Monday, January 7, 2019

New Year, New Mindset

Below is my monthly message for the January 2019 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at MedStarResearch.org/FOCUS.


Dear Friends and Colleagues,
What was your New Years’ resolution this year? Or did you decide to be practical and recognize that the act of making a New Years’ resolution is futile (some say only 8% of people accomplish their stated goal)? One 2014 poll, conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton, found that while 77% adhered to their New Year's resolutions for the first week, that figure dips to less than half within months.

So I ask you: are you losing weight, exercising more and doing all those other self-improvement promises you made a week ago?

I am a very pragmatic person, so for the last few years, I have either skipped the ‘opportunity’ to make a resolution or taken it so lightly that it would not cause any guilt when I inevitably did not stick to it. This year, I’ve decided to do something entirely different. Rather than look inward for something to improve my physical well-being, I decided to look outward to be more of the person I want to be. Let me explain.

When people ask about my professional path, I share how lucky I have been to have had the chance to be so many different things within one career: a clinician, an educator, an investigator, and an administrative leader. However, when I look at what brings me the greatest satisfaction, it is the impact I can have on others. For example, a highlight of my early career was when I became the cardiology training program director and created a first-class cardiology fellowship across the MedStar hospitals in Washington. That combined my clinical and educational experiences and helped dozens to follow their aspirations in medicine. More recently, my work with the MedStar Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP) has combined my clinical, educational and administrative leadership experiences. Today, several members of the PLDP are important leaders across MedStar Health.

There is a term mudita which is from an ancient language of India called Pali. Mudita is “the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being and success. The traditional paradigmatic example of this mind-state is the attitude of a parent observing a growing child’s accomplishments and successes.”

When I reflect on these things throughout my career, I realize there is a wonderful, easy, and extraordinarily impactful New Year’s resolution I can embark on that pulls them all together. If I embrace mudita with every personal interaction I have at MedStar, it will accomplish so many great things at once:
  1. It allows me to apply my educational/personal growth mindset while leveraging my clinical, research, and administrative leadership experience.
  2. It will help create a learning environment for everyone, well beyond the traditional students or trainees. This is an essential component of creating a nationally acclaimed academic health system.
  3. It will support our goal to enhance professional development for every MHRI associate.
  4. It will make us a richer, more exciting and highly successful organization when each person is living to their highest potential.
  5. And, for the pragmatic within me, it will be easy to sustain this New Year’s resolution because I will get joy from seeing others thrive and thus making our organization thrive!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful (and restful) holiday season and I so much look forward to working with you in 2019 and seeing the things we accomplish together. Mudita!

Thank you!
Neil



Read Focus at MedStarResearch.org/FOCUS.

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