Life's lessons remain a powerful teacher

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Feb 01, 2006

The clinical investigation team comprising our Nephrology/ Urology Center meets daily to discuss progress that has been made, problems that need solutions and plans for the day. Before we end our discussion, we take turns sharing words of wisdom. One of my favorite topics falls under the theme called "What lesson's have you learned?"


DVM Newsbreak
The lesson's I have learned are not limited to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of various diseases. They may also include lesson's about life. Thanks also to the countless number of individuals (family, friends, colleagues, teachers, students) and our creator who have taught me these pearls of wisdom.

I've learned:

  • to be useful and productive is an inborn human need.
  • our true worth is the good we do in behalf of others.
  • the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.
  • happiness is a byproduct of doing things for others and not an end in itself.
  • not all work is worthwhile. We shouldn't confuse activity with accomplishment.
  • the formula for achievement is A = I M2, ( where A = achievement, I = intelligence and M = motivation).
  • it is good use of ordinary talents that leads to extraordinary achievement.
  • the opportunity of a lifetime only exists during the lifetime of the opportunity.
  • it's often small daily happenings that make life enjoyable.
  • a small deed done is greater than a great deed planned.
  • everyone I meet deserves to be greeted with a smile. S (smiling) M (makes) I (individuals) L (lives) E (enjoyable).
  • the time to be happy is now; the place to be happy is here; the way to be happy is to make others so.
  • few things lead to unhappiness more than covetous comparisons of ourselves with others.
  • not to let preoccupation with what I don't have crowd out my appreciation of what I do have.
  • when I harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
  • there are only two reasons people will come to see me: because they want to or because they have to.
  • the road is never long to a friend's house.
  • faithful friends and associates are beyond price; their worth is more than money can buy.
  • the only way to have a friend is to be one.
  • a friend, not an apple, a day keeps the doctor away.
  • appreciation lubricates the friction of close association.
  • kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life.
  • it makes others feel good when we tell them that their work has been well done.
  • one of the greatest acts of kindness friends can give each other is always the truth.
  • one advantage in telling the truth is that you don't have to be anxious about recalling what you said.
  • a true friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before her/him I may think aloud.
  • the importance of striving to appreciate and understand the other person's point of view, whether we agree with her/him or not.
  • we're all ignorant, only on different subjects.
  • recognizing that I do not have all the answers allows me to learn from others.
  • one of the best ways for me to grow as a person is to surround myself and learn from people wiser than I am.
  • he who will not learn from anyone except himself has a fool for a teacher.
  • that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
  • experience is a tough teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.
  • just because a thousand people say a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing.
  • repetition does not transform a lie into truth.
  • our response to criticism of our mistakes should be governed by a heartfelt desire to be honest.
  • modesty will prompt us to appreciate those who help us recognize mistakes in our speech or conduct.
  • if we are on the receiving end of criticism, we must school ourselves to rise above all that is petty so we can accept and use what is worthwhile.
  • temper gets most of us into trouble. Pride keeps us there.
  • the best defense against misrepresentation is fine conduct.
  • to develop a positive attitude, more is required than choosing not to be negative. We must replace negative responses with positive ones.
  • positive thoughts (e.g. being understanding, compassionate, appreciative, trusting, forgiving) foster positive results (giving, sharing, caring, communication, enlightenment, happiness, productivity).
  • it takes humility for one in a position of authority to apologize to those who are in subjection to him.
  • it is best to try to respond to the faults of others as gently as we do with our own.
  • just because you have the right to do it, doesn't mean it's right.
  • we should keep our words both soft and tender because tomorrow we may have to eat them.
  • being mild mannered is not synonymous with being weak. It takes great strength to be mild during provocation.
  • to avoid witticisms at the expense of others.
  • I can't choose what misfortunes may come my way, but I can choose how I will respond to them.
  • (s)he who limps still walks.
  • good communication is dependent on an open mind as well as an open door.
  • it is often better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.
  • success should be seen within the framework of what it accomplishes in behalf of others, not just in light of what it does for us in the way of salary or prestige.
  • not what we get, but what we give, measures the worth of the life we live.
  • the danger of materialism as the primary goal of success is that you start out owning things, but after a time they end up owning you.
  • the best things in life aren't things.
  • the danger of acquiring the apostrophe syndrome.
  • to earn the trust of others, we must be honest. Our words and feelings should match our thoughts and actions. We should not think one thing and speak another.
  • it is not enough to possess a truth; the truth must possess us.
  • repeating unkind gossip about others is a divisive way of praising ourselves.
  • being too quick to question the motives of others is not a manifestation of trust.
  • because we may not always possess the truth, there is often great value in the viewpoints, judgments and experiences of others.
  • to earn the trust of others we must be accountable by recognizing, admitting and accepting responsibility for our mistakes.
  • it is far better not to promise something than to make a promise not keep it.
  • we should avoid invalidating the spirit of the law by demanding the letter of the law.
  • the best defense against misrepresentation is fine conduct.
  • the value of striving to trust others in the same fashion we desire that others will trust us.
  • compassion can only be measured by the action it prompts.

Dr. Osborne, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, is professor of medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.