Leave no stone unturned
Embrace every passion, Gupta says
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 00:11
“Media and medicine is the intersection of where I’ve lived for the past decade.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, medical correspondent for CNN since 2001 and national health figure, delivered an inspiring lecture Tuesday night as part of the Tate Lecture Series.
Going against many expectations of health advice and discussions on obesity, Gupta spent the majority of the evening speaking to enlighten the audience on the importance and the gift of following diverse passions.
“I was a right-brained kid who picked a left-brained career,” Gupta said of his decision to merge his passions for science and storytelling.
He told attendees that he always embraced his creative side growing up, and yet chose a very calculated and analytical career path.
He soon realized that he would never be fully satisfied using only the left side of the brain as a surgeon.
“Americans are increasingly living in these walled-in silos,” Gupta said. “Was there a way to meaningfully use both?”
He transitioned into journalism after asking himself that question and he explained that his determination to “experience [his] brain in ways [he] had not before” offered him the motivation to commit to both interests.
Gupta posed questions to the audience of “whether or not we are born with a [definite] passion.”
“Is it something that’s pre-ordained or is it something that evolves?” he asked.
Gupta expanded on his question, by explaining that passions evolve alongside the brain and it is what he called “transformative experiences” that guide this progression.
His worldwide reporting with CNN has offered diverse groups an outlet to share their experiences, he said.
“We don’t always know what kind of impact [we] will have.”
Gupta said that the “brain is constantly changing on it’s own,” and it’s through indulging in a multitude of one’s passions that “we can direct some of that change.”
Using the idea of training the brain he delved into the idea that “it requires some idea of what motivates you as a core person.”
The brain is proven to be most active when a person is working for the “universal reward,” which Gupta asserted reaches beyond material or even self- serving possessions.
“Humans are in some way hard wired to be altruistic,” Gupta said. “Being compassionate toward each other may be that trigger for the universal reward.”
SMU senior Brittani Boukather said Gupta’s priority on being “a well-rounded person” captured her attention most as he related the work of training the brain back to tangible habits attendees could connect to.
“I thought it was fascinating how he was saying to exercise the brain like a muscle,” Boukather said.
Trent Warrick, a senior neuroscience student, came from UT Dallas to attend the night’s lecture.
“I was expecting science things, but actually it was more life advice that I found interesting,” Warrick said.
One of his greatest takeaways was Gupta’s insistence on embracing, rather than quieting, passions.
“It’s a happier life being more balanced.”