Gurbaksh Chahal | 8 Things Life Taught Me


Gurbaksh Chahal Career

April 15, 2015

Life and Business

Throughout my journey, I’ve had my various ups and downs in my life that have tested my ability to stay successful. Everyone reaches these breaking points but life’s ups and downs are what define our hidden purpose in life.

Here are 8 things everyone should know about life and business that I wish someone told me earlier.

Never Be Afraid to Ask.

No question is dumb. It’s actually the ones you don’t know that will guide you to your journey. I’m a high school drop out, so my success comes from asking a lot of dumb questions to a professional in their field. It’s these dumb questions that yield creativity. Life is not about 0s and 1s; it’s about imagination and most importantly your passion.

Stay Humble.

You’re not Jay Z or Beyoncé.

Our generation is called narcissistic, egotistic and self-entitled. And, while some of the claims are supported by instances that reinforce this naïve thinking, it’s not true of the entire generation.

That said, it’s not a stereotype we can shake tomorrow. For that reason, our generation needs to understand the importance of self-awareness.

Experience Life. Live for the moment. Put the phone down. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook can wait.

Fail fast. Learn faster.

As a young professional, you’re most likely coming into an industry filled with veterans. Most young professionals aren’t tied down with responsibilities, like kids, for the first couple years of their career.

As such, you have the time to work late and put in the hours to take on new challenges that will force you out of your comfort zone.

When you do this, you’ll be able to learn more, as you’ll fail at times and be able to regard that failure as a lesson.

The key to failure isn’t to get caught up on the act, but instead, to get caught up on the lesson. When you don’t make a deadline, ask yourself why you didn’t reach it.

Relationships are Everything in Life.

A business isn’t run by algorithms or machines. It’s run by relationships. Business is about trust and you don’t want to lose that.

Nurture these relationships and ensure that they are authentic and full of value. Strive to give more than you take and you’ll win in the long-game.

Your Word is your Honor

Your reputation is everything. Hold on to what you built to get the job and evolve that into something that allows you to stand out as a true leader in your profession.

It’s easy to work your way up the corporate ladder and forget about the things you did to get there. Instead of brushing off appointments, focus on keeping your promises.

If you schedule a meeting, be there for your meeting. It’s called respect. It’s how you get respect from others and it’s how you ensure those around you see you as a quality human being. No one respects someone who doesn’t give it to others.

Things won’t just “work out.”

I’m not sure which phrase bugs me more: “Everything will work out in the end” or “Everything happens for a reason.” Both of these phrases are misused and misunderstood on a daily basis. They instill false hope.

First, no, everything will not always work out in the end. You have to do things to make them work. If you have an important pitch tomorrow, going home early because you’re not interested in working late won’t cut it.

As for everything happening for a reason, it’s the same situation. Yes, everything happens for a reason, but you can influence what those things are. In fact, you can influence what the majority of those things are.

The fact that you’re late for a meeting isn’t because “of a reason”; you’re late because you didn’t manage your time properly. The fact that your company didn’t win that pitch isn’t because “of a reason,” it’s because you didn’t listen to the client’s goals and you could have done better.

If you’re privileged enough to be reading this on a laptop, computer, tablet or mobile phone, you’re already more privileged than 70 percent of the world’s population.

You control your fate, you control your time and you control your life. Doing things changes things. It just boils down to common sense.

Create your own story.

Society is filled with expectations. Specifically, there are expectations at every stage in our life (college, get a job, marriage, have kids, etc.). Forget that; there are no rules.

Focus on what you really want out of life and don’t let external forces influence what you want to do.

Instead of trying to keep up, take a deep breath and spend some time looking at the person in the mirror. That’s the only person you need to start competing with.

Your Mental Health.

At the same time, don’t let it own you; own it. Own your mental health and well being.

Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to have a support system in place to keep you grounded, but some people aren’t as fortunate.

Focus on your sanity. Focus on what makes you happy. Focus on You.

And most importantly, focus on what your life’s purpose is about. It’s too short to pretend to live a life that wasn’t meant to be yours.