Monday, February 13, 2012

Two Pillars

Near the end of my high school education, my two older brothers took it upon themselves to have independent discussions with their immature younger brother about college. 

My oldest brother, a law student at the time, knowing my up to that point propensity for goofing off and not taking anything serious (probably why I was ranked in the bottom half of my high school class and got rejected from Brooklyn College), warned me that with my attitude I should not expect to achieve higher than a C grade in any college course.  

My middle-brother, who was med school-bound and with whom I had shared a bedroom for many years, told me that it was possible to get an A grade in every course I took in college.  

I call these apparently diametrically opposed views, my two pillars in life: consequences and potentials. In reality, they fit in a continuum of personal responsibility.  Avoid consequences to realize potential.

These two philosophical pillars have framed every challenge I have faced thereafter.  I understood what each brother was trying to convey. My older brother was trying to shock me to understand how easy it is to fail at something; my middle brother tried to encourage me that if I worked hard, it is possible to succeed.  Well, what does that have to do with prevention and wellness?  Quite frankly, everything.

A poor lifestyle including poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, etc. has consequences that often lead to nothing good.  Yes, some people can dodge the bullet for many years because they have “protective genes,” but count those few lucky souls among a very small minority that most likely doesn’t include you.

Alternatively, practicing a disease-preventive lifestyle offers potential-the potential to live longer, healthier and happier.  A healthy lifestyle can fuel good things and ward off the worse of human suffering.  There are no guarantees in life, but active pursuit of a goal with persistence, perseverance, and tenacity improves the likelihood of success.

The next time you are trying to figure out what you should do, think about my two pillars and act accordingly. I did and still do. In college,  it helped me rise to first in my class when I applied and was accepted to numerous medical schools. 

For that, I thank my brothers.

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