“The first to arrive, the last to leave.” Just an idealistic platitude or an under appreciated truism.

I always remember when one of my mentors and coaches (Coach Bijan) who had a huge impact on my game and life always used to say to me “be the first to arrive and last to leave practice or workouts”. This was something that instantly resonated with me, and from then on I did my absolute best to show up before anyone else at practice and stay after everyone was gone to get some extra work in. This point was further reinforced after reading about Ray Allen’s legendary pre-game routine that allowed him to become the NBA all-time leader in made 3-point field goals.

However, after I finished my high school basketball career and transitioned into my NCAA track and field career I started losing faith in this powerful statement. Initially, I tried to put in extra work on the track and the weight room once I began competing at Boston University (BU). However, that was the worst thing I could have done, as I was wearing out my body in the pre-season before even starting the rigorous indoor/outdoor NCAA div 1 track season. This was especially problematic during the indoor season in which BU hosts some of the fastest and most competitive meets in the northeast. If you do not bring your A game to these meets you are going to get beat very badly. This further compounded the problem of my body breaking down as it seriously destroyed any semblance of confidence I had in my own abilities during my first season. It seemed to me at that time that this statement was unrealistic and idealistic as just working harder will not solve your problems. In some situations if you do not give your body and mind time to rest and decompress it can be detrimental to your progress.

But yesterday I ended up needing to stay late at UBC to finish up some work for a final project paper on a friday evening, and this experience made me understand the above statement at a much deeper level. Do NOT get me wrong, I am absolutely not advocating unhealthy workaholic tendencies or to ignore your friends and family. Family is the most important part of my life, and a strong and supporting social network is the best predictor of long-term success and happiness.

But the wisdom in this statement is not in the literal interpretation of the phrase, but the underlying meaning. The true meaning and power of this statement is in regard to the importance of developing grit and resiliency. The essence of this statement is perfectly summed up by this interview of will smith below.

I am not afraid to die on a treadmill, I will not be outworked.” – Will Smith 

This is such a powerful statement, and it is no fluke that Will Smith is one of the most successful entertainers ever. One of my favorite stories that perfectly describes his unparalleled drive and work ethic is that when beginning to film Fresh Prince he memorized everyone’s lines so he could best play his part in relation to the rest of his crew. You can see in the first few episodes that Will Smith is mouthing the words of the other actors. This concept goes back to a concept I mentioned in a previous post about worrying about what you can control and ignoring what you can not control. Do not worry about the obstacles nor your disadvantages, focus on what you can do, which is putting your best effort forth in everything you do and displaying the resiliency and grit of  a champion and soon enough you will be a champion. Being successful and happy is much less about what you do or accomplish and is much more about WHO you become. 

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What Kobe knows about failure that you do not, and how he leverages this to achieve amazing results.

Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players and scorers in NBA history. An entire blog post could be written to describe his impressive list of athletic accomplishments. However, it is Bryant’s failures and missteps that are the subject of this post. Last night Kobe Bryant may have played on of the worst of his careers (as detailed here). Many may admonish him, and point to the fact that he went 1-14 as a perfect example that he is one of the most selfish players in the history of basketball. However, I vehemently disagree. Kobe Bryant is human so he will be disappointed and may become discouraged with subpar performances. However, unlike the vast majority of us he uses his failures as fire to fuel his success.

Most of us, myself included, once we come upon resistance or failure we respond to it by backing off or looking for another avenue to pursue. This is a natural human response to failure, but if you want to be elite or maximize your potential in a field you CAN’T respond to failure or rejection by backing off and shrining away. You need to attack your failure. I look at Kobe’s 1-14 shooting night and I am impressed. His unwavering faith in his ability is what separates him from his contemporaries. I do not know of any other players in the NBA that would continue shooting when they keep missing. Most other players shy away and stop shooting when things do not go their way. It is Kobe’s relentless drive and ability to push through adversity and setbacks that have made him one of the greatest players in NBA history.

How you can apply this “mamba mentality” to your life. Instead of being fearful of failure or making mistakes, you need to aggressively attack your limits and relish the defeats and set backs you experience. It is during these failures that you learn what you are really made of and when you truly become acquainted with who you are. You do NOT learn or become better when you are succeeding. It is failure that provides the impetus for you to improve and to evolve to new levels. You should not desire failure but seek out and attack your limits which will require you to confront failure and setbacks head on. Societal conditioning has ingrained in us that failure is bad and should be avoided at all cost. This is absolutely garbage. You should love failure because the negative feedback you get is the most real feedback you will ever get that will allow you to become the best you can be.

Case Report: Success is a state of mind NOT a destination

The recent news about Steve Nash suffering form a season ending injury that will most likely end his career was heart breaking. Steve Nash was and still is my idol and holds a special place in my heart as he would for any hooper who grows up in British Columbia. Steve Nash is the epitomy of hard-work and dedication and beating the odds. Steve Nash is renowned for his strict diet regiment and how well he treats his body. However, his discipline and unmatched work ethic was not enough to overcome the recent slew of serious injuries that plagued him as soon as he donned the purple and gold.

However a recent article by Arash Markazi made me contemplate and change my view on this scenario. When I first heard the news I thought what an awful way to end such a lackluster run during his time with the lakers. As a society we are so obsessed with results, and we have this sink or swim mentality. I have been working very hard to rid myself of this mentality but it is still something that I still struggle with. It does NOT only increase your stress levels but it will reduce your success in BOTH athletics and life. Success in ANY field is required by entering and staying in a flow state which can not occur if you are neurotic and obsessive about achieving a specific result.

In the article I mentioned above Kobe is quoted as saying:

“Steve Nash did EVERYTHING.” 

Bryant also said that if he was in Nash’s position, “he would accept his fate as well.You can control what you can control. He did everything to get back and play at a high level. From that standpoint he should be able to sleep at night. I know I would. I can only think about that in my situation; I just tried to do everything possible to be ready, and if it wasn’t in the cards, if I couldn’t get back to being at that level, you just have to accept it and when you lay your head down you know that you did absolutely everything possible.”

Hearing this from Kobe Bean Bryant was absolutely shocking. He is renowned for his stubbornness and his competitive fire. However, many people, myself included, mis-interpret this as success at any costs, and if you don’t win a championship you are a failure. Obviously Kobe and Steve Nash are both insanely competitive and they want to win more than anything else. However, they are so successful NOT because of this but because they can transcend their desire to win during the game. They realize that to perform their best they must get rid of any attachment to the final result and live in the moment and trust their preparation.

They realize that success is NOT winning the next game, championship or MVP trophy. Success is a state of mind in which you are taking highly focused action that will give you the best possible chance of achieving your goals. Note I mention the best possible chance.  Success is never guaranteed. The only thing you are guaranteed is the action.  Success is irrespective of whether you end up accomplishing your end goal or not. It is whether you should be able to sleep at night. If Kobe does not win 6 championships like Michael Jordan will he view his career as a failure? If Steve Nash does not win that NBA championship that has eluded him will he view his career as a failure? Absolutely Not! Steve Nash and Kobe have done everything in their power to maximize their careers and the results speak for themselves.

I hope this article gave you some inspiration and help you shift your mindset from chasing specific goals to embody what you hope to represent. Blogs such as these are much more fun and helpful if there is interaction. So please always feel free to reach out to me on facebook or linkedIn (Pavan Mehat) or shoot me an email at pavanmehat12@gmail.com

Case: Report: How Failure is a myth

Conflicts of Interests: I am a huge Kobe Bryant and La Lakers fan.

In a recent article by Henry Abbot (a sensational writer) he boldly claims that Kobe Bean Bryant is the reason for the lakers turn of fortunes for the worse. Even though I disagree with him 100% that is not the topic of this post (although it may be in a future post!). What I am more interested in is Kobe’s response to the criticism. I was both anxious and excited as Kobe has become much more open with the media recently as he is approaching the end of his career. His response absolutely shocked me:

“It’s not the first one, it’s not going to be the last one.The one thing I’ve come to understand over the years is that you’ll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it’s the end of the world. It seems like everybody is taking shots at you.

But time goes by, and then you look back and it’s just a Monday. Right? Then have another great story that comes out maybe a month later or something like that and it’s a fantastic story. And then there’s a bad story that comes out a month after that.

It’s a cycle. And things are never as good or as bad as they seem at the moment in time. So you stay focused on the big picture. Things are never really as bleak as they seem at the time. I just kind of roll with it.”

It is NO accident why Kobe Bryant is a 5-time NBA champion along to go with his laundry list of extraordinary individual accolades. He embodies the spirit of a champion unlike many other current NBA stars (who I will not name) who will say all the “right” things but whose actions betray their true nature.

Kobe understands that Failure is a myth. There is no such thing as failure or rejection but just learning lessons. If some people do not have a negative reaction to what you do you have probably not reached a high level in your field. On top of that Kobe understands that there is a process to becoming great. No matter how bleak things may seem they can and will get better.

If you want to reach your full potential it is tantamount that you embody the mindset of a champion that is exhibited by Kobe Bryant on a daily basis. Realize that there is NO such thing as failure just learning lessons and feedback. Also, no matter your current circumstances you have the power to make them better!

Below is an inspiration video I love to watch when thoughts of self-doubt begin to overwhelm me because it reminds me that no matter how hopeless things may seem, they can turn around in ways you never though possible when you just put your head down and work your but off. After the lakers had missed the playoffs for the first time in a while and everyone was decrying Kobe as someone who could never win without Shaq,  who would have though just a few years latter Kobe would be holding up his second back to back world championship!

I hope this article gave you some inspiration and tangible things to focus on to help you embody the championship mindset in all aspects of your life. Blogs such as these are much more fun and helpful if there is interaction. So please always feel free to reach out to me on facebook or linkedIn (Pavan Mehat) or shoot me an email at pavanmehat12@gmail.com.

Summary 

– The best and most successful realize there is no such thing as failure or rejection just learning experiences

-Success is a cyclical process with both ups and downs.

-No matter how bad things may seem work your butt off and great things can happen.

How being “blind” is an advantage.

I love watching motivational/inspiring youtube videos, especially during moments when I am wavering on continuing to remain faithful to my disciplines. In addition, it is absolutely vital to continuously feed your brain with positive information (will do a future post on this). However, as we all know the effects of a motivational video or speech has on us is very transient, unless the core themes and messages from the inspirational talk become internalized and a part of who we are.

The motivational video above from ImPossibleTraining is absolutely great! If you do not want to go out and train or work towards your dreams after seeing it you need to check your pulse. However, the most important take-away from the video is its core message. I was inspired to write and expand on the themes mentioned in this video because recently I had come to a cross-roads in my own life. Everyone goes through this stage in your life, and I am sure you have as well already. It is a stage that we are all constantly re-entering and exiting from. This stage is when you are working hard and doing everything right, but you are getting NO observable results.

What do you do when the results are not showing? For most people they give up right before they will see the fruits of their labor! The most successful people in life realize that there is always a delay in reality expressing what they already know is true.  Internalizing this concept of being “blind” is essential to success in athletics and life because it allows you to work even when you don’t feel like it.

“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” – Jerry West (The logo for the NBA)

It is easy to work hard, be motivated, and disciplined when everything is going right. People are complimenting you for the amazing changes you have made in life, or how great the work you are doing is. However, the true test of the campion is when the shit has hit the fan, and nothing is going right but you still persist with the process because you have blind faith in your ability to achieve your dream, and that every action you take towards you goal is inching you closer and closer. A great quote from Anthony Robbins (Self-Help Guru) that really reinforced this concept for me was:

“It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public.” – Tony Robbins

Do not expect some grand celebration when you do the right things. However, sooner or later you will break through and all of the sacrifices you have made in private will shine through when it counts most!

I hope this article helped you realize to not let external circumstances be a measure of success but to let your journey be your barometer for success. If you have any questions please make a comment below, and if there is any specific topic you would like me to discuss let me know. Lastly, always feel free to reach out to me on facebook or linkedIn (Pavan Mehat) or shoot me an email at pavanmehat12@gmail.com.

How to accomplish more than you can imagine. The power of consistency

Jerry-Seinfeld-300x300

“Do not break the chain” – Jerry Seinfeld 

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the best comedians of all time (in my humble opinion) for a reason. He is well known for not only being a great comedian but he is also a huge advocate of transcendental meditation (will be a future post on this) and the power of consistency.  Mr. Seinfeld was once asked what was his secret to his phenomenal comedic routines. He answered that he forces himself to work on his material every day. This does not means he spends hours slaving away on his material every day. But he spends at least five to ten minutes every day to work on his biggest priority in his life (his comedic routine). Why does Jerry do this? What does he know that you do not?

He understands the power of consistency and momentum. Every day you want to do at least one thing that will bring you closer to your dream and allow you to improve even just a little bit. Even if it only results in a 0.5% improvement. If you made a 0.5% improvement every day, it would only take 200 days to make a 100% improvement. How can you apply this principle to your life?

Let me first give you an example from my life to help illustrate the power of this concept. Recently, Sam and I have started this blog. Initially we were getting quite substantial readership but then it quickly petered out. I realized that I was not inputting the necessary time on a daily basis to create a successful blog that could help reach out and help support millions of people in becoming the best version of themselves. For just over a week now I have been posting at least one article per week, and I have again noticed a great spike in readership (thanks you! 🙂 ) and have been receiving very positive feedback from friends. However, today is a jam packed day for me, as I am attending med school lectures on rheumatology all morning, have research meetings throughout the afternoon, and then I am teaching Physics II for my Kaplan MCAT class. When I woke up this morning I was already beginning to make all sorts of excuses why I could miss today and just post a great article tomorrow. But then Jerry Seinfeld’s words rang through my head and I knew instantly that I had to put up a post today about his wisdom.

So enough about me. How can you apply this to your life? Choose the one thing that is most important in you life. It could be becoming the best athletes you can be, becoming a better parent or trying to build your business. It does NOT matter what is the biggest priority in your life. What does is that every day you do something to bring yourself closer to your goals and improve, even just a little bit. The reason is because you begin to build momentum, which will allow you to accomplish your dreams much faster than you would have otherwise.

So this seems like a simple concept and easy to implement. However, be wary after your initial enthusiasm wears off as your mind is very good at rationalizing about not following through and not remaining consistent, just like I almost did this morning. The reason is because we all overestimate how much you can do in a year but underestimate how much you can accomplish in five years. Although this tip will help you accomplish much more than you could ever imagine but it is not a panacea. You are still going to deal with your fair share of failure and adversity. However, it will enable you to accomplish much more than you could have imagined over the long term.

I hope this article helped shift your paradigm about the most efficient method to chase your dreams. If you have any questions please make a comment below, and if there is any specific topic you would like me to discuss let me know.Lastly, always feel free to reach out to me on facebook or linkedIn (Pavan Mehat) or shoot me an email at pavanmehat12@gmail.com.

How to remain committed to accomplish any goal.

The story is always the same but the circumstances and details may change. We start out super inspired and committed to make a change.  At first everything is great. Then we miss a day. Then another. And before we know it we are back to square one. Does this story sound familiar? It is a universal story, that I am sure has effected you as well. I know I have experienced this over and over again. It used to frustrated me to no end!

I have discussed this topic before in a previous post regarding how to  leverage habit formation to make positive changes in your life. While that is a very powerful tool, it is NOT the panacea to solve the inability of humans to follow through. I would like to delve into some psychological differences between those who can change and those who can not. Being successful is about showing up and being consistent. Therefore really understanding how to train yourself to always follow through may be the most important skill you will develop.

What separates those who follow through and change vs. those who are stuck in negative and self-defeating behaviors? It is what they choose to focus on and their beliefs.

“Motivation is Bullshit.” – Elliott Hulse

People who do not succeed focus on the  feedback they receive from others.  These people need to be “motivated” to make a change, but it will never be long lasting.  Do not get me wrong motivation is very powerful but it is only a spark, commitment and discipline will help you to fight through and stick with the positive change.

How do you develop this commitment and discipline to follow through. Understanding the principles and actions I discussed in my previous post about habit formation is key. But what you focus on is just as important if not more so. You can not focus on the external outcome. In life the you are NOT guaranteed the result. The only thing you are guaranteed is the action. Those who are super successful and are able to change define their success by their actions not their results.

This is a huge paradigm shift, and it may seem counter intuitive but it is absolutely true. A great example is the story about how Colonel Sanders start Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). He had this super innovative idea to sell his amazing fried chicken recipes to restaurants instead of opening and managing his own restaurant and to receive royalties from their sales.  So he went to various restaurants pitching is idea. He went to 1009 restaurants and heard NO before he got to the 1010 restaurant that said yes. The rest is history.

What must have been going through Colonel Sanders head every time he heard NO? Although we can only speculate, I am 100% confident that he was NOT judging his success based on the feedback he received. He knew that his success was defined by the quality of his actions he took. You may have heard about this concept before but it is vital that you really become clear about its ramifications. In addition, if you want to reach your full potential you must use whatever you can to internalize your concepts and change your focus from results driven to process focused. You need to learn to LOVE the process, without any expectation for the result.

Summary 

-Proper Mindset is key to making long lasting change

-The most successful people judge their success by the quality of their actions not by feedback from others

-Love the process