April 10, 2013

Patch Adams Wisdom--Part 1


Back in 1999, I attended a lecture given by Hunter "Patch" Adams, whose life is the inspiration for the movie "Patch Adams" starring Robin Williams.  I found Patch’s message struck a resounding cord and adequately named what it is that is hurting our relationships, our communities, and our world.  

I recently rediscovered the notes I took that evening and couldn't resist sharing them here in a little series. Take the ones that make you jump and share them, post them, remember them.

  • “Serve Humanity”
  • Patch inspires people to leave off being stuffy.  Everyone was laughing, smiling, and having fun.
  • Learn to love.  Even if something annoys you like your wife using your razor to shave or your husband always handing you things (like old receipts) for you to decide what to do with them, learn to love that thing.  It will quickly become not so annoying.
  • If you have a passion, something you want more than anything else, you must be selfless, ready to commit 100 hours per week, ready to give up all privacy.
  • To operate his hospital at 95% less cost than institutional hospitals, Patch and the people who work with him, the patients, and the patients’ families all pitch in to clean the house, mow the lawn, buy food – all the maintenance is cost free because they don’t hire and pay people to do it.
  • Do not try to change society or your community all at once.  Reach out and change individual people.  Those individuals will come together as the community, not the community coming together as individuals.
  • When you are finally committed to something with all of your hearts, all of a sudden the universe will come together to help you.  Commitment leads to boldness, genius, and magic.
  • Care for each other out of pleasure, not responsibility.
  • Others will protect you.  When you are down, the others in the pack will come to your aid, if you let them.  Help and protect each other.
  • Stick by each other through the good and the bad.

Check back next week for more!!


  1. Dear Rachel,

    Thank you for posting about the talk you heard of Patch's. I am Patch's administrative assistant and I have a google alert set for his name, so your blog post popped into my email account this morning. It's lovely to hear Patch's language from 15 years ago. Many things are still the same, and some have changed. I'm delighted to hear that you are still inspired by what he said. I invite you and the readers of your blog to check out our programs for students, health care practitioners, and regular old humanitarians at www.patchadams.org. We have lots of ways for folks to get involved with our work.

    Kind Regards,

    Kate Fritz

  2. Hi Kate, that's great! I'm curious which of these you'd say are now "out dated" or have evolved? And be sure to check back for the next two weeks as I continue the series!!


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