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Admission Application Suggestions (Part XXI)

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“Just before” agreeing to go to a professional school, it is far better to back out if you decide that career is not best for you.

Perhaps you have not even discovered your main talent. Perhaps you picked your prospective career in order to please someone else or because that is what your friends are doing.

Many of the pre-medical and medical students I teach have followed their parents’ career suggestions despite an intense desire to do something else.

For example, one young lady was in medical school at her parent’s urging. One day, after class, she told me she really wanted to be a musician.

My recommendation was to combine both into a medical/musical career. If you cannot combine your present career plans with your dream, then go back to the “drawing board” and start anew.

But keep in mind that choosing a life’s mate is as important as choosing a career and therefore enough room should be made for both. Both are about serious business and therefore require a great deal of work.

The bottom line of living is to have a satisfactory life. A way to approach this is to imagine yourself on your death bed, thinking back over your life.

To be “Lifetime Satisfied” you need to:

(1) have done all the things that were really, really important to you and atoned for those things you really, really should not have done;

(2) have a sense that things have gone about the way you wanted them to go and/or that those things have gone in a way that seemed fair -- based on the way you have handled them (it is unrealistic to expect everybody to be fair);

(3) believe that you would not change much of what has happened, even if you could;

(4) Know How Much Is Enough in things valued in the marketplace -- money, possessions, status, fame, power over people;

(5) use those things of value (the material) as well as things of worth (the immaterial pleasures) the help improve the quality and goodness in your life and the lives of others; and

(6) not wishing you had done something that you were able to do.

Realize that, contrary to what you hear in the media, you cannot “have it all.” Life is about choosing between good things and choosing between the lesser of bad things that you are forced to choose.

The start of having a satisfactory life is to connect what you want on your imagined death bed with the four most important dealings of your life.

These four -- your dream, your main talent, your legacy purpose in life, and your family -- must be fit into a harmonious balance.

Merely three of these will not work to give you a satisfactory life because all four shape each other. Up front, it takes a tremendous amount of work to determine your top dream - that which incorporates your main talent and your legacy purpose.

That dream may or may not be the career you choose. If it is not your chosen career, then that career ought to be a major stepping stone for reaching your dream. The place to look for your dream involves a search for the highest truth, and the answer will come from the highest and deepest part of you.

For ancient Africans, the dream was to realize the promise of becoming human and working towards harmony and fellowship. One could become human only in the midst of others and in helping others to become better.

The boundaries of your dream are determined by your main talent. Your purpose is figure out your dream and your talent.

Find your talent by exposing yourself to all sorts of information and determining which one fits your rhythm of satisfaction. After that, develop your talent (through education and training).

Finally, in keeping with family obligation, locate the proper niche for your gift to the world and the world will reward you.

Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D

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