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August 1, 2004

Toxic Success and the Mind of a Surgeon

Arch Surg. 2004;139(8):879-888. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.8.879

In his role of invited lecturer to the 75th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association in Maui, Hawaii, Dr Pearsall shared some of the results of his clinical study of highly successful persons and how their success and their pursuit of it often resulted in health and family problems. He highlighted 15 of his findings related directly to the physicians and surgeons included in his sample and suggested that healthy success is related less to time management than attention management. He pointed out that hard work, time pressure, stress, and a demanding schedule had less of a toxic effect than a lack of mindful engagement with life and those with whom we share it. He concluded with 5 ancient Hawaiian principles of healthy success Hawaiian style, the concept of po′okela, meaning achieving excellence through mindful awareness of shared values rather than individual objectives.