You Can Take it With You Anywhere

I went back down to High River, Alberta to help with the flood clean up. It was a bit overwhelming, and I won’t share much of it. I’ve written about it before, and I hope never to have occasion to write about natural disaster again. I will just pass along one thing that the homeowner said to me. We were standing in the alley behind his house, where he was snapping photos of some of his damaged belongings while we piled them in a huge heap. He said: “I’m starting to feel the anxiety that people on shows like Hoarders must feel, seeing all my stuff out here.” It made me wonder how attached I am to my “stuff,” and I hope never to find out.

I heard of someone’s brother who was a family doctor in High River. He and his wife owned a medical practice and a home. After the flood, they decided to walk away and never look back. They’ll buy a new home somewhere else and set up another medical practice. It made me think about what that couple had (that wasn’t “stuff”) that they could take anywhere.

Education and Skill. In Alberta, doctors are in demand everywhere. As long as there are families, we will always need family doctors. It’s a profession that pays well, and also commands respect because of the good that doctors do for people. Anyone who regularly helps others should always be able to find a way to earn a living. And no matter what physical possessions you lose, you aren’t likely to lose the education you’ve gained or the skills you’ve developed. Does your work benefit people? Will there always be a need for you?

Work Ethic. One of the great sights after the flood was people pulling together and working hard to clean up the mess, shoulder to shoulder with strangers. I could have called this “initiative” or “entrepreneurship.” Those who are willing to jump in and work hard will usually move forward. Sometimes it’s harder than others, but hard work almost always pays off. I have met people whose financial future relies on lottery winnings or inheritance money, and I worry about them. But for people who are willing to work, they can expect that what goes around, comes around.

Belief. I’m thinking of a sort of belief in ones self, a type of optimism that if I see an opportunity, I should take it. It may not work out, but then again, it may. A belief that you can’t succeed if you don’t try. If I sit back and wait for someone else to build a company where I’d like to work and create a position that I’d like to fill, I may be waiting a long time. But if I’m willing to take some risk, put in some planning and effort, I can create a position for myself. I can work and create a product or service that people will pay for because they’ll be better off, and so will I.

I think the family doctors are well positioned to be able to re-establish themselves anywhere, because they have knowledge and skills to make people healthy, they are willing to work to set up a practice and they belief that they can make it work. (Especially since they’ve already been able to do it once.) If you had to start over somewhere new, what knowledge and skills would you rely one? Which would you wish you had?