• Chetneet Chouhan

20 lessons for myself

Just like with the yearly ritual with looking back at what I have learned about the craft of writing each year, I am starting a new ritual to publish on my birthday (today) each year about things that I have learned. I will also publish a video on that too.




Following are just guidelines with added brief notes. The full discussion is on my YouTube video.


Start to keep a notebook

I have already made the case for why you should keep a notebook.

And another thing that I want to add here is to address people complaining about it takes a lot of time. But remember, our brain is not efficient too. You must choose whether to understand easy things that anyone could study or things that are hard but will make you rare and valuable.


And this is the reason why I have stopped using digital notes app to understand complex ideas and concepts. I through the active recall method explain things in that notebook.


The Bullet Journal Method is a great operating system

This method is great to give structure to your notebook.


If a system sticks for more than 6 months, that system is fulfilling a need that is beyond comprehension.


The bullet journal method is just a simple restriction that helps you achieve the maximum from keeping the notebook by your way and still has some healthy amount of restrictions that are needed.


System vs goals

Read James Clear's essay on what's the difference between setting goals and setting systems.

systems are what make all the difference.


And each one requires a different strategy while setting.

Become openminded

This is easy to say than done. Being open-minded means considering another point of view


We are storytelling creatures. When we communicate with others, we talk in stories. And when we think, we think in stories too. And when we act, we act out in stories.


And that is reflected in our internal maps that we all carry. Two brothers who lived their lives the same could have wildly unique maps. We all refer to our maps when we interact with the world.


And the map is not the territory. So we keep updating our maps. And more that map is like territory, the more we could lessen the unnecessary suffering.


So become open-minded and willing able to update your maps.

Growth Mindset

The essential mental model and mindset that tells us we need to


This idea also has biological backing. Our brain is plastic and it's willing to change (read: learn) regardless of age.


Start a collection of mental models

Those mental models are intangible assets that may not look but serve you forever.


A great place to start is by reading The Great Mental Models (Volume 1, Volume 2) by Rhiannon Beaubien and Shane Parrish


Build your own body of work.

When you write or make content online, it stays online and keeps working 24 hours. And you send people down the path they badly needed.


And the best way to start with a little initial cost is through your words.


Reading and writing are essential

This is the first step in changing the world properly. Arguments further the growth of civilization.


Don't do anything popular.

Not to do explicitly anything unacceptable (like going around naked) but the reason is that you shouldn't do things just because they are popular.


Assume people love you.

This assumption will help you act confidently.


Read with diversity.

For more unconventional tips on reading.


Take notes.

Fundamentally, the reason you take notes is to save time.


Diversify your identities.

Don't just 100% invest your identities into the career you are pursuing. Diversify it.


No bullshit to yourself and other people

If you have a problem with other people, tell them. If something bothers you, talk about it.


Watch Back to the Future.


The act of not telling what you want will fill you with resentment in long run. And do bullshit to anyone while doing so. At least to yourself.


80/20 isn't a rule, it's a law


Doing things that have very little impact on your life will waste your time without really giving anything in return. Like writing a great script for the video counts but using that time in selecting the "warmth" or "coldness" of studio light isn't valuable.


Laptop vs smartphone

I have recently written about it already. In one sentence. The money is better spent on your laptop than on a smartphone.


Quit social media

Our current generation's most regretful moment would not be that they didn't work hard, instead, it would be they have spent a huge chunk of their irreplaceable time on social media.


Following are my top arguments against using social media (except YouTube).


Opportunity cost - what you could be doing with the time spent on social media.


Training your brain to be lazy. - you are training your brain to seek another distraction when things get hard.


The smartphone is replacing hobbies.

Don't read listicle articles.

Don't read those bloggers who post daily for the sake of content. And don't read those books which are the latest. (More reading tips here).


And don't read daily bloggers. Except for Seth Godin.


Opportunity cost hits here too. You could be reading complex books.


Start blogging (more)

And putting your thoughts out there.


Become a clearer and sharper thinker. And when you write a lot, you can see whether an essay or article has a great idea or it's just some rumbo jumbo author is writing to hit his/her goal of ticking off "daily content posted to-do list."


And you can also detect whether writer believes in their own ideas or not.


And you become more interesting. because you are familiar with the idea of the interconnectedness of different things. And hence you can hold a conversation with anything you could think of.


Act for the sake of it, not merely as means

So act that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means. ( IMMANUEL KANT 1785: 429)

Don't let your life be boxed into abstract checklists or bucket lists.


Live a Craftsman life.

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