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4 Ways Physicians Can Learn from U2


There are a few lessons that physicians and other healthcare providers can take away from understanding how the famous band has stayed relevant.

In the fast-paced world of healthcare, it feels like there's no time to slow down without being passed by. How do you stay relevant in your career when things are moving so quickly?

I recently had the opportunity to see U2 on tour where they were celebrating the 30 anniversary of what may be their most iconic album, "The Joshua Tree." Seeing Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry in person, combined with my personal memories of the band ), made me wonder how these four guys have managed to stay relevant in the music world for such a long time, while countless other bands have come and gone.

I don't claim to be a U2 expert, but I think they have done a number of things that anyone could do to stay relevant.

Expand your fan base

Even though the band started out back in the '70s, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of U2. Over the past 40 years, the band has racked up number one hits, Grammy wins and best album awards. But what's most impressive is they continue to add fans. While most of us don't have "fans," there are definitely things you can do to expand your network of colleagues, co-workers and friends. Introduce yourself to the new staff members, be friendly and approachable. Look for people you can reach out to for networking or personal learning. Interacting with a diverse group of colleagues is a great way to learn new things, hear new ideas, and stay relevant.

Do something new

If you go back and listen to early U2 albums, they sound like a completely different band from who they are today. After their first few albums they began to try new things and add new elements to their music. From collaborations with opera singers and gospel choirs to letting someone other than Bono sing, they have always been willing to try new things. You can do this too. Try something new. Learn a new way to do an old procedure. Take a locum tenens assignment to shake up your current job. Look for ways to expand your knowledge base and look for others that you could collaborate with and learn from.

Find your passion

Anyone who has seen U2 perform knows that they are passionate about what they do. They seem ecstatic to be on stage. While physicians aren't performing in front of thousands of adoring fans, you can be just as passionate. One of the ways to stay relevant is to expand and build on those passions. For example, if you find a CME topic you are passionate about, don't just take the course, volunteer to teach it. Set up opportunities to share your passions and pass something on to others.

Be charitable

U2, and especially Bono, are well known for their charitable efforts, such as Red, Bono's organization dedicated to end AIDS. Bono is often meeting with world leaders about global poverty and hunger. While it may appear that the charitable efforts and the band aren't directly connected, many of U2's biggest hits have been based on the band's experiences with charity or were written specifically to benefit those in need.

You may not be meeting with presidents of foreign nations, but can still give back. Consider going on a medical mission or serving in underserved communities. Helping those who would otherwise not receive care makes a huge difference to the patients you serve, and helps you reconnect with your love of practicing medicine.

If you ever worry that you're not as relevant as you once were, look to U2 for a little inspiration. And while you're at it, give "The Joshua Tree" a listen. It's a great record!

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