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  • In this day and age, we're often seeking the quick fix.

  • The silver bullet, the magic pill.

  • How to instantly improve your grades, how to get a 6 pack in 6 weeks, or how to never

  • feel tired again.

  • The specific tactics are important - what techniques do you use to study, how do you

  • optimize for restful sleep, how can you increase efficiency to make time for other areas outside

  • your professional life.

  • These are all topics I've covered in previous videos.

  • But in order to get the most out of any technique, the proper mindset and foundational principles

  • must come first.

  • Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com.

  • In recent years, the philosophy of Stoicism has experienced a resurgence in popularity,

  • furthered by Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss, amongst others.

  • When I first came across Stoicism a few years ago, it really resonated, as the principles

  • were similar to the ones I used to overcome some of my own challenging obstacles.

  • And I fully believe that embracing some Stoic fundamentals would radically benefit just

  • about every student - whether premed, med student, or something else entirely.

  • Stoicism was started in the third century B.C. in Athens.

  • Although it's over 2,000 years old, it's remarkably applicable to our modern lives.

  • According to its teachings, we should accept the moment as it presents itself, and act

  • and think in a way that does not allow oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure

  • or the fear of pain.

  • Let's visit an ancient Chinese proverb to illustrate one of these foundational principles.

  • Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away.

  • The neighbors came and said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away.

  • This is most unfortunate.”

  • The farmer replied, “Who knows what is good or bad?”

  • The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it.

  • Everyone now said, “Oh, isn't that lucky.

  • You now have eight horses!”

  • The farmer again said, “Who knows what is good or bad?”

  • The following day his son was taming one of the horses.

  • While riding it, he was thrown off and broke his leg.

  • The neighbors then said, “What terrible luck,” and again the farmer responded, “Who

  • knows what is good or bad?”

  • The next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young

  • men to go and fight in war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg.

  • Is it good?

  • Or is it bad?

  • The happenings in life are deeply interconnected with immense complexity, and it's impossible

  • to know whether anything that happens is good or bad, because you never know what will be

  • the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of

  • good fortune.

  • Now think to yourself, how many times have you cast judgement on an event or person in

  • your life as being good or bad?

  • Don't worry, we all have, it's human nature.

  • But as Shakespeare said, “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

  • We will all face struggles and obstacles in

  • our life, regardless of whether we're rich or poor, black or white.

  • No one gets through life without experiencing suffering.

  • But that isn't necessarily because of the events that happen within your life, but rather

  • your perception, understanding, and beliefs around those events.

  • In his widely acclaimed book, The Obstacle is the Way,

  • author Ryan Holiday lays out the foundational principles with bountiful examples of Stoic

  • philosophy in practice.

  • I highly recommend reading the entire bookyou can find a link down in the description

  • below.

  • Here's how you can apply stoic philosophy to your own life as a student.

  • It's far too easy and far too common for

  • us to blame others for our problems.

  • I didn't get an A because the teacher is unfair.

  • I'm out of shape because I have bad genetics.

  • I'm poor because Trump is President.

  • The problem is two-fold: 1) First, we fail to take responsibility for

  • the happenings in our lives.

  • Fault isn't the same as responsibility, but one leaves you as a victim to life, and

  • the other empowers you to do something about it.

  • It's not your fault someone ran a red light and t-boned you, but it's your responsibility

  • to deal with the aftermath.

  • 2) Second, we assign judgement on the events in our life as good or bad, as if we had a

  • crystal ball and knew that the outcome is going to be worse.

  • In reality, we have no idea what the long term implications are.

  • As some of you know, I have Crohn's disease, which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Up until I was 18 years old, I was perfectly healthy.

  • And then, s*** hit the fan, no pun intended.

  • I had a terrible flare, lost 30 pounds in a week, was hospitalized, and diagnosed with

  • a life changing autoimmune disease a few months into my college career.

  • Was it fair?

  • Hell no.

  • Was I happy about it?

  • I mean obviously not.

  • And just as I was beginning to get on my feet and gain some of that weight back, two months

  • later my family life imploded, parents divorced, and I moved into a one bedroom apartment with

  • my mom and brother.

  • This was, to this day, by far the most challenging time of my life.

  • The lowest of lows.

  • Now I'm not perfect, and I had my moments of anger and doubt.

  • In fact, I went through all 5 Kübler Ross stages of grief.

  • But what I realized is that I had the power to control my perception of events.

  • I could focus on the negative side effects of all the medications I was on, or how it

  • was totally unfair for my family to implode at the same time I was getting a grip on my

  • health.

  • But where would that get me?

  • Who would win?

  • Instead, I focused on the positive: The struggles opened up vulnerabilities

  • and I grew closer to my mom and brother.

  • By handling the disease, including multiple trips to the hospital on a regular basis,

  • I became the most efficient person I know.

  • The timing of this event reinvigorated my passion to pursue medicine, and I had a drive

  • that would stop at nothing

  • Who know what is good or bad?

  • If I didn't get Crohn's, maybe I wouldn't have been so successful when applying to medical

  • school, or honed my study and efficiency strategies.

  • Maybe I wouldn't have started Med School Insiders.

  • Here's the lesson I learned the hard way.

  • Great times are great softeners.

  • But obstacles can be used to one's advantage.

  • As Andy Grove said, “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis.

  • Good companies survive them.

  • Great companies are improved by them.”

  • Now great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform weakness into strength.

  • We decide what we make of each and every situation.

  • One thing that you will always, no matter what, without exception, always be in control

  • of, is your perception.

  • But we're human, and the negative self-victimizing thoughts are prone to come up.

  • And when they do, simply sayNo, thank you.

  • I can't afford to think like that right now.

  • I've got a situation to handle.”

  • An interesting phenomenon occurs when we give others advice.

  • Their problems are clear as day, and the solutions obvious.

  • However, when we deal with our own problems, our perception is clouded by our baggage.

  • Here's another way to think about it: does getting upset provide you with more options?

  • More often than not, the answer is no.

  • If an emotion can't change the situation you're dealing with, it's likely unhelpful

  • or even destructive.

  • If you're upset and need a moment, by all means, that's completely fine.

  • Real strength isn't denying one's emotionsit lies in controlling them rather than

  • letting them control you.

  • Our perceptions determine, to an incredibly large degree, what we are and are not capable

  • of.

  • As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.”

  • I often hear students complain that they can't

  • overcome their procrastination.

  • Or they aren't disciplined enough.

  • They don't like A, B, and C about themselves.

  • As Viktor Frankl said, “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence

  • will be, what he will become the next moment.

  • By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”

  • Being a pre-med or medical student isn't supposed to be easy.

  • Yet when a student fails to achieve their goals or perform in the way they want, they're

  • quick to complain that they don't have what it takes or that their grades won't budge

  • no matter what they do.

  • But every time, they haven't given it their all.

  • If you haven't given it a proper effort, which includes intelligent experimentation

  • with different study strategies and testing techniques, then how can you expect your results

  • to be any different?

  • When you're about to face something incredibly difficult, don't focus on that lofty goal.

  • Instead, break it down into pieces.

  • What do you need to do right now, in this instance?

  • Do that, and do it well.

  • The top students don't simply aim at getting into a great medical school and attack that

  • goal relentlessly.

  • That's a sure fire way to burn out and end up miserable.

  • Instead, they think about what they can do today, one task at a time.

  • When students perform suboptimally in a class or on the MCAT, it's more common to see

  • them wallow in their misery.

  • The one guaranteed way to lose is to not learn from your failures.

  • People take failure the wrong way.

  • It's an opportunity for growth.

  • This is why stories of great success are often preceded by epic failuresbecause those people

  • weren't ashamed to fail, but driven and spurred on by it.

  • So lets say you graduated with a low GPA and an MCAT that wasn't much better.

  • Or you're an older non-traditional applicant with a different set of issues.

  • Or perhaps you're in an international applicant.

  • Regardless of the obstacle you face, it's in your hands to use it to your advantage.

  • What additional opportunities are offered to you compared to others?

  • How can you craft a narrative that spins the negative into something positive?

  • How can you come out ahead in the process, even when everyone else expects you to fail?

  • It's in your hands to choose how you perceive any situation.

  • But without the proper action, you won't change your position.

  • A perception grounded in strength and rationality opens up the possibility to act with targeted

  • effectiveness.

  • If you're not feeling motivated, go ahead and get started anyway.

  • Action isn't just the effective of motivation, but also the cause of it.

  • As Ryan Holiday writes, “If persistence

  • is attempting to solve some difficult problem with dogged determination and hammering until

  • the break occurs, then plenty of people can be said to be persistent.

  • But perseverance is something larger.

  • It's the long game.

  • It's about what happens not just in round one but in round two and every round afterand

  • then the fight after that and the fight after that, until the end.”

  • When you're feeling lost, remember to keep your frame bigbigger than yourself.

  • By constantly focusing on yourself, you simply make things more difficult.

  • I did this.

  • I tried so hard.

  • I deserve better. It's only natural to then take losses personally.

  • There's no use in pretending that what you're experiencing is something special or unfair.

  • It simply is what it is.

  • After watching this video, some of you may feel motivated to do things differently.

  • But here's the sad reality: motivation doesn't last.

  • It's the systems that count, and the most fundamental system is your own philosophy

  • and mindsetyour personal operating system. One of my favorite reminders is memento mori,

  • meaning reflecting on my own mortality.

  • The point isn't to be pessimistic, but rather the opposite.

  • Death doesn't make life pointless, but rather purposeful.

  • How can I use my time in the best way possible?

  • How can I be intentional with my work, impact the world positively to the greatest degree?

  • How can I strengthen relationships that matter to me and create lasting memories?

  • We know that we're not immortal, and yet we spend our time as if we'll live forever.

  • Instead of denying or fearing our own mortality, we can embrace it.

  • If you enjoyed this video, you'll love my weekly newsletter.

  • It gets sent out once a week and is super short.

  • In it, I share weekly insights, tools, tips, and resources available only if you sign up

  • via email.

  • I don't publish it anywhere else.

  • When new projects come up, small in-person meetups, special deals, or anything else that

  • is very limited, I share it first with Med School Insiders newsletter subscribers.

  • Check it out at medschoolinsiders.com/newsletter.

  • If you ever change your mind, it's one-click to unsubscribe, and I promise I'll never spam you.

  • Thank you all so much for watching.

  • I had so much fun making this video and I love hearing your suggestions for video topics.

  • Let me know down in the comments what other ideas you have.

  • Remember there are new videos every Saturday morning, so make sure you're subscribed.

  • If you want to chat with me in real time, hit the notification bell because I'm in

  • the comments for the first hour after a video uploads.

  • Thanks for watching, and I will see you guys in that next one.

In this day and age, we're often seeking the quick fix.

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STOICISM for STUDENTS

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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