2015: A Deep, Personal Look at My Year

Happy Holidays everyone! The year end is coming, and in a few days’ it’ll be 2016! Just like last year, I want to look back at 2015, and recount some major highlights. I had a lot of ambitious goals for 2015, and ended up completing most of them.

How did I do on my 2015 goals?

I had a lot of ambitious goals for 2015. I tried my best to live up to them, and mostly did. So how did I do? Here’s my report card.

A score of 10 means, that I achieved exactly (or over) what I wanted.

I think this table is good way to visualize how I did this year on my goals. Overall, I’m satisfied with the effort I put in and the results I got. There’s a few places where I would like to up the ante. I’ll talk about them in a few minutes.

Highlights of 2015

  • Lots of blog posts became extremely popular. I wasn’t just focussed on writing, but also on getting my writing out there.
  • Lots of side projects got a lot of community support. I still think side projects are the best way to expedite learning, and gain practical skills.
  • Got to visit NYC three times. It’s a fabulous city, and I would love to visit more often.
  • Attended Facebook’s flagship conference — F8. Also, wrote about my experience here: Part 1, Part 2.
  • Also, got to attend one of the biggest conferences for developers — Google IO.
  • Worked with the amazing team over at Madrona Venture Labs. I learned so much, and did so much there. I highly recommend everyone to experience the startup life at least once.
  • Ben, you’ve inspired me to not be a slouch when it comes to dressing up, and pay more attention to what goes on my body.
  • Following my internship at Madrona, I interned again at Google on the Developer Platform Engineering team.
  • My project at Google is now open source.
  • Spent a weekend at Yosemite. Even with the drought, the peaks are just breathtaking. It gets cold, but making s’mores with the best folks in the world is an experience nothing else can beat.
  • Spent a different weekend hiking at Lake Tahoe.
  • Officially signed to join Google full-time.

Goals for 2016

So yeah. It was quite a year. In restrospect, there’s a lot more I wanted to achieve, but could not. Because, I’m human and can only do so much. Here’s some things I’d like to work on in 2016.

  • Continue losing more weight.
  • Settle and get comfortable on the job at Google.
  • Continue writing at a steady pace.
  • Continue reading more books. My reading list is growing faster than I can read (a good problem to have).
  • Expand my knowledge beyond Computer Science. Lately, I’ve been getting interested in Finance and Economics and would like to continue learning more about them. (For anyone else interested, I recommend the MIT Finance Theory classes.)
  • Eliminate complaining. Things suck. Everyone knows that. But it hurts more to complain about them. Someone told me “your thoughts are a result of your words”. I plan to internalize that by not mouthing my complaints of small things as much.

FAQ

What was the best thing that happened to me this year?

I have to think about this. I think this year my goal was to be more open, and free. In retrospect, I ended up making memories I’ll keep for life. Deciding the best experience is impossible, but if I could narrow it to one period, that would be the summer. I think Google is a very special place to be at, especially for what my goals are. The people I met, and formed relations with, the things we got to do and invaluable.

What are the top three lessons I learned?

  1. Always be learning — I’ll admit, I used to undermine people. Now I’ve come to realize that literally everyone knows something that I don’t. Keeping an open mind when talking to people has helped me learn more, internalize more, and form more relations.
  2. “Do something stupid” — A mentor told me this, this year. The context was a couple-hour long conversation, but in short, planning everything in advance isn’t always best. It’s ok to break the rules, do something different, and face your fears (Go tell your crush about how you feel, for example).
  3. Negotiations are overrated — I used to fear negotiations. But after doing a few this year, I’ve realized that asking for what you want is only a matter of convincing yourself how much you want it.

What character trait did I develop most this year?

I ended up gaining more self-confidence this year. Why? I think it has to do with some of my influences. First, I actually did take the “do something stupid” advice to my heart (and did a lot of stupid things). The second is upping my dressing game. The better I dressed, the better I felt. I now dress for what I want to be, and not for what I am. (Who said that?)

Moreover, I realized that connecting to people takes opening up to them. I used to be private but now I’ve started bringing people into my life by giving them insight into my past and my life. Takes guts, but worth it.

Who are your mentors?

They don’t know they’re my mentors, and I’d like to keep it that way. :)

So that’s about it. That was my year. How was yours? I’d love to hear your story. Hop on to Twitter.

Here’s to a prosperous 2016.


Thoughts? Leave a response! And if you liked this article, click the heart button you see under there. Would mean a lot to me. :)

in life improvement, career, reading, learning 27 December 2015


Originally published at goel.io on December 27, 2015.