The 3 Lessons I Now Realise I Learnt In College

The fool who knows his foolishness is wise so far, at least; but a fool who thinks himself wise, he is called a fool indeed.

– The Dhammapada


This quote has come to stick with me because if there is one thing I believe, it is that one can learn from everything and everyone. After decades of working and crossing paths with professionals from different walks of life, I have come to realise that my days in college taught me some of the most important lessons, that I learnt not in my text books but from everyone and everything around me. Some of these have also come to play an extremely crucial role in my life and have remained with me till today. Here are 3 of them:

While Answers Have a Shelf Life, Questions Are Timeless 

Whether it is during an interview or during a client meeting, asking questions is never wrong and there are no wrong questions. One can keep upgrading their answers at a fixed frequency in life and while questions may be static, they still explore something new and different each time and will always lead you to another inquisitive point.

In retrospect, it was the culture of encouraging questions being asked in college that gave me the extra push to be curious. I still remember some of my favourite questions:
What are you avoiding?
Which is worse—failing or never trying?
Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing?
If you have one month left to live, what would you do?

Make The Most Of The Journey

Something that has always fascinated me for the longest time was visiting theme parks and the one -to–two hour queue for some of the biggest (and most fun) rides. While the ride itself only lasts a minute or two, we all stand in queues for much longer to make the most of that minute’s experience.

Something that we don’t realise instinctively is that while it is extremely important to reach your target, it is also equally important to enjoy the journey on the way. It is here that you come to cross paths with a number of people with varied experiences to pick up and learn from, and that is what makes the journey worthwhile. Whether it is completing an assignment or running a marathon, it is the journey that makes everything exciting — and worthwhile.

The 4Cs of Acing Life

The base of any successful person’s journey rests on commitment. Determined efforts combined with the courage to see it through while making the most of your capabilities is what emerges as positive output.
Commitment, Courage, Capability and Confidence are the 4Cs that one needs to ace life and juggle everything that it throws at you.

  • While committing yourself to a task or goal requires dedication and great focus, it also forms the first rung on the ladder of success.
  • Without commitment and the courage to see your goal through, no matter what obstacle, you will always find yourself at the same altitude as before.
  • A number of capabilities are in-built, while a number can also be acquired and adapted.
  • With all of the above, you come to complete the circle of the 4Cs and emerge feeling confident to take on the next task.

And this is probably how I made it by college and the years that followed.

Even though this was decades back, some of the learnings I gained as a student are as fresh as the occurrences of yesterday. It is these experiences and the values I imbibed as I went along that made me who I am and the journey along the way has been nothing but extraordinary. Life’s Good!! God’s Kind!!!