Wednesday, March 28, 2007

doctor doctor give me the news

coffee $2

The new coffee machine was a good omen I thought. I arrived at the hospital and found they'd finally replaced the machine they used to have in the old hospital.

It was pretty elaborate. If Doctor Who had a dalek barista, this is what it would have looked like.

A two-dollar cappuccino helped settled my nerves while I waited to see the endocrinologist.

What was I going to say to the doctor? I had made up and discarded a dozen excuses over the last week. It was obvious that I couldn't live up to the promises I made last time about improving my lifestyle and controlling my diabetes.

But when I got into his office I was stunned. He opened his folder and ran down the list of test results -- each was either "normal" or "improved."

"If you continue to make this sort of progress, I'll have to think about reducing your medication" he said cheerfully.

"I'm speechless" I replied. I honestly never dreamed that I'd have such a result. Even good news can be a shock when it's that unexpected.

"Pride is said to be the last vice the good man gets clear of." - Benjamin Franklin.

I was reading recently about Ben Franklin, who once embarked on a plan to achieve moral perfection, only to discover this was "a task of more difficulty than I had imagined."

He drew up a list of 13 virtues as follows:

The interesting thing is that originally he had only put twelve virtues on the list, but a candid friend pointed out that Franklin was often overbearing in debate and conversation.

Franklin added humility to his list and did his best to remove words like "undoubtedly" from his vocabulary. He avoided contradicting people even when he knew they were wrong.

As a result, he found people were more receptive to his ideas and he became known for his tact and diplomacy.

Maybe there's a lesson here for us. We've often heard that "low self-esteem" is a problem, but the opposite extreme can be just as undesirable. We all know persons who are difficult to hold a conversation with because they are sure they're right and are only too willing to explain why at length.

Whenever I can, I try not to come out and tell people that they're wrong. If I think they are I'll say "I'm surprised to hear that." If I'm certain of it, I'll say "I'm very surprised to hear that." Let those that have ears hear, as the good book says.

Perhaps we should all take a leaf from Franklin's book. Resolve to be a little less dogmatic and a little more diplomatic. It might make the world a bit more pleasant for all of us.

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1 comment:

Larry Slade said...

The coffee machine looks like a mobile phone.

I try to stay away from coffee. It makes me too jumpy.
Green tea is a much better option for me.
I think that is sort of like Franklin's temperance.