What I’d Say To My 18 Year-Old Self (Although He Probably Wouldn’t Listen)

Dear 18 year-old Sagar,
Here’s what I think you should know. But that’s just from my experience. I’ll let you go ahead and do what you like anyway. Still, if you’d like to have a read:

Learn to take a pause
Things aren’t as good or as bad as they first appear. With time, our perspectives widen.

Watch your thinking
We aren’t affected by events but rather by our interpretation of those events. Nothing is as good or as bad as thinking makes it so.

Memento Mori
Be intentional. Remember, you’re mortal.

Actions have consequences. These consequences lead us to make assumptions. Make time to regularly reflect on your worldview.

Write your epitaph
Living is learning how to die. Figure out what sort of a person you wish to be and align your actions toward becoming that person.

Be authentic
Preach only what you practice. This is the path to authenticity.

Sphere of control
Focus only on things you can control.

Learn to listen
Seek first to understand. Humans need to be heard first before they’re willing to listen.

Practice empathy
Don’t take things personally- connect with people’s underlying feelings and needs.

Reasons for doing
Be mindful of doing things out of fear, guilt, and shame.

When to speak
Speak only when you can add value. Listen intently.

What do you think?
You have the option of having no opinion.

Should I buy?
Own less. The true cost of a product goes far beyond just the initial price tag.

What should I prioritize?
Separate the vital few from the trivial many.

When shall I begin?
Morning shows the day. The best hour to wake up is an hour before you wake up.

Tackling imposter syndrome
Nobody’s perfect. We’re all making things up as we go and that’s okay.

When thinking of goals
External goals are arbitrary measures to hit an internal emotional target.

Laugh often
Of all forms of courage, the ability to laugh is perhaps most therapeutic.

Reasons to stay calm
Calm communication is always clearer. Don’t jump into conclusions when you’re feeling negative. Don’t punish yourself by feeling negative emotions when others don’t do as you say.

When feeling blue
Remind yourself that you’re fortunate to have: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to.

On habits
Habits are behavioral auto-pilots. They will form inevitably, regardless of whether you’ve consciously chosen them or not.

The three red flags
Don’t accuse others (blaming kills understanding), don’t excuse yourself (take responsibility for your life), don’t victimize yourself (don’t give up power over things you can control).

Be mindful 
Never underestimate your ability to make things worse.

Antidote to envy
Don’t expect to equal anyone in effect without putting forth a similar effort.

Power of consistency
Small consistent actions over time yield massive results- either for better or for the worse. Both the best as well as worst results in life come from compound interest.

Finding perspective
Constantly switch between zooming in and zooming out. Zoom in to pay attention to the task at hand; zoom out to gain perspective on why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

What’s this all for?
Whatever meaning life has must be assigned to it by the individual.

More Essays

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