Monthly Archives: Dec 2014

Taken For Granted

My first thought upon waking up this morning was how much we take for granted.

The list goes on and on.

All of this leads to 2 points I want to make.

1. What if we woke up every morning feeling grateful for all the things we have – that until now, we have taken for granted?

2. What if, just once every YEAR, we thought about those who do not have the things we have taken for granted?

Or maybe once a month?

Or… daily?!




Dare To Be Different

At a wedding reception last week, I met many professional colleagues. The banter was conventional, predictable, ‘doctor speak’.

Only a few knew about my online persona, and referred to it sparingly, often with a snide smile or quiet wink twixt themselves.

Because I am different.

Unfamiliar, unusual, unlike what they are used to.

It doesn’t bother me these days. I realize that if only they knew what I have because I dare to be different, they would give their right arm to exchange places with me. (No, I don’t tell them – it would be cruel!)

I get more family time in a week than most of them have in a year.

I enjoy a lifestyle that’s in no way inferior to theirs, often better.

But most important, I move toward a goal, a purpose, a mission that lends deeper meaning to my life – instead of running ever faster on a treadmill going nowhere… just because I’m afraid to stop and hop off!

That is SCARY. Unnerving. Terrifying.

But so is being different.

Giving up the familiar, the secure, the comfortable – takes daring and confidence.

14 years ago, when I made my choice, I experienced fear. To abandon the traditional physician’s career path was risky. I set ‘stop loss’ triggers – but have been fortunate to fly above them.

And slowly, steadily, the passion won through – and turned a dream into ongoing reality.

Looking back, that choice was the best decision of my life. And like all tough choices, the hardest bit is making them.

In 1995, it was easy to dominate any niche on the Internet. Today, it is at least one hundred times harder.

But here’s the good news.

In 2019, it will be one hundred times harder than it will in 2009.

Now is when you should decide about taking that chance. Ask yourself,

“Do I dare to be different?”

Read the PASSION manifesto. Think about your passions. See which ones
are worth going after.

Don’t do it all in a rush. Set your own ‘stop-loss’ triggers. Keep that day job – until you can afford to lose it. Work on your passion during your spare time.

But throw off the shackles of what is ‘regular’ or ‘conventional’ or ‘accepted’ – and dare to be different.

It’s about doing it to grow happy, contented and rich.

No, not tomorrow or the day after, but in the fullness of time.

The first step in your journey however begins from within.

With the decision based on a simple question:

“Do I dare to be different?”

What will your answer be, I wonder.


Frustrated By Success

As a child, I read Richie Rich comics.

Richie was fabulously wealthy, with his personal butler, Cadbury, his robotic maid, Irona, and an endless collection of gadgets, toys and exotic presents.

The tag line of Richie Rich always fascinated me, though, because it sounded so contradictory…

“The Poor Little Rich Boy”

We are all familiar with the idea of being frustrated by failure.

It is an easy concept to identify with – because we’ve all failed at something, know how frustrating it can be, and know things would have been different if only we had succeeded.

But how can success be frustrating?!

Strange as it may sound, it is far more common than it seems.

I’ve come across many people who are widely considered “successful”, yet they manifest behavior and attitudes suggesting discontent, lack of fulfillment, and frustration.

No, it’s NOT that they want bigger success, higher profit, larger achievements.

On the contrary, they have suddenly realized that what they’ve been striving for so uni-dimensionally… just doesn’t seem quite enough!

That’s a harsh reality to wake up to one morning.

Steven Covey explains it vividly with the example of a man who climbs a tall tree in a jungle, reaches the top, looks around – and only then realizes he’s in the WRONG jungle!

How to guard against this?

By having a deeper purpose to what you’re doing.

A noble, worthy, sublime reason why for all that you get involved in. An over-arching mission that glues all components of your work and life together.

No, don’t make it an obsession – or it’ll be just as deadly a trap.

Instead, make it your motivation, your inspiration, your energy source that you can tap into for an emotional refill from time to time.

It helps if that mission is directed outwards, at other people or the world around us, making it a better place in some way. Such selfless purpose can be selfishly rewarding – by making you feel good about yourself, by giving you higher self-esteem, by enjoying a deep soul-filling satisfaction.

But even when your purpose is more personal, limited to your close inner circle, or even just to yourself, it can still be just as effective and powerful in giving your work meaning.

You will succeed FOR a reason.

And when you succeed, it will NOT feel frustrating.




“I drift about without rudder or compass, a wreck on the sea of life; I have no memories to cheer me, no pleasant illusions of the future to comfort me, or about myself to satisfy my vanity. I have no family to furnish the only kind of survival that concerns us, no friends for the wholesome development of my affections, or enemies for my malice– Alfred Bernhard Nobel

Enemies have a purpose.

Looking back over my interactions with people over the years, I’m reminded about some folks who fit the role of my enemies…

  • The childish poseur punk, who mistakes basking in someone else’s glory for fame in its own right, and attacks colleagues and contemporaries in language and tone that speaks volumes of his background and upbringing.
  • The cynical wanna-be who gets petty thrills by putting down members of an online community of which he was (once upon a time) moderator – and now is seething with impotent rage as his ‘super-powers’ have been stripped away.
  • The social media maven whose “lectures from the Mount” she expects the rest of the universe to bow to, obey and accept unquestioningly as their lot in ‘online social’ life.
  • The Fortune 500 consultant who barges into cozy, polite gatherings like a bull into a china shop, taking pleasure in disrupting the social fabric of a happy little community just for the sake of making a trivial point.
  • The “oh so smart” writer who should know better than to glance at my deeper messages and then draw superficial – and silly – conclusions, which he then proceeds to share with hundreds of my peers.

And there are the ‘lesser’ enemies – minor irritants who make daily life on the digital Web that wee bit less fun, that tiny bit more annoying… like mosquito bites on your unprotected hands!

I should harbor, nurse, and cherish that enmity, for the “wholesome development of my malice”.

But somehow, in hindsight, I realize the things they’ve done to attract my ire aren’t worthy of being kept in mind.

In my younger days, I’ve lived by phrases like “Revenge is a dish best tasted cold”, and enjoyed tales of them like “The Godfather” and “The Count of Monte Christo”.

Today, as I work with tiny tots who have been dealt a bad hand by Life, and do what I can to help them beat the odds and survive, a lot else pales in contrast.

Things which I may have obsessed over seem trivial, incidental, insignificant.

Pediatric heart surgery has made me a better grounded person.

Suffering has a cleansing effect – even on observers.

Try this the next time you feel uncontrollable anger, or irrepressible rage, or deep burning hatred against your enemies.

Walk into a children’s hospital. Visit the cancer wing, or the surgical ward.

Look around. Connect with the kids. And then, think again about the enmity.

Does it really matter so much any more?


Wanna give up? Think again…

Never Give Up

Jack Canfield was speaking at Mark Victor Hansen’s MEGA BOOK MARKETING 2007 and shared this with attendees.

He was on a TV show, and one of his co-guests was telling him a story during the commercial break.

She had been down and out, on the streets, pregnant, and was contemplating suicide after delivering her baby because things were so bad.

One cold evening, she staggered into the public library for warmth – and worried she’d get thrown out, she picked up the first book on the shelf and started reading.

It was ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul‘.

She read a story about a puppy for sale.

A little boy comes to the pet store, points to a puny, limping puppy, and asks the store-keeper how much it cost.

The pet shop owner says, “That pup’s lame. He can’t jump and play with you. You want one of the others. Here, take this one.”

The boy was persistent. He wanted the limping little puppy with the sad face.

“How much does he cost?” asked the little boy.

“Well, I sell puppies at $30 to $50 each, but because you want him badly, you can take him for free” said the owner.

“No, he’s worth at least that much. I want to pay for him” said the little boy, and pulled coins out of his pocket and piled them on the counter.

There was $1.37

“That’s all I have – but I’ll pay you the rest bit by bit!”

“Ok,” the shop keeper said, “but you don’t have to. This little pup is going to be hard to sell anyone else, he can’t jump or run or play.”

The little boy pulled up his trouser leg, exposing a metal brace, and the stump of an amputated foot with an angry scar across it.

“Mister, I don’t jump too well either,” he said softly.


The lady told Jack that when she read this story, she said to herself,

“If that little puppy could find someone to love him, I’m sure I will too.”

And in that instant, she decided against her earlier plan to abandon her child and commit suicide!

Like many others, she had heard about how Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen persisted after having their manuscript rejected by publishers 143 TIMES before finding one who agreed to print the first Chicken Soup book.

She told Jack, “If you both had quit at any time, even at the 142nd rejection, I would not be alive today!”


Do YOU still want to give up?

I know I don’t.