Wrapping up 2020- Here’s what I learned
There are plenty of guys in this world who we’re no match for, and it’s natural to find people like that amazing. I think being able to dive headfirst into things is a talent in and of itself, and it doesn’t matter what you call them. And it’s not like genius is an insult. But if you’re thinking they’re geniuses from the start, that just means you’ve lost before you even had a match with them. And it’s rude. -Haikyuu
1. Skills as a currency of exchange and identity
2020 was the year when people reinvented themselves, explored into new ventures and the most important of all learned new skills.
Up until now I was living my life in a rhythm, the tune of which I had heard from the lives of other people, thanks to the disruption caused by 2020 my perspectives changed and I started learning new things, started exploring new ventures, started looking into different perspectives outside my formal education and the one thing that I have learned throughout this year is that, skills are your currency of trade, your unique skillset which enables people to judge you and with the technological advancement 2020 has seen, it is very evident that skills are the only thing that matters.
What you do is what you are known for and is what becomes your identity!
2. Learn to learn
Learning anything new is less about the end result and more about the process, the most impactful thing I learned in 2020 was learning how to learn new things, Learning is a journey in which you have to make yourself fall in love with the process that results in your art.
speed of iteration > quality of iteration
While learning anything new it is your duty to keep yourself motivated through articles, podcasts and the works of other people in the same industry.
Inspiration is the fuel discipline needs to accelerate
Iteration is the most important thing while learning anything new, all the innovations that we see around us are nothing more than iterations with a changed perspective.
Showing your work online, making your journey transparent for others to learn from your mistakes gives you a better insight of the mistakes you made, teaching what you learn online is also a form of iteration.
3. Failure is personal!
I have constantly failed this year and that too numerous of times, I don’t even have a count of the times, I failed to deliver this year but that didn’t stop me from doing things which I truly wanted to do.
The realization that failure is an aftermath of trying hard is what changed my perspective this year, and I can very surely say this about myself that failure has stopped bothering me.
People always share their achievements and their successes for others to see, while keeping their failure always personal, I learned to do the opposite this year. Failure should be more public and that’s the transparency I am trying to achieve for the next year.
4. Speak only when you have skin in the game!
One of the most valuable lessons I learned this year was to not project my views on fields in which I have not validated myself.
Invalidated opinions and Untested methods are nothing but hypothetical situations of achieving something.
Surely it works most of the times but if and only if the person on the receiving end thinks of it firsthand, not if the person on the giving end projects it, In the simplest of terms, Speak on topics only when you have some proof of work regarding that topic.
Experiences are a much better form of validation compared to non-directional thinking models.
5. You have to make yourself fall in love with reading
I started reading books with 5 pages per day and now when I look back at those days, the improvement that I have made looks up to me and I realize how far I have travelled.
Reading perspectives of other people on subject matters has not only helped me think the way they think but has also helped me reckon their good and bad experiences. Almost all the influential people I know of have a habit of reading and writing and people who write have their thoughts organized and writing as a form of providing values has the best return of investment possible.
It is only when you start reading and writing you get into this eco system of admiring good work, you discover a new train of thought processes, you challenge your mind to listen to others, who have validated themselves into different domains.
Reading as a from of learning has stood the test of time and it’s the most authentic form of mentorship that you can obtain from someone you admire.
6. Earning money doing the same thing over and over without any growth sucks out all the fun
Earning money at a young age is surely very tempting and it has it’s benefits.
Only after earning a sum of money I realized that earning money doing things that don’t spark you from inside can make you very unhappy and static in life. All my life I’ve been hearing people say “Do what yo love to do” and it was the year 2020 that played the role of my mentor in me realizing this valuable point.
7. You should have the curiosity to build things early in life, not to earn money!
I am the type of kid who likes to follow the hype train that most successful people have travelled on, and this year was no different.
I started a B2B service based agency with two of my friends and we did well enough to keep our feet wet in a market which has such a fierce competition, and I am not trying to say it was a bad choice or anything, It’s just that at our age we rode on a train towards money instead of curiosity.
Ability to code is a power and we used that power to earn money doing things for other people with the same intention as ours to earn money, It’s later on I realized that early on in life we should use our skills and abilities to contribute to the society and solve problems.
Money is a byproduct and will always be!
8. Your ideology is the sum of the ideologies of people you hangout with!
Your company matters! and I can’t emphasize on this point enough.
All the things that I have achieved in 2020 was only possible because of the company I kept myself in!
Hanging out with people who are vibrating at the same frequency that you are or are at a higher frequency, acts as positive catalyst for your growth and this is exactly the same thing that happened with me, Joining communities where people get constructive feedback for their work and are encouraged to build crazy stuff proved to be a good breeding environment for me this whole lockdown, I made a lot of good connections and met a lot of interesting people who are doing awesome stuff.
Belonging to a cult/community/organization gives you a sense of purpose, you meet people who spark you from inside, people who bring out the creator within you and joining such communities is essential for your growth, contributing in such communities helps you build connections without entering into fancy colleges and the most important aspect of it all
It helps you build an audience for yourself
9. Be a creator, not a consumer, show your work
Capturing a property on the internet has the best returns possible and with the 2020 pandemic we have seen this process accelerating , people are making themselves more visible on the internet.
2020 made me realize that I want to be defined by my work in my life not my personal stature, the society around us is made up of status games and all the people play this game, including my parents. With extensive reading, I was able to separate myself from this train of thought, and I now have reckoned that I want to create awesome stuff which excites me from inside, which serves as inspiration for other people to create more and the most important viewpoint that is building an audience for myself.
Earlier distribution and audience used to be difficult but with growing internet landscape building audience and distribution is getting easier.
Putting out work for people to see and criticize, was the best change I adapted in my professional life this year and it helped me build my identity through which I am defined and I am known for.
The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something. -Austin Kleon
10. You have to surround yourself with a library of rich content, to organize your thoughts and segregate what’s best for you and what is not.
A lot of what we think and perceive is very much influenced by the type of content we consume and the type of people we look up to and listen to.
It is very important to surround yourself with good content, Failing to consume good content on a daily basis or failing to read on a daily basis makes us static, the goal is to make our mind dynamic. Having the diversity of various content in our basket enables us to converse with people belonging to different genre.
A library of good content around us acts as our second brain and helps us overcome biases resulting in good decisions. It acts as a reserve to feed the curiosity of our own mind.
I surrounded myself with a diverse range of content this year, that resonated with me perfectly and the results of that absorption is visible to me now.
11. It is better to be generalist than to be specialist
We see the world with our lens, we judge it with respect to our skills and talents and this is what restricts a specialist to see the world through different perspectives.
Life is too short to waste doing only one thing, From my childhood I have been a huge of fan cartoons and those characters who had multiple abilities fascinated me the most, when I see myself 5–10 years down the line I visualize myself as a man of multiple identities i.e. a man of multiple skillsets.
2020 was the year I realized that I don’t want to be defined by my undergraduate degree, instead I want to be defined as someone who is outside the reach of my formal education. I started building my life around this notion of a generalist producing quality output in each and every field. hence the name full stack generalist.
12. Money gives you freedom but most important of all it gives you the confidence to believe in yourself
Money is all the talk nowadays and earning money while studying in college is now becoming a trend between students, people are realizing that it’s pointless to wait for your formal education to get over before getting started with earning money.
My first income taught me many things this year but the most important outcome which it reflected upon me was self confidence, before this I was very hesitant to try out new stuff and my personal outlook on things always took return on investment into consideration, but after being able to generate money from selling my skills, I gained confidence to believe in myself to take high jumps in life(metaphorically) and my outlook on trying new things has completely changed now.
13. Find something in which you can be unique at
My thoughts were in complete alignment with peter thiel when I heard him say that competition is for losers,
and as Naval says in his podcast that there is something in which everyone in this world can be unique at,
Finding that unique thing in which you are best at is surely a difficult process and my journey this year has involved developing different skills which peaks my interest.
I have focused my year generating quality output in different fields outside the domain of my formal education and in doing so I observed the intersection of different perspectives whether it be code and design or behavioral psychology and games.
Trying out different things helped me ponder the points made by Naval and Peter Thiel and now I have a clear goal of what I want to develop in my life, Being known for my work and my unique skillset had always been clear in mind, this year I started executing on it.
14. You will have to ask for things in life
As harsh and rude it may sound it is the truth, and I had my own recognition of this truth this year, When you are starting out in your career you have close to 0 connections and resources(money is not the only thing) and often times it so happens that you are in position where you have to take help from other people, Surely Internet has a vast number of resources but sometimes it’s just easier to ask for things you simply don’t know.
2020 was the year I accepted that there are a lot of things I don’t know or I have been doing wrong and it was difficult for me to accept the difficult things, but still after a year long process of me introspecting myself and me facing my fears, I finally have realized
In life you will not get opportunities served to you at your doorstep, you will have to create those opportunities by yourself.
15. Plan macro, Execute micro!
Destructuring bigger tasks and goals is always the best approach to solve any problem, It is not wrong to have bigger goals but trying to execute them all at once without any plan of action is what creates chaos.
Execution is what separates you from the people who live in their dreams instead of making it a reality, You can only connect the dots backwards and after all the things I have tried out and executed this year it is now at this very moment that I am writing this line, I can with confidence say that all the micro executions that I have made this year has brought me closer to my macro goals and I can’t emphasize more on this framework of destructuring things and working your way out through that.
16. Often times you will have to say no to things, being socially awkward has it’s own advantages
Building a life full of skills has it’s own ups and downs and it is nothing but prioritizing what’s important for your future and what is not.
Time is of essence and I realized the advantage of starting early on life this year, being socially awkward or some people may call it “introvert” has it’s own advantages in this digital age.2020 was the year I separated myself from my busy life to spend some time with my own self to do the things I wanted to.
Developing skills requires time, patience, curiosity and many other factors, it is very difficult to develop such diverse skills in our busy day to day life and 2020 for me was nothing more than a time halt to realize this.
17. Be afraid to regret
If 2020 would not have been the way it was, I would never have tried the things I did.
Throughout the year the only thing that scared me the most was the fear of regret, unlike most of the people in my circle I saw 2020 as an opportunity to improve myself in various domains and thankfully, my social awkwardness accelerated this process and brought me closer to my dreams.
Life is too short to waste time not doing things you want to and I have been living my life this year following this simple principle.
You yourself have to define the set of rules you want to live your life by, the curiosity to try out new things fades away as we grow old and in this day an age with vast resources on internet is is very easy to not be bored doing things we want to do.
18. Strive hard to be judged by your work not by your personal stature
“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” — Batman Begins
I heard this dialogue when I was fairly young to understand the dynamics of either learning or growth and now at the age of 22 I have realized what a deep meaning this simple combination of words hold.
2020 was the year people rediscovered themselves, It was the year people became famous for what they do, not what they think.
Moving ahead this is how the world is going to be people will be known for what they do instead of what they think.
Judgment of people on the basis of their opinions have logical fallacies and it creates an asymmetry while taking decisions.
Micro fame is what we desire i.e. being famous among a certain group people who lie in our domain of work and this is only possible when we start creating our identities on the basis of skills that we possess.
Flash is a superhero not know for his costume or his iq but is known for the super power he possess i.e. his speed.
19. Teaching someone something/ Providing value to others is noble
Teaching is difficult and teaching through the medium of words is the most difficult thing I have encountered in 2020.
Providing value to someone else’s life through the skills you possess is difficult and is actually an option in everyone’s life some people do it some don’t and you will not be morally wrong if you choose not to. It just depends on your outlook of the world around you.
Interpreting Adam grant
whether you believe it or not providing value without being selfish has it’s returns.
Now when I first read something like this it was nothing more than a superstition for me but this year I have seen the results of providing value in people’s life, and I am not doing it for the purpose of gaining something it just aligns with the outlook that I have developed for my life.
20. Success is indifferent to path
The definition of success is different for everyone, my definition of success may not align with your definition of success and that is the way it is, people define their own level of satisfaction in life, however big it may be or however small it may be, completing your goals is what contributes the most to your success.
The only goal I had for the year 2020 was to earn my first freelance income and I accomplished that goal successfully, in doing so I realized that there is no single path which I could have followed for myself to reach my end point faster and this I think was the most important lesson for me in 2020.
There is no definitive pathway for you to reach your goals faster, there never was, It is up to us to define that pathway for ourselves and it requires a lot of trial and error and it takes time, effort and a lot of patience to diligently wait for things to happen while continuing with the hard work, it is never easy and it never was supposed to be.
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