2023 May 2 Living a life of happy instead of riches!

May 02, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website all about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about living beyond money. So let's get started. If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like, tell your friends, and send me a message.


Tonight we're going to talk about two people that I learned about. One recently deceased, the other young man who is in the process of reinventing his life, but they have a lot in common in their core principles.That alone is fascinating. There is probably 50-60 years of age between the two of them.


Actually,  I  changed my mind. There are two people I want to talk about, but tonight I'm just going to focus on one of them. Each of those people are interesting enough that they deserve to  have their own moment in time.


So tonight I'll be talking about Dr. Michael Brescia, a clever and promising young doctor who you may have heard of if you're involved with kidney dialysis. I certainly had never heard of him, but I saw his obituary this past Saturday in The Wall Street Journal.


You can read the article here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-brescia-who-gave-up-profits-to-comfort-the-dying-dies-at-90-109d869f


As I’ve mentioned before, I truly recommend the Wall Street Journal for a more balanced, slightly conservative view of the world. Things like religions are respected, both sides of the political spectrum are nicely critiqued. There's no free rides for either side, and the quality of the editorials is amazing. They often have these big discounts on first year subscriptions, so I recommend that you keep your eye out for them. It's worth every penny just for the news and the editorials. To be clear, they don't have any sort of affiliate program, so I get nothing from recommending them. It’s something that I find very valuable to read in part because of things like tonight’s story about Dr. Brescia, and his associate Dr Simino. 


They were the creators of the method used to connect kidney dialysis machines to patients in a way that allowed for the rapid blood flows in and out of the body that made dialysis machines practical. Before that, basically you’d stick a needle in an artery, and it was a very slow and difficult process. 


He was 33 years old when the two of them figured out how to make this work so that they could do really fast blood transfers and make dialysis practical. You could go in for an hour, hour and a half treatment, and be done.


He was 33 years old, and he figured this was his ticket to riches. He had it all made. This was fantastic. It revolutionized dialysis. Then his father suggested that, instead of being rich, maybe he should just give it to the people, which is exactly what they did.


They published it for free. There are no patents, it was completely unencumbered. Anyone could use it, and everyone did. He said that he never made any money off of that invention, but he never regretted that decision. He and Dr. Simino devoted the bulk of their careers to Calvary Hospital, which is a nonprofit hospital in the Bronx in New York City.


There, Dr. Brescia spent over 50 years in the field of palliative care, which is not typically considered an especially lucrative specialty. Instead, he said that he was rewarded by the tiny victories they could bring to sick patients, and the moments of joy that otherwise would've been lost. They had a number of stories. My favorite story was probably about this homeless woman. She had dementia and couldn't remember when her birthday was, and she was always afraid she had missed it.


So the staff members gave her a cupcake and sang her Happy Birthday every day until she passed away. That was the compassion he inspired in those around him. Dr. Brescia also said that the art of medicine comes from loving your patients and caring for them. He somewhat lamented that the doctor-patient relationship now is mostly gone.


It’s replaced by managed care companies and insurance companies and things focused on profit. Dr. Brescia understood that not only the real power in medicine and healing comes from personally caring for your patients, but also that the real fulfillment in life also comes from caring for others. That brings far more riches than money could ever give.


As he said about himself and Dr. Simino, We saw a road to the left. It looked shiny and gold, but to the right, it looked happier to us. So my thanks to his family and The Wall Street Journal for sharing that obituary in the Saturday, April 29th, 2023 edition of the paper. It truly changed not only my day, but possibly my life, and who knows what it's going to change in the future.


Just seeing someone who made such a selfless decision - a lot of people do that, and then they  grumble about it, but he did it and embraced it for the rest of his life. But as always, let’s step back for a minute. People might be saying, That's great. I'm glad he had a great life, but what's that got to do with me? How has this helped me discover my best life and the best me? 


Although it didn't say so in the story, I'm sure that many people were coaching Dr. Brescia and Dr. Simino to monetize their invention. I'm sure they heard ideas like, If you're wealthy, then you can do more to help other people, or It's okay to do good while you're doing well for yourself. All those similar stories, I hear a lot of them. But instead, they took the happy road and they made their invention free to use and thereby changed the lives of millions and millions of people for the better. 


Remember that the discovery and production of insulin was intended to be free as well. The original patents were sold to the University of Toronto for a dollar each by the three creators. For $3, and we all know how that story ended. They could have patented it, and the patent could have been sold, but instead these two doctors who did the dialysis machine gave it away entirely for free. They took the extra step of publishing the results so the discovery would truly be free. But even more than just that, they dedicated the rest of their lives to helping those who are often neglected and overlooked, and influenced those around them, to act in that same totally compassionate way.


Even beyond that, who knows how many people they've influenced in the world as role models. I don't know what drew me to this obituary, although I often  glance at them. They usually start out with, Mr. and Mrs. Thus-and-Such started with nothing, made a bazillion dollars by turning around Acme Industries, making the powerhouse that we know today before starting a charity.


That's nice, I guess, but this obituary started out differently. The headline was “Doctor Gave Up Riches to Comfort the Dying.” How could I not read it? And wow, what a story. How could you not be positively influenced by it? That is the result of decades of them living their vision of compassion.


It’s something I doubt either of them really thought about during their lives. Think about how you live. Maybe you won't get an obituary in The Wall Street Journal, but even if it's just in your local paper or just some friends talking about you, wouldn't it be nicer to have them say, Wow, Mary always had a nice word for someone who was sad instead of, Mary was a real tough boss and she doubled the value of that company. 


Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying we can't do well and be an effective leader, but it makes a difference in every part of your life in how you present it. If you're doing those things in pursuit of a noble goal versus just the pursuit of personal riches, people will see the difference and they will genuinely respect a noble and compassionate goal and be positively influenced to try and do the same if you're a genuine role model.


So that's it for tonight. I hope you see that no matter how young or old you are, you can always change the world. You can always make changes. You can always work for a higher goal. That’s what we keep talking about, envision what motivates you, what makes you the best that you can possibly be, and then create your life around that.


Your homework (which is optional, of course) is to take some aspect of your life, and to imagine how you could prioritize it to make the world a better place. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do to live your life to its absolute fullest and make the world around you the best it could possibly be? Think about how your legacy could influence others to act in a more caring and compassionate way just by hearing about you. 


So that's it for the evening. As always, UKR7.com is still up. That's our link to sites for donating to Ukraine. There are lots of links there. There's also a link there to WCK.org, the World Central Kitchen. They make meals for people in need. They've worked worldwide. They've worked recently in the United States when the hurricanes came through. They're a great organization. 


I'd encourage you to take a look. If somebody's looking for a way to help out, send them there. Remember that one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. So if you can and you're able, please check it. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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