This quote about fortune provoked an adverse reaction in me. I did not particularly agree with it initially. As I read the quote I recognized that the words somehow seemed familiar but I had attributed that description to “fame”. I must admit I was a little annoyed that fame and fortune were being equated as one. As I pondered that quote at 3 am in the morning on my only bathroom break on night call. I questioned why I was so annoyed by the quote and it was not until hours later that I gained some insight into my initial reaction.
I finally realized that I was irritated because it had been drilled in me that if I worked hard I would reap the results of my hard work later. In other words, I had internalized the idea that hard work guaranteed good fortune but this quote challenged that tenet. Once I had calmed down, I was able to understand that just because I put in the work did not necessarily imply I would be successful. This was a particularly bitter pill of knowledge to swallow because I am a physician in training. Most physicians in training will agree with me that the hardest thing about completing the training process is “delayed gratification”.
Anyone can take a test and will eventually pass it once they get enough time to prepare for it. However, it takes a certain commitment to enter a training process that could last anywhere between 11 – 17 years from the time you leave high school depending on your specialty. When you take into account the rising cost of medical education and decreasing physician salaries. It obviates the idea that most people who go into medicine are doing so to get the proverbial “pot of gold” at the end of the training. What motivated me to pursue Medicine was a desire to improve people’s lives and my love for Science I found that this field allowed me to blend the two.
As I begrudgingly accept the fact that I may sacrifice time with my kids and spouse, my health, my personal time, finances, money and friendships and still not be guaranteed good fortune. I realized that finding or discovering my purpose is the key to a building a successful life. But the caveat with that statement is that your must first have a definition of what you consider a “successful life”. I will leave you with this quote by Louis Pasteur “Fortune favors the prepared mind”.
Enjoy the festivities this season and remember – Jesus is the reason for the season.