How to Stay in Demand... and Get Paid Handsomely - The Short Cut


Dr. Rakesh Shah

There is one sure way to succeed in the life - I call it – Sachin Tendulkar way... you can also call it - Amitabh Bachchan Way... or Zakir Hussain Way... you probably got the point.

This is the way, where you may have some talent, but the reason you become successful is NOT just the talent, but years and years of hard work added to that talent.

Most of us do not have any inborn talent like Sachin or Amitabh or Michael Jackson anyway, in the field of art or sports, but majority of us are good at something.

My main focus here is going to be on professionals. Most professionals are good at what they do, as a result of the training they got in that field. And that is sure way to become successful, to master your own art so good that it pays well.

For example, for a doctor - 

One can do MBBS, then do post graduation in pediatric surgery, then do fellowship in Pediatric cardiac surgery, then narrow it down to only Pediatric congenital disease cardiac surgery, you can keep narrowing down your focus all the way up to only few specific disease processes - you will be world renowned in that particular field. You will be quoted in all medical journals and conferences.  In short, you are master of ONE. And you probably have contributed a lot to humanity, by your focused work on only one aspect of the big medical field. The world needs people like you. You change the world, one discovery at a time, one successful surgery at a time. And for you that is success.

There can be 2 potential problems with it -

Human nature always seeks novelty and variety. It is easy to get bored with same stuff. 
No matter what you say about how much you enjoy your work, the part of you longing for novelty, variety and change in life will always be left unsatisfied. 

Second potential problem - In many fields, when you are highly specialized, there are only few "job opportunities". World needs you but world cannot afford millions of you. World can  pay only few of you for what you do. I have seen plenty of highly specialized people struggling to find the "right job".

Now, Look at Amitabh - he gained his success as a result of hard work in acting over many years, but he did not limit himself to only one thing - which was acting in the movies. He also diversified. He started as master of One, but now that talent of him made him Jack of all. World cannot pay Amitabh as much right now as an actor, as world can pay him as an anchor in KBC. 

My life has been full of experiments. I get some "weird" ideas and I practice it on myself to test its validity. So, whatever I say here is based on my own experience that means, sample size is ONE. 

I did MBBS, then did residency in Internal Medicine in India and USA, then did fellowship in Hematology /Oncology in USA and India. So, I was (and I still am, as the training and degrees do not go away) a "specialist".

Then an opportunity came along in 2003, to experiment with Emergency Medicine branch. 

I jumped in. What am I trying to say here?

Is it possible that I would been at a same success level as a Practicing Cancer Specialist as an Emergency Medicine Doctor who is also trained as a Cancer Specialist? 

Hard to tell, but I think adding totally new skill set to my existing skill set added to my overall professional success.

What I am saying here may apply more to non-medical fields than medical field because many a times, most doctors do not have choice to play with their field (once you’re in, you’re locked in)

So, the time has come now, where your value will be decided not by how good you are in only one field, it will be decided by how many different skill sets you have in related and unrelated fields on top of your primary field of expertise. 

For example, you may be a computer programmer, but if you have done MBA in Finance, you are in totally different category to get paid, compared to someone who is only a computer programmer or only an MBA in finance.

Having Dual or multiple skill sets allows you to be unique and in high demand in shorter time, compared to trying to become the "ultimate" in just one thing.

New breakthroughs will come from this type of HYBRID professionals. They are able to think 2 totally different things and come up with a third thing from those two.

I predict that lots of future inventions and life changing breakthroughs will come from Hybrid fields. 

Just think about it - if you are an astronaut who has knowledge of Genetics and who knows computer programming also - what can you do when you are on the moon or mars, and you find a skeleton of an animal or something like that? 

You do not have to be master in Genetics or Programming, your primary thing is still going to be an astronaut, but having knowledge about genetics and computer programming will give you totally new vision when you look at something - may it be a skeleton or a plant or even a star..

If you know 3D printing and if you are a doctor who is focused on research, one day, you will be able to print human organs and you will change the future of the world instantly...

Possibilities are endless...

Think about all the great singers - are they just singers - no, they are great performers. 

Michael Jackson was not just a singer, he was a great dancer. He had multiple skills. 

Most people who are great on stage, do not just have one skill, they have 2 or more skills. 

Shah Rukh Khan is not just a great actor, he has lot many skills while he is on stage live and dealing with people.

The point here is not to know little bit about many things - that has no value. The goal is to have enough mastery over one field and then add additional skill set to it.

So, what does it have to do with what I am doing right now?

After getting trained as Internist and then Oncologist, Having been in Emergency Medicine since 2003, I decided to add another skill set to my "tool bag" - that is to learn Ultrasound. 

Typically, Ultrasound falls in the territory of radiologists and I am NOT a radiologist. 

Ultrasound is NOT mandatory to practice Emergency Medicine, but it does have specific uses in Emergency Medicine. If you know it, it can make your life in Emergency Room easy and it will help patients. 

So, I decided to learn that skill. I may not become master at it, but I will have working knowledge of some important basics of Ultrasound and its practical application in Emergency Medicine.

This means, I am a trained Cancer Specialist, who is also a great Internal Medicine Doctor, who has been practicing Emergency Medicine since 2003 and now also knows Ultrasound...

This is where I think the future of the success lives - having more than one skill set.

It keeps you in high demand and when demand is high, supply becomes low and it immediately translates into high compensation.

Plus, adding new skull set means, you are learning new things. It is that learning spirit that gives you true joy - money is a byproduct of it. 

Childlike curiosity to learn new things keeps you young at heart...And when you are learning new things on a regular basis, life is full of excitement. There is NEVER a dull moment in the life of people who are in the learning mode...

So, this was actually a trap - by promising a short cut, I trapped you for the life - lifelong learning...

There are no "real" shortcuts to lasting success. 

The shortcut I described here has been the Shortest cut for me , of all the "long cuts" for the success. So, in reality, it is still a long cut...
 I am looking forward to learning about dying process one day, when I am actually dying...
So, even death should not stop us from learning... because I want to know what is on the other side.


Dr. Rakesh Shah
Email: Rakeshshahmd@gmail.com                                           
                                    Contact:  +1-404-697-5625



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