Richard G. Petty, MD

Contributing to the Greater Good

our entire society is to be revitalized, it will depend on what we as
individual Americans are willing to do on our own, in association with
others, and how willing we are to extend ourselves beyond our own
personal interests.”

–John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (American Industrialist and Philanthropist, 1874-1960)

have a fundamental principle about that guides everything that I do:
How will this activity contribute to the greatest good for the greatest
number of people?

“The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt (American Diplomat, First Lady and Humanitarian, 1884-1962)

Let me give you a very practical example.

years ago, I was the “President of the Junior Doctors’ Mess,” at a
hospital in England. This highfalutin title just meant that I was the
representative and spokesperson for the doctors beginning their
postgraduate training.

It was at a time of considerable
industrial turmoil, and I had to go to a meeting with representatives
from many of the Trade Unions. Many of them were intent on strike
action to achieve some personal gain. It was the first time in my young
life that I had been with people like that. I was a clinician and
scientist intent on finding the solutions for people’s problems and the
fundamental scientific principles that might lead us to the conquest of
major illnesses. They were there to represent the interests of their

I thought that I’d just sit there and listen, but
instead I was asked to say something. I just got up and said what was
on my mind:

“Let’s stop thinking about ourselves and our petty
grievances, and let’s remember why we are all here. We came here to be
part of something bigger than ourselves, we came to help, guide and
support the people who come to this hospital. Let’s start all of our
negotiations from there. Not on who get what, but on who gives what.
Every single discussion has to be driven by this: it does not matter
who is right or who is wrong: how can we, together, improve the quality
of life, the possibilities and potentials of the people around us?”

retrospect, it was probably not smart for the youngest person in the
room to try lecturing people. But here’s the odd thing: everyone
started applauding, and an hour later the meeting was over and all
thought of strike action was forgotten. Later one of the older trade
unionists and a self-avowed communist told me that he wanted to find
fault with what I’d said, but he couldn’t.  To which I replied, “Surely
even communism is ultimately based on the idea of creating a the
greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.” He agreed.

got me thinking about something that you might like to consider: isn’t
the key to successful negotiation to start from the position: “what’s
in it for everyone and for the greater good?” Yes, of course you
negotiate for what you want, but why not add this perspective to
anything that you are trying to negotiate. Whether it’s a trip to the
mall, a dinner date or a multi-million dollar deal, wouldn’t that work
well in your life?

of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the
candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being

Buddha (a.k.a. “The Awakened”, a.k.a. Siddhartha Gautama, Indian
Religious Figure and Founder of Buddhism, c.563 B.C.E. – c.483 B.C.E.)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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