Last year was an incredibly challenging year for me. However, it also was a great year for learning. Here are some of the valuable lessons I learned last year.
- “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” – George MacDonald
Throughout the course of last year, I had the great pleasure of working with people from all walks of life. Through this experience, one of the things I learned about is trust. If you want people to listen to, and furthermore understand, your message likeability and trust are really important. If I don’t like or trust someone and likewise if someone doesn’t like or trust me, we won’t be able to work with each other in a cordial and efficient manner; thus, affecting not only our relationship with each other, but also our quality of work.
Trust is the foundation of all relationships. It dictates how we choose to interact with each other. One thing you should know about trust is that it is very difficult to earn and is very easily broken. Having to regain trust in any relationship is almost akin to tying a knot using the two ends of a broken rubber band. It, the rubber band and the relationship, never work the same afterwards.
- “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
My experiences and observations throughout last year made me realize that we have become a society that is very quick to judge and criticize other people. You can learn a lot about a person by the way they choose to treat others. Hurt and insecure people are going to find ways to hurt others. This, in turn, ends up becoming a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle. The best way to combat this is to treat people the way you want to be treated – with compassion, kindness and respect. I know, this is very easy to say and (depending on the situation) very hard to do, but only the brave hearted can (and will) do it.
Respect is NOT conditional. It doesn’t (or rather shouldn’t) come with one’s social stature, but should be granted to each and every individual.
I realized in the months leading up to the end of the year that a lot of the time people tend to do the best they can with what they know. The reality is: When you know better, you are supposed to do better.
- “Only if you give up… It’s your choice, not your fate.” – Plio, Dinosaur (2000)
Over the course of the year, I was presented with the opportunity to work on many projects. Unfortunately, a number of these projects either faded away completely or didn’t come to full fruition due to lack of funding. It was during this time that a very close friend – who knew of the finer details of my struggles behind the scenes – imparted some very valuable advice. She said, “be honest with yourself.” It is okay to feel low when things don’t work out the way you envisioned it to. But the real question is this: what are you going to do now? It is very easy to give in to defeat and difficult to keep going, especially when it feels like you have no support. Ultimately, accepting defeat/failure is a choice. Regard every challenge as an opportunity for change. I regard the Candid Chat blog posts as a testament of me putting this advice into action.
4. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson
“We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.” – Sheryl Sandberg
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” – Harvey Fierstein
During this time, individuals define themselves by their successes (or lack thereof). Note: it is the effort one should laud more than the result. Sometimes an individual will put in more than a 1000% effort, but still not receive the result they wish to attain. That doesn’t mean that the individual hasn’t tried hard enough.
In times like that, especially, remember that one isn’t defined by her failures, nor is she defined by her successes. She is defined by how she chooses to be defined this current moment.
- Passion will move men [and women] beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures. – Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer
Last year, I realized the importance of having passion for your work. It is when you love your work that every challenge will seem like an opportunity to learn and grow, which will, in turn, improve your quality of work.
I learned that with passion it is equally important to be disciplined and have a sense of direction. When you have these three things – passion, discipline, and direction – you can never go wrong.