The 17 important lessons learned through 27 years of experimentations — Self-development

Still surviving and alive. Thank God 😊😊😊 Two more days(27th July) to my birthday, so I thought of revisiting my past life and see what lessons I can bring to the future.

One good thing to mention before we go with the list that I have been basically tuned to listening CURIOUSLY when people speak interesting stuff without deviating myself and keep bugging them with next set of questions to know more. All to improve me and things am doing for the company and the community. so there must be something I learned or still learning.

So I thought of sharing those journey with you…The sharing here is not just about me but what a lot of people have taught me and how that lesson has experimented in my life.

1. Being Naive without a hesitation

Not sure whether it is a right word but a story should explain what I mean by this. I encouraged myself to ask any questions whenever needed without a hesitation. This is not something I was taught to be but one mention from my 5th grade/class school master when leaving that school, He told my mum that “he asks a lot of questions and his teachers will miss him”. Asking questions is very important when you want to be a good learner. I still remember when my mom mention to the next school(head master) I was joining about the enthusiasm in asking questions and being curious about it. Then it became a reminder myself to everywhere am going. It was not about whether I was a talented student or not,

but continuing the habit of asking questions without hesitation allowed to understand every doubt I had and, everything I was curious about.

It needs to be mentioned that there are some cons also when you are being naive and directly ask some stupid things which have negative effect. No worries you wouldn’t know whether it is stupid until you try that. Just remind yourself that it is an experience/experiment for your future. When you grow up this is the skill that will allow you to stand up and ask the question in a conference or a important meet ups.

2. Being a good listener like a kid

Not sure who developed the habit of telling stories to kids. Am thankful for all the granny (Grand mother) and story tellers. Remember when we were kid’s, we listen to people without a single hesitation? because we understand our situation that we dunno the full story… Looking back, It looks very simple but it is really a habit we need to be trained off > Remove the HAT 🎩 that we know everything and start listening to people. Thats where the learning starts!

Then what you do is continue sharing that story to your friends in school( and here you are developing the habit of story TELLING)

3. Be a participant / Engage / Get involved

All these words share the similar meaning but let me repeat it to emphasize the importance. Perhaps it is my character or something else which I have not figured out, has made me participate in everything that makes sense and interesting to me from the childhood. Even though I do not know how to play cricket or soccer, without a hesitation I will go and join with the players. When I was in kids school games as well, I participated all most all the games. I am the worst but still believe in myself and participate in drawing and poem reciting contest. It was nothing big in childhood but it is the character that grows ourself in our career. When meet a stranger or a strange event or office event or standing up and joining for a short exercise in a conference, we need to have this characters which will give us the opportunity to learn new things and new people. This can be achieved only if we get ourself participated in things instead of sitting behind simply and quietly. Also, this characters of being the first time talker got me good people when I travel or in meetups who helped to shape my growth.

4. Encouragement: Chemistry teacher.

I used to sleep a lot, really a lot of class, college, hostel. Even my nickname is tied with that, so you can imagine how worst is that. Once I was falling sleeping in my chemistry class and the teacher found and pointed out that am sleeping. then all of a sudden everyone was laughing in my class. The teacher just replied this “Stop laughing, even though he sleeps, he makes sure he study well and get his marks”. It was a shocking as well as bit encouragement and, that instance created so much respect for that teacher. what important here is

“when someone is down, we need to make sure we encourage them to climb up instead of putting a label on them and finish his life”

5. Language is not knowledge: Focus on the strength and important

One of my friend’s uncle told him this advice EVEN when the guy was very fluent in English and still concern about his fluency. I never forget what he has shared.

“Language can be learned in the short period but not the knowledge, so don’t worry about the language and focus on knowledge”.

It was so much motivating to focus myself on the strength of knowledge instead of language which is my weakness. If I would have stopped myself and worried about the language, I would have been stopped there trying to figure it that. I have shared this lesson with my sisters and brothers whenever they are discouraged by the fluency in English. That experience always reminds me to focus on the strength and be sure to focus on the important.

6. Reading a Book: What my Dad taught.

My dad has played a little role in my life than my mom but all those little were highly effective. It was my college time, I was studying in city side and so it’s easy to buy and sell books. So he asked me to buy some rare books and eventually finished reading those before I complete my vacation. So he returns those books to me to sell back. Instead of selling it back, I plan to read first before selling. It was around 700+ pages book about the 20-year history of America by Tamil Author Raghavan. That’s my start of book reading habit and I never stopped reading after that, it becomes so much passion and provided as a food for my curiosity about history, people and its leaders. Specifically, the history, business and biographies books provide so much exposure to the way of thinking and approaching things.

They inspired how to be a better person , how people have solved the challenges they faced, how they run government, company and helped their society.

As people say, each book provides a new way of ℓife, it always provided a lot of improvement. This habit is important for people like me who brought from the rural village side because the amount of exposure we can get is very limited, so to broaden our thought, we need to read and travel!

7. Entrepreneurship: Start with your capability and learn from it.

At this time, don’t even know what is the meaning or there is a definition for the things I used to do. It is a curiosity for how money can be made. There was a lot of waste rubber bands which I got from my uncle store. It is not usable anymore at my home and so what I and my sister did is buy an empty plastic pocket and put around 10 rubber band in the pocket and pack it. Then she will sell to her friends. It wasn’t a big business but it was a small start to make things out of waste.

Then I start selling CD(movie), Games, software packages. The business model is simple > Just copy using Nero software and paste a label paper on the CD to cover it as it is a cheap empty CD and also to brand it like branded product. (The CD is still a good quality, not like cheating but to show a finished product).

The lesson is here its not important what you do but how this can help you grow yourself in long term. As the respected Steve jobs sayings “You can connect the dots when looking it back”

8. Always have a secondary project in your life for long term benefits:

whatever you call it (pet or Part time or Free lancing or passionate or your backyard startup), let’s assume it is a BOAT ⛵️ This will be a savior in your life. Consider this is a small rowing boat 🚣. What it can do it.

  • Teach you how to be a rover
  • How to understand the pattern of the wave in the sea
  • How to buy a boat
  • How to design a boat
  • How to sell a boat
  • How to enhance your boat
  • How to help someone with a boat
  • How to rent/outsource your boat
  • How to hire a free lancer for you boat

Yes, it is many “HOW TO” but remember that when you have a small boat, you are developing yourself how to manage a ship 🚢. < I believe this is very important in our life. The outcome from my experience are the skills helped to grow in career, free lancing project money, a single product that is proven and used by Indian consumers. Not just money, you get so much experience of having your own boat and testing different ideas. That freedom is very gifted in our life if we can work hard for it. so if you are someone looking for so much freedom, you better sharp axes before you cut the trees.

9. Success is not about what you need to do but it is about having awareness of what you should not do

This was an amazing advice from a conference at Anna University when the college alumni from Microsoft shared his lesson. It is so true that IF we know what are all the things we can avoid, it saves the resource, time And energy. YES, it is very hard when trying to find what not to speak but only the experience can teach that.

This advice is always a reminder when I visit an important place or important person, I make myself prepared what not to do. So I can save myself from any accidental disaster. Become a reminder to things like what not to miss while going to airport, what not to miss when travelling for long time, what not to speak in a funeral, what not to speak in marriage hall, what not to speak when meeting a girl, what not to speak when meeting elders.,etc.

10. Never set a limit to yourself or live in a small circle: Exposure is must thing.

When you read, watch or listen, DO NOT set a limit to yourself on the topics or the categories you want to explore. Give freedom to your curiosity as much as possible, so that It will find new ways to achieve things. One best example happened to me is I always worried that am getting too distracted while doing my projects on early time. I used to question myself “why we are exploring this ____ tool instead of just downloading and installing this required tool to finish the object. I realized lately that shouldn’t be worried about this. If I just focus on getting this tool installed and close the chapter, I will only learn this but allow myself having a freedom of exploring others as well while searching allowed to know more than that. To the fact, all the items explored through this distractions helped to broaden my knowledge. (Let me not confuse this with a idea of focusing on one thing, what I mean is even if you can’t test the new thing you explored at the exact time, you put on waiting list and learn later)

Another example is reading things in Wikipedia, if I started reading about one article, I would open a minimum of next 3 topics from the hyper links from that same article. May be I started to read about LinkedIn history but I will end up also reading why people open company from Ireland.

11. Identify the Good friends and advisors for life long Or just pray it

Am sure you would hear that surrounding yourself with positive minded people can bring changes in your life. Yes, it is highly true. I will go one more step telling that understand whom to contact for what stuff. There are friends and advisors who are passionate about entrepreneurial, some about history, some about community empowerment, some about religious affairs, some about family.

Identify those people in early stage and reach out to the right people. The best relationship is through sharing, don’t be secretive at all times.

It may not be suitable for everyone but I enjoyed greater things because of sharing things with them. Their feedbacks and advice are more beneficial than being secretive about my problem or my weakness or the ideas I have.

Be open to speaking with strangers, a lot of the good advisors in my life was strangers before. A guy in a tech meetup has changed my career path. He started advising from which programming language I can learn to, his final help in getting me to, assist his brother business where I started to become curious about digital marketing. and that’s my profession now. Don’t be shy, just say smile, then say hi, then say “how are you” or just start from any comment. 95% of the people are open to connect and speak interesting things!

12. Learning Microsoft Office:

😍😍😍 And specifically Excel. I just want to name this because this is very very very important for anyone, literally any one if you know how to make most out of it from Microsoft office. It is silly but this is a master piece in innovation.

Use it as Record management, Budget planning, Spend Tracker, Calculation, tables, simple calculation, log file, task manager, planning things, NNNNNNN NUMBER of things.

To the advanced extent: Data analysis, Data Visualization, database automation, etc. This is a savior. It takes only two days to learn advanced excel. Let me know if you want to. I got good teachers.

13. Time is Money: Productivity | Hard Work | Sacrifice | Responsibility

One story which explained how much time is valuable by Steve Jobs about his dress and closet. The reason behind why he wears the same design every day is to avoid spending the time thinking about what to wear every day.

How much time do you need to decide this? 10mins? Imagine if 10 minutes is very important. Then what happened to the time we spend on watching episodes of unnecessary stuff? unnecessary talks, unnecessary ___, etc. I was saved by this in my life in my 20+(not before 20). Do what is valuable, profitable(not exactly in terms of money) and useful. Think before doing things… Do we really need to spend time on this???

People go after the tricks or quick way to succeed from someone life success stories but they forget about how much time the success people spend on sharpening their life, the list of things they have sacrificed in their life.

Thats the lesson we need to learn from them. They weren’t the normal people doing the useless stuff. If you start to calculate how much time it takes to walk from a street to another street or walking on the first floor to the second floor or the time is taken to walk from office to your lunch, then you will start to identify the value of the time and how you can better use it.

By responsibility, if you can be a responsible person for your community, company or a group utilizing the time efficiently, the output will be benefitted to others as well. That’s the difference we can make.

14. Recognition: General Manager on Reebonz.

I learned how to really get things done only by just giving the recognition they need. The respectable women were my boss aka general manager to Singapore office, she has mastered the skill of encouragement and giving recognition to the people they deserve. Every time when she recognizes what I do, it indirectly reminds me how I should get more of this from her by automatically doing things which are profitable for the company and to the team.

Make sure your team member get the recognition they need. That is the best thing you can give to your colleague, or the friends or your subordinates

15. Religion: It is More about towards people

This is just my lesson so far, correct me if am wrong. Religion is not about just only prayer but more about the social conduct and morals in our life.

If you are expecting certain things in your life, you should do or provide the SAME certain things to the creation of the creator. When you expect respect, give respect. When you expect kindness, show the same kindness. When you expect money, give money. When you expect tolerance, give tolerance. When you expect freedom, provide freedom and do not oppress. I was very slow to learn about the tolerance, freedom, and kindness in my life.

Two important lessons I learn from my teachers:

  • Your morals are important than your just prayers
  • Whoever it is, You treat the same way because they are the creation of your creator you believe in.

16. You need to have interesting stuff before you become interested in someone else:

Am not sharing about materialism or getting dated. But in every stage of life, it is important what you do is an interesting stuff. Naturally, people spend more time with people who are interesting. I learned this a from movie actor called Kamal Haasan (Tamil Nadu, India). Once on an article, there is a mention of how his multi talented or multi level exposure make him an interesting person. When he met a makeup artist, he can make a thoughtful conversation because he knows the basic of makeup. When he speaks with dancer, it will be interesting as well as he knows about the dance as well. What I mean by this is, I discourage not to limit myself to stop with programming, I tried almost everything… ERP, all Adobe design tools, front end programming, back-end programming, database, types of server, etc. So when I speak with designers or tech people in my office, I know the very basic to understand what they speak and make the conversion more intractable instead of being single way connection. Almost I tried everything it is free to try and learn but finally ended in digital marketing and now it’s time for data science.

Thank you to all the Travelling mates (not the night life owl) who inspired on my last 3 years travel. No exaggerations. They are the one of out of box thinkers about the life in the current generation. It is a big topic. It helped my personal and professional life > I wrote it here in detail. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-how-does-travelling-help-self-development-jk-baseer

In the end, Am no perfect and so everything that I mentioned cannot be right for everyone. I just thought of revisiting and repeating this to me and share to my known people that we got more thing to learn in life andThis are things I am still trying to learn > People Management, Effective presentation skills, English fluency, Writing, Out of Box thinking, business, and tools for rural People empowerment, About My Childhood background: make difference in this world.

In one line if I wanted to say “If you are earning money to be materialistic, then you are wasting your time in this world. Go out and explore and be curious about the life”

END

Other writings:

why do companies need to focus on employees as well instead of always on business strategy when things wrong?

how being good partners has more mutual good than being a just client on “business dealing and partnership

My Lessons from being a digital marketing professional , this article covers from buying media to conversion rate

I came from a village background, a very small village with less than 250 homes in the southern tip of India. The medium of learning was Tamil until am 13years old in a government school. The perspective why am sharing is because the lessons what I learned are more considerable for people who come from the similar background.

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Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on July 25, 2017.

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JK

JK

I help myself and companies to grow in Digital world through digital marketing, digital transformation initiatives, product management. Traveled 15% of 🌏