Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Failed Doctor

Five years ago I spent two months with two friends in Costa Rica. The lessons from that trip I am still working on understanding. Among them, my friend's dad was (probably still is) a doctor. He was a doctor in the military for some time then went into private practice for himself. However, as many small businesses do, his practice failed.

I was astonished that a doctor could fail. That was still back in the day when I thought doctors were superhuman. I also thought that since medical doctors made so much money that even a doctor who was poor at business would still make a good living. When I asked my friend why his dad went out of business, and inevitably to work for someone else, the answer was that he tried to help too many people. I suppose that refers to pro-bono (free) services that he provided.

That story has stayed with me. It is the epitome of charity. A doctor who tries to help so many people that he can't afford his own family. There are several lessons in that, when you excel or desire to do something, there are often other necessary skills to make that possible that you do not have. If you did not already know, doctors are as capable of failure as the rest of us. Even though one can be really good at one's business, that does not mean one is good at business. Finally, everything worked out for the doctor and the family even after the business failed. The paths that each of our lives takes are not strait lines, yet him and his family, my family, many of my friends, and I are very blessed along the way in a multitude of different circumstances.

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