Thursday, March 25, 2004

What does not kill me makes me stronger - Goethe

What does not kill me makes me stronger. - Goethe

This isn't just some saying trying to make us feel better about rough times. In the world of health care, it is quite literally true. Chemotherapy treatments for cancer are no more than a race to kill off the source of illness faster than serious damage is done to the rest of the body. Even many everyday medicines such as some antibiotics are a form of short term poison that you are expected to recover from once the problem being treated is dispatched. It doesn't take a genius to figure this out when you're reading about (or experiencing) some of the possible side effects of various medications.

For a while (quite a long time ago) I was doing on-air television work as a meteorologist. The best advice I ever received in all my years doing that gig was from sports anchor Rod Simons (who used to have a website at and is still mentioned at the Flying Colours Television website) when he kept at me to develop a "killer instinct". I took a lot of knocks in that business that nearly took me down for good a few times before I came up swinging, with my "killer instinct" finally fully developed.

For me, a "killer instinct" has meant staying true to who I am: part of which includes being an optimist who enjoys connecting with people (a few at a time anyway) and likes to see the good in all people and things whenever I can... while also developing a sense of self-preservation and the kind of drive toward excellence that ensures other people see that in me too. I find it easier now to insist that people take me at full value and that my sense of self is not diminished by how others see me. If they can't see me as providing as much value as I believe I bring to the table, it's their loss. I take that as an indicator it's time to take my ball and go play somewhere else. There was a time when I was most definitely not that strong.

It would be tough to know these days exactly what Rod meant so many years ago when he was giving me those lectures and yet some form of that message has always stuck with me. Thanks, Rod, for helping me see that playing nice isn't the same as playing dumb... or being a pushover either, for that matter.

By the way, Nietzsche must have studied Goethe and liked what he had to say on the subject, as he said very nearly the same thing only quite a bit later.

So, what's making you stronger right now? What "killer instincts" are you developing? A quick message to will satisfy my curiosity and probably result in sharing your wisdom with at least three other people!

Also, if you see Rod, tell him Kimm says "hi".