The Secret to a Successful Life...

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. - Kurt Vonnegut

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” - Kurt Vonnegut

The secret to a successful life is learning how to have fun in spite of it. - Me

The human brain is an utterly amazing device. It is in control of the-rest-of-you without your permission. It can modify the activity of every system in your body. Think of this: when you are happy or excited you can go flying up a flight of stairs almost effortlessly. When you are sad, every step is misery. What does being happy or sad have to do with your ability to climb stairs? Same muscles. Same cardiovascular system. If I pull back the hammer of a loaded 356 revolver and point it at your head, a series of physiologic adjustments take place within milliseconds. Your adrenal glands shoot a bunch of adrenalin into your bloodstream. Your heart rate jumps from 60 beats per minute to 120. Your blood pressure rises. You feel as if you are going to jump out of your skin. If I point a loaded banana at your head, however, absolutely nothing happens. Well, you may wonder what's gotten into me or join me and my daughters in quoting Monty Python sketches. Regardless, all of this occurs based purely on the perception of that thing between your ears and you have (almost) no control over it.

The best way to avoid having the flight-or-fight (gun-to-forehead) response is: don’t get yourself into situations where this (gun-to-forehead) might happen. Control your environment. The best way to fly up stairs is to keep yourself in shape and BE HAPPY. Yes, it is not so easy under certain circumstances, but it is vital nevertheless. In all ways, we function better when our brains are happy. Do the things that make you happy. Listen to music, play sports, climb a mountain, collect stamps, have sex, drive sports cars, eat incredible food, cook incredible food, travel (to places where there is incredible food).

When you are at work doing whatever it is you do, watch other people. Those who really enjoy what they are doing have a far different attitude than those who hate what they are doing. If you hate what you are doing, do something else. I love interacting with patients but I hated the environment in which I was working. So, at the age of 62, I jumped ship along with the people I love to work with, invested a pile of money, and created the ultimate practice for the medical system we all have to deal with - a safe haven for me, my staff, and our patients. Rock and Roll.