Fight the Good Fight

Last week, we talked about learning flexibility as a means to resilience and fighting against burn out.  This week, we take that flexibility one step further, from learning flexibility with our plans, and apply flexibility to our perspective.

It’s easy to criticize others, isn’t it?  It is easy to form a snap judgement about someone or something, and dig in our heels.

It’s arguably one of the most basic human instincts, and we see it manifest in every facet of our lives.  There are platforms placing entire generations (ahem, millennials), political parties, races, classes, and gender in disparaging light.  I’ve heard and seen people roll their eyes when speaking about their younger siblings, the new colleague at work, the new student in the class, the new person at the gym, the “kids” in college/medical school/residency.  If I’m being completely honest, I’ve probably been that person rolling her eyes a few times in my life.

It’s easy to generalize about “kids these days,” and Lord knows, I am still, more often than not, stereotyped into the group of “kids these days.”

Let’s be honest for a minute, though: why are we criticizing these people, rather than helping them?  They are inheriting the world from us- and unless we take an interest in their education and inspiring them to pursue a better world, there will be no one to continue our work.  Progress is a good thing, yet there are the stubborn vestiges of older generations, who do not wish to evolve.

The world will evolve onward, the millennials will inherit the earth (as will the generations ever after).   We can either fight a fruitless fight against the future, or acknowledge its inevitability- and help shape it.

Application: Do you remember a time when a snap judgement was made about you?

I do.  I want to share why this blog is so important to me, for just a minute, a true story.  I recall as an intern, I was absolutely an outcast.  I didn’t have true friends within my own program, and heard the comments made behind my back.

“She’ll never make it,” many hospital staff members said.

“She’s probably sleeping with her attendings, she is too pretty to be a doctor,” another hospital staff member said (I was married).

One of my colleagues shared with me that the program “didn’t actually want me; they got “stuck” with me,” and detailed the other candidates which were more desirable/ranked higher.

One attending told me that I wasn’t cut out to be a neurologist– on my first day of my intern year.

They had decided, perhaps because of my appearance or apprehension/shyness, that I didn’t have what it takes.

For the years of my residency, I often questioned why I bothered fighting against these judgements, and I toyed with quitting.  I had been told I wasn’t good enough by so many people in my life at that point, I began to believe them.

Then one day, I was told by a female medical student that she knew she wanted to apply to my program BECAUSE of me, because I was there.  She shared with me that I was her inspiration, that she knew she could do it BECAUSE of me.

That was the moment I knew why I was here, why it was important to keep fighting the stereotypes, the lies, the snap judgements.  I was (and am) here to inspire the future generations of young women, to cheer them along. I wish, in my loneliest, most frustrated moments, I had been told that there were other women right there with me, cheering me on- so I want to fill that void for others (hence, this blog).  Remember: we may hear a thousand times “No,” but we only need one “Yes.”

I choose to leave a positive mark on this world (even if it is just my small corner of the world), and I will not quit.

Stay tuned for a special reveal next Sunday, which I hope will inspire more to follow their hearts and their dreams.  In the meantime, reassess some snap judgements you may have made about others, rethink how we treat our youth.  Find a way to inspire the future generations in your corner of the world.

Fight the good fight, finish the race.


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