Checklists to Life: 12 Lessons I Learnt the Hard Way


“Regret is born to kill your present potential.”

There will always be million possibilities to how you could have done something differently or chosen something else, and none of them would necessarily be wrong. Each choice has a price and comes with its baggage of roses and thorns. There is only one way to end up smiling at the end of it all; you take a decision, hope for the best, and make do with what you get.


“Life is always in a dynamic equilibrium.”

Life might seem dull on days and the most beautiful blessing on others, but often, it stays in the grey zone. Every day is a constant effort to make our souls happier; but there are times, no matter what, we lose in the face of circumstances, not in our hands. It is Ying and Yang, two sides of the same coin. The sorrow is what gives the joy its meaning. But what is most important to understand is that this equilibrium is dynamic. Every day is not perfectly balanced; but we attempt to remain close to it, so that we never drift away too far, in order to return.


“Relax. It is not the end of the world.”

There will always be unpredictable situations you can never be prepared for. Not everything can be predestined, but it is a human tendency to panic in such instances. But often, the solution to the crisis lies right in front of our eyes. The panic not only just blinds us, but also aggravates the potential consequences. Next time you end up in an accident (your fault or someone else’s), just relax. Breathe. And now you are ready to find the calmest way to handle the situation.


“Count your blessings.”

It is a human reflex to desire evermore for things. But a conscious effort to just enumerate what you already possess, even once a day shall make you feel the richest person there can be. Just a thought, what good is all the money in the world if you cannot spend it well enough? (And well, finances are just a tiny fraction of what being rich means).


“Find a purpose. It is food for your soul.”

The world is a beautiful place with a million opportunities to offer. Even you do not know what talents were engraved in your genes the day you were born and the millions more you could learn; art, music, or travelling? The only way to know is to get out of your cocoon. Trust me, you need it, your purpose is food for your soul.


“To err is human.”

Every new step you take, you are bound to falter. You do not, for even one second, have to be ashamed of it, but carry every failure as a proud scar. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn something new and add a feather to your cap. Repeating it is what should raise a red flag.


“Appreciate. It is a beautiful habit.”

We somehow evolved into a society that prefers to talk behind backs and envies the qualities others possess. But a human can only do so much; we, as a species, emerged to have magnificent qualities no individual could possess. It is only natural, different people will excel in different spheres of life. Try appreciating someone on their face if you find them charming or chivalrous. Trust me, your soul shall feel happier that day.


“An art of necessity”

Getting people to listen has become a difficult task, especially when most people have a lot to say. But let us try to accept the situation this way, it is much more the responsibility of the speaker to hook onto its audience than just theirs to pay attention. If they are not interested enough to listen to you, you probably need to up your game. The world is a stage, and you present as if it is your only chance.


“You are where your mind is.”

Being mindful means to be in the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s emotions and sensations. And there is not a better therapeutic technique invented for your soul.


“It is all in your head.”

The fear of failure naturally stresses us out. That is an evolutionary advantage that helped our species survive this long. But that does not mean failures are unnatural. The stress rather must be overcome. No human is perfect. Accepting your flaws is the first step towards being a better, less messy person.


“The road less taken is not necessarily the wrong one.”

Every human born is unique with their own set of vices and virtues. Right and wrong ways to do things are subjective. Accept yourself, make your place in the world because the world already has too many of the other kinds.


“Your learnings: pass them on. It is a cycle.”

All that you learnt in life; by yourself or by someone’s virtuous act of teaching, that you thought you could never payback. Because that is your legacy, your learnings, meant not just for you but a million after you as well. And there could never be a more virtuous act than teaching – once you share a lesson, you both have it now.

Written by:

Dr Avi Singh

Government Medical College, Amritsar, India)

(Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Punjab)

AMSA India

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