Excelling in school was my life's theme—or so I thought, up until I graduated as a medical doctor in my mid-twenties.

Where I come from, a huge premium is placed on one's educational background and ranking. The pressure to achieve can be quite high, whether it comes externally or is self-imposed. As I marched onward and upward in my chosen profession, it became clear that this would be a life of never ending schooling. Hooray.

Then, somewhere in between my internship and preparations for residency training in surgery, I was faced with a decision that would change my life forever.

My father's death a few years prior had left our family business in the hands of other people. When I saw that things were taking a downturn, I felt obliged to step in and take back control of the business for my mother and younger siblings, putting my medical career on hold.

How did med school help me in rehabilitating a twenty-year-old business? Education is a magical thing; you can turn it into whatever you want. You just have to know how to harness its powers. Moments of desperation breed creativity, and it was in those moments that what I had really learned shone through almost instinctively, as if waiting for that perfect moment to finally manifest itself.

I had before me, in a sense, a patient who was pale and lethargic, with marked weight loss, with no apparent cause of bleeding. First step was to run diagnostics to confirm my suspicions of blood loss while stabilizing the patient's vital signs by running fluids, then administer more specific tests to identify the source and cause of bleeding. Once confirmed, I applied the appropriate medical and surgical treatments, and placed the patient on a holistic program to restore optimum health.

Five years later, our family business was ours again, all without even a unit of accounting classes to my name. I had no time to take an MBA while watching our business spiral down the drain. I had to make do with what I had at hand, and it was only in hindsight that I realized: all those years of schooling to be a doctor could be redirected and applied to other fields.

It was around the same time during this awakening that I encountered network marketing.

Network marketing called upon everything I had ever learned, both in and out of the classroom, and was an opportunity to apply it all effectively in new and exciting ways. I borrowed many of the concepts I had used to save our traditional family business, such as integrity, culture, and relationships. They worked so well that my siblings, too, have begun to embrace network marketing as our other family business.

Was getting a medical degree a waste of time? Nothing is wasted if you let your education fulfill its role, and ask, "Am I applying it to become better at everything I do?"

Dr. MARK PLATON leads a group of private security
service agencies in the Philippines while building a network
marketing business in Asia. He is a medical doctor with a
passion for helping the underserved and those who have big dreams.