We are all victims of our experiences

What we often, depends on are what we have been. Current decisions are built on past experiences. We are all victims of our experiences.

“Victims” because good (or bad) experiences in the past make us extrapolate that to the future. Victims because this can lead us to make bad choices/decisions. Our optimism or pessimism depends on our past.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?


20 Life Lessons We Learn Too Late

Sometimes we become depressed thinking about the past and mistakes we have committed in life. There are many lessons we learn late in our life. For example, the importance of maintaining work-life balance, the art of listening and giving more value to health rather than wealth. Moreover, we feel like going back in time to rectify our mistakes.


A Quora thread [1] has shared some lessons we should learn early in life so that we do not regret later on. Here are my top 20 from the thread:

  1. Simple is good.
  2. It’s all about the relationships. There is nothing more important to each person than themselves. Tap into that. Do good for others and the world will be your oyster. For us introverts, we’ve gotta work a bit harder. The above quote from Maya Angelou summarizes why this is so important:
  3. People are far more important than any other thing in your life. No hobby, interest, book, work is going to be as important to you as the people you spend time with as you get older.
  4. Time passes much more quickly than you realize.
  5. If you don’t take care of your body early then it won’t take care of you later. Your world becomes smaller each day as you lose mobility, continence and sight.
  6. Money talks. It says “Goodbye.” If you don’t plan your finances for later in life, you’ll wish you had.
  7. That big house you had to have becomes a bigger and bigger burden, even as the mortgage gets smaller. The cleaning, the maintenance, the stairs — all of it. Don’t let your possessions own you.
  8. Every day you wake up is a victory.
  9. None of the best experiences of your life will happen staring a computer screen, a phone screen or a TV.
  10. Beneath anger is always fear. As the wise Yoda says, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Whenever we suffer, especially for long periods of time, at first we believe it is because of something outside of us–something we hate. And if we make it past that emotion, we find below that hate is a rumble of anger, and certainly something we have held on to for far too long. But beneath all of that is always fear. A fear of loss. A fear of vulnerability. A fear of letting go. But if you can get to the point of acknowledging the fear, you will see its lighthearted shadow, compassion. And you will be able to move forward.
  11. Your emotions take practice. Who you are emotionally takes practice. You can practice humility, you can practice forgiveness. You can practice self-awareness and humor, just as easily as you can practice anger, resentment, drama, and conflict. Who you are, emotionally, is a reflection of the things you consciously (or unconsciously) practice. You were not “born” upset. You have merely practiced that emotion far more than you have, say, joy.
  12. Achievement will never be as fulfilling as the journey.
  13. The school really were the best days of your life. If you worked hard at school, you are reaping the benefits now.
  14. Choose your friends carefully; you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
  15. Always give your best at everything you do, people are always watching.
  16. Always treat people the way you want to be treated and you’ll receive respect from almost everyone you meet.
  17. Everyone is simultaneously different and the same. Regardless of someone’s race, culture, gender and sexual orientation, everyone is equal.
  18. We don’t care about the things we get easily, Health for instance.
  19. Practice Humility, Practice Forgiveness. like you practiced playing Piano. Your emotions take practice.
  20. And last but not the least, Don’t let your Possessions own you.

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-lessons-people-most-often-learn-too-late-in-life


Best way to learn something

If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished? — Rumi

Töpferei, Sanskriti

I found the story below being shared on a couple of websites. It applies to not only to blogging – but to everything else in life.

In his book Art & Fear, David Bayles describes a simple experiment by a ceramics teacher:

The ceramics teacher announced he was dividing his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right graded solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an A.

Well, come grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity!

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

All the students learned an invaluable lesson that day. If you want to be skilled at something, practice it effortlessly.

When it comes to software, the same rule applies. If you aren’t building, you aren’t learning. Rather than agonizing over whether you’re building the right thing, just build it. And if that one doesn’t work, keep building until you get one that does. The crucial lesson here is to test, experiment, push the boundaries and most importantly, learn from mistakes.

The people who tried more did better, even though they failed more too. Of course you shouldn’t try to fail, but you shouldn’t let the fear of it stop you from trying.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that quantity always trumps quality, but where the cost of failure is low lots of failures that you pay attention to is a pretty good way of learning. Learning how to do things requires doing them, over and over again, making some ugly pots along the way. Through trial and error, and repetitions, you will eventually figure out. It just takes persistence, a real desire to learn, and a willingness to be wrong sometimes.

Work hard on developing the skill – Deliberate Practice

“Deliberate Practice does not involve a mere execution or repetition of already attained skills, but repeated attempts to reach beyond one’s current level which is associated with frequent failures.’ K. Anders Ericsson

In a few words, deliberate practice is what leads you to continual improvement.

Is there something in your life that you’re trying to perfect? Have you tried a quantity approach instead? (Just make sure to learn from your mistakes.)

Bamboo Tree – A Story about Patient and Persistence

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”—Masanobu Fukuoka

Farming in general requires hard work and there is no 9-to-6 schedule. There are no fixed working hours, no paid leaves. Basically you don’t earn if you don’t plant. But farming has taught many lessons like, you reap what you sow, hard work, patience, persistence etc. are the important lesson we can learn from farming.


There is a special lesson to learn from bamboo farming.

The bamboo tree offers an important lesson, if we plant a bamboo seed and water it and nurture it for a year, we will see no growth above the ground. Even if we did it for four years, we would see no growth. With these discouraging result, it will be easy to abandon our efforts. But if we persisted and watered and nurtured where we planted the seed, we could see 80 feet of growth in the fifth year.

So how long does it take for it to grow so high? 6 weeks or 5 years.

If the farmer stopped watering the plant at any point during those five years, it would have died. Was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?


What has happened during all those years?

Underneath the ground, an enormous network of roots was developing, this enabled the rapid growth of the tree in fifth year. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for people.

Life is almost like the growing process of the bamboo tree.