Chief medical editor is wrong again

If you read the letters to the editor in Ophthalmology Times, then you have observed that some of our colleagues find an occasional essay of mine to be misguided, off-the-mark, annoying, or even just plain wrong. Whether or not I agree with all the criticisms or corrections, I certainly do appreciate the thoughtful comments.

If you read the letters to the editor in Ophthalmology Times, then you have observed that some of our colleagues find an occasional essay of mine to be misguided, off-the-mark, annoying, or even just plain wrong. Whether or not I agree with all the criticisms or corrections, I certainly do appreciate the thoughtful comments.

But now the opportunity presents itself to cut out the middle man and reveal myself to have been wrong before any alert readers do so. In a recent Ophthalmology Times, you may have read where I asserted that "focus" is the key to success. Chasing too many goals, spreading one's efforts and energies far and wide, trying to do too much; all of these, in my opinion, were a prescription for mediocrity. Gangsters, athletes, and even ophthalmologists are more effective when they consciously limit their activities to those in which they know they can excel and provide the best customer service.

Unfortunately for me, a valued employee of the Wilmer Eye Institute recently gave me a book about someone who did the opposite of what I advised. The Last Man Who Knew Everything describes the contributions of Thomas Young, a person who definitely did not believe in confining his efforts to a particular field of endeavor. Among his contributions, Young:

But I will offer two caveats. First, if like Thomas Young you choose to divide your efforts among many pursuits, it probably would be a good idea to make certain you are a genius as he was. Also, although he was a physician and a brilliant man, Young was not able to build a successful practice and as a result had significant financial worries during much of his adult life; "his relative lack of success as a physician became a sore point."