By Myron L. Rolle, MD, MSc
A few days before the end of 2019, my wife Latoya came to Boston to celebrate New Year’s. She still had to finish her dental residency in Birmingham, forcing us, for the moment, to live apart. The moment she walked through the door, her presence made the utilitarian apartment feel like a home. One night, as she got ready for a hospital holiday party, I listened from another room as her voice bounced along with Stevie Wonder’s silky falsetto.
“Isn’t she lovely,” I crooned when she emerged, looking radiant in a black dress.
“Not so bad yourself. Grab your sports coat,” she said. “I hung it for you.”
In our bedroom, something on the bed caught my eye. A blue onesie had been placed on top of the pillows. Below it sat two tiny booties, one pink, one blue. I picked up the onesie and read the lettering on the front: Daddy of two.
I felt someone behind me and turned around. Latoya stood in the doorway, clutching a baggie full of pregnancy tests.
I took a baby sock in each hand and moved toward my wife. “Twins?”
“Twins,” she said, running a finger down the fabric of the baby socks.
I took Latoya into my arms and kissed her forehead.
“How many tests did you take?” I asked.
“Five,” she said. “I had to make sure.”
“It must have happened on our honeymoon.”
“In the Bahamas,” she said. “The dates line up.”
“You know, I’ll be the seventh neurosurgeon in our department to have twins,” I said. “There must be something in the water at Mass General.”
Latoya and I floated through the last week of the year, exultant and expectant. Boston finally had a bout of good weather, and our hopes for 2020 seemed as bright as the booming, dark blue sky. We attended service at Morning Star Baptist Church. Bishop Borders stood at the pulpit in a gray suit, arms stretched out, and read a prayer Jeremiah offered to God: “Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
The verse jogged a memory from childhood—Daddy’s deep voice, speaking across the kitchen table: “Myron, your life is not your own.” As a boy, I had taken the words to mean that my parents had sacrificed to make sure my brothers and I had every opportunity. My repayment for this sacrifice was to honor my parents by excelling in all I did. By following this principle for decades, I built a strong version of myself that couldn’t be torn apart by adversity or exterior influence.
Now, as I worshiped beside my pregnant wife, my father’s words acquired another layer of meaning. My life belonged to my unborn children. When I pictured serving them each coming day, I didn’t feel the weight of sacrifice. I felt the joy of offering an oblation to God. When their time came, my children would continue our family’s legacy, passing their own gifts through the generations.
The 2% Way
From the moment Mickey Andrews first told me about the 2% Way in a sweaty football locker room, this philosophy has steered my life. It got me through Florida State, Oxford, the NFL, Harvard, through the front lines of a global pandemic, and now back to the Bahamas where it all began, solving health issues in the country of my origin. The philosophy of growth through small incremental steps has carried me through each challenge I faced as an immigrant, academic, doctor, athlete, husband, father, and nephew. Through the 2% Way, I moved beyond the quick anger of my boyhood. I fulfilled the promise of my parents’ sacrifice. I earned the respect and friendship of my teammates on and off the field. I found the love of a woman who will be by my side until one of us takes our last breath. I stepped fully into an identity that many refused to admit existed.
The 2% Way helped me build a life full of purpose and meaning. It can do the same for you. It takes away the pressure you feel when your problems seem insurmountable. If you see your life from a thirty-thousand-foot view, your challenges will seem as large as the earth. But if you take tangible, incremental steps of edification every day, that which was once overwhelming will shrink to a manageable size. Progress becomes reality.
Whether you are trying to grow closer to God, trying to yoke yourself to the right partner, trying to create a family or provide for one, trying to become a leader for people on the margins, or trying to find your identity, the 2% Way will give you the tools to tackle life with the assuredness that you are taking steps in the right direction. When you look back on all those steps, you will realize that each one was valuable, that each one changed you.
And in the process of changing yourself, you will find that you have changed the world.
Adapted from The 2% Way: How a Philosophy of Small Improvements Took Me to Oxford, the NFL, and Neurosurgery by Myron L. Rolle. Click here to learn more about this book.
You don’t have to change your life overnight—instead, you can make small changes that leave a lasting impact. In The 2% Way, discover the simple, revolutionary practice behind the against-the-odds success story of Dr. Myron L. Rolle.
Dr. Rolle has led a remarkable life: from earning a scholarship to a prestigious private high school to becoming a top-rated recruit at Florida State University; from winning the Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford to playing football in the NFL and then becoming a neurosurgery resident at Harvard.
In this inspiring book, Dr. Rolle tells the story of his incredible journey, revealing how a strong work ethic, deep faith, and the family values instilled by his Bahamian immigrant parents set the stage for the transformative life philosophy that enabled him to overcome adversity, defy expectations, and create a life of meaning and purpose.
Whether you’re struggling with your own obstacles, looking to improve yourself, searching for your purpose and identity, or seeking inspiration, Dr. Rolle’s story will give you the encouragement and tools you need to:
- Make incremental improvements that lead to long-lasting results
- Build a life full of purpose and meaning
- Tackle life with the assurance that you’re moving in the right direction
The 2% Way will change the way you think about self-improvement, proving that you have the power to make strides toward the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Dr. Myron L. Rolle is a former NFL safety, a Rhodes Scholar, and a neurosurgery resident and Global Neurosurgery Fellow at Harvard-Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the founder and chairman of the Myron L. Rolle Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of global health, wellness, education, and other charitable initiatives benefitting children and families in need. Dr. Rolle also serves on the Knight Commission on Athletics and the Clinton Global Initiative, and he is co-creator of the Emerging Scholars Project for underrepresented college students applying for a Rhodes Scholarship. His philanthropic work, academic excellence, and athletic endeavors have been featured in top global and national outlets such as CNN, ABC News, ESPN, and CNBC.