25 Lessons from 25 Years

On the week of my 25th birthday, here are 25 of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt over the years:

  1. Nobody knows for sure what they’re doing or where they’re going. Though most won’t admit, it’s all based on trials and errors. It’s imperative then to figure out our own path and pursue it.

“Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper.”

  1. Clock time is different from psychological time. This understanding is key to a less anxious life that’s free from constant comparison with people around.
  1. What connects us all is the want to be loved and appreciated. Everyone we meet loves something, fears something, and has lost something. And everyone knows something that we don’t. Constant reminder of the same helps keep a right balance between righteousness and humility.
  1. Everyone seems normal and perfect until we get to know them on a closer level. Then we’ll understand how damaged and weird they are-just like us. If we can see adults as kids, we won’t be taking anything personally and majority of our problems will seem insignificant.
  1. Education should be a tool to help us think of a life that’s true to us- what meaningful work suits us, who we are, and how we can cultivate meaningful relationships.
  1. Our values drive our daily actions and how we spend our day is how we spend our life. To be able to graciously say no is one of the best skills we can master. Like Greg Mckeown in Essentialism says, “To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.”
  1. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Don’t assume. Ask. And when you ask, start with WHY.
  1. If we don’t ask, the answer will always be no. Most people don’t know what they want. It’s therefore, our job to tell them. You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. Yet still, not everyone will buy from you. You talk to 100 people, 10 will listen to you, and 1 will maybe buy.
  1. If we don’t know what we want, someone else will feed us the answers, commonly with a false sense of advertising to sell us the idea of a happy life. If we aren’t conscious of finding our own truth, then we’ll have no other option but to believe them.
  1. If our work stands for something that’s beyond the superfluity of money and fame, that’s a hallmark of a truly meaningful work.
  1. Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude: Right attitude first and foremost, then building skills, and accumulating knowledge in the process.
  1. The best things in life aren’t things. So love people and use things; not the other way round.
  1. See people for who they are and not what they possess- fancy cars or big titles on their visiting cards.
  1. Loving doesn’t mean possessing. But it is also important to keep in mind that love is a verb that requires us to give our best.
  1. A person who is truly content at heart will never be bothered to bother anyone. So if someone’s hurting us in some ways, we should remind ourselves about the invisible pin(s) inflicted in them. That way, our anger will turn into pity.
  1. Words have the power to heal but also, to kill. It’s not just what you say but also how you say it. It is therefore crucial to be impeccable with words.
  1. Life is too complex with way too many variables at play. A prescriptive approach therefore doesn’t work, although becoming aware of variables does help. Each experience is unique so we shouldn’t fall prey to the narrative fallacy.
  1. The ability to stay still maybe the most important skill we can master. This is especially important in dealing with people who just make noise. We shouldn’t despise them, for mindful living isn’t commonplace.
  1. The only thing we should be looking to control is our mind. Everything else is trivial. This moment is enough- it’s transient but that’s the beauty of it.
  1. Any form of debt is a killer. Avoid it altogether. Also avoid people who like to gossip. You’ll be freer, less burdened, less tired.
  1. Failing is liberating. It takes a huge burden off our backs. Then we can start over on a clean slate. It’s never too late to start.
  1. Create more; consume less. It’s about putting our creations out there rather than just living as a consumer or a bystander. Someone will definitely find value. Maybe just one person but the size of the audience doesn’t matter.
  1. Giving is always better than taking. But sometimes we should take help.
  1. Life basically is administration- whether it’s managing the self or relationships, money, or taking care of one’s job or health. It comes down to this- what specific admin roles do we really wish to undertake and thrive in?
  1. Un-learning and re-learning are equally important as learning. What we have learnt over the years may not make sense tomorrow. In that case, it’s always important that we un-learn what occupies our minds and free it up for learning newer perspectives. Alternatively, sometimes we need to bank on the wisdom we’ve already acquired in which case a list like this helps.

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4 Comments

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  1. Those are some great lessons! Also, best wishes for your birthday. 🙂 Stay blessed.

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  2. Hey sagar dai. Its always worth learning ur writings as its so motivating n insightful. Keep writing😊👍. Best wish for a gr8 career😊

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  3. Wow!!! Simple and very powerful. Great job.

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  4. Its quite amazing to listen you.however I didn’t get all of the points but I do get is its all about yourself ,your view,your meaning for anything and your desire for something. I don’t know but is it mean to be self centred to be something you desire in your life desperately???

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