The following are some of my realisations and frustrations. They are not facts, they are just my opinions formed from my experiences. These are not all my thoughts, obviously.

Tushar Nankani pushed me to write about what I’ve been going through, and I thought that this would be a good way to do it. I’ll try to keep this updated. No promises though, I guess.

IMPORTANT: These pointers are NOT facts. They are just my opinions formed from my experiences. There might be a lot of Survivorship bias ahead.

16th - 17th December 2022

In my room in the rented house in Boston

23rd November 2022

In my room in the rented house in Boston

  • Attitude is so important.
    • Everyone goes through bad situations all the time. It is okay to not have the best reaction to such a situation. (One can hope to become better with experience though.) However, it is important to realise (at least in retrospective) that the first reaction wasn’t the best, let oneself feel those ‘bad’ emotions (as per one’s definition of ‘bad’) and then try to think of the situation positively and learn from it to be better than before.
      • Giving up is not an option, so the only way to move forward is to take the situation positively and objectively, learn from the situation and try to realise what to do to be better next time. The negative emotions get better with time.
    • It’s about being better than oneself and being passionate about something. (But passion is supposed to be overrated.)
  • There will never be a perfect time for something. Time will always have to be sought out.
  • Try to be more genuine.
  • “Chase discipline, not dopamine.” -Jim Fisher
    • This has always been a struggle for me.
  • “I can be either nice or honest” -Tushar Nankani
    • This explains a lot of things, but I’m trying to find a middle ground I guess.
  • Experience in action
    • From timestamp 9:20 in the video: Laidback Luke is the leftmost person on screen. Watch him for one minute. See how he realises things beforehand and helps out. This is what experience gives.
      • It might as well just be Situational Awareness and anyone who was paying attention might have realised what he did in the video, but even Situational Awareness becomes better with experience.
  • Watch Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me.
    • My reaction

      Finally watched it. God. So real, relatable and raw. So much to learn from and be better. Loved it. Loved it so much. Selena is so strong. It’s so good to see more talk about the struggles that we’re all going through. I think there is strength in showing that vulnerability. 💛

  • Think a LOT before reacting to a message. Think, for God’s sakes. Think. No knee-jerk and/or emotional reactions. (Currently struggling a LOT with this.)
    • Feeling threatened or attacked is also a reason for this happening.
    • Check if the question asked is answered. The actual question needs to be answered. Don’t post a random answer.
  • We’re all hypocrites. Stop judging others. - Everyone is struggling and no one is perfect, no matter what we’re able to see on the outside. It is up to us to be empathetic and honest.
  • Showcasing one’s interest to others comes across as more genuine when it’s not done in a ‘boasting’ showcase kind of way. It should be a gradual and organic. Share things when it feels natural.
    • A lot of times starting with or introducing oneself with ‘I have X years of experience in ABC and have done XYZ and DEF…’ to get into something, backfires. One is not able to live up to that a lot of times, due to either lying in the first place or due to genuine issues (not knowing that particular sub-topic in that area, personal issues, etc…). This causes more damage to one.
    • Is this about discouraging from talking about oneself or purposely downplaying oneself? No. It is more about analysing the situation and then taking a decision on how to portray things. In some situations it might be better to gradually talk about things and downplay oneself to then open up to the genuine people, and in some situations it might be required to talk about one’s achievements. The idealistic thing to do would be to do what feels natural to one, but the best practical thing to do would be to find a balance between being natural and being aware of the impression something portrayed in a particular way creates, and taking a decision based on that.
    • Also, people are not dumb. Immediately or over time, everyone realises one’s motivations behind saying or doing things.
      • The more genuine and honest we are, the more respect and trust it develops over time, but this is DEFINITELY not a good reason or motivation to modulate how we are with people. We should just try to be genuine. All the rest of it happens as a by-product.
  • Finally discussed my thoughts on Tech communities and related topics, something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, even though I felt like a complete hypocrite throughout the session: Dive Into Communities
    • I felt like a hypocrite because I was giving out my experience/knowledge to help others be better when I’m not doing a lot of things properly in my life, am struggling with a lot of things and when I have a LOT of things that I’m doing wrong or that are a mess in my life.
      • I realise that there is never a perfect time to say these things, which made it slightly okay to have the discussion, but it still didn’t stop me from feeling like a hypocrite. (I did try to be honest about things in the discussion though.)
  • Some of my driving principles
    • “Kindness always wins.” -Selena Gomez
    • “We rise by lifting others.” -Robert Ingersoll

4th November 2022

At a table in the Mathematics and Statistics Tutoring Room in the MCS building at BU

  • Everything happens for a reason. It is only in the future that we come to know why something had to happen a certain way.
  • ‘Networking with people’ is such an artificial phrase. Just talk to people and enjoy the conversation, for heaven’s sake! It’s not always about getting something from someone. Connections made this way are more real and provide more ‘value’ in the long run (which in my opinion should not be the intention to talk to anyone - the connection just happens as a by-product).
  • Experience is very important and should be respected.
    • We should all try to understand where someone is coming from, even if it is something that one doesn’t necessarily agree from. We should try to do one of the most difficult things, that is to accept one’s fault (if it is applicable - recognising that itself requires self-awareness and an ego-curbing attitude).
    • Experience can be gained by doing things in different ways, failing and learning.
      • It is a slow process of going through things which brings the most organic and lasting benefits. ‘Hacking’ this process to get quick growth is not the best thing to do.
      • Just trying for a higher position for more money without thinking about whether one has enough experience is stupid in my opinion.
  • Don’t listen to people who say that one is a certain way because they’ve not experienced what they have.
    • This is not meant in a general way, but only in a specific context, for example
      • If someone says that one is enthusiastic about doing things only because they’re not at their level, don’t listen to them.
      • If someone says that one is enthusiastic only because they’re an intern working at the company and haven’t worked there for years, don’t listen to them. Everyone’s experience is different. (Credits to Tushar Nankani for this example.)
        • Yes, the context in which this is said does contradict the above point on experience, but hey, this is why the points here are facts, but a collection of opinions.
    • If one is enjoying something and are passionate about it, go for it. The enthusiasm will stay for something that one is passionate about.
  • As mentioned previously, most cheesy things are true and one more such thing is not using gadgets in class. Pay attention in class, because one gets to learn SO much. Now again, having freedom to use them is better to check a quick reference during the lecture, but using gadgets for the duration of the lecture is just distracting. So yes, gadgets should be used VERY sparingly in a lecture. Self control is important. (So the cheesy rule is not totally true, but it does hold true for a majority of cases in my opinion.)
  • Showing vulnerability is powerful and takes guts, but it is what fosters more genuine connections. Honesty is a huge part of it as well.
    • Yes, someone can take advantage of that, but at the end, one will come out better off. (It might be better in a way)
    • Trust in Karma.
  • The concept will help for several years, but the marks will stay for a year or two at the maximum. Prioritise the concept, but that does not mean failing classes.
    • Thinking about the future is important and putting things into perspective is important. How much is something going to matter in time?
  • Always (Might be toxic.) try to hold oneself to a standard. Whatever goes through one should feel like it went through them. ‘XYZ’ person did it. XYZ. Not ‘ABC’, but ‘XYZ’.
    • Reputation is VERY important and the world is a very small place when it comes to this.
      • This is also why being honest and genuine is so important.
      • Realising and apologising for mistakes (without making excuses) is also important. People are usually willing to forgive, unless it is a constantly repeated mistake.
  • Always try to give credit for borrowed work or thoughts.
  • EVERYTHING is a tradeoff. Even something that is free. One might be paying with their time. EVERYTHING is a tradeoff. A lot of times, one is better than the other(s) only because of one’s experiences and perspectives (and some times due to Survivorship bias), so it is important to not judge people who go the other way(s).
  • A few songs with beautiful and touching lyrics
  • Using and understanding tools is more important than having the latest ones.
  • Enjoy the process and what one is doing.
  • Be in the moment, live it, feel it and commit it to memory. Keep that camera down. Snap a quick picture if required and forget about it. Most of us hardly ever look at pictures again anyways.
  • Spending more time in a difficult situation/outside one’s comfort zone increases one’s tolerance, patience and maturity.
  • Some time to not think at all is good. Not having a plan is sometimes really good as well. It can lead to different experiences.
  • Pay attention, participate and have fun in class.
  • Try to be better than oneself and not others. Get inspired by others and not threatened or intimidated. (Don’t blindly get inspired though. One should decide if they can/want to be that way or not.)
  • Beware of one’s ego. It can lead to one’s destruction.
  • Judging people is wrong. It’s all about different perspectives and situations. Try to be more empathetic and remember one’s own imperfections when one is judging someone else for what is theirs in one’s view.
    • This doesn’t justify doing ‘wrong’ (in the general perspective or in one’s perspective), but it does help in understanding why someone might be doing that. It is important to be empathetic, because one is themselves doing too much wrong in their own life. Someone is judging us for those wrongs, but it does not justify judging them as well. It is not about ’tit for tat’. The loop of judging everyone will not break if this is the case. This though does not mean that we are the ‘bigger person’ (better than the person judging us). This is because that plays on one’s ego (and ego can lead to destruction) and so it should not be given an unnecessary way to manifest itself in oneself. This though again does not mean that one should always disparage themselves. (It is something that I struggle with. It is easy to tell others to be kind to themselves, but very difficult to do it for oneself, at least for me.)
  • Some things to keep in mind from

19th October 2022

In my room in the rented house in Boston

  • Just sitting in class and actively listening and participating can teach one a LOT, especially when the teacher is good.
    • Credits to Anil Harwani for making me aware about this.
    • Even if the teacher is not good, some knowledge can definitely be gained.
    • Prior reading may or may not be required. I don’t think interest depends on that though.
  • When typing something while remembering pointers, write stuff out without bothering about spelling mistakes or polished words. Refine later.
    • Getting the point on the screen without forgetting it is more important than looking into the grammar, typos and exact words.
  • All the cheesy advice seems correct.
    • Eating healthy, sleeping enough, getting up early and sleeping early, exercise, creating good habits/patterns, planning, etc are all SO very important.
  • Situational awareness helps take good decisions.
    • Health, sleep, focus, experience and planning dictate this IMO. (I struggle with this.)
  • Mistakes
    • Best teachers
    • Learning to identify toxic behaviours/patterns is so important. Curtailing them is the next step that is important.
    • One should really learn from their mistakes (one-time ones or repeated ones) and try to identify similar situations in the future to be able to avoid those mistakes again. (Refer to the ‘Situational awareness’ point above.)
    • Learning from other’s mistakes is good as well, but just like all external motivation, it won’t be as impactful. That doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t try to learn from them.
  • Being a good person (in one’s opinion) is SO important.
  • Empathy is SO very important. Judge other things less.
  • It is all about bettering oneself, but not doing that to a toxic extent by taking out all the fun.
    • Optimizing 100% of one’s time in NOT good.
  • A lot of us speak from Survivorship bias.
  • Confidence builds in steps.
    • Yes, the cheesy advice of building confidence through small wins is true.
    • Doing the smaller tasks in one’s To Do list gives the boost required to tackle the more difficult ones.
    • Breaking down complex things into palatable chunks makes them look les daunting and builds confidence as these small chunks start getting completed.
  • Trying to reset a bad day is good.
    • Doing some stress-relieving activities, taking a nap, taking a bath, etc. at such times is good.
  • Procrastination is difficult to get over. It is usually the start that is the most difficult part.
  • Being grateful, down-to-earth and empathetic when one is having a good day is so important.
  • The importance of being honest, grateful, passionate, loyal and trustworthy is underrated.
  • A recurring theme has been that the cheesy things that we have been told since childhood hold true in a lot of situations.
    • Old people speak from experience. Am i rite or am i rite? 😉

8th October 2022

On the dining table in my (/the?) rented house in Boston

  • It’s good to go through difficult times, as it teaches one a lot.
  • When going through a difficult time, try to look at it as an opportunity and use that time to let yourself feel bad for some time and then do something to use that time.
  • Looking at the positive side of good and bad things/situations and learning from them helps a LOT.
  • Understanding oneself, talking to oneself, having faith and giving oneself some leeway is important, especially during difficult times. Realisations from such situations can be implemented next time a similar situation arises. The current ‘waste’ of time is a kind of a learning. It’s okay. (Refer to previous point.)
  • Everything happens for a reason, which one comes to know after they connect the dots in hindsight.
    • Learning from hindsight is extremely important and implementing it is even more important. (Currently struggling a lot with implementation.)
  • When one door closes, another one does open up.
  • Being a decent human being > money
  • Do it, even if one thinks people will laugh at them. It takes guts and if it is the correct thing, then definitely go for it.
  • When scared of doing something or approaching something or someone, just go for it. It builds confidence over time.
  • Most people seem intimidating, but aren’t once one starts talking to them. Everyone is Human.
    • Also, talk to people and show one’s curiosity. Forget about all the ‘Networking’ and other stuff.
  • Be you, even if someone ridicules and do what one believes is correct.
    • Obviously if someone is providing constructive criticism, listen to them.
  • It’s NOT all and always about money or being ‘a means to an end’.
  • People can make out when one is doing something out of pure fun or with some spurious intentions. Time always tells.
  • Discipline and planning are underrated.
  • Free or paid, everything is a tradeoff. Time is the entity being traded. Time is SO important.
    • Eg: Should I be writing these points right now? I don’t know. That’s the problem. Lesser planning on my end and I’m paying by putting in time typing this and maybe missing out on more important stuff.
    • Credits to Anil Harwani for making me aware about this.
  • Planning
    • Plan days, weeks and months. (Still to do this properly. There is no time.)
    • Plan the next day properly one night before. Make solid plan from the planning made for the week. (Again, very difficult to implement. I am struggling with this, but it has been helping whenever I do it.)
  • Getting priorities straight is SO important, but oh-so-difficult to put in practice.
  • Trust and impressions are very important, and it is difficult to get them back once the illusion (if present) shatters.
  • Building confidence in oneself is a process that takes time and getting into a groove to reach there.
  • If not sure of a talk or workshop, write down the points and anecdotes (preferably host it in public), and if someone is able to gain value from reading that (yes, write it like that), then the talk/workshop will add value. (Eg: The contents of my CORS talk)
  • Unfortunately, as it often happens, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution.’ is SO true.

28th September 2022

On a sofa in BU Central, GSU Basement, Boston

  • Having people one trusts is a boon.
    • It is VERY important to not break trust.
  • Prioritising time is VERY important, but then unplanned stuff has done wonders for me (or is that Survivorship bias?).
    • I don’t know which one is better. It depends on one’s guts and the situation, I guess.
    • Eg: Should I be writing this right now? No. Am I? Yes. Why? I don’t know. Maybe to vent? I’m just frustated at myself, I guess. I need to learn to handle pressure better, I guess.
    • I am tired of seeing competition everywhere. I’m mostly dumb and naïve, so maybe I’ll learn better.
    • Getting inspired rather than intimidated is better, but one should be careful of the qualities one is being inspired by.
    • We should try to be better than ourselves, rather than others, but we shouldn’t let it become toxic.
  • Appropriate sleep and food are so important.
  • Most of the stuff that our parents have been telling us about the cliché quotes and habits, are true.
  • We really need to stop judging people.
    • We all do a lot of shit and we don’t have our lives in order, no matter what we think we know.
  • No one know what they’re up to or where they will end up. Yes, NO ONE, no matter what they say. Everyone is struggling.
  • Everyone is struggling and is sad, no matter what they show. We need to be kinder and less judgemental.
  • Well-meaning unsolicited advice can hurt a stranger. We need to be careful or just shut up and let them figure it out (but not shut up out of competing against them).
  • Most times, in my opinion, try not to make the opposite person feel bad about themselves or their situation. Try to help and make them understand things. Sometimes, it is important to corner people, but be careful. It’s not a good place to be in (but maybe that is what is required?).
  • ‘Fake it till you make it.’ irritates me to no end. It’s so toxic and false. Let the world work by that principle. I don’t care. It’s too toxic and just not real. My opinion. Probably an immature one, but who knows what the future holds and I might change this thought.
  • It is good to be outside one’s comfort zone to a certain degree, because it forces one to learn to handle pressure, be better and unlearn toxic habits.
  • The people one surrounds oneself with and the content they consume dictates one who they are.
  • Being honest to oneself about something is so important, no matter how toxic or hurtful it is. It helps in improving.

25th September 2022

My rented room in Boston, after attending a party, being sober (Why did I add this? I don’t want people to judge me. Toxic, I know.) and taking care of drunk people. I sent these to Tushar Nankani on WhatsApp.

  • Everyone is sad and dealing with their own shit all the time.

On a call with Tushar.

  • Where is the passion? Is it all about the job and about ‘a means to an end’? (I cried.)

23rd September 2022

I don’t remember where I was. I sent these to Tushar Nankani on WhatsApp.

  • Discipline is SO very important. I cannot stress on it enough.
  • Getting thrown in an absolutely new environment is overwhelming, but is good in the long run, as one learns to adapt and be more responsible. Planning and prioritising time becomes inevitable.
  • Insecurity sucks, but one should get to the root of why one is feeling that way and be better, FOR ONESELF and NOT for others.
  • Being overwhelmed and mind blown to the extent of not being able to think is good. These moments should be limited though.
  • We should all be less judgemental, kinder and more empathetic. Everyone is struggling, no matter what they show.
  • At least one = whole - none