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Reflections on “The Alchemist”

“But I’m afraid that it would all be a disappointment, so I prefer to just dream about it.”

How many people never live their dream?

Golden handcuffs, fear of failure, fear of success, letting others dictate your actions, lack of self confidence, lack of self awareness are all possible reasons why a person may avoid chasing a dream.

When I started at Palos Health, I asked as many people as possible if they loved their job.

Everyone loved aspects of the job, like the pay (which was slightly better than average), the retirement plan (which was slightly better than average), health insurance (which was much better than average), and vacation time (which was slightly better than average).

There were a lot of reasons to stay in that position, but no one said they loved the job itself.

I never wanted to be in a position because I couldn’t afford to leave. This was the case for many people that continued to work there.

This is the definition of golden handcuffs.

I think we all have fear of failure or rejection. Me included. Can we overcome that fear of action, also known as paralysis of analysis?

The answer is yes. Just jump!

Failure is a possibility. It’s always a possibility.

Sears was around forever…until it wasn’t.

Toys R Us was around forever…until it wasn’t.

Montgomery Wards, Woolworths, Cub Foods, arcades, etc.

Even the largest companies can fail.

Failure is something to plan for, because it’s a possibility. I am not saying it’s something to hope for. There always has to be an exit plan.

One way to create a constant exit plan is to always work with integrity, try to make everyone around you better, work more productively than everyone else on the team, and to be nice.

You’d be surprised how much integrity, teamwork, hard work and good spirits can lead to opportunities.

I say it to all my students and many of those that I interact with as a mentor. I am not special.

It’s unfortunate that in the modern times, just exhibiting those above traits makes one appear special.

It’s not hard to stand out from the crowd, you just have to put a little more in than the next guy or gal. Fortunately for me, the bar has always been set a little lower than my work ethic, which makes me seem like I stand out.

It’s that scene from any armed forces comedy. When the leader asks for one person to step forward and everyone else steps back, that leaves one person out in front.

That’s how I feel sometimes.

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Reflections on “The Alchemist” Part IV

“The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

The back story on this was to fill a spoon with oil. While walking through a castle the person was to make the best effort to avoid spilling the oils from the spoon. In the process, the beauty of the castle was missed.

I think many of us do this, me included. I have an obsessive personality. I know this about myself. It’s a major strength for my profession, but a liability in life.

Going back to the story of my middle child. I was so focused on the diagnosis and trying to be prepared, that I was in a fog for a while. Everything I did was to learn more about Down Syndrome. I listened to podcasts, I read research, I watched videos, I read books. It was exhausting. In the meantime, when I see pictures of my daughter during her first few weeks, it’s hard for me to recognize her. I was so focused on getting prepared (not spilling the oil) that I missed the beauty of the castle (my daughter in front of me).

Again, this is one of my major regrets in life.

It’s a balancing act for sure. Trying to perform responsibilities that need to be done on a daily, while still feeling awe at the sight of a rainbow, sunset, caterpillar, etc.

It takes structuring priorities to make it to my daughters kindergarten graduation. She may never care or remember that Ania and I were there, but seeing her hold up the “I want to be a dentist” sign waving to us when she saw us, is one way for me to stay focused on the oil and still see the important things in life.

Reflections from “The Alchemist” Part II

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Are you happy?

Do you love your profession?

Are you satisfied with the time you spend with your family?

Matthew 7:5

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

This is the first passage that comes to mind when I think of the above quote.

I’ve met many people in my life say I should’ve been a lawyer, I should’ve gone to medical school, I should’ve done this or that. A wise dumpster diver, turned scholar, turned flight attendant by the name of John Patrick Luby III used to say “Never should (shit) on yourself!”

All that really matters is that I’m happy in life and content with where I’m at as a professional. When I introduce myself and people say what do you do you I said I do physical therapy. I rarely say that I’m a physical therapist.

As much as I do for the profession and within the profession, I never want the profession to define me. I am a father. I am a husband. I am a son. I am my own person.

Lately, I have been spending time counseling others on clear pass. I try my best to stay unbiased and to not give my opinion as much as I try to receive answers and ask questions to those that are looking for their careers. I do my best to give an objective opinion regarding finances, regarding passions, regarding job stability, job, but most importantly happiness.

It’s not my job, nor my want, to try to push someone into a direction. I personally feel it’s my responsibility to help those that are seeking assistance in finding their own career path I never do this by pushing them in a direction, but instead help them to see where their passions may lie.

I’ve met many people that are dissatisfied with how their life is playing out, but what they fail to see is that it’s now until they’re no longer living, they are free to make choices to affect the outcome going to change their future is the president. Their past Cano want to change it, but the choices they make today will affect the outcome as of tonight and tomorrow. I making different choices they can choose to take a different path in life, but many have difficulties making those decisions. There are outside forces that may hold people in certain positions in life, such as golden handcuffs, family responsibilities, stature and such.

Ultimately, it is not my job to direct others, not other’s job to direct me.

Reflections from “The Alchemist” Part III

“… for her, every day was the same, and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

This is so true. There are few regrets that I have in life. One regret that I have is how I responded when my daughter Natalia was born. It was a very stressful situation for us at the time.

She was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. We had no forewarnings or time to prepare.

To make matters worse, my wife was alone when she received the news. This is a major failure of that particular healthcare provider.

I was home with my two year old at the time, so that she could sleep in her own bed for a couple of hours and I could take a shower.

When I got the call from my wife, she didn’t say what was happening, only that there was a problem. (Every time I tell this part of the story, I can’t help but get choked up and tear up).

I grabbed my daughter and ran down the stairs to leave. In the process, I tore my Achilles’ tendon.

I spent the first two weeks learning everything that I could about Down Syndrome. In the meantime, I was missing out on the first weeks of my daughter’s life.

There is not much that I feel guilty about, but this is one of those times.

Be grateful for the blessings in life. There will always be things to complain about. There will always be hardships. Once you can look past the hardships to see the blessings, life is much easier to navigate.

Reflections from “The Alchemist” Part I

“That was what made traveling appeal to him that he always made new friends, and he didn’t need to spend all of his time with them. When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change.”

This is a very pessimistic view of society. At one time I used to believe this is true. But when you love someone, you love someone for the reasons that they are that person. Should you change that person, you may not love that person again.

I think it’s a very dangerous path way to try to change someone into something that you believe to be a better person, when you truly love that person as they are. I think there is a difference between trying to help someone become a better version of themselves, versus trying to help someone become the better version YOU believe they should be for YOUR own sake.

Good or bad, I believe that I was parented very well. My dad could give two shits about what I do for a living. All that mattered to him was that I was happy. When I told him that I was going to college, he didn’t care as long as that’s what I wanted to do. Because when that’s the case, that’s what he wanted me to do. When I quit jobs and started new ones, he didn’t care as long as I was happy. When I got married, and then divorced, he only cared that I was doing what I thought was right for me. That’s love. That’s not trying to change someone.

My mom is the opposite. She will try to interject herself into what she feels is best for me because she wants me to be happy and believes that by interjecting herself that it will hall me become happy.

I have always been my own person, so I usually brush off anyone or thing that starts to take control away from my decisions…u less it is something that is prioritized over the decisions that I make.

For instance, I had a good job, not a job I loved because it wasn’t challenging for me, but a good job. Great pay, great benefits, tons of vacation time, but I wanted more. My family is a priority, but so is happiness. I wouldn’t have been happy had I stated because it became the same thing day in and day out. I needed to change.

I made that change and it was a poor decision in hindsight. The change was right, but the way it happened and the preparedness that I had for the cha he was poor. I don’t regret making the decision, even though my wife cautioned me at the time, because I would’ve been in a great job for the wrong reasons.

I am really happy now.

It’s easy to not to want to change someone when there is nothing but love for that someone. Once there is anything other than love for the person in front of you, the thoughts of “I wish you would…” start to rise in your head. These thoughts can become powerful and take the place of the love that was once there. Unchallenged, resent sets in and love is but memory.

All I want is for people to be happy. It’s a byproduct of my parenting and my experiences.

These passages can be found in this book, which I highly recommend.

“That was what made traveling appeal to him that he always made new friends, and he didn’t need to spend all of his time with them. When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change.”

This is a very pessimistic view of society. At one time I used to believe this is true. But when you love someone, you love someone for the reasons that they are that person. Should you change that person, you may not love that person again.

I think it’s a very dangerous path way to try to change someone into something that you believe to be a better person, when you truly love that person as they are. I think there is a difference between trying to help someone become a better version of themselves, versus trying to help someone become the better version YOU believe they should be for YOUR own sake.

Good or bad, I believe that I was parented very well. My dad could give two shits about what I do for a living. All that mattered to him was that I was happy. When I told him that I was going to college, he didn’t care as long as that’s what I wanted to do. Because when that’s the case, that’s what he wanted me to do. When I quit jobs and started new ones, he didn’t care as long as I was happy. When I got married, and then divorced, he only cared that I was doing what I thought was right for me. That’s love. That’s not trying to change someone.

My mom is the opposite. She will try to interject herself into what she feels is best for me because she wants me to be happy and believes that by interjecting herself that it will hall me become happy.

I have always been my own person, so I usually brush off anyone or thing that starts to take control away from my decisions…u less it is something that is prioritized over the decisions that I make.

For instance, I had a good job, not a job I loved because it wasn’t challenging for me, but a good job. Great pay, great benefits, tons of vacation time, but I wanted more. My family is a priority, but so is happiness. I wouldn’t have been happy had I stated because it became the same thing day in and day out. I needed to change.

I made that change and it was a poor decision in hindsight. The change was right, but the way it happened and the preparedness that I had for the cha he was poor. I don’t regret making the decision, even though my wife cautioned me at the time, because I would’ve been in a great job for the wrong reasons.

I am really happy now.

It’s easy to not to want to change someone when there is nothing but love for that someone. Once there is anything other than love for the person in front of you, the thoughts of “I wish you would…” start to rise in your head. These thoughts can become powerful and take the place of the love that was once there. Unchallenged, resent sets in and love is but memory.

All I want is for people to be happy. It’s a byproduct of my parenting and my experiences.

Link to book

Vince Gutierrez, PT, DPT, cert.MDT
Movementthinker.org
815-210-4869