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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March 26th 2016: Thought of the Day

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I was inspired to write this post because of something I learned AND executed from the 4 Hour Body. This book was my first foray into the world of “biohacking”. Even though I first read Tim Ferriss’ masterpiece over four years ago, this is the first book I come back to when I am aspiring to optimize a physical area.

I always revisit a section in the book called reversing permanent injuries when I feel that my body needs a tune up. My back has been bothering me since I helped man the high jump pit at the UBC open track meet where I got the honour of seeing the two-time olympian Michael Mason jump.

After my hamstring injury, I scoured the internet for the possible cause of my injury and methods to ensure this injury would not happen again to me. I came across an article that exclaimed the virtues of the egoscue method. So when I saw that Tim Ferris had provided a detailed introduction about it, I was very excited but also quite embarrassed.

I had read this section of Tim’s book so many times, but I had completely disregarded the part about the egoscue method. I thought it looked silly and too time consuming. Yet, today my pain propelled me to not only read about it, but to try it out. It was absolutely amazing. My back felt brand new, and it had the added benefit of drastically improving my primal squat. 

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The primal squat is a movement pattern I struggle with a bit. The first time I am enjoying it after using the egoscue method.

Even though I had the knowledge about this powerful technique for years, I was not able to glean the positive benefit until I finally acted upon my knowledge. 

This is not only something that I struggled with for a while, but is also a pervasive problem in society. We know we should move more and eat less. We know we should spend less time watching TV and more time with friends. We know we should spend less time on Facebook and more time sleeping. But do we?  I overcame this by immediately experimenting with any new knowledge that I believe could help me become excellent and help better serve this world. It is essential to execute on what we learn because it does not matter if you know the perfect thing to do if you do not act upon it.

Summary

  • Knowledge not acted upon does not produce results
  • It is not only important to learn about new and better methods, but to also implement them in your lives

What helps you integrate new interventions that you learn about in your daily life? Please comment below! Hearing your experience could be exactly what someone needs to hear to take their life to the next level. 

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.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

 

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.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

October 1st 2015: Thought of the Day

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I have not posted in a while, since I have been inundated with medical school applications. I just submitted my last one today! Anyhow hearing the Robin Sharma quote above and volunteering at St. Paul’s hospital today inspired me to write a post.

Unfortunately, too many people believe that

Unfortunately, too many people believe that “leaders” are the loudest people telling everyone what to do. That is not true leadership.

In our age, the notion of leadership is completely distorted. A leader is NOT the loudest person who is frantically ordering everyone around. Leaders come in many forms. Yet all leaders share a dedication to service and contributing value to others.

Every Thursday I visit patients in the wards at Saint Paul’s Hospital. Having the opportunity to serve those who need help the most is truly rewarding. Reflecting on today’s shift made me think of the quote above. It is truly remarkable the impact one can have when you can put your ego to the side and be willing to serve and add value to others’ lives in any way possible.

Serving others to become the best leader you can be will not only drastically improve others’ lives but also yours. The research in the field of positive psychology clearly demonstrates that random acts of kindness are one of the best ways to increase your own happiness (If you are interested in learning more about this burgeoning field check out The Happiness Advantage).

So how can you begin implementing this wisdom in you life? I highly recommend that you being volunteering. It will not only make you happier but also give you the best chance of reaching your dreams.

On the other hand, if you absolutely can not carve out time to volunteer that is okay. Volunteering is great, but it is of secondary importance. What is most important is a permanent shift in your mindset The vast majority of people are much too concerned with themselves. That is why depression and stress related diseases are on the rise. When one is obsessing over themselves everything seems gloomy and a pressing problem.

When you change your focus to how you can serve, the world suddenly seems ripe with opportunity. So if you are unable to volunteer then focus on doing whatever you can to brighten someone else’s day. Maybe hold the door for that person behind you. Pay the toll for the person behind you. Smile at that stranger who seems down. The possibilities are endless.

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 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.

Pavan Mehat’s LinkedIn

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

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

Pavan Mehat’s Instagram

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