I recently attended my 4th commencement ceremony as an Assistant Professor at the California School of Podiatric Medicine. The commencement address was given by Gary Hall Jr. Gary was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just prior to the 2000 Olympic ceremony. His story is a remarkable and inspiring one of a young man who, in the face of a recent serious health diagnosis, managed to still break American records. Very cool.
Gary continues to work on educating people around Diabetes and I felt his address to those in attendance was motivating and thought provoking. He began his speech discussing the experience he had soon after being diagnosis in the middle of his competitive career and ended his speech with 5 pieces of advice that made all those listening ponder. One of the first pieces of advice he gave everyone was to know what you are good at. Another piece of advice included “don’t be an asshole,” which I also really liked and was followed by an auditorium of laughter…but so true.
At lunch, I asked Gary a very candid question about whether he thought I could have been an Olympic level athlete. The question of innate ability versus perseverance has been in the back of my mind of late. Gary replied something to the sort of this: as long as one is going into a sport that your build may lend itself to and with enough perseverance, one could be seriously competitive. I wanted to share that with you because I found it so motivating and if anyone knows, Gary knows.
I think of all my Friends and Patients on a quest to be a better version of themselves but are stuck in the mindset of injury or an illness. Gary did it and he thinks you can too.
To all those new Graduates – hats off to you, I wish you the best. To Gary Hall Jr. – keep doing what you’re doing and don’t forget to wear socks:)