10 Life Lessons I have Learned in the Last Few Years

With you guys, I have always talked about technical things in Java technology in this blog. Today, I want to break the rule and share my learning on the personal and the professional front. I am sharing my thoughts because I want/hope you guys take little things seriously, which matter a lot in life.

Believe me, when I decided to write this post, many things came to my mind and which I wanted to include in this post but couldn’t do. I want this post to keep simple and in limit so that it does not lose its focus on what is most important and its intent to make you ‘pause and think for a few minutes.

“Life is a journey and it could be understood only backwards; but it must be lived forward.”

Assuming my most friends through this blog are java professionals, most of us live two lives everyday. One is personal when we are at home and the second when we are at work with different rules and environments, which we got outside employment. I will share my learnings on both fronts. I will start from my personal life because it requires more attention and is most often neglected.

5 Life lessons for personal life

1. Our habits shape our lives. Choose them carefully.

habits

This lesson has been the best learning for me. We usually do not think about things, we repeatedly do in our daily life. And most of us do not realize that most of the things which we do everyday become our habit. These everyday activities are sometimes good and sometimes bad. All of them become habits one day, whether you know it or not. While good habits will shape your future in positive ways, bad habits will bring you harm from multiple dimensions. Choose your habits carefully and support good habits. Fight bad habits if you already got them.

The best way to determine if a habit is good or bad is straightforward, an honest analysis by you only. Take a pen and paper, list down things you do everyday. Analyze them and their long time effects. Choose what’s good for you and what is not. Make a bold decision and take control of these things.

At the start, you will find that it is challenging to change a habit. Here, I got an advice for you. If I remember it correctly, it is from “You can win” by Shiv Khera. I  do not remember the exact words, but I remember the intent.

“If you want to control your everyday bad habits, just delay them as much as you can. Soon they will not be there.”

You Can Win by Shiv Khera

For example, if you have a bad habit of smoking, try to delay the for 1 hour then 2 hours or more, depending on your regular timings. Then increase this delay even more. Sooner you will find that you can avoid it for many days. You actually got your control back. The fight is easier from here.

This approach can be applied to any bad habit. Take pen and paper. Start now.

2. Honesty is the best policy.

honesty

This lesson is the second major step towards a rewarding life. Be honest. Appreciate honesty. Value Honesty. It is the best thing you can offer to your employer, friends, and everyone you care about. Now the question is, honesty in what, how and why?

There is an old saying that we should always tell the truth, so we don’t have to remember what we said. Also, how you will feel when you know that person you deal with is not honest. This feeling is the same for others. Just think about it.

A cross argument can be made that some job requires you to tell one or two lies, especially, marketing. Seriously? Do you think that the truth will be hidden all the time? The truth will not come out? Any profession lives on trust, and trust comes from honesty. This trust is actually converted to profits. More the trust and more the rewards. Think again. What if you get fake currency in return? Will you say it then also, that couple of lies are OK?

“Honesty is the best policy because no matter how good you are at telling lies, the truth will always come out.”

3. Your family and friends are the best you got. Preserve them with all your heart

family-and-friends

Life is all about little things that happen to you when you are planning for big things. These little things are mostly attached to your family and friends and consist of moments you spend with them, cherish with them.

Most of you will agree with this, so I will not make the discussion long. I will revisit a quote here:

“I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that its not the answer.”

Jim Carrey

4. A day you didn’t have a good laugh is a day wasted.

a-good-laugh

A good laughter is the best medicine. It has no side effects and brings lots of positive energy. Positive energy helps you in facing challenging circumstances. In fact, I got a big funny bone. I love to laugh and smile all the time.

People who know me personally know it very well. I like humor and appreciate it also, provided it does not play with somebody’s emotions.

5. Be kind. Do something for less fortunates.

charity

Don’t you feel that you are the beloved creation of GOD and GOD has been very kind to give you a very comfortable life? You got a good amount of fun in childhood, you got a fair chance to struggle in adulthood, and you got a job in some MNC or a good company. When I look back at my early days, we didn’t have so much to spend we have today, but we never slept hungry. It’s a huge thing, guys. We are few among the most fortunate people in this world. We must respect this fact and remember it all the time.

It also means that we must care about less fortunate people. They are forced to sleep hungry. They have to struggle in every step to survive the battle of life. Unfortunately, world-wise, the percentage of these less fortunates is much higher than people like us, who got a comparatively easy life.

We must share what we got in our life. At the end of the day, the fact which matters is how many lives you changed or touched. If you changed none, you wasted your life.

There are other things in my personal life, and I will share them in the future if time allows.

5 Life lessons for professional Life

1. Hard work always pays. Never ever give up your dreams.

hard-work

Nothing pays like hard work. It always yields an enormous fortune. All you need is patience and more hard work. I ardently believe in the quote of Thomas Edison:

“Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

Thomas Edison

This hard work should be directed also towards any particular goal. That goal is your dream. Always dream big. Do not be scared of obstacles. Hard work is the basis for everything worthwhile you will achieve in life. There’s no easy way to do hard work. You have to find your passion, stay focused and keep at the task until the job is done. You have to stay obsessively motivated.

I have worked very hard to make this blog. It’s not among the top blogs globally, but it surely is on the right track. In the short time of one year, it is ranked much above many old established blogs. It has brought a lot of attention from quality minds towards me, my work and has got some money also ;-). I always knew that hard work pays, now I believe it also.

2. Learn anything new everyday. Make everyday count.

learn something new everyday

This has been my motto of life for a long time, especially when I started blogging. I specifically search for the topics that I do not know about. I create a list of such topics and try to learn them as much as possible. At least one topic per day. Being a human, sometimes I skip it, but I always try to clear this backlog with more speed only.

Please do not confuse here with only tech-related items. Find something in your personal life as well or your hobby or your creativity. Anything new. e.g., making a particular dish, learning a new magic trick or reading everything about a fantastic app. You can put anything on this list.

So far, for me, rewards have been much more than my expectations. I have got a lot of confidence in the workplace. I have never failed in any technical interview in the last one year.

That’s a fascinating thing for many people. Well, I achieved it just by following this simple rule. Try yourself.

3. We are better when we are connected. Make connections.

make-connections

This lesson is actually the punch line in ‘Bank of America’, my present employer. But this fact I had learned much before joining the bank. You must have heard that Man is a social animal. If you want to grow in professional life, make contacts and keep them alive. These connections will help you when you are stuck in complex situations. You can get more growth opportunities because you are the one everybody knows.

Here, I am not recommending any kind of flattering to anybody. Flattering, though, succeeds sometimes, but not in the long run. All I am asking is to socialize.

Learn about family members of your colleagues. Talk about them. Make offline conversations personal. Make colleagues your friends. Do not ping them always for meetings. Ask them to have a cup of tea in the cafeteria. The same goes for your clients. Log into meetings 10 minutes before the start, and if they are available, talk to them about their family, their culture, their festivals or anything you can think of.

All such things transform into a large number of connections you will have in the industry.

4. Never hesitate in asking questions. Make active participation in meetings.

Ask-questions

I have been a lazy person at starting of my career. I was also very shy because of various reasons. Whenever team meetings happened at that time, I was almost quiet in all of them. Sometimes I had questions, but I hesitated in asking them. You know what, they never got answered. Any question you never ask will never get answered. As simple as it is.

The opportunities I lost at that time, I still can remember easily because they were just too bright to lose. I lost them. But, I will never make the same mistake in the future. Actually, I have improved a lot in this area.

Gain confidence. Always have a word in team meetings, seminars or townhalls. Make your presence noticed.

5. Communication skills are your best weapon. Sharp them everyday.

comm-skills

Most of you agree that English the most dominating language for various reasons. I respect my mother tongue, ‘Hindi’, very much and prefer to talk in my personal life. But I can easily say that English is more important for making a rewarding life in our industry. English is a de-facto global language. Your work responsibilities require you to communicate with people from different cultures, and languages. English fills the gap. So if you want to communicate with them, master the language. Once you master the language, more opportunities come in your way.

Please note that when I am saying English is important, it means a good command of the English language. You should communicate effectively. You should have a good command of vocabulary also. It is the first step towards the above four lessons too. It can put a lot of confidence in you to succeed on the above four points as well.

There have been other things, which I wanted to talk about, but leaving them for now to limit this post.

I will appreciate it if you share your thoughts with us. I want to know about you as well.

Happy Learning !!

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84 thoughts on “10 Life Lessons I have Learned in the Last Few Years”

  1. It’s really inspiring reading about your thoughts. I like the way you value honesty and try to learn something new everyday. Life is never boring this way.
    A little suggestion which is related to your last point : Your writing is good enough, but there’s a lot that can be improved (grammar, spellings and sentence formation). I’m sure having a good grip of language would help much faster growth and success for such a motivated person like you. As you said, communicating effectively is very important and whether we like it or not, people do judge us based on our communication skills and language proficiency.
    That being said, running such a blog and providing such huge help to thousands of people is really commendable and inspiring. Keep it up and All the best 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thanks.

    This is a bonus on top of Java technology and helpful in day-to-day life. I couldn’t stop reading this again and again. Really helpful.

    Reply
  3. The way you designed your blog and your clear cut explanation is really appreciable. More over, you share your personal thoughts which is inspiring.

    Thanks for all your work:)

    Reply
  4. This is one of the best article/blog I have ever went through. This is inspiring, thanks for sharing such good writings. I decided to follow some of the lessons you mentioned and hope it will be never a failure.

    Reply
  5. Thanks Lokesh for everything!
    I found out your website today when searching for DropWizard framework and in past couple of hours I have gone through quite a few articles. I simply loved it!

    I am a software engineer for past 12+ years but I never really did coding projects specially Java based. I was excellent at coding since my college days but I had a rough start of my career and ended up in manual qa and build release related roles. For past couple of years I am trying hard on switching to java developer role but still unsuccessful. I have completed java certification and solved lots of leetcode.com solutions but having hard time convincing hiring manager that I can be a good coder. Hence I am learning some java frameworks. Your website would be very useful but do you have any particular advice for me on this as to how I should proceed?

    Thanks
    Ganesh

    Reply
    • Hi Ganesh, you are in really tough situation. I will suggest to give another thought to this idea and if you still find it a worthy goal, then definitely go for it. Hypothetically, If I was in your position, I will first apply for relevant IJPs in current organization. You have 12+ yrs of experience, its your biggest asset. Use your connections, ask your friends and previous colleagues. Basically, steps are pretty obvious, only how you execute them will decide your success. Good Luck !!

      Reply
  6. Hi Friend,

    You are such a person ,making positive effect on all who read this blog.. Good Work . I appreciate this work from my whole heart…. keep going man.. lessons to be learned from you… Thanks ….

    Reply
  7. Very nice article Lokesh. I always like your blog and it’s contents.

    I didn’t know that you know me, unless you wrote, “It has brought a lot of attention from quality minds towards me”. ( <– Funny bone)

    Keep going man.

    Reply
  8. “Be kind. Do something for less fortunates..”

    Greatttt.. I always keep reading blogs and watching videos/interviews of generous personalities.. and I found many traits common among them…. But this one is the most self-less attribute and the most positive one among all of them (as per my limited Consciousness 🙂 ).
    You’ll always feel divine satisfaction and enthusiasm after you do any such act, be it helping other with materialistic or non-materialistic requirements.

    Thanks for listing these qualities 🙂

    Abhi

    Reply
  9. These are common points that we are facing in our life but knowing /Unknowing we are ignoring to improve. I think we should focus on these. Great Job Lokesh!

    Reply
  10. Thank you Lokesh!!!

    This blog is really an inspiration and a great guide!

    I like the point which you mentioned about socializing and the language to communicate (English). I believe along with the technical skills one must have these two to shine in their carrier.

    Reply
  11. Hi Lokesh,

    These are the wonderful values that everybody should think and keep in positive track whatever you had shared here.

    Thanks for that, keep posting. 🙂

    Reply
  12. Congratulations!

    Very good article!

    I have been practiced some these lessons by a few years ago and it’s changing my life.

    Thanks for share it with us. 😉

    Reply
  13. Nice list! I would like for you to be a bit more specific about hard work. People often confuse hard work as needing to be busy: “As long as I keep doing stuff, somewhere I must reach my goal” or “If I throw enough balls in the air, one of them is about to stick somewhere sometime”. In my opinion: Reaching your goals has nothing to do with hard work. It has to do with inspired or innerly aligned work. It has to do with flow. People who are in a flow can seem to be doing hard work for people who do not understand their inner motivation/inspiration, who look at it from the outside. If you reach flow you will notice action seems to be automatic and opportunities seem to pop out of nowhere to support you in your next inspired action. For the person doing it is has no connotation with work, let alone hard work. It is just fun, it is energy giving, not taking. Of course no goal will ever be reached without doing some action, but just working hard wil not get you there. I think this concept of needing to work hard has come about from the concept of The American Dream. But that concept has already been misinterpreted in my opinion. Most immigrants came to the US on the motivation to make a better living than where they came from and for most of them the promise of the freedom to make their own way was so much inspiration that motivation to take action was natural to them. Most people however equate hard work with struggle and hardship and demotivation and an energy drain. So could you please elaborate on what you mean by hard work?

    Reply
    • Hi Edwin, I really appreciate your thoughts. Regarding “hard work”, I wrote this “This hard work should be directed also towards any particular goal.” That says everything which is in my mind.

      I agree that only hard work “MAY NOT” be enough, but that’s always your best bet. To make clear, I am not talking about mindless hard work without any planning. Allow me to quote an example here of the ‘Rickshaw Pullers’, perhaps in India they do most hard physical work. But what’s their goal? Only to earn something at end of day, and wait for another day. They do it fine everyday, because they choose to do so.

      Targeted hard work is very important. Not everyone of us (including me) is entrepreneur today, but we do stand a big chance if we do something targeted day in-day out, with lots of failures in between.

      That’s what I understand by hard work. I may be wrong, completely wrong. And I will be happy with any thought provoking argument.

      Reply
  14. Thanks Lokesh !

    I am very glad after reading your life lessons. Today I learnt something different from java. 🙂 Thanks.!

    Reply
  15. Dear Lokesh, I truely admire your efforts of spreading the words of knowledge and wisdom. This is extremely valuable for others who want to learn. Please carry it onwards.

    Reply
  16. thx a lot, great article and really inspiring for me. you never know, this your non tech article from programmer to another programmer can change programmer life 🙂

    Reply
  17. Thanks Lokesh,
    This is very good thoughts .
    Inspired me a lot and i read it 2 times in last 3 months.
    Keep going buddy i am always in touch.

    Reply
  18. Hi Lokesh,

    I love reading your posts. From this post one thing I would ask you.

    In a meeting suppose you have a query and you feel this question may be silly.Others may make it a fun.How do you handle this kind of scenario. People might be there who don’t have the answer for this.But still they feel to make it a fun.How do you handle these? 🙂

    Reply
    • In corporate, everybody plays for himself. You choose what’s good for you, and do it. no second thought on it. You have a query which needs to be resolved, just make it happen.
      In any sensible team, everybody invites questions and believe me, there are no silly questions. There are other guys in same meeting who wants to ask the same question as you. They also face the same dilemma as you. It’s “who first” matter.

      Reply
    • Hi Partha,
      I am reading your comment in August 2016. I hope that in the intervening 2 years you have got up the nerve to ask questions in meetings. Are you?
      Incidentally, your use of English highlights a strange thing. You say “making it a fun” when I guess you fear that others will laugh at you in a mean way. But really the silly questions do make work fun for everyone. Unbelievably some people will laugh at your question, others will be secretly wishing they could ask it themselves and there are a third group: the ones who did not know enough to even think of the question. So think of them, the third group and make it fun.

      Reply
  19. Because of you , I got to know about

    1. Real Java Concepts and

    2. Earn confidence to face Interview and got success as well.

    Thanks a lot for all things ..

    Reply
  20. I am following your blog, quite a while for now and learning new things which otherwise i may not learn in my current project.But this one will be the best of the lot..Cheers buddy..keep going….continue inspiring..Thanks a lot for your efforts

    Reply
  21. Lokesh,
    Nice post, These are all small points which we know but Unfortunately we are ignoring to do small things and try to change BIG things. A famous saying “Knowing is not doing, doing is doing.”

    Reply
  22. I liked what you said abt “learning something new everyday”…I am definitely gonna implement it in my life.Cheers buddy…

    Reply

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