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Reflections: 2021

2 min read

Table of contents

2021 was a challenging year, so I might as well reflect on it and hope these lessons or reminders aid in your day-to-day life (and future me can look back at this).

  1. No one is innately happy. You have to wake up every day and choose to be happy. You have the power to decide how a certain uncontrollable event affects you.
  2. Being productive isn't a big thing—it's a small one. Taking on big projects seems intimidating, but projects are completed one step at a time, one day at a time. Just get started and the motivation will come.
  3. Life is finite. We're all tempted to spend our time on things that don't take much effort but that don't bring much, whether it'd be enhancing our daily lives, increasing our productivity, or helping others. Ask yourself: will you wish you spent your time differently in 10 years?
  4. Read every day. Life is short and there will always be so much you cannot thoroughly discover and enjoy. Books are an abridged version of someone's experiences to give you a taste of what a different life is like. Also, books quell ignorance. No one wants to be ignorant.
  5. Relationships are important. When times get hard, you need people around you. Don't close yourself off because you have a test you need to cram for (research proves that's badread the Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor) or because "it's grind time."
  6. Give to your community. We all want validation and we all want to feel loved. There's no better way to get those and do good things for the world other than giving to your community.
  7. Share knowledge. Life isn't a competition for the highest grade. If a classmate asks for help or notes, give it to them and don't expect anything in return.
  8. Don't make important decisions when you're emotional. I'm not saying that emotions are bad, but humans just tend to make irrational decisions when the emotions are in control. Don't say or do something you'd regret.
  9. Stop worrying about others. You cannot control them, so don't try to "fix" their life. Let others know they can lean on you for support, but you shouldn't prioritize others over yourself. Also, stop worrying about others' opinions about you. We're all just tiny specks of dust in this ever-expanding universe.
  10. Enjoy the process and don't wait for the product. Life itself is a process, not a product. You will always have another goal to achieve, but you cannot get time back. Enjoy the process of doing what you love rather than getting bogged down in the end goal.
  11. Download and use Notion. It's a great way to track everything you need to do and so much more.

Oh, and please, practice safety. We all want COVID to end.

To an amazing 2022: Cheers. 🥂

Michel Liao

Michel Liao

Michel Liao

Boise, Idaho, United States
Hello! I'm a sophomore studying computer science at Princeton. I like reading, rock climbing, and running.