Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot
On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something interesting. I often run early in the morning while pushing my daughter in a jogging stroller. On many of these runs, I see this older man walking and waving a stick in the air in a circular motion and talking aloud. A couple weekends ago, my wife, the kiddos and I were out walking, and he was out doing his thing. I made a comment to my wife like “that guy is crazy” after he’d walked by us.
My wife heard him speaking and told me “Matt he’s praying. He’s asking that the people around him be protected.” I felt bad for misjudging him and then immediately felt respect for him. What I judged as crazy was just him looking out for myself and the other people in our neighborhood. Now when I see him during my runs, I make sure to give him a salute, a high five or a thumbs up and say “thank you” to him. Anybody that cares about people other than themselves is cool with me!
Something disappointing. As you know, my sister died a couple of weeks ago at age 43 without warning. I got the news at 5am on a Tuesday morning and was on a plane to see her within hours. I missed three days of work and was back seeing patients that Friday which was challenging.
Eighty percent of the patients I spoke with were extremely kind, loving, and empathetic. Though you may not expect it however, twenty percent were not. I listened to people complain (often passive aggressively) about how they were inconvenienced by me not being available due to a tragedy. When I would point out that I was only out three of the five days that week, most would explain that they had commitments that made it “inconvenient” for them to come in on the days I was actually in the office. I literally held my sister until her last breath and then left to fly home and begin seeing patients hours later. This was not enough for some people as it turns out, they wanted to be seen on a day I was not there. The lack of empathy and kindness was surprising and as someone that puts all I have into helping my patients, disappointing.
I could have handled this unkindness in a variety of ways. I could have yelled at them, kicked them out, or refused to ever see them again. In the end, I chose to let it go. I took the good vibes and kind words of the patients that cared and let that fuel me. The unkind words I heard, I ignored. In life, we cannot control much of what happens to us and around us, but we do have the power to control how we react to it.
An important concept. “Listen to your body” is a phrase we’ve all heard. It is important to do so to avoid injuries, recover faster, and perform at your peak. However, based upon my experience, I would add a caveat to it.
Listening to your body does not mean resting every day, quitting when it gets hard, becoming less disciplined, and/or skipping the things that test you. Often, I interact with people that tell me they are listening to their body, only to have them explain to me why they are being lazy and avoiding even the slightest bit of discomfort or challenge.
We all get sore, tired, bored, etc. but we must persevere. Observe the feedback your body provides and learn from it. Listening to your body most often involves making small adjustments rather than simply foregoing activity or challenges. If you are constantly taking an easy way out, you are not actually listening to your body, you are listening to the voice telling you to quit.
A recent experience. I called up someone important to me recently and apologized to them. I didn’t do anything horribly wrong, but I felt I could have done better. In other words, my actions did not live up to my standards. Rather than make excuses, I called that person up, told them I screwed up, and was sorry. I asked nothing in return but made it clear I felt I could have done better. The person thanked me for my apology, told me that they had not been mad, and that it was fine.
We must hold ourselves accountable in life. When we do something in error, fall short, or behave in a way we regret; the best remedy is to simply admit it, do what we can to fix it, and then move on. Making excuses or lying to ourselves only makes it worse.
Some quotes I love.
“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” – Ernest Hemingway
“It’s not over when you lose, it’s over when you quit.”
“They don’t make statues of critics.”
“Deep down inside you know if you’re doing the work or not.” – Joe De Sena
“You have to meet people where they are. And sometimes you have to leave them there.”
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
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