A Small Spark can create a BIG Fire !

The Story of One Cardiovascular Surgeon, Two Small Books & Three 'BIG' Questions. 

Irineu Antao Pereira

Any Goal, Any Target and Any Dream  is achievable, reachable and realizable . All it takes is  the  roadmap to it, the belief and the courage to follow it passionately.

4th March 1984.  It was my  13th Birthday, and it had not been a happy one.

It was the Results Day at School and my IV UNIT TEST Report Card had been handed over that morning.  And to give you my version of the truth : The Report Card did not do justice to my knowledge and my effort. It was a bad day that my performance - on paper, had been below expectations. 

Back home from school, the atmosphere at home was the usual celebration. Of course not of my birthday or my result, but my elder brother had topped his class as usual. 

Amidst my disappointment, it was my mom's birthday gift  for me, that not only changed my mood , but my life forever.

My mom knew of my love for books, and my birthday gift was a nice wrapped set of two small books. The first was the Charles E .Jones best seller : ‘Life is Tremendous’. And the second book was that month's Reader’s Digest.

After dinner that night - as I lay down in my bed, I got to reading the two books in right earnest. The three questions that Jones puts across in the book - as being the three decisions in life, still resonate with me even today. 

And they are my "go-to" questions at periodic intervals :

  1. What do you want to do for the rest of your life ?
  2. With whom you want to do it ? and 
  3. Where you want to do it ? 

But were these three questions enough to change my life ?


Not entirely. The second book – the monthly Reader’s Digest suggested the answers to those questions by way of a story. 

That month's Reader’s Digest had the story of Sir Magdi Yacoub, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Harefield Hospital, London. And it led me into doing an a simple - yet extraordinary exercise.

I scrambled out of bed, tore a corner piece of paper from my rough-book, grabbed a pencil and confidently wrote on it :

“I want to be a Cardiothoracic Surgeon.”

I then opened the top drawer of my desk, and stuck that piece of paper inside the drawer. The rest - as they famously say, is history.

Today - 37 years later, it feels like I have lived a dream. 

I turned 50 in the  Covid-19 era, completed 20 years in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgical practice, and completed 10,000 surgical procedures. 

The journey was not easy, but it has been truly worthwhile. A Child's Self-Belief had transformed a dream, into a reality.

Whatever your mind can conceive and your heart can believe ; you can achieve it.


Believe in yourself, transform your dreams into reality.

Cheers !



Originally published May 2, 2021