Apr 14, 2023 11:34 PM
This decade coincided with my 20–30’s which is the time when your mind is molded. Here are the ten ideas that I take back from this decade.
- “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
- In the early 2010s, I firmly believed that pursuing a career in public service was the only path to making a difference in the world. This belief was challenged by a family member who asked whether my father, a businessman, had made any impact. He argued that anyone who genuinely works hard and has concern for others has the power to change the world. This conversation fundamentally shifted my perspective on various professions. It brings to mind the famous response of a NASA janitor when President John F. Kennedy inquired about his role. The janitor proudly stated, "Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon." No profession is inferior. An Uber driver for instance, transports hundreds of people each week to destinations where they can make a difference. The manual scavenger clears gutters so you don't have to. This train of thought also reminds me of a story I came across on HONY.
- We overestimate what we can do in a week and underestimate what we can do in a year.
- This marks my fourth year in the Ph.D. program, and there are days when I don't feel super productive. Yet, every now and then, when I reflect on how far I've come, it's truly mind-boggling. At the beginning of my Ph.D. journey, with my limited background in statistics, all I knew were concepts like mean, median, mode, and variance. Today, I can boldly delve into computer science or statistics research without feeling overwhelmed. This progress was only achievable by learning bit by bit every single day for the past 1300 days. I recently came across this quote, and it resonates deeply: "Dream in years. Plan in months. Evaluate in weeks. Ship daily." - @dpatil. Navigating a Ph.D. is an incredibly tough challenge, but consistently showing up daily, regardless of circumstances, has been a game-changer for me during the rough patches. Every monumental task can be conquered by tackling it little by little EVERY SINGLE DAY.
- A life lived for others is the life worth living.
- Everyone questions the purpose of life and I did too, multiple times in the past decade. Money might drive a person, a goal might, love might, but do they provide happiness? prolonged happiness? I came to realize they might not. At least for me. 3 instances gave me prolonged happiness. First, when the stress of my Ph.D. overwhelmed me in my second year, I broke down in tears in front of my mom, and her comfort made me feel incredibly grateful for her support. I felt so glad to have someone with me who cares. Second, when my colleagues at Google expressed their appreciation for my help and mentorship. Third, when I was an instructor for an undergrad course. Every time I taught, I felt this profound sustained happiness. These experiences highlight the importance of family and selfless assistance. I've read that helping others is the most selfish act because it makes you feel good every time. Focusing on what you can do for others rather than what you need brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment. In times of conflict, I find it helpful to consider whether I am acting selflessly or selfishly.
- Long time ago, I read an answer on quora to a question about the purpose of life which stuck with me. The person compared life to a party, where some people are hosts, some are popular, but everyone can enjoy themselves without feeling the pressure to be the life of the party. The idea is to contribute something, have fun, and leave without causing chaos. Life is similar—don't take it too seriously. Bring something to the table, strive for enjoyment, and make your exit without leaving a mess behind.
- If money is lost, nothing is lost. If character is lost, something is lost. But if health is lost, everything is lost!
- One of my colleagues at Google said this during his farewell speech and nothing has stuck on my mind as much as this thought. Fortunately, I am blessed with good health so far but as I enter my 30’s, I can see the downhill. My hair doesn’t grow as fast, I catch my breath if I run for a minute and I cannot focus on a task for more than 15 minutes. What is the point of the rat race if you cannot enjoy the fruits of it owing to ill health. When I quit Google and joined PhD, made less money, it didn’t affect me as much. However, a day when my mental health isn’t good or if I am down with backache, I can easily notice the impact it has on day to day activities.
- Perfection is the enemy of progress
- This falls into 80–20 rule which says 80% of the work takes only 20% of the time and the rest 20% takes 80% of the time. For example, while making presentations, time and again I delve into making 1–2 slides that I already completed to look perfect. Adjusting the borders, aligning the text, changing font, etc.
- Burning bridges is the easiest thing to do
- It's often harder to keep good relationships going with patience and empathy than just brushing people off and discrediting them. In our personal and professional lives, it's way too easy to let our ego call the shots instead of trying to work together and giving others the benefit of the doubt. Sure, burning bridges might seem like an easy way out when we face conflicts or disagreements, but in the end, it only leads to missed opportunities and valuable connections going down the drain. By putting in the effort to really talk with others, understand where they're coming from, and find solutions that work for everyone, we not only make our relationships stronger but also create a more postive atmosphere.
- Our world has changed for the good
- Despite the barrage of negative news and seemingly endless challenges that we face, it's important to remember that our world has changed for the better in many ways. As noted by the Gates Foundation and various studies on health and mortality, global progress in areas such as education, healthcare, and poverty reduction has continued to improve. Violence has also decreased over time, and we now live in a more connected and technologically advanced and safe world than ever before. Recognizing these positive changes can help us cultivate an attitude of gratitude and inspire us to continue making the world a better place for future generations.
- nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
- We stand on the shoulders of giants. We see farther than them, have more wisdom than them because we stand on their shoulders, the same way the future generations will stand on our shoulders. Progress and innovation rarely happen overnight; rather, they are the result of countless individuals contributing their knowledge, skills, and ideas over time. Sometimes, tasks may seem overwhelming because we may not acknowledge that what may seem obvious to us is actually the result of the work of so many people across decades and even centuries.
- If you are not a socialist in your twenties you don’t have a heart. If you are not a capitalist in your sixties, you don't have a brain.
- This quote encapsulates the idea that our perspectives often shift as we age and gain life experience. In our twenties, many of us are driven by idealism and a desire to create a more equitable and just society. However, as we mature and navigate the complexities of life, we may come to appreciate the need for balance between social and economic systems. Recognizing the merits and limitations of both socialism and capitalism can help us cultivate a more nuanced understanding of the world and also understand that everything has two side. Nothing is completly good or completely bad.
- Discipline is freedom
- Many people view discipline as a difficult or restrictive thing, but they often fail to see how it can actually offer them freedom. Establishing good habits and adhering to routines can create a framework that allows us to accomplish more and achieve our dreams. For instance, practicing financial discipline by saving, investing wisely, and living within our means can lead to financial freedom in the long run. By being disciplined in various aspects of our lives, we can ultimately experience greater freedom and autonomy, opening up more opportunities to pursue our passions and enjoy the things that truly matter to us.