My conversation with my 20-year-old self


π™Έπš 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πš‘πšŠπš πšŠπš— πš˜πš™πš™πš˜πš›πšπšžπš—πš’πšπš’ 𝚝𝚘 πšœπš™πšŽπš—πš 𝟸 πš‘πš˜πšžπš›πšœ πš πš’πšπš‘ πš’πš˜πšžπš› 𝟸0-πš’πšŽπšŠπš›-πš˜πš•πš πšœπšŽπš•πš, πš πš‘πšŠπš πš πš˜πšžπš•πš 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πšπšŽπš•πš• πš‘πš’πš– πš˜πš› πš‘πšŽπš›?

Do not discard this question by thinking you can’t go back in time and change things. Rather reflect on this question as if your life depends on it. Use it as a source of inspiration and guidance for the 2.6 billion-odd young adults around the world who are just getting started with some of their larger decisions in life.

Here’s an eight-pointer reflection of what I’d tell my 20-year-old self:

1. Create experiences: Do not live your life in routines. Live your life by experiences and adventures. Create vivid experiences that become a platform for you to share your stories with the world. Everybody has a story to share.

2. Be curious, explore and be open-minded: You don’t have to follow the tried and tested approach of your parents, family members, and relatives. They know what they know from their limited sphere of knowledge. Instead, be open-minded and curious about life. We all have one life, why live it with just one identity? Just yesterday, I was attending a virtual seminar, where the speaker (Dean Graziosi) introduced the term β€œjacket approach.” What it means is to try different things and ideas out. See how it fits. Growing up, I knew of only 4 fields of educationβ€Šβ€”β€Šengineering, medicine, banking, and teaching. These were the most common white-collar professions I was aware of. I chose engineering and went on to do my masters in the US. It was when I reached the US, at age 22, that I realized the world had much more to offer than just these 4 professions. I was astounded to find fellow students pursuing their degrees in diverse and unheard-of areas like majoring in computer science and minoring in library science, in music and fine arts, somatic studies, packaging science, and even political economics.

3. Slow down: People around you may seem ahead of you, and some might seem behind you. You are not late. You are not early. You don’t have to subscribe to someone else’s timelines.

4. Education: While formal education is important, do not base your worth solely on it. Be prepared to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Don’t let your education degrees fuel your ego.

5. Your goals can change: Fuelled by my education choices, I had a goal of setting up a software company. I labored that goal for many years since my first association with computers from back in high school. After 22 painful years, I realized it was not what I really wanted to do. Today, I am in the profession of helping people and on a mission to eradicate mediocrity in thought and behavior. This is my new mission. Your dreams and goals can change. Do not be overly attached to them. Instead work on creating a long-range visionβ€Šβ€”β€Šone that is fuelled with feelings, energy, and larger impact. Your vision will be fairly broad and generic to start with, and that’s ok! It will evolve with you and eventually take shape. At age 27, when I decided to start investing my money somewhere, I met my dad’s friend, who is a financial investor and advisor. I was getting introduced to the world of mutual funds and SIPs. Not quite sure of how to go about it, I started with a paltry sum of INR 1,000 each month. I casually asked him, how long do we invest this money? He quickly replied, 25 years! There’s tremendous value in long-range thinking.

6. Create opportunities instead of merely following the crowd: As Robin Sharma says, β€œIf you follow the crowd, you will reach the exit.” Always be excited about creating opportunities.

7. Find mentors and coaches: Find mentors and coaches early in life. Have different mentors for different aspects of life. They don’t necessarily have to have everything figured out yet, but they need to be about 5 steps ahead of you, so they can guide and nurture you appropriately. As you evolve, your mentors can change. Include people having different ideologies as it helps open up possibilities, expand your thinking, and keeps you growable.

8. Nurture your relationships: One of the things I grew up with was a mindset of β€œisland-mentality.” I looked at people solely with the intention of fulfilling certain roles and responsibilities. As a result, I reached out only when I needed something from someone. I was wrong. Relationships are the place where we thrive. Relationships are not transactional. They are a cornerstone of our happiness and wellbeing. Time and again, you will be tempted to invest your resources elsewhere, other than in your relationships, in things that will provide you with immediate payoffs. You don’t plant a sapling when you need shade. Your relationships need your constant care, attention, and nurturing. Never put them on the back-burner.


Now, your turn:

π™Έπš 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πš‘πšŠπš πšŠπš— πš˜πš™πš™πš˜πš›πšπšžπš—πš’πšπš’ 𝚝𝚘 πšœπš™πšŽπš—πš 𝟸 πš‘πš˜πšžπš›πšœ πš πš’πšπš‘ πš’πš˜πšžπš› 𝟸0-πš’πšŽπšŠπš›-πš˜πš•πš πšœπšŽπš•πš, πš πš‘πšŠπš πš πš˜πšžπš•πš 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πšπšŽπš•πš• πš‘πš’πš– πš˜πš› πš‘πšŽπš›?

Draw out that 10 seconds of courage and share in the comments below. I will be applauding for you when you do that!

2 thoughts on “My conversation with my 20-year-old self

  1. I would tell my 20 year old to have some more courage to invest in figuring out what do I really want to do (and not follow the crowd) that would stick around with me for rest of my life.

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