The social problems within healthcare are manifesting at an exponential rate for humans, yet leaders continue to think, plan, manage, coordinate and deliver at a linear rate. These leaders, and many others like them, don’t have the skills or framework to work differently.
I experienced this firsthand in Los Angeles in mid-December 2018 during a talk I gave.
The Kruse Longevity Center was built to teach its members to think differently and gain results few think is possible.
The Farm is a thought incubator for Black Swans that leads to actions that move your needle.
How Did I Become A Black Swan?
It was an accident that happened in the Central Park Zoo as a kid.
I was an in-betweener. I was born in the 1960s when medicine was in its heyday – It was a Marcus Welby institution back then, however, the idea of this paradigm of health – was already in its death spiral back then. I was too naive to know this. When I finished college I thought medicine was on the cusp of the new dawn because of increasing medical technology. I thought I’d have new tools to do things to rebuild humans. I thought we might even have molecular tools to affect their genome. I knew I wanted to be part of this by 1985.
I remember seeing surgeons on 5th ave in NYC, in their sharply attired handcrafted suits, cradling their doctor bags, eyeing their patients in Manhattan with a mixture of excitement and fear as they made house calls to the “rich sick”.
I saw this via my eyes. My eyes were built by an environment that was profoundly defective. NYC was built around urban planning that removed humans from their natural habitat. As a poor kid growing up in the richest most progressive city in the world, it gave me the chance to see the two sides of the coin of progress as a kid. This experience helped craft my perceptions as I headed into my dental/medical career.
I remember seeing doctors being chauffered in armored limos, falling in the potholes of the city streets to tend to the rich in their downward spiral. They were like rockstars delivering personal concerts for healing.
I remember running, laughing, to join a big march in Central Park, not knowing who was marching, or why. But mostly I remember seeing elephants in the Central Park Zoo pen adjacent to these gatherings. I remember going there many more times when no meetings were going on because what my eyes saw made me curious.
I remember seeing zookeepers training smaller elephants in the pen as I just observed from afar. They kept them in a large pen just off 5th ave where the rich looked down from their penthouses. That was quite a juxtaposition to see a wild African giant adjacent to the richest people in the world as a boy.
One day while I was in one such penthouse, the pen was dirty, so they took the small elephants out and tethered it by its leg via small chain to a tree. I was pretty shocked they left the elephants there all day in the cold winter by a flimsy chain. I thought the bunch of elephants would rip the trees out of the soil and try to go inside because they were cold. I thought that because this is what I would have done. These animals were not ready for an NYC winter. They were African elephants, after all!
One time I asked the zookeepers why the elephants stood there and did not rip the trees out. He told me that when the elephants were babies they were tied up this way at a time of their life when they could not pull the tree from the soil, and they learned it was fruitless to try. So they stopped trying to escape. I was stunned. He went on to say that, this learned helplessness carries over to the adult animals and that is why the zookeepers had no concern these massive mammals would rip the trees from the soil. I was stunned to learn this lesson and that evening, I watched the zookeepers untie the herd of elephants and put it back in the cleaned pen.
This left an indelible mark on my mind as I walked through museums on 5th Ave as a kid. I looked at the ground where the elephants walked in around the trees and poles they were teethered to see a visible circle of worn out soil that had marked the outer limits of their world.
This is when I thought about my own life as a poor kid growing up in the richest city in the world. I began to realize I had a lot in common with those elephants being trained.
I came from having nothing much as a kid. The elephants suffered from the same fate in NYC. I soon realized that, for me, and not the elephant, this was really a gift; I realized I that I had nothing to lose if I just began to do something new by trying to do something about my own condition.
The elephants did not have this ability in their brain to allow it to think this way, but I knew I did. As a kid, I learned how to live on very little. Living poor in NYC motivated me to run as fast as I could do something better for my future.