“What you are today, are the choices you made yesterday.”someone wise
I don’t know who said these words above, but they are 100% true.
While we are young, most of us tend to take things lightly saying, ‘there is always tomorrow.’ But the fact is, that tomorrow may never arrive. It is only if you make deliberate, positive choices that your future will look brighter. Your choices in the past shape your future.
I understood this the hard way with some of my choices. I grew up in a modest family background. I had access to many things and stuff that my friends and neighbors considered luxuries at the time. One of these ‘luxuries’ was a personal computer.
It was an old type of computer. The one with a bulky CRT monitor, and a dial up internet connection. Remember, I grew up up in a remote part of Indian West Coast where electricity was a luxury for us, let alone a personal computer.
And what did I do on my PC?
I watched loads of movies! And loads of them (some of them questionable!!)
This put me on the wrong path of using the device for unproductive habits. This habit grew to such an extent that, there were days where I watched more than 5 Hollywood and Bollywood VCDs which I rented from a local shop from the neighbouring the town.
Well, that habit is so hard to kick that, I still to this day, enjoy watching thriller movies on binge. OK, that was a vice that I am not proud of!
On the other hand, I am proud of the choices I made in my younger days, which are bearing fruits these days. You know, forming a habit is tough!
But once you do get into a good habit, it sticks to you well. And you better make sure that habit is a positive one!
So, you are wondering what I did differently than others?
No, I have not done anything surprising or out of this world. I got into a conscious effort to develop good habits and continued doing them.
This is the secret to success. I am particularly proud of the following habits that I started that bore positive results at a later stage in my life:
#1. Continuous Learning
I am the curious type. If I come across any new term, new technology, new tool….I try to learn in what way would it improve my productivity and life overall. This curiosity led me to courses in productivity, journaling, blogging, writing and so on. I learnt how to set up blogs, SEO all by doing it myself and learning through courses.
I took number of courses on Udemy, Coursera and other platforms out of curiosity in certain topics like AI, ML etc. This led me to invest time and money in companies which were pioneers in these sectors and reap the benefits.
One of the companies I learnt about was Tesla. I knew about Tesla; but I was a cynic (most of us are!!). It was too good to be true. But after researching about Tesla and their AI, ML models, I thought to myself, the future is so bright for this company. I invested in Tesla by buying small amount of their shares. This was a direct result of my learning something new.
In the same way, I learnt about bitcoin quite early in 2013. But, I thought it was some fad. But I dug in more. The more I learnt, the more I began to appreciate it. And I made an investment. This was again a direct result of learning about something entirely new.
Lesson: Learning about new stuff will lead you to amazing results
I am a shy type. I am an introvert. It’s quite a challenge for me to open up to someone who I do not know personally. But then I realised, I was losing out on so much of growth just by limiting myself.
I started attending small conferences and talking to strangers. I joined networking platforms and made new friends. These relations led to new opportunities. Like the one where I was featured in a local newspaper for my thoughts on bitcoin!
This was an opportunity that came my way as I said hello to a journalist at a seminar and introduced myself. That feature in newspaper led to another opportunity and so on.
I now volunteer to be part of various groups of entrepreneurs, leaders in live settings, groups on online platforms. I develop deep relations by providing my thoughts on various discussions.
‘Your network is your net worth.again someone wise
Lesson: Take Risk of Meeting Strangers at a familiar space
I rate myself as an OK writer. However, the passion for writing has always been within me. I do not know from where I acquired this liking for writing. But I do remember that I took more interest to it in my 20s which only grew in my 30s.
I would write about random stuff on the internet with my Blogger account. Not much success and no traction. I used to seriously wonder how people are even popular on the internet and earn thousands.
This curiosity for writing and learning led me to research on how internet works and how people make money online. To my surprise, it’s not too complicated after all.
The key is to be valuable to the readers. It is to solve a problem or a pain point that your reader is experiencing. And writing happens to be a primary medium to provide value online. I myself have not explored the videos and audio.
But I am seeing thousands of people getting success through video (YouTube) and Audio (Podcast). But, as of now for me, writing remains the primary way of adding value to my readers.
I am now seeing the posts which I wrote few years ago are being served to readers by Google. (I keep updating my posts!) This is just incredible….power of written words!
Writing is also awesome as this does not involve much of your capital. The only investment is your Time and with that Focus.
Lesson: Get into the Habit of Creating (Writing, Audio, Video)
Let me be frank. Without reading, I would be a dummy. I mean, there is so much good in this world for everyone to read. Most books, articles are here to literally transform you. I love to read. The type of reading that I like is such that I get transformed.
If after, I have read an article or a book, I come out with more knowledge, I have achieved something. Add to that Action I take based on what I have learned.
I read books on personal growth, writing, blogging, investments, bitcoin. I read articles in these areas. I listen to podcasts. I watch videos. All these consist some form of consumption that help me develop my perspective and skills.
One such book was, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Hariri. (Link to Audiobook on Audible) It literally transformed the way I thought about us, homo sapiens. I never believed history was important. Now, I do believe history is as important as any other subjects.
Another book that changed my perspective was Antifragile by Nassim Nicolas Taleb. Add to this list another book, The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Amous. These books literally put me in a different state of mind. And thanks to these books, I was able to make substantial changes to the way I thought about certain aspects of my life like investments, money and so on.
I have 3 main sources of Reading:
Lesson: Read Good Books.
#5. Good Friends
Good friends show you the way. They make fun of you. Correct you. Get angry at you if you go wayward. Care for you.
I am blessed with the ability to be very selective when making friends. I am a bit selfish in this area. I pick and choose who I share my goals, secrets. In return, I like my friends too doing good in life, prospering; financials as well as spiritually. I promote my friends who are growth oriented.
You’d be lucky to have friends who are selfless. And if you do, take care of these relations with all efforts you can.
I have had friends and acquaintances who were selfish and gossip mongers. I chose to be away from toxic people. So, now I have very true friends; friends with whom I am ready to share my secrets and success.
Lesson: Choose Your Friends Wisely.
I learnt this skill very late in life. I was goalless in my life way too far, till I reached my 30s. But then through reading books I realized that one must have goals and work back towards achieving these goals with action steps.
A goalless life is futile. There is nothing driving you. I was going where others told me to go. Aimless.
Lately, I also learnt that a person who has a definite goals, works toward them, is actually successful. How simple and how divine!
Once I learnt that I need goals, I set my goals in different areas of my life.
- Financials Goals
- Development Goals
- Relationship Goals
- Fitness Goals
- Spiritual Goals
- Fun Goals
I am seeing many of the milestones achieved, just because I had definite goals. You will be happier when you grow older that you had goals and worked toward them.
Lesson: Have Goals in Life
#7. Financial Investments
The biggest worry few of my friends told me they have is related to Personal Finance. There is not enough saving for retirement.
Now, everyone’s financial situation is different compared to their choices early in life. I, myself, started late in my life to have financial goals. The moment I realized that I need to have definite financial goals, I made a plan, a goal. Once I was sure that I could achieve these goals, I upgraded my plans.
- First, I made a household budget. We religiously followed the budget.
- Second, I made investments in financial assets like stocks, mutual funds, children’s education and so on.
- Three, I committed to this plan for a long term (5 years+) till we as a family were comfortable.
- Four, once we achieved the initial goals, we upgraded our plan to a higher one.
Financial investments will go a long way to secure your future and sustenance. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and your family. I am not saying I have a foolproof plan; but I do have a plan. Take help of a professional financial planner and do not do it alone. You may be good but it is good to take professional advice.
Lesson: Have a Personal Financial Plan
#8. Say, NO
Have you ever committed to something and later regretted saying YES? I have done that. So many times. I said Yes to relationships, financial advises, wrong friends, wrong careers, wrong people. The list goes on.
The art of saying No comes from experience. And it is only in hindsight that we realize that we should not have said or done so.
- Let’s catch up for Coffee? Yes
- Let’s catch up for a drink? Yes
- Let’s go to watch a movie? Yes
- Let’s have sex? Yes
- Invest with me? Yes
- Buy that car? Yes
- Work for me? Yes
- Work till 8 PM? Yes
How many times have you felt you did something wrong after committing? It’s the value system that you build over a period of time that will help you say NO.
No Means No.
It’s a Choice. If you are feeling difficult to say No to others or to yourself, learn to be true to yourself. Love yourself first.
Will this help me in my goals?
If the answer is just Yes or No, then Say NO.
If the answer is Hell Yeah, only then go ahead and say Yes!
Once I learnt the power of NO, I have saved myself from wrong friendships, wrong relations, wrong advises, wrong partnerships. You will thank yourself one day.
Lesson: Learn to Say NO
#9. Celebrate Failures
Failures are stepping stones to successsome great thinker
Ask me about failure!!
- At age 6, I failed in maths.
- At age 10, my ‘girlfriend’ said No to me. (yes, I considered this my failure!)
- At age 16 another girl rejected me.
- At age 19, I failed to qualify to be a priest.
- At age 21, I failed to get into my dream college.
- At age 25, I failed to get a job.
- At age 26, I failed in a relationship.
- At age 30, I lost my job.
- At age 32, I failed in my business.
- At age 35, lost my job again.
The list is longer.
One thing was constant.
In each of the situations, I came out stronger. I wear these failures as a badge of honor.
I am particularly pained with my relations part. Let me be frank. I have had a fair share of my relations. I mean the romantic ones!! In the first part of my life, that is up to the age from 20 to 30, I did not have a relationship goal.
I was a feather in the wind. Swaying to the gushes of wind. These relations that I have had have all changed me as a person and made me stronger. Although some of them I regret, few of them have taught me valuable lessons. In most of the cases, I was the reason for the relationship to fall apart.
Financial failure is another area where I have had major setbacks. I have lost my life savings starting a company, whose business model I did not understand or was not able to pivot.
Lesson: Learn from Failures
Life is a journey of learning. We all learn from mistakes and failures. All the points that I have mentioned above have made me a better person, when I look back at the events.
Majority of my actions in my 20s are bearing fruits right now and I am proud of myself that I have been able to change myself for better.
You will reap what you sow. Sow good seeds, nurture and take care of yourself and you will succeed.
For you to be successful long term:
- Learn Continuously
- Network Well
- Write Regularly
- Read Good Books
- Choose Good Friends
- Have Specific Goals
- Make Financial Investments
- Learn To Say No
- Learn From Failures
Add your own learning to the list.
Add good habits early on in life. Even if you fail, you will learn a lot. I have learnt that there is no formula for success. The only fact that determines your success are your choices.
Do not believe in destiny. Take control of it. Take calculated risks. I am sure, you will come out the other way with more success.