|Sort of cliche, but sports are an appropriate metaphor for success|
I often think about success, and say to myself "Wouldn't it be great?" I don't think I have the traditional definition of success where the end result is tons of money, a hot car, trophy wife, and a white picket fence with a two story house. No I am always impressed by true success. Success that people reach where they look back after a long journey and say to themselves "I made it!"
One thing I have noticed about success is that I hear other people speak of those who have achieved it in hushed tones of envy. "Oh if I was only as LUCKY as them." or "I could never do that, he's a GENIUS." or "It's just not FAIR" or "I just don't have the TALENT they have". These people always look at a fully realized successful person and assume that they have always been that way. They totally ignore the journey that person had to take in order to become successful. They completely ignore the hard work, the agonizing moments, the long tear-filled nights, the times of self-doubt, the times when they believed they couldn't go on...yet they did.
I find my favorite success stories by reading through blogs. I love reading about the journeys people take to become better athletes, to learn a new hobby, or to reclaim their lives from obesity. Every day "average" people decide that they are going to do something great. They are going to go from a sedentary life to running the Ironman in Hawaii. Maybe it is someone who is going to get on a bike and ride from Alaska all the way down to the tip of Argentina. How about a person who decides that their life has been ruined by complacency and that they are going to lose a tremendous amount of weight one day at a time?
For me, I always have to start at the first post when I read those blogs. I want to know about the days when it was impossible. I want to read about the times when they felt weak, unable, and inadequate. It is because I feel like this all too often, and I hope that one day someone is going to read my blog and realize that they can do it too. I want to say now, that I FEEL like I will never become a doctor. The cards are stacked against me. I have an average MCAT, and substandard GPA, and I have been out of college for more than 8 years.
It is impossible for me, but I have something that all the lazy apathetic people don't have. I just can't find it within myself to give up. For some reason, after I was laid out flat by rejection after five years of preparation I got back up and said, "Lets try again." Even after everyone online said, "No, it is impossible for you, you just don't have the right stats." I closed my ears and decided to keep going.
When I start my residency, I want to look back at this post and remember what it was like when it was impossible. Because I know what will happen when I get into medical school. People will start saying those things about me. "Oh it is because he is so SMART." or "I wish I was as LUCKY as him." But it isn't true.
None of them who say that noticed the tears streaming down my face. None of them were with me when I was defeated. None of them sat with me during the long study sessions I had to do AFTER I had already worked a full day at the office. None of them were there when I had to turn my wife down for date night so that I could do well on a test. None of them used their vacation time to study those final two weeks for the MCAT instead of going to Peru for some fun. The only thing they see is the end result, the fruits of my labor, what happens AFTER all the sacrifices. So they simply dismiss it with a casual statement, because it makes them feel better for giving up on their own dreams. That is the real truth, and that is why when I am successful I want to look back and remember how high the price was.
I also hope I can inspire someone, somehow. I want them to read about my journey and realize that Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Businessmen, or whatever you choose to be has no bearing on your intellect. It has to do with how much time you spend practicing, improving, sacrificing and moving towards your goal. An elite athlete practices for years so that one day he can stand on the big stage and compete in front of thousands. It is no different for the highest levels of success in any arena.
I did not improve on my MCAT score this year. Conventional wisdom says, that after 2 tries you should quit. That a 29 is "good enough". You know what? It isn't good enough for me. After three tries, guess what? I am going to start studying again. Because it is all stuff I NEED to know. Because I know I can do better, and because I want to do better....for me.
I think that the key component to success is the ability to maintain discipline. By managing to put for a solid effort every single day over a long period of time someone inches ever closer to the success that they have in mind. Writing a novel does not happen in a one week flurry if intense activity. It consists of research, writing, revising, and often times throwing away large portions of script that have to be redone. Losing weight does not happen in a week, even if commercials tell you it does. It happens over a long period of time after someone has changed their lifestyle and committed themselves to a new discipline of diet and exercise. My own success, hinges on daily efforts of reviewing material I have learned in the past, keeping up with current advances in medicine, and constantly striving to involve myself in the opportunities that exist to participate in volunteering or research.
Today my goals seem impossible, but I can see that every day I am inching ever closer to what I truly want. Once I reach the starting line of Medical School I am looking forward to raising the bar even higher and making a new set of goals that will further define my new success story.