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A Life-Changing Poem – Read it before you set any new year’s resolution

By: Steven Wang, MD

Jan 01, 2019

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Dr Wang life questions


It is the time of the year when most of us are tempted to set a goal for the next 12 months. If it is done judiciously, the new year’s resolution prepares the mind and body with a surge of purpose and commitment.


Yet, most of us fail in the first step in setting a resolution. Specifically, we don’t ask the right question that can catapult us to reach our true potential.


There are many reasons for it. Our intentions may be misdirected by superficial needs or wants. We may be too timid to seek that lofty goal. Or we may not even know there are other levels of fulfillment or happiness in life.


I am sharing this short poem, because it has profoundly impacted my life. When I read it for the first time, especially the last 2 lines, I felt as if I had been struck by a lightning bolt.


My Wage

By J. B. Rittenhouse

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening 
When I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.


As I mentioned earlier, the last 2 lines deserve repeating: “ … any wage I had asked of life, Life would have willingly paid.


Life is open to all possibilities. Don’t settle. Aim high and set your goals right! With persistence, effort, and luck, you will be rewarded.


Life is also a question. How we live it is our answer. What questions we ask determine the path and purpose of our life.


The problem is it is difficult to ask the right question. When was the last time you asked a right question that changed the course of your life? How do you even know you asked the right questions?


Here is another challenge. Even if you asked a right question, there are no clear or easy answers for these tough questions. There are no instructions.


It is up to you to search for it, frame it and finally own it. This is the process of self- discovery that will ultimately give you that unique roadmap.


Guided by your own compass, you can embark on that journey that can make you feel happy and fulfilled.


So, what are your burning question? What is the big picture of your life? What is the one thing you wish to accomplish this year?


Remember, aim higher and ask more from life and demand more of yourself. Have a great 2019! 


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