Sunday, February 23, 2014

'D' is for being "Down-to-earth"

A few months ago, while I was examining a very nice middle-aged gentleman for his annual physical, my cell phone rang for the second time in 5 minutes. I looked at the phone, it was my wife calling. 
"I'm sorry, I have to take this call," I said to the patient.
"No problems, Doctor," he said, as I stepped out.
I returned after a few minutes after taking the call.
"I'm sorry, that was my wife. Our daughter studies abroad and is not well, and my wife is trying to get a flight to visit her, " I said to the patient, trying to explain the repeated interruptions. 
"Please don't worry about it," he said. I was thankful he was not upset.  
"Where is your wife flying to?" the patient asked, after I was done with his exam.
"Oh... to Miami. She already has a booking from Miami to Grenada. The problem is the flight from here to Miami," I said, surprised at the question.
"Maybe I could help out," the patient said.
"Oh really? You work in the travel industry?" I asked hopefully.
"," he smiled. "This time of the year, our IT consulting company charters a plane for a couple of months and for the next 2 days, there are no flights planned. I could arrange something."
"The IT company would let you use their charter jet?" I asked, with a touch of incredulity.
"I own the IT company," he said, almost apologetically.
My jaw almost hit the floor, as I stared at this simply dressed, polite man, who has been a patient since the last 5-6 years. I make an earnest effort not to delve into personal or professional lives of my patients. But never in a million years could I have guessed that this gentleman was such a wealthy person.

So what is it that makes some people so humble and down-to-earth, and others who would almost tattoo their wealth and achievements on their forehead? Both these categories of people are successful. The question is, which kind would you want to spend time or hang out with? A good friend, who has a lot of good lines, appropriately said that being 'Down-to-Earth' does not mean you think less of yourself, but you think of yourself less!

It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help. It is good to be proud of our achievements, and we should take pride in our success. There's a very fine line between pride and arrogance. We have a choice which side of the line we want to be on. As someone aptly said, none are so empty as those who are full of themselves. Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected.

"When science discovers the center of the Universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it!" ~ Bernard Bailey