“Neo, you take the blue pill…the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” 

  • Morpheus, Matrix. 

Neo pops the red pill and joins the rebellion. 

I don’t know how many of you remember this scene from the 90’s superhit movie of Wachowski sisters (erstwhile brothers). However, this was a defining moment for Neo (Keanu Reaves).    

I am showered with appreciation from many colleagues for my earlier introductory article about our upcoming course, “High VOLTage learning!” Thank you very much, friends. You are all a constant source of inspiration. I am also swarmed with many questions and comments. Few examples are here:

“If everyone is blessed with tools, time, and training, why only a few become outstanding surgeons?” 

“I want to learn more. But, I am already busy with what I am doing, where do I find the time?”

“Out of 800, maybe we can just perform one or two emergency surgeries due to the risk posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. How can we learn anything at all?” 

“Is it essential to learn all 800 surgeries? Can’t I focus on any one single field?”

Answer to the last question, follow your heart, and the interest. The basic idea behind our course, “High VOLTage Learning,” is making you great surgeons in the field of your choice. Otherwise, a collective answer to all questions is, “Take that red pill.” The blue pill represents an artificial reality of negativity or mediocrity. The red pill allows us to escape us to a world of positivity or excellence. All that needed is a decision to down the red pill and stop being prisoners of false beliefs. 

What is real are the God-created beautiful universe and our physical existence in it. The rest are all artificially created around us. When we are borne, our parents provide us a name and a religion. As we grow, our society gives us an identity. The country offers a nationality. Our schools impart our knowledge. Either we create a job for ourselves or work for others. 

Similarly, many do not become good surgeons because of an artificial negative aura created by themselves or others. It is common to hear, “it is a difficult surgery.” “The complications are high!” “That is not the way!” “The incision is too long!” “It should have been 30′ upwards!” “Not all should do it!” “Not a surgical hand!” Blah, blah, blah. Often it is being done subtly as if like educating someone. Negativity is all the more evident with the advent of social media. (Honestly, and unfortunately, I have also contributed to this negativity many times. And, I regret that). Many people get paralyzed by these disempowering comments and slip southwards. These damaging statements can leave permanent scars on residents or postgraduates.

A great visionary and most outstanding entrepreneur of our times, Steve Jobs, has said, “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. That is—everything around us that you call Life was made up by people no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” We can change it by stoping to go with the flow and start questioning the false beliefs. A top motivational speaker Vishen Lakhiani states, “Ideas, memes, and culture are meant to evolve and change, and we are best served when we question them. Lakhiani calls these self-defeating rules as brules – a hybrid word for bullshit rules. He goes on saying, “We know intellectually that this sort of change happens, yet billions of us cling to self-defeating rules from the past that should not exist in today’s world because technology, society, and human consciousness have simply evolved beyond them.”  

Eleanor Roosevelt has famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” One best advice anyone gets is from Steve Jobs’s address to the Stanford University graduates. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And “most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” We cannot stop what others say or comment on us. However, we can control how we react to them. Dr. Robert Resnick, a Psychotherapist from Los Angeles, has designed the right equation to illustrate this point. 

E + R = Outcome

We have all the power within us to make a choice. Either we can blame the event (E) for the lack of our Outcomes (O). Instead, we can change our responses (R) to the events until we get the results we want. If we are not getting the results we desire, we have to change our answer. The founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, Peter Diamandis, quoted, “If you can’t win, change the rules. If you can’t change the rules, ignore them.”  

An even more damaging factor is under-estimating ourselves and our capabilities. Many even do not attempt to explore their worth. These self-defeating beliefs can snowball to become the biggest hurdles for all our achievements. We can recite the self-depreciating beliefs as:  

“First a man takes a belief
Then the belief takes more beliefs
Then the beliefs takes a man
(Sincere apologies to Scott Fitzgerald).  

Ultimately and unknowingly, we become Pavlov’s dogs with conditioned self-defeating behaviors. Marisa Peer, a British hypnotherapist, calls this as “Biggest Disease Affecting Humanity.” Consumer psychologist Paul Marsden, Ph.D. aptly describes it as, “we inherit and transmit behaviors, emotions, beliefs, and religions, not through rational choice but contagion.” Mediocrity and underperformance are a kind of social contagion.    

Nevertheless, these malicious mental hacks are also artificial. A silver lining in the dark clouds of self-defeating beliefs is that we can change them. And we can change them instantaneously. Studies by Darwin, Harari, and many others have found that the homo-sapiens are highly adaptable species on the planet. The human being can adapt to extremes of weather. We adapt to new food habits (McDonalds & KFCs). We adapt to changing family and job circumstances. We adapt to a life-partner, unknown to us until then. We adapt to the laws of the nation-changing from time to time. Similarly, we can change our negative beliefs instantaneously and adapt to empowering new beliefs.

Some people call this Bending Reality. Some christen it as rewriting your destiny. Some say Nirvana. Others call it reality warping. I simply say, ROAR! That is an acronym for “Recreating Our Artificial reality.”

The way we have created an artificial reality of negative beliefs around us, we can create positive beliefs. We will teach the technique of ROAR in our upcoming online course, “High VOLTage Learning.”  

To be an achiever, Take that “Red pill” and “ROAR.” 

With regards, 

Dr. Prahlada N.B