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Old 3rd July 2020, 06:40   #16
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Coming from an academic family, I guess I never had problem with grades, in fact much of my school marks cards were kind of stereotype, 4/5 subjects in the 90s,the other 2 or 1 in the 80s. It was boring though, I never got pulled up for creating trouble in school and was most of the teacher's pet. I didn't try particularly hard either, learning just came naturally to me. I also have eidetic memory, something that is often exaggerated and glorified, but even that is controlled by my inclination to remember something.

College was competitive, but I always did what I had to do to stay at top 5, because education in all its fallacies and parroting, is still the best shot to make a living in this already highly manipulated, convoluted earth.

If one wants my views on a practical life, here it goes :

1) Whatever you do, do it well, don't leave anything in the tank (easy to say, I know, I haven't done that either).

2) Be ethical and moral, that will always come back to you in a good way, from the right people.

3) Be a pragmatist, don't waste time in things that aren't resulting in your evolution as a human being. Do you job in a stoic way and mountains will move for you.

4) Love what you do, always, and as repetitive as this statement might be, it holds true, if you love what you work for, the fruits of your labor shall ripen in mere days and even if it doesn't, you can brush it off because you loved doing it.

5) Always, always have a portfolio in investing. Money is what enables life so conserving it or multiplying it should be a ritual in your daily life. Two hours spent per day in analyzing what and where to invest will pay off when the time demands it. Do NOT cry for losses though, no use of that. Avoid splurging, that is the number one way to save.

6) Always remember that your education system has molded you a certain way (square peg for square holes), as an advantage to itself. Concepts like patriotism, respecting the rulers, standing up for national anthem, not questioning governmental and religious motives are programmed, hammered and tattooed onto us, it's upto us to break free of this highly programmed matrix. By that I mean we should look at all land as one, and all of nature as one.

7) Coming to nature, every being must acknowledge its existence, from the basic life gases like carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen, to trees, animals, insects etc. We are a result of nature in its whole, it must deserve way more respect than what it gets today and propaganda movements like cutting carbon emissions are just that - corporate propaganda.

8) Last but not least, I'm a big believer of capitalism and democracy, both imperfect in their own ways but the most perfect of ALL other ways of life. Allow others to say what they have to, at the same time don't budge on your views as well, this back and forth dialogue will evolve over time and refine itself into a better system. Always keep an open mind, an open mind is the only way to break out of the pseudo-learning that was taught to us by 400 page books all our lives.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 07:11   #17
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

It puts me in a pretty pickle that I quite don’t fit into either category...or do I? I’ve graduated from 12th this year, but don’t know what to do next. To follow the line of least resistance here on, would be to do as per the wishes of ‘the Providers’ at home, and live a life of mediocrity and resent. To rebel, however, would be tragic in its own right. Hmm, confusing times...
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Old 3rd July 2020, 07:39   #18
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Originally Posted by TheHelix0202 View Post
I’ve graduated from 12th this year, but don’t know what to do next. To follow the line of least resistance here on, would be to do as per the wishes of ‘the Providers’ at home, and live a life of mediocrity and resent.
12 years went by, another 5/6 years is nothing, consider it prison time, double down and parrot away for that period. To succeed in life you must own both worlds, the artificial education system and spiritual/conscience/logic based learning.

Also there is a new propaganda fuelled by social media that an individual must achieve, slog, and experience everything in life like travel goals, work goals, self goals, toilet goals etc.. in the end it is still a life of mediocrity and resent, because of man's inherent nature of chasing the next bauble.

Be stoic and practical, just neutralize the good and the bad, ensure you have the 3 basics of life (food, shelter, clothing) and move on, chasing kicks is a dark, never-ending hole.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 08:00   #19
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post

For example, in the CBSE syllabus, one was required to know the speed of light to nine significant figures i.e. not just 3x10^8 m/s but instead 299,792,458 m/s. I know this number by heart and it is utterly useless information. There was so much more taught in this way where students are treated like parrots.
I have heard this argument from a lot of people. Another popular one is that I haven't ever had to use anything that they taught me in engineering or graduation or school. I have a contrarian view on that.

In my opinion, it is through these seemingly illogical exercises, that we learn 'how to learn by reading a book'. The biggest skill I learned from schools and colleges was how to absorb information and process it. I have not used 299,792,458 anywhere in life, but I know I have the skills to memorize stuff and it is a good life skill to have. Retrieving information from the mind and using it in analysis is a hell lot faster than referring to that information somewhere and then using it. Helps you win a lot of arguments quickly.

Last edited by padmrajravi : 3rd July 2020 at 08:03.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 09:37   #20
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

I've begun to understand that education is not everything- communication skills and financial knowledge is. I can bet there are over 50 people in the Bay Area who can build a better electric car than Musk, but they don't run successful companies.

Being a quarter of a century old and just a year into my job, I do realize that I've only seen a utopian side of things from an academic point of view. If & when I have children, my first objective would be to teach them how money works.

I'd recommend two books to read before you turn 25:
1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Re-read them every 5 years as your perspective on life changes.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 09:38   #21
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

You are an average of the five people you spend most of your time with.

Surround yourself with good ambitious people, friends who aim low in young years end up lower, people who aim high end up higher. Having bad company is a sure shot way to a disastrous future.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 10:09   #22
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Amazing thread, DieselRitzer . Throwing in my two paisa:

- Don't smoke (or do drugs). They are the most disgusting, zero-value habits one can pick up in school / college. I quit my Marlboros for good in 2018, but the 20-years of smoking remain the single regret I have in life.

- Choose your friends wisely.

- Pay more attention to your studies, especially the subjects that interest you. In my 10th, I got 50%. In my 12th, I got 53%. If my class had a poll on "most likely to fail in his career", I would have topped that list. I hated studying and spent all my time on cars + girls. But in my MBA's final semester, my average of the 4 marketing classes was 95% (a mix of 3.7s & 4.0 GPAs), with an equal mix of cars + girls . I wish I'd studied more in school.

- Automotive advice = once you turn 18, start with a cheap, under-powered car and work your way up. I began with a Padmini, used 800 & brand new 118 NE, and crashed the last two. Not cool. The 118NE accident really hurt because it was the "luxury car" of the house.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 10:37   #23
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

I wish I knew that I would never get back these days once you join work.

Being careless, being lazy, not worrying about finance, no EMIs the list can go on.
I had a Kawasaki Wind 125 for which I had to fill petrol using pocket money, that was the only financial situation I had to deal with .

Had I known these things then I think I would have enjoyed student life more.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 12:49   #24
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Going to be very brief here -

1. Have Gratitude -

For every thing life provides you - parents, siblings, college, job. Without gratitude, you won't be happy no matter how high you rise

2. Have patience and let go of ego

Yes, all this social media culture will let us focus much on the "I" than the "We". Result - Inflated egos.

And what happens when your ego gets crashed by someone superior/more powerful at your job or college? You get stressed, and continual stress periods lead to depression.

Always be patient, and even when you feel like snapping or feel like cursing the other person at the top of your voice, hold back, and respond sensibly.

Being sensitive wins at love, Being sensible wins at everything else.

3. Fail often, Fail forward

When I was young, I believed a failure was fatal. But only after I failed half a dozen times and got back up after every time, did I understand that life is a journey from one failure to another. And getting up from each of them is an adventurous, enjoyable experience.

4. Life is NOT fair, it will never be

Yes, stop worrying over trivial stuff. And stop worrying about NEWS. Things are fine and will always be fine. Enjoy life, be mindful and never measure success in life by money/wealth.

5. Don't give a crap about what others think about you

Yes, even what your family might think about you. Do what makes you happy. No one really cares(except a few from your family). 99% of people you know in life are concerned about their own reputation and perception in the eyes of others. In fact, no one cares about you, and so should you be too.

6. Never compare

7. Lift weights and walk more

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 3rd July 2020 at 12:52.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 13:11   #25
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Its a fantastic thread and I was penning down something similar the other day. I came from a very simple middle-class south Indian in Delhi. I grew up loving English literature but never pursued it seriously. However, I did do a few things well. Here are a few things I plan to share with my son.
  • Talk about the importance of money - We were a single income family and my father had a government job. Both I and my brother went to a private school and I studied at FITJEE in class XI and XII. I never understood how much money my parents spent getting me ready for my future. I was smart enough to get by without studying too hard and got a free seat (17K per year fees) in Indraprastha university. However, now I look back and wonder how my father afforded to pay 40K for two years of FITJEE coaching. He never spoke about the sacrifice he was making to help me study. I would have put in a lot more effort had I know how hard he worked and how less he bought for himself to bring me up.
  • Find a job you like doing: It's tough but not impossible. The only thing I learnt BTech is not to be scared of technology. I used that and my love for English to join a career in Technical Writing and Instructional Design. I moved from NIIT to a couple of other large product companies. I learn more new things in a week now than I learned in a semester in college. Be really good at your job and money will end up finding you. Even if you have to code to make money choose the right domain. You don't have to code for a bank if your heart is into EVs.
  • Work hard on soft skills: This is the most ignored part of our childhood. I realized at work that everyone falls into one of four categories. Try and mould your personality to fit into Category 1. Take a few behavioral trainings. Read books by Steven Covey and Adam Grant. It literally is the difference between a sustainable career vs hopping jobs every few years. We learn this very late in our lives.
    • Category 1: Very good at their job and easy to manage - Very rare and extremely good people to work with.
    • Category 2: Very good at their job and really tough to manage - Many experts fall into this category and we have to put up with them.
    • Category 3: Average at work and tough to manage - You are going out as soon the company can find an excuse.
    • Category 4: Average at work and easy to manage - People will let you hang around and do the day to day work.
  • Learn to save money early. I did not do this and was very lucky to have supportive parents and some ESOP options from my organization to bail me out. Save first and spend from your remaining amount. You sleep so much more peacefully when you don't have debt.
  • Read/listen to podcasts/watch videos - Do whatever you want to but be aware of the nuances of the world we live in. As you grow in your career you meet a lot of well-read and articulate people. The more you communicate with them the better you grow because they help you grow.
  • Stand up for yourself - You don't have to get into a fight or argue but always remember you are paid to express your opinion after you have done your research. Go with facts and debate calmly. Too many people just say yes to get the job done and walk away when the ship starts burning. Good organizations love people who dissent but know how to express it.
Most importantly remember its never too late to change anything you want to. There are enough people in the world who love you and want you to succeed. If you don't find anyone else just look in the mirror.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 13:36   #26
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

What an amazing thread ! It's so nice in these times to see such life affirming threads.

Like a lot of gentlemen have mentioned in this thread, choose your friends wisely. Can't emphasize on this enough, but true friends help you rise personally and academically.They know you and won't leave you when you're in dire straits. If you're an introvert slowly put yourself in situations in which there's no way other than to socialize, like a group project or joining a birthday celebration for a classmate. In college I made a lot of mistakes, but one thing, the one thing I never did is slack off in academics. There's this thing I believe in, I don't know if there's a word for it, which is to always be respectful and keep a good relation with your professors. You can be a mediocre student, but never be the kid that the faculty hates. I am not telling you be suck ups, just don't do/say anything in front of them that you wouldn't do/say in your home. Everyone rebels in college, you can be cool and all, but the blessings of your teachers will take you a long way.

When in college you should also have fun, go on trips with your friends and make memories. Academia is only half of your life. the other half is yours to choose. My MBA days were probably the best days of my life. We utilized our semester breaks to travel and have fun. Indulge in things you find interesting like drama clubs, debates, whatever sports you desire. Once you end up in a job on a desk you'll slowly start regretting the things you didn't do. I had the good fortune of finding close knit friends (just 4 guys) who encouraged me to learn some of their languages and in turn another friend and me taught them Malayalam, I can now travel entire south India without sweating about the language !

Of course even after college you'll find yourself in some tough situations. I used my savings to open an IT enterprise in a tier II city in Kerala. I was very arrogant and over confident and ignored warnings that I should start small. The entire operation went bust in a year. I could scrape a small percentage of what I had invested but I ended up being washed out. I was devastated. Meanwhile dad handed his pharma business to me and I started under a mentor to study the business. Then I went to the drawing board and this time started small with a bank loan, in a tier III city, grew gradually,managing both businesses, closed my loans in March 2019 and in Dec 2019 broke even and just as I was about to be happy Covid 19 struck ! But with the lessons I had learnt with my previous debacle , I know when to talk tough, do some things that don't look pretty but I have to keep it afloat.

In the end we should remember that Life is not fair. but you'll have to sail through. I have learned to be grateful for what I have and find happiness in what I have achieved.

Quoting J.K Rowling from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
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Old 3rd July 2020, 14:04   #27
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Excellent topics and lots of excellent suggestions too.

Whether kids take us up on these suggestions is something completely different of course. I would say a lot, if not most, is up to the parents. What do they expect from their children. When to intervene, when to let go / stand by and let them do their own thing.

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Old 3rd July 2020, 14:22   #28
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A big thank you to Dieselritzer sir for starting this wonderful thread! Hopefully, all of us young BHPians out there implement some of these crucial points in our lives.

Three points I'd like to add:

Stay Humble: Appreciate those who are complementing you & be proud of the efforts that you put into achieving your goals, but do not let the appreciation & success get to your head. You will become complacent & this will affect your future performance.

No Need For Validation: Social media has become an arena for validation among us school & college kids. The only reason someone is posting a shirtless picture of themselves after working out is because they need validation from others. Stop seeking validation. This will make you weak & desperate from within.

Respect Women: Always show respect towards women. If you were rejected by someone, move on. Stop clinging on to that person, and respect their decision, but don't put them on a pedestal either. Maintain some respect.

Last edited by BZ25 : 3rd July 2020 at 14:24.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 15:30   #29
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Having left college just 2 years ago, I have a you a huge list of stuff of what to do or not to do.

But from whatever wisdom my very young age has imparted on me till now, I will only say this thing
Form an idealised version of yourself in your mind, let him be what you wish to be, and make him your best friend. Make him the one you go for advice to, talk to him, spend time with him, debate with him.
If he says to go find a mentor, go find a mentor. If he says that you should study, then study, if he says that you've been studying lot, take some rest, rest then.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 15:59   #30
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Default Re: Retrospecting: Things I wish I knew in school & college

Good thread. Coincidentally, I wrote a book on the topic !
It summarises the most important things I learnt till now:

The most important lesson was that of continuously improving. That one trait will lead you to the other good ones.
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