Cognitive Distortions! - Life improvement strategies for the surgeon who wants more ... in 10 minutes - Episode 40

Pump the brakes on your week and take 10 minutes to make your life as a surgeon just a little better…

In this episode of the mini-podcast, Jeff travels to Palm Desert for One AO, the annual CMF, Spine, Trauma and Vet meeting organized by AO North America. The theme of this year’s meeting was, “Are we as good as we think we are?” Conversations in Quality, Metrics, Competence, and Surgical Training.” This conference is always full of excellent talks where the focus is less on surgical techniques, and more on improving our system and practice environment.

One talk in particular stuck with Jeff. Stuart Slavin, MD, MEd delivered a keynote, “Quality of Life: Physician Wellness.” It was an inspiring message. Dr. Slavin started by sharing the staggering rates of depression, anxiety, and burnout in medical students. Unsurprisingly he advocates for many of the same values SurgeonMasters espouses - workload, rewards, control, community, and fairness.

Dr. Slavin issued a challenge to all of us - start to change your mindset! In life there are a number of problematic mindsets that lead to elevated levels of anxiety and depression, while discouraging sustainability. A few examples Dr. Slavin mentions are maladaptive perfectionism, seeing performance as identity, and cognitive distortions.

It’s the last mindset, cognitive distortions, that really got Jeff thinking. The last few years have led to a change in mindset for Jeff, and Dr. Slavin’s message really hit home.

What steps does Jeff suggest we take?

  • Step 1 - Research problematic mindsets or cognitive distortions.

  • Step 2 - Bring awareness to your own problematic mindsets.  

  • Step 3 - Turn it to the Positive! Take next steps to build healthy mindsets.

Most importantly, learn for yourself! Seek out resources that raise your awareness of your cognitive distortions to find areas for performance improvement.