Get Epic Shit Done

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.–Lao Tzu

  • There is no one way to live it. Each one of us builds our own path, our own way, our own journey.

Managing Your Life

How Can I Stop Comparing Myself to Others?

  • There is no one, absolutely no one on planet Earth who has the same characteristics as you do. Your temperament, your capability, your choices, where you were born, your family, your upbringing, your luck–all are so unique to you that by design no one can be like you.

  • The worst use of your time is comparing yourself to others.

How Do I Build My Communication Skills?

  • Our ability to communicate verbally is a direct reflection of our ability to structure our thoughts clearly. And that begins by writing!

  • Writing is the slowest form of expression that we have as humans. We think fast. A lot of us tend to speak fast as well. Writing can never match that speed. Which is actually the reason why writing is so effective. When we write, we are training our brain to select the most important thought out of all that is inside it. That process trains us to control the pace of our thoughts, structure those thoughts and refine them. So when we write, we essentially tell our brain–this thought is the most important. Let me write it down.

  • Writing daily is not just for writers. It is for communicators who wish to express themselves better.

  • What we don’t speak speaks louder than what we do.

  • The hardest part of communication is listening.

How Do I Build a Growth Mindset?

  • Our capability isn’t fixed. Believing this truth is part of the growth mindset.

  • When you spend time with people who are nothing like you, you stretch your fixed mindset to have a wider perspective.

  • Just because you think you are right does not mean someone else isn’t. Spending time with different people does not mean leaving aside who you are. It simply means seeing the world differently from the way you do.

  • Entitled people don’t grow. They wait to be grown! Because they believe the world owes them everything they desire.

How Do I Make Tough Decisions in Life?

  • That is the beautiful thing about most decisions. Most of them are reversible. Which means that if the decision we take doesn’t work out, we can always go back to where we started. The sad part is that most people think that their decisions are irreversible. So they spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out the ‘perfect’ decision!

  • Once you have figured out which decision to take (without knowing whether it’s the right one or not), imagine the worst-case scenario when you take the decision. What could be the worst thing to happen? Imagine it vividly as if it was happening right now, in every bone of your body, and ask yourself: ‘Will I be okay despite that worst-case scenario?’

How Do I Manage My Time?

  • You will be able to manage your time only when you understand your relationship with it.

  • Start measuring your time to understand your relationship with it. As hard as it may sound, it will mean measuring every single thing that you do in your day (for at least 10 days, ideally 30 days), right from the time you wake up to when you go to sleep, and account for two questions:

    1. Why did you do what you did?

    2. How did it make you feel at the end of it?

    These two places of awareness will then tell you what changes need to be made. Answer these two questions, and you will begin to understand your relationship with time.

How Do I Focus?

  • The minute you designate a time as wasting time, your brain is no longer interested in chasing it. It already anticipates it!

  • When we waste time, we make ourselves feel guilty, which makes us waste even more time!

How Do I Deal with Criticism?

  • Their criticism is not about you. Their criticism is a reflection of their unhappiness in their own life. They are just using you as an outlet to vent their emotions.

  • Criticism from our loved ones hurts us because we have put them on a pedestal. However, true love also means showing the mirror. Only when we separate the message from the messenger will we be able to truly reflect on what they are trying to tell us.

  • Examine what is said, not who speaks.

  • No one rises every morning wanting to mess up your life. If they say something, it must have a reason. Find that reason. It is your responsibility to do so. If you think of it as criticism, just because you felt bad about it or thought it was unfair, guess what? You are still where you were. Nothing has changed. Nothing has moved.

How Do I Build a Habit of Reading?

  • Most of us don’t have the habit of reading for pleasure. We haven’t picked up a single book beyond the ones we had to read at school and college. Our patience to absorb the ‘non-academic’ wisdom at this point is at a low level.

  • The reason most of us do not end up getting wiser is that we worry about looking foolish in front of people who are not even thinking of us!

  • When you read, you use your visual sense. During this process, you cannot do anything else–write, speak, listen, anything–because everything is now a distraction taking you away from reading.

  • Reading replaces mindless entertainment with learning and eventually leads to enlightenment.

  • The world has millions of books, and it is impossible to read all of them. So the race should not be to read as many of them as possible. The race should be to absorb as much from them as possible.

How Do I Build Meditation into My Lifestyle?

  • Meditation does not make you control your emotions. It makes you aware of them. It calms you down. It allows you to experience your emotions vividly. You will actually know when you are getting angry, when you are happy, when you are nervous, when you are surprised. Because you would have spent time observing yourself as someone external to you would.

  • The sheer awareness of an emotion makes you get rid of that emotion. Because the purpose of the emotion is not to solve what you are feeling but to make you aware of what you are feeling.

  • The minute you observe the emotion and realize the reason behind it, the emotion disappears. Because its purpose has been served.

Managing Your Career

How Do I Build Trust?

  • Being smart and witty can never compensate for lack of trust. Ever.

  • Building trust is a function of three things:

    1. To be there for people when times are difficult.

    2. Being accountable for what you do.

    3. You do what you are supposed to do without having to provide a status update.

  • When you are accountable to yourself, it doesn’t matter who else you are accountable to. Because you speak your truth, it doesn’t matter who else sees it–because all they would see is the truth.

How Do I Find My Passion?

  • The truth about passion, my friend, is that it is not something that is found at a particular place at a particular time. Your passion isn’t lying somewhere, waiting to be found. You grow it by pursuing things that interest you, and over time, an amalgamation of all of those becomes your passion.

  • Here is an alternative way of looking at your passion. Spend your 20s exploring your passion. Spend your 30s honing your passion. Spend the rest of your life reaping the benefits of your passion.

  • No one should settle down. Keep up that fire. Keep moving the needle. You weren’t born to just settle down!

  • Start with this question: ‘What do I love doing?’ And make a list of all possible things. Do not stop at just your assessment of it. Ask your family: What are the things I used to love doing as a kid? Ask your friends: What are the things you see me doing that make me look happy? Ask your colleagues: What are the things that make me jump with joy when I have to do them? Investigate. Make a list as long as you can. Somewhere in there lies your ikigai, your search for your passion. Remember–you won’t find it. You will realize it.

  • Many things that make us happy and we are good at may not be directly something that the world needs.

How Do I Pick the Right Career?

  • If comparison led you to where you wanted to go, people would do nothing other than compare.

How Do I Change My Career?

  • In a rapidly changing world, the ability to become a student whenever you have to is a superpower!

How Do I Grow in My Career?

  • Satisfaction does not mean resting on your laurels and not tasting more success. Satisfaction means feeling happy on your way to the top instead of living in constant anxiety and desire to have more and more.

  • Life is difficult if you keep proclaiming that it is.

  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no!

How Do I Deal with Office Politics?

  • If your manager indulges in the same politics that the top leader does, that is not politics. That is the culture.

  • No one, absolutely no one, would be thinking of you.

How Can I Be Indispensable at Work?

  • If we just do what we are supposed to do, we will just get what we are supposed to get. Not what we desire to get.

How Should I Spend the First 90 Days of a New Job?

  • Here is a truth most recruiters won’t tell you–when you are new at a job, they don’t expect you to create an impact from Day 1. In fact, all they expect is for you to be a keen observer.

  • If your manager doesn’t trust you, it doesn’t matter how smart you are.

  • Remember, no one expects you to hit a 6 on the first ball of the match. However, everyone does expect you to be capable of doing that when the moment arises.

  • if you are nice to people, life becomes easier.

  • Be nice to people, because you are genuinely nice. Ask them about their life. About their experience. Ask what they enjoy and don’t enjoy. Where do they come from? What is their family like? Build meaningful relationships instead of being fake. When you get to know people at a human level rather than a professional one, they open up like never before.

  • Spend time understanding the culture and observing how the system works. Listen intently. To opinions and reactions around you. And reach out to people. In your department. And outside of it. Engage with them. Do all of this with patience, and at the right time you will create a far bigger impact than those who were chasing it from the beginning.

How Can I Build Multiple Income Streams?

  • You build multiple income streams by first creating a stable predictable income stream.

How Should I Take a Gap Year?

  • With changing times, taking time to reflect isn’t a luxury. It is a necessity.

Managing People

How Do I Say No?

  • You are worried to say no because you care what people may think of you. The reality is, a lot of us are raised in an environment where saying yes is a reflection of capability and saying no is a reflection of lack of intent.
  • Instead of saying no, ask if it’s okay to say no? Few will object to that.

How Can I Seek Help?

  • Seeking help is the most fundamental way of learning.

  • By seeking help you admit you don’t know and are willing to know more. Not just from people. Help can come from books, videos, podcasts–virtually anything that can offer guidance in your current context.

  • Help, on the other hand, needs to fulfill 4 conditions:

    1. You have tried working on the knowledge.

    2. You haven’t entirely succeeded.

    3. Everything available as knowledge isn’t helping.

    4. So now you have little idea what to do next.

  • When nothing else works, there is always help.

  • People will be willing to help you only if you have helped yourself.

  • The biggest mistake people make while seeking help is seeking advice instead of help or seeking help instead of advice. When we do so, our needs are not met.

  • The best way to get help is to make it easier for people to help you. Which means you have to deploy empathy for the person you are reaching out to for help. It also means being specific with context, synthesizing it, and figuring out how they can be of help. Help people see how they can help.

How Do I Convince My Parents About My Career Choice?

  • Parents seeking stability for your career is not about them going against you. It is about them being scared of an unstable life.

How Can I Forgive My Parents?

  • True love forgives, even when no apology is sought. Because it can.

  • The beautiful thing about forgiveness is that the moment you seek it, you create a safe space for the other person to also ask for it.

How Do I Make Friends?

  • It is this urge to try to make friends that always makes us present a side of ours that is somewhat fake and pretentious. Our desperation also prevents us from seeing the other person properly or if there are any red flags in their personality.

  • To build strong friendships, do not go out desperately looking for friends.

  • Your best friends are the ones you did not even start with the intent of becoming friends with. You were simply being you. So were they. Because both of you let your guard down, you happened to see sides of each other without a facade. That authenticity led you to an awareness of what you liked or did not like in each other. When there was significant overlap, you became friends.

  • For any relationship. Even a romantic one. Be interested in people. Genuinely interested in people. Ask them about their life, their interests, their experiences. Not to become their friend or to get them to like you. Instead, with a desire to know them. Authentically. Be interested in people. Genuinely interested in people.

  • Here is the biggest truth of life–the only best friend you will ever have is yourself. You know who you are. Your deepest secrets. Your ability to talk yourself out of or into something. How your stories have defined your existence more than anyone else’s. There is no bigger joy than finding comfort in your own presence.

  • I must say that having friends is actually wonderful because they allow you to meet a part of you that isn’t a part of you. They smile at your success. Lament at your loss. Even if your friends are different from you (which is true for many of us), the way they see the world differently helps you expand your definition of what the world is.

  • All friendships boil down to being honest.

How Can I Find a Life Partner?

  • You will find a partner when you are not looking for one.

  • When you are you and happy with who you are. When you aren’t looking for someone to ‘complete’ you because you have totally accepted yourself, not ‘waiting’ for someone to come and make your life better. It is then that someone will come into your life.

  • Those who feel complete by themselves make the other person’s life better by their presence. Those who are constantly feeling the need for someone else to complete them transfer that void to the one they enter into a relationship with.

How Do I Deal with a Break-up?

  • How will you let go of something if you do not even acknowledge its presence in the first place, no matter how scary?

  • Whatever you are feeling today will eventually fade away.

How Do I Set Boundaries?

  • When we set and respect our boundaries, we also encourage others to create and respect theirs.

How Do I Deal with Toxic Friends?

  • We all are attracted to people who do not have what we have. Not just in terms of physical possessions but personality traits as well.
  • We must understand that toxicity is an emotion. Not a source of truth. Two people who are toxic for each other could very well be wonderful as individuals. It is not always the person. It is the emotion that the relationship generates that makes the bond toxic.

  • The toxicity you feel in a relationship is an opportunity to understand your relationship with yourself.

Managing Yourself

How Do I Develop Patience?

  • What isn’t your fault is still your responsibility. Just because you didn’t create the problem doesn’t mean you don’t solve the problem.

  • Most good things in life take time. It takes time to find good friends. It takes time to build meaningful relationships. It takes time to be successful at a job. Think of life like compound interest. It magnifies everything you put in with consistency.

  • That is how we are designed. We crave the easy because that fulfils us instantly. But once we have achieved that, we realize we are still discontented. So we crave for more. And the cycle continues.

  • It is proven through research that the ones who can resist the urge of the instant, the ones who can delay the gratification for a bigger gratification later, go on to win big in life.

  • Impatient with your actions. Patient with results.

  • If you know what needs to be done, then do it right away. Be impatient with that. But do not be impatient with what it yields. Because that seed might take time to flower.

How Can I Have a Sleep Routine?

  • No one loves adhering to routines. But everyone LOVES the results routines bring.

  • Having a healthy sleep routine is the foundation of what you want to do for the rest of the day.

  • The start of the day is critical to how the rest of the day goes.

  • Everyone makes the same mistake. Shock our body into change. Our body adapts well to slow change. So if you wish to get up at 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., start slow. Set your alarm for 7.50 a.m. Your body will not even notice the 10-minute difference. But it is a material first step. Do it for 3 weeks, and your body will get used to it. Once used to it, set the alarm for 7.40 a.m. Again 3 weeks. Then 7.30 a.m. Again 3 weeks. In a few weeks you will get to 6 a.m. Most importantly, your body would not have fought the change, instead it would have adapted to the change slowly.

How Do I Build Good Habits?

  • Habits that give big results start small. Because they are a consequence of pleasure, not pressure.

  • Consistency matters more than intensity.

  • Without a motive, there will never be a habit.

  • If our brain feels progress, it yearns to do more of what makes it progress.

  • I think goals are restricting. If you hit them, you feel great about them. But what if you could have gone beyond but you stopped? If you do not hit them, you feel terrible about yourself. But what if you were never in the best position to hit them in the first place? Both these extreme emotions are unwarranted. I think we often translate our desires into goals. I am, instead, a fan of habits. Keep doing the right things consistently. Keep getting a little better each time. Show up even when you don’t feel like it (because you are habituated to it). And you will reach goals you could not have imagined for yourself.

  • Instead of trying to motivate yourself to build the right habit, make it easy to build the right habit.

  • Eliminate all distractions that come in the way of you and your new habit.

How Can I Be More Self-aware?

  • Self-awareness is being intensely aware of why you do things in the first place. The more awareness you have of the ‘why’, the more you will know what works for you and what doesn’t.

  • Unless you know why you do something in the first place, you won’t be able to change it.

  • Whenever you feel stuck, feel helpless, feel directionless, sit with yourself. Meditate on what you need to do in life in order to move ahead. You WILL find an answer. The answer will not be the one you like, but it will certainly be the one you need.

  • When someone is ready to take the journey of self-awareness, they will recognize the need for it. It will emerge by itself. You cannot push someone to be self-aware.

  • You cannot help someone who does not want to be helped.

How Can I Live by Myself?

  • 50:30:20 rule. 50% of your monthly income should be towards your needs (and no more) Be as thrifty as you can in this. 30% of your monthly income should be towards your wants (and no more) 20% at least of your monthly income should be towards your investments.

  • Planning is easy. Execution requires discipline.

  • People aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’ per se; someone who is an angel to one may be a nightmare to another. Our temperament defines how our relationships make us feel.

  • Until you do not learn how to live by yourself, with yourself, you will continue to look for others in your life to complete your life.

How Do I Manage My Anger?

  • Anger’s purpose is to make us aware of an unresolved need. The moment we become aware of that need, anger has served its purpose.

  • How do you eliminate it? — 3 steps.

    1. Recognize that you are about to get angry. Anger is a strong emotion. We all know how it feels. We can all sense it even before it comes.

    2. Count to ten and take deep breaths. It sounds funny, but it works. Calm down. DO NOT react at that moment. You have, at that moment, won half the battle by recognizing you are about to get angry. You are already an observer. Now let that anger go past you. Recall our conversation about meditation when you sit by the roadside watching cars go by? Anger is one such car. You see it, you see what’s inside, you notice its colour, its speed, its make. But you don’t stop it or get into it. You simply watch it go past you.

    3. Understand your anger. All anger stems from an unfulfilled need. Uncover that need.

How Can I Pick Myself Up?

  • You feel like a failure because you are not sure of winning again.

  • Failing simply means a failure in the journey. Not in the eventual outcome.

  • Winning is not the purpose of life. To get better at living it, is.

  • We tend to see the destination as progress. But it is the journey that shows your progress.

How Can I Become My Best Friend?

  • There is only one person stopping you from being your own best friend: the person in the mirror.

  • If you show to the world your flaws before they point them out, they are left with nothing to troll. It is immensely liberating.

  • The world’s opinion about us is a reflection of our own opinion about ourselves. This one truth defines all of our interactions in the world.

  • The hardest person to spend time with is yourself. If you become comfortable doing so, you begin to accept yourself for who you are.

  • Do not make anybody else responsible for your happiness. YOU are responsible for your happiness. So you make that happen. This means knowing how to have fun with your own self. This means finding joy in the things you do. This means seeking a partner not to find happiness in them but rather to share happiness with them.

  • It is nobody’s job to keep you happy. If you cannot do it for yourself, it will be exhausting for someone else to keep trying.

Related Books