23 things I will tell my 21 year old self | By...

23 things I will tell my 21 year old self | By Rishabh Gupta, CEO, Letsintern.


1. Your 17 year old self was right:
Whatever you have always dreamt of being, please pursue that. All these practical name tags, salary lollipops, and professions are just a distraction. Do what you wanted to do at 17.

2. Compete vs Complete:
That “l” which separates the two, is for losers who finish. Completing will land you in top 5%, competing in top 0.1%.

3. You will end up around the average of 5 people you spend most time with:
Choose your friends, companions, teams carefully. Their attitude, values and intellect determine the average, not their profession, money or lineage.

4. Dream big:
Dreaming takes the same time whether you dream big or small. Weird fact 101: achieving the big dreams takes the same amount of time as the small one, albeit each hour is at 100%. Its like an athlete performing at his threshold for a very long time. So, dreaming big will force you to burn at 100% threshold or even outside it, that’s where living happens.

5. Work for a start-up or start one:
Nothing is more empowering and amazing than to be amongst a band of people who see themselves as under-dogs, but are dreaming to change the world.

6. Travel:
Leave your god damn city. No matter how sexy it is, no matter how many friends, girlfriend etc. Travel as much as you can.

7. Networking is being good to others:
Not because it is morally right, but that’s only way others will help you. Trust me, you need others.

8. Money isn’t the goal:
What you do with money is. First find out what you wish to do with the money – not things you will buy, but the things you will create. Until you find that answer, don’t run after money. Run after this answer. (Money comes to everyone, so don’t be in a hurry.)

9. Do scary shit and live outside the comfort zone:
Make list of things that scare you. Accomplish most of them. It will give you confidence. Trust me you would need confidence, to get through the dark days. Nothing great ever happens within comfort zone, and comfort zone is like infinity, it keeps expanding it as you push, so to stay out of it, will require a lot of work. It shrinks too, if you let it. Never let it.

10. Sacrifice:
Sacrifice isn’t bad. We use the word negatively. Sacrificing is removing the unnecessary from your life, and letting only the essential remain. It’s an art, a craft which will leave you to simplicity and success. Focus on the essentials. Remove things/people that are just frills.

11. Find great mentors:
The only certainty in life is you are going to make mistakes, and while you have the courage and the confidence, you must draw from wisdom of those before. Find mentors who can guide you, can be your sounding boards. Best athletes swear by their coaches. Remember: Coaches are not necessarily the best players and that’s okay.

12. Try different hairstyles:
You can’t have your instagram account with filled with the same hairstyle. You got hair, so experiment. Be bold, be stupid.

13. Minimizing mistakes isn’t the game:
Life isn’t won by those who are looking to minimize mistakes. So if you ever stop from doing anything due to the fear of getting it wrong, you most definitely go out and do that thing. Making mistakes is good. It means you are getting somewhere.

14. Road to success has many parking spots:
You will be surprised how much you will achieve by the time you are 25. The curve of life is very steep in the beginning and begins to stagnate after the first few years with alarmingly decreasing rate of increment. So please, don’t stop or gloat on your success. Keep moving on. Fight the tendency of the curve. Break out.

15. Get into a fight:
Come on! You gotta test your survival instincts. Get into a fight for something you believe in and don’t regret it even if you have a broken bone.

16. Work-out and be fit:
Please for heaven’s sake, work out. Your body fades faster than you imagine and you don’t want that. You must, at any cost, work-out, be fit and find a solo sport you are passionate about.

17. Read:
Your 20’s is only 3000-odd days. Reading and discovering world through other people’s experiences adds many zeros to that. It’s the best learning curve leverage of your life. Use it. Refer point 11, for compounding effect.

18. Be great. Good is too easy:
Being top 5% is “Good” and it’s very easy but none of this lot are remembered. Even the 10th seeded Tennis player is not. So work hard to be great, to be number 1 at what you do and then again, remember you are competing with the world, not your neighbourhood.

19. Solo back-pack a strange country:
You gotta put yourself in a country which does not speak your language, where you don’t have any friends or a plan, but just have to get from one day to the another for at least for 8-10 days. You must do this. Self awareness is critical.

20. Food is input. Input is important:
Your stomach isn’t a garbage bin. Stop putting in shit. Your body is like any other machine ( just more awesome), the output is heavily dependent on input. You seem to be beating this equation right now, but if you don’t respect it at this very moment, this may be the last decade of you winning that equation. Like most things, starting early has huge upsides.

21. Start young:
The moment you find things that make you come alive, make you want to do them every day, start. Try to find them as early as possible. The longer you beat at your craft, the more mistakes you allow yourself to make, the better you are going to be. Start young. Be paranoid about this.

22. Dive into the sea and stand atop a mountain:
You have to experience scarcity of life on land and abundance of life so beneath it. It’s fascinating.

23. Value system:
Everyone has a value system. The way they judge things, prioritize them, make decisions. Stay true to yours or else your creations will lack originality. Discover your value system and be more self aware.

You can find Rishabh Gupta on his blog and twitter




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