What Pharmacists Can Learn from Alice in Wonderland

In order to have any idea of where you are going or what you want, you must know where it is you are going.

To begin this article, I’ll need to borrow my favorite passage from the classic children’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

I have been fortunate to come from a family that emphasized pursuing your goals with everything you’ve got. It has helped me get me to where I am today and reach a number of personal and professional achievements that I am very proud of.

The deceptively simple 3-step process behind this concept is easy to understand, but its repeated and meticulous execution takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

The process is as follows:

  • Articulate what it is you want.
  • Act on your best approach.
  • Adjust your approach as necessary.

In order to have any idea of where you are going or what you want, you must know where it is you are going.

Like Alice in Wonderland, some of us do not have a clear idea of where we are going professionally. Without a clear goal, you are certainly bound to end up somewhere, but it might not be where you want or need to be. Then, by the time you finally realize where it is you want to be, you’re usually too late.

A simple way to avoid this is to do some soul searching and figure out what it is you want out of our career. Be able to clearly identify, articulate, and visualize your goal. Make the vision so real that you can sense what it would be like to finally achieve this goal and how it would make you feel.

As Thomas Edison once said, “Ideas without execution are hallucinations.” You can visualize your ideas all day, but if you do not act upon them, then they are worthless.

Figure out exactly what you have to do to achieve your goal.

If your goal is to become board-certified or a specialist in a therapeutic area, find out what exams you must take, how much they cost, when to sign up for them, and so on.

If your goal is to become a clinical informatics pharmacist, then speak to those in the field and figure out what skills you may need to learn. You may need to take classes or get a degree that will provide you with the technical training to do the job.

The point is to ask questions. You have every bit of information at your fingertips, so there is no excuse in not knowing something that we need to learn in order to get to where we want to be. Plan, research, and take action.

If your approach does not work out as planned, then change it and try again.

While developing a commercially viable lightbulb, Edison went through more than 10,000 prototypes before getting it right. He said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

That positive and tenacious attitude is how Edison left his mark on the world. Many of the greatest innovators of our time view failure as a positive thing.

Do not fear failure and do not let it set you back. Simply learn from it, adjust your approach, and push forward. Your professional mark on the world awaits!