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Jun 11, 2020

In this episode of Stimulus, we speak with Christina Shenvi MD, PhD about acting with agency -- what it means, some actionable skills, and how to apply it. We also talk about:  the importance of being specific and deliberate about your philosophy of life, how remembering your mortality puts the rest of life in perspective, Stoic philosophy, Viktor Frankl, and whether or not we have free will.

Guest Bio: Dr. Christina Shenvi MD, PhD is a fellowship trained geriatric emergency physician from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where she is the director of the UNC Office of Academic Excellence. She's host of her own show, GEMCAST, focusing on clinical topics to help physicians, trainees, nurses, and paramedics who take care of older adults, particularly in the acute care setting.


We discuss:

  • Corporate vs. personal mission statements and how codifying your life philosophy can help you live with intent [03:00];
  • Rob and Christina’s personal mission statements [06:15];
  • The fact that even when we try our best to act in accordance with our values, it sometimes feels like there are magnetic forces pulling us away [08:30];
  • Martin Luther, the famous theologian, said that there are two days that matter, this day and judgement day [10:35];
  • The concept of Memento Mori [12:00];
  • The psychologist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, whose writing about stimulus and response is like a look into the human soul [16:27];
  • Whether we have free will [18:10];
  • Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and what the word responsibility means from a Stoic perspective [19:45];
  • What it means to have agency and the way it relates to how you see yourself making decisions [22:55];
  • The importance of knowing that you are the author of your own story [26:10];
  • Learned helplessness and how it stifles creativity [28:00];
  • Barriers to acting with agency [29:50];
  • Different approaches to managing your emotions when criticized by a colleague or consultant [31:40];
  • How Shenvi skillfully manages negative swirls of emotion [41:10];


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