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Dr. Magryta: Work is the key to all things

By Dr. Chris Magryta
Salisbury Pediatric Associates
For the better part of two decades, I have been willfully preaching work ethic to all of my teenaged patients. The absolute key to success in all things, in my opinion, is work. It is that which is persistent, consistent, plodding, incremental, laborious, dispassionate, self-chosen, time-independent work. The theater of the effort is irrelevant. Whether you are working at parenting, medicine, relationships, sport, nutrition and so on, the principles are identical.
I have yet to find a time where persistent, consistent, plodding, incremental, laborious, dispassionate, self-chosen, time-independent work doesn’t provide for the best outcome of the task and the most happiness. I think of these newsletters. I think of parenting my children. Time consuming and laborious, but the end results are phenomenal. I think of marriage, the tasks associated and all of the smiles.
Time is a factor only in the aspect that it is finite and relates to death. I surmise that if I can live as long as my father currently has then I have at least 306,600 hours or 18,396,000 minutes left to breathe. That is a glorious number. I plan to work with all of those moments in time with God’s grace.
Leading by example is the best teacher for your loved ones and children. How you approach everyday, every project and every decision is witnessed by your children. They process and decide for themselves what makes sense. Please do not tell them that they are great without effort or work. Do tell them that they are implicitly loved by you. Do not waste your time or theirs for you never know if you have 306,600 hours left.
Second and maybe equally as important is balance. Make sure that you balance all of the demands set before you to allow you to have the time to complete the work necessary for success and happiness. My father once told me that you do not own things, they own you. This truth has become ever apparent with age. The more that you have, the more time is spent keeping up with them. Minimalism has its advantages where it makes sense. Be careful that you do not litter your life with things that offer little benefit but suck away your valuable time.
I think of the balance that existed when I was younger. Less money and things made decisions easier to an extent. Traveling Europe with my wife with two backpacks strapped to my chest and back was an adventure. We were poor and made the trip up as we went. It was a study in happiness with less, but success with effort and slow methodical decisions. Leaving behind the United States was easy with no children, animals or restrictions. Now that sell is much harder, however, the work and successes have just shifted to our children, our work and our marriage in new ways. A new balance point occurs year after year. Changing nimbly to meet the new narrative is the key.
We have a new narrative today. We have COVID. How are you going to process, work, balance and persist in this new environment? Are you going to fear? Are you going to hunker down? Or are you going to work, balance, adjust, iterate, lead and live with all of the hours that are left for you? I will absolutely choose the latter. Life is glorious for every day that I draw a breath.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Email him at newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com.

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