In the classic 1980s movie St. Elmo's Fire, an elderly woman believes that some words can only be whispered—eg, sex and cancer. I think that lifestyle can be safely added to the list. The definition of the concept varies widely, depending on the source. In the surgical community, lifestyle has come to be equated with material wealth and sloth, but this is not the lifestyle to which I am referring. Although reimbursement may be a factor in some students' decisions, few would be willing or foolish enough to endure the sacrifices of medicine simply for monetary gain, especially when much easier ways of achieving financial security (eg, business school) exist. Similarly, I discount the notion that students who consider other fields are lazy. One of my medical school classmates, who plans to enter general surgery, explained the declining numbers with the proclamation that "people just aren't hardworking or helpful anymore like they were in the greatest generation Tom Brokaw wrote about." We all know that such narrow, blanket statements are untrue, especially in light of the way our nation pulled together in response to our national tragedy on September 11, 2001.