This is yet another email turning into an open letter.
I often write emails to people. I started doing so when a few friends went for their Masters'.
It might not be like writing a handwritten letter, buying a stamp and posting it in the mail. However, in this century, it remotely feels the same.
It feels poetic.
Originally drafted and emailed on September 2, 2022
Zooming out, regrets and some inspiration.
Perspectives in this email are probably going to be super cliché, but hear me out.
We have to look at things broadly — about how your actions have an impact on your life.
Thinking broadly, zooming out, and predicting what stands ahead of you, what could go wrong or right, is something that comes with maturity and experience.
I am not saying I have the most experience or I look at things broadly, but I have seen a lot of instances and I have been trying to. Consciously*.
- There are a few things, skills, and feelings we develop naturally, but some practices, we just have to put in efforts consciously or subconsciously - at the back of the mind.
Let's look at an instance — Recently, I gave a talk on Competitive Programming (CP).
And while giving the talk, I made a few generalizations about how CP emulates Software Development Workflow. That is essentially looking at things broadly. This was unplanned because I never thought about it that way.
Ended up giving it a philosophical stance — about looking at things broadly.
The problems that we are facing now, the responsibilities we have, and the dependencies we have are just going to increase gradually with time.
We have to keep thinking about those and make decisions accordingly.
Another interesting perspective around "making decisions and having regrets later" is to think —
Whether this action will affect me in one day, one week, one month or not going to even matter one year down the line.
It works that way with feelings as well, if you are feeling angry, anxious, or upset over something or someone - Is it going to matter one year down the line?
Is it going to matter ten years down the line? Is it WORTH spending your mental space and energy over such a thing? (Always ask these questions.)
Side note: Your mental energy is the MOST valuable. Because our body can handle anything and everything, it is the mind that is difficult to convince.
This is true with respect to regrets as well. If you are regretting something — think about it: Is it going to matter a few years later?
Side note about regrets: You might have taken those decisions after thinking carefully at THAT point in time, or what felt RIGHT at that point.
So, as long as you are taking well-informed, logical decisions with emotional biases into consideration; there is no need to regret, forgive yourself and be kind to yourself.
Whatever I have said, how can I say all this for sure?
Think about your past — Do you still remember all those stressful school nights? Or how pressurizing 10th boards were? Or someday how toxic social acceptance in a school/college felt like? Or how it felt like when you thought people were thinking about you?
Your regrets, your anger, and your decisions are going to be a learning for you and nothing more because you or ANYONE won't remember these instances.
Reminder about the spotlight effect from one of the previous emails:
The Spotlight Effect says that we overestimate the degree to which other people are noticing or observing our appearance or actions. Basically, we think people care about us WAY MORE than they actually do. It's quite liberating to realize that, for the most part, everyone is really just going through life worried about themselves. Be yourself and live life according to your values.
So, in the journey that is in front of you (let's say 20-30 years), look at things broadly.
The actions, feelings, and decisions are not going to be remembered, but cherished and reflected upon. The learnings that you are going to have, it is invaluable.
Be shameless. Take risks. Give it a shot.
You have all the time. Be carefree. Be yourself.
Be the best and the truest version of yourself.
You got this <3