Pursuing what you want to do and achieving your goal is not like finding the burning bush or discovering a gold mine. There are usually no epiphanies, no sudden reversals of fortune. Fulfillment comes in fits and starts… Fulfillment comes in many guises, and it can come to us in our lives at any time… But only we can make sure we will be fulfilled. If we feel empty, no amount of water can fill our well. It has to come from within, from the underground springs and streams.
When you’re socially awkward, you’re isolated more than usual, and when you’re isolated more than usual, your creativity is less compromised by what has already been said and done. All your hope in life starts to depend on your craft, so you try to perfect it. One reason I stay isolated more than the average person is to keep my creativity as fierce as possible. Being the odd one out may have its temporary disadvantages, but more importantly, it has its permanent advantages.
You are in this profession as a calling, not a business; as a calling which exacts from you at every turn self-sacrifice, devotion, love and tenderness to your fellow-men. Once you get down to a purely business level, your influence is gone and the true light of your life is dimmed. You must work in the missionary spirit, with a breadth of charity that raises you far above the petty jealousies of life.
The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime, that will take him away from patients, pills, and potions . . . No [person] is really happy or safe without one, and it makes precious little difference what the outside interest may be – botany, beetles or butterflies, roses, tulips, or irises, fishing mountaineering or antiquities – anything will do so long as he straddles a hobby and rides it hard.
But do not get too deeply absorbed [in your work] to the exclusion of all outside interests. Success in life depends as much upon the [person] as on the physician. Mix with your fellow students, mingle with their sports and their pleasures. … You are to be members of a polite as well as of a liberal profession and the more you see of life outside the narrow circle of your work the better equipped you will be for the struggle.