Valentín Fuster

Cardiologist and director of the CNIC

"The heart gives capacity of life; The brain, quality of life"

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Education means knowing more. It offers so many more options for you to realize your potential. And the more educated you are, the better prepared you are to dominate the world around you. The less educated you are, the more the world will dominate you. Education is very important for self-esteem. The more education there is available, the more it enters our consciousness to do or even just to choose what is right. The more we know, the more we are in control of ourselves and the more we can choose what is right for us.

There is nothing worse than trying to change someone's life for them. We are all born with talent, goals and interests. One of the most important things in life is finding out where our talents lie. Someone should make it clear to you. I'm talking about mentors and tutors. If you want to live your life while having some peace of mind, there is nothing more important that doing something you are good at. I am lucky enough to use my talents at the level I have been able to. If someone knows themselves well and can follow their potential, we must invest in them.

What we know about our heart is that it is here and it beats. But the truth is: we know very little. For example, the heart beats sixty, seventy or eighty times a minute, with four valves that open and close, and with blood flowing in and out. You barely notice it, do you? Do you know how many times it will beat throughout your life? Millions. An aircraft is sent for maintenance every four days, to check for anything that is not running right. So why does the heart, which is mechanically so much more complex, not need repairing? We are the ones that make it break down. When you ask me: "What do we know and what don't we?" We know many things in our heart, but how the heart remains intact, after beating for so many years and being so complex, is something I can't answer. I have spoken to a lot of doctors, and they don't have a clue. That brings us to the important bit: believing that science knows it all is extremely foolish. The reality is that we know very little. Even in my own specialty. You will say: "Good, I won't go see this guy if I have a heart problem". Well, no. Come to me because I know how to treat illness. But really studying how the heart works and the biological foundations is, I assure you, extremely difficult.

"Education is an essential tool for self-esteem. The more we know, the more we can choose what is right for us"

Health cannot be a standalone issue in a person: "I am going to look after myself". You need the right environment, or a catalyst, particularly a group one – even children do.

There are four Ts of personal maturity and four As of how to behave in the world. The first T is time to think. We all need – I do at least – 15 minutes every day to think about what is and what isn't important. The second is your talent. As I said, that is key. Know your talent and use it. The third is to transmit positive energy. The fourth, which I have mentioned already, is tutorial. There are four As of how to be in the world. How we help the world around us – being useful. This is critical to self-esteem. The first is having a positive attitude. The second is to accept who you are. The third is authenticity, which means you are the same "you" morning, noon and night. You don't change your character according to who you are talking to. The last and most important A is altruism. I have come to realize that the happiest people are those who give back. Not those who receive. Those formulas help during those 15 minutes of thought and meditation; you know how you are doing and you have a methodology. The problem with society is that it is easy to lose your methodology unless you are persistent and know who you are and how to dominate your surroundings.

Happiness is very tricky to define. But personal stability gives you the feeling of self-control and self-esteem; of who you are and what you have to do. There are three different parts. Happiness is made up of fifteen points. Five points is, when I get up in the morning, with the whole day ahead of me, I am stimulated; I am happy about what is going to happen. I go to work or whatever and I am stimulated. Then there is emotional stability: some people are very changeable day to day. The third is: "Do you have an ultimate goal in life?" A goal that motivates you? This is very important. When we talk about happiness, I mean stability, self-control, self-realization and self-esteem. Those are the basic areas to pursue and we grade ourselves on each. We are already doing it on some projects that we are just now beginning. This is how we should measure ourselves. There are three very important elements. Everything else is cosmetic.

Biography
Valentín Fuster is the Director of the National Cardiovascular Research Centre (CNIC) in Spain and the Director of the cardiovascular institute of Mount Sinai hospital in New York. He has won the Prince of Asturias Research Award for his research into the origins of myocardial infarction. He is the author of books including La ciencia de la salud, Corazón y mente, Monstruos supersanos and La cocina de la salud. Internationally respected and highly-reputed, Fuster even works as scientific adviser for the children's program Sesame Street.