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"I wouldn't do it twice, but I would not 'not' do it once."

- ZDoggMD

Entries in Inspirational (8)


Study Motivation From The Greatest Speech Ever Made

A three minute reminder of why medical school is worth it

At times medical school can become stressful and monotonous, especially during second year. Spending your days with piles of material to get through before eat, sleep, and do it all again the next day. Breaking up the day with a quick run garnished with a bit of inspiration is just what you need to make the pre-test push. So if you beginning to feel the pressure of an upcoming exam or just need a little pick-up, look no more.

My Advice?

1. Watch This Video

2. Go For A 15 minute run

3. Come back and crush your least favorite subject.

4. Repeat PRN



A Transcription of The Greatest Speech Ever Made by Charlie Chapman

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible...

Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind.

We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity;

More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish…

Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines.

You are not cattle.

You are men.

You have the love of humanity in your hearts.

You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written ” the kingdom of God is within man ” – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in you, the people. You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will.

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise.

Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance.

Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers – in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


5 Must Watch TED Talks For Any Medical Visionary

Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.    -Bill Hybels

Ok, I'm sure you are all familar with TED.com, basically it's is like crack for those who thrive on big ideas. I must admit, TED is a bit of an addiction for me. So if you have a bit of extra time this weekend; here is my must watch list for anyone who wants to do big things with their medical career.


1. The Wireless Future of Medicine

Eric Topol says we'll soon use our smartphones to monitor our vital signs and chronic conditions. At TEDMED, he highlights several of the most important wireless devices in medicine's future -- all helping to keep more of us out of hospital beds.

Eric Topol is a leading cardiologist who has embraced the study of genomics and the latest advances in technology to treat chronic disease.


2. Medicine's future? There's An App for That

Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient's bedside.

Daniel Kraft is a physician-scientist, inventor and innovator. He chairs the FutureMed program at Singularity University, exploring the impact and potential of rapidly developing technologies as applied to health and medicine.


3. Robert Fischell on Medical Inventing

Accepting his 2005 TED Prize, inventor Robert Fischell makes three wishes: redesigning a portable device that treats migraines, finding new cures for clinical depression and reforming the medical malpractice system.

Robert Fischell invented the rechargeable pacemaker, the implantable insulin pump, and devices that warn of epileptic seizures and heart attacks. Yet it's not just his inventive genius that makes him fascinating, but his determination to make the world a better place.


4. How Do We Heal Medicine?

Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine -- with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.

Surgeon by day and public health journalist by night, Atul Gawande explores how doctors can dramatically improve their practice using something as simple as a checklist.


5. Where Good Ideas Come From

People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.

Steven Berlin Johnson is the best-selling author of six books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. His forthcoming book examines "Where Good Ideas Come From."


Becoming A Rockstar Doctor: Part 1

Why Malcolm Gladwell Should Be Required Reading For Medical School

The tidal wave of information thrown at you during medical school can be a challenge to manage and the idea of adding more books to the list may make you want to vomit. But before you do, take a moment to hear me out. 

Besides having a ton of respect for his feral afro, I believe that Malcolm Gladwell is one of the best authors for taking abstract, ill-defined phenomena and clarifying it with surgical precision. His work is some of the most researched writing you will see outside of a PubMed search and that resonates well with evidence based minds.

Throughout our medical training we are taught to question and continually seek to uncover the truth. Gladwell takes that same approach to the subject of success, human decision making, and epidemics with the books Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point. I can strongly recommend getting a copy of these books. His insights will give you the tools you need to stand out from the crowd, and make you re- evaluate the way you see your own medical training.

I know you may be busy, even bordering on overwhelmed, right now so I have distilled some of the vital principles into a nice little summary; until you have a chance to take a breath and get the full experience.

Outliers: The Story of Success

At the outset, most would-be doctors become obsessed with outliers, in many ways we all need to be outliers to continue in our career and as we progress this becomes increasingly difficult to achieve.

Opportunity for Quality Learning:

If you where to play hockey in Canada the month of your birth is a major factor that contributes to your success. Outliers explains that the boys who have the earliest birthdays are older at each level of junior hockey. This makes them a little stronger and faster than there peers. Which means they get chosen for the best teams, they get the best coaching, and have the most opportunities for high quality practice.

The point here is not to find out what month is the best month for Rockstar Physicians to be born. It’s the idea that the players selected early are given the best opportunities for learning, practice, and competition. The question then becomes how can I put myself in the path of those types of opportunities in my career.

Understanding the importance of quality learning means that to become an outlier we must be proactive in our medical education.

I do not consider my self an especially impressive outlier but here are three ways I have learned from people who stand out in school and life.

Clarify Your Purpose

What kind of legacy do you want to leave as a doctor, as a person? What do you care about? What would you work on if you had 20 million dollars in a trust fund? These are good questions to help clarify your purpose. The answer, "I just want to be a doctor and help people" is too vague. The more clear you are the better.

It’s important to remember that asking these questions is an important first step. You may not have all the answers right away and the answers may change over time, but the process is important. As you become more clear on your purpose you can increase your focus and place effort into areas of you life that will give you the highest yield.

Seek A Mentor

Good coaching is vital to success. Once you know where you are going it’s much easier to evaluate the type of people who can help you along your way. Asking for advice and help can be difficult, especially in the world of medicine. Many times people hesitate because they think “that doctor is super busy and will never get back to me or will think I am unworthy of their time.”

Yes, both of these things may happen but don’t sweat it, just move on to someone else. However you may be surprised at who will be willing to help you along the way.

Commit To One Small Action Everyday

The road to becoming a doctor is long and it’s easy to feel like you are stuck unable to do anything about some big goal you have in your life because you have no time, no money, and should spend every waking moment trying to care about oxidative deamination in the urea cycle or the blood supply above and below the pectinate line.

Even in the face of all these constrains, commit to one small daily action the brings you closer to that goal. Do you want to start a business, do a super sweet fellowship, or run a marathon? Don’t wait, begin working on that goal in a small way today.

Focused Practice

One of the most striking themes in Outliers is the emphasis on practice. Gladwell shows us why the 10,000 hour rule is important to remember for any would-be outlier. The idea is simple, it takes roughly 10,000 hours, or about 10 years, of focused (the more focused the better) practice to become great at something. He uses examples like Bill Gates, the Beatles, Mozart, and chess grandmasters to make his argument for this 10,000 hour rule.

What does this mean for training physicians and surgeons?

If you do some quick math and estimate the typical resident works 300 days per year (accounting for days off and vacation time). That is about 43 weeks per year and, at 80 hours per week, this means they would reach the 10,000 hour mark in almost exactly 3 years. It’s interesting that this correlates well with the amount of time spent in most of the non-surgical specialties.

But why do the surgeons need five, six, or, in some cases, 8 years? The the answer is focused practice. Gladwell calls it 10,000 hours of “hard practice.” For a surgical resident to reach 10,000 hours of hands-on operating experience it takes much longer. In many institutions the surgical intern and even junior resident spends much of their time outside the operating room and even when the do get to gown up for the OR they often have limited time where they are running the show.

Of course there are good reasons for this, patient safety foremost among them, however this does not mean that we cannot learn from the 10,000 hour rule. Remember just being busy at the hospital does not automatically mean you are becoming a better physician or surgeon. It is important to look for ways to find focused practice and wring the most out of each patient encounter.

This may also mean we need to re-evaluate how we train residents to increase the amount of focused practice they get during training. With arguments surrounding resident work hours, length of training, and the need for increased specialization constantly on the rise, a new look at how residents can reach the 10,000 hour mark as efficiently and safely as possible is important.

Here we have fascinating proof of Thomas Edison’s famous quote:

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Genius Is Not Everything

Entering the world of medicine means you are stepping into a community filled with brilliant people. We can all think of those people in medical school who had seemly infinite mental horsepower. In some ways we are all in awe of this, we admire it and are, at the same time, a little jealous. But is this the right way to think?

According to Outliers, no.

The book makes a compelling case that genius cannot be soul predictors of success.

Exhibit A: Christopher Langen

Reported to have an IQ of somewhere between 195 and 210 and dubbed by many as the smartest person in America. He is a self taught expert in mathematics, physics, philosophy, Latin and Greek. He got a perfect score on the SAT, even though he took a nap during the test. But he has spent much of his life working as cowboy, construction worker, and a bouncer and has failed to reach his full potential due to his poor social skills and lack of emotional intelligence. (More on this guy at wikipedia)

But Gladwell goes on further, stating that a person's emotional intelligence and likability are often overlooked as measures that many outliers possess.

This idea is especially important to future doctors because our current training system does not reward people with emotional intelligence or likability, only mental prowess. However as attending physicians we are expected to be leaders, managers, and work as part of a team. We have all seen many examples of intelligent doctors who cannot function well as physicians for that reason.

A recent study done by Dr. Andrew Klein a transplant surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. Shows that surgeons who are rude to the operating room staff actually have worse outcomes.

Dr. Klein commented that, "in an increasingly rude society where it is rare for a stranger to give up a bus seat to a senior citizen and expletives have become all-too common in daily conversation, the lack of civility has degraded all aspects of life, even the surgical suite...Operating rooms are social environments where everyone must work together for the patients' benefit. When a surgeon, who is in the position of power, is rude and belittlies the rest of the staff, it affects everything."






Succeding Through Failure

Learning From A "Failure" Who Won Olympic Gold

As a medical student failure is readily on the mind. The constant barrage of exams and evaluations serve as an ever present reminder that failure is always just around the corner. With aspirations of matriculating into a competitive specialty or prestigious institution dependent on every testing move you make, it's easy to get a little crazy and stressed from time to time, especially when a test may not go the way you hoped.

The truth is failure is a natural part of success. However when you are a medical student the difference between personal success and failure can be as little as a handful of questions on an exam or looking stupid on rounds in front of everyone. It's easy to question your skills and ability to become a great doctor when things don't go the way you feel that you have failed. Remembering that the absence of failure is not what defines the great physicians. Failure will happen to you at some point in your medical journey. What defines greatness is learning to use it, to push through it, to succeed in spite of it.

Mariel Zagunis knows a bit about dealing with adversity and keeping failure in perspective.

In 2004, Zagunis did not qualify to fence in the Athens Olympics. Actually she missed the last spot by one match point! Years of practice and sacrifice had all culminated to this point and she missed it by one point.


Nigeria decided not to send their qualifying fencer to the tournament, and as the next highest seeded fencer in the world, Zagunis was selected to represent the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Of course as an alternate who made the team by, what some would call, luck expectations on her performance where less than inspiring. However by the end of the Olympic tournament that would all change.

In her first round Zangunis defeated Japanese fencer Madoka Hisagae, 15–13.

In the quarter finals, she defeated Elena Jemayeva of Azerbaijan, 15–11.

In the semi-finals, the underdog clinched at least a silver medal by defeating Romania's Catalina Gheorghitoaia, 15–10.

Zagunis then faced Chinese fencer Xue Tan in the finals, defeating her 15–9 and become the first American to win an Olympic fencing gold medal in 100 years.

Zagunis' win surprised everyone in the fencing world. Being picked last for the team was not important, she competed as if she was the best in the world and it showed.  She returned to Beijing in 2008 and despite being ranked #6 took gold again.

Her arrival at the London games was much different. She was now a favorite to win gold, an American Hero. The only trouble is, she did not even finish with a medal. She was quoted in an interview after losing, just shy of a medal round.

“She didn’t beat me — I beat myself,” Zagunis said, adding that that is generally the case when she is beaten.

That may sound a bit arrogant, until you consider Zagunis’s current status in the world of fencing. Before the London Olympics she was ranked No. 1 in the world. She now has two Olympic gold medals and three world championships, including one — the 2010 competition in Paris — that she fenced with a fractured femur.

Zagunis' last big failure led to be the first American in 100 year to win an individual gold medal in Fencing.It will be interesting to see where this failure will take her next.

Mariel Zagunis Talks about Tough Times


Monk Mind: How to Increase Your Focus

Leo Babauta Breaks Down The Art Of Focus

For those who have tests looming on the horizon, I thought I would post some tips on achieving zen-like focus. I often find that my focus falls far short of zen-like, so I decided get help from a professional. Leo Babauta is the founder and author of ZenHabits.net, one of the Top 25 blogs in the world.

Here's what he has to say about increasing focus:

I confess to being as prone to the distractions of the Internet as anyone else: I will start reading about something that interests me and disappear down the rabbit hole for hours (even days) at a time.

But my ability to focus on a single task has dramatically improved, and that one habit has changed my life.

While a few years ago I couldn’t sit down to work on something without quickly switching to email or one of my favorite Internet forums or sites, today I can sit down and write. I can clear away distractions, when I set my mind to it, and do one thing. And that changes everything: you lose yourself in that task, become so immersed that you pour everything you have into the work, and it becomes a meditative, transformative experience. Your happiness increases, stress goes down, and work improves.

I know that lots of people have trouble focusing one one task for very long, and so I thought I’d share a few things that have worked for me.

Focus Best Practices

There is no one way to find focus, but what works for me is to clear everything away and create a little space of tranquil focus. Some tips for doing that:

• Close the browser and your email program. If you need to work in the browser then make sure no tabs or windows are open other than the one you absolutely need.

• Turn off all notifications. Trying to focus while something is notifying you of an incoming email or tweet or Facebook update is impossible.

• Turn off the Internet. Shut off your connection, unplug your router, or best yet, go to a place where the is no Internet (yes, those still exist). This is the absolute best way to find focus.

• Close all programs and windows other than what you need for this one task.

• Have a very important task to do. Not just “check email” but “learn today's lecture on lung disease” or “write that kick-ass blog post I’ve been planning” or “write that new Android app”.

• Clear your desk. No need to spend all day on this — shove everything in a drawer or put it in a box to be sorted later. Don’t fiddle with this now. In fact, don’t fiddle with anything — don’t worry about the perfect study setup or perfect notebook for writing or the perfect anything.

• Plug in the headphones. If you have people around who might distract you, wearing headphones and playing some good, peaceful music is perfect.

Once you have this environment (and you shouldn’t spend more than a few minutes setting it up), get going on your task. Do nothing but that one task. Don’t switch to another task.Having trouble doing that?

Read on.

How to Increase Your Focus Abilities

If you can’t focus on one task for very long, don’t worry. That’s normal. Our brains have been trained by technology and society to switch tasks often. One way we’ve been trained is that switching to check email or Facebook/Twitter is rewarding — we are rewarded with a little nugget of satisfaction in that someone has sent us a message (social validation!) or we have something new and interesting to read (shiny and bright!). Switching tasks becomes a positive feedback cycle that is hard to beat by single-tasking.

The way to beat that is to set up a positive feedback cycle for focusing. Here’s how:

1. Start small. You only need to focus for one minute at first. Clear everything away, pick your one important task, and just do it for one minute without switching. This is hard to do in the beginning but if you consciously focus on focusing, you can do it. It’s just a minute.

2. Reward yourself. The reward for focusing for one minute can be one minute (or 30 seconds) of checking whatever you want. Email, Facebook, whatever. Or get up and take a one-minute walk. Stretch, drink some water, massage your neck, enjoy your small victory. Empires are created with small victories.

3. Repeat. Keep doing one minute focus, one minute reward (or 1 minute to 30 seconds if you like) for about half an hour (15 of each). You’re done. Repeat that later in the day. Rejoice in how much work you got done! And notice how you’ve set up a positive feedback cycle for focusing.

4. Increase in small steps. Tomorrow, make it two minutes on, one minute off. Repeat that for 30 minutes, do it later in the day too. Feel free to go wild and do three focus sessions in a day if you like, but it’s not necessary.

5. Keep taking baby steps. I think you can see the pattern by now. Make it three minutes on, one minute off on the third day, then 4:1, then 5:1. When you get to 10 minutes, be crazy and take a 2 minute break. When you get to 20 minutes, take a 3 minute break. At 30 minutes of focus, you’ve earned a 5 minute break. And once you’re at 30 minutes, you can stay there. No need to become a monk.

Set up a positive feedback cycle for single-tasking focus and you’ll reverse the years of training your mind has gotten to switch tasks. You’ll get more important work done, and it won’t seem hard. You’ll find that focus becomes a form of meditation. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing!


Starting A Company As A Medical Student: An Interview With Stephanie Bravo

Having A Good Mentor Can Make A Big Difference

It has been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. If that is true, the formula is simple; find people that are doing what you want to do and tag along. Unfortunatly, it's not always this simple; however, StudentMentor.org is changing that. This company is dedicated to helping college students find mentors to help them along their journey. They are working with students from over 700 colleges in the the United States. They are currently partnering with the White House on several national education initiatives. It's an impressive operation!

So how did this whole thing get started? I caught up with Stephanie Bravo who is Co-founder of studentmentor.org. At the time, she was a medical student at University of California Irvine School Of Medicine. She is currently President of the company and works full time with the organization and has alot of good advice for medical students.

How did you decide to start StudentMentor.org?

I decided to start StudentMentor.org after having a life-changing experience with a mentor during my years as an undergraduate. I was a first-generation college student who felt completely lost at a large public university and was unsure about my future. But then I found my mentor through the Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance Medical Mentorship Program, and this experience changed my life. My mentor, Dr. Matthew Goldstein (http://www.studentmentor.org/about-us/advisory-board/#goldstein), was a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, and he provided so much guidance throughout my studies, especially during those challenging times when completing college and attaining a career as a physician seemed out of reach. Even more than that, we got to talking about life, family, and a variety of other things where he provided tremendous support for me at times when I had no one else to help me. Because of my life-changing experience, I wanted to help other students connect with mentors who could help them at crucial stages in their academic and career pursuits. Thus, StudentMentor.org was born to help students complete college and enhance their career readiness by connecting them with seasoned professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries.

What where some of the challenges/perks of starting a company while in medical school?

There were not enough hours in the day for me to be a well-balanced person, succeed in medical school, and lead an organization. It was very difficult to maintain my course load and go through the process of creating something from scratch. I had to rely on my StudentMentor.org co-founder and friends in medical school to help me juggle. Shifting between these roles was tough, but both required a great deal of tenacity and a strong work ethic. With those in tow, I pursued both medicine and my startup nonprofit for a while. I managed to survive by being very diligent, disciplined, and organized. But, because I was incredibly passionate about StudentMentor.org and the broader issue of higher education, I decided to fully commit to leading my organization and put becoming a physician on the backburner. I know I made the right decision when we received a call from the White House inviting us to meet the President and speak with officials about StudentMentor.org in December 2011. Additionally, after one year, 5000+ mentors and students from all around the nation are connecting and beginning meaningful mentorships. It’s very exciting to be at the helm of an organization that is soaring to great heights at a record pace.

How can medical students and residents get involved as a mentor and what is the time commitment that a mentor makes?

The time commitment for mentors varies depending on their availability. You can communicate with mentees at any time convenient for you. We recommend that mentors set aside about 30 minutes a week to mentor one student. Since professionals come from a variety of industries and backgrounds, it’s very flexible to their schedules. Medical students all the way up to attending physicians can serve as mentors. We even have resident physicians in the program who somehow find time to help their mentees. I hope that those UncommonStudentMDs will consider joining StudentMentor.org too.

You have become an expert at helping people find mentors. Can you give some advice on how to find and approach a mentor?

The best way to reach out to potential mentors is to ask them if they have time to grab coffee. If you speak candidly about looking forward to hearing their experiences and learning from them, then a potential mentor will be receptive. It’s not a good idea to lead with what you want to get out of the relationship, e.g. a letter of reference, the contact information for their colleague, etc. Like with any relationship, you have to put in the time to build trust, and that starts with putting yourself out there by telling your story, sharing your goals, and realizing that a mentor’s insight is extremely important in helping you achieve your goals.

Do you have any advice for medical students who would like to start a business?

Taking time off from school might be the best move since building a business is a huge time commitment—kind of like medical school, but without a 4-year plan or any other roadmap. That being said, I’ve had amazing classmates at UC Irvine School of Medicine who have written and published novels, created student organizations, and ran underserved clinics while still maintaining a full course load—so it is possible!

Another, big tip is to reach out for help and persuade people to your cause. If you can build a movement that your classmates are passionate about as well, then you’ll have 100+ medical students in your corner to help get your business off the ground. It’s very important to build and utilize your networks in any business, including medicine.

Why did you want studentmentor.org to be a non-profit instead of a for profit company?

There are pros and cons to both entities. In a for-profit entity, the bottom line would always rule and not necessarily doing the most good for the cause. We decided to become a nonprofit to keep the monies accrued by the organization focused toward achieving its goals. Additionally, it was a lot easier to recruit mentors who are all volunteers.

If you could pick one book for every medical student to read what would it be?

I would recommend “The Empowered Patient” by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent. It’s great to read books on the “white coat” reading list, but a holistic understanding of the medical profession comes from reading books written for patients as well. This book by Cohen offers patients insight into how patients should go about getting the best medical care possible. She argues for being a “bad patient” by asking questions and not blindingly doing what you are told until you understand what and why you need to do it. As future physicians, it’s absolutely critical to be able to communicate with patients. So, learning more about the patient's perspective and trying to meet them where they stand is a good start to becoming a great physician.

 Video: Why I Started StudentMentor.org

 Video: How StudentMentor.org Works




Taking Advantage Of Opportunites: Lessons From Dr. King 

“If you can choose between opportunity and security, always choose opportunity.”

A couple of months ago, a wise friend gave me that sage advice; but sometimes I wonder, "What type of opportunity should I pursue?" Opportunities come in all shape and sizes. Which ones are important? Which ones will make a difference?

This incredible excerpt from a sermon given by Martin Luther King Jr. shows how he thought opportunities ought to be pursued. It is inspirational, humbling, and poignant.

I’ve also included the original audio below, thanks to archive.org. I think it's better coming from the man himself, definitely worth a listen.

And I say to you this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren't fit to live. You may be 38 years old as I happen to be, and one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause--and you refuse to do it because you are afraid; you refuse to do it because you want to live longer; you're afraid that you will lose your job, or you're afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity or you're afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house, and so you refuse to take the stand. Well you may go on and live until you are 90, but you're just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90! And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right, you died when you refused to stand up for truth, you died when you refused to stand up for justice.

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.

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