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    Defining success: Is more better?

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    About six months ago, I was cleaning the house on a Saturday with the TV on. I often do this, just casually taking in whatever cooking or redecorating show is on at the time. It’s where I get some of my best and worst ideas. (My fiancé will attest to that because he has been roped into a number of “quick” home improvement projects that ended up consuming his life.) But I digress.

    On this day, one of my favorite travel and cooking shows was on: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.” Now, Anthony Bourdain is a bit of an unconventional host. He dives into different cultures and travels the world finding out the quintessential dishes of the region. He is willing to try anything, he drinks heavily, and in general, he’s just darn good entertainment.

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    I have to realize all of my dreams

    On this particular day, he was traveling in Brittany, France. Brittany is known for a dramatic coastline, proud tradition, and culinary wealth. The locals are extremely proud of their region, and although I’ve never been there, it would seem that this is for good reason. The shots of the coastline were gorgeous, the countryside was pristine, and there were occasional shots of forest as well. It looked like a beautiful and largely untouched piece of French paradise.

    The episode starts with Bourdain traveling with a gentleman named Olivier Roellinger. Roellinger is a chef in Brittany and has an interesting past, having recovered from a terrible and tragic incident. He had been beaten, left in a coma, and subsequently was in a wheelchair. He overcame his injuries, eventually regaining the ability to walk. Despite his misfortune, or perhaps because of it, Roellinger has developed an inspiring attitude and outlook on life.

    Early in the episode, he states, “I have to realize all of my dreams.” This is where I was transfixed. What an inspiration, a man who was savagely beaten for no reason (although, I’m not sure there’s ever a reason to be savagely beaten), recovered and came through it with the most incredible attitude—that he must experience it all, he must live his dreams, and he must realize every one of them.

    Roellinger shows Bourdain his restaurant and his small bread shop where all the bread for his restaurants is freshly made. When in the bread shop, Roellinger is proudly discussing the bread, tapping it, and listening for a distinctive sound that indicates it is good. If it doesn’t sound that way? Well, then it isn’t good enough to be served.

    Bourdain chimes in via voiceover: “Typically, (Roellinger) listens to the sound of the bread, not the cash register. It’s because he’s a ferocious advocate for the glory of tiny, individually owned and operated producers. The idea that one should—no, must—keep it small.”

    Bourdain then asks Roellinger if he has considered getting another machine so he can produce more bread. The idea is discussed, and Bourdain acknowledges that Roellinger would be able to greatly expand his business if he chose—the bread is that good. But Roellinger resists, stating that you forget about the quality if you are trying to make a lot, a lot, a lot. “We don’t have the obsession to make always more and more.”

    Next: We need more time

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    • SamanthaHornberger
      You make several excellent observations Dr. Denton. I started a practice cold two years ago and have often thought the same things you discussed. I agree that personally I feel I cannot give each patient my best if I am seeing too many in a day. I cannot give patients my best because I am constantly thinking of what is waiting for me next. In the current climate of managed care and reimbursement I feel a lot of doctors, optometrists and others, feel pressure to see more and more each day. I have made the choice that if I am limited, I prefer to be limited in money (I can always make more in other capacities that I enjoy such as writing and speaking) and ensure that my patients get my best. I applaud the docs out there that can give their all to each and see 25 or more patients a day. Just not the way I am built. Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one.

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