March 23rd 2016: Thought of the Day

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One of my dear friends encouraged me to get the motivate chrome extension that displays a motivational and uplifting quote every time you open up a new tab. The quote above came up yesterday morning while I was doing some work. While I recognized the profound wisdom in Confucius’ statement, my ego bristled at it. Losing is for losers my ego continued. Only if I knew how I would be challenged later on that day.

I had recommenced training with the track team at UBC later that afternoon after a brief hiatus because of some troublesome achilles tendonitis. Something in my body felt a little bit off, but I ignored my inclination as I was feeling quite explosive and eager to return to action.

We were practicing our run throughs for a competition this weekend. I was blazing down the runway doing the last run through of my jumps for the day when calamity struck. The moment every track athlete feared occurred. Just as I had taken off for my jump, I felt a searing pain simultaneously with a huge “muscle cramp”. Having hurt this hamstring before, I knew this was a severe injury.

TRINIDAD'S BOLDON HOLDS HIS LEG AFTER THE 200M FINAL IN SYDNEY

No one is immune to injuries. However, some of us bounce back stronger and more resilient.

Even though I was extremely disappointed and angry, a tiny voice calmed me down and quipped, “they are no failures or negative events, just learning opportunities”. They were a lot of glaring physical and mental weaknesses that I was ignoring because of the wonderful progress I was making in my training. I needed this to occur to focus my attention on them so I could rebound a stronger and better athlete and human being.

Before I could conduct a thorough investigation of my injury, I needed to become aware, accept, and then let go of the emotions that were coming up after my injury. It is essential to realize that any so called negative emotions that arise from a certain event/situation is NEVER caused by that situation. Life brings out these suppressed dark elements of ourselves to the light so that we can transmute them into something beautiful. 

There are no bad or negative emotions. Emotions only become negative when they become bottle up and submerged. The key is to let it flow and then let it go. For example, do not suppress your emotions of anger because it is not socially acceptable to be angry. Instead, revel in the anger, pay attention to how your body feels when you’re angry, and then and only then can you make the enlightened decision to drop the emotion. An important corollary is that just because you are feeling an intense emotion, you are not compelled to blindly have your actions follow that emotion. It is human to feel angry, but it is wrong to commit violence when angry. 

Dealing with the emotions that arise due to an injury is just as important as anything physical you do to ameliorate the injury. Just like you can get scar tissue lodged in your muscle and joints after an injury, you can get emotions, such as anger and fear, lodged into your psyche. This lodged emotion will hamper your performance just as much as scar tissue.

How do you deal with these emotions? Two tools that I have found helpful when these emotions arise are:

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One of the most therapeutic and effective tools I have used when dealing with with tough times.

  1. Journaling – There is something truly remarkable about spilling the contents of your mind onto a blank piece of paper. The key is to place NO filter or judgement on what comes out. People who say they have nothing to write about are just unconscious about how much they judge and limit themselves. Lastly, it is essential that you physically write in cursive with a pen and paper. There is an intimate connection with the hand and brain that you need to take advantage of to be the best that you can be.
  2. Body Meditation – Many times physical pain experienced in the body is a deeply lodged emotion’s last cry to become noticed. It is no coincidence that disease has the words “dis- ease.” Disease can not occur in a body in a state of ease and non-resistance. This meditation can be done anywhere at anytime you have a spare moment. Become aware of your body. How fast is your heart beating? What does it sound like? What is the rhythm of your beats? Are you at ease? Is there tension in your body? Get curious about your body and revel in all of its sensations. For the vast majority of people, they experience reality all in their head. Remind yourself that you have a miraculous body attached to your head.

Losing and/or getting injured just plain sucks. There are no qualms about that. Sometimes I wonder if the ruthless mentality of professional sports and NCAA athletics, which unfortunately is seeping its way into youth sports, needs to be revolutionized. A maniacal obsession with winning and being superior to others should NOT be seen as a positive trait. The pursuit of self actualization and personal excellence are, but beating others is definitely not!

Even though there are many pitfalls with this culture, there is one major positive aspect lurking in the background. Elite athletics is such a ruthless world that every athlete will experience their fair share of losing, heartbreaks, and injuries.

This is an amazing opportunity that provides the impetus for all of us to not only be a better athlete but also a better human being. I hope this post gave you a fresh new perspective to help deal with defeats, disappointments, and injuries that are integral parts of athletics and just life in general. If you are going through an injury now and this has helped you, please share your experience below. It will not only warm my heart, but hearing someone’s experiences could be exactly what someone needs to be the strongest version of themselves. Lastly, if you have any other tools you use to deal with tough injuries and loses, please share it with everyone. Let’s create a community of leaders who are adamant about achieving their full potential and serving the world. 

Personal Excellence and Service, 

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.

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February 19th 2016:Thought of the Day

I feel a bit demoralized when my posts such as February 18th 2016: Thought of the Day, receive fewer views than usual. I pour my heart and a piece of me into these posts to try and convey an inspirational message with some context in hopes that it can help you be happy and chase your dreams. However, I had obviously failed at that mission yesterday.

I was questioning if what I was doing on this blog was even worth it. Do I need to change directions and start something new? Or just focus on my research and becoming a world class physician? One of my mentors (read more about the importance of mentors) gave me the answer to my questions. The video above.

If you are anything like me, you want the results you aspire to yesterday. This impatience is a good trait because it motivates you to work harder than your competition. However, when it is coupled with negative feedback, it can quickly cause you to lose hope and potentially give up right before you achieve more than you could have imagined.

We tend to overestimate what we can get accomplished in the short term and underestimate what we can accomplish in the long term. Why is this? We do not buy into our skills or the tremendous power of small daily actions (read more: book review about the Compound Effect). When you truly deconstruct world class performance, it is clear that it never happens in a short period of time. Visionaries that positively change the world are able to be in two places at one time. They can maintain the ideal of their vision while intensely focusing on what needs to be done now.

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.

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December 9th 2015:Thought of the Day

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Rejection and failure can be extremely difficult to deal with, especially when you put your heart and soul into something. However, it can help you more than you can imagine.

“Rejection is for your protection”

The process of applying to the most competitive MD/PhD programs in the world began on June 1st at 6 am when I submitted my 2016 AMCAS application. Everything had been smooth sailing up until that point. I expected the same for the rest of the journey. Boy was I wrong.

The journey so far has been a mixture of unbelievable highs, such as getting invited to interview at Harvard Med and getting an interview for the MD/PhD program at Boston U (my alma matter) and crushing lows. Getting rejected from every school I applied to in California (Stanford, UCLA, and UCSF) really hurt.

Going into the application process I was quite confident because of my sterling academic and research track record combined with my athletic achievements. However, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this application process and it had really shook my confidence.

I was conveying my feelings to one of my mentors and she mentioned that rejection is for your protection. She gave an example of how one of her close friends had lost a dream job to a colleague. She was devastated. But later on her colleague was raped by her boss.

Obviously this is an extreme example and you would NEVER want to inflict such a horrible experience on anyone. But it brings up a super important point. Due to our modern luxuries and advances in technology we have this misconceived notion that we have tamed Nature and are in control. This is absolutely false. We can not control what happens to us. We can only influence the end result. However, we have absolute control over the meaning we give to the events that happen to us.

So when you next experience rejection or failure, which you will again soon if you are pursuing excellence, the beliefs you have surrounding rejection will have a tremendous impact on your subjective experience. No belief is wrong or right. Yet if you control your beliefs, why would it make any sense to continue with a belief system that brings you suffering and unhappiness?

Living is a tough and challenging journey. But it can be filled with untold joys and learning experiences if you install and cultivate a belief system that empowers you to utilize all your hidden talents to improve this world.

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.

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August 26th 2015: Thought of the Day

“The brain can not distinguish between what is real and what is imagined”

Visualization may seem like a hocus pocus technique but it is anything but that. It is backed by hard science.

Visualization may seem like a hocus pocus technique but it is anything but that. It is backed by hard science.

Today’s thought of the day builds off yesterday’s thought of the day (Read More: Aug 25th 2015: Thought of the Day). I had mentioned that I constantly feed my brain with inspiring and uplifting messages. The wisdom above explains why this is so important because the images you feed your brain are just as powerful as what you experience first hand. Also last night I was reading Creative Visualization and I felt a more complete discussion about the power of visualization was needed.

Although I agreed unequivocally with the explanation about why visualization works in the book, it would not appeal to the more skeptical/rational minded individuals. All the “new age” statements may seem like hogwash, but with an understanding of quantum mechanics it is the only logical conclusion. On the other hand it is not reasonable to expect that the average person is intimate with quantum mechanics. Therefore I would like to expand on a more accessible reason why visualization works.

Lets take a look at vision, one of the most important senses to human beings. Is it our eyes that are seeing or our brain? It is our brains. Our eyes are just the the receptor of choice that converts light into electrical signals. It is our brain that synthesizes the incoming electrical signals to form the “images” we see. It is more accurate to think of our vision as “creating” a scene vs. passively observing the surroundings like a camera would.

The true mind bending realization occurs when one compares the neurological processes that occur in the brain when one visualizes an object vs. actually seeing it. They are exactly the same! This scene from the Matrix is not as far-fetched as it may have seen when you watched it originally.

So I am not refuting the assertions made in Creative Visualization, as I definitely believe they have merit. On the other hand I feel that this explanation about visualization is more accessible and appealing to those who would appreciate a more concrete and rational explanation. However, you may claim that I have tried visualization and it has not worked for me!

The reason that visualization is so effective when done correctly is because it gives your brain evidence to override the current negative self-limiting self beliefs you have that are holding you back. An example of such a negative self-limiting belief is that I do not deserved to be loved. This was most probably ingrained in your brain while you were young (our minds are much more malleable then) and decreed during an emotional time from someone of authority.

With such a belief it will be impossible for you to find a loving partner no matter how hard you try because you will self-sabotage your efforts. Why would you do this, even unconsciously? One of the most important things for your brain to maintain is congruence. If the belief that you do not deserved to be loved is ingrained in your consciousness, anything that occurs in your external world to contradict this belief will cause your brain a great deal of grief and discomfort. It will alleviate this discomfort by self-sabotage, and therefore eliminating the circumstance that is conflicting with your deeply held belief.

So to replace these negative self-limiting beliefs it is NOT just enough to visualize yourself as the person you would like to be. These images MUST be accompanied with enough emotion to cause them to be limibically imprinted into your nervous system. You need to ingrain the feeling of ALREADY being the person you wish to be. You can NOT ingrain the feeling of wanting to be that person,  and expect to ever become that person.

Visualization is a tool in every peak performer’s toolbox. It is used by elite athletes, CEO’s, business moguls, and high performing professionals. You no longer have the excuse of the esoteric explanations as a reason to not give it a try!

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.

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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

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August 24th 2015: Thought of the Day

“Stop praying like this and you will see.

Not ‘some way to sleep with her’ – but a way to stop wanting to.

Not ‘some way to get rid of him’ – but a way to stop trying.

Not ‘some way to save my child’ – but a way to lose fear

Redirect your prayers like that, and watch what happens

-Marcus Aurelius

Praying can be an absolutely wonderful thing. But what are you praying for? You are not maximizing what you can get from this activity if your prayers are focused on satisfying an impulse.

Praying can be a wonderful activity. But what are you praying for? You are not maximizing what you can get from this activity if your prayers are focused on satisfying an impulse.

Last night I was reading Meditations and I came across the passage above. I thought it would help me expand further on yesterday’s thought of the day (Read More: Aug 23rd: 2015 Thought of the Day). As I mentioned yesterday, nothing externally has absolute importance. What is of the utmost importance is developing your character. One of the most important virtues to embody is self control.

Why is this so important? Because it allows you to NOT be a slave to your impulses. There is this misconception that we have freedom. However that is false. We have liberty over what we choose to do. But we do not have true freedom because we are a slave to our impulses. Only once we are able to master our impulses, are we truly free.

The ironic thing, as the quote points out, is the less we worry about the external and focus on developing our self control the better our external world will become. Self control is so important because it allows us to do what we need to do when we need to do it. It allows us to do what we say we will do. It allows us to ignore instant gratification in lieu of greater long term rewards. These are all traits of highly successful people.

So how do you develop your self control? You need to find something small that you will commit to complete every day through hell or high water. The particular new action I recommend one should incorporate into their routine is a 15 minute walk as soon as they get up. For the vast majority of people, they are not happy with their bodies and/or a lack or energy. This is the best way to get both these areas back on track.

You might be quite pumped up right now and excited to get walking now. However, in a few days the motivation will wear off. You will wake up one morning and not want to get up from your warm bed. This is exactly when it is most important to push through. Your emotions and your mind are holding you back! Being able to push through this will erase the negative self limiting beliefs that are holding you back. That is why when a person can change or master one particular aspect of their life the rest usually falls into place. Small right actions compounded over time can achieve truly anything.

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

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August 23rd 2015: Thought of the Day

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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