I just finished watching 2 movies that made me step back and realize something important. We, humans, want to “believe” and “feel” like everything is always going to turn out just fine, even if the data shows otherwise. The first movie I watched was “The Big Short” with Christian Bale and Brad Pitt. This movie was about the “sub-prime” housing market collapse that happened in 2008. The collapse was completely predicted by one analyst, Michael Burry played by Christian Bale, who predicted it was inevitable. Why? Because the data showed it even though no one would believe him. Michael Burry’s predictions came true and if it wasn’t for a government bail-out, our country would have gone bankrupt. All because of greed, ignorance, and unwillingness to face the reality of the data.
The next movie I watched was called “The Inventor-Out for Blood in Silicon Valley”. It was the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. This woman got people to blindly invest over 600 million dollars in an idea. The idea was you could do over 300 lab tests from one drop of blood. Sound amazing right? The only problem was that everyone told her, including scientists in the know, that it couldn’t be done. She had no proof of concept and no data to support her idea, yet she convinced people to invest millions. She even convinced Walgreens to invest over 140 million dollars in an idea that had no proof. She was recently convicted on 4 counts of fraud and awaits sentencing. People lost millions of dollars that they will never see again even though key employees within the company knew and tried to tell others “The emperor had no clothes”.
One of the concepts I teach to doctors when I speak or coach them is “trust the
data”. Data doesn’t lie but people do. There was a time when ships left their ports heading right into a hurricane without any knowledge of it, which is why we have sunken ships and buried treasure. However, now we have radar and can predict storms that save ships and lives. Trust the data more than human emotion.
We don’t guess or use emotion when it comes to our patient’s health, we test, we trust the data. We do something called a Wellness Score that is comprised of a patient’s physiological data. Things like their blood pressure, resting heart rate, BMI, muscle mass, body-fat, spinal flexibility, cholesterol ratio, blood sugar, inflammatory markers, and many other biomarkers. The software we use puts all this data together and gives the patient an overall score and grade with their health. I tell patients, this is the one test you don’t want to fail because your life is one the line. I will never forget the time a 49-year-old man ignored my warnings of how bad his health was, based on the data I got from his wellness score. He didn’t take it seriously and followed my recommendations. He was dead in 3 months of a massive aortic aneurysm that ruptured. You can predict your health and your future quality of life by having the courage to accept what the facts are telling you. Change is hard and requires emotional discipline and work. However, dying at 49 leaving a wife and 2 young children is a lot harder on everyone.
When it comes to your health, ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignorance will get you killed or at least lead to a lot of needless suffering. Once you know the problem, you can find a solution. Chemical problem? Chemical solution. Structural problem? Structural solution. Emotional problem? Emotional solution. You need to right tool for the right problem. Don’t use a hammer when you need a screwdriver. In the age of information and data, ignorance and apathy are choices. Don’t just “face the facts”, do something about the facts.
Best in Health,