I know I usually talk about entrepreneurship and being your own boss, but I too started out with working a job. Honestly, if you feel lost and don’t know where to start with your idea then getting relevant experience in the field is a good place to start.
Work under someone you think you can learn from. Mentors are extremely valuable assets in your organization, people often forget to utilize them. When you are starting out in a field you don’t know much about, learning from people who have been involved for years will always bring you a fresh perspective.
No amount of reading and research can beat the insight that a person with experience can bring. You might be book smart, but street smarts come from networking with the right people. Your job will provide you with a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people.
“Before you build a better mousetrap, it helps to know if there are any mice out there.”
This is one of the reasons why you should be more focused on the organization than salary when you are starting out – and especially when your plan involves starting something of your own. Think of it as hands-on research.
When we talk about jobs, the first big hurdle is cracking interviews. No, this is not a cheat sheet on how to crack an interview at a particular company, job, or industry. This is about what the interviewer is generally looking for in a potential candidate.
Interviews are part of our lives. No matter what industry or job you are applying for, assessment is a part of the process. Rather than focusing on any specific industry, let’s talk about what are they looking in you? Is there a correct answer to every question? What are some of the most common questions and why do they ask them?
You Are Being Assessed Since the Minute You Walk In
Even if you’re applying for a job which is very skill dependent and you are very good at it, that is not the be-all and end-all, as they want to know how you carry yourself in a professional setting. Will you be a good fit in the office? Can you be a good fit in the team? Employers are more interested in these questions than you would think. The way you dress up for the occasion, the way you conduct yourself during the interview, and your confidence level, in general, is a great indication to the interviewer on whether you can take up the position you’re applying for or not.
How Will You Respond to Adversities?
A lot of questions in an interview of modern days deals with asking you about your experience when the ship wasn’t sailing smoothly. Your experience with difficulties in a team tells them about whether you’ll throw in the towel when the going gets tough, whether you’re a one-man-band or you can work as a team, delegate, and conquer the tough times efficiently.
Your behaviour in the past is a very good indication of your behaviour in the near future in similar situations. A very common question here is, “Tell me about a time when you worked well in a team and tell me about the time where things went sour, and how you dealt with it”.
People usually find themselves raving about the first part of the question, but what the interviewer is more keen about is the time when it went wrong and you could hold it together. This is also a very good question for the interviewer to check whether you are being honest with them as if you are making up a story, a few more questions about the details of your story might make you nervous.
How Are You as a Person and Will You Fit Their Team?
This is one of the things that is underestimated by the interviewee, they think it’s a nice thing to have but not essential, but it could not be farther from the truth. Companies don’t mind to hire a person who is not the best at the skill they are applying for, as long as they are a great learner and have an awesome attitude.
They need a person who will not budge in pressure and work for the team. Skill can be taught, but not personality. The cost of rehiring in terms of money and time is simply too high for a company to take a chance with a candidate who is not showing promise in terms of character. The interviewer may ask questions about the interviewee’s personal life, what they like to do in their spare time, asking about their views on day to day things. Smart companies want to hire the person, not the degrees.
Why Do You Want to Join Them
What Are You Looking to Gain From the Job
What is Your Vision
The interviewer is always interested in your motivation towards applying for the job. Are you in it just for the money? Are you casually interested? Having an answer of yes to the previous questions is not necessarily bad as long as you are honest with your position.
This is a good indication of your line of thinking and your decision making. The age-old question about, “where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?” does not necessarily just test your future preparedness but also your view on change, flexibility, unforeseen factors, and approach in general.
With the start-up culture, the 9-to-5 culture is changing as well. The boss and employee dynamics are changing for the good. More people have started realizing that working as a team is more important than maintaining the hierarchy. This makes the experience more about the person, so it is natural that they would want to invest in a person if they are building from scratch.
If you decide on working with a start-up, it is one of the best ways to gather actual experience. You might not have many mentors guiding you, but you will people you learn and grow with, and you will also get to be an integral part of the actual growth of the company.
The bottom line is, be honest in interviews, ask questions, clear doubts. In short, communicate, put yourself out there. Remember, it is just two people (or more, if there is more than one interviewer) communicating to find out if they are good fits for each other. Like they are looking for the right candidate, you are looking for the right company too.
Why You Should Take Control of Your Life
“The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.”
-Irene C. Kassorla
What we often forget is that we are the author of our lives. Not only that, but we are also the main character of our story. So we might as well write the chapters ahead instead of waiting for someone else to write an epic turn of events.
If you aren’t happy with your life, it might be a sign that it is time to take the pen from whoever is holding it and start writing the next chapters in the book called life.
Incredible changes will come about your life when you decide that you have had enough of being a passive rider and would rather take control of what you have power over. There’s no point in dwelling over things you don’t have control over when you can put the things you can control to work.
If you don’t like the situation you are in, then the most logical thing to do is to work toward changing it rather than complaining. Once you realize that you are in control of your own life, it becomes easier to bring change to your life. The first step in taking any kind of control, over anything, is to realize that you can actually take control.
“You only have control over three things in your life – the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take.”
There’s this saying that all of us have heard – “Grass is greener on the other side.” Why do you think the majority of us are familiar with this saying? It is because we have been conditioned to constantly compare ourselves with everyone around us. It is supposed to motivate us in trying to improve ourselves.
What usually ends up happening is that we become demotivated. When we observe things from afar, it is easy to be blinded by the shine and not see all the polishing that was needed to bring about the shine. We compare it to the polishing we can see on our side and no shine whatsoever.
The reality is that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it’s just us who keep comparing ourselves to others and what we have to what others have. This makes us feel sorry for ourselves and pity our situation. Most of us are insecure and unsatisfied with our current conditions and that tends to demotivate us from working toward change. We start to slip instead of trying to better our situation.
When we want what others have or what others think we should have, we give them the power to control our lives. We lose our individuality – trying to fit in – trying to shape ourselves to suit others idea of what we are supposed to be. We start wanting what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we do have.
At times like this, we should remind ourselves that there will always be something better that we’re missing. We will always think other people have it better. The irony here is that the people on the other side are most probably thinking that your grass is greener!
What this shows us is that instead of worrying about other people’s grass, we need to spend time tending to our own and trying to keep it as green as possible. Watering it, fertilizing it, and weeding the useless dead grass out.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
We are so used to someone else holding our hand while we learn to navigate through life, that we often forget that eventually, we will need to learn to walk on our own. Unless we do that, we will never be able to decide the direction we want to take. We will always have to follow the person holding our hand.
The first step you take toward independent decision making will make you realize that no one has power over you unless you give it to them. As you start deciding the course of your journey, you will see that you are in control of your life and your choices decide your own fate. Blaming others was never an answer and now you know why.
You will learn that no one is in control of your happiness but you. No one owes you a thing and you don’t owe anything to anyone. Therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change – it is your life, you don’t have to let others tell you how to live it.
“Don’t let someone else control what you do in life. It’s your decisions, your outcomes, your life.”
We are so conditioned to follow societal norms that we don’t even question it even though it isn’t making us happy. It is totally okay to choose a path that isn’t conventional. Sometimes you need to do what is best for you because YOU are the one who knows what is best for your life better than anyone else. You are not obliged to do what is best for everyone else, your biggest obligation is to yourself.
Do not mould yourself to what the world dictates, instead make your own unique mould that fits you. Breathe, meditate, and connect with yourself – it will help you be true to yourself. Because it isn’t always you against the world, most of the times it is YOU against YOURSELF. Do not compare your journey with others but only yourself.
Learn to recognize your talent and your capability – hone them and use them. Don’t chase perfection because nobody is perfect and chasing perfection is a futile activity. Every person who walks this planet has flaws. The best you can do is be true to your imperfections.
“You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
You have to understand that if you don’t take control over your life, your life will take control over you. You have to decide to be in control because as Willie Nelson said – “Freedom is control in your own life.”
Although it isn’t possible to have complete control over life, you certainly can shape and influence it. One of the ways is to take control of your habits. Your habits help you shape your future. You become what you are because of all the choices you have made till date and the choices you will continue to make – both conscious and subconscious.
While you do not have complete control over your life, you do have complete control over your attitude and your effort – these two things hold a lot of power when it comes to taking lead and paving the path.
“Control your thoughts. Decide about that which you will think and concentrate upon. You are in charge of your life to the degree you take charge of your thoughts.”
To make any kind of change in your life, to make any significant decision, you need to be in tune with your mind. Whatever consumes your mind and your thoughts will control your life. Don’t let negativity make a home in your mind – take control of your consistent emotions, your emotional wellbeing, and your dominating emotional state. Because the emotion that dominates your mind – whether positive or negative – will consciously and deliberately reshape your life, both in the long term and in terms of your daily experiences.
Why You Need to Stop Waiting For Things to Happen
We often wait for the right time, especially when it comes to making big decisions that will result in huge changes. Usually, when you are waiting for the right time or the right opportunity it is because you are afraid of the step that you need to take.
“Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
Anything taking us out of our comfort zone is immediately perceived as a threat by our brain and we start coming up with reasons to not do it – now isn’t the right time is the more common one.
Another one includes thinking you are underprepared so you should just keep on working and researching more before you take a step. You could have done all you can but you will still hesitate to make a decision. You fall into analysis paralysis, where you are in a state of over-analyzing a situation or problem, and as a result, a decision or action is never taken, paralyzing the outcome.
You can only think about so much, you can only do so many things to ensure everything goes smoothly, you can only think about so many risks that you can counter – unless you don’t do something about it you will never know if it is going to work on not.
I am definitely not telling you to take the plunge with no research involved, as someone who has dabbled in my fair share of businesses, I know how important research is. The problem here is that – what we often don’t realize is – there comes a point when you have to leave the whiteboard and walk over to the workstation.
Commitment to taking actions and not pausing after the phase of research and preparation is not something you’ll achieve overnight. You will have to learn to push yourself and fight the tendency to fall back into your old patterns. Instead of accepting your inaction with whatever excuse your brain comes up with, always try to find the cause for it, and learn ways to overcome it. Because oftentimes you will find that the root cause for your inaction is your brain’s way of protecting you from a sticky situation.
You need to keep moving forward in order to achieve your dreams and stay true to your visions. Being at the same place, doing the same things you have always done will never help you achieve the things you want.
Make friends with the act of finding your shortcomings and tackling them head-on so that you don’t blame yourself for not going after what you want; so that you do all you can to make things happen. Because, by taking no action, all we do is make sure that we don’t succeed.
Life isn’t fair is something that we all have heard, and there are good chances that we have said it too. But, life is fair in the sense that it is unfair to everyone. Then there comes the comeback that not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Yes, that is true but what you do with what you are provided is what makes huge things happen.
This often opens up the discussion of how equal opportunities can solve all the problems that the world faces. Equal opportunity is the idealistic goal we, as a society, are trying to achieve from the start. But, just because you weren’t at the same starting point as everyone else, doesn’t mean you do not run the race.
Have you heard of the quote – success comes when preparation meets opportunity – I used to live by it, I still do. Opportunities do come knocking on our doors; we just have to be very receptive to the sound and answer immediately, escort it in and embrace it with all we have.
That being said, you can’t always wait for opportunities to make a house call, you can’t simply wait for success to come around on its own. Success is never handed out, you need to earn it by taking things into your hands and making things happen.
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
Through your actions and preparations, you have to make use of everything you already have and work on what you don’t but you need. Life is not supposed to be just received – what’s the fun in that – it is supposed to be made into something bigger; by you. If you think your life hasn’t given you enough, then instead of using that as a get out of jail card, get yourself together and create your own options, your own opportunities, your own destiny.
“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”
We often rely too much on people or are afraid to ask for help. Both these extremes are detrimental. You need to create your own platform. The world is in a rat race – everyone has someplace to go, things to do, and dreams to work on. Chances are, noo one is going to stop to help you out, but no one owes you a thing anyway.
Some will help, but as long as their own dreams are not being compromised, which is the smart thing to do for anyone. Don’t challenge or compare yourself to another person, but challenge yourself. You are your only competition and the past you is your only rival. You need to be better than you were yesterday. Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Have the courage to move forward. Get inspired, stay motivated, and you’ll build a lot of doors. When you start answering doors and when you get a chance, build some for others as well.
It is true that life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it – you have to be willing to adapt. You can’t always have a plan, you can’t be at the steering wheel always, but you must be able to go on regardless of whether you have the ball in your court or not.
You can keep dreaming about what you want all your life but do not do anything to make it happen. It is unfair to your dreams and yourself. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Make efforts, take risks, and make smart decisions. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, go and create them for yourself.
If I had to summarize it then I would say that build a door for the opportunity to knock if the opportunity hasn’t knocked yet.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”
Tips for Surviving Your Twenties
Your 20’s is supposed to be the time when you graduate your school, get introduced to the free wide world, get the freedom of doing what you want, the way you want, and when you want. The power struggle about making your own decisions is supposed to end, your parents can’t stop you anymore, well at least legally. You find love, start planning for vacations, go out drinking, have crazy experiences and so on.
Sadly, a lot of you would have had a confused face halfway through reading this, not if you’re in your teenage if that is the case then stop worrying, I don’t want you to be depressed from now. Well, the reality is that the twenties are not all fun, to be honest, it’s riddled with hard work, coming of age battles and responsibilities.
It’s always more difficult in the beginning. You have to get out of your comfort zone, start ‘acting’ like an adult, and when you see your first paycheck, all those arguments with your mum about not switching off your TV when you’re not watching start making more sense.
As much as a cliche it might sound like, working hard in your twenties does mean lesser problems in the future and finding financial stability in the thirties when you can’t burn the midnight oil as consistently as you can now. If you aren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, the reality is that you have to work hard to make a mark in the world and live a wealthy life. Considering this, it makes the most sense to work your hardest when you are comparatively younger with lesser responsibilities.
How do you survive your twenties? There isn’t a cheat code for this, but some things that might help are what we are going to be talking about today. These are things that I have learned from my experience and things that everyone experiences at some point.
Stop Thinking Too Much
Yes it’s hard, yes you have next to no free time, and yes you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel. When you are feeling low and want changes in your life, chances are you might research about, “what is the fastest way to earn money?”, believe me, we have all been there.
The rabbit hole that we get into throws a lot of choices towards us and we are tempted to do a lot of stuff half-heartedly rather than doing one thing with all our heart. The trick is to not think too much in the future – have a plan, but don’t fixate on the deadlines too much. Allow yourself the time and freedom to test uncharted territories. When you stop thinking too much, you allow yourself to be more inviting of opportunities which would otherwise go past you.
Money is Temporary, Health is Permanent
It’s such a common thing to do. When you are busy, you stop caring about working out or eating healthy. Yes, you are completely engaged in your busy twenties, but it honestly doesn’t take as much time to make small changes for better health.
When you are young, your body has better metabolism and responds to actions faster. Simply put, it is way more difficult to attain a healthy body and brain when you go past your twenties. Not only does a bad lifestyle cause bad health, but it also makes you less productive. Your body without proper care and food is simply not sharp enough to yield the results you are expecting. You don’t need to be busy to be productive is what you need to learn.
Monthly Budget with a Twist, Set Goals Before the Month
Don’t stop after creating a budget for the month. Start analysing your spending habits and categorise them with essential and luxury spendings. After this, you can set goals for the month to come.
Having a budget does not mean you need to be a miser and give up on things that make you happy. A budget simply helps you be transparent with your spendings, it helps you be in control of your financial life.
You Make Your Own Luck
Luck is unsurprisingly one of the most overused words since it is easier to blame your environment and other people rather than doing self-reflection and taking criticisms. If you look at most successful people, they’ll never claim that they knew they were going to be industry giants neither will they claim that there exists some well-kept secret that is only known to the people who succeed.
Successful people do simple things consistently and are not afraid to change and adapt if things are not going according to plans. You need to be hungry to grab any and all opportunities that are thrown at you. You are not owed an opportunity by the world, but if you get one, make sure you make the most of it because you never know when you’ll catch the attention of someone important who was once where you are. You make your own luck. You’re going to go through hardships anyway, make sure you make the most out of it.
Your twenties can feel daunting because you are thrown into a whole new world with very limited knowledge and expected to make the most of it. What you have to remember is that taking one day at a time is the best way to go about things when everything seems out of control. Taking a breather every now and then is the best way to grasp new concepts without getting overwhelmed by everything.
While these are your crucial years, they are also the years when you have the chance to learn and grow. While you need to grow in your career, you also need to grow as a person. Don’t be afraid to take risks or just take some time out for yourself.
Give priority to self-care. That is a concept that is widely under-estimated but holds a lot of power to keep you on your best. No matter how busy you are, take some time out for yourself and your loved ones.
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