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Applied AI @ OpenAI • Startups GTM • On Deck Fellow • Proud Son • Duke + Wisconsin Alum • Building for impact • Venture Scout • Neo Mentor • Duke AI Advisory Board

25 January 2024

21 things I want my child to understand before turning 21

by Shyamal Anadkat

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1/ pick hard problems. keep doing whats interesting and makes the highest impact, and keep building what people want.

2/ understand wealth vs money; wealth is measured in time and equity. money is just a way of distributing wealth and time.

3/ embrace minimalism, and learn to make the most out of resources available to you.

4/ always seek the truth. knowledge and new explanations push humanity the farthest.

5/ learn to be kind, brave, humble and forgiving. its more important to be kind than being kind to be important.

6/ never give up on integrity and honesty.

7/ respect + truly care for your family and loved ones. no matter what.

8/ error on the side of optimism and love.

9/ learn how to make a lot of right and timely decisions. be curious, ask the why’s; no questions are stupid.

10/ prioritize physical and mental fitness so you can help yourself and others.

11/ there’s a lot you can gain out of self reflection and failing fast and early.

12/ being able to zoom in and out (thinking big at the same time focusing on the small details) can go a long way. think in decades not days. on a related note, learn how to think slow and fast.

13/ speak confidently, with composure. learn to pause, think, and breath.

14/ spend more time with nature. it helps.

15/ seek a great mentor / teacher / coach early on in life; doesn’t have to be a person - can be a book, religion, philosophy, physics, or stream of consciousness. regardless, read a lot of books.

16/ anything governed by laws of physics is possible; humans may think small so always challenge our thinking; think from a first principle basis.

17/ time (although relative) is your most limited resource, and that will be true even if we solve longevity and become multi-planetary.

18/ remember that most major holidays are named after activists, change makers, historic events, gods, social workers etc not billionaires; also know that nobel prizes correlate with novel contributions / transformative research.

19/ music can be healing. so is art. be creative, and enjoy art, culture, travel, food, religion. there’s a lot to learn from it.

20/ never stop learning, loving, and growing. good and sustainable things take time; there are no lazy shortcuts.

21/ don’t take life too seriously; make it interesting, worth living, and have fun. we could all be in a simulation.

tags: Insights - Lessons - Reflection