Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
During the past 10 years, I went from being a doctor to being a doctor/Oprah guest/book author/TV host, and in the process, I've learned a lot about my viewers, my patients, and myself:
1. The latest thing isn't always the greatest thing. I work at a cutting-edge hospital, but I also put stock in ancient remedies like treating burns with silver (long known as an antibiotic) or healing surgical wounds using leeches (yes, hospitals continue to do this). If it's still used today, the practice likely has some merit or it would have died off long ago.
2. Change is possible—but only if you believe it. The more we learn about genetics and disease, the more we realize that DNA isn't nearly as important as lifestyle. People think that if their parents had heart disease or were overweight, they're doomed to the same fate. But you can change your health—if you commit yourself to making good choices.
3. We regret the actions we don't take more than the ones we do. A few years ago, I appeared on Oprah with Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor dying of pancreatic cancer. He told me that he had recently taken his family on a trip to Discovery Cove to swim with dolphins. It was something that he'd always wanted to do, but it wasn't until he was dying that he made it happen. The next day, I booked the same trip with my family. If there's something on your wish list for life, make plans today to do it.
4. Hosting a TV show is not that different from doing open-heart surgery. In both the TV studio and the operating room, you depend on highly skilled professionals doing their jobs correctly so you can excel at yours. As a team leader, I recognize that each player—from the anesthesiologist to the camera operator—is better at what they do than I would ever be, and I appreciate their ability to make me look better.
5. To achieve your goals, make the right thing to do the easy thing to do. I recently replaced the couch in front of my TV with a stationary bike. Now I can pedal while viewing my favorite shows (like House). Since the average American watches more than 30 hours of TV per week, it could mean a lot of activity for your body, with little inconvenience.
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