In general, physicians who explore my programs want more fulfillment, less stress, better performance – either as a doctor, as a leader, or as a parent / spouse. One of my mantras for all my programs is to keep everything rather simple. I learned the more complicated I make things, the more confusion it creates. Now I know there are some people who relate complicated with being smart which is not always the case. However, here is what I learned as well:

Living a fulfilled and high-performance life is usually simple but not always easy. Too often we humans collapse simple and easy. Let me give you an example, losing weight is simple:

  • eat fewer calories than you burn,
  • be responsible for what you put in your body,
  • exercise regularly to speed up your metabolism and build muscle mass.

Sounds simple. Is simple. But not always easy. Because if it was, more people probably would stick with it.

Last week I had a conversation with a physician who told me that he wanted to spend more time with his children. Sounds simple, right? And when I asked him about some specificity of spending more time with his children, he wasn’t sure yet. You see, the crux is if we don’t create specific benchmarks to measure it, we don’t know whether we are succeeding. Spending more time with the children is not specific. Spending an hour a day playing with the children and reading them a bedtime story is specific. Creating these intentions is simple, even when fulfilling them isn’t always easy especially after a long and stressful day at work. Fulfilling them is simply about being up for the challenge and putting systems and environments in place to support the objective.

Once you know what you want specifically, you want to break down the actions to simple, bite-sized tasks. Getting an MBA is a huge and complex project. Completing one class at a time is simple. Mastering the ICD-10 codes is a humongous task; studying them 1 hour or 2 hours a week (and putting these hours on your calendar) is a doable task. Having anything you want is as simple as getting clear what you want, creating a plan, and taking consistent action. You want to keep the actions specific and simple, even when they are challenging.

In the end, it is the simple pleasures in life that bring us joy: the gratitude of a patient, a beautiful sunset, the laughter of your children – you name yours. Keep an eye out for more of those and consciously breathe them in. I guarantee you, your stress level will decrease, and your life contentment will automatically increase. Just make sure to keep things simple.

“Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.”
~ C.W. Ceran

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
~ Hans Hofmann

What are the simple things that bring you joy and how do you ensure you live them as much as possible? Share in the comment section below.