Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Perspective

A lot of stress accumulated in the lead up to my sister’s wedding, but Sandhya managed to stay relatively calm. Her take was that regardless of any mistakes the day of the wedding, she would still be married at the end of it.

When some family members phoned me to detail the stresses they were undergoing during its planning, I noticed that parallel stresses are outlined in Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, which discusses the planning and creation of the Chicago World’s Fair. In the planning stages, aesthetic disagreements over the design were frequent, construction went behind schedule, and there was a power struggle between Daniel Burnham, the lead architect, and George R. Davis, the fair’s director-general. Despite these problems, the fair was a remarkable spectacle, debuting the Ferris Wheel and turning a profit.

Planning an event as complicated as a wedding is a major task and requires the coordination of several people. Misunderstandings occur, mistakes happen, and personalities clash. The end effect can still be beautiful, as it was in the case of Sandhya and Alex’s wedding.

In any period of transition, having the right perspective is an important tool to stay sane. During my unlikely trip to a steakhouse, my roommate’s father told us about an application essay he read while selecting residents for his hospital. It went something like this.

When I was in high school, I thought getting into college was the most important thing in the world. Then I got into college and realized it wasn’t the most important thing in the world. When I was in college, I thought getting onto the varsity football team was the most important thing in the world. After I made the team, I realized it wasn’t the most important thing in the world. When we played in the championship game, I thought winning it was the most important thing in the world. Then we won, and I realized it wasn’t the most important thing in the world. When I applied to medical school, I thought getting in was the most important thing in the world. Then I got in, and I realized it wasn’t the most important thing in the world. I am now applying as a resident to your hospital because it is the most important thing in the world.

They accepted him.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Past Posts « Dirty Hands

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