Arsalan Bashir
Feb 16, 2017 · 4 min read

In the ocean of words that flows around us on a daily basis, we may find cryptic wisdom. Wisdom is a loud voice, but one that is heard only if you truly want to listen. Over the past couple of months, I’ve tried to make a more conscious effort to engage with the conversations I make.

Turns out, people are more generous with their wisdom than we give them credit for. This blog post was born as a page in my notebook where I’d stash words of wisdom uttered by people in casual conversation without intending to say something profound. In fact, most of these were said by people in a different (often ridiculous) context. And what’s more interesting is that a few of these even came from absolute strangers.

Here are my favorite ones.

“What you love is the truest reflection of you”

You can say a lot about a person based on what they admire, what their hopes are, and what they look forward to. I presume, this is because your mindset to dictates your vibe.

Love something mighty and something larger than yourself. Your mind moulds itself to reflect the humbling nature of what you admire.

“Every story is worth listening to”

Every cultural trend, technology, habit, and person has a story (often more than one!) that crafts the end result. Focusing just on people, there are roughly seven billion people on this planet, yet each has a unique story.

Peoples stories aren’t tales for entertainment. They are textbooks on how life works.

“God is in the details. The devil is in the details.”

Details, deliberation, and over-thinking are tricky customers. Over-thinking might lead you to find unexplored realms of thought. Deliberation is correlated with superior output and more quality.

Dwelling in details can be a near-divine act. But sometimes, details can be swampy. This idea resonates with early stage startups where dwelling in detail too early (about tangential problems) in the company's life comes at the expense of speed.

Keep the bigger picture in mind when dwelling deep in details. Dramatic stalemates are often resolved this way.

“Pick your poison carefully”

This is something I’ve believed throughout my life, but never quite phrased it this way. The general idea here is that everything you do (including doing “nothing”) is consuming time of which humans arguably don’t have an abundant amount.

On a higher level, one could say that life is poison. The longer you live, the closer to death it brings you. People spend awful amounts of their lives doing things they don’t want to do. Students stuck in degree programs which are far away from what they want to be, and people who are unsatisfied with their jobs are both apt examples.

Break stereotypes, baseless social conventions, and unjust unwritten rules. With every second you move closer to not existing. That book you want to write, that trip you want to take, or the words you want to say — they cannot wait for long.

This is a fairly common Kashmiri proverb.

In a traditional Kashmiri workgroup, there’s often one older and more experienced “master” called the “Wasta”. This roughly means, “All things said and done, the master is accountable for the job”.

On a deeper level, it paints the image of execution being most important. There comes a point where even the masters have to take responsibility, roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

Execution trumps all hierarchies.

By the way, I’m working on AfterClass, a new document for futuristic companies. Check it out and let me know what you think on Twitter or by email.

Arsalan Bashir

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