This one’s for the gen z, the young ones, the energetic ones, the crazy ones, the futuristic ones, the visionary ones, the inquisitive ones, the ones who are gonna shape our future, the STUDENTS. Dang, I am making myself sound like a baby boomer trying to write advice for students, I am not! There’s something about this age group that makes me get out of my chair and go talk to a bunch of them endlessly. The vibe, nature, the innocence, the learning attitude, or merely reminding us of our own childhood; whatever it is, it surely does the trick and unfurls the magic and how.
Ultimately, you students are in the best possible age group to take advantage of all this abundance of knowledge and information out there to make something totally spellbound out of it. Compare our minds to that of a wall, where all the information and memories are written on.
As kids, this wall is all clean and tidy, and anything could have been written or drawn on it. But as we grow up, the wall becomes kinda full, leaving no or very little space to add something that hasn’t been added before. The markings on the wall become so rigid that most of the time they can’t be erased back.
This is the primary reason why students if given the right knowledge, instilled with the right understanding, and exposed to the right people, can draw something wonderful on their walls which can help keep the students motivated and inspired in the long run. And this is also the reason why the adults are so damn hard to change their mindset or to add something new, as their walls are already pretty full with all the ugly doodles and meaningless hodge-podge which they are not ready to overwrite or erase.
You People Will Carve the Future of this World
At the end of the day, there is no denying the fact that though students may be 20% of our population, they are 100% of our future. You, students, have this huge responsibility on your shoulders, to make the world an even better place than any one of us could have possibly imagined.
“So, do not go gentle into that bright sleep, for the woods are lovely dark and deep, and you have miles before you go to sleep, miles before you go to sleep.”
The generation who’s ever charged and ready, radiating a sense of positivity, eyes glittering with an uncanny source of energy; unlike some of the adults, totally lazy and tired who are nothing but a burden on this planet always criticizing and spouting negativity wherever they go just by their hideous presence.
If the students aren’t motivated and inspired to create something amazing, push humanity even further, and truly make the world a better place to live in; well then that’s gonna be a serious situation to look into.
This article is not actually to motivate the students as motivation is temporary but to simply remind them and slightly nudge them as to what actually lies ahead of them, how much potential they have in their hands to change the world for good, along with a few good ol’ advice.
If you guys are not excited about the future or are not living an enjoyable life then you are gonna turn into a liability not just for your parents but for the entire humanity. You’d be killing opportunities that people would kill to get and would be keeping yourself from becoming the best version of yourself. Moreover, you are gonna be a bad example for the generation after you and would be a negative influence on the people around you.
You don’t wanna be in that category of people now, do you? The category where people are living a dead life, who are merely physically moving around but are long dead from the inside and have become a walking coffin carrying their own leftovers. You also don’t wanna be the kind of person who did nothing substantial in his life and all he knows and does is to find the shortcomings and limitations of everyone around him till eternity. That’d be a shame for someone like you who has a golden opportunity, especially in today’s time to leave a positive impact on the world.
Or take it this way, what kind of an impression do you want your kids to have when they look at you? Do you want them to be their ‘ideals’, their heroes, someone they always look up to, someone they come to for advice, someone they know they have a lot to learn from? Or do you wanna be a disgrace for them, an obstacle in their path, a bolder in their journey, liability for your own children?
Or well, maybe you are too young to so much as imagine having your own kids one day. But hey, it’s gonna happen whether you can envision it or not, and if even 1% of the readers, by envisioning it, feel a fire in your belly to get going, then I’d consider myself successful already.
So, let’s get the show up and running.
ADVICE For Students #1: Live What you do
Even though this goes without saying, and in all honesty, it feels weird to reiterate it a gazillionth time, it would feel weirder to not include it. So here it is.
You gotta live what you do. You are not a robot or a dead person walking in his own coffin. Enjoying to its fullest whatever it is you are doing should be your top priority because only then can you achieve something worth looking at.
Mediocre, dull, and uninspired will be all you will be known for if you don’t live, breathe, and eat your work 24*7. Because let me be clear, the world is not a trip to Disneyland where you are gonna find smiling faces all the time ready to lift your spirits to the moon, it can and will be pretty bonkers and nasty at times. And the only way to stay resilient and persevering is to practically live what you work on. Only then can your mind, body, and soul come together for your rescue and make you climb that mountain of greatness.
Your work should give you the best kicks in the game of life. Just because society asks you to do something, your friends, relatives, and family ask you to do something doesn’t mean you should pressure yourself in doing it. Remember, at the end of the day, you and you alone will have to live with the consequences of the actions you take and the decisions you make, not the society, or even your family for that matter. You are the sole rider in your journey of life.
It’s a no-brainer actually. However, even after this, the majority of people in today’s world are stuck at a job they suck in, work for a boss they totally despise, do a business they are not passionate about and then whine why they are not growing or are unhappy. If you are joining a profession or a career line you don’t like just because your family said to ‘play it safe’, then remember this, nobody in this world achieved anything great by ‘playing it safe’. In fact, trying to play safe can be the riskiest thing for you to do.
You don’t wanna be on that side of the hemisphere. And if you don’t know what it is that excites you or makes you feel alive and awesome, that’s alright. “Keep looking, don’t settle.” Settling for anything less than what you actually deserve or want from life is probably the biggest sin you can commit for yourself. You weren’t born to merely ‘settle down’. You were born to rise and shine munchkins!
Life is a gift far too precious to waste down the gutter. Save it, work for it, and be grateful for every last breath you take.
ADVICE for Students #2: No Plan is the Best Plan
How many times have you experienced making what you thought was a foolproof plan, only to later take it behind the barn and shoot it in the face? Well, I know I have, probably just over a million times.
The world is changing at lightning speed, and so should you if you wanna keep up with it. And having a flexible plan is the way to go. By ‘no plan’ I don’t intend to mean that you roam aimlessly without any set directions or goals in life. That’s a path that will surely lead you to guaranteed failure in life.
The thing is that whatever path you set or choose to pursue your goal shouldn’t restrict or constrain you to such an extent that the very thing intended to achieve your dreams becomes the biggest obstacle in your way. A target should be like that of a pole star, which the sailors use to maneuver their boats or ships in case they get lost. That’s what a goal or a purpose is good for, to give you the right direction in case the path ahead looks foggy and unclear. Some people get so wrapped up in following a particular set path that they lose sight of their goal only which is of course not the aim.
The goal can be anything, like ‘to become a renowned dancer’ or ‘to be financially independent’ or just any one of the 112 other things. Plans are just the roadmap to bridge the gap between your current situation and your desired end.
Choosing and fixating yourself to a particular plan like, “I am only gonna learn how to dance from x,y,z teacher, then I am gonna participate in the national dance competition and then I am gonna do a couple of ads to make my way into the film industry and so on” or “I am gonna start a business of pineapples to become financially independent. I am gonna buy low and sell high and export it to l,m,n countries as they have a friendly business policy set in place which complements our needs” can bring more injury than benefits.
The thing is if you layout such a massive, huge, grandeur, and detailed plan before even jumping into the cold waters, you are gonna have to deal with a ton of disappointment and have to tackle things you didn’t anticipate in the wildest of your dreams, because that’s just how life works babies.
Flexibility is what separates living from the dead. As living beings even though we are physically flexible to a certain degree, our mental rigidity and refusal to be mentally flexible might become our biggest hole in the net.
I Didn’t Have A Set Plan Either
Even I just had a simple goal in my mind, which was to do something worthwhile in my life and live a happy life. Plain and simple. There are simply billions of permutations and combinations one can choose from, to achieve that feast. I didn’t really carve out any stonecold plans to follow, I kinda sorta just went with the flow, what naturally felt was the right thing to do, turned where my gut feelings asked me to turn, changed my pace according to what the intuitions advised me.
I never planned to start a blog. I didn’t even plan to start a YouTube channel till mid-Feb. (Do check it out thumbkins)
The point being, it’s ok if you don’t have a plan, in fact, I prefer it that way. Just make a goal of what you want from life, see what clicks, and give in your everything. You are not a clairvoyant or something, you don’t know what the future holds.
The best kind of plans is those which can instantly change themselves in a fraction of seconds according to the underlying circumstances without compromising on the goal or the purpose. Making a plan in today’s world is like building a sandcastle near the shore. All it will take is one teensy tiny wave, and there goes your lovely plan, obliterated into a bazillion particles.
Remember, the goal or the purpose is something to cling onto, not the plan. People sometimes do the opposite. They cling to the plan so stubbornly that they compromise with their purpose. The plans ought to change if you wanna make the plan work. This is why it’s so much better to not have one in the first place.
ADVICE for Students #3: Grow Constantly, Learn Ceaselessly
The Universe is constantly expanding, even since its inception. And it only makes sense for us to expand ourselves as well. Of course, by expanding I don’t mean, just physically growing your muscles and hardening your bones, but also elongating your neural pathways and elevating your intelligence.
You gotta constantly evolve and grow, increasing your mental field of view, feeding on new data and information, expanding your horizons, deepening your beliefs, discovering new facts, and constantly challenging the old mental structure.
One doesn’t necessarily have to be Einstein in a day. The whole premise of ‘Go big, or go home’ is kinda shaky to be applied in circumstances like these. Growing even 1% a day, every day, consistently and diligently can prove to be a game-changer, boys and girls. Instead of running for 2 miles at my topmost speed and stopping, I’d rather walk without stopping.
Compound Interest is the real deal here. The 8th wonder. And don’t you even dare underestimate the power of compound interest. I understand you are hungry for instant gratification, but the kind of feeling you are gonna get after a year of consistent learning and growing will supersede any and every kind of temporary pleasurable sensation you keep chasing for all your life.
The whole point of “Stay hungry, Stay foolish” was to never become complacent, to keep pushing your boundaries, and always have an open mind. When you think you ‘know it all’, which no one actually does, you are saying ‘no’ to any and every kind of learning that could probably help you become a better version of yourself.
Instead of wasting your time idealizing and imaging your perfect self 5 years from now, focus your energy and time on making yourself finer today, every day. When a person meets you after a long time, he should feel that you have changed totally, for the better. Remaining as you were, and staying stagnant all your life is synonymous with being lifeless and dead as a doornail.
Sometimes, growing also involves taking a step back, cutting down the redundant and unnecessary, unlearning what’s impending you, tracing your steps back to look and decide whether you are on the right path, to zoom out, and see if you are headed in the right direction.
Growing and learning don’t always mean the addition of information or multiplication of knowledge, it also means the subtraction of the dead and division of the useless clutter. Even trees have to shed the deceased leaves when it’s time. It’s ultimately a crucial part of growing. So, don’t be afraid of cutting down what’s draining your resources and obliterating what’s holding you back. It’s ultimately for the greater good.
ADVICE for Students #4: Failures are your Besties
As humans, it’s kinda natural to have dreams and goals, as one should. But like we all know that more often than not, we fall short in our pursuit of achieving that end result, and guess what, it’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s better. Make failures your besties so that a) you don’t feel down and beaten, b) you are more than charged up to act again, with even more exuberance and positive zeal as you have improved yourself and become better, and c)it’s inevitable anyway, so you might as well make a good friend out of it instead of an enemy.
Anybody who says that failures ‘can’t touch me’ is either already a failure for not failing enough, or is delusional. The path of achieving great things goes through the valleys of failures, so treacherous and dangerous that it only makes sense you make an ally of it.
That way, failures will guide you to take the necessary steps, alter the past strategies, and upgrade the current plan to not go through it again. If you look at it closely, failures, if befriended, are actually the most selfless, generous, and helpful kind of friend you can ever make. They will guide you, support you, berate you, push you, and do everything in their power to make you a better human than before. But, if you snub them, disgust them, cheat them, or double-cross them, then they are gonna beat the living shit out of you up and down. So, the choice is yours.
ADVICE for Students #5: People can go Screw Themselves
This is probably the biggest disease the world has ever witnessed that has killed more people than cancer and has destroyed more lives than all the wars combined. Yes, I am talking about the disease of “What the society is gonna think!” Well, to sum it up in one line, ‘the society can go screw themselves.’ But since it’s such a devastating phenomenon that it surely deserves a couple of paras.
There are so many people who hide behind this shield, citing lame excuses, and complaining all the time. And thus, needless to say, it becomes the biggest obstacle in their path. Their own orthodox and outdated thinking and imprudent understanding of how things work in life have chained them to misery and dissatisfied life.
If I didn’t make myself clear, then I have another trick in my magical pouch.
Do you wanna spend the rest of your life whining and rambling about the infinite excuses because of which you couldn’t do what you wanna do, or would you rather stick to that one reason that is powerful enough to bulldoze a million such excuses, leading to making you live the life you wanted?
Let the people talk, let them make fun of you, let them disrespect you, let them cast stones at you. Shake it off. You just have to simply keep your head down and focus on your work. Your success will be the answer. A single blow will silence the masses.
But again, that’s only possible if you have been paying attention to the previous advice, aka loving what you do. If you are truly, madly, and deeply in love with what you wanna do, then there will be no stopping you. You don’t wanna listen to me? Then listen to what Taylor Swift has to say and just shake it off kiddos. It’s not your job to satisfy society, you gotta satisfy your soul first.
“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off (Whoo-hoo-hoo)”
If your intentions are right, your motives are inspiring, your goals are applauding, then even though you might at times face backlash from some group of the society, wait, you will always face some kind of criticism, but eventually, with time, people are either gonna stop caring or are gonna change their notions. Don’t spend another second worrying about what the people are gonna say. When they are not worried about what you will think of them, why should you worry about what they will think of you?
So, take the plunge, TODAY!
ADVICE for Students #6: Stop Wasting Time
Time is no longer a commodity. Not everybody can afford it, and those who can don’t know how to use it wisely and judiciously. It’s the most precious and costly asset you can boast of, in the entire world.
So, when I say that you shouldn’t waste time, what do I actually mean? Well, indulging in activities that are not helping you grow in any way is the simplest definition I can think of to describe time wastage. Emphasis on the words “grow in any way”.
People have started seeing things in black and white. They have already set their own definition of time wastage. “Going out for parties”, “watching TV and using smartphones”, “hanging out with your friends” —they have, with immense pride, labeled all such activities as time wastage.
Well, if you ask me, it’s actually all right. If you are learning something new by watching TV or extracting any good piece of knowledge through your smartphone(like this blog) in a controlled fashion without getting addicted to it, then it’s not time waste—if you are getting to meet new people to expand your network and upping your social skills by going out partying, then it’s not a total time waste—if you are hanging out with your friends to seek their advice and to explore other perspectives, then again, it’s not a time waste.
Basically, any legal activity, if you are totally focussed and aware of it, then it can’t be labeled as time waste as it’s highly unlikely that you don’t learn anything out of it. You can be sitting in a Harvard classroom, but if your mind is wandering somewhere else, then that’s total time wastage. On the other hand, you might be sitting at the corner of a road, but if you are observing people and learning more about human nature, then that’s again not a time waste. I hope you got the point.
ADVICE for Students #7: Keep the Inner Child Alive
No guyz, it’s not what you think it is. It’s a metaphor.
All the problems and hardships and the sadness one faces in life are mainly due to the kind of beliefs one has fostered in his mind.
The basic difference between a child and an adult is that of the ‘beliefs’. An adult has formed solid rigid beliefs over the course of his life, and they have clung to it rather too strongly. They are not ready to give up their existing beliefs to make room for new ones, even if they are a bazillion times better than their old and outdated beliefs. They have associated their identities with their beliefs and that’s the crux of all the problems.
Children can forget things rather quickly. Adults don’t. Adults can make conclusions about the present world based on the beliefs they drew 15 yrs back. Since the incident was so intense they can’t help but see the fact that everything has changed. I mean, first, they have an outdated belief system, and then they are even getting morose from it. It’s like hitting an ax on your feet, twice.
Children, on the other hand, are rather quick at forgetting trivial things. They may be fighting 5 minutes before, and have suddenly become best friends the very next moment. And that’s the beauty of it.
Hence, the advice to never let that child die inside you. The child, who will accept things the way they are, without putting in his own nonsensical beliefs and be flexible about seeing the things in the way best suited for him. They keep on flowing like a river. While most adults live in a stagnant lake that smells awful.
Keeping the child alive also means to never get toooooo serious in life, so much so that you forget how lucky you are to even have the privilege of breathing and a hundred and twelve other obvious things you ignore and snub on a daily basis, in fact on an hourly basis.
ADVICE for Students #8: At last, Be Happy
And of course this. At the end of the day, whatever it is you are doing, we all seek and need happiness in life. Doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank account or how many laurels and accolades you have accumulated or how many fans and followers you have amassed or how many awards of trophies you have won or how many penthouses and yachts you have; if you are not happy in your life, they are all for nothing.
It’s a no-brainer really. Whatever you ever wanna do in life, do it happily.
If you observe closely, the whole world is working in order to become happy one day, instead of being already happy and working to express that happiness. They both are entirely different premises, a world apart. You should work while being happy, and not chase happiness doing your work. Because that way, your entire life will fly in a jiffy without you experiencing a smidgen of true happiness.
You are not a donkey who’s gonna respond to the carrot and stick methodology. Being a human brings with it a certain set of privileges that you should be more than enthusiastic about exploiting, one of which being the power of choice. You can choose not to live like everyone else. Whatever work you do, doesn’t matter how big or small, don’t do it just because you are gonna get x,y,z things out of it in the future. That will again make you a part of the rat race, where the masses have lost their ‘m’.
Your work should be an expression of the happiness you feel, an extension of the joy you experience. Because only then can you do something meaningful and worth vouching for. That’s when your work will itself become a form of love. Your work shouldn’t feel like an obligation or a duty to you. It should be the flag bearer of your euphoria and prosperity. Your work will and should give you the best high.
So, the next time you wonder, how in the world did Mozart reach the top of the pinnacle in the music world, or how Michael Jordan stuns the spectators, or how Kahlil Gibran can make you fall head over heels in love with his writing, or how Elon Musk dazzles everybody with his beautiful mind—the answer is simple, they live, breath, and eat what they do, every waking second of their lives, expressing themselves through their work.
Your work should make you transcend into something totally magical and inconceivable. If you can keep this one little piece of advice and take it to your heart, then you can’t imagine the kind of impact it’s gonna have in your life.
I guess I gotta stop rambling now. The point being, I can probably go on all day and keep on extending this till my dying breath, and I would still not be done. Ultimately, whatever I have been doing, is for you guys only, so all the very best peeps. Go break some eggs!