Thiel: Best health care prescription is positive attitude

Over time, each patient has taught me at least one thing about life and how to perceive it.

In my decades of working as a health care provider, I have been fortunate enough to work with patients from all walks of life.

Prior to becoming a doctor of chiropractic, I have worked in spinal cord, cardiac, burns, and neurological intensive care units, and in emergency and trauma centres.

Over that time, each patient has taught me at least one thing about life and how to perceive it.

At my clinic this week, a patient asked me a question. I thought it a very good one. She asked: “You have worked in so many practitioner capacities. What is the one single thing that separates the patient that will get better from the patient that will not?”

I think she was expecting an answer like: “It’s nutrition, exercise, genetics, fate.”

While these are very important factors in any patient’s outcome, I did not volunteer these as viable answers.

I turned my back on her to write in her chart and mumbled one word—“attitude.”

When I turned around, her look was one of disbelief and slight annoyance at what she thought was a very glib answer to a legitimate question. It was a legitimate question. She just didn’t like the answer. I thought I should explain.

I told her, “I rarely have ever had a patient be utterly surprised by the outcome of their care. If they feel they will never get better, they usually don’t. If they feel, truly believe that they will get better, they more often than not do get better.”

That is not to say that you should stop all care and treatments for a malady and live in a land of fairies and rainbows. That makes about as much sense as underwater fire prevention.

But, if you enter your treatment with a firm belief that you will improve, noting the improvements and living in a state of gratitude and abundance for whatever comes your way, you stand an exponentially higher chance of success.

Henry Ford said it best: “If you believe you can or you can’t, you’re probably right.”

When I was working at Vancouver General Hospital, often I would come across a patient in the ICU who was in multi-systemic failure.

Essentially, by definition, they were dying. At times, one characteristic would prevail; they were contagiously optimistic and empowered. They would typically ‘pull through’ and recover.

The odds were clearly against them and they would defy all I learned in my 14 years of university. Again and again it would happen. At first it was humbling, then it became empowering.

I can quote the hundreds of studies that cite just this example.

Believe me, I’ve seen it. You are entirely what you believe. At the very least it could never hurt you to look at a disease or a condition in your life and create a new outcome based on your beliefs instead of external expectations, limited thinking and scarcity.

My mom once said to me: “You can be optimistic and positive about anything and everything, or not. It is entirely your choice. No one will tell you what to believe. The two, have entirely different outcomes and they take the same amount of work in both cases.”

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