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What is the Secret to Life?

John Bielinski, MS PA-C By August 8, 2022No Comments

Welcome to this month’s Q-Wave Newsletter. 

What is the secret to life?  What is the secret to perception?  In life we can observe something, but then when we perceive it, we stack meaning to it. That is a very individual thing. Two people can see the exact same set of facts but interpret different meanings based on perception. Do we agree with that? Do we agree that you could look outside and see it’s raining and say ‘oh my gosh, it’s a horrible day.’ Whereas someone else could look outside and say ‘wow, it’s beautiful that fresh water is falling from the sky and nurturing the plants.’ It could be completely different based on an individual’s perception. 

There is a mnemonic I use called GOAT..





Here’s something I would like to share with you. Think of what the difference is between gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness. What is the difference between those three things and how can we apply that in our lives?

I’d like to submit this to you. Gratitude is global. In the Marine Corps we used to flight up flares. So if we’re in a fighting position, let’s say there’s a big field and we think the enemy is sneaking across the field we’d pop a flare and it would light up the whole field, like you’re in a football stadium. Think of gratitude as global. It’s big and it’s enlightening. 

Picture this: you have a shelf of four to eight books. Those books are things that you have deep seated gratitude for. They are the global things in your life. Boy, I have gratitude that I am alive. I have gratitude that I have a relationship with God. I have gratitude towards my family. I have gratitude for my prosperity as a PA. Therefore, gratitude is a discipline where it is global. 

Now if gratitude is like a flare, it’s global, it’s big, and it enlightens big parts of our lives then thankfulness is like having a laser pointer. What can I point out that I am thankful for? For this reason let’s say I have gratitude that I am in healthcare. Man, I am thankful for the job that I have. Alright, well what are you thankful for? Okay, now I point at it with a laser pointer. I am thankful that I can walk into a patient’s room and have empathy. I am thankful that I have the knowledge from a significant amount of time to know what’s wrong with people and to know evidence-based medicine treatments. I am thankful for that. I’m thankful that I have a little bit of humility that when I don’t know something I’ll go talk to my doctor and recruit them because they are more trained then I am. 

Next is appreciation, I think of appreciation as a loupe. If you take a piece of jewelry into a jeweler, they take this monocular glass and put it up to their eyes so they can study it with magnification. That’s called a loupe. That is where you look at the really fine details. If I want to show appreciation for my job, I will look at the fine details of what I do. When I went  into an exam room and the patient (who was a pediatrician) that I helped navigate his diagnosis, got tears in his eyes and shook my hand with both hands and said “thank you,” I deeply appreciate that I can focus on the details. 

With this month’s newsletter I think words are very important. Too often we throw around words and we don’t really know what they mean. I’d encourage you to start looking up words a bit more. When you have a precise understanding of words it allows you to articulate better. It allows you to take the thoughts in your head that may be a little bit confusing and to articulate them in a way both in word or in writing that really communicates what you want to communicate. 

With that, I am submitting for your consideration that gratitude is global. It’s the big things in your life. Thankful is the chapter of your book and appreciation is the words of the book. It’s the fine details.

Ladies and gentlemen, the true secret of perception and meaning is how we adjust, how we take in the things that we see. Are we taking them in with cynicism and pessimism, or are we taking them in with gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation? It’s the secret to life. The book by Shawn Achor called The Happiness Advantage talks about how gratitude is directly linked to happiness and it is really a discipline. It’s a discipline looking at the big ticket pictures of your life. 

Good Luck & God Bless 

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