– loved this commencement speech by Atul Gawande, surgeon, New Yorker writer and bestselling author. My favourite part is below , but I suggest you read the whole thing :
“Developing a skill is painful, though. It is difficult. And that’s part of the satisfaction. You will only find meaning in what you struggle with. What you struggle to get good at next may not seem the exact right thing for you at first. With time and effort, however, you will discover new possibilities in yourself—an ability to solve problems, for instance, or to communicate, or to create beauty. I never imagined I’d find beauty in surgery. But with time I discovered there could be beauty in the way that I put things together under the skin, beauty no one might ever see, but still strangely satisfying nonetheless.
I said there are at least two kinds of satisfaction, however, and the other has nothing to do with skill. It comes from human connection. It comes from making others happy, understanding them, loving them. The relationships you’ve made are what you will miss most about college. I suspect you did not find forging them nearly as difficult as your classes. Most of you are more worried about the skills and work you will have in your future than the relationships. But neither will you find easy.” (Gawande.com)
– in the same vein, the American Psychological Association finds freedom and personal autonomy are more important to people’s well-being than money;
– this will make you smile. A list of famous opening lines from novels updated for the modern age:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an internet startup to call his own. (McSweeney’s)
– The Guardian has a list of a different kind: the 100 greatest non-fiction books
So get reading and have a good weekend.
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Some good reads from this week – have a good weekend.
– Atul Gawande has another piece on healthcare in this week’s New Yorker which is up to his usual excellent standard. This time he asks what medicine should do when it can’t save our life:
“Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others. Our system of technological medical care has utterly failed to meet these needs, and the cost of this failure is measured in far more than dollars. The hard question we face, then, is not how we can afford this system’s expense. It is how we can build a health-care system that will actually help dying patients achieve what’s most important to them at the end of their lives.”
This rang true because of my experience when my father passed away in my mid-20’s. He suffered a stroke and could no longer walk by himself but I think the hardest thing was that his diet was so restricted he had to give up all the foods he loved, and he loved good food.
Did I want more time with my father ? Off course. Did I want that to cost him a life without joy ? No. My father lived long enough to hold his first grandchild in his arms and then passed away a month later. Just before he died my dad dreamt that he met his father and grandfather so I think he knew it was time to go and was at peace. I am grateful that time wasn’t prolonged by extra pain and time in hospital.
– the Amish are better able to enjoy what really matters, which is all the stuff money can’t buy;
– I think the Amish have realised that we are happier when we are busy. Unfortunately due to evolution our instinct is to do nothing in order to conserve energy;
– an inspiring picture rather than inspiring words: the Milky Way over Bryce Canyon.
I am lucky enough to have visited Bryce Canyon and it is my favourite National Park with a landscape that is unlike anything else I have ever seen. I would go so far as to say that if I had to choose between the Grand Canyon and Bryce, I’d go for Bryce.
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