3 Doctors Walk Into An Elevator. One Says…

by chasereeves on October 6, 2009 · 0 comments

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I watch a new TED video everyday for lunch. Today I watched a one that felt important. It’s about not being a selfish asshole. Here’s the rub: everyone is a part of a tribe. Most of our tribes are in a stage where our banner essentially says “I’m great, and you’re not.” The speaker illustrates with a story:

3 doctors walk into an elevator. One says, “did anyone see my article in the New England Journal of Medicine this weekend?” The other two say, “no, that’s great!”

One of the doctors cracks a wry smile and says, “well, while you were off doing your ‘research’, I was doing real surgeries, and have now done more surgeries than any other doctor!”

Now the third smiles wryly and says, “well, while you were off doing ‘research,’ and you were off doing so many surgeries, I was off writing the future of the residency, which is really the future of medicine.”

And the elevator stops at the correct floor and they all pat each other on the backs and walk different directions.

There’s a Peter Gabriel song with the lyrics: “oh, my head feels like that.” That’s how I feel about this story; my life feels like that.

The speaker goes on to talk about the kind of tribe that’s built when people value something bigger than their own confidence. He talks of Zappos.com and their culture of creativity, and the Truth and Reconciliation Process in South Africa, pointing to how there’s bigger values that unite these tribes.

So, here’s what to take away: let the story of being some self-centered success seep in; feel it’s meaninglessness. Then, listen to his answer for how to become a better human:

Go beyond networking, just meeting new people to extend your reach and influence. Instead, find someone you don’t know, and find someone else you don’t know, and introduce them. People who build world changing tribes do that; they extend the reach of their tribes.

Watch the video on TED →

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