Joseph V. Sakran,
MD, MPH, MPA
“Seeking success” is the theme of the 2015 Res- ident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) issue of the
Bulletin. While writing this introduction, I realized
how difficult it can be to define that simple word—
success. In fact, when you look up success in the dictionary you’ll find it has a variety of definitions. It is
the end goal for which most, if not all, of us strive.
However, for me, it is the goals we set out to accomplish that drive us forward and determine a true
measure of success.
Some surgeons decide success means achieving a
work-life balance so they have time to participate in
their children’s activities, such as football and hockey
games. Others might dedicate their lives to accomplishing specific career goals, such as maintaining the
triple-threat physician model of researcher, teacher,
and clinician that Sir William Osler described in the
latter half of the 19th century. 1 And there are those of
us who, in our quest to do it all, find ourselves hovering around the mean of the proverbial bell curve, even
as we continue to work toward our goals.
Regardless of one’s individual definition of success
and the underlying motivators that drive each of us
toward it, high achievers share some commonalities.
The following five concepts, described in this article,
are, I believe, essential to success not only in surgery,
but life in general:
• The power of listening
•Striving for purpose, not position
• The importance of emotional intelligence (EI)
•Imperfection as a source of strength
•Every day is Super Bowl Sunday