Andy Chiang, DVM
“Control what you can control”
It is something that I have been preaching, especially in times of uncertainty. However, it hasn’t always been my approach. Exerting control is easy, it takes discipline; letting go is the difficult part. It took a horrific traumatic incident for me to literally let go, and accept that in certain situations, life will take its course whether I like it or not.
Rewind the clock back to my first summer as a veterinary student. I had multiple externships and shadowing opportunities lined up. The goal was clear and simple: do as much as I can this summer to get ahead in preparation to become best veterinarian I can possibly be.
I was driving down from Davis to Los Angeles in the middle of the night, approximately a 6 hour drive. About 3 hours in, my focus shifted that led to the car departing from the lane. I over-corrected and braked, and suddenly, my car lifted up in the air and proceeded to flip across the 5 freeway.
At the initial tumble, my hands were still held tight onto the steering wheel trying to correct the car that was in mid-air back into the lane, as if I had any control. After another tumble, I finally realized that the situation was out of my control, I let go, flipped again, and the car landed on its right. I was miraculously unharmed.
Sitting at the side of the freeway waiting for the police to come, I thought to myself how insignificant my worries were. I was happy that I was alive. It took me some time to recover from the mental trauma related to the accident.
Ironically, that experience might've been one of the best things to happen. Since then, I gradually adopted the mantra of “control what you can control.” I still try to exert control whenever possible to make sure that I do the best job I can at any given moment. However, when something is completely out of my control, I move on. Instead of worrying about it, I learn from my mistakes and hope that I can apply what I learn in the future. With this approach, my stress has significantly reduced, and I’m just happier overall.
What’s your go to approach in life? How has it helped you?
Dr. Chiang is a relief veterinarian, web developer, and entrepreneur who believes that the mental wellbeing crisis within the veterinary industry can be drastically improved through exploration and collaboration. In his free time, he is a fitness enthusiast who also enjoys traveling and trying out new food. Oh, he is also a corgi fanatic!