Are there people who never find their passion in life?

Are there people who never find their passion in life? by Abhimanyu Sood

Answer by Abhimanyu Sood:

Let’s say you get an invite to a buffet. When you reach the event, you’re amazed to see an infinitely long buffet table. On this magical table, beautiful and exotic-looking dishes are placed one after the other, for as far as you can see. It’s a heavenly sight. And even though you don’t recognize a single one of these dishes, they all smell so good your mouth is watering like crazy.


The other people around you are equally dazed at the magical sight. Here are one of the three ways in which they will react –

  1. Some people will start from the beginning of the table, and sample dishes one after the other. As soon as they reach the first dish they really like, they will stop and start gorging on it. For them, this is their ‘best dish’, their destiny, the ‘one true’ dish they have been sent on this earth, to eat.
  2. Others will realize the truth, that since the table is infinitely long, there can be no ‘best dish’ as such. It’s ridiculous notion that one of these dishes is their ‘destiny’. And even if they find one particular dish that they really really like, somewhere further along the table, there would be another dish that is even more delicious than this one! So, they go on, from dish to dish, spending extra time with the ones they really like, but always moving on, exploring further and further. For them, the buffet is not destiny, it’s an adventure.
  3. The third category of people are the philosophers. They ‘know’ beforehand their purpose in this buffet is to find the ‘one true dish’ that is their destiny, and until they find one there is no point in eating anything at all! They would then sit down in dejection, and starve to death.

Life is like this buffet. It offers you a brilliant assortment of infinite number of possible experiences.

  1. Most of the people pick a stream, go to college, switch a job or two, find the first one they like, and then stick to it for the rest of their lives, thinking that they have found their ‘true passion’.
  2. A few enlightened souls see through the matrix, and realize just how many different experiences this life has to offer. They explore, travel around the globe, make new friends, change careers with ease, write a book, direct a movie, build a company, and then build another one. They never buy into the illusion that everybody on this planet has to find their ‘true passion’. For them, life is not about finding your passion; it’s about having an adventure.
  3. The third category are the philosophers. They know beforehand that they have been sent on this earth to find their one true passion, and until they find that passion, there is no point in doing anything at all! They fail to realize that the only way to find their passion (if such a thing even exists), is to keep trying new experiences, until you find the one you really like, or one you’re really good at. Instead they throw in the towel, sit down and refuse to budge an inch until some magical passion-fairy whacks their head with her ‘passion wand’.

Passion is overrated. Passion is imaginary. Passion does not exist. Don’t go looking for passion. Instead, realize that life has an infinite assortment of amazing experiences to offer. Try out as many of them as you can. Don’t limit yourself to just a few. Be an explorer. Be an adventurer.

And no matter what you do, don’t be a philosopher. Else you will starve to death 🙂

Bon Voyage…

In case we’re meeting for the first time,

Hi! I’m Abhimanyu Sood, ‘the wordsmith’.

Thanks for reading my answer.

Are there people who never find their passion in life?


What are the lessons people most often learn too late in life?

What are the lessons people most often learn too late in life? by @KrunalMHarne

Answer by Krunal M Harne:

Oh boy, this one is harsh. And let me tell you that, you are not gonna like it.

Yesterday, I watched Sully. It is based on the real life story of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who lands the damaged plane on Hudson river, miraculously saving all the 155 lives on board. He is charged for not landing on LaGuardia or Teterboro and for ‘risking’ the lives of the passengers and damaging the airplane.

He says, “42 years of successful landings, and they would still judge me for those 208 seconds.”

Did you catch it, yet?

Imagine he worked 5 days a week, 1 flight every day, and exclude the Christmas holidays too.

Number of successful landings = (5/7)*42*365*(11/12) = 10,037 flights
Number of passengers landed = 150*10,037 = 15,05,625

Before he was acquitted, they blamed him for those 208 stressful seconds where his reaction time was 35 seconds, and nobody actually gave a damn about his past record of landing more than 1.5 Million people safely. Even though, after landing, all he cared for was the count of “155”.

And here you have a very very harsh lesson to learn.

You can do 99 things for someone and all they'll remember is the one thing you didn't do.

Most people forget all the good that you did, and in the end only judge you for the bad, or rather what they perceive to be bad. Nobody cares about the good intent behind your actions. All they see is the final output. Simply because it’s easy to overlook the good, and remember the bad.

After a while, most people don’t give a damn about how much you have helped them. They take you for granted, because hey, you were just performing your duty or friendship. Just one bad thing, and they are all against you.

In personal life, be helpful without expecting too much from anyone. It’ll hurt you less. And if you are compromising on your comfort for helping anyone who isn’t worth it, then it’s time to think through and make a wise choice before it’s too late.

What are the lessons people most often learn too late in life?

Has someone treated you poorly until they discovered you were wealthy and/or successful?

Has someone treated you poorly until they discovered you were wealthy and/or successful? by Judith Gabrielle

Answer by Judith Gabrielle:

The best one I ever heard of was from my grandfather. In order to receive a promotion at the company he worked for, he was required to attain a master's degree. He was an engineer, of sorts, shall we say.

This was the 1960’s, and there was my grandfather sitting in a classroom with a bunch of 22 year old hotshots, while he was 50 years old. For 6 weeks, no one spoke to him, he wasn't called on, the professor ignored him, and whatever work he did received an average grade.

One day, a singularly difficult real life engineering problem was presented in class from a local company called JPL. When none of the students could correctly answer it, the professor asked if anyone had any ideas…..

I love this part….

My grandfather raised his hand and answered it. The professor told him he was wrong. Mr. Professor then told the class the answer. Grandpa then interrupted the professor and informed him that the answer given to the class turned out to be incorrect for that particular alloy, and that the week prior my Grandpa's team had found that with a 2% increase of cadmium, the answer was as my Grandpa said. The professor then asked Grandpa to come to the board and explain it in writing. He did. The professor then asked him who he was and what his job was.

After the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Manhattan and other projects were thusly discussed, Grandpa never sat down in that class again. Or any other. He taught the class as one who actually did these things…from Fat Man and Little Boy to the Saturn rocket booster and everything in between.

At the end of the semester, Grandpa received an “A”, and the professor informed him that he had received average grades before because his work just seemed too different than the textbook answers. The professor called a meeting of the department, and after a 60 minute interview they gave him his master's degree and offered him an honourary doctorate if he would teach there. He declined.

Six months later, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Every July 21st for 20 years, a new offer was sent to Grandpa to receive his doctorate and teach. He wasn't ignored any more.

Has someone treated you poorly until they discovered you were wealthy and/or successful?

What was the most important lesson you learned as you were building your career?

What was the most important lesson you learned as you were building your career? by Ken Mazaika

Answer by Ken Mazaika:

I told a senior manager at Microsoft that he was wrong.

And it taught me the most important lesson of my career.

Let’s rewind. I was a lowly software engineering intern at Microsoft. I didn’t have a ton of experience writing code, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the role. But I jumped in. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work for such an iconic company.

On day one, I matched up with my mentor- a dev named Ransom.

It was his job to turn me from an inexperienced developer into a competent member of the team responsible for building Microsoft’s Groove product, a peer-to-peer sharing system for businesses. At the time, this seemed like an impossible task.

I still remember my first assignment. I had to improve some existing internal automated tests for our synchronization engine. This would have taken Ransom a day to complete, but it took me my entire first month. Here’s how the process worked:

  1. I worked for 3 or so days, thinking that I was cleaning up the code and making it easier to write tests.
  2. Ransom asked to look at the code that I had written. I showed him the code.
  3. He went through it, line-by-line, explaining why every decision I had made was wrong.
  4. We decided that it was best for me to start over from scratch.
  5. Repeat.

Ransom was my boss, so he knew better than me. So I followed his direction. And it felt like I was incapable of adding value to our team.

Around that time, I was introduced to a different developer, named Dana.

Dana was very senior and incredibly intelligent, too. I wanted to impress Ransom, so I didn’t want to get too much help from him.

But I learned that working by myself was causing me to have to completely revert my work. So I decided to start asking Dana a ton of questions. I felt like these were stupid, but I asked them anyway. I needed to start getting things right.

After a few days of routinely bothering Dana, I checked back in with Ransom. He went through my latest code line-by-line and again found a ton of problems. But he said that my code was “workable”! I was far from perfect, but I felt like I was headed down an OK track.

Still, I knew that I was just following the direction of my superiors. I felt like anybody could do what I was doing, but that they just didn’t have the time.

But then, one silly thing changed everything.

I still remember the memory leak popping up.

We used a tool that informed us if we introduced a memory leak, which is a specific (and pretty bad) problem in code. At the time, I was confused about why the tool triggered the notification window.

After a few days, I found the root of the problem. This was a bad problem and it needed to be fixed quickly. So I went into the code’s history and discovered that it was written by a developer who happened to be incredibly senior, and he happened to work in an office nearby. I was so nervous, and I still remember knocking on his door asking:

“Hey, can I ask you a quick questions about some code you wrote? I’m really curious why you wrote it a certain way.”

I showed him the issue and how I would approach his code, expecting a detailed answer about why my approach wouldn’t work. Instead, he responded:

“Oh yeah. You’re right, it should be the other way. Can you switch it, since you’re working with it anyway?”

I’m right? This must have been a joke. But it wasn’t, and in this brief moment everything changed for me. No longer did I feel like the inexperienced intern who needed to blindly follow the direction of my superiors because they always knew the best way to do things.

In fact, in this moment, I realized that I could do something better than my superiors. I could uncover a problem, figure out a solution, and make a product improvement that was missed by senior developers, code reviewers, and everyone else. This was an incredibly powerful feeling. And this was precisely how I could bring value to the company in a way that nobody else could.

If you’re breaking into software or any other field, it can be easy to operate your job like you’re using Google Maps. You blindly follow step-by-step directions without thinking critically about where you’re going and why. If you’re doing this, you tend to feel like an interchangeable cog in the machine.

But if you start asking “stupid” questions and challenging what’s happening around you, everything starts to change:

  • You learn that the people ahead of you aren’t perfect.
  • You realize that a lot of the things they oversee could be improved
  • You figure out that you can leverage your unique perspective to make valuable improvements

Never doubt that you can do something better than your superiors. Getting to this point is the only way that you can truly add value to your company and build your career.

When I left Microsoft, I had changed thousands of lines of code in the core product. If you told me at the beginning that I would have done that, I would have laughed in your face.

But I did it.

And it all started with telling a senior developer that he was wrong.

Challenging your superiors is one hack that can help transform your career. Read this blog to learn the 13 other hacks that can help you launch version 2.0 of your career today.

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What was the most important lesson you learned as you were building your career?

What has been the shortest PhD dissertation in terms of total pages?

What has been the shortest PhD dissertation in terms of total pages? by Craig Anderson

Answer by Craig Anderson:

Ever seen the film A Beautiful Mind?

The mathematician that film was based on, John Nash, has one of the shortest PhD dissertations ever published: ‘Non-Cooperative Games’.

It has a grand total of 26 pages, and only cites two references.

That thesis went on to found the basis for his paper on the development of game theory, for which he won the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics.

You can read the full dissertation online here.

The world was tragically robbed of John in May last year in a car accident, alongside his wife.

What has been the shortest PhD dissertation in terms of total pages?

What are the most effective and proven time management techniques?

What are the most effective and proven time management techniques? by @oliveremberton

Answer by Oliver Emberton:

The secret to time management is simple: Jedi time tricks.
Imagine you were a Jedi master called Bob (your parents, whilst skilled in the ways of the force weren’t the best at choosing names). The love of your life – Princess Lucia – is trapped in a burning building as you hurry to save her.

You might think of Lucia as the embodiment of your dreams, your aspirations – she is your most important thing.

Unfortunately, before you can reach her an army of stormtroopers open fire. The incoming stream of lasers demand your attention – if you fail to dodge them, you’re dead. You might think of them as an urgent distraction from saving your princess.

We all know how a hero resolves this dilemma. If he takes his eye off the ultimate goal – his princess – then all his other efforts are for nought. He can engage an army of stormtroopers, cutting them down with graceful ease, but their numbers are limitless, and whilst momentarily satisfying they only distract him. Delayed too long, his princess will die.
And so it is with your life. You have things that are most important and things that are most urgent in permanent competition:

The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency. Humans are pre-wired to focus on things which demand an immediate response, like alerts on their phones – and to postpone things which are most important, like going to the gym. You need to reverse that, which goes against your brain and most of human society.
Look at what you spend your day doing. Most of it, I’ll warrant, is not anything you chose – it’s what is being asked of you. Here’s how we fix that, young padawan:

  • Say no. Most of us follow an implicit social contract: when someone asks you to do something you almost always say yes. It may feel very noble, but don’t forget there’s a dying princess you need to save, and you just agreed to slow yourself down because you were asked nicely. You may need to sacrifice some social comfort to save a life (as a bonus, people tend to instinctively respect those who can say no).
  • Unplug the TV. I haven’t had a TV signal for 7 years, which has given me about 12,376 hours more than the average American who indulges in 34 hours a week. I do watch some shows – usually one hour a day whilst eating dinner – but only ones I’ve chosen and bought. You can do a lot with 12,000 hours, and still keep up with Mad Men.
  • Kill notifications. Modern technology has evolved to exploit our urgency addiction: email, Facebook, Twitter, Quora and more will fight to distract you constantly. Fortunately, this is easily fixed: turn off all your notifications. Choose to check these things when you have time to be distracted – say, during a lunch break – and work through them together, saving time.

  • Schedule your priorities. Humans are such funny critters. If you have a friend to meet, you’ll arrange to see them at a set time. But if you have something that matters to you more than anything – say writing a book, or going to the gym – you won’t schedule it. You’ll just ‘get round to it’. Treat your highest priorities like flights you have to catch: give them a set time in advance and say no to anything that would stop you making your flight.
  • First things first. What is the single most important (not urgent) thing you could possibly be doing? Do some of that today. Remember there’s a limitless number of distracting stormtroopers – don’t fool yourself by thinking “if I just do this thing first then I can”. Jedi don’t live by excuses.
  • Less volume, more time. There’s always millions of things you could be doing. The trick is to pick no more than 1 – 3 a day, and relentlessly pursue those. Your brain won’t like this limit. Other people won’t like this limit. Do it anyway. Focusing your all on one task at a time is infinitely more efficient than multi-tasking and gives you time to excel at your work.
  • Ignore. It’s rude, unprofessional and often utterly necessary. There are people you won’t find time to reply to. There are requests you will allow yourself to forget. You can be slow to do things like tidy up, pay bills or open mail. The world won't fall apart. The payoff is you get done what matters.

One final lesson from the Jedi: they're heroes.
Heroes inspire us for many reasons: they make tough decisions, they keep going and they get done what matters. But there’s another reason we love our heroes. Inside us all, we know we have the power to become one ourselves.

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What are the most effective and proven time management techniques?

What is an interesting fact of history that most people don’t know?

What is an interesting fact of history that most people don't know? by Harshit Sethi

Answer by Harshit Sethi:

People in Britain went to their beds on 2nd of September and woke up to 14th of September.

Yes, this actually happened when Britain and all its colonies adopted the calendar reform proclaimed by Pope Gregory XIII in October 1582. It is what we now know as Gregorian Calendar.

Basically since 325 AD, it was considered that a year consists of 365 days and 6 hours. But in 1582 AD, astronomers found out a flaw in the calendar stating that it actually exceeds by 11 minutes.

Therefore, in order to avoid any errors and keep a uniformity in time, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar in which the difference of 11 days had to be cut down.

( 1752–325= 1427 years

1427*11=15697 minutes

15696/60=261 hours approx.

261/24= 10.8 (11 days approx) )

Britain, however, didn’t accept the calendar then. Europe, on the other hand, accepted it and followed it.

In 1752, Britain finally had to pass a new calendar law which cut down the 11 days in the month of September. This was applicable to Britain and all it’s colonies.

Interesting thing is that this law sparked riots in the country because of the fear that they will not be paid the wages for those days.

To restore peace, government ended up paying wages for full 30 days instead of 19 days that people actually worked for.

Basically, people got paid for the days that don’t even exist. 😛

What is an interesting fact of history that most people don't know?