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“What you are is where you were when . . . “ Dr. Morris Massey.

I LOVE research! Peculiar? Yes but genuine. My reading and research thoughts span a very wide spectrum of topics and interests. Some focus on my upcoming book, some about new skills and techniques on a myriad of subjects, while others are out of just pure curiosity.

When I was graduating a few decades ago I remember thinking to myself, ‘well you’ve earned that degree everyone said you needed, now let’s go get rich!’. And then I had the opportunity – some of my classmates said misfortune – of listening intently to our keynote at graduation highlighting two important tenets: 1) college has a primary purpose, i.e. how to research and learn continuously about almost anything throughout the rest of your life and 2) feed your curiosity.

I don’t remember particularly who that speaker was as I was anxious to leave the gymnasium and pack up my personally rebuilt MGB GT with all of my worldly possessions and get out of there. I took one of my most cherished pictures at that time of my fiancée now wife of 43 years – having proposed a few weeks earlier.

Driving away from campus that day I remember thinking to myself how unsure I was of what my life would be; but encouraged I learned several significant things that we have since passed on to our own children.

First, education is paramount. It will open doors, and it’s the one accomplishment no one can take away from you. Second involves lifelong learning – actively pursuing it. Not just a formal higher learning education; but a continued, purposeful journey about other life interests.

Friendships are lifelong. Value them and even more importantly, nurture them. Ask the guys that still get together every year at Saint Vincent College or Saint Mary’s. Just as significant, know when you’ve encountered a dishonest or more nefarious person. Their motivations are ill willed and destructive. Avoid them.

Observe, listen, question and apply. Once you’ve done so – experience it. Like using a stereotaxic in Physiological Psychology class – when you change the physiological makeup of brain structure like the thyroid or the hypothalamus those will definitely change the behavior of the animal at the center of your lab work.

Not everything follows a standard course of action and reaction. For example, no matter how you approach a particular challenge, your response will be different, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, than other individuals, based on their own composite of experiences. You will approach, respond and resolve challenges based on your own experiences to that point in time. Constantly gain more experiences. If you stop, you reverse moving forward and start declining.

Do what no one else wants to do. One of my first mentors, Marty Unger, an Industrial Engineer, offered me this sage advice: In work and in life, do what no one else wants to do (i.e. meaning the hard tasks others avoid). In doing so you’ll develop multiple skills. First, the confidence to pursue more difficult and challenging problems that most would avoid. Learning how to solve complex issues, especially involving people, will enhance your insight and ability to relate, defend, direct, understand, empathize and sympathize with others. Second, you’ll develop a reputation as a problem solver – a very resilient one – people who know what you’ve done will say to others - if you want something done give it to this individual – he/she seems to be able to solve a multitude of issues, and when he/she can’t figure it out seems to know who to ask for the right answers.

Develop deep, focused curiosity for positivity and striving for better tomorrows than today. My long-term 30+ year PCP, Dr. Peter Tanzer, an incredibly brilliant internal medicine doctor, said to me after a particularly challenging medical episode at the hands of a group of newly minted surgeons – ‘you know Dave – these kids (addressing more than 10 assembled surgeons) think that just because they’ve graduated from their surgical residency they know everything – they’re so near sighted and naive. I’ve been studying the human body for more than 40 years and have just scratched the surface!’ That level of curiosity is admirable and inspirational and drives an interest in learning more continuously. Feed your curiosity to make a difference by being better tomorrow than you are today.

Care. A good friend of mine and CEO I coached for several years along with his wife participated in the Cincinnati Marathon weekend. He commented about a runner in front of him who had this statement on the back of their shirt – ‘Everyone you know is fighting a battle that you know nothing about’! He said he rushed to get ahead of that runner hoping to find out what was on the front of their shirt. As he did he read this – BE KIND! Fitting advice to the Class of 2023 graduates as you launch into the next phase of your life!

I wish you well and continued boundless success!!!


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