Richard M. Foxx, MD
David Viscott, MD, was an extremely talented psychiatrist who not only operated a successful LA psych practice in the 1980’s and 90’s but also found time to host a radio show. For me he was to Dr. Laura as Chateau Lafitte Rothschild is to Ripple. I listened to him whenever I could, spoke to him on a few precious occasions, and soaked up as much of his interviewing skills as it was possible to soak up from a distance.
In one of his seminars David (as he insisted everyone call him) passed out sticky labels and asked everyone come in the next morning with this sentence completed and written on the label: “My success depends upon…”
I racked my brain. This was about 20 years ago. I was still young enough to think I could make a difference and old enough to think I had all the answers. All I could come up with was: “My success depends upon paying attention.”
Oh, boy. Somehow I had hit a mother lode. I can’t even begin to count the number of times since then that not paying attention has jumped up to bite me, personally and professionally. And every time that happened I thought of that silly sentence.
As the years went by I struggled to internalize those few words and incorporate them into my way of doing things. The occasions when I have failed to pay attention have thankfully become fewer and fewer.
David Viscott passed away in 1996, at age 58.
What started me thinking about this was a comment from a patient not long ago that she liked how much of a meticulous perfectionist I seemed to be. I thanked her, rolled my eyes (to myself, of course), and thought one more time of David.
What does your success depend upon?