Life notes

Here’s a list of what I’ve learnt so far (especially the last few years) and what I try to practice. May change drastically as I evolve with my experiences

On Life

No one knows what this is about. Explore, play and have fun with the world and people in it. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Stay healthy, keep fit. If there’s one thing that’s obvious in life, it’s that you can’t do much when you’re sick.

Focus on what's in your control.

Invest in your personal infrastructure: how you manage your time/energy, how you plan, how you learn/stay relevant, how you keep fit, how you stay in touch, how you communicate, how you set goals. As with everything else, the infrastructure helps you achieve the rest.

Avoid people and activities that consistently make you unhappy.

Read books, watch movies, travel often, talk to new/different people. They’re refreshing and give you an outside perspective.

Every once in a while, pause. Take a step back. Think about what you’re doing and where you’re going.

Choices are great as long as they don’t hinder your ability to make other choices.

Think long-term and play long-term games with long-term people. Relationships and skills compound over time. 

Be optimistic and upbeat.

“Build identity capital. In your 20s do three fascinating things that job interviewers and dinner companions will want to ask you about for the rest of your life.”

on Learning

Be really curious about everything because it it all very fascinating and bizarre. We know so little about the world and don't not know the answers to 2nd or 3rd why or what for anything. 

Before finding an answer to a question, try to figure it out on your own and then verify. In many cases, you’ll get to partial right answers or interesting wrong answers, and you’ll have a much better understanding.

To understand anything, think back to when it all started. What was it like before, why did they do it.

Every once in a while, consolidate your learnings on a topic by writing them down, and into mental models.  

on People

Always give people the benefit of doubt. Be kind.

Remember that everyone is someone’s little kid, a parent, a husband/wife, a person who can be hurt, a person who has feelings, a person who has dreams.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

“Getting cheated occasionally is a small price to pay for trusting the best in everyone, because when you trust the best in others, they will treat you the best.”

“Take photos of things your parents do every day. That’s how you’ll want to remember them.”

on Communication

Maintain harmony between what your values, thoughts, words, and actions. 

Good communication reflects clarity of thought and grasp of what your audience knows and believes. Be clear, be precise, use the right words, and make it memorable. If you can’t explain it, you probably don’t understand it. If your audience doesn't understand or retain it, then you didn't tailor it to them. 

The strength of your opinion on a topic should correspond to your understanding. Don’t sound too stupid too often.

Be respectful. always. Don't attack people - discuss the merit of ideas and specific actions. 

Never say anything about anyone that you cannot say to their face. If you do it to be funny, you’ve to work on your humor.

On Money

There are much better score cards for life than your net worth. They are just harder to define.  

You’re attracted to material pleasures when things that actually matter aren’t going to well – family, friends, love, job satisfaction. (“You know, my main reaction to this money thing is that it’s humorous, all the attention to it, because it’s hardly the most insightful or valuable thing that’s happened to me.” – Jobs)

If you don't want something, it's the same as having something

on Work

Work’s a critical part of your life. You spend more time at work than anything else. Do something meaningful, do it well, and with a good team. 

Rewards follow impact and impact follows smart effort. Focus on small effort, with a regular eye on impact. This gets more true with longer timeframes and more meritocratic systems. 

“Think different”

Every company needs two sets of people/approaches to sustain and thrive – one that gets stuff done and one that can think/work on how it can be done better.

If you think something isn’t right at your workplace, say it, fight it, correct it. If they don’t pay attention or react negatively, it’s probably not worth staying at.

Not doing a great job is a regret you’ll carry with you.

on Failures

My biggest learnings have come from my biggest failures and reflections. Failures aren’t the opposite of success. They are a part of success.

The good part about hitting rock-bottom is now you’ve little to lose.

Try to get rejected or fail 10 times a year. Then you know you are pushing yourself.