“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.” – Mark Twain
My father gave me some advice, he said, “Do something to venture out of your comfort zone as often as you can. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come your way.” Single malts have a funny way of strengthening that father-son bond, thank you Scotland. Like many reading this, I took up medicine primarily because at 16, one is easily swayed by societal norms and society said that life in medicine was respectful, purposeful and reputable. Sadly, few have the emotional maturity to define their life’s entire journey at that age and once you’re in, even if you hate it, the shackles hold you back from getting out. It’s a noble profession indeed but life as a practitioner isn’t something everyone is cut out for. The fact of the matter is I loved medicine but hated the system. A fulfilling life in my head extended beyond living in the operation theatre or in the wards. There were places I wanted to visit, books I wanted to read, blogs I wanted to write and adventures I wanted to embark upon!
Everyone wants to find their purpose and make a difference and one would imagine that there is no route more apt than that of a clinician. Sadly, the system beats more out of you than the practice puts in. I didn’t want to look back at life at a ripe old age full of regrets and wish I had done more than just work in a hospital. Admittedly, I lacked the mettle and the grit of my peers.
In the past couple of years working across different facets of healthcare, one crucial insight was that there are ways to influence change in the system other than practising in a hospital. Just ask Charles Pfizer or Bill Gates!
(At the risk of sounding vain) The past three years have been a blitz: Travelling across 13 countries and within India, working my way through Big Pharma, dabbling in medical devices, co-authoring four books, conducting an incredibly eye-opening unmet MedTech needs project across nine states in India, organizing innovation workshops, conferences and hackathons, working for an A.I. InsureTech company and on health policy projects. We set up a medical device venture called Medtive and another focused on health records called Lyfgrid. Last summer, I started my MBA/MPH dual degree at Berkeley Haas School of Business and The Berkeley School of Public Health and who knows what the future holds!
I truly hope that someday my story inspires others to question the status quo and break through their own personal glass ceiling as I was inspired by all those I’ve met over the years.
I leave you with my favourite quote, wordsmithed by someone infinitely more gifted in the art: “Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” – Anonymous
Travel. Try. Toil. Perhaps someday, Triumph!