12 Best things I learned that made this year BIG [2018 rewind⏪]

P.S. This has nothing to do with YouTube Rewind 2018. I learned some things about life, this is my reflection on 2018.

2K18 is almost over. We have already started our countdown for 2K19. I am keeping it so simple this year… Because this year was full of learnings for me.

Always keep learning.

It keeps you young

~Patty Berg

I am a lifelong learner, and it’s not a gift. I have developed it.

I believe that everything makes up an infinitely large enough canvas, it is not possible to see the whole image ever, but I want to see as much as possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep learning, stay relevant, remain young.

Everything you learn contributes to your life, in making it better either by not repeating previous mistakes, doing something better, or doing something new.

If it’s not working, change it.

~Michael Lee

For the Year 2K18, I kept a diary and tried to add all my learnings and experiences to come back to it someday. I believe we can learn from what worked and what didn’t better in this manner. And the day is here.

Before moving forward I would like to extend a special heartfelt thanks to Jagriti Mam, Aman Sir, Manishanker Sir, Jaipreet Sir and all others who contributed to helping me grow this year.

In this article, I am going to share some of the things that worked out for me in my life. And as I know these things can be applied by anyone.

I am not a subject matter expert, But I am learning from some of the smartest people out there. And I thought I should share it with you.

So, let’s dive right in..

12 Things that made this year BIG:

Stop defending, start realizing.

This especially applies to handling feedback.

Whenever someone says something that is not in our favor our instant reply is to defend ourselves. Sometimes, without even listening to what others have to say. And we have been trained that way from our childhood.

9 out of 10 times the comment is not even directed at us it is in our work (But who cares). We put on our defense suit.

If you have read one of my previous article “5 advice to grow in life and career from my mentor” I shared a way to handle feedbacks the right way.

When you separate out what they said with what was wrong with the feedback and what might be right. The things will start making sense altogether.

Start thinking on paper.

I tend to forget things, I am not able to retain most of what I read. And I guess you do too. So, I started taking notes in my diary, on paper and mostly on my phone.

I started writing down everything and making short notes it was a boost because when I needed it, I went back to my notes and it helped me. But BUT BUT it wasn’t that upgrade I was looking for.

So, I started exploring new tricks and tips and finally found something that was helpful to me. It was doodling, making abstract shapes to better understand the things, concepts.

Doodling not only helped in retaining more information but also helped with coming up with innovative ideas for the problems. For example, if I have to show the benefits of Email I would do something like the following:

This is how my doodling looks when I want to note the benefits of Email.

I captioned each element so that you can understand my terminologies, this could be according to you. Whatever comes to your mind when you think about it.

Listen, take a break, speak.

I like to talk and I talk a lot. But I didn’t know everybody likes to get heard. I was not much of a conversationalist before this year. I often interrupted the speakers, hijacked the conversation. It wasn’t working out for me, and I knew that.

After discussing it with my mentor, she suggested me to read “How to make friends and influence people”. The book turned out to be a game changer it brought so much change to me. But the problem wasn’t completely resolved yet.

I was listening, but while listening I was thinking of the answers or the point to speak next. As it turns out that is not much of a good. So, I kept exploring I stumbled upon something called “break speech”.

Break speech taught me the value of pauses and why listening to the whole thing is much more important than thinking about what to say.

I learned this a hard way that, I should listen to learn, not to reply. And I will keep working on this in 2K19 as well.

Be young: Don’t be a train.

Don’t be a train, just don’t. You don’t have rails to stick with it.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

I am a big believer of processes. But it doesn’t help all the times.

I was studying the work culture this year and I found that companies are more likely to hire young people. I accepted it, but as it turns out this statement is not entirely true.

According to the Brain Researchers, companies like to hire young minds. The one which has not adapted to the status quo. The one who is adapting to the status quo won’t be able to see much of the issue with the current situations.

When we were kids we asked questions about why is that this way, can’t we do it any other way, and a whole lot others but as we grew up we lost that status quo challenging mindset. We now accept that it is done this way.

And, the one who cannot see the problem can’t solve it. The ones who see problems with the status quo becomes the disruptors.

I understand both, but this is not what I endorse.

I am an avid reader, I like to read all the time no matter what time it is. I read articles, books, quotes and just about everything that can be helpful in making me a better person, expand my knowledge base, or help to excel.

In the starting of this year, I had a very big problem. Whenever I read something I tend to believe that, but as it turns out I was wrong. Because whenever I came across a counterpoint, I started judging my intellects.

But later I found that you could be opinionated about stuff because you resonate with that better. Everything around you whether it be a person, books, articles or any other source is throwing a crazy amount of data at you. Keep an open mind to understand all them, but support what you truly believe in.

Successful people do not reach their goals alone.

He climbs highest who helps another up.

~ Zig Ziglar

Help others succeed! I can’t stress this enough. Try to empower others. If we focus only on our path and our needs, we won’t get very far. The success works in a reciprocal manner.

No one does it alone, we all need help from others to advance in our careers and life. The most successful people I met understand this, they are always helping others, giving back by producing content, community and what not. And it helped them.

Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person — Goldie Hawn

When starting, focus on sticking to it.

I always scored the least in the writing subjects of all the subjects in my High School, and in my college as well. I couldn’t write a single paragraph without hesitation a year back.

I started writing this year, wrote 20+ articles. In the beginning, I wanted to produce awesome content. It took me 2 weeks to think of something good and to write about. But once I was done with it, the words weren’t awesome.

Meanwhile, as it took so long I lost the motivation to write. And, I was not ready to write a single line again. But while reading for some of the inspirational bloggers like Nicolas Cole and Seth Godin I realized that the key is to focus on producing content regularly than to produce awesome content.

Ask- the most underrated word in our dictionary.

If you want it, ask for it.

If you want something just ask for it, you’re not going to get it any other way. They don’t know what you need, until unless you specifically tell it to them.

For the longest period of time, I wondered how some people get so much and others don’t with about the same skillset and experience. The difference lies in this word “ASK”.

Steve Jobs says it the best “Most people don’t get those experiences because they never ask.”

Once I realized the power of ASK, this year I couldn’t find anyone saying no to help me (if they could).

Give value, get value.

Value has to do with something that someone when receives it, transform his/her life for better. It could be some kind of help in terms of some idea, a thought, a skill you just learn (or heard of) or anything.

In my initial days, I was just about learning from people. But, this is fairly simple everyone has got problems and they are fighting to solve theirs. And if you only you can help with their problem they will be genuinely interested in you, your life. Help them solve theirs, you obviously don't know their problems without asking or talking to them. Make the conversations about them not you.

You should always follow 51/49 rule when interacting with others. Give more value to the people you interact with than you get.

“Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers.” — Jim Rohn

Forget Mentors, Believe in heroes.

Make no mistake, I believe in the mentor-mentee relationship. I have been Mentored and been Mentoring for a while now. Mentors are the smartest way to learn, accomplish your goals and push your boundaries.

I was very fortunate to able to find people who resonate with me and accepted to be my mentor, But not everyone is going to be ready to become your mentor. They have their lives, they are busy in their lives. And, there is not much that you can do about it.

There is an abundance of potential mentees out there, But there are only a few potential mentors available.

The biggest problem with the Mentors is that they do not scale like gurus. Your problems are specific, you need specific advice. So, you can’t have a single mentor for a big group. There has to a one-one relationship.

I always wanted to get mentored by Steve Jobs, but that is not altogether possible. So I made him my hero, I read all I could about him, his life. At any time if I feel I need any help from Steve, I just close my eyes and ask myself what would Steve do?. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

And, the best part with heroes is that they should not know your existence. You are not asking for any kind of commitment from them.

And Boy oh! Boy, they scale.

Writers, Creatives, and artists fool people.

I think all writers, creatives and artists fool people in the name of Writer’s Block or Creative Block. No offense people.

I used to say I can’t write right now.

When I said, “I can’t write right now” a lot. What I actually meant it is I can’t write well now. And I just want to avoid the situation of writing something bad and look a fool, But as I experienced it as well when we write badly for long enough. Our brain gets tired with all the bad writing and we eventually start writing well again.

Work as an Artist.

Let’s be honest, we all are tired of working, we do not want to work more. We want to work as less as possible. Although, If we talk about art which appears to be fun, we want to do more, and then some more.

Photo by A L L E F . V I N I C I U S Δ on Unsplash

We don’t feel like tired or whatever while we are engaged in doing some art like drawing, doodling or anything else. But if we call it work, suddenly it becomes tough. So, we agree that it’s all in our mind?

When we treat our work as a play, a fun activity. It becomes easier, much more enjoyable, and increases our productivity.

All these things helped in making stronger bonds with people, adding new skills, and improving in my personal & professional life.

What are some of your biggest learnings of 2K18?

Care to show some love? Please share some of your learnings of this year with me.

On that note,

I wish you all a Happy New Year! a year full of exploration, discoveries, and growth.




Life in your 20s and beyond. A Medium publication focused on Work, Freelancing, Money and Life Advice.

Recommended from Medium

Lesson #5: Say yes to your universe

Get More of What You Want

Sakura Tree: Reflections on a Fallen Warrior

How to recover from the grief of your lost beloved ones?

Avoiding “Feeling States” is the Human Race’s Most Important Self-Defeating Paradox

6 Ways to Empty Your Mind if You Are Stressed Out

Real Men Live Their Truth: Like It or Not, I’m Gonna Be Me

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Rohan Mishra

Rohan Mishra

Product Design @Zomato , with the passion for solving problems for users and business. Obsessed with Coffee more than he should. https://rohanmishra.design

More from Medium

The secret of success

Skills Don’t Make You Valuable.

6 ways to get out of your afternoon slump

3 Damaging Effects I Wish I Knew About Microblading