5 Lessons Physical Therapists can Learn from Bruce Lee

I wrote a guest post for Strive Labs. Check it out:

“Bruce Lee is one of my personal heroes. While there are many reasons I admire him, I find his philosophical approach to everything the most salient and magnetic feature of admiration. We can learn numerous lessons from his life. Here are 5 lessons that apply to Physical Therapists as individuals, and Physical Therapy as a profession.”

Continue reading…

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What Would MacGyver Do?

I wrote a guest post for Strive Labs titled “What Would MacGyver Do?” about some lessons we can learn from this 1980’s icon.


 MacGyver has been an icon of resourcefulness ever since he first hit TV decades ago. While we may not be able to cobble together lifesaving devices using toothpicks and chewing gum, there are some worthwhile lessons to be learned from Angus (can you believe MacGyver’s first name is Angus?? Me neither…). Let’s look at 2 filters of MacGyver wisdom; the first one is from a company that makes soap: Method.

Method grew from “a very dirty San Francisco flat” into a very successful brand and company. Their mascot was, and still is, MacGyver. “What Would MacGyver Do?” is one of their core values. Here’s how they described it: [read more]…

Hindsight Wisdom! Special Post for #solvePT 02/24/15

Tonight’s #solvePT discussion revolved around the following question:

It just so happens that I’ve asked a similar question repeatedly over the last year in my interviews. I highly recommend that you check out the interviews. There are TONS of wisdom and lessons to learn from these shared stories and experiences. 

The question I asked was some variation of: “Imagine you’ve travelled back in time right after your graduation from PT school and are face-to-face with yourself. What advice would you give to your younger self?” I’ve listed the responses below.

Enjoy this special post for #solvePT!


Dr. Nick Nordvedt: LEARN and find a mentor. PT students and new grads that I meet are frequently surprised by the vast amount of knowledge still to learn after graduation. We graduate as generalists, but must find our practice niche after graduation. I think the best way to do this is through taking advantage of every learning opportunity available and find a great mentor that shares core practice values with you.

DR. MONIQUE CARUTH: LOL, shouting out loud to my young self…”You do not know it all!!!!”,  I would tell myself to welcome constructive criticism because those that offer it they see potential in you and care about you to take the time to invest in sharing ways and means for you to better achieve your goals. Those that don’t care won’t waste time even offering anything good or bad. Don’t beat yourself up about getting a B on an exam, no one cares what your grades are when you leave PT school as long as you pass your boards. Take a few business electives. Chat with managerial students. Meet and sustain relationships with great mentors. Engage in social media. Advocate more for our profession.

Dr. Ben Fung: Get involved in legislative issues – licensure defines practice patterns. PERIOD. If you want to truly be regarded as a primary care, provider of choice for neuromusculoskeletal impairments – one must be first licensed to do so to effectively penetrate the market.

DR. ERICA MELOE: That’s an interesting question because I gave up a financially rewarding career to go back to school. I would advise the student to pay attention to the trends in healthcare. When I graduated PT school, it was during a time when no one was hiring! The Balanced Budget Act was in full swing and the Medicare Cap was just instituted. There is no way as a PT Student you could have prepared yourself for that, realistically. I would also have advised myself to seek a mentor out, someone who was already established as a PT. Mentors are so important for both personal and professional development. And I think as a student in a field that was undergoing so much change, it would have been nice to see the field from a different perspective.

When I was at Stern in my last year of business school, NYU set up “informational Interviews” with alumni and they endeavored to match you both with regards to industry. These were very helpful in the sense that it opened my eyes to the opportunities in my field. When I was in PT school, I did not have that opportunity. I would urge students to request this if their programs were not offering it already.

DR. DAVID BROWDER:  Daniel Pink, in his book ‘Drive’ lists three things that drive intrinsic motivation.  1) Autonomy, 2) Mastery and 3) Purpose.  My advice is to seek opportunities to work in an organization where the purpose of physical therapy is embedded into the culture, and where they can gain mastery in the practice of physical therapy.  For those so inclined seek out mentors who can help develop management and leadership skills.  I believe that specialization is an excellent route to this.  Autonomy is more difficult and can definitely be found professionally, but for those that have the ambition and determination to build their own practice – I think there is no better place than private practice physical therapy to find the confluence of these three things.

Dr. Sandy Hilton: Be bold and take chances. You will need to be persistent to get what you want, do it with grace and kindness, but do it.

And publish your masters thesis, because you were right.

Dr. Erson Religioso III: Clinically: You don’t know it all, and for God’s sake, stop beating on people to make them move better!

Personally: Start working on your symmetry and stop with the huge pounding overstrides so you don’t have to quit running due to knee pain. Also, invest in something called google.

Jerry Durham:I would beat the following statements into my Younger head….

-Believe in yourself, your ideas and what you bring.

-Understand that YOU being YOU is the most Valuable thing you can do (Fuck others who say dont be YOU)

-Present SOLUTIONS not just COMPLAINTS

-Don’t be afraid NOT to be the smartest guy in the room…You can learn from Everybody

-Find a Business Mentor TODAY (this woulda helped on multiple fronts, not just starting my biz)

-Set up a financial plan and follow it..

-Your parents are right!!…(almost all of the time).

All of those played a huge role in my personal and professional development.  A couple of those came way later than others.  If those were beat into my head 20 years ago, my learning curve would have been far shorter!

(I would also mention to hold that Apple stock I bought at $14 a share…no joke.  But thats for another day)

TODD HARGROVE: Invest in Google and Amazon. Chicken wing consumption needs to come down.

I don’t regret going to law school at all, it was one of the best times of my life. But I do regret not getting started with my current career a little earlier. Is there a difference between these two things? It feels that way to me. If I had gotten started with this career earlier maybe I would have been more involved in strength and conditioning and sports performance.

BRUCE WILK: It was 1980 and it was my senior year of physical therapy school.  I was disappointed because I was hoping to learn about running injury management and how to keep people running healthy. It took years to reach that goal, but I finally made it.

My advice: Stay the course.

BRAD BEER: Great question. My advice would be two-fold:

1. To not ‘look side-ways’. Avoid the comparison game. The grass may appear to be greener but it rarely is!
2. Be patient. Success is developed through the navigation of an array of challenges and various learning opportunities that life both professionally and personally generates.The degree to which you succeed and progresswill be determined by the degree that you stop to evaluate your learnings and lessons.It has been said that experience is an OK teacher but evaluated experience is an even better teacher.

JESSICA MCKINNEY: Study, travel, and read more before you start your family and trust your gut in bridging pelvic health and your orthopedic manual therapy training. You’ll know enough to do it way earlier than you think.

DR. SETH OBERST: Having a reason for everything that we do as physios. Having a paradigm for progression/regression as well as using a test-retest model that exposes the client to the intervention based on your hypothesis and then gauges their response is crucial! It’s what separates the zeros from the heroes. The key is to recognize patterns and that means a lot of deliberate practice. Experience itself does not equate to expertise; deliberate, thoughtful experience while being driven by what we don’t know yields expertise.

Expose yourself to other ideas outside of physio. Yoga, massage therapy, kettlebells, Oly lifting, anything. We try to own these little silos of information without considering other, often very effective, schools of thought. Way too many PTs have no clue about training methods and movements which is rather ridiculous. If you yourself cannot pull, push, press, and squat how the hell can you expect to have face validity when calling yourself a sports physio or trying to coach a patient (and yes everyone should be able to perform those movements in some capacity). Because ultimately PTs are movement coaches so take pride in owning movement.

ANDY LODATO: This profession and your patients will humble you. They will humble you with their generosity, their complexity and their vulnerability. You won’t realize the power that you have to help someone just by listening and talking. The profession is a “Physical Therapist”, but all of those psychology classes you took in undergrad will be of great use to you. Also, remember to be have patience. Your career and development will take not happen overnight. All of the bumps in the road are part of the journey.

ANN WENDEL: I would tell myself that it’s all going to be ok. That no matter what happens, I can turn it around and make a really satisfying life for myself.

JULIE WEIBE: Change is an evolution, not a revolution. Be patient, and stand strong even when you are swimming against the tide.

Never stop learning.

Stop cursing like a sailor.

Stop dating that guy. Wait for the Canadian….(I would sort of trail that last one off into a whisper, then slink back into the shadows….)

Find me on Twitter: @Cinema_Air

On Complaining, Pain, and What to NOT Focus On…

The following excerpt from The Tim Ferriss Show where Tim interviews Tracy DiNunzio is fantastic!

Tracy DiNunzio: Yeah, I tried like complaining and being bitter. It didn’t
work. It was just terrible and I was definitely bitter. I
definitely went through my ups and downs. Okay, so
Stephen Hawking actually has the best quote on this and
also the best like legitimate story of, you know, has the
right to complain probably more than anybody. He says
that when you complain nobody wants to help you and it’s
like the simplest thing and so plainly spoken. Only he
could really say that brutal honest truth, but it’s true, right?

If you spend your time focusing on the things that are
wrong and then that’s what you express and you
projection to people you know, you don’t become a
source of growth for people, you become a source of
destruction for people. That draws like more
destructiveness. I think that because that was how it felt
for me when I was thinking about how I was in pain and
talking about how I was in pain, it started a momentum
that went in a negative direction in my life. At one point, I
would say, I don’t know, probably in like 2006-2007, I just

decided to, it’s kind of like Tim Ferriss challenge, but I
didn’t know you then. But, I put myself on like almost a
complaining diet, where I said like, “Not only am I not
going to say anything negative about the situation I’m in,
but I’m not going to let myself think anything negative
about it.” This coincided with, I had lost feeling in my feet
because of the surgeries, so I don’t have any feeling in
my feet, so I have to keep my eyes open when I walk.

At the time, I was reading about how plastic the brain is
when it comes to filling in the gaps where you’re losing
information and starting to understand just scientifically
how plastic the brain is, I thought, “Well, I refuse to have
negative thought and I only let myself have a positive
thought, eventually that’s going to change my brain, I
don’t know how long it’s going to take thought.” It took a
long time and I wasn’t perfect at it, but I definitely feel like
… Not only did replacing those thoughts helped me start
moving my life in a better direction, where I wasn’t
obsessing about what was wrong and I was just thinking
about what was right, it also made me not feel physical
pain as much, which is very liberating and kind of
necessary if you want to do anything because if you’re in
pain, it’s really hard to do anything else but feel it.

You know probably more about this than I do the way that
the body processes pain and how pain is in a way just a
thought. Yeah, I did this experiment where I tried to
control my thoughts for some time. It just started things in
the right direction. It doesn’t mean that everything is
always good. I definitely have days where I am still like,
“This sucks, I wish I just had like normal feet and could
go, run around and not think about all the little things that

I have to think about.” But for the most part, I just don’t
think about it anymore.

Pair the Interview with this blog post by Tim: The 21-day No Complaint Experiment

@Cinema_Air

LeeAnne K-G: Top 5 Life lessons Learned So Far

I recently asked LeeAnne Ketchen-Gullett, ATC, MS about her “Top 5 Life Lessons So Far” and she was generous to respond with this fantastic guest blog. It is a worthwhile read that I will definitely re-visit periodically. In case you haven’t already met LeeAnne, you can find her on twitter @LKetchen14ATC (not only is she a Certified Athletic Trainer, but she’s also a Full-time Volunteer!). Enjoy the read and I hope you get as much out of it as I do.


There is Value to Each Individual You Meet

Meeting new people is one of my favorite things whether it is on a plane, conference, sports event,  work related or standing in a line. I take it as an opportunity to understand people and myself. I am not saying I “like” or have great experiences with every person I meet but I do take something away from each individual and interaction and carry it with me. During good or bad interaction I learn how to listen, engage in intellectual conversation, know when not to speak, and use of body language.  I’ll admit, often I have learned communicating the hard way but its valuable the next time a similar situation presents itself. I have met amazing people in unique circumstances and they have made an impact on me forever and may or may not even realize it. The world is big and full of incredible people. I would like to meet as many people as possible for the experience and to take a little bit of them with me. I find great importance to live in the moment and take the opportunity for person interaction because everyone has their own story and we can all learn from one another. That being said- even the smallest interactions can play a role, never underestimate the impact you can have on someone else’s life.

The world owes you nothing

Just because bad things happen doesn’t mean something good will happen to make up for it. Just because you work your tail off may not mean you get the job you want or put you necessarily where you want to be. I have learned to not “expect” much in return for what I do or accomplish. It is about changing your mindset and attitude. I work and am there for people because I love to do it and the reward is it makes me feel good. It is about being a good person and waking up with a positive attitude. I find that if I can do that then it will trump many things. It is important to focus on what we do have control over and the goals we set for our self. It is not okay to expect rewards for all things we do because we feel that we “deserve” it. It doesn’t always workout that way and we must carry on, work hard, and move forward. In life nothing is ever guaranteed, so everyday create your own luck and opportunity.

You cant wait for the perfect opportunity- Take a chance and step out of your comfort zone

Looking back I feel like I missed out on some opportunities because I was waiting for the perfect “moment” or “timing” where everything would fall together nicely and work out perfectly. What I’ve learned: rarely does this happen. I discovered that I wasn’t good at having a plan. I just ruined plans. However, I was better at planning and found it to be more efficient in accomplishments. If you take a chance and go with a positive attitude, it WILL work out and you will find success. I used to be scared that something bad would happen and it would mean a big set back in my life. I was wrong. It was in the moments where I didn’t have a plan, that potential opportunities opened up, when I dove in fully. I had no idea how things were going to turn out or where it was going to lead me, but it is in those moments I learned the most. Being in uncomfortable situations uncovered feelings I didn’t know I had and didn’t know I could handle. It’s about discovering parts of yourself you didn’t know existed and using them for future situations. This has happened to me on more than one occasion and I couldn’t be more grateful for chances that I have taken on a whim. It has lead me down a strong path of meeting amazing people and being put in tough situations that has built me as a person and professional.

Show that you care, be present

I believe that we are all connected somehow and this kind of goes hand in hand with my lesson number one.  I have found that building trust, being passionate, being considerate and caring can be the most rewarding thing one can do.  I didn’t understand this until I started getting e-mails and cards from people expressing gratitude about how important it was to them that I gave them time, listened to them, and show that I care. I truly value each person I work and interact with. It has to do with being a good person, doing the right thing, and being there for someone because you want to be genuine, to be their listening ear, and show concern. When I get feedback (cards and emails), I realize how much their feedback affects me, and I then understand the impact I may have on others. That is what feels amazing.  I think it is so important to not only show that your care, but when given the opportunity, let others know that you appreciate them. Even if it is as simple as a solid “thank you”, I know in my industry it can go a long way.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

Intuition and instinct can go a long way.

I think it is important to be in tune with our instinctive nature and follow the path it leads us down. Intuition and instinct isn’t measurable, it’s a feeling and belief based around experiences and facts that have been in our life. These experiences turn into our ability to problem solve and respond to situations for success. I suppose I can take the top four life lessons already mentioned and say intuition and instinct play a huge role in all of them. I would like to think growing up I have had a solid foundation built around strong morals and beliefs. As I get older and go through new experiences and challenges, I find self-talk and reflection to be one of the most beneficial parts to my day. Trusting my intuitive nature and making quick decisions has led me down an amazing journey.

Accept no ones definition of yourself because no one knows you better than you do. Society, parents, teachers may have an image about how you need to be and how to live your life in order to be successful. Fact of the matter is that everyone reacts and responds to situations differently. Life is here for us to create and define our self as a person, how we want to be and what path we choose. It is important to spend life on your own terms and what you believe in.  This is created by the choices we make and not the choices people think we should make. Be you, listen to yourself, and create yourself based on your intuition and instinct. I look forward to each morning, excited to create new opportunity and another day to build a better version of myself.

Connect with LeeAnne Ketchen-Gullett, ATC, MS on Twitter.

And find me @Cinema_Air

How to Fail Miserably

Charles T. Munger’s 1986 Harvard School commencement speech was inspired by a prior commencement speech given by Johnny Carson. Carson’s sarcastic speech provided a blueprint for guaranteed misery in life. Carson’s prescription included:

  1. Ingesting chemicals in an effort to alter mood or prescription
  2. Envy, and
  3. Resentment

Munger commented on Carson’s recommendations, and then added four more prescriptions:

  1. Be unreliable
  2. Learn everything you possibly can from your own personal experience, minimizing what you learn vicariously
  3. Go down and stay down when you get your first, second, or third severe reverse in the battle of life
  4. Ignore the advice of a rustic who said: “I wish I knew where I was going to die, and the I’d never go there.”

Following suit, let’s consider some prerequisites for guaranteed failure and professional burnout. I will skew this towards the Physical Therapist, but can be applied to any profession.

First, resist change. Graduated with a DPT, you are now equipped with enough moxy to delegate patient care. Still drenched in research and free from the wisdom of an evaluated experience, begin entertaining the thought that you are now the international filter of ideal patient care and physical therapy treatment. Continuing education courses are merely confirmation of what you already know; a checkmark to maintain your licensure. This applies to you too; yes you, the seasoned physical therapist. Don’t risk professional evolution by assimilating new and relevant research, or by learning from the very individual you are attempting to treat. A surefire recipe for failure is holding onto the past; hold fast.

Second, fly solo. If history is any guide, then you must not risk attaining a rewarding career by collaborating with those around you. Do not, by any means, aid or abet the very organization that represents and preserves your profession. Also, related to change avoidance (see above), beware social collaboration. It would serve you well to abstain from the wisdom distilled from the following quote by Stephen Landauer:

In Plato’s Republic, guards were taught by poets. Views contrary to your own are always helpful, as sometimes you will see truth in them and effect change, and, if not, you will be stress-testing and ultimately strengthening your own convictions.

Your desire for failure may hit a roadblock as closely held ideas and perspectives could be challenged, and errors exposed. Remain steadfast in your resilience for professional atrophy; stay inside.

And, finally, stop focusing on solutions. Given the dedication to failure, one must avoid solutions; instead, spin the wheel of status quo by repeatedly underlining problems without suggesting creative alternatives. Maintain a purely subjective point of view, avoid objectivity. In fact, it might be easier to simply beat the drums of your favorite dogma. Becoming an agent of change could put you at risk of developing a meaningful and impactful career. Embrace cognitive ossification; stop exploring.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, keep staring at your feet.

Find me on Twitter @Cinema_Air

Sources:                                                                                                                      “Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger” by Peter Bevelin                                                “Maximize Your Potential” edited by Jocelyn K Glei

“Regret Minimization Framework” by Jeff Bezos

Making major life-altering decisions is inherently daunting. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, provides a brilliant filter that simplifies the decision – A “Regret Minimization Framework.” (video at bottom of post) This is simply beautiful:

I went to my boss and said to him, “You know, I’m going to go do this crazy thing and I’m going to start this company selling books online.” This was something that I had already been talking to him about in a sort of more general context, but then he said, “Let’s go on a walk.” And, we went on a two hour walk in Central Park in New York City and the conclusion of that was this. He said, “You know, this actually sounds like a really good idea to me, but it sounds like it would be a better idea for somebody who didn’t already have a good job.” He convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision.

So, I went away and was trying to find the right framework in which to make that kind of big decision. I had already talked to my wife about this, and she was very supportive and said, “Look, you know you can count me in 100 percent, whatever you want to do.” It’s true she had married this fairly stable guy in a stable career path, and now he wanted to go do this crazy thing, but she was 100 percent supportive. So, it really was a decision that I had to make for myself, and the framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called — which only a nerd would call — a “regret minimization framework.”

So, I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, “Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.” I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so, when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision. And, I think that’s very good.

If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, “What will I think at that time?” it gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion. You know, I left this Wall Street firm in the middle of the year. When you do that, you walk away from your annual bonus. That’s the kind of thing that in the short-term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term then you can really make good life decisions that you won’t regret later.

Sources: Academy of Acheivement and Bijan Sabet

Find me on Twitter @Cinema_Air

Letter to DPT Graduates

Dear DPT Graduates,

Congratulations! Your dedication and achievement is remarkable. Welcome to the Profession.

As you are aware, your new profession provides many avenues of growth through a myriad of specialties and environments. You will encounter the agreeable and challenging; and if you’re lucky, the unbelievable or unthinkable. Therein lies your opportunity.

Our world of political and financial uncertainty births opportunity. Change is the only constant. Move beyond the tribalism plaguing our profession; collaborate your way to success. While the pendulum swings relentlessly to the extremes, beware of boxing in your future by rigidly defining yourself. Look to these extremes as your opportunity to leap-frog toward your goals. As Rahm Emmanual said, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.” Be open to novel possibilities. Avoid ideology; never stop learning. Stand on the shoulders of those before you.

One last piece of professional advice: DPT Graduate Do Not Outsource Thyself. Be indispensable. Keep this in mind as you make decisions regarding your new profession. You graduate with a strong foundation deserving of meaningful progression; anything less would be a disservice. In keeping with this advice, it is best to discover obstacles before you trip over them. As John Paulson said, “Watch the downside, the upside will take care of itself. ”

Congratulations. Welcome to your new profession. Be daringly great,

Cinema

Find me on Twitter @Cinema_Air