Always in a hurry.
That sums up today’s typical youngster. In a hurry to enter a study program or course. Then, to acquire a degree. Afterwards, to find a lucrative job or build a busy practice. Get famous. And rich.
All in a hurry.
Yet ‘time’ is a strange concept. It moves at its own pace. You can’t speed it up.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu
Looking back at how my career path unfolded might be instructive. I got into graduate training programs successively, without ‘wasting’ any years by not getting selected. Yet by the time I got my Masters degree in cardiovascular surgery (which, back then, was a 2-year program), I was 29 years old!
How did that happen? You enter medical school at age 17. It’s 5 and half years. Graduate training in general surgery takes 3 more years. And it requires another 2 years to specialize. That should add up to 27 and a half.
So… where did the extra 18 months go?
Delays. Unavoidable ones. Someone filed a case against the selection process for our All-India PG entrance test. It took 6 months to clear. The super-specialty entrance exam got postponed by 3 months.
And sometimes, timing was off. Despite our batch being rushed to complete internship before the deadline date, there were still mandatory gaps of a few months before I could take the next steps.
I was down with viral hepatitis (thankfully A, not B) for 6 weeks.
At the time, being in a hurry, all of this was frustrating. Everything seemed to move agonizingly slowly.
But in the end, those ‘compulsory’ speed-breaks were really immaterial. They didn’t set me, or my career, back in any major way.
During the wait for the court case to clear, I worked in a cardiac surgery unit – and gained priceless exposure to almost every kind of major heart surgery… even before I entered my general surgery program.
In the period between graduate and specialist training, I worked in a remote Primary Health Centre – where I learned the basics of small hospital administration… that served later in helping manage a surgical unit.
What’s my point?
Nothing is ‘wasted’.
There’s no ‘delay’ – except inside YOUR head. Every bit of time spent along the path to becoming whatever you want to be is actually useful, in one way or another.
So don’t be in a hurry all the time.
Instead, focus on HOW BEST you can use any ‘forced delays’ imposed on your career path. Whether you consciously take advantage of them or not, they’ll still end up making you a different kind of person.