What were you thinking? An exhausted young woman in stirrups, an anxious doctor with a sweaty forehead, a tired but comforting nurse — all holed up in a sultry room on a mid summer afternoon, struggling to get a poor baby out?

Well, you’re right. To be honest, I have an Obstetrics exam tomorrow and I should be studying. But since I’m here writing this post instead, I figured I’d make it up to it somehow. (Prominence level : Title)

But then, just as I was marveling at how invariably, the usual distractions seem doubly more distracting on exam eves, there was another striking thing that I’d like to bring up — Go back to your own exam eves. Remember the sheer amount of course material you could cover overnight? Be it the energy to pull an all-nighter, the mental capacity to hold all that volatile information, and the resourcefulness of using all that information on the exam — how did it all happen? A better question would be, why? Because you pushed.

When it comes to endurance, place a wager on your psyche. Let me give you an example.

In our first year of med school, we had an experiment in physiology called Mosso’s Ergography.

Mosso’s ergograph

The picture precisely shows how the setup was (looks like our experiment wasn’t exactly new ). Essentially, one finger of the study subject was tied across a pulley to a set amount of weight. The subject would have to rhythmically lift the weight, which would gradually be increased. The goal was to study muscle fatigue in various conditions. Interestingly (and not surprisingly), we found encouragement to significantly change subject performance. Essentially, the onset of fatigue starts with the muscle , the peripheral nerves are next, and the brain last. In other words, by altering your thought, you’re actually changing the control of fatigue from your muscle to brain, that’s theoretically non-fatigable. Ergo, push yourself.

Regret is a recurring theme in our lives. The most painful regret, however, would be to cruise to The End without hitting the peak — and dying without knowing what you were truly, truly capable of. That’s scary.

If you haven’t already seen this, then:

(My heartfelt thanks and much love to Manasa, for making me watch the video — you’re a champ, sister!)

At 1:40 he says, “When you step into your fears, and continue to push yourself to go on, something happens for you…”

Isn’t that a beautiful, beautiful line? What if we could push ourselves into our extreme every single day? What if we could do it with every project, with every relationship, and with every task? What could we possibly achieve? It’s mind blowing one moment, and heartening the next — because you know what? We still can.

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