2016 / 4 December

15 tips for my kids when they are 15

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So, today was a big day for the two biggest democracies of the world – US got Trump Sarkar and India got rid of piles of black money. There’s one word that describes both these events – Disruption. This word is in vogue these days but disruption can be unsettling. There are several technical disruptions happening around us as we speak. Just to name a few – the app-based taxi services Uber and Ola have already disrupted the automobiles market. Same with Tesla. Solar power is disrupting traditional utilities, coal and crude oil markets.

 

In such an environment what tips can we pass on to our kids? My kids will turn 15 in four to five years. I am thinking hard about what to tell them on their fifteenth birthday, which by the way, I feel is the new adult age. Few other disruptions in technology just advanced the human age of attaining adulthood, though laws still don’t recognize this. Biologically and legally, they may still become adults at 18 but today’s 15 year olds are mentally quite mature, thanks to accelerated exposure to what we want or may not want them to know. That’s my personal observation and view. (Interestingly, Abhimanyu died at the age of 16 in Mahabharata as a celebrated warrior. His wife Uttara was already pregnant with the future king Parikshit when Abhimanyu died!)

 

Coming back to the topic, I am noting my current list of tips and sharing it with you. This will surely change in next few years and you may add your ideas in the comments section or write to me at info@ashutoshm.com. So, here it goes:

 

  1. Try your hand at multiple things. It is tough to figure out what you really want and/or what you are really good at. Continue trying various things until you discover your true passion.
  2. You can succeed only with something you are truly great at. Lower level skills or mediocre performance will pay even lesser in future or may get serviced by robots. The world has already moved towards ‘winner takes it all’ and this trend will continue. Unless, you can demonstrate that you add real value and you are really passionate about something, you cannot succeed at it.
  3. Develop and define your concept of success. Whether it is money, fame, power, simplicity and so on. Think hard about what gives you satisfaction and happiness. Whether it is coming first yourself or helping someone else come first? It will need trial and error for many years to figure out but continue to evaluate and find that out sooner than later.
  4. At every stage in life, keep learning something new. The moment you stop learning or feel that you have ‘arrived’ in any field, your decline starts. Younger people with fresh ideas are entering the world everyday and you will find yourself replaced quickly if you are complacent.
  5. Don’t do anything under pressure or for money alone for very long. I have done it myself but I know that it doesn’t lead to long term happiness. True that we have to earn, pay our bills and maintain a family. But one needs to be very clear about why a particular job or profession is being undertaken. Know and reiterate the reason to yourself everyday. Do what you are doing and earn the money but devote some time everyday to find out what you really do well and like as well.
  6. Ask yourself everyday – If I am fired today from my job or my business is shut today due to any reason, what will I be upto? Prepare for disruption.
  7. Enjoy every small joy in life. This advice has been done to death but I am amazed that so few people follow it, hence I am reiterating it here. Happiness and joy are supplied to you in small instalments everyday. Just like a bank, having given out a loan, collect the current instalment and don’t worry about the next one.
  8. Always be in control of your well-being. Never lose sight of your health in all respects – physical, mental and spiritual. You may earn lost wealth many times over but lost health is impossible to recover. My book ‘Happiness is All We Want!” reinforces this idea and tells you how to do it.
  9. Don’t lose touch with real world. The real world is not the world of gizmos, internet, headphones and enclosed spaces. Real world is the world of nature, consisting of rivers, mountains, beaches, oceans, fountains, wild animals, forests, farms and so on. The real world is the world of elements – rain, sun, wind, snow,sky etc. Expose yourself to these routinely and you do yourself and mankind a favor.
  10. Devote at least an hour entirely to yourself without any distraction. How you spend this one hour is upto you. You could meditate or ruminate, walk or run, sit or stand, be in the gym or in the pool, do yoga or aerobics and so on. Whatever it is, just be with you.
  11. Learn to enjoy your own company. We always look for approval from the outside world. In the new world of social media, the number of likes on our posts determine our mood. As you progress in life, learn to look for self-approval more and more. Sitting alone and being at peace with yourself is an art worth developing. Looking for external cues all the time is destructive to our own peace and happiness.
  12. You cannot change others but only yourself. If someone frustrates you, develop a coping mechanism. If something goes wrong, change yourself accordingly as a learning. Most people end up blaming an external cause or another person for the lack of happiness in their lives. Invert this thinking.
  13. Always tell yourself – it could be me. When we see others go through troubled times, we fail to acknowledge that it could happen to us. What can we learn from others’ experience and our observations? Put these learnings to practice.
  14. Be thankful for what you have. Again, a clichéd piece of advice and again, I cannot help putting it here as most people don’t follow this. In addition to being thankful in your mind, helping someone in a self-less manner is the only way to be really thankful. The good that has come to you has to be passed around.
  15. Revise this list periodically and stay focused on becoming a better human being everyday. Be a better version of yourself tomorrow and repeat.

 

Share your thoughts as comments or write to me at info@ashutoshm.com

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay (Daniel Holm Hansen, HansenHimself)

Ashutosh Mishra - YouthCoach & Author

A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.

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