Listen to the "little voice within."

How do we know the path? How do you find your road? There are so manylemons, demons and SPAM out there. How do we know our road?

It's simple. Set up time each day, each week, each month, each year tothink to dream, to read, to reflect and to listen to the "little voicewithin."

There are so many methods and theories that describe the source of thatlittle voice within. But I promise, each time your mind's voice tells youthe path, each time that little voice has something to say, you will beable to argue it away, discard it, discount it, intellectualize it to death.But life is funny, because each time we fail to listen and to heed the messageof the voice within, we are served ... you guessed it, a lemon.

To arrive 25 years from now, to be successful, to be happy, to be balanced,you can take your pick: listen to the voice or make lemonade. The failureto do either will lead you to misery, cynicism, anger and unhappiness.

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