Cheers to Another Year: 40 Lessons from My Journey

Hey there,

So, I’ve officially joined the 40 Club, but mentally, I’m still feeling like I’m in my 20s—at least that’s what I tell myself. This year has been a game-changer for me. With the hustle and bustle of more than a decade in medical practice and the personal whirlwind finally settling down, it’s time to pause and ponder on the kind of life I want ahead. It’s not just about marking another year on the calendar; it’s about showing up for life, knowing who I am and how I choose to live.

This morning, in a reflective mood, I thought back on the many lessons life has thrown my way. It struck me that these reflections might resonate with you—not because I know you need help, but because I’m always learning from others, and maybe, just maybe, sharing these insights can be a small way to offer a bit of encouragement. We could all use some positivity after the rollercoaster that was last year, right?

  1. Life is cyclic:- Life is a bit like a rollercoaster, with its ups and downs. There are times when everything feels like a celebration, and then there are moments when things seem to hit rock bottom. But remember, if you stay smart and keep pushing forward, you’ll eventually see significant growth and success in the long haul. It’s a journey filled with highs and lows, much like the ups and downs of the stock market.
  1. Money Spent on Trips and Memories is Almost Always Worth It:-Spending money on trips and making memories is usually a good investment. It becomes even more worthwhile when you take pictures, videos, and write about each adventure. Someday, these memories will mean more to you than your car.
  1. Suffering:- Feel the pain when it’s happening, not before or after. Pain is like the moment the needle goes in. Suffering is what you feel when you worry about it beforehand.
  1. Pain:- While it’s true that some pain can bring gains, not all pain necessarily leads to rewards. It’s not just about enduring more pain; it’s about choosing the right kind of pain for meaningful gains.
  1. Try new things—go to new places, try different foods, and join new groups. Behind every successful and polished moment are hidden struggles and messy processes, like when you’re figuring things out with effort and maybe a bit of chaos. It’s completely fine not to have everything sorted. Just do your best, have fun, and know that nobody has all the answers. Embrace the uncertainty, enjoy the ride, and keep going!
  1. Goal:– Life becomes simpler when you understand yourself, and it gets even easier when you know the kind of life you’re aiming for. The best part is when you focus on living your own way and not someone else’s.
  1. Start – End:- The toughest part of most things is beginning and ending—like starting work or exercise, or stopping yourself from eating too much. It’s a struggle to begin and a challenge to stop. Whether it’s starting a task or deciding not to, you’re always battling against the resistance to move.
  1. Progress is not Linear:- Life’s journey is not a straight line; it’s a collection of twists and turns. In my 40 years, and probably in your life too, there’s no perfect upward climb. The idea that setting goals leads to constant success is a myth. Life throws challenges like unemployment, breakups, loss, tragedy, or financial struggles that can wipe you out.

But here’s the inspiring part: it’s in those wipeout moments that you often find the strength to start anew. Embracing a fresh beginning breaks the illusion of a straight, easy path to success. Starting over is a chance to learn from mistakes, making your progress unique and resilient. Life’s setbacks are just setups for an even more remarkable comeback.

  1. Laziness:- There will be days when you feel lazy. That’s a sign you might need a break. It’s okay not to be super productive every day. It’s fine to take a lazy day indoors, gazing out the window. It’s not missing out; it’s a chance to rest and reflect on what’s been happening.
  1. Parenting:- Nobody’s a perfect parent, and that includes me. I mess up too. For instance, I might yell at my kid when I shouldn’t. But, hey, I’m still learning. When I make a mistake, I just shake it off and try again. I don’t have all the answers to parenting, but in the past seven years, I’ve found that showering my kid with love, being there for them, spending time, understanding, and paying attention really makes a big difference.
  1. Say No:- It’s okay to say no. You don’t have to do everything everyone asks. In fact, saying no is not just okay; it’s necessary for survival.
  1. Just Zip it:- Keep your complaints, criticisms, and judgments to yourself. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to hear them. Ninety-eight percent of the time, just zip it.
  1. IQ < EQ ?:- People often think high IQ and impressive degrees are the keys to success, but that’s not always true. While being smart matters, it’s just a starting point. In most jobs, like being a doctor, lawyer, or banker, once you’re smart enough, your success isn’t determined by your IQ. Other qualities, like creativity, communication, and problem-solving skills, become more important. For example, think of a chef or an entrepreneur—they may not need a super high IQ, but they need different skills to excel. So, it’s not just about how smart you are; it’s about what else you bring to the table.
  1. Creativity:- Being creative is super important. If you only stick to what others tell you, your choices are kinda stuck. Let’s say you’re 40, and you’ve been doing the same exercise routine for years—running every day. Suddenly, your knees start hurting. If you’re creative about it, you might explore low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling instead. This way, you’re thinking outside the box to maintain your health, adapting to changes, and not just sticking to the same routine that might be causing problems. Creativity in how you approach your health can make a big difference as you navigate the challenges of aging. If you can think outside the usual ideas, you’re not limited to what everyone else does. It’s not just a saying; being creative helps you find new and better ways to do things.
  1. Events:- Go to important stuff like weddings, Furenals and birthdays, but you can skip events with lots of small talk, like parties and conferences. I don’t go to much, and it hasn’t hurt my career. I also don’t join nonprofit boards. I find helping directly is better than chasing status and networking. It’s more effective to do things directly, like supporting organizations with money, ideas, and connections.
  1. Start Early:- I wake up early, around 5 or 5:30. I have a routine that helps me be focused and get things done during the day. It involves working out, praying, meditating, taking care of a garden, getting my son ready for school, reading books…etc.
  1. Aging:- As I’ve grown older, I figured out that taking care of myself is like having a secret weapon for being happy and getting things done. So now, I make sure to get enough sleep, hit the gym, do some meditation, and try not to turn into a junk food ninja. It turns out, being a health superhero is way cooler than being a workaholic!
  1. Risk:- Taking risks might seem scary, especially if you worry about money. But, you know what? Everything in life involves some risk—like investing, buying a house, getting hitched, or having a kid. 
  1. Easy things aren’t usually valuable, and valuable things aren’t usually easy:-.Things that come easily are often not very valuable, and things that are truly worthwhile usually require effort and perseverance. In other words, the most meaningful achievements often demand hard work and dedication, while quick and easy wins may not bring lasting value or satisfaction.
  1. Knowing and not doing is not Knowing:- It’s not enough to just know something; you have to put that knowledge into action for it to truly count. Simply having information without applying it is like having a tool but never using it. The real understanding comes from doing what you know.
  1. Your Environment:- The world around you has a more powerful influence on you than just your personal determination. It’s like saying, no matter how strong your will to eat healthy is, if you’re constantly surrounded by tempting snacks, it becomes harder to stick to your goal. The environment you’re in plays a big role in shaping your choices, sometimes even more than your own willpower.
  1. Your Response:- How you react to what happens can completely alter the result. Life is full of events, some good and some challenging, like a rainy day. You can’t control the rain, but you can choose whether to complain or grab an umbrella and enjoy a walk in it. Your response, whether positive or negative, can make a regular day memorable or miserable. It’s not just about what’s happening; it’s about how you handle it that makes all the difference in the end.
  1. Focus > Time:- Concentrating on what you’re doing is more important than how much time you spend on it. It’s like when you’re reading a book. Spending hours on it doesn’t matter if your mind is wandering. But if you focus, even a short time can help you understand and enjoy the story. Quality attention beats just clocking in the hours.
  1. Direction:- If you don’t have a clear destination in mind, you might end up anywhere. It’s like setting off on a journey without a map or a goal. While it’s essential to have a specific destination (your goal), don’t be too rigid about the path you take to get there. It’s like planning a road trip to a beautiful beach; you know where you want to go, but you’re open to exploring different routes and enjoying unexpected sights along the way. Stay focused on your goal but be flexible in how you reach it.
  1. Your senses:- Taking control of your senses is the key to mastering your life. It’s like being the boss of your five senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. When you manage them well, you can navigate life more effectively and make better decisions. It’s about being in charge of how you perceive and respond to the world around you.
  1. Root Cause:- Finding the root cause means digging deep into a problem, whether it’s a patient’s health issue or a personal challenge. It’s like being a detective, understanding what might be causing the problem, not just fixing the surface. For instance, imagine someone having headaches. Instead of just giving a quick painkiller, I’d try to figure out if it’s stress, lack of sleep, or something else causing it. It’s about going beyond a quick fix to solve things most helpfully.
  1. Priority:- Giving priority to your work means deciding what tasks are most important and doing those first. It’s like making a to-do list and choosing to tackle the most crucial things before the less important ones. By prioritizing, you ensure that you’re focusing on what really matters and making the most of your time and effort.
  1. Money:- Handling money is not just about making it; it’s about what you do with it. It’s like having a pizza—earning money is getting the pizza, but managing money is deciding how to slice and share it wisely. It’s not just about getting more; it’s about making the most of what you have.
  1. Ask Help:- It’s totally fine to ask for help! You don’t have to face everything alone. Many people need assistance, but some don’t ask for it or ask too late. So, if you can, and before it’s too late, reach out to someone you trust—friends, family, or professionals. Don’t hesitate to seek the support you need.
  1. Forgive Yourself:- It’s okay to forgive yourself for old mistakes. I know it might be tough to think about, but facing and forgiving yourself is important to make peace with the past.
  1. Honest:- Being honest with yourself is a big favor you can do. I used to tell myself comforting lies because I was scared of facing the truth, my truth. Even though the truth can be hard to accept, you deserve to know it. It’s okay to take your time, but the sooner, the better.
  1. Cheerleader:– Cheer for yourself! Support yourself, especially when no one else is around. Be your own biggest fan.
  1. Give it A shot:– If you never give things a shot, you won’t have a chance to succeed. I used to avoid trying new stuff because I was scared of failing. This fear held me back in my health, work, and relationships. Thankfully, I realized this wasn’t the way to live. Yes, trying new things is scary, and yes, you might fail sometimes. But you could also succeed or learn something important. Taking the risk is worth it.
  1. Eat well:- Eating healthy is like giving your body superhero powers. At first, you might worry it won’t taste as good, but the more you eat well, the more awesome you feel. Soon, you’ll actually crave healthy food and notice when you eat something not-so-healthy, and you won’t feel as great. I turned my kitchen into an experiment, trying everything from satvic to vegan to keto, and more—thanks to my amazing wife and helper! Even though it had its challenges and my family became my taste-testing team, it was a journey worth taking. I faced moments of weakness, irritability, and frustration, wondering why I was doing this. Despite it all, it gave me a new understanding and ways to help patients dealing with chronic diseases. It’s been a truly inspiring adventure!
  1. Extremist:- Going to extremes usually doesn’t last. Whether it’s your diet, exercise, or anything else, being super strict or completely giving up is often not sustainable. Following the 80/20 rule (or maybe 90/10 if you want to be a bit stricter) makes life easier and happier for most of us.
  1. Listen:- Listen to your body—it’s crucial! If it says rest, take a break. If it craves something healthy, grab some veggies. The more you tune in to what your body needs, the better it works.
  1. Introvert:- Being an introvert is okay. Sure, we might envy those outgoing folks at parties, but being introverted has its perks. We have fewer but meaningful relationships, we’re good listeners, and we think carefully before speaking. Plus, we can totally get lost in a good book for days. Being introverted isn’t so bad after all!
  1. Health Fad:- Don’t fall for health trends. Companies always try to sell a magic solution for health, lose weight pills, etc but there isn’t one. It’s all about working hard, eating well, and staying consistent—no shortcuts.
  1. Comparison:- Don’t bother comparing yourself to others. No matter how much you try, you can’t be someone else. Instead, focus on your strengths, be yourself, and be the best version of you. Embrace who you are!
  1. Read:- Read all kinds of books—business, fiction, self-help. There are so many good ones, and they can change you. Books might cost a bit, but they’re like a treasure of the author’s wisdom and experience for just a few pennies. Worth it!

Final Thoughts

Life can be tough sometimes, but guess what? We’ve got this one life, so let’s make it count. Don’t stress too much about being perfect—just do what feels right and makes you happy. Surround yourself with people you care about, do things that make you feel good, and you’ll be alright.

Life is a bit like a puzzle, and we might not understand all of it. But that’s okay. This is our world, our shot at happiness. The good news is, every one of us can make the most of it. So, let’s cherish the people we love, enjoy what we do, and make the most of this wonderful journey together!

Cheers to life,

Dr. Shailesh


  • Suneeta Yadav

    How deeply you have explained each and every hidden points related to our life Shalesh .

    Very nice👌👌👌👌👌👌

    • CHA Admin

      Thank you for reading & replying.

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