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Saturday, July 27, 2013

One Man's Formula for Success.


I want to tell you about something that happened about 8 months ago while I was at the office working. Like most people these days, I always have my cell phone with me, and this way , I never miss an important call, especially if its a new patient.  So I'm with my patient and my cell phone rings and I excuse myself for a minute to answer.  I answered the usual way I do, which is just my last name by itself.   “Himmel!”  Its strange that over the years I just dropped the Doctor part, and just say my last name. There is actually a story behind that, but I will leave that for another day. So a man’s voice came on with a raspy New York voice and asked me, “Chiropractor?” I answered with an affirmative and, “How can I help you?  This is Dr. Himmel.” He said his name was Mr. Smith (actual name withheld of course).  He said, “I need you to come to my house; my back is hurting very bad.”  I said, “okay Mr. Smith, but would you mind giving me about 30 minutes to speak with you about this?”  I told him I was going to call him back as soon as I'm finished with this patient. He said,”Okay, but don't forget.”  I assured him I wouldn't forget.
So about 30 minutes later I'm finished with my patient I'm actually walking to my car to leave to go to lunch. At the moment I am just getting into my car, the phone rings and it's Mr. Smith. He said really loud, “This is Mr. Smith, you said you would call me back in 30 minutes.  It’s 30 minutes right now, did you forget about me?” I said, “No, Mr. Smith, I was sitting in my car and was about to call you.”   He said, “Okay.  Again my name is Mr. Smith.  I want you to come to my house. My back is hurting me.  You need to help me, please.”  I listened to this man talk and then had to ask him what exactly is going on.   He said again, “My name is Mr. Smith and I'm 94 years old.  He then said, money is no object.  I don’t care what you charge.  Please just come to my house.”  At that moment I heard another voice in the background of a woman.  It was obvious that she was disapproving of the last comment that Mr. Smith said to me, that money is no object.  Again, and not caring, he mentioned to me that he is willing to pay any amount that I charge if i can come right away.  Before I could answer, he tells me to hold and puts the woman on the phone with me, who was there with him. She said that she was Mr. Smith’s personal assistant and he would like me to come to the house and see if you can help him with his back.  I told her to just give me the address and I will come as soon as I finish the last patient at the office.

Once I got the address,  and realized where I was going, I realized this gentleman did not live around the corner from my office.  He lived on Fort Lauderdale Beach, right off the 17th Street Causeway at the end, in a large high rise building overlooking Port Everglades. I had never been to this building before but I knew exactly where it was, because I used to spend a lot of time at the beach when I was younger and I have driven past it dozens of times.   So later that evening when I was finished with my patients, I drove down to this man's house. Actually it was not a house, of course.  He lives on the 7th floor of a condo that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.   So I Drive all the way over to his place, I park my car in the parking lot, and walk to the lobby of this building. When I got there, I told the security officer that I was going up to see Mr. Smith.  He acknowledged and told me that he was expecting me and directed me to the elevator. So I take the elevator up to the 7th floor, get out, and walk over to the guy’s door and knock. A voice calls out and tells me just to come in. So I open the door and walk in carrying my treatment table and bag.  Sitting in a chair toward the large windows was a man with a big smile on his face. It wasn't a smile on his face that was mocking or arrogant in any way. It was a smile that you get from a gracious person. I put down my table and my bag, I walked over to him, introduced myself, and shook his hand, which I noted was a very strong grip for an old man. He offered me a chair, I sat down, took out a pad and started taking a history.  Again he told me he was 94 years old, but just looking at this man he did not look 94. In fact, he looked more like a man in his 70's. He was not in a wheelchair, he certainly was not in a nursing home; his vision and hearing were good as far as I could tell.  He proceeded to tell me that every morning, especially when waking up, his back was so painful that it would take him over an hour to get out of bed.  He said that the pain would ease up as the day went on. 

He had a lot of vitamins on the counter top. There were several bottles.  In fact there were at least 15 or 20. His personal assistant would create portions that was broken down not only by day, but by AM and PM.  She took care of everything for him. She made him breakfast, she made him lunch, and she made him dinner. She reminded him of every vitamin that he should take and when.  She straightened his house for him and also drove him around to doctor appointments and to the movies.  He loved going to movies.  They would go at least once a week to see a movie.   After the history, I got up, opened up my table, and asked him to have a seat so I can give him an exam. I went through the usual, but noticed one thing interesting, which was the amount of muscle that this man had on his body for being 94 years old.  I commented that for a 94 year old man you're in terrific shape, actually.  At that he then laughed and ask me then why he doesn't  feel like he’s in terrific shape?  I told him you are 94 years old. Anyone who is 94 years old, is bound to have aches and pains and have a good amount of arthritis which generally can give you that stiff and inflexible feeling, especially in the morning.  

He asked me if I could help him.  I never tell a patient that what I'm going to do is remove all of their pain.  Sometimes this happens after one visit, but its not typical, especially for someone advanced in age.  But, the majority of the time what I'm really looking for is simply a decrease in pain of maybe 20 or 30 percent with the first visit. If we get more than a 20 or 30 percent reduction in pain, I call it a bonus, and of course, it makes me look very good.  Realistically, however, with a 94 year old man I was not expecting too much at all.  So, after the exam, I gave him a very light treatment, which included some stretching and tissue work to the affected area.  I also gave him a very light adjustment, which is actually a joint mobilization technique to get his back moving a little better.  He was very strong and so I didn't even feel that my adjustment was very helpful when I did it.  To make a long story short,  it turned out that the next morning, he was feeling incredibly better.  I wasn't completely surprised, because he actually had me convinced more than normal that I was going to fix him up.  He was very positive in that regard.  His energy was almost overwhelming.  He then asked me if I would be his “captain.”  I asked what do you mean, be your captain? He said he had, “not felt this good in a very long time and I want you on my staff.” Obviously, I'm in no position to be a live-in doctor. But, I agreed to come and treat him 2 or 3 times a week until we really got his back pain under control.

I think, to be honest, I was more intrigued with this man than he was with me. Although it was quite a drive to go see him, I would actually look forward to be in this man's company. There was something about him and I wanted to find out what it was.  Those that have gone to chiropractors, know that chiropractors very often spend a lot of time with patients.  Well, at least I do.  Very often, in fact when a patient is on the table not only am I performing adjustments on their spine, and making their back and muscles feel better, but I am also listening to their personal issues and so forth.  I get to know patients on a personal level that I doubt a regular doctor ever will achieve.  This man, however, never talked about bad things or problems that was going on in his life. I found it interesting that for a 94 year old guy, not only was he in good  physical shape, but he was also good emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  He would often talk about ideas that he had for business.  I was fascinated of his positive attitude, and his forward-thinking.
One day when I was at his house, I had to ask, “How is it that you have become so successful in your life?  He seemed like he actually enjoyed the conversation that we had, so at this point I did not feel like I was prying or being nosey.  He was actually more than happy to answer. He said to me something, that I still think about almost every day. This thing that he said has actually helped me cope with problems that I have in my life.  He told me the trick to success is not to worry about the little things. I asked him to elaborate on that. He said that throughout life we are bombarded with things.  Some of these things are good and some of the things are bad and are very stressful.  Some of the things we have to deal with are terrible and even,  devastating. But there are also things that have no bearing on your life in the long run. He said, what most people do is spend too much time worrying about little things that have really no bearing or things they can't do anything about. He explained that most people spend too much time worrying about things that have passed, like how they would have done things differently.  He gave me a few examples of things he doesn't worry about, like getting a parking ticket, remembering somebody's birthday, or even remembering somebody's phone number.  He said all those things and more are, a waste of time. How he asked, are you able to concentrate on the important things if you are wasting time on the little things?  However, he said to me that you have to make a choice, of what you consider important or something that is not important.  He said unfortunately when you don't worry about the little things like he has done in his life, people get the impression that you are an uncaring person.   He explained that it doesn't make him a bad person if he doesn't keep track of birthdays and anniversaries.  People get upset about it, he said, but you asked me how have I become successful.  This is how it worked for me, he explained.  This is how I lived my life.  He told me that he is as close to his family as anyone else is to their family. He speaks to his children every day and they both live up north in Connecticut.  So, this was Mr. Smith’s little trick.  This is what helped him throughout is life in business.  He eliminated all the little things that he considered insignificant, so he can focus his energy on what he considered the big things.

So, it turns out that this man had a very interesting life. He grew up in a very poor family, up north, in New Jersey. He ran away from home when he was 15 and never finished high school.  He joined the military eventually and was one of the soldiers who stormed the beach at Normandy.  He showed me photographs in scrapbooks but didn't like talking in detail about it.  When the war was over and he came back to the United States, he was still very broke, but he had a skill that he could carve objects out of wood, or soap.  He said he used to do it only has a hobby but it was his passion.  Since he really loved doing this type of work, he got a job in a factory like most people, but this wasn't enough for him. He wanted to open his own company. So he saved up a small amount of money, borrowed some more money from other people, and started a company that manufactured candelabras and chandeliers that he designed.  Over the next 25 years, he grew his company to the largest American manufacturer of these objects. At one point he had over 4,000 accounts of different department stores and shops around the United States.  He told me that he could have never done this if he spent time worrying about every small issue or little hiccup along the way. He told me the idea is to point your nose in the direction you want to go and don't let anything distract you, like those little things.
Its been a few months since I have spoken or seen Mr. Smith.  But, I have to say that whether he taught me a free lesson, or I just listened to one man’s formula for success, I think the principle of ridding oneself of thoughts that are wasteful, is sound.  
Look at your life.  What do you spend time worrying about?  Do you worry about what someone said? Do you worry about what some other person did or is doing?  Do you exhaust yourself thinking about what you COULD HAVE been?  Could someone write a drama based on your life?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are probably holding yourself back and limiting your potential.  Once you decide to free yourself of wasteful thoughts, you will feel like you have much extra time on your hands, and you will be more able to accomplish your goals.  Try it.