Things to take with me – 8 Principles + 2

By  |  July 18, 2011 | 


I’m cleaning out my office and I found some gems.

Three years ago someone came to my hospital to speak from The Osler Institute in Indiana.  (  I took notes and have had them over my desk ever since.  Osler’s principles are a blueprint on how to live.  They are for everyone, not just physicians or  leaders.  I’m excited to take these with me and I thought I would share them here.

The 8 Principles of William Osler

1. Find Mentors – have heroes (but expect disappointment), show gratitude, cultivate teachers, take on pupils, know the chemistry.

2. Find a Calling – explore possibilities, see the big picture, join organizations, know the history, leave a legacy

3. Manage Time Well – have unifying principles, have definite goals, plan the day

4. Be Positive –  Be optimistic, be generous, be tolerant of others, be decisive

5. Learn and Teach – value eduction, observe and think, be intellectually honest, be a teacher and a student.

6. Care Carefully – compassion, humor, frequent touch, mantain equanimity, care for yourself (balance)

7. Communicate – learn to write, speak, listen

8. Seek Balance – have friends, have family, have outside interests, be courageous, have character


And stuck to the wall behind me is this from the Levinson Institute ( where I went in 2006 – excellent leadership training for physicians:




  1. Joe Miller July 19, 2011 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Rachel. I sent them to my kids. I also recommend Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People. Here’s a sample:

    How to be a Leader and Change People’s Attitudes and Behavior
    • Begin with praise and honest appreciation
    • Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
    • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
    • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
    • Let the other person save face
    • Praise the slightest improvements and praise every improvement –
    “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”
    • Give the person a fine reputation to live up to
    • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
    • Make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest

  2. Joe Miller July 19, 2011 at 9:28 am - Reply

    One more of my favorites

    What Will Matter
    Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
    There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
    All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
    Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
    It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
    Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
    So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
    The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
    It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
    It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
    Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
    So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
    What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
    What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
    What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
    What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
    What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
    What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
    What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
    What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
    Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
    It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
    Choose to live a life that matters.

  3. Michael Radzienda July 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Great stuff.
    Osler’s philosophy is timeless and I wish more docs dug (digged?) it like you do.

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About the Author: Rachel Lovins

Dr. Lovins loves learning about medicine and leadership, sings in a rocking band called the Inflatables and is married to a photographer named Andrew with whom she shares three excellent children and two small dogs.


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