Insight, Inspiration, Motivation

Mom, once part of welfare program, becomes ER doctor

Mom, once part of welfare program, becomes ER doctor


Just read the story of Amanda Lamond-Holden, a San Diego mom, who became an ER physician She dropped out of school at the age of 18 when she became pregnant, moved in with her parents, had to go on welfare, and attend community college while working 20 hours a week, all the time working towards her dream of becoming a physician. Along the way, she got married, and had two more children, and has been happy juggling her residency with her family.

It is not everyday that one hears of such determination and will power. It is indeed refreshing to hear of such a great success story.

The report does not tell us of all the stress she has definitely gone through, and all the times she probably wanted to drop it all and run. Ultimately it is the tenacity that won.

The reason this story is so impressive today is that we don’t see such determination very often. We live in a period of instant gratification, and entitlement. People are quick to give up on their dreams at the very first sign of difficulty. Everyone wants the good life, but few are willing to do what it takes. Nor do they have the self-esteem to believe that if they do put in the effort they can achieve a lot more, perhaps!


June 27, 2012 Posted by | Personal Journey | , , | Leave a comment


If one were to make a list of all the missed opportunities in this world – opportunities missed simply because of a failure to act – this list would perhaps be longer than Santa’s list of kids! How often do we fail to act on an idea and then almost want to hit ourselves when we see somebody else benefit from having done exactly what we did not? Everybody, even those people who seem perfectly self-confident, have their own insecurities and list of lost opportunities.

I listened to a speech by the great Randy Snow, who won the silver medal in the 1984 Paralympics for the 1500 metre wheelchair race, where he admitted to having listened to the inner(doubting) voice which said, “what if you exhaust yourself” at the most defining moment in that race. He said that to the end of his life, he would regret that he did not listen to the voice of the inner champion instead (which asked him to sprint ahead to the first spot) and would never know what could have happened.

The fear of failure is a very powerful deterrent that often stops people from doing what they want. The truth is that nobody is free of wants, and nobody could really be unafraid either. So, how is it that a few people are able to overcome the fear and go after their dreams, while most settle for less?

Different people perceive failure differently. Those who intend to succeed will not take failure too personally. Thomas Edison made the light bulb only after a  thousand attempts.  When he was asked, “How does it feel to have failed a thousand times?” he said, “It was a success with a thousand steps”. What a liberating concept! It was the attempt that failed – not the man.

Similarly, if somebody refuses to buy a product or service you are trying to sell – it could just mean that this particular product or service does not match their particular needs at this particular time. It does not have to mean that they reject you. You make the choice to think what you want – of yourself and of others.

Successful people also are very clear about what they want – whether it is a measurable goal (as in business or other achievements) or just the pleasure of doing what they enjoy (as in the creative pursuits like writing, music and arts). They do not think consciously of success, but on the contrary, they focus on exactly what they want, and go after it with a passion. Success, as the rest of the world perceives,  inevitably follows.

Ultimately, nobody ever became successful without having made mistakes. The smart ones learn quickly and try again – and again. It is certain that if you don’t try, you will never succeed. The only chance you have is if you try so there is no sense in not trying. If you do fail, “Join the club”! You’re all the better for trying.

As Randy Snow said, “There is nothing wrong with living a silver medal life if you’ve made a gold medal effort”.

January 15, 2011 Posted by | Self Improvement, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Goal Setting

I started off the new year like everybody else.  There were things I needed to do better this year. From prior experience, I knew that just having goals was not good enough. I knew exactly what I needed to do.   Make a plan. Make a plan to plan. Make a plan to review the plan.  Review everyday. Review the week’s activities. Review and revise or modify plans and strategies every 3 months and finally at the end of the year. Put it all down on the calendar. So far, so good.

Now, for the next step. For each goal, what is the one small action I can take each day, that would help me reach my goal, by the end of the year? I had one down for each goal. I had one physical, mental, emotional,and  spiritual  goal and one for my career. Even that I made simple. Exercise, read/write, spend time with kids, meditate, and complete my paperwork on time. For each one of these, I only asked of myself a committment of 10 minutes.  That seemed like an attainable goal.

Well, at the end of one week, here’s what I have accomplished. I set the alarm to wake me up at 7 am. I am still on my holidays and I really don’t need to wake up until noon if I don’t need to. God knows I need the sleep. But I have drawn on all the mental toughness I could, and got out of bed every morning. I have done my 10 minutes and sometimes more of exercise and meditation everyday. I did not write or read a single word some days, and have been stressed out with having to complete everything that I want to achieve that I haven’t really been much company for the kids at all. I did get caught up with the paper-work, although I don’t know how long I can sustain that once I start back at work.

I certainly did no daily reviewing at all – formally, that is. In my mind, I did all the time. I still think I will do it once a week.

What have I learnt? It is important to have a plan, an ultimate goal. It is more important to have an immediate action to take, a small step towards the goal. It is imperative, that  small seemingly harmless temptations be fought – viciously, for they are the ones, that can ruin every good intention.

Sow an act – and you reap a habit. It is important to focus on developing habits that will lead to success in the long run. It is said that it takes 30 days for a new action, if repeated daily, to become a habit. If this is true, then goals should really be set for 2 or 3 month periods, not every new year! This way, one can form one new habit towards a goal each month, and start to see real changes within two or three months.

This reminds me how my grand mother used to consider the first day of every month sacred. Maybe there was a point to that after all!

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Personal Journey, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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