Stress blog

When the drive to succeed leads you astray

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. March 19, 2010

Throughout our lives, we're inundated with advice. Coaches tell us to keep our eyes on the ball and never give up. Teachers urge us to study harder and apply ourselves. Parents exhort us to live up to our full potential. The advice never stops.

Several months ago, I was encouraged to put my hat in the ring for a highly visible position in our organization. I took the advice and went through the interview process, as did several others. In the end, the best candidate was awarded the position. Although I had a twinge of regret that it hadn't been me, life moved on in its usual rhythm.

Last week while I was on my way to the hospital to see some terminally ill patients, I bumped into the individual who received the appointment. He was frantic and had all of the equipment of the "road warrior" — the cell phone, the suitcase on wheels and the ever-present laptop. I wished him well and watched him sprint to a taxi waiting to take him to the airport for another meeting.

As I walked away, I was profoundly thankful that I wasn't in his shoes and that I'd taken a path that offers me peace and fulfillment.

I'm grateful to those who encouraged me to put myself forward. But I've learned that if I have an attitude of acceptance and, equally important, stay in the present, life unfolds exactly the way it's supposed to.

Are there any other lessons that I missed on my way to the hospital?

With

Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

Mar. 19, 2010