Archive | February, 2011

A is for Attitude – maintaining a positive attitude even when everything goes bad

Last fall, Shelly wrote an entertaining about Med Student Awesome that was inspired by the Book of Awesome.

The guy who wrote that book is Neil Pasricha, and a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a talk he gave at a TED event:

It’s a fantastic talk and I encourage you to all to watch it. In his talk, Neil shares his 3 A’s to living an awesome life: attitude, awareness and authenticity.


While all three of those A’s are important, the idea of attitude has really resonated with me recently. In the past few weeks, I had two of the most off days I had in a long time. By off days, I mean days where so many things go bad that your perspective on life becomes temporarily shifted towards great negativity. Without going into details, I was unhappy and that unhappiness spread to the way I looked at every single thing in my life.

My life is completely awesome and I am super grateful for everything. But when I was unhappy and my attitude was extremely poor, I looked through everything with a telescope of negativity. I began to focus on every negative thing in my life and ignore all the positives. Instead of looking at how much I had accomplished in my research, and I focused only on how much I had left to do. I saw only failure when really it was failure surrounded by success.

Our reality is whatever we perceive it to be. I finally came to the realization that my life was only disappointing because I viewed it through a telescope of disappointment. We have to take the good and the bad, always, and neglect neither. Our attitude in times of both good and bad significantly affects how we react to both success and failure.

The busier you are, the worse it is when everything goes wrong

Continue Reading →

Feeling burned out? I used to be too.

Disclaimer: This is a humorous semi-humorous post. Please don’t use this post to judge my understanding of healthiness. I concur that I inappropriately make some unhealthy behaviours seem healthy.

Two years ago, at one of my medical school interviews, I was asked, “How do you plan on dealing with burnout in medical school?” I remember mumbling something along the lines of ‘oh, I’m going to make sure to do stuff outside of school and balance my time’. The interviewers nodded their heads and I realized that the answer was good enough. It was sort of ironic that I got asked that question because around the time, I was the most burned out I had ever been in my life.

As we approach burnout period (late winter/early spring of the year), I thought I’d write a post with regards to this topic. Burning out is something every student hears about, but few act on. I know I always brushed it off, thinking that it wouldn’t happen to me or I’d deal with it easily. You know, it’s sort of like eating healthy, sleeping enough, exercising more often, …blah blah. I don’t really do all those things, yet I haven’t had a heart attack. But no, seriously, burnouts are something very important. See the end of this post for a P.S. about my burnout two years ago.

What is ‘burning out’ exactly?

Continue Reading →