My number one priority in life as a 22-year-old.

On 23rd of June 2017, I turned 22 years old.

In the past 4 years, I’ve learned more things about life than rest of the 18 years of my life.

About 4 years ago, I stepped outside my house and started living in a hostel after enrolling in a college. I was away from my parents for the first time in my life.

I was free. I had full control of how I wanted to spend my time and who I wanted to surround myself with.

At first, I wanted to be cool college kid because I was shy at school. I had only a few close friends. I wanted to change my identity and become a famous guy whom everyone loved. Now that I look back, I was insecure. I wanted to be accepted by as many people as possible.

After 1 year of a hardcore trail and error, I was back to myself.

I eventually ended up with few close friends again. But I was happy. I formed great friendships with few people who inspired me in one way or another. For example, I learned to be carefree, have self-discipline, find humor and many other traits that I learned from different friends.

Most of all, I became friends with myself. I gave myself permission to be me. I started my journey to follow the path of personal growth and become a better version of myself.

I started following people on the internet who played the role of virtual mentors for me. I started reading self-help books, I started training my body. I learned the principles of living a life of purpose, growth, and fulfillment.

Soon enough, I was a different person. In essence, I was the same person but I was becoming a better version of myself every day.

As I got closer to my graduation, I started to think about career and wealth. By the end of 2016, I took a pledge to consume less and create more. I started learning about online business and bringing value to other people’s life.

Out of all the things that I learned in the past 4 years about health, wealth, business, relationships, and life; there is one thing that stood out the most. I’ve set my number priority in life based on that.

The number one priority of my life is not my goals. It’s not my career, not my business, it’s not even my freedom.

The number one priority of my life is the person who I am becoming.

At any given moment, I could lose anything. I could fail at reaching my goals, I could lose my arm, I could be robbed, I could go broke, I could be locked up in a prison, I could become sick, I could lose my strength and muscles that I’ve trained hard for.

One thing that no one can take away from me is the person that I have become. My values and my character traits will stay with me.

In the end, my values will determine my story and the quality of my life regardless of the life circumstances. I trust my ability to figure things out and make the best out of any situation.

There’s more to life than happiness and success

Success and happiness are two overused words that get tossed around so often in self-help books.

If we stay happy all the time, we’ll disregard the value of being happy. If we never experience unhappiness we’ll devalue happiness.

If we become successful and get everything we wanted there will be nothing to achieve. Also, the reward of success is amplified thousand times when we work hard to get something.

Our end goal is not to be happy or successful per say.

Our ways to be happy or successful might differ but in the end, all we want is fulfilment in life.

Here’s how you can live your life to the fullest beyond being happy in the present moment or being successful:

1. Pursue something that excites you

Whether it’s your job, side hustle or a passion project for yourself, find something that sparks fire in you.

2. Always have something to look forward to

Anticipation is more rewarding than the reward itself. Remember the last day before summer holidays or the day of last exam.

3. Find meaning and shift your attitude

No matter how small your job is, believe that you’re doing something meaningful.

“A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”

”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

”A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”

“Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.”

4. Change your narrative

Imagine that you life story will be turned into a movie. Embrace the time of adversity. We can’t change our reality but we can change our perspective. See failures as opportunities to grow.

“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way.

5. Make difference in people’s life

No matter how small or big,  make a positive impact in other people’s life. You can choose to deeply impact a few people’s life or make smaller impact on many people.

6. Do things you really enjoy

Even if other people don’t get it. Even if it does’t make you money. It could be a hobby, field of study or any obsession like collecting, organizing, cleaning, painting, playing, singing, dancing, writing, etc.

You can immerse yourself into deep work or play and experience what’s called as flow.

7. Have novel experiences

Routine can trap our mind and narrow our perception. Expose yourself to different experiences that can potentially turn into good stories to tell.

8. Do scary things

Step out of your comfort zone not only to find opportunities for growth, but also to feel proud about yourself regardless of the outcome. Feel proud because you tried. This will build your self esteem and make you feel good about yourself.

9. Connect with people

Be part of a community of people who have similar goals. Also, make sure to form close relationship with few people.

10. Take care of yourself

Your mind and body are the tools that determine the way you experience your life. Respect them enough to take good care of them.

11. Grow

Become a better version of yourself in different aspects of your life.

12. Celebrate

Life is too short for not celebrating small wins. Be grateful for little things in life.

13. Let go

Let go of attachment with everything. Nothing is permanent.


Life is not just about being happy or successful. They are only part of the experience.

Life is a process. It’s about how you live that determines the quality of your life.

If you’re often doing at least a few things mentioned above, you’ll make the most of your life.

Forget about your dream lifestyle

In any given book, website or course about life design, the first exercise is about imagining your perfect day.

“How would your perfect day look like from the morning until night?”

Perfect day, dream lifestyle

The truth is that I don’t know how my perfect day looks like. For me, there is no such thing as ‘the perfect day’. I might not want something tomorrow that I want today. Or maybe I don’t really want what I think I want. Who knows.

A year ago, I wanted to be a game designer. I was full on passionate about designing awesome games because I loved playing games in my childhood. I studied 3 years of game design in my college and I still love it. Designing games is a very intellectual activity which requires problem-solving, creativity, decision making and a lot of other skills that I love.

Now I’m soon going to graduate from my college and I don’t want to design traditional games anymore. Is it because I hate designing games? No. I still love it and I might even do it to earn a living for a few months or years of my life. But one thing I’m sure of is that I’m not going to do it forever in my life.

I can’t stick to one career or a way of living. I like experimentation, reinvention, and diversification. I have no clue what I would want in ten years from now. So, I’ll leave that decision to my future self.

It is often recommended to think about what you want to do with your freedom first before starting your lifestyle design journey. I say forget your dream lifestyle. Don’t get lost in the dreams of what you want to do with your freedom once you have it. Just start working towards getting freedom and you’ll figure out what you want to do once you get bored with the freedom you have.

Getting bored is the easiest way to find out what you want to do today. I try to get myself bored after every few weeks to find out what I want to do. To my surprise, there are no one or two things that I want to do with my free time. Over time the things I want to do keep changing as I keep changing.

With that said, it’s definitely a good practice to think about what you want to do today because it will define your present level of happiness and satisfaction in life. All I want you to take away is that try not to get fixated on what you’d like to do in future. Follow your gut instincts on what you want to do in present life and leave your future self alone.

Are you a perfectionist entrepreneur?

I’m a perfectionist. As I’m writing this post, I’m deleting, revising, re-reading and re-writing after every 5 seconds. I have developed such a habit because I like to put the best effort in everything I do. I respect the craft of writing and I try to be better at it everytime I write.

As I started my first endeavor as a lifestyle entrepreneur, I learned soon enough that being a perfectionist every time is not a good idea. I learned Pareto’s 80/20 principle and stopped wasting time on the details which were not important. I gave myself deadlines and participated in challenges to get out of perfectionist mindset.

Few months after I started my entrepreneur journey, I took a break and went to Edinburgh for a trip. I entered a cathedral and got fascinated by this piece of craft:

It must have taken so much perfectionism to come up with such a beautiful masterpiece. Being a perfectionist isn’t bad after all. Great artists focus on the smallest details that a normal person might never even notice.

Entrepreneurship requires the opposite skill. It requires throwing away the details to reach the milestones on time. So, I started wondering what the balance between the two might look like.

The answer is simple. All the artists who work for hours, weeks, months or even years working on a piece, go through thousands of bad pieces that no one ever sees. They practice their craft in silence without being a perfectionist.

The masters of their crafts hate their first pieces because they have a great taste but their skills don’t allow them to reach the high standard they want to reach. But they learn to persist and be okay with the gap between their skills and their taste. To fill this gap, they keep on practicing without judging their initial pieces.

In a similar way, when it comes to entrepreneurship, getting started and making mistakes is the practice that is required to fill the gap between our current skills and the results we want.

When given a golden opportunity, we can then strive to be a perfectionist and focus on smallest details to give our 100%. For example, spending days to write an article for a huge publication and preparing obsessively for pitching or giving a talk at a big event.

All the other activities are just part of the process where we can let go our perfectionism and focus on getting things done.

Each time you’ll practice your craft you’ll take one step closer to fill the gap between your standards and your skills.

So here’s the takeaway:

  • Keep your standards high.
  • Practice without perfection to fill the gap between your standards and your skills.
  • Be a perfectionist when it matters the most.

 

7 character traits of a lifestyle designer

1. They are rebellious

As a child, I used to crave freedom and independence. I had a burning desire in me create my own rules and live by them.

I hated most of the things that I was supposed to do because of no solid reason. As a child, I wasn’t wise enough to make decisions for myself. So, most of the times the reason for my rebel could be wrong. But the character trait of a rebellion passed on as I grew up.

In the past, freedom fighters used to rebel and fight for their freedom. Today, lifestyle designers still do the same. Only the context has changed.

2. They are dreamers

Goals and dreams should be separate.

Dreams could be unrealistic or maybe even impossible. The important part is to have a dream and pursue it as your life depends on it.

Goals, on the other hand, could be short-term that could be connected to your dreams. They can be logical and realistic.

Failing to meet a goal is part of the journey but giving up on dreams is not an option for them.

3. They are self-starters

Lifestyle designers do not wait for the motivation to come. They don’t rely on willpower. They start working on their dream lifestyle regardless of the current circumstances.

While most people find excuses for not starting, lifestyle designers find excuses to start today. They design their present life such that they can eventually move a step closer towards their dream lifestyle.

4. They are go-getters

For lifestyle designers, obstacles are not fatal. They don’t give any obstacle the power to kill their dreams.

They are willing to take risks and leave their comfort zone for their dreams.

They protect their dreams and do whatever it takes to get what they want. Most of the times, there are roadblocks that they have to tackle. But sometimes they have to take an alternative route to move towards their destination.

5. They are skeptical

They don’t assume what society, culture, family or friends have told them to be correct. Instead, they question assumptions.

They are ready to run experiments and allow themselves to run trails before coming to any conclusion. This sparks creativity in them and they are able to rise in spite of the ‘rules’ set by society.

They never stop learning. They even question themselves and seek creative ways to deal with problems.

6. They are self-assured

Self-assurance or self-efficiency is the belief in one’s own abilities and character. They truly believe that they will succeed.

They have an abundance mindset. They think big and believe that there is plenty of space and opportunity for success. They don’t let scarcity poison their mind.

7. They embrace change

They don’t fear change. In fact, they embrace it. They adapt to life situations and make changes as needed. They understand that change is part of the process of growth.

They adapt to circumstances and accept uncertainty in life.

Do you have what it takes to be a lifestyle designer?

8 things you need to know if you’re a college student

If you’re in college or if you’re soon going to enroll in a college, you’re at the right place at the right time. I’m soon going to graduate and I wish someone had told me the things that I’m going to tell you.

1. Detach yourself from your grades

At first, my level of happiness was directly proportional to my grades. From A+ to C, I’ve received all kinds of grades.

I’ve understood that 10, 5 or even 1 year from now, I will never care about any of my grades. They don’t mean anything in the realm of real life.

In fact, the time, effort and energy you will spend in trying to get an A from B can be used for more important things in life.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about your career. But bare in mind that grades are not your career. The only things that you want to attach yourself are the skills and knowledge you gain. Follow your curiosity. Do what excites you and keep learning.

2. Focus on personal growth

You’ve been gifted with a mind and a body. It’s your responsibility to take care of it. No one else will do it for you.

College is the ultimate opportunity to develop life skills. For example, emotional intelligence, living a healthy lifestyle, clear thinking, stress management, time management, personal finance, leadership,  friendship and relationship skills are the skills that are far more important than your grades.

Personal growth is the path that will help you live a fulfilled life.

3. Dare to be different

For your own sake, stop looking for approval. College life is the stage when so many people fall into the trap of looking ‘cool’ and being accepted by others. They lose themselves and they have no idea who they want to be.

Once I took the 16 personality type quiz. The results said that my personality type was INFJ-A which is less than 1% of the population. I’m so glad to know that I’m unique.

Don’t be afraid of not doing something that majority of the people are doing.

Don’t be afraid of doing something that majority of the people are not doing.

We are social creatures and we all are looking to be part of a tribe. So, we look for people’s approval. While it’s normal to be part of a community, it doesn’t mean that you need everyone’s acceptance. You only need a few like minded people to be your friends.

Instead of making 1000 friends, make 2-5 close friends who have similar values or character traits as you. You could also have friends from different backgrounds. It will keep your mind open and you’ll be able to see things from different perspectives.

4. Know/find/create yourself

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-awareness is a topic that deserves a separate post. So I’ll keep it short here.

It’s easy to get lost in the world that is filled with people who are already lost. Don’t exist and wait for death. Live until you have the opportunity to create yourself.

Define who you want to be and what you want in life. Your values and desires may change over time so keep moving towards them and change when you need to.

Embrace the change and the everlasting journey of self-awareness.

5. Plant seeds for future

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

95% of the college students don’t realize the value of their time. If you have a clear vision of what you want or who you want to be, then don’t waste a second. Work towards your future desires. You will thank yourself later in life.

The seeds can be in the form of learning, creating, practicing, etc. Develop 2 or 3 skills or knowledge about a topic. Then combine them and you will be better than 99% of the population on Earth.

6. Know the difference between job, career, and vocation

Jobs are roles that you take and you get paid to do that. Career is a series of jobs that lead to growth in your field.

Vocation, on the other hand, is a passion or a calling. But sadly due to stereotypes, society’s expectations, or our own excuses, most of us don’t pursue them.

It’s possible to have all three in one situation but for most of us, it takes some time and effort to reach there. If jobs can help you to eventually pursue your vocation then have patience and a clear vision of your vocation.

7. Fail, make mistakes and get rejected

Life is not always rainbows and sunshine. We all face adversity and there will be times when you’ll feel down. Practice the art of managing your emotions when you feel that way.

Failures and mistakes are not the opposite of success. They are part of success. As long as you keep learning and reflecting, you’re on the right track.

Rejection is also a phase that we need to practice. We need to realize that rejection is okay. It’s normal to feel bad after getting rejected, but don’t let it break your confidence.

Keep getting up and keep moving forward.

8. Stay present and enjoy

College is once in a lifetime experience. You don’t have as many responsibilities compared to an adult. Don’t stress out too much about your future. Stay in the present as you enjoy planting seeds for future and your personal growth journey.

Be grateful. Live fully. Laugh freely.