WISDOM? by Art Smukler, MD, author & psychiatrist

A wise man once said, consider the opinions of others, but in the end, make up your own mind.

That wise man, and I use the term somewhat cringingly, was me. 

There was no particular reason why I waxed so philosophical on this sunny, warm morning except that I grabbed one of my Penn State baseball caps, when I went for a morning walk to a favorite coffee shop (not as wonderful as SMUKLER’S BOOKSTORE) but a place with delicious coffee and almond croissants.

Anyway, I sat down at a small outdoor table, took a sip of coffee, and removed my cap. The PSU logo sat right there in front of me. My mind drifted back to college…a long time ago.

I remembered one of the most traumatic experiences of my young life. A few days before my freshman year started, I had an appointment with a university counselor to arrange my course schedule. He perused my high school grades, looked me in the eye, and said grimly, “I recommend that you don’t take the pre-med curriculum.”

My chemistry, physics and math grades in high school were marginal. The counselor had every right to say what he said. But…I wanted to be a doctor. That was it. No Plan B.

I just sat there, speechless. I thanked him, got up, and in a state of shock, walked back to my dorm room.

Was he right? Should I give up my dream?

I told my mother what the counselor said. She encouraged me to follow his advice. It was her way of not wanting me to be disappointed and fail.

In the end, I signed up for every course that the pre-meds took. Chemistry, Calculus, Physics etc. Everything that I struggled with in high school. Crazy right?

Not so crazy, because there was one factor that the counselor never took into consideration. I was a really hard worker. I still am. I also took loads of creative writing classes.

So, whatever your dream might be, don’t be afraid to go for it. But, be prepared to work harder and longer than everyone else who also wants your dream. It’s not like in grade school where everyone gets a winners’ statue.

Thanks for reading. Please check out THE REAL STORY, a mystery. Joe Belmont is also the kind of guy who doesn’t give up. His life depends on it.


Most days, Smukler’s bookstore is a quiet, peaceful, contemplative place to be. Then, just yesterday, THE REAL STORY, started complaining.

“I’m lonely,” he whined.


“Are you deaf? I’m lonely. There’s no one here to talk to. You’re a psychiatrist, right?”


“So you can understand what I’m saying.”

“True… But sometimes, being an only child has its advantages. No brother or sister to compete with. You get all the attention. Who’s to say that when there’s another book sitting next to you, that you’ll be happier? Maybe you’ll feel jealous?”

“Trust me. I won’t. And don’t give me all that sibling rivalry crap! It gets old listening to Joe be so gaga over Lara. And he’s so stubborn… If it wasn’t for her he’d be a goner.”

“That’s true.”

“I want to meet some new characters.”

I nodded.

“I heard you thinking out loud. Aren’t you having another baby?”

“I am.”

“When can I meet him?”

“Maybe a month or so.”

“Hmm. That’s not so bad. Is he interesting?”

“He’ll blow you away. But, he’s in a lot of danger.”

“Danger. I’m used to that. Maybe I can help?”

“You already have, Buddy. You’ll make a good friend for NINE NORTH to have.”

I poured myself a fresh cup of coffee, took a deep breath, and settled into my chair.

Thanks so much for reading.

Feel free to click away and buy THE REAL STORY, eBook or Paperback.