Life West student and LIFELINES writer, Noah Volz, sat down with the newly appointed Philosophy Department Chair, Dr. Ankur Tayal.
Dr. Tayal is a Life West alumnus of 2009, and practiced in Victoria, BC for five years before returning to Life West in July to as the Chair of the Philosophy Department.
Noah: Let’s start at the beginning. What is your new position and what is your vision for your position?
Dr. Tayal: There are four educational departments in the college. We have Basic Science, Clinical Science, Technique, and Philosophy – and my position is the head of the Philosophy department. I am teaching as well. Right now I am teaching three courses; Ethics, Communicating Chiropractic Principles, and intro to business. I am really excited about that and I’m loving my time in the classroom.
N: Have you taught before?
Dr. T: Not in a classroom, in a high education institution, but I have done tons of seminars and leadership development for students and doctors.
N: Tell us a little about what sacrifices that you made to be here.
Dr. T: I was in practice for five years in Victoria, BC. I sold my half of my practice to my business partner, one of my best friends, Dr. Matthew Kittleson. We went to school together. He’s the one that called me up to come to BC – which was amazing.
But I left that. I’m out if it now and that was tough. It was tough leaving practice. It was tough leaving Victoria. It was tough leaving Canada, and it was tough leaving the people. But Matty was extremely supportive of my decision.
I am in the Delta Sigma Chi fraternity and our whole existence is to make sure chiropractic makes it – and that impact starts in the classroom. I left so I can come and teach and make it better.
I want to get back to practice and as soon as I get a license in California. I’m going to start practicing again because I love it.
N: How do philosophy and business relate. What’s the synergy there?
Dr. T: That’s my favorite part about the department – the fact it’s philosophy and business. I guess philosophy gets a bad rap. Philosophy is asking the why – asking good questions. it’s creating questions that science can answer and art can apply. You can’t have science and art without philosophy.
From a business standpoint – philosophy and business are intertwined. Philosophy is the art of the questions and business is the application. Business is how you apply your concepts. It’s ethics, your technique, your politics, and your policies. It is the understanding of what’s actually happening from a deep level. You can’t separate philosophy and business.
N: The way I am interpreting that is that is if the philosophy is like the software and if the philosophy is strong, then all of the systems will be reflected.
Dr. T: Absolutely. That’s a great way of putting it.
N: Are there any historical figures that you really resonate with? Like that old adage, if you can have dinner with anybody living or dead, who would it be?
Dr. T: I don’t want to be the obvious guy and pick BJ Palmer, but he’s pretty good.
What’s really interesting about BJ is that I didn’t really like reading him when I was in school. It reads like he’s yelling at you: “YOU’RE RUINING THE PROFESSION. YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING WRONG!” I then heard audio clips and I realized I got this guy all wrong. When it comes down to it, he has done the most work for our profession ever. He did the most research, the most development – so of course I’d love to have dinner with the guy.
N: We are so glad you’re here and we thank you for all the sacrifices that you’ve made. Is there anything that you want to say to the students? What’s the take home message?
Dr. T: It probably goes back to what we talked about last week in most of my classes – ‘People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.’ Paraphrased, if the ‘why’s’ big enough, then ‘how’s’ take care of themselves. And the ‘why’ is the philosophy of chiropractic. So, we study the philosophy and then we will figure out everything else. We apply ourselves – that’s the key to success. That was certainly the key to mine and it continues to be.