Tag Archives: Life

Dr Shyam K Bhat MD is a
Psychiatrist and Integrative
Medicine specialist.

He is board certified in
Psychiatry, Internal
Medicine, and
Psychosomatic Medicine,
with additional certification
in clinical hypnosis


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Life is Imperfection

Intentions are never enough. I have not updated this blog for over two months despite my best intentions.

Almost every one of us makes plans that are never executed, resolutions that are dead on arrival – competing priorities and interests, the lack of time and energy, one day passes into the next and our plans stay unrealized.

With time, the weight of unrealized intentions becomes oppressive and many people finally give up trying because the tension between expectation and reality becomes unbearable.

At the heart of procrastination is a unrealistic desire for perfection. The perfect book, the perfect game, the perfect psychotherapeutic manuever – none of these are possible of course, because perfection is an aspiration, never a reality.

In order to stop procrastinating, we have to understand that there is no such thing as perfection. Or rather, no matter how good your work or craft, it can always be improved.

If you wait for perfection, you will never complete your task.

So for example, in order to update this blog regularly, I have to let go of my self-imposed impediments – if I am focused on the quality of the results, then paradoxically, I will not be able to immerse myself in my work.

Instead, it is far more effective, liberating and enjoyable to immerse oneself in the process.

Sachin Tendulkar plays the perfect cover drive when he is immersed in the shot itself, rather than thinking of hitting the ball for a six.

Life is in the process, in the work, in the action, not in the results of our actions. The desire for perfection is a manifestation of the remnants of an infantile ego. The true mature adult realizes that it is right to pursue perfection, but not to fear imperfection. Eventually, we learn that life itself is fully lived when we embrace the imperfection of it.

This insight is not fresh of course, it has long passed into cliche.  That is the nature of truth- wisdom and insight have to be dredged out of the quagmire of cliches and truisms.

At any rate, this is my way of saying that from now on, I will be updating the blog much more frequently. As always, these posts will explore issues of the mind and body, but they will be far more unedited, stream of consciousness, and personal. Imperfect, but hopefully of some value. Just like life.

Don’t Fear, Celebrate Life



He has been anxious all his life. He is afraid of fl ying, of heights, of women, of spiders, of water, and sometimes even of himself if he catches sight of his face in the mirror. His is a terrible suff ering, and it seems that all the therapy and medications in the world will not deliver him from this anguish.

One day, he is diagnosed with cancer of his colon. Fortunately for him, the condition is diagnosed in time. He undergoes an operation, endures chemotherapy, and is pronounced cured. Unfortunately, the man is traumatised by his skirmish with death, by the realisation of his mortality. Death now seems to stalk his every move, fanning the fl ames of his anxiety and in a few weeks, his fear of death has grown to such proportions that he begins to entertain thoughts of suicide.

If this is not tragically ironic enough, he dies a few months later, still cancer free, from a massive heart attack – the fear of death has killed him.


A similar story of lifelong fears, every day a torturous experience, anxiety racking his body, eating him alive with restlessness and fear, as if he has live ants instead of nerves. Then, he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in an inoperable stage.

“I have a few months to live,” he says, and proceeds to have the best four months of his life. He works with more purpose, he travels, he dances, he gets into planes, he even goes skydiving. He begins to learn a new language, he makes new friends and when he dies, he has long expunged his anxiety. His fears dissolve and his anxiety dies in the presence of his own impending death.

One person is destroyed by the awareness of mortality. The other is rejuvenated. I juxtapose these two cases because there are lessons to be learned in doing so, in the consideration of just how diff erently these two reacted to a similar situation.

These stories allow me to feel anew the truth behind the clichés: Do not fear. Life is short while off ering infi nite possibility. And, don’t wait until the end to start celebrating life