It All Adds Up

When I was trying to get a job after engineering, I remember talking to my seniors to understand what kind of questions to expect. One of them telling me that one of the students had written writing as a hobby in her resume. The interviewer asked her, ‘You want to be a software engineer – how does writing help you?’ And she replied, ‘Writing involves communication and creativity, which is a big portion of coding.’

At that time, I thought it was a great answer and made a mental note to use it in my interview. It wasn’t years later that I realized how profound her response was.

Imagine you had a bicycle and all you did was sit on the bike and push the bike with your feet – you will get somewhere, but you will never enjoy the full potential of riding a bike. And after some time other parts of the bike which you never used will rust and fall off. And after some more time, you will even forget what it was like to have a bike.

Our life – our mind is similar to the bike. And we all lean on some part of too heavily – getting a job, getting a degree, getting a husband, having a child to the point that we forget that we have other things going on as well. We have to branch out and try different things – because it all adds up.

For example, I like to write – write a blog, work on my book but write. And to write, you have to know very clearly what you want to communicate. And this helps me communicate at work better. I work with Wild Tiger Tees (Social enterprise helping youth experiencing homelessness), and I have learned a lot of lessons there, which I take back with me to work – the key one being empathy. The person who is doing all these activities remains the same – the you who is volunteering does not suddenly turn into another you when you are at work – you may behave, but at the end of the day it is just YOU. The more experience this you has, the more skills and lessons you will learn – resulting in a more open person who knows how to learn.

It is impossible to learn every new thing that comes along these days – what you need is the skill to learn. And what better way to do it than to immerse yourself in different activities as opposed to exhausting yourself at work so much that you have no energy left for any other thing. The beauty is when you start doing things you will be more energized at work because you are using the bike to its full potential as opposed to just walking the bike.

First of all, you have to know what kind of a bike you have and then take it one step at a time – oil the parts that are rusted, take breaks after using it a few times – understand the speed limits, know if you are off to a gentle stroll or a grueling race.

What kind of bike do you have?

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