Sunday, June 26, 2011

The "easy way out" is not always easy!

"Hey doc, I want you to help me," a young patient said to me last week. He was my first patient that morning.
"Okay," I said. "How can I help you?"
"I need a pill to lose weight. I have to lose 10 pounds in the next 15 days."
I looked at him a bit more closely. He was one of my pleasantly plump patients. "So you have to lose 10 pounds? I've been trying to tell you the same thing for the last so many years. Why the sudden urgency?" I asked.
"Well, I have a bet with my wife -- to see which one of us will lose 10 pounds first," he didn't seem to have any guilty feelings.
"So you want a weight loss pill. You think that's a fair bet?" I asked
"Everything is fair in love & war, doc. And this happens to be both!" He was very animated.
I couldn't help smiling. The extent to which people will go to lose weight and to impress the fairer sex! Its a constant "battle of the bulge"!
"There's no such pill, it just has to be diet and exercise," I said.
"You can't be serious! We can go to the moon, we have the i-pad and skype, and no pill to lose weight? That sucks." He was really disappointed.
His statement gave me pause. He wanted quick results, like most of us. These days life is fast, the cars are fancy, the houses are big and the egos even bigger! And as we all know, ego has a voracious appetite. The more you feed it, the hungrier it gets.

Preferring the easy way out is the norm in our culture these days. And it is not limited to losing weight, it extends to all facets of our lives. In real life, success is often not a result of talent, but a matter of hard work and tenacity.  The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spots, the key is not to lose focus. Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles.

"I am a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." ~ Thomas Jefferson


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Traveling "elite"!

This past weekend I took another flight. I don't fly much and I really am not a savvy traveler. We got to my favorite part -- the security check! I was surprised there were so many people that early in the morning. I removed my shoes and my belt, took out my wallet, my keys, my phone and some change in my pockets etc. The line behind me grew by the minute and there were a lot of impatient faces, taking quick glances at their watches. Then I had the choice of a stranger patting me down or an unseen stranger doing my whole body scan! And God knows what they can see in that scan. Well, I eventually made it past the security check and waited for my stuff to roll out on the belt.
"Who's bag is this?" A voice boomed and the gentleman pointed sternly bag!
"That's mine," I said, hesitantly.
"Sir, do you have a laptop in this bag?"
"Well, it's an i pad," I said.
"Sir, you need to take it out," he said, as he handed me my carry on bag with a disapproving look.
"Oh...I'm sorry," I said, quite embarrassed. I proceeded to take out the i pad. The line got held up and there were quite a few stares directed at me, with a whisper traveling the length of the line -- "He didn't take it out...he didn't take it out..."!

We finally made it to the boarding area. When our rows to board were announced, I hurried to the gate.
"Are you traveling first class or business class?" The petite lady at the gate asked me, quite crisply.
"No--" I replied.
"Are you a club-world, platinum-club, club-elite, world-elite, silver-club or silver-club-elite member?" She rattled off. My head was spinning!
"I..I don't think so," I replied nervously.
"Well, sir, then you shouldn't be standing on the red carpet," she said sharply, pointing to the ground.
I looked down and I was indeed standing on the red "elite" side of the boarding walkway. I gently stepped two feet to my right on the "grey" side of the walkway carpet, apparently for regular folks like me.
"Welcome to flight 289 to Houston, your seat number is 29 C." It was a bright smile now!
When we disembarked, as we walked out of the plane, the now familiar red and grey carpets were laid out on the walkway. Nobody was watching me, so I casually walked onto the red carpet and waited for that "elite" feeling to sweep over me. But nothing happened! Regular grey or the elite red, it was the same.

"The first step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go. Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~ Confucius