Don't Eat Grapefruit and Other Useful Life Advice
- I have spent most of my 20s trying to figure out my path in life. I took risks and changed my career twice. Taking the initiative on what I professionally wanted to do and relentlessly seeking it was the best decision I have ever made. It completely changed my life for the better. You should take this pursuit seriously.
- What being successful is different for everyone, and you are the one to decide what it looks like for you. You can't operate under anyone else's definition of success if you want to live your own life. You will grow up thinking you need to be rich, famous, or influential to be successful. None of these might be true. You need to find out on your own.
- You can't measure the viability of a career just by looking at how much money you can make. There are so many considerations that are not immediately obvious. Like, how much freedom a career allows for? Could you perform it remotely, or is it bound to a specific location? Is it intellectually challenging? Can you scale it on the internet? Moreover, what you value in your 20s might change in your 30s. You might have to be comfortable with the idea of having to change tracks later in your life.
You can't operate under anyone else's definition of success if you want to live your own life.
- Getting my career right was tricky, relationships were even more challenging for me. It took me a long time to understand what I was looking for in romantic relationships. I think it is essential to put yourself out there, be vulnerable, experience new things and try to understand yourself in the reflection of others. You can't figure this stuff out by yourself. We define and understand ourselves in our interactions with others.
- You need the presence of someone else to be in a romantic relationship. If the other person doesn't want to be in that relationship, you can't have a relationship by definition. It is crazy how so many people overlook this simple fact. There is nothing you can do if you are rejected or dumped by the other person. They need to be engaged, present, and committed to the relationship. Otherwise, It just doesn't work. It would be best if you moved on.
- Sometimes you will meet people who look great on paper, yet it will just not feel right. It might be tempting to try to rationalize your position and make things work for you. Don't do this. If it is not a hell yeah, then it is probably a no. This is especially true in matters of the heart. Don't fool yourself with weak excuses. Be mindful of your true intentions and motivations. You will save everyone a lot of time.
- Honesty can be tricky. There are times where you can't be completely honest with people. It could be the case that they have nothing to gain from your truth. Maybe it would only damage them. Likewise, other people also don't have any obligation to be truthful to you. They could state something and then reveal another thing. You need self-awareness and emotional intelligence to be able to navigate situations like this.
- Friendships are essential. We rarely achieve anything by ourselves. My life would have looked vastly different without the kindness, compassion, and support of others.
- Your friend circle comes to define you, so you need to be careful about choosing or interacting with them. If your friends are judgemental, then you learn to avoid judgment. If they are risk aversive, you grow fond of your comfort zone. It is hard to break free of that kind of influence.
- Everything teaches something implicitly. When you listen to a lesson from a teacher, you are not just presented with the subject matter, but you also see how to be (or not to be) a teacher. Friends have similar power over you as well. You might be tempted to overlook the occasional negativity in a person, but that toxicity tends to spill over and affect your patterns.
- I believe that after putting in your best, where you are at is where you are supposed to be at. "This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you."
- Sometimes it might feel like you could have done better. But it is what it is. And you probably couldn't have done things much differently. You tend to think you said something stupid or done something wrong, and things would be so much better if only it weren't for that poor decision. Well, I think what transpired was set in motion a long time ago. The result didn't depend on that single moment; it was determined by an accumulation of various factors (your attitude, experience, expectations, personality, etc.) up until that time. If you could replay the exact moment ten times, I think you might get it wrong in 9 of them. All that is to say, don't blame yourself too harshly; you didn't have all that much control at the moment.
- I think one of the deepest intentions of spirituality is for us to accept the things that we can't change. Don't complain about the past or the present. If it is in your power, then change it; if not, then let it go.
This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you. — Hafiz
- Be humble. You are just a human with flaws. Being overly confident in ourselves prevents us from growing further and alienating people we can learn from. But there is a balance to be found here. You want to be humble and yet confident in yourself.
- Realize the pitfalls of a fixed mindset. Know that limits to your skills are not set in stone. You can't grow without making mistakes. You are not perfect, and you may never be. That is ok and is actually a wonderful thing.
- Having the focus, dedication, and commitment to iteratively improving yourself is 100% better than having a natural skill at something. I have a talent for drawing and painting. It allowed me to start ahead of most peers when it came to visual arts. But I haven't worked on this skill. Anyone else who isn't "talented" in that domain but practiced enough to develop their skill set is way better than me at this point. I am jealous of them. Not because they are better but because they had the dedication and the commitment to become better.
- Don't identify with the things you have. You are not your job, your money, your parents, or your partner. Everything is transitionary. What is here today can easily be gone tomorrow.
- Try not to take things personally.
- Be curious, not judgemental.
Be curious, not judgemental — Ted Lasso
Money & Risk 💸
- Money can't buy you happiness, but it can provide you with safety, convenience, and a certain level of freedom. Money and finances are essential subjects in life that have a lot of influence over your life. You need to educate yourself in this.
- Understand the power of compounding. When you have a continuously growing thing, the growth of that growth increases too. This is initially unnoticeable but adds up to make a significant difference over the long term. To benefit from this, you need to invest in something that appreciates in value and remain invested in it for a long time. This principle not only works for the matters of money. It also applies to relationships, personal development, etc.
- Be familiar with the concept of opportunity cost. It is an essential tool in evaluating your options. When you make a decision, the cost of that decision is not only the cost associated with that decision but also the cost of not choosing any other option. Evaluating the cost associated with a decision could be challenging, though. A decision can benefit you in the short term but be detrimental in the long term. You should try to optimize for the long term.
- Never risk more than you expect to gain. Your upside should always be more significant than your downside.
- Avoid ruin at all costs. If you think of life as a casino game, ruin is when you lose all your chips. As long as you have some chips, you can stay in the game. But it is all over when you lose it all. Ruin is the loss of all present and future possibilities. Beware of any option and decision that can lead you to ruin. This is also not just about money. Cheating, betrayal, and criminal behavior are good examples of ruin. There is a very high chance that your relationships and reputation wouldn't survive that.
- Diversify. Say you found a job in a town that is going through an oil boom. You have decided to invest the money you are making in buying assets in the town as well as financial instruments that expose you to energy markets. If there is to be a downturn in the oil sector, you might not only lose your job, but you can also find yourself invested in a town that is in decline, with investments depreciating in value. You would have had some safety net if all your investments were not tied together.
- Did you know that consuming grapefruit can have adverse interactions with a lot of different kinds of medicines? And it is not only obscure medicine either even common drugs like antihistamines might be poorly affected by grapefruit. Imagine you are underdosing or overdosing just because you ate grapefruit. Sure, you could try to remember not to consume grapefruit while taking a pill, but that is too much mental overhead for a fruit that is essentially an orange variant. In short, eating grapefruit have a minimal upside and a lot of downsides. It is not worth it.
- You need to understand how incentives shape behavior. It would help you make better sense of how people, organizations, and systems in general behave.