"Betterment is a perpetual labor. The world is chaotic, disorganized and vexing and medicine is nowhere saved that reality. To complicate matters, we in medicine are also only human ourselves. We are distractible, weak and given to our own concerns. Yet stills, to live as a doctor is to live so that one's life is bound up in others' and in science and in the messy, complicated connection between the two. It is to live a life of responsibility. The question then is not whether one accepts the responsibility. Just by doing this work, one has. The question is having accepted the responsibility, how one does such work well." Atul Gawande, better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
Do you find this quote as powerful as I do? II read this book several years ago and then I heard the quote used in the context of a performance review for educators. The speaker made the point that one could substitute the word “teacher” for “doctor” and it would be just as relevant. There are many aspects of this quote that I find powerful; I share this with you because I dream of a world in which everyone can view their work in the world as living a life of responsibility. Just imagine if we could each get clear about our purpose and pursue it with a sense of commitment to “betterment”. If we all had a shared understanding that we were committed to our world in meaningful ways, we would look one another in the eye with a renewed sense of respect and recognition. It would not matter what we were doing-- what our specific “job” was. That would be far less important than the belief that we each have a role to play in this world and we are all engaged in clarifying that role, living it and perfecting it over the course of our lives.