This is a fascinating speech on discipline and self control by Dan Ariely at TED talks
I have to admit that medicine might not be so bad after all. I absolutely HATED and DESPISED the first 2 years of medical school. This should be obvious to you judging by the early content of this blog. Medicine is not too bad. The reason it is getting interesting is because of the patients. Once you get to interact with patients you feel like you are their advocate. I know this sounds mushy and cliche but it is true. You picture these good people in an epic battle against the unfairness of the universe. The universe dealt them a bad hand by making them ill. Now you want to help them fight back against the unfairness of life. You start to bond with them. They make you laugh. Sometimes their pain makes you want to cry. But at the end of the day you want to be the most competent healthcare provider you can be in order to give these good people a fighting chance at correcting their illness. Dont get me wrong. I would have still gone into a different profesison but medicine is not the hell i initially made it out to be. I will probably change my mind back to hating it by the time residency comes along ( if i even make it that far). But for now its ok. So hang in there all you pre meds and basic science student.
I just completed my first week of clinical rotations and i have noticed something. I have noticed that careers are determined by a persons connections. I would argue that gaining the favor of your superiors is a slightly more important skill to learn than actual mastery in a field. In third year medical school your recommendations depend on what your attending and residents think of you. If you get a bad recommendation because you are not a team player then you are screwed. Luckily i have really friendly doctors teaching me and my fellow classmates so it is easy to work with them.
Getting a job is increasingly becoming a game of networking as most organizations are hiring from the inside of the organization. What people refer to as networking is really just being part of the inner circle. The work force is not always a meritocracy. It’s often who you know as opposed to what you know that will land you a position. Networking and nepotism rule the day. While i will NEVER kiss ass to get accepted, i am starting to realize the power of “networking”.
Discipline is the essential element to self improvement. Most of our problems in life are due to a lack of discipline. We could be in great shape. The reason we are not in great shape is because we lack the discipline to drastically restrict caloric intake and to run 4 miles a day. We could be bilingual except we lack the discipline to learn 50 new Spanish vocab words a day. We could be in a great relationship but we lack the willpower to fix our flaws. We have the power to make our lives awesome if only we had the discipline to not quit after a few days. Discipline is power. The people with the most messed up lives are the people that lack discipline the most ( barring external circumstances that ruin a persons life).
Our own bodies sabotage us in our efforts to be disciplined. Every cell in our body wants to take the path of least resistance. Laziness is encoded in our DNA. Even the laws of physics reward laziness. Electrical current takes the path of least resistance. This is why the majority of people break their New Years resolution. Nature does not want us to keep those resolutions! We must transcend nature.
How much control you have over your life is proportional to how much discipline you have. Life is hard enough. It is even harder when we are sabotaging ourselves. My goal is to develop discipline in all aspects of my life. Not just a few. People are often highly disciplined in one arena of their lives but lazy in another. I am tired of living like that. I want it all.
Contrary to what they told me when taking the MCAT years ago, it does not predict your USMLE Step 1 score. The rationale for taking the MCAT is that it is a good predictor of how you will perform on the medical boards. This is not true at all. It is very possible to not do well on the MCAT and to do well on the USMLE and vice versa.
It is possible to game the MCAT. At least it was when i took it way back in 2009. If you do about 5 thousand questions you will have seen every possible way they can ask those questions. Berkeley review and Princeton review had the best representation of the types of questions on the test. I saw physical science questions on the MCAT that looked exactly like the questions in the Berkeley review books. There were no real surprises on the MCAT.
With the Step 1 there is a certain level of uncertainty. A person can not prepare for about 30% of the test. These are often experimental questions. These questions cover things that you could not have anticipated. They are also purposely obscure questions that are not covered in review books. The medical board test writers do this on purpose. They do not want to know how well you can memorize a review book. They want to know if you have critical thinking skills.
So if you are struggling with the MCAT just take comfort in the fact that it does not indicate that you will be a bad doctor. Just do every question you can get your hands on multiple times and you will be fine on test day. So do Princeton, Berkeley, Exam Krackers and Kaplan question banks at least twice and on test day you will see repeats.
I was pulling into the gas station and noticed a young doctor walking around the gas station still in his white coat. This is not cool. It is also very unsanitary. I can kinda understand wearing your scrubs outside of work. You might just be getting off work and desperately need to go to the grocery store but did not have time to change. I understand. But wearing your white coat outside of work is extreme d-bag territory. It takes no effort at all to take off your white coat and put it in the front passenger seat. But instead this guy walks into the gas station with it on. It was a cringe worthy moment so i had to take a picture of it. Notice he is driving a brand new Lexus ( look at me everyone i’m a rich doctor).
The older dude in the back kept staring at him like “wtf are you really wearing your white coat”. You never see judges walking around in their black robe pumping gas. This guy is probably a very nice person I just think he needs to bring it down a notch. =)
Oh and he drives off with the gas tank door still open. I thought that was kinda funny.
While i was waiting for the results of the Step 1 medical boards (i passed) i got a job as a toll booth collector on a busy stretch of highway. It was the most difficult job i ever had but it was a very interesting job. I learned a lot about people. This job also made me change my political views. Here is a list of some things that i noticed. I will extend this list in the future.
1.) Friendliness is contagious. If you greet people in a warm manner most people will respond in a warm manner.
2.) Sometimes a genuine ” have a great day” can momentarily lift a persons spirit. This is especially true if they are having a bad day.
3.) 90% of people are good and relatively predictable. Its the 10% of sociopaths that mess it up for everyone.
4.) Toll Booth people do a lot more than just take money. It is the hardest job i have ever had. You have to be a master at multitasking. These people deserve more money. I will take medical school exams any day over being in a toll booth.
5.) People that speed through EZ pass lanes are dicks. Its dangerous and they should slow down.
6.) Crossing the lanes everyday to get to your booth is dangerous. This is especially true when the big transport trucks with the mirrors that stick out 10 feet almost smack you in the head.
7.) The conversations people have on their cell phones are fascinating even if you only hear 10 seconds of it. Some of the convos sound extra juicy.
8.) Minimum wage jobs sucks. Jobs that are slightly above minimum wage still suck.
9.) Not all companies neglect their workers but many do. The ones that take care of their workers will reap the rewards in better customer service. The companies that exploit their workers will feel the wrath of a high turn over rate.
10.) I will never understand the need to micromanage adults. Companies need to stop. Its annoying and unnecessary.
11.) When you have kids to feed you will work 50 hour weeks at a crappy minimum wage job.
12.) You feel a particular rage build up inside of you when a person curses you out for being too slow in counting back money to them.
13.) Extreme boredom is the worst kind of torture. Boredom is so painful that your mind will do anything to escape it. This includes daydreaming. This also includes having imaginary conversations with other people in your head ( im not crazy).
14.) Medicine sucks but there are worse professions in the world. It can get a lot worse.
15.) The economy of the United States is now an employers market. This leads to exploitation of workers.
16.) Outsourcing and the destruction of unions among other things has decimated the job market. You will find highly intelligent and educated people working at ” low skilled” jobs. This is the scary reality of the current economy.
17.) I am no longer a strict anarcho capitalist. Market forces are indifferent to the plight of workers. As human beings we have a responsibility to rise above the cold indifference of market forces.
18.) Too much power in the hands of labor or the hands of management is a bad thing. Both will abuse their powers.
19.) People are generally beautiful. Even though we are a deeply flawed species, we still have redeeming factors.
20.) Breathing Carbon dioxide from cars all day starts to get old
21.) Toll Booths get very cold in the winter and hot as hell in the summer
22.) People really really really do not like to get tickets. Sometimes people would not have exact change. These people would get out of their cars and cross the busy highway in order to ask you to make change for a dollar. They are willing to risk their lives in order to avoid a 10$ ticket!! I don’t understand this.
23.) People may burst out crying because not having enough toll money was the last straw in their incredibly horrible day. I usually pay from my own pocket in these cases.
24.) I pay for at least 1 person with no money everyday. These people give me a sob story about not being able to afford the toll. I am a sucker for sob stories.
25.) People are very surprised when the stranger in front of them pays their way. Random acts of kindness are awesome.
26.) Attractive people are much less impatient at toll booths. Don’t ask me why.
27.) People think full service means you can pay with credit cards
28.) Pennies do not get enough respect.
29.) Please acknowledge the existence of your toll booth collector. Indifference is worse than hate. At least when you hate some one you acknowledge that they exist.
30.) There are a lot of cars in this country. From the perspective of a toll booth collector the cars seem endless. You find yourself wondering “what effect do these cars have on the environment?”
30.) I did alot of sondering. Toll booth collecting is one big sonder fest. This is what makes the job interesting.
|1.||sonder||174 up, 32 down|
Briefly, “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” Originally from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which has a lot more beautiful neologism definitions like this you might enjoy.
I felt deep sonder thinking about the all the people who looked up this word along with me.
31.) Friendly people are awesome. People with bad attitudes suck. Be a cool person…….that is it for now
No one ever changes. Peoples personalities do not change much from childhood. If you were a dick when you were a kid then you will be a dick when you are older. If you were pleasant when you were a kid then you will be pleasant when you are older. I have observed that most of my friends that i have known since early childhood (7 years +) have the same core personality traits. People correctly predicted which of my friends would go to prison based on how they acted as a kid. Toddlers act how they are gonna act for the rest of their lives. If they are terrible when they are 4 then they will be terrible when they are 44.
You might have managed to grow out of the crippling shyness you had as a kid but that doesn’t really count. I’m talking about going from a horrible, spoiled, lying, thieving mischievous kid to a calm cool pleasant dude. That does not happen. Ever. Dennis the Menace is going to end up being a douche bag ex con. That’s just him. He will not change.
I picked up a part time job at a toll booth (job sucks) while i am waiting for my board results. I encounter hundreds of people a day. Some are super cool, and some are dick holes. I am willing to bet that the dicks were dicks ever since pre-k, and the cool people were cool ever since pre-k. God I hope my kid isn’t a dick.
Bob Marley writes:
Since you know so much about careers, I wanted to ask for your personal opinion on which would be wise for a young lad in England to pursue.
I'll take to heart whatever your decision may be.
Work is fundamentally evil. No matter what, it will make you unhappy. If you do what you love as work, you will come to hate it.
Warning!! This has nothing to do with medical school or medicine. I am not homophobic nor do i engage in bestiality. I don’t care what you do with your genitals or your animals. This is just an observation about inconsistencies in the logic of the religious anti gay agenda.
I have never seen anti bestiality protests by the religious right. I have seen many anti gay protest. If a group of people have an issue with homosexuality then they should really really have a super issue with bestiality. At least homosexuality is within the human species. Logically speaking, bestiality is even more “deviant” than homosexuality because it is sexual relations with a species that is not even human. Bestiality often involves species that are not even on our phylogenetic tree.
Going after homosexuality more heavily than bestiality is like prosecuting a simple assault more heavily than a murder. It is morally inconsistent. Bestiality is actually looked at as slightly funny. It is the weird taboo that has humorous and pathetic overtones. I remember watching the movie Howard the Duck when i was a child ( 80′s baby). This movie had blatant scenes of bestiality in the 1980′s and it was not protested against by the religious right ( Who Framed Roger Rabbit also had blatant tones of bestiality in it). A movie that had blatant homosexuality would not have been made in 80′s. The reason that Howard the Duck was accepted and Brokeback Mountain would have been rejected is because one is seen as quirky and the other is seen as evil. This demonstrates moral inconsistency.
The reason for this moral inconsistency is because the anti-gay agenda is not really about degrees of sexual deviancy. It is about many other things like fear, insecurity, socialization, culture etc. If it was strictly about morals then bestiality would not be seen as a pathetic joke while homosexuality seen as an abomination. I have never heard of a farmer being dragged to death behind a pickup truck for humping his sheep. I have heard of a homosexual being dragged to death behind a pickup truck for humping another man.