Mehmet Oz Persistent Curiosity

Even if I have to break rules, I keep looking.

As a five-year old, I used to slip behind the well-manicured gardens surrounding my grandfather's fish pool in Istanbul and watch the golden darts moving around just beneath the surface. I wanted to know the fish by touching, caressing, or maybe even squeezing them. Even then I was a tactile learner. One day, I remember reaching into the water to touch them, and then just a little deeper as they eluded me until I was submerged in refreshing fluid and dancing with the fish. They were gliding effortlessly and, as I looked toward the sun, I could see the glimmering surface of the water from below. Suddenly I felt cold and seemed heavier in the water. The surface seemed elusive as I kicked my feet ferociously and extended my hand until it disappeared above the water. Suddenly I felt pressure on my wrist and was jerked from the now scary water. My mother had not taken her eyes off her naughty and momentarily grateful son.

This true story is a metaphor for my life. First, I am persistently curious. I want to know more than allowed. Even if I have to break rules, I keep looking. The response "No" just means that I have to ask in a different way, even if sometimes I fall into the water. A failure, and more importantly, fear of failure has never stopped me from pursuing this goal. In heart surgery, when we lose a patient, the operator should return to the operating room as soon as possible to regain confidence.

Second, I seek differing perspectives on challenging topics. The easy solutions are frequently wrong and opportunity lies in understanding why seemingly mutually exclusive paradigms are actually compatible. Seeing the water from above and below provided insights, albeit with potentially dangerous consequences. When I saw that my heart transplant patients required more than high-tech solutions, I began investigating alternative medicine at personal risk. Earnest endeavors are worth the danger because many will follow and benefit once the path is well lit.

Third, I keep my feet moving. In addition to propelling you out of difficult situations, you develop momentum that the undecided bystander can feel and support. When our first series of mechanical heart support patients were doing poorly, I kept searching for clues, even some that were outlandish, in order to stimulate proactive solutions.

Fourth, I am always grateful, ranging from my mother who saved me in the pool to my patients who continually provide me life lessons. I am grateful for my wonderful teachers who inspired me, talented teammates who build success with me, and loving family members who unconditionally support me. Being appreciative will beneficially influence the behavior of the people in your life and make folks want to spend time with you. And finally, you will find joy and happiness through gratitude, and this is the ultimate grading scale for success.

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