13 lessons that changed my life.
Whenever I learn something new its always why I did not see it early. When something worked out, then why I didn’t try it earlier?
So I do regret not having some of my life lessons earlier in my life. So much that I keep them written — everywhere — Journal, notepads, inside of my palms.
Well, just kidding, not on palms. But everywhere else though.
1. Shedding Shame
I was stuck for long. Stuck with no learning. Stuck in understanding of life. Stuck in understanding of the world around me. There was no growth — in my head. No movement. No momentum.
I was frustrated. I was depressed. I was hopeless. Then one day it just struck me as I was hitting the walls of my mind for the umpteenth time. It does not matter. Nothing matters. Nothing other than what I create, what I contribute.
I do not have an image. Nobody cares about me. No one gives a f*** about my personality. Or that I failed. Or succeeded. Or that the app I created bombed. Or that the blog I wrote was read by no one. And that it does not matter if people think am stupid. Or even crazy. Or that I do not make sense. Or that I am wasting my life. I used to think that I have an image to hold on to, a perception to adhere to, that I should create stuff only that is “good enough” to be shared.
Shame made me think all of those. Then one day I just lost it. I just took off that shirt and threw it out of my window.
2. The survival mindset
When you are struggling, when you are still trying get that break, you do not have a choice. You make a list of everything that you can do, right now. And then you go about doing it. You do not choose, you are not worthy of choices yet.
Nothing is below me. Nothing is beneath me to try out. Nothing is above me too. I would mop the floors of my office if I need to. I ask each and every of my friend to read my articles and share it with their friends. And I ask them every time I published every one of my 75 articles so far. I ask all the people to like, share and recommend my product, article, pictures, what not.
Your struggle and pain should show in your work. If not then you are not struggling. The closer I get to pain, the closer I get to showing pain in my words and pictures and businesses, that is when my work goes through a transformation. That is when the words become sentences. That is when the sentences become paragraphs, paragraphs make some sense. Only time my creations make any sense.
3. Smallest possible action
Its so easy to get carried away by big visions and thoughts. By big dreams and goals.
And then to be stuck there. And then not to do anything about them because we are dumbfounded as to where to start. Its so easy for our dreams to stay that way. Because we all need that one big dream to keep us in hope of the eternal.
Take the smallest possible action to your goals. Your actions will change your thinking. You actions will close some doors and open few others. You think by acting not the other way.
I used to feel guilty for all the good things I got. Whenever I see poverty in my country, whenever I came across people in abject situations.
But then guilty is an useless mental activity, a close relative of worry. You do not achieve anything by being guilty.
I find myself guilty of not spending enough time with my parents so I splurge on stuff whenever I visit them to feel better. Only if I had known that spending my time with them was what they all wanted, all the time.
We spend our way out of guilty — paying with our emotions, paying with our money. Guilt does not solve any problem. If anything it just complicates it.
5. Everyone is a customer
Your friends. Your parents. Your kids. Your wife. Your business customers. Your article readers.
Everyone is looking for a way to fill the gaps and holes in their hearts and minds. Everyone is chasing that elusive happiness.
What value do you have for them? What value you create for all the people that mean to you? How do you help them become more happy? How do you help them achieve fulfillment and satisfaction and growth?
Solve people’s pain. Or needs. Or be extremely entertaining. Everything else is waste of your precious time. And theirs. We live only for 60–70 years to be wasting time.
6. Do not ask people what they want
People seldom say the important things that they need. Many even do not know what they want.
We all have that one big thing that we are chasing all the time. Thinking that it would give us all the happiness. And we put everything else on the back burner. Everything else goes into warehouses of our hearts, not to be seen again.
Observe. Especially in this age of mobile phones, where we all are consistently looking for attention in the internet world. Observe people. Observe what they do and specifically what they do not. People tell more about themselves by their behavior than by what they say.
Next time you buy that big toy for your kids or nephews or nieces, spend some time, observe them. Look at all the thing they do. You will know what they really need.
This one makes or break it for me. Either am in the mental asylum or in the heaven based on this.
Hope is my friend, my partner. My co-traveler.
8. Meta thinking is critical to survival
Your thinking is the tool passed on to you, to survive on this world. Your thinking is the way you have to find answers to all the questions of life.
And like any tool set, if you do not clean it, sharpen and even replace old ones, it becomes obsolete.
Read about thinking. Think about thinking. Observe your own actions, assumptions, inferences and conclusion. Think if it makes sense or not. Learn more about cognitive psychology. Learn more about how your thinking is impacted — the triggers of decision making.
If there is one life lesson I can choose to remember for ever, it will be this one.
9. Significance, Collaboration, Intellect, Security
Long story short, we need all the above for our happiness.
We all need to grow intellectually, learn new things, feel that growth in our heads, go through new experiences, to feel happy.
We need the security of money and relationships.
We need to collaborate with people, to feel like social animals.
And we all need to feel significant with the actions we make. Our ability to contribute and be of significance is critical to our happiness.
When I am taking care of all the four values, I found my life the most gratifying and fruitful.
10. Feel like a stranger
Do not get comfortable. Do not settle down. Be the stranger wherever you go. Stranger in the sense that you notice all the things that stand out in your environment. You do not ignore any thing around you. You observe and make a note of everything — things we all get used to — good and bad.
Feeling like a stranger keeps me aware. Makes me understand what impacts me and what not. More than anything it helps me be to so hooked to everything that is happening around me.
11. Finding insights and building on it
Go deep. In your craft, in your life, in your domain. Go deep, learn, understand. Then understand more, till you understand stuff you did not before. And then you drive a little more deeper. Until you could find insights and wisdom very few have.
Your ability to excel and contribute significantly on any parts of your life depends on this single thing.
12. If there is no resistance, then what you doing is not right.
Mental discomfort. Intellectual resistance. Its like your brain muscles reacting. They are getting ready to do the work.
You have to feel it to do anything of consequence. You have to go through the pain and discomfort to take your work to the next level.
13. What 1% of your peer group will do.
Whatever you do. Follow what the 10% of the industry is doing. What the 10% of bloggers do differently from 90% ? What the 10% of startups do differently?
And then what the 1% of the industry does differently.
And then be that 1% of your industry.
Innovation, unique selling proposition, brand recognition — all flows from this 1%. Every one else just follows.