Cultivating Gratitude

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The key to living well is living not just within, but comfortably beneath your means.  This means cultivating habits that will reward you in the future.  One key habit is to adopt a perspective that allows you to appreciate how good your life is right now.   While it has always been fashionable (if tiring) to whine about low resident …

What Is Pleasure Out Of Proportion?

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In medical school we studied necrotizing fasciitis, colloquially dubbed “flesh-eating bacteria” in the lay press.  One of the hallmarks in distinguishing this disease from less aggressive soft tissue infections is pain out of proportion to physical exam findings.    I’d come to remember this concept decades later, as I began to develop a reciprocal theory: pleasure out of proportion.  (Decontextualized, …

Cultivating Growth Mindset

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Freshman year at Stanford had been a humbling experience.  Everyone around me, it seemed, was smarter, more experienced, more accomplished than I was.  Shawn Green was a personable guy in my dorm – and the only frosh I knew getting a $725,000 signing bonus as a first-round draft pick for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Our dorm also claimed the new  …

Adapt Your Medical Career To Your Life Needs

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I had just turned 40, and was leading a busy life that might resonate with your own: a full-time job in community practice, marriage and fatherhood.  Since I didn’t want to take time away from my wife or kids, self-replenishing (i.e., pleasure out of proportion) pursuits suffered.  A writing group I’d started in internship began to founder because the handful …

Does The Future Frighten You?

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Last night, in a mood of playful optimism, I asked my wife what she thought the next decade might bring our way.  She remained elusive, and qualified her non-answer with her own version of of the spit-over-your-shoulder superstitions that my grandmother (who believed in witches) might have engaged in when I was a child. I tried to explore the source …

Breaking Up With My Financial Advisor

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Ignorance Becomes UnaffordableFast forward a decade.  After my physician group institutes some changes that significantly improve our collective lifestyles, my work-life balance is restored and I am reading voraciously once again.  In February 2016, an article in The New Yorker profiles Mr. Money Mustache.  He and his wife, both software engineers, spent 10 years working intensely and  saved 70% of …

The World’s Most Expensive Bottle Opener

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Getting a Financial AdvisorIn 2005, I finished a two year fellowship in Boston; fell goofy in love with another physician; renounced the academic trajectory I’d been on; relocated with my girlfriend to a beach town in southern California; and accepted a job at a well-regarded community hospital.  I had 80k in tax-sheltered accounts despite zero financial literacy.  Thanks to a …

A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted*

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Financial ignorance makes no distinctions. Perhaps you were raised by doting, professional parents in a luxury home with a generous parental allowance that shielded you from ever having to think about money.  Or conversely, like Jeremy at Go Curry Cracker, your single parent household was in sink or swim mode financially and your community role models ranged from spendthrifts to …