My Journey of embodying Kaizen

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Kaizen is the Japanese business principle of continuous improvement. As the gospel at Honda, it is what accounts for their breathtaking success. The fixation is not on some big hairy audacious goal in the future, but on being better now than you were yesterday. Paradoxically, when you are maniacally focused on making continuous tiny improvements, you give yourself the best chance possible to achieve your dreams.

This is a principle I have tried to apply to my life over the last few years, and it has been truly life-changing. I am even applying Kaizen at applying Kaizen 😉. The power of viewing anything in life through this lens is that it brings you back to the present moment (Read More:Mindfulness in Motion). This helps you keep the big picture vision in mind as well!

Instead of viewing tasks as a burden, viewing them as a privilege and an opportunity to improve just for the sake of joy, transforms even the most mundane tasks you complete. Personally, this was essential in allowing me to successfully complete my master’s thesis in time so that I could begin my medical studies in the fall. Undoubtedly, you will fall back into your old comfortable way of thinking, but it is essential to become aware when you do and apply the principle of Kaizen.

In my journey of completely embodying this principle, I realized that I needed to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and face my fears directly. I have started creating my own business where I help athletes rediscover the joy of pain-free movement by using Douglas Heel’s Be Activated technique, along with a slew of other modalities to optimize athletes’ performances.

To propel my efforts to establish a clientele of athletes that are sick of being in pain and not achieving their potential, I have created a website: www.pavanmehat.com where athletes can connect with me to reach their full potential. If you would like to connect, you can contact me here or like my page on Facebook. Further, I will have a blog on my new website, so if you enjoy my posts and find they allow you to better pursue personal excellence, feel free to visit. I will no longer be posting on this blog. Lastly, for anybody interested in a muscle activation visit here.

Thank you everyone who has supported and inspired me to write on this blog post. I am truly grateful for every one of my readers and for the opportunity to share my ideas and hopefully positively impact and enrich your lives.

Continuously Improving, 

Pavan Mehat 

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August 25th 2015: Thought of the Day

This is an unconventional thought of the day, but after I saw this video I had to share it. I have realized that the information and messages I feed my brain, is what my subconscious believes and embodies. So every morning after I do my morning ritual, and my workout, I make sure to watch an uplifting video or two. This one showed up on my recommended list on YouTube.

This video resonated with me so much because it had reinforced so much of what I have been sharing previously. Everyone can live the life of their dreams. You may be thinking, but wouldn’t all the good things run out if everyone lived their dream life? Doesn’t there have to be someone on the bottom and someone on the top? Absolutely NOT. We are all unique, and have different passions and inclinations. Therefore we want different things. As Denzel emphasized in the video if we have a desire to achieve something that will improve this world, then we already have the power to achieve it.

Yet it is NOT guaranteed to occur and requires an intense amount of hard work. Discipline and consistency are the keys to turn your dreams into reality. There is nothing that can not be conquered by daily right actions. However, what or how much you achieve personally is not what truly matters. Anything external is fleeting. What matters is how you affect other people. Did you make this world a better place?

So how do you develop the virtues of discipline and consistency? As I mentioned in yesterday’s thought of the day (Read More: Aug 24th: 2015 Thought of the Day) choose one positive thing you will add to your daily regiment and complete it without fail. I always recommend that you first introduce the habit of walking everyday because it has a plethora of benefits.

Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,

Pavan Mehat

PS Here are a couple of ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

August 23rd 2015: Thought of the Day

inspirational-quote-follow-your-heart

This pearl of wisdom above perfectly complements a recent thought of the day (Read More: Aug 21st: 2015 Thought of the Day). It is essential to pursue mastery of a task and attain excellence. Yet this journey must be traveled with the appropriate perspective.

We are all going to die. Our bodies will turn to  dust. Even the most venerable and accomplished humans will be forgotten. Therefore nothing in this world has absolute importance, just relative importance. 

This may seem like a depressing realization. On the contrary I would posit it is extremely liberating and energizing. Their is nothing that you can lose because the only things you have are: control of are your thoughts and actions. No one can take these from you. 

However, do not get me wrong this does not mean that you reject the world. You can still enjoy earthly pleasures. The key is to not get attached or personally identified with anything external. What matters is your character and actions. The ironic thing is the less you are personally identified with the results the better you do.

When have you performed your best in your sport?  I remember discussing this with my college coach, Robyne Johnson, and we both found it surprising that our best performances occurred when it felt like we were not trying. The jumps in which we “tried” really hard and thought were great ended up being mediocre. To perform your best you need to cultivate a detachment from the results, and intense focus on the present moment.

How do you cultivate this? Leverage the power of simplicity. For the vast majority people, they live in excess. Eat too much, sleep too much, and watch too much TV. The cravings for stimulation in excess of what our body truly needs is caused by our egos need to build itself up. The reason pain is associated with living the virtue of austerity is that people have become personally identified with all the material objects they posses.

Does you closet look this? How much of your clothes have you not worn in eons? Would you really miss them if they were gone?

Does you closet look this? How much of your clothes have you not worn in eons? Would you really miss them if they were gone?

Challenge yourself on a daily basis to strip away the unnecessary things you own. A great way to get started is to look in your closet.  How much of your closet contains clothes you have not worn in months or even years?

I came to this realization when I moved back home from Boston after finishing my undergrad. I did NOT realize how many clothes I had! I knew that I needed to donate a significant portion of my clothes.

While I was putting clothes away in the garbage bags to donate, I felt a tinge of pain. It felt as if I was losing a part of me. But then I allowed the pain to be there and became present. I realized the “pain” was an outgrowth of my ego that is always wanting more. They are plenty of people that are in dire need of clothes. I had plenty of clothes that were just collecting dust. It would be much better if someone else was able to wear them.

Once I was able to detach my sense of self from the clothes I owned, I felt absolutely liberated and thrilled. I was starting to break away the chains of slavery laid on me by  materialism and allow others to enjoy what I had no need for If you begin to make a conscious effort to simplify your life,  you will live a joy-filled life.

Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,

Pavan Mehat

PS Here are a couple of ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

How Contrast Therapy can keep you injury free and boost your health

This is how many elite athletes feel. I know I did while competing for BU. But are we really helping ourselves out following the maxim no pain no game. Absolutely not. A paradigm shift is needed in strength and conditioning.

This is how many elite athletes feel. I know I did while competing for BU. But are we really helping ourselves out by following the maxim no pain no gain. Absolutely not! A paradigm shift is needed in strength and conditioning.

Who are the only two people who are undefeated and will remain that way for the rest of eternity in sports? Father Time and Injuries. There is not much that we can do about Father Time. We are all getting older. However, we have much more control over injuries than we realize. No doubt collision injuries are impossible to avoid. However, non-contact injuries, like Derick Rose’s knee injury, should not occur when we have such supposedly “advanced” sports training. Derick Rose was all by himself and no one hit him or threw him off balance. I completely blame the stupidity of Tom Thibodeau and the Bull Training Staff for ruining his career.

There is no excuse for why D Rose suffered such a traumatic injury in a game with no contact. The major driving factor was most likely fatigue. The game was over, Tom Thibodeau should have had him out of the game.

There is no excuse for why D Rose suffered such a traumatic injury in a game with no contact. The major driving factor was most likely fatigue. The game was over, Tom Thibodeau should have taken him out of the game.

However, I digress. Unfortunately the vast majority of injuries that still occur today are 100% preventable. They are a plethora of aspects of sports training that go on today that are wrong and I will discuss them in future posts. However, the number one factor from my personal experience and experience from coaching many athletes that leads to preventable injury is fatigue. You might think we just need to reduce the workload placed on the athletes. In an ideal world this would work. However, sometimes it just can not be done.

The problem is under recovery.  As I mentioned in a previous post (Read More: Where do you get better at your sport?) you do NOT get better during your training but while you recover. Too many athletes think that once they leave the court pitch or gym that all their work is done. Their work is just beginning. Being the best athlete requires a 24/7 commitment to being the best that you can be because all facets of your life can dramatically effect your performance.

Who says that recovery can not be awe-inspiring and intensely pleasurable. My time at the Scandinave Spa was one of the most enjoyable experiences in my life.

Who says that recovery can not be awe-inspiring and intensely pleasurable. My time at the Scandinave Spa was one of the most enjoyable experiences in my life.

So what is a modality that you can use to drastically boost your recovery in a short time period? Contrast Therapy. It is used by many NBA, NHL, NFL, and Olympic athletes. It is quite simple. You alternate between bouts of hot and cold temperatures. This causes a drastic increase in circulation, which helps flush out toxins from your body, and reinvigorates the soul.

I was reminded of the power of contrast therapy last weekend. While on a family trip to Whistler, I got the wonderful opportunity to visit the Scandinave Spa. During my time at the spa I learned of an important  aspect I was neglecting from my contrast therapy routine. I was not having a relaxation period in between the bouts of hot and cold so my body could reach a state of homeostasis. The protocol they recommended was:

  1. 10-15 minutes to heat up your body (Jacuzzi, Hot Salt Bath, Sauna, or Steam Room)
  2. 30 seconds to 2 minutes of cold (Very Cold Shower or Ice Bath)
  3. 10-15 minutes of relaxation at room temperature to allow your body to reach homeostasis.
Not having access to a

Not having access to a “spa facilities” is no reason to not incorporate contrast therapy into your daily regiment.

But what if you do not have access to “fancy” spa facilities like a sauna or jacuzzi (although I would argue these are much more common now than people realize)? You can use a shower and get almost all the benefits. However, when in the shower the protocol changes slightly as you are unable to take a 10-15 minute break between bouts of hot and cold to reach homeostasis. What I recommend is:

  1. Spend 2 minutes in as hot as water as you can handle. If you have a stationary shower head, try to move around so that the water reaches all parts of your body. If you have a “moveable” head, you can direct the water to the areas that are in most need of repair.
  2. Then as quickly as possible switch to as cold as you can handle. Remain under the cold water for at least one minute, and repeat as many times as desired. I recommend you repeat this sequence at least twice and no more than five times.

Contrast therapy will make you feel instantly better after a grueling workout. However, its not only enhances recovery but also your health as well. Its great for the circulatory system, and flushing out toxins from your lymph system. On top of that it invigorates the soul, as the shock of switching between temperatures makes you feel alive and will make you feel joyous.

Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,

Pavan Mehat

PS Here are a couple of ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

August 12th 2015: Thought of the Day

“The darkest hour is just before the dawn” – Unknown

This morning I was able to lead the morning walking group for the Running Room through the beautiful Pacific Spirit Park. It gave me some much needed time away from distractions to contemplate. I was reflecting on how I was feeling discouraged by the rut I have been in recently.

Sometimes it feels as if their is no end to your struggle. Just keep pushing your great breakthrough is just around the corner.

Sometimes it feels as if their is no end to your struggle. Just keep pushing your great breakthrough is just around the corner.

Then the quote above popped into my head. Is it just a nice platitude? When I reflected on previous times in my life I realized that my greatest breakthroughs followed my greatest struggles.

One example of this was during my junior track season at Boston University. I had been struggling the last two weeks during jumps practice and my body felt banged up after a long indoor season. We had one more meet left to qualify for New England’s and IC4A’s. This was make it or break it for me.

While I was warming up, my body felt very stiff and sore. I was worried. It did not go away during the warm-up. However, once I stepped on the runway I entered the “zone”. I completed my jump, and heard the official report my mark: “14.05 meters.” A personal best!

I was astonished I had jumped so far because the jump had felt effortless. It was if someone else was moving my body. But then I started to wonder why did all my learning follow this trend?

It is based on the neuroscience. For any skill, as long as you have the baseline physical capacity to complete it, learning is limited by your brain’s processing capacity. Learning can be simplified into four stages:

  1. Unconscious uncompetence
  2. Conscious uncompotence
  3. Conscious compotence
  4. Unconscious competence

When you begin learning anything, you will see dramatic improvement as you move from stages 1 to 3. However, suddenly all your progress stops. Does that mean you should give up? Absolutely not! What is happening is that your brain is laying down and strengthening the neural networks that will allow you to move from stage 3 to stage 4. This is what results in the dramatic improvement in performance. To be great in any field it requires unconscious competence. So do not get discouraged by plateaus; just realize that your brain is laying down the foundation to allow your performance to take a quantum leap.

When Michael would be soaring for dunks I can guarantee that he was not consciously contemplating how to dunk the basketball.

When Michael would be soaring for dunks I can guarantee that he was not consciously contemplating how to dunk the basketball.

Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,

Pavan Mehat

PS Here are a couple of ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

May 30th 2015: Thought of the Day

So I am always interested in studying and analyzing what makes people great and supposedly Kobe Bryant is as well! I was reading this amazing article in the Boston Globe about an interview with Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant. It is filled with gems so if you have time I would definitely go check it out. However, the line below really resonated with me as I have been a tad nervous this morning as I have a track meet later today.

Interviewer: So being great in the clutch means knowing there’s a moment after the clutch?

Kobe Bryant: There’s an infinite groove. Whether you make the shot or miss it is inconsequential.

It may seem strange for Kobe and Arianna Huffington to be having lunch together, but as Kobe says:

It may seem strange for Kobe and Arianna Huffington to be having lunch together, but as Kobe says: “No matter what industry you look at, people who do phenomenal things, there’s a common thread to them. I’ve always been curious about that, as a way to become a better basketball player.”

Wow! I would have never expected the Black Mamba to say whether you miss a shot or not is inconsequential. However, that is exactly the reason he is able to play with such fearless abandon.

He obviously has a huge desire to win, but he has NOT become personally attached or identified with his on-court performance. He understands the super important lesson that what he does is NOT who he is.

Until you are able to do so you will never reach your full potential because your distorted sense of the true importance of any one particular event will cause you to hesitate or have fears and anxieties fester which will strip you of your focus.

It is obviously easier said than done to not personally identify with what you do, but it is something that must be cultivated. This again is a soft skill that can not be easily acquired. However, some specific ways I like to strengthen this skill are:

  1. Change the language you use to describe what you do –The phrase, “I am an athlete” implicitly mistakes what you do for who you are. A better way is to say, “I compete in athletics.” It is something you do but NOT something you are.
  2. Reflect on your past – It is always easy to lose perspective in the heat of the moment. A great way to combat this is to think of something that you thought may have had a huge impact on your life in the distant past, and realize how inconsequential the result of that event was. For example, in the moment when I gut cut from BU’s basketball team I felt like the world was crumbling. However, it is something that in the big picture has been inconsequential.
  3. Cultivate an enjoyment of the process – Do NOT measure your progress based on the results but whether or not you are taking action that is moving you towards your dream.
  4. Meditate – This is something I have been harping on over and over again, but there is such an overwhelming amount of evidence and it is a constant theme behind excellence performance that you can NOT afford to not meditate.

Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,

Pavan Mehat

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PS Here are a few ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address. 

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

May 26th 2015: Thought of the Day

success-isnt-something-you-chase-its-something-you-have-to-put-forth-the-effort-for-constantly-then-maybe-itll-come-when-you-least-expect-it-michael-jordan

This is one of my favourite quotes from Michael Jordan (which I have to admit is basically all of them) but it was playing in a basketball game against at my high school against an Elite Basketball School from Denmark yesterday that made me instantly think of this quote.

Throughout high school I was obsessed about being known as an amazing basketball player, that would go on to be the star for an NCAA division IVY League basketball team. I was no way a selfish player or a prima dona. First and foremost I wanted our team to win championships. However, I also wanted all the accolades, and attention to come along with it. I wanted my cake and to eat it too.

However, the harder I tried to “be successful” and fulfill myself through my accomplishments the more they seemed to slip away through my fingers. Not to mention it was the least enjoyable time of my life. Even though I had achieved substantial success, I was inordinately self-conscious and anxious because I had based my entire self-concept on my basketball skills and ability. If I had a great game if I felt on top of the world, but when I played bad I felt worthless.

This whole process continued on throughout my basketball career until the fateful day in which I was cut from Boston University’s Men’s Basketball Team. It was absolutely heart-breaking. I felt like who I was had died. I walked around campus like a ghost. I was feeling a mixture of intense sadness and anger (the video below encapsulates my feelings at that time well). I could not understand how I could fail even though I worked so hard and it wanted it so bad. However, that is exactly why I failed.

I wanted it too bad, and I was constantly ignoring the beauty of the present moment (which is life itself!) and projecting myself forward to a future point in time in which I would inhabit a perfect stress free world because I was a NCAA division 1 basketball player. It is comical what I used to think as a teenager.

After I got cut I felt so embarrassed that I essentially removed myself from almost every connection with the basketball community I had (which were numerous) and stopped playing basketball (which is what I love to do the most). However, after years the orange round ball kept calling me back and I couldn’t resist.

The game yesterday perfectly encapsulates the quote above. Even though I was super sore from a very hard track workout I had done the day before, I was throwing down the classic one hand Lebron-esque dunk. I love that dunk because you can really crank it back hard and slam it hard. The crowd loved it. This was something that always eluded me back in my high school days. I got to the game and things just flowed effortlessly. It was like I was watching a movie. I knew what to do but it was as if something was flowing through me and executing the movements effortlessly.

How I felt in warm-ups.

How I felt in warm-ups.

In addition, yesterday may have been one of the most enjoyable times I have had while playing basketball. I had absolutely zero expectation about my performance. I was not out there to prove something to someone. I was just so happy to be able to play once again with my high school teammates. Obviously I have worked extremely hard over the years to prepare my body, but the primary reason for my success is my ability to live in the moment and embrace the current moment no matter what shape it may take. I used to always scowl at the refs when they called a foul on me, and now I was just joking around with them.

As mentioned in a previous post (Read More: Mindfulness in Motion) this state of intense presence is the most important aspect of excellence in any field. But how do you develop the mental tools to remain in this moment? I am sure you can guess what I am going to say, but yes it is meditation!

I just want to clear one common misconception right off the bat. Meditation does not require you becoming a celibate monk, leaving your current life and going to a monastery where you sit in the lotus position for hours on end. Meditation, is simply the act of focusing your attention completely on something here and now. They are countless ways to do this, and in an upcoming free e-book I will guide you on the best way to foray into the vast field of meditation.

Although I am sure this is an extremely effective way to meditate, you by no means have to do it in this way.

Although I am sure this is an extremely effective way to meditate, you by no means have to do it in this way.

Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,

Pavan Mehat

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PS Here are a few ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address. 

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram