The Monday Memo
September 23, 2013 PITT DPT STUDENTS
“Do More” – From Bouldering to Life
For those of you that know me, you will know that I am a man of many phrases. Often, I will latch on to a saying for some time, repeating it almost ad nauseum until both my peers and I get sick and tired of saying it and/or hearing it. I have been lucky to carry this “endearing” quality into my graduate school years, with my classmates giving me little backlash, embracing and almost enabling me to go along with this deplorable habit.
Of each of these silly sayings, one has really stuck with my classmates since I began my career in Pitt DPT: “doing the most”, or its derivative, “do more”. I will provide an example: when someone is doing an outstanding job at something or excelling with a certain item, that person is said to be “doing the most”.
Example: “Nice job with that manual muscle test. You are doing the most!”
Conversely, if a peer is giving an average performance with a task, they will be commanded to “do more”, or perform to the best of their ability.
Example: “You didn’t use the proper alignment of your goniometer, and it’s upside down. Do more, you can do better than that.”
This, out of any other phrase I have said, has seemed to gain the most traction with my classmates; I hear them saying it now far more than I do. Hearing it said so often has caused me to challenge my thoughts on a relatively ambiguous phrase. How do we “do more”? How do we excel, and how do we set ourselves above the rest?
Since I moved to Pittsburgh to continue my academic career, I have begun to go rock-climbing at the local climbing gym with two other members of my class on a regular basis. We invited the rest of our classmates to join us on a recent Friday afternoon, and had many take us up on the offer. After everyone got acquainted with the facility, the equipment, and got their safety orientation from a gym employee, I went off to tackle a route I had been working on the previous week but had not quite finished. Once I gave up, my hands tired and sore, I returned to the group to find my classmates cheering each other on, clapping for one another when they completed a route, or giving them tactical and motivational advice as they conquered harder and harder challenges. Other gym patrons even joined our group, and got the same response when they got on the wall.
So, the question remains: how do we do more? Going above and beyond to motivate, inspire, and push; reaching out to provide strength and perseverance; refusing to silently stand by. As we push forward in our journey of practicing physical therapy, the inspiration to “do more” is one that needs to thrive in order for our patients to complete the route, if you will. We need to challenge ourselves to promote health and pain-free living. Simply “doing” will not suffice as we begin to take charge as clinicians, providers, and motivators.
Yesterday, we saw a tragic event unfold as gunmen took to an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing upwards of 60 innocent civilians. The most poignant and pragmatic photos from this agonizing incident were not of the bloodshed and heartbreak, but of the mall’s patrons, employees, and community members leading others involved in the hostage situation to safety. They risked their lives to take care of others and assure the protection of fellow community members. Every day we must do more, more than what is expected, and more than what may be needed.
In times of crisis, hardship or challenge, we cannot not simply “do”, we do more.
This phrase is not, I have realized, a useless expression with a vague meaning; it is a call to go above what is the norm, and beyond what is expected.
There are countless accounts of those doing more in situations where they are needed. In the coming weeks as I write this memo, I hope to share those inspiring stories with you. There are reasons to always stay inspired, and always do more.
As I challenge myself with this, I will open the challenge to you: what will you do to do more this week?
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