Mayor Mack's Lobo Letter: April
29,029 feet. That’s the height of Mount Everest. Most of us reading this will never climb Mount Everest, but that should never prevent us from setting our goals as high as we can. But before you set your goals, you have to calculate the costs, the sacrifices, the risks and the time to accomplish your goals. Because remember: nothing in life is free.
Any successful plan requires an inordinate amount of planning. You must look at every angle; anticipate every situation. Ask every question and answer every question. And then do it all again. Check and recheck to make sure your plan is feasible. Then and only then are you ready to execute. Everything requires sacrifice. Everything we have in our lives has been paid for by someone else. Every freedom we possess, someone paid the price for: our ability to worship, our ability to go to school, our ability to vote, our free speech, our rights, our liberties – were all given to us through sacrifice. Because…nothing in life is free.
When I was doing my surgical residency, I can remember the words of my instructor Dr. William Roache the first day I walked into the operating room as a young, intimidated 24-year-old kid. He looked me square in the eyes and said, “Young man, remember this statement: A well-planned case, goes well.” That statement has remained with me for the last 31 years. And I remember it every single day as I practice prior to embarking upon a surgical procedure. I realize that my actions have outcomes and those outcomes are significant when dealing with patients’ lives. Therefore I calculate, recalculate, question, and answer those questions, over and over again, every time before I ever pick up a scalpel to perform a surgery. And yes, I still plan every case well, every day. So no matter how many times I perform the same procedure over and over again, I treat each case like it’s my first one.
I only say all this to you to prepare you for whatever your task in life may be. Whatever you choose to do, do it to the best of your ability. Never cut corners, never take shortcuts, and never take the easy way out.
Remember, nothing in life is free.
Take pride in whatever you do. Never consider any tasks menial. Every task has meaning and purpose.
I will always remember growing up, our father Sam Mack stressing to all three of us boys (as well of everyone else on our baseball teams) that, “If you are gonna dig a ditch, dig it straight.” There is so much wisdom in that simple statement. It encompasses character, drive, determination, humility and yes, planning.
I can look back on my life, which all of us should do from time to time, and I can see most of the time when failures occurred it was due from lack of planning, lack of effort or lack of sacrifice. And usually it is painfully obvious when something doesn’t go as you expected or things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would. That is a fundamental lack of planning. I have stressed this same quote to my children as they have grown up, as well as all the baseball and softball teams I have coached over the years. I hope one day those young people will remember these words and put them into practice as I have.
We should all set goals. We should all have expectations. We should all dream. But we also have to be realistic.
Anything in life is possible, it’s just a matter of how bad you want it – and how much you are willing to sacrifice to get there. Hopefully, whatever it takes. Because remember, nothing in life is free.
Study hard, have some fun, and say your prayers Lobos,
— Dr. Andy Mack is a 1978 graduate of Longview High School. A maxillofacial surgeon for more than 25 years, he is currently owner-operator of East Texas Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Longview.
Previous Lobo Letters:
• January 2016