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Learning from the experiences of others

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself" - Eleanor Roosevelt 

How can I find my purpose in life? How do I know my choice is right? These are questions we all want to find better answers to. Yet there are so many things to experience and learn, and our lives are too short to cover everything. This is where learning from others come in. In just a few hours, we can gain lessons that others took a lifetime to accumulate. We can find out how others' to the purpose of their life, and how they found it. We can learn what difficulties they faced, and how they pressed to overcome these. 

“Many people operate under the dysfunctional belief that they just need to find out what they are passionate about. Once they know their passion, everything else will somehow magically fall into place. We hate this idea for one very good reason: most people don’t know their passion."  - Bill Burnett (Executive Director, Designing your Life program, Stanford University)
 

Beyond life lessons, writing a better life-story will require us to continually pick up skills and knowledge. Whatever we choose to do in our life, we need skills and we need to become a stronger person to achieve what we want. It is the best era for us to learn, so keep learning!

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time – none, zero. Those who keep learning will keep rising in life.”
Charlie Munger

8 lessons I've learnt

  1. Adopt a longer lens in life. We often feel pressured to find answers and results in life, but many of these pressures are self-created. In turn, these lead us to choices we don't really like but feel committed to. 

  2. Keep searching. Some of us find what we want to commit to early on in life. Most of us don't.  Keep searching, by continually learning about different fields and what people in these fields are doing.  We overestimating what we are capable of in 1 year, and underestimating what we are capable of in 20 years.  

  3. Develop mastery. What 

  4. Our passion needs to be developed. We cannot determine after just 5 swimming lessons that swimming is our passion in life. We need to develop this interest. We can only tell if something is our passion after we have gained some mastery in it.

  5. Some people find their passion early in life. Most of us don't. We should keep searching.

  6. Our search can be improved by being curious and learning about other fields of work, especially if we have some interest in them. 

  7. This is because, our passion/purpose is NOT something that we will always enjoy and find happiness doing. Instead, passion is something that we have a convincing answer(to ourselves) for WHY we are doing it.

  8. A passion/purpose is something we are willing to struggle for, because the struggle will come:

    • Personal sacrifices: great athletes and musicians spend much time honing their skills

    • Having to learn other skills: People dedicated to social causes would have to devote additional time to learn skills like finding resources and managing finances

    • Managing both the mundane and the risks: Successful entrepreneurs have to deal with mundane tasks such as administration, while

    • Dealing with negativity: Writing your own story means that there will always be negativity, even from people closest to you. Even if your desire is just to live a minimalist life and not affect anyone else, you'll still be judged; human brains are programmed to judge people based on our lenses, and this happens by default. 

    • Self-doubt and failure: We've heard countless examples not to fear failure, because it happens to everyone. The goal is not be fearless, which is neurologically impossible. Your fears could at times be right, and also lend humility to your being. Instead, a better strategy is to define your fears (learn about fear-setting here), and to recognise the costs of not taking action. And.. brace yourself for the many failures that will be coming. 

  9. ​But, as Viktor ​Frankl shares,  "those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish once you're convinced it is what you should be doing.

  10. While outcomes are very important, what we really crave as humans is growth - that we are getting better in the areas important to us.

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Viktor Frankl (Prisoner of War)

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Masafumi Nagasaki

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Tom Bilyeu - founder Impact Theory

Tom Bilyeu - founder Impact Theory

How do you "find" your passion?

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