Fear and Crises to Motivate Medical Care

February 20, 2008 at 2:46 am 1 comment

Rick Kellerman, M.D., wrote in Cosmopolitan Magazine that “a man often goes to the doctor for one of three reasons: He’s noticed a growth, he’s in pain, or someone close to him was just diagnosed with or died from an illness and he’s worried he might be suffering from the same thing.” In Men’s Health, Dr. Kellerman said “men often wait until a crisis occurs before they see us.” Marshall Goldsmith wrote that people don’t ask questions when they are afraid of the the answers. He gave the example of how, at 58, he knows that “one type of input that I should ask for every year comes from my doctor. It is called a physical exam. I managed to successfully avoid asking for this input for seven years. What did I tell myself for seven years? I will get that physical after I begin my ‘healthy foods’ diet. I will get that physical after I get in shape.” He changed his mind “after a close friend who had ignored his health died prematurely as a result”. I don’t think it is so different for women: fear and crises are powerful motivators.

I wanted to call this Fear and Crises in Las Vegas but that seemed more appropriate for gambling. But health is a bit of a gamble, isn’t it?

Entry filed under: health. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Marshall Goldsmith  |  February 25, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Lisa – Thank you for this post. As I reflect, this type of procrastination not only applies to the ‘physical exam’, it also applies to almost any activity that may produce long-term benefit, but require short-term cost or pain.
    It is good for all of us to ask, “What have I been putting off – that I know I should do?”


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa: lisa.gualtieri@tufts.edu


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