Physician Burnout and the Light-at-the-End-of-the-Tunnel Illusion

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician-burnout-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel.jpgPhysician Burnout and the Light-at-the-End-of-the-Tunnel Illusion

"I'm just hoping there is a light at the end of this tunnel"

I know you've heard the little voice in your head say that before. Me too. Happens to all of us from time to time.

These thoughts come up when you are slogging away day after day --  with no visible end to this struggle in sight. You have been going at this issue for a while now, your energy is drained and your inner pessimist comes out. It is extremely common in overwhelmed doctors when you are dancing on the cliff edge of physician burnout.


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I want you to know something very important ...

There Is No Tunnel !
It is an illusion caused by Einstein's Insanity Trap.

As long as you keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result ... it will appear you are stuck in a long dark tunnel.  The more you do the same things over and over - the longer and darker the tunnel becomes. Your energy, drive and hope are drained and you wonder whether things will ever get better.

Let me show how this mind trick keeps us all stuck and some specific steps you can take to shatter this Tunnel Illusion and free yourself.

This tunnel is not real. 

It is an illusion, a mind trick -- one of the forms of "head trash"  we must recognize and rise above in order to prevent physician burnout. 

AND the light at the end is not some sort of random miracle. 

  • YOU create the light -- just like you created the tunnel.
  • All it takes is a small change in your behavior and a light will form at the end of the tunnel.
  • Step into that light and you are free of the Insanity Trap.

Understand this too ...

The light is not some wee little candle flame flickering in the distance threatening to go out at any moment. Not at all. When you notice that light at the end of the tunnel -- you are witnessing the full strength of the sun. 


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Here's what I mean ...  

When you take a single new action, the Insanity Trap instantly collapses and you step straight out into the broad daylight of a new reality.

No need to continue to struggle, beat your head against the wall, curse your fate, trudge, march or crawl towards the end ... or sit passively wishing/praying/hoping for rescue.


Just take one new action and POP .....

  • Your new action gives you new results.
  • You are instantly standing in the bright sunlight of a new day.
  • If you turn around  you will see there is no tunnel behind you.
  • You new actions have created a new reality.
  • Nice job!

Better still, baby steps will do the trick just fine.


The size of the new action you take is not important. 

Even a little tiny baby step still gives you new results -- and POOF !! - tunnel gone, standing in the light (again!).

AND any new action anywhere in your life or practice has the same power to deliver you into the light.

That's right. ANY new action in ANY area of your personal or professional life will POP you out of that Tunnel Illusion into the warmth of the sun.

This weekend could be the time you step out of the tunnel anywhere in your life or practice you are feeling stuck.



Here are some of the small new actions our clients find deliver the most immediate impact and are the most effective Tunnel Illusion destroyers.

  • Read a chapter in a book for pleasure ... a trashy book, NOT a journal you need to catch up

Now it's Your Turn

  • Pick one of the actions above, or some completely different baby step in this area of your life or practice.
  • Put it on your calendar.
  • Take the new action to implode the tunnel and pop yourself out into the light of a new day.
  • Feel the clean, fresh air and the sun on your face.
  • Repeat.



What new action will you take this week?
What is it going to feel like when the sun shines on your smiling face?

Tags: Physician Burnout, stop physician burnout