First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu
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What is a good day? While doing a junior surgical job, a senior colleague told me what a good day was for a surgical resident: “Don’t kill the patients and don’t sleep with them either”. He used a different grade of English which I have translated here. Permanently tired due to long on call sessions he had set his sights low and simple. It worked for him.
I recall a line from Ice Cube’s song ‘It was a Good Day’:
Today I didn’t even have to use my AK
I gotta say, it was a good day
That song sounded funny at the time but reading the lyrics today almost brings tears to my eyes. The picture depicted was one in which murder and trouble was the daily expectation and if it did not happen then it was a good day.
It all boils down to expectations in the end. If the day could meet the expectations or even exceed them, then it is a good day. Anything less is a bad day.
I noticed myself feeling a particular day hadn’t gone well and I started to ask myself questions about the exact matrix I used in coming to that conclusion. It so happens that I had no objective method for assessing the day. It was purely subjective and dependent on the way I felt my interactions with patients went towards the end of the day. The things that did not go well were remembered while the routine tasks that go well were promptly forgotten.
It was not hard to figure out that something untoward was bound to happen most days and if I focus on these things and exaggerate them, I would drift out of balance and start to label each day as a ‘bad day’ due to isolated incidences.
There was a time I told myself that making it to bed at night alive and achieving just one thing no matter how small was enough for me. I soon forgot this mantra which looked as if it lacked ambition and pressurised myself into looking for difficult things accomplished each day to maintain that sense of having lived a day to be proud of.
I think I am back to square one now. Making it to my bed at night alive with food in my stomach and a smile on my face is good enough for me. I will always work hard and be creative as it is too late to change that now. It is the simple things in life that make for a good day. There is no peace of mind like the children finishing their food and having dirty nappies a few hours later. That is a good day.
Trying to find fulfilment in just the work place is not enough. The work place will continue long after you have left. Family is more important. If the family is having a good day then it means my day is good. No matter how good work is, people don’t take annual leave and go on holiday with work colleagues but with family.
Driven people and high achievers can be a miserable lot sometimes as this subset are sometimes defined by their work. They are on top but stay up all night thinking about how they can remain at the top. It is a bit ironic seeing that everyone dies and leaves both the wealth and the status behind.
There is no top man or high achiever in the cemetery.
Everyone wants to make significant impact in their work and continue to be productive and efficient working with friendly motivated people. But sometimes we might feel that we are fire- fighting all day long; running from one urgent low priority task to another. There might be bosses we dislike or working practices that we hate but have to work with.
We must however remember that we have only one life to live and we have to make the best of each day.
The days build up to weeks and months and before you know it you might be having a bad year.
Each person should write out clearly what a good day would look like for them and strive to make the various elements on that list come to past. Writing things out will make it easy not to miss the easily forgotten items that are essential and which we would be grateful to achieve.