I have spent a delightful few days visiting alumni and friends in California. One of my new friends is David Boska, MD. David is a 1958 graduate of the WVU School of Medicine.

He has been in the Los Angeles area for many years and is a wise, experienced doctor, alumnus, and person. He loves WVU and is a person who wears the Flying WV proudly every day.

He has been remarkably successful by any standard – with a great medical practice and a great number of good friends – and is the former president of the Bel Air Country Club. He has met celebrities, presidents, and the titans of the economic, athletic, and entertainment industries.

While this impressive resume reflects David’s talent, it is not the focus of this post.

The most amazing thing about David is that he is still a committed, connected, and practicing physician at an age when most people have long since retired. He is a consummate physician who realizes that the real healing is in the relationships he has with his patients – that a balanced life is critical for sustainability and that most of happiness, success, and enjoyment is how you see whatever happens.

He says that his impression of the difference between West Virginia and other places is that if someone is broken down on the side of the street in West Virginia, everyone stops to help. It is the opposite in many other places as people do not readily get involved.

He is an abundance thinker and understands that persistence and resilience are critical factors of success. He also understands that in life, it is not what happens to you that matter, but it is how you see it and frame it.

In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey writes about the beat in between an event and your interpretation of the event. In this way, he recognized that it is not what happens that matters, it is how you interpret it that does. Thus, a person or event does not have the capacity to injure or anger you, but instead it is your assessment of the intent and the message that counts.

Others don’t make us unhappy or happy; that is on us.

We trained in the culture-shaping Senn Delaney method that encourages us to not make harsh judgments about intent of others, but to instead approach issues with curiosity. Most of the time, behavior that we question is not meant to attack us personally but is misinterpreted by the receiver, who interprets the issue incorrectly.

David gave me great advice about going slow to go fast (don’t leave others in your wake); to understand that all healing is in the personal interactions and relationships; that he has skin in the game with all his patients and really cares; and that the Flying WV – with the foundational strength, goodness, and resilience of our upbringing, training, and families – never leaves your heart.

Going first, standing for something that matters, giving more than you get, and seeing abundance is his gift to me, and from me to you.