Growing up, I really hated writing. And when I grew up I hated Instagram. While the last few months somehow inspired me to combine my life's hates, the root sentiment behind improving my online presence evolved from a video on YouTube. More specifically, it came from one of my inspirations, Ali Abidaal.
Ali is a UK based doctor turned YouTube star. He became so successful on YouTube that he quit his job as a physician. Needless to say he is living the dream I set out to achieve in 2010, when I was a sophomore in high school. Oh and he's also Pakistani by ethnicity. Jealous? Slightly. Fascinated? Pak Attack (my ex-internet alias) would have been.
While Ali is a versatile genius with incredible intellect, the number one trait I've always applauded him for is persistence. He was destined to be another Desi doctor with an inherently cookie cutter path. But he chased after his interests and just kept trying. Not many kids were learning how to make YouTube videos during grade school in the late 2000's. And very few pre meds started podcasts while taking chemistry courses. Even less created YouTube videos while taking physician licensing exams. But Ali did it all. Sure, Ali's story is deeper than persistence and intelligence. But his first steps started with trying and not being afraid to fail.
Almost everyone has a fear of failure when they try something new. But I believe this fear is exacerbated for anyone pursuing medicine. Because our field severely punishes failure, it doesn't allow us to make mistakes. From the moment someone decides they will be pre-med in college to a fully licensed practicing physician, room for error during medical training is marginal. Get a few "C's" during freshman year of college and well, you don't become a doctor. A patient goes into respiratory arrest after you clicked the wrong buttons on EPIC as an attending and well, you're no longer a doctor. This fear of failure and it's intensity waxes and wanes over the course of a physician's career. Failure is the first part of success, but you have to be careful in medicine. Atychiphobia is an intense fear of failure, and I've seen it control young physicians' careers. While I believe a certain level of fear is beneficial in a job that requires care of human beings, it becomes problematic when this fear extends to other parts of a person's life. Kind of like what it did with mine.
Look, there's practical reasons for why I created a website. And combining my personal goals with lessons I learned from Ali, I created a list. However, the real reason I am doing this is because I want to try, and I want to fail. While I blame time constraint for not attempting anything new these last few years, I think the real reason I've been discouraged is my fear of failure. Writing is something I've grown to enjoy over the years. While I am not good at it, I want to get better. I don't have a focus for this blog, and I hope to write about anything that interests me. Whether it is moments with my friends and family, experiences at work, or thoughts I have on the media I consume, I'm going to share it all on here and give it a go. So far in life, I've discovered that the best way of learning is just doing. While I tried to read and watch videos about people creating websites, the most valuable experience I've had so far was just starting this damn thing. So without further ado, here I am doing. Here are the 5 reasons why I am creating my own website.
1. Personal Development
Having an outlet where I don't have to fear failure allows me to express myself freely. I want to become better at developing my own ideas. Whether it's new ways of approaching patient care, navigating my relationships, or my attitude towards my daily breakfast, this website can give me a medium to become a better version of me.
2. Professional Development
When I applied for medical school and residency, I remember frantically maximizing my privacy options on all my social media accounts. I really had nothing to hide, but it oddly felt like the right thing to do. I think this behavior has been socialized for many in my generation applying to new positions. However, the game has changed dramatically over the last few years, especially during the pandemic. Having an online presence has become essential for any professional. A CV is pretty limiting and only gives a glimpse of who I am to anyone wanting to know. My future employer or program is inevitably going to Google me and this time around, I want to give them a front row seat.
I want to make friends and meet people from all around the world. Writing on topics and subjects that people Google on the daily opens up the floodgates for who I can connect with. Learning how to rank my website on search engines quite literally increases the number of people that can learn about me and vice versa.
4. Exposure to Interesting Opportunities
Along with new people with comes new potential experiences. When I used to vlog on YouTube, I would get word of events, occasions, and happenings I would not have heard about if I was offline. Expanding one's exposure to the world naturally comes when one expands their network. I'm hoping opportunities will follow new connections.
5. Having More Impact
During an interview in 2015, Drake stated how moving to New York was irrelevant to music industry success. Besides rising to a global icon at the time, he had promoted two relatively unknown artists from his city to stardom, PARTYNEXTDOOR and The Weeknd. A year prior to all this, SoundCloud also had it's largest valuation ever at a billion dollars. Coincidence? I don't think so.
I'm 27 and have been living at home for the past three years. While a lot of my peers question this decision, I'm pretty happy about it. Sure, I'm probably missing out on the joys of personal space and cute coffee shops. However, I don't think I'm missing out on having an impact. I may be physically confined to the metro Detroit area but this wouldn't have changed if I had moved to Chicago or Houston, for example. My interactions would still have been limited to people I met in my residency program, hospital, and maybe other shared spaces like a gym. Having a website massively expands the potential impact of my work. If this site grows, I could potentially reach tens of thousands of people. This is way more than I could ever reach interacting with people in my city one on one.
If musical artists went from handing out physical copies of their mixtapes to moving digital in the early 2000's, then it feels like I am pretty behind. The value of professionals having a virtual presence was further highlighted during the pandemic. You can reach more people in less time, and the impact factor of the internet continues to grow. I don't want to miss out anymore.