Next month I turn 24 and I call this journey a life full of learning.
I started a software development company two years ago and this has taught me quite a bit. I wanted to compile a list of lessons learnt over the years. It’s not a surprise that most of the items here are things I learnt in the last few years.
So here goes the 24 life lessons:
- Read as much as you can. Make sure you take notes as you go. Listen to audiobooks while reading to pound it into your head. Most of all don’t make it difficult or boring for yourself.
- Have a habit of writing. Start with your own blog and then slowly start writing for publications. Ultimately, write your own book.
- Multi-tasking is a no-no for productivity. Start working with smaller tasks and work your way up to bigger tasks as you progress.
- Your parents should come first in your priority of people. Then whoever is next, be it a sibling or a spouse. Always put family before anything else. They have always been there for me and I know they will in future too.
- Don’t set high expectations. Dan Norris says:
“I like to aim for a 97% failure rate. When software entrepreneurs start businesses, they aim to give away their product for free and hope 3% of their audience will sign up for the paid version. Obviously they want all their free customers to sign up for the paid plan, but they settle for a 97% failure rate.”
- Don’t compare yourself to others. They are not on your journey. When you tell yourself you are not good enough, it means you are not good enough ‘compared to others’, but what if you hadn’t compared in the first place.
- Eight hours of grind per day is enough. You don’t need to overwork to be successful. Chad Fowler said, “If you have seventy hours available, each hour is less precious to you than when you have forty hours available.”
- Start right now. The hardest part of any problem is not starting. You only see the hard bits of whatever you are trying to achieve, which prevents you from starting that thing.
- Your ideas don’t have to be original. What matters is how you execute them. Facebook was not the first social network.
- Learn to listen. Talking seems easier but listening takes real courage and ability.
- Mental health is as important as physical health. A healthy mind is a healthy body and vice-versa.
- Perfectionism is rarely a virtue. “Done is better than perfect.” Being a perfectionist has cost me a lot. Focus on progress instead.
- Support start-ups and small businesses. Take calculated risks and trust them and scale your trust as and when they show results.
- Always be grateful for your early investors and stakeholders. They believed in you when you were just getting started and when you were doubtful yourself.
- “Self-made” successful people don’t exist. At least I have not come across one. They always had someone who helped them. And they probably had a team. Point being, you rarely become a master on your own. Find that mentor or team who will help you achieve your dreams.
- Don’t let ego get the better of you. Croatian football team striker, Nikola Kalinic was sent home for refusing to come on as substitute in the first group game against Nigeria in World Cup 2018. Croatia have now reached the World Cup final for the first time in their history while Kalinic is watching them play from home.
- Learn to use Google. Properly. Once you have this skill, you can learn any other skill. Of course with practice, patience and more practice.
- Learn to teach others. It’s an important skill and one which helps you find a way to impart your passion while being grateful to your own teachers.
- Failure is the best thing that can happen to you if you learn to listen to the lessons in it. So many have said it including Gary Vaynerchuk.
- Learn to combine multiple skills/technologies and produce the next thing you want to create. I was able to combine React and WordPress for instance. And then React Native with WooCommerce. Like Robert Greene says, “The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”
- Cal Newport, in his book Deep Work, says: “To remain valuable in our economy, therefore, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work. If you don’t cultivate this ability, you’re likely to fall behind as technology advances.” Read this book, implement it in your life and suddenly notice how you now have a super power. Shallow work is what it takes to use Facebook; Deep work allows us to create a platform such as Facebook.
- Shut down distractions. However, I have failed to do it many times. We now have a rule to keep our smartphones away from the desk. Hope it produces better results at office.
- Be genuinely happy for the success of others. But rather be a cause for the success of others. This will only make you a better, happier and more successful person.
- Live and let live. You can’t expect the world to play on your terms and you definitely cannot control how people act. You can only control how your react and respond. So respond wisely.
This list was written in one day but from notes taken before. Which leads us to the first lesson, to make notes and highlight things as you read. If any of the points sound cliched, remember they are cliche for a reason.
I hope this post has been worth your time and that you implement at least one item from here. Also hope that I live up to this although it is difficult to follow it always.