Walking East to Walking West – A Thousand Miles Away #11 (Life of An MS Student)

While last month was when order and discipline creeped into my life, this month things went out of control for a while. But to battle it out, I finally could check off two major things I wanted to accomplish for long: go for a (professional) trip to California and read diligently everyday! While I’m the kind of person who jumps to conclusions at times, past month I learnt something which would slowly eliminate this quality of mine. It’s been a good month, y’all!

1. Things Went Out of Control

I’m not kidding. The first 5 weeks here at Bellevue, working as a Salesforce intern, were amazing – I picked up so many good habits that I was truly proud of myself. But when I did all of this, I forgot a fundamental rule of thumb: The 1% Rule. Here is an excerpt from a beautiful article I once read,

“The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Scientists have cataloged approximately 16,000 different tree species in the Amazon. But despite this remarkable level of diversity, researchers have discovered that there are approximately 227 “hyperdominant” tree species that make up nearly half of the rainforest. Just 1.4 percent of tree species account for 50 percent of the trees in the Amazon. 

Image result for amazon rainforest

But why?

Imagine two plants growing side by side. Each day they will compete for sunlight and soil. If one plant can grow just a little bit faster than the other, then it can stretch taller, catch more sunlight, and soak up more rain. The next day, this additional energy allows the plant to grow even more. This pattern continues until the stronger plant crowds the other out and takes the lion’s share of sunlight, soil, and nutrients. This process gets repeated again and again until the plants that are slightly better than the competition dominate the entire forest.”

The same can be applied to our lives as well. The 1 Percent Rule states that over time the majority of the rewards in a given field will accumulate to the people, teams, and organizations that maintain a 1 percent advantage over the alternatives. You don’t need to be twice as good to get twice the results. You just need to be slightly better.

I did not follow this. I tried to change too much at once, and it did not work out. I fell back on recording diary entries, writing down tasks in my journal and learning about a product everyday (which I wanted to do). However, I realized I should filter this down and stick to only 2-3 habits which I developed and practice it diligently everyday. And now, I feel things are back on track.

2. California Dream Came True

I spent 5 days in the Bay Area. But it took me weeks to prepare so that I could get the maximum out of those 5 days. Meet the most number of people, visit most number of places, attend events and schedule in such a way that it happens one after the other.

I would say I was 80% successful in what all I wanted to do – main one being able to document my experiences in the form of short videos! That being said, I won’t go into much detail here as I feel a video would convey the experience better than you reading about it. Watch out for the video in the next 3 weeks.

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Enjoying the Sunnyvale landscape 🙂

3. Why You Should Always Go The Extra Mile

A lot of people have asked me questions on how to get internships and scholarships – while merit, extracurriculars and well-written essays take you very far, you can cross the final mile by going that extra mile in the beginning. 

As confusing as that sounds, think about this: isn’t everything in life a measure of probability? What is the probability that I can lose 10 pounds in a month? That depends on factors including: my diet, physical exercise, mental push to keep going, healthy lifestyle. Now, what is the probability that I will get one scholarship/internship? While that depends on a myriad of factors, with the main one being: are you being proactive and seeking out new opportunities constantly? Are you spending a few extra hours looking up new websites, reading articles from past scholarship recipients, watching videos on improving soft skills?

Most of your questions can be answered with a simple Google search. However, we all grow up in an environment of spoon-feeding. We are so used to asking our teacher to tell us everything that we don’t realize that in this age of the internet, all we need is to spend time reading (along with proper guidance). This topic has been bugging me for so long, I definitely plan to talk about it in a short video and article.

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Giving away free gifts to kids on “Bring Your Kids to Work” Day 

Giving examples from just the past one month: I was very fortunate to receive discounted tickets for an event in California and scholarship to attend a conference because I spent time researching and filling up long applications and sending emails. One hour spent now will reap benefits worth several hours later on. So, always go the extra mile for things you desire. Nothing can replace pure unadulterated hard work.

4. I Learnt to Talk Less and Listen More

One more take-away from Salesforce would be this – I learnt to talk lesser and lesser in meetings. And absorb what was being told by people much smarter than me. I am not a very articulate speaker – I really want to be! At many instances, I feel I could have put across my point better. In a more coherent manner. That is partly why I love writing – I get the chance to think, edit and formulate my sentences in my head before writing it down. Nobody will know the dozen mistakes I made while writing my first draft.

However, by talking less I got to listen more. This is another form of learning wherein you start to observe people’s body language when they speak, identify pauses, hesitations and emotions. I’m also a very reactive person – I jump to conclusions quickly. This is something I want to change completely in long-term, and I feel this is the first step.

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In the Mindfulness zone of Salesforce

Many times during the past month, I felt fortunate. Extremely and truly blessed – to have the resources to travel to a new country, to have the support from family to pursue my interests and to have motivating people around me who make me feel inspired everyday. This is not a cliché at all. If you are reading this, it means you have the resources enough to have a personal computer or laptop with you, internet connection and spare time to pursue whatever you want. Hans Rosling categorizes people into 4 categories in his book, ‘Factfulness’ as shown below. We all belong in the 4th category, and we should feel blessed. And keep working towards bringing the people from other 3 categories into ours.

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Must read for all

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Cheers! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Walking East to Walking West – A Thousand Miles Away #11 (Life of An MS Student)

Add yours

  1. Hi Pooja,
    I’ll go pointwise, if that’s cool. 🙂

    1. The 1% rule is something I’ve never heard of, but it sounds really logical! However, you’re doing a great job balancing the chaos, so keep at it and you’ll be good. 😊

    2. The Bay Area looks sweet! Glad to know you had a great time!! 😃 Also, can’t wait for the video!

    3. Very important paragraph, a true inspiration for me to give more than my best everytime!! Looking forward to the article and video regarding this. 😄

    4. It takes true grit to accept one’s shortcomings in a public blog, and I’m happy to see you do just that. I’m sure correcting it will be an easy thing, I’m sure of it. 😀

    Overall, amazing article!! Always a pleasure to read your article and learn from your life. 😁

    Thank you for this! ☺

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