Strive On

Updated: Jun 2, 2019

There is far more in you than you know. Far more in all of us than we can even imagine.


Transcending social categorisations of ethnicity, class and status exists a force within; it is sparked by self-belief and fuelled by a vision to be of service for a purpose bigger than ourselves.


It is this inner power, combined with the help of innumerable individuals, that has allowed me to graduate from medical school in London, publish a book and more recently to graduate with a Masters degree (in Public Health) from Yale University in the United States. And the journey continues.


Medical school is a means and not an end. Beyond its gates lie arduous hours and night shifts. There is no glamour. And the ‘oh he’s a doctor’ proclamations of enamoured family members soon wear off. Graduation from medical school marks the beginning of a very long road ahead – are you ready for it?


As important as it is to acknowledge the underrepresentation of Black individuals in the medical profession, an undue focus on this can derail you. Focus instead on why and HOW exactly you want to be of service in this world, and the strength of your desire will obliterate all obstacles in your way.


Acknowledge reality, but do not deny your own inner greatness. Be of service first to yourself by dreaming of a bigger life, then create a vision that includes others. Things of significance are not achieved by focusing on why we cannot, but on why we can, and WILL. Remember this.


Some of you might be saying, ‘well yes that’s very nice, but what can I actually do’. In response to this valid question, the advice I would give to aspiring doctors is as follows:


1. HAVE A PLAN

Nothing worthwhile is achieved without a blueprint and very few great things happen in life by chance. A couple of years before my book was published, I saw it in my mind’s eye until it was real to me. And then devised a plan to make that image a tangible reality. Executing that plan was much tougher than day-dreaming about publishing, but without it, the book would have remained a pipe-dream.


2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

The great scientist Isaac Asimov mooted “Above all, never think you’re not good enough. Never think that. In life people will take you at your own reckoning.”.

Self-doubt not only acts as a brake on the path towards accomplishing your objectives, but is palpable to others, who might otherwise have collaborated with you. Besides, there will times when no one will believe in your dreams. You need to be able to stand alone sometimes for what you believe in, regardless of whether the crowd joins you. As I wrote in one of my poems, ‘Immortal Deeds’:

Immortal words are never writ By the souls of the o’er meek; Would Achilles’ name modern ears meet If he had been in spirit weak?”

3. KEEP MOVING FORWARD…STRATEGICALLY

If life demands one thing of us, it