Tag Archives: Self-Actualization

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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Difficult Decisions

Sometimes I cannot make a decision, especially when it seems like there’s no good choice. How to make the right decision? Can you please help me improve my decision making ability?




Dear KG,

I am reminded of the time when a therapy client said to me, “The time for inaction is over,” and then added, “I will make my decision tomorrow.”

I knew that he would say the same thing next week, and of course, he knew it too.

Talking about action was enough to ease the anxiety of inaction, and so he continued to hold back from making this important decision that could change his life.

Most of us, during the course of a lifetime, will have to take many life changing decisions.

Of course, it could be argued that all decisions are life changing, especially the ones we don’t consciously make – If you weren’t late by five minutes for that train, you would not have met the person who would become your life partner, and so on.

But there are times in our lives when we know that the decision we have to make will have far reaching consequences.

Should I get married? To this person or to that? Should I move to a new place or stay here? Should I take this job or that? Or, should I join this university or that?
And so on.

If you have a difficult time with such decisions, if you are stuck, then it’s probably because you are thinking too much.

Decisions that force you to choose between ambiguous outcomes are difficult to make – your rational, theoretical brain will not be able to find a solution and will often spin in a closed ended loop.

Decisions can be difficult and complicated for a number of reasons, but often, difficult decisions are those when the 2 alternatives presented seem equally bad, or equally good.

(The first – 2 bad choices – is referred to as Morton’s Fork (more here at Wikipedia) and the other, Buridan’s Ass (here’s the wiki link)

While you struggle with the decision, thinking about it, weighing your options, the “correct” decision eludes you.
That is because your decision will not feel like the “right” one, unless it resonates with the emotional center of your brain.
When you make the “right” decision, you will not question it, you will know it.

Sounds kind of self-evident, but it bears underlining. The right decision – as Malcolm Gladwell discusses in his book, Blink – is often made in an instant.

So in order to make the right decision, you have to trust yourself.

If you are caught between a rock and a hard place, or between a stack of hay and a pail of water, act with conviction.

Trust your instincts, your emotions, your gut, and you will have made the right decision.


Dr Shyam Bhat


Your Someday is Today

Dream all you want. But put it to action.

Many people die with their dreams still in their heads and hearts. My “someday” never happened, they would tell us.

Why do so many people wait?

What prevents people from acting on their dreams?

Most people cite practical obstacles such as the lack of money or time.

“I am too old now.”
“I am too young, I need experience.”
“I need to save more money.”
“When I retire…”
“When I take a sabbatical.”
“The idea is not good enough.”

But no matter what your reason for inaction, it has its basis in one emotion only – fear.

The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of uncertainty. But most of all, the fear that in order for dreams to become a reality, we have to first be willing to kill the dream.

As long as we want the comfort of the dream, its fantasy alive, we will hold on to it and nurture it, play with it in our minds, but never willing to release it into the world, to act on this dream.

Dreams are fragile. It is the nature of your dream to resist the light of day, because it is fragile. It lives a tenuous existence as it is, between the world of fantasy and reality.

But in order to act, you have to first be willing to let your dream go. To see the dream die and be reborn as something tangible, imperfect perhaps, but real.

So harness the fact of your death. The best antidote to inertia is to harness the knowledge of your mortality. Fight the fear that makes you continue living in the safety of shadows, by reminding yourself that you will not live forever.

You do not want to carry your dreams to your grave. Act now. Your someday is today.

What Motivates Us

I recently read Daniel Pink’s thought provoking book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.”
If you can’t get your hands on the book, check out Dan Pink’s TED talk on the same topic. Here’s the link.

In his book, Pink reminds us that we are not motivated by the old school carrot and stick approach. Instead we are motivated in an environment that allows us the opportunity to express and achieve our potential.The elements of true motivation are : Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

When you have the autonomy to explore and find creative solutions to problems, you feel motivated.

When you strive towards self-improvement and mastery of a subject, you feel motivated.

When you can translate this into a purpose that is larger than yourself, you feel motivated.

We are all born with curiosity, with a drive to understanding and exploring the world. Ultimately, we want to know that we are positively contributing to the world, and living our purpose.

Unfortunately, for many people, life derails these natural drives. Adulthood results in the death of dreams and the relinquishment of the idealism of youth is mistakenly seen as a hallmark of maturity.

But in my work with organizations and individuals, I often see what happens when a person relinquishes personal fulfillment and instead embraces stagnation – anxiety, depression, fatigue, unhappiness, and a sense of emptiness.

If you feel any of these symptoms, it might be an indication that you have to re-evaluate the course of your work life.

Ask yourself and answer these questions

a) Am I doing what I can in order to realize my potential?

b) If not, what are my strengths and talents?

c) How can I achieve mastery in one area of my life, and build on my talents?

d) How can I translate this into a purpose that will benefit others?

By pursuing your passion, by engaging your talents, by striving harder to constantly improve and learn, you will be happier, more motivated and purposeful. The money and the success will happen as a natural consequence of these endeavors.