A Note to Myself at the Beginning of 2019.

Source: https://theascent.pub/
By: Vishal Kataria
Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash

2018 was an interesting year. (No, I don’t say this at the end of every year.)

This year, I discovered more about myself than the last four years combined. It was a year where I took many steps outside my comfort zone and found the results to sweeter than imagined.

In 2019, I’d like to become more self-aware and in the process, become better at what I would like to pursue for the rest of my life — self-improvement.

Here are 5 philosophies I aim to live by in 2019 and beyond. Here are some philosophies I aim to live by in 2019 and beyond.

(This post is basically a note from my 35-year-old self to my arrogant 23-year-old self. But these lessons are just as relevant to the current me as to the younger me.)

1. A single skill will fail you.

Until the start of this decade, what we learned while getting a degree stayed relevant for around ten years. Today, that number has dropped to somewhere between 2–5 years.

If you rely on a single skill to get you through today and tomorrow, you’re a sitting duck. You need skills that will make you a well-rounded performer.

If you know content writing, learn SEO and SMM to become a better content marketer. If you know to play the guitar, learn to sing well to become a better musician. If you know to code, learn to solve complex problems to become a better software developer.

Improve your potential to earn more than your earnings. Learn peripheral skills to get better at your core skill. This combination will help you thrive in times to come.

2. Give up on giving up.

You won’t make a life based on what you know but based on what you do. And you won’t do anything worth mention if you keep giving up.

Impatience is not a trait to be proud of. Instant gratification is not good no matter how good it feels right now.

Choose to do something that makes you go “Hell Yes!” Say “no” everything else. And when you choose something, stick to it like chewing gum to a shoe.

It doesn’t take being a superhero to do what you should in order to reach your goals. All it takes is showing up every day. Not so tough, is it?

Consistency will mature you. It’s the best investment you can make in yourself. So show up every day.

But don’t try to get to the other end of the football field today. You’ll give up before you make 50 yards. Gain one yard each day. Before you know it, you’ll have made a touchdown.

3. Money is a means to an end.

That end is freedom.

The harder you chase money, the further it’ll run from you like a coy woman. But if you focus on delivering value to others, wealth will follow you.

Devdutt Pattanaik

Wealth will enable you to fulfill your primary role as a man, which is to give your family a comfortable life. Wealth will let you pursue what makes you happy.

Don’t make money a means in itself. Make money a means to achieve long-term freedom.

4. You either control your mind or it controls you.

The going will get tough. People you love will leave you. Sometimes, you’ll feel like the world is a nasty place. What matters is how you conduct yourself through all this.

If you react based on pure emotion, you’re no better than animals. If you respond based on restraint and reason, you’ll conduct yourself with dignity.

Most people let their minds control them because it’s easy. But if doing what’s easy brought success, everyone would be successful. To live a worthy life, do what’s tough — befriend your mind instead of following it.

Remember, the 3 aspects you control in your life are your perceptions, actions, and willpower. Practice sthita prajna — do your actions but don’t get influenced by them. Your duty is to act. The fruit lies outside your locus of control. Accept it.

What happened yesterday and what’ll happen tomorrow don’t decide who you are. It’s what you do right now that does.

5. Live by an internal scorecard.

There is no right and wrong, only actions and consequences.

If you do what others want, you’ll please people. If you do what you want, you’ll piss off a lot of people. Each time, there will be consequences. Step up to accept them even when they’re not in your favor.

Life is a fraction made up of a numerator and denominator. Success, money, fame, and beauty are the numerator while values, beliefs, and standards are the denominator.

If the numerator is too large, you’ll feel worthless. If the denominator is too large, you’ll break. Like everything in life, balance is crucial.

Don’t abandon your values in adversity. Don’t behave in regrettable ways when emotions run amok. Prioritize self-worth over reputation, and doing something good over being someone famous.

Live life by an inner scorecard. You’ll do things that make you and the people you love proud.

Here’s wishing you a happy 2019. Which lessons have you set for yourself?