“And that’s why I probably shouldn’t do a residency,” I concluded and looked back at my professor for her reaction.
She paused and I couldn’t tell if she agreed with the list of reasons I had just rattled off or not.
“Sounds like you’re scared,” was all she said.
Scared!? Had she not listened to me? I had just listed poor timing, less financial compensation, increased work requirements, needing to take the boards early... and her reply was that I was scared.
After a long pause, she had me do an exercise… and I want you all to do it as you read.
Give yourself 20 seconds and try and spot every blue item you can in the room. You’re going to need to remember the items so try to make a mental list.
… Seriously, do it before you keep reading.
Okay, now after reading the next sentence, close your eyes and do what it says:
Close your eyes and recall as many red items in the room as you can.
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t name a single red thing after I had focused on all the blue objects.
When I was unable to recall anything, she looked at me and said, “If you only look for the blue items, you miss all the red ones…. If you only think of the negative aspects of doing a residency, you’ll miss all the positives.”
Fear affects our vision and focus much like this exercise, only we don’t notice it. It makes us see only the negative side of a situation or an opportunity. Fear forces us to only see the things that could go wrong blinding us to the good things that could go right.
Fear leaves us frozen where we are because we stop envisioning (or can’t envision) where else we could be.
If you could accomplish anything, what would it be?
I was asked this a few weeks ago by a friend. And, my reply was I don’t know. But, if I’m honest with you, I do know. I’ve known it all along, but I don’t like to admit it because it seems “too big.” It seems like something other people do, but probably not something I would do.
Yet, it was back in high school when I first daydreamed of sitting across from Oprah as she asked me questions about my book. Yeah, if I could accomplish anything, I want to publish a book. I realize I won’t be able to sit across from Oprah anymore, but years later, writing a book is still something I think about.
I think we all have something like this. And if nothing comes to mind, I don’t think it is because you don’t have something. I think it is because you’ve spent more of your time focused on something else. I think fear has made you look so long at the blue items that you’ve missed the red ones.
Whether it is to work for a professional sports team, do research, teach, complete a residency or write a book, I think it is time we look past the fear and see the whole picture. The only dreams that are “too big” or “too crazy” are the ones that we label that way. So let’s stop ignoring our dreams, let’s stop feeling like we don’t know what we want, let’s stop prefacing our dreams with “it seems crazy” and let’s accept them as they are.
I want to publish a book, what do you want to do?