The main reason for writing this post is that it has become a popular format and I didn’t want to be left behind. Ideally it should have been ‘twenty two things that I’ve learnt at twenty two’ but one look at me and you’ll know that I can’t dish out those many life lessons. Here are a few things that I have learnt over the last few years. I hope something strikes a chord.
1. Self-depreciation doesn’t help – Of course it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself but you need to draw a line. It shouldn’t become an addiction and a pitiable one at that. Self-effacing humour runs the risk of becoming self-sabotaging behaviour. Practice acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. This one has been really hard for me and thus tops my list.
2. Most people have a horrible memory – Do you know what people forget the fastest? Faster than the money they loaned from you? Yes, expressing gratitude and reciprocating in your hour of need. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t help people but you should do it with zero expectations so that you’re not hurt in the bargain. It’s not that giving has no benefits: it builds character, it increases your satisfaction and you do come across a few nice people who might reciprocate. But to reiterate my point, people develop amnesia after you turn your world upside down in order to help them.
3. The world is biased against introverts- I see this as more of a fact than an opinion. Our society is biased in favour of people who jabber. They are considered friendly and amiable unless of course they are just loud, obnoxious and garrulous. If you’re an introvert, people will take longer to like you and understand you. You’ll be branded as either arrogant or boring, you’ll face difficulty during group discussions and then there are always points for class participation. People often ask me if it hurts to be labelled as arrogant. Well I’m used to it by now, so I don’t curl up and cry, but it’s never pleasant to be misunderstood. All this taken into consideration I would never want to change this aspect of my personality.
4. Make a few friends and a lot of acquaintances – Yes, this might sound weird on the face of it but think about it. Friends are people who walk with you till the gates of hell and for whom you’re always willing to stick your neck out. There can’t be a lot of people who you feel that way about. Labelling everyone as your friend puts undue pressure on you and is never helpful. No, the girl you met a month back is not your best buddy. I don’t understand people who become best friends over summer vacations. At the same time having a wide network of acquaintances helps. It means interacting with fascinating people with varied interests, more information, growth and learning.
5. Don’t obsess about the success of others – Healthy competition is okay and who will you compare yourself with if not your peer group. But there are people like me who irrespective of how well they’ve done, will instantly feel insecure when they hear about how everyone’s working, has found the love of their life, are travelling, pursuing their dream course….it’s not that you’re not happy for them, but you obsess about how you’ve not done a single constructive thing in life. If you do this you’ll immediately understand what I’m talking about. This needs to stop. This habit will ensure that you’re never happy.
6. Good looks help – Shallow as this sounds it’s true. Sorry we don’t live in a utopian world. I’m all for inner beauty but being beautiful in the conventional sense of the word helps. In fact I don’t think it’s that unfair at all. It’s partially inherited like all other things we judge people for, be it intelligence or talent. I’m not saying that you have to resemble a Victoria Secret model, follow all fashion trends or starve yourself. Just start with keeping your weight within the normal BMI limit, take a bath every day, wear what brings joy to you, iron your clothes and comb your hair. In one word: grooming.