A Positive Deviant


I recently completed my reading of Dr. Atul Gawande’s book Better. My only regret is that I did not read it sooner, as in the first time it became available. And this book is hardly just for those in the medical profession. It is perfect for anyone looking to become, shall we say “Better.” I know you will not be disappointed if you decide to pick up or download a copy to read for yourself.

What I want to share with you and focus on today is Dr. Gawande’s final chapter of the book, or more appropriately the “Afterword.” Dr. Gawande, who trained to become a prominent endocrine surgeon, is also a staff writer for the New Yorker, a keynote speaker, father, husband, and philanthropist. In this final section of the book he suggests ways that one can make things “better” for others without necessarily following the status quo.

While his anecdotes pertain to being a physician, you can easily replace such thinking with almost any occupation that deals with helping people. From being a teacher to a car salesman, or a stay at home mom or dad to a pastor. It works for all of us. Only 8 and 1/2 pages describing only 5 things that all of us can surely learn from.

If anything we can make our own lives more enriched, balanced, and most of all we can become grateful for both what we have been given and that which we have been FORTUNATE to work for. Yes, that is right. We have been FORTUNATE to have worked for things in our lives. It is one thing to be given things, but to struggle through the attainment of the things we consider to be a success puts us on another level.

Dr. Gawande’s five pieces of advice:

  1. Ask an unscripted question
  2. Don’t complain
  3. Count something
  4. Write something
  5. Change

The 10-minutes or less that it takes you to read these 8 and 1/2 pages is truly worth it. If you cannot get your hands on it, let me know and I will make a copy and send it your way. After all, the entire point of what I am trying to do with this BLOG is to help each and every one of us get “Better Everyday.”

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