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SDLC of Life

Most of us in technology know what SDLC stands for or have heard here and there. For those who don't know, it stands for Software Development Life Cycle. However, the SDLC I'm referring is not related to the known acronym. It's just a coincidence that I came up with this one. My acronym has a different meaning for each alphabet. It is not about life cycle but about our whole life.

Based on my own observations, experiments, experiences, failures in past life and some success as well, I wanted to see if I can figure out a formula, an abstract of principles to that anyone can use to achieve their goals in life. As I always say, these goals are your own goals they don't have to match to other's goals. You and only you are responsible for those. So you need to take control of it. To do this, here is the 4 step action plan that one can adopt -

  • S - Be Selfish
  • D - Be decisive
  • L - Have a Laser Focus
  • C - Commit to the decision

Wait, all others look fine but "Be selfish"? Yes, It wasn't a typo. I'll repeat "Be Selfish"

Okay, let's address all one by one.

Selfish

By selfish I don't mean the same way we normally use. Air travel is common nowadays so most of you must have heard the standard announcement the air hostess do before the take-off. In case of emergency, they tell you to put the oxygen mask to you first before your kids or older parents. Why do they insist on this selfish sounding advice? It's because if you are incapable of breathing, you won't be able to take care of those who depend on you or might need your help. What this also means that one needs to be capable, strong enough before going out to help/guide others. That means he/she needs to work on him/herself FIRST! If you look at me, do you think I'm the right candidate to jump into a physical fight and protect someone even if there is a burning desire in me? Yep. I heard the resounding NO :). To be able to protect someone in such cases, I'll need to build very strong physic, have a very strong mind. To financially protect my family, I need to continuously build the right skills that the market needs. Basically, in order to serve my loved ones, I need to look at myself FIRST before them! This goes to ANY field. To serve the country, I'd be required to work on myself through rigorous training of years. Same true with arts, fashion, IT - you name it. 

Decisive

Once you decide to become selfish and work on yourself, you'll need to decide the area on which you'd work on yourself selfishly. You'd want to work in that area so much that you could do anything for it. This is very difficult to figure out as we all have a variety of interests in life. If you look around the society also encourages to have many interests, praises for being "All Round". My niece called me the other day after her high-school and we talked about what she would like to do. She expressed 3-4 completely different areas she likes to work in. She couldn't answer which one the most. I have a very simple question that can help anyone in such a dilemma -

Would you still want to do it even if you're the only person left on this earth?

The area that you can imagine with this extreme view in mind, is your field of work. That's the area you need to find out by some trial and error. Instead of committing to some glorified mental idea, try out the top 3-5 areas for some time by doing part-time practical work for free. You'll definitely know what it takes to be in that profession day-in-day-out. 


Laser Focus

Once the decision is made, your duty towards the area is to gather all the focus in the world to that field. All the sunlight that you see around you in daytime can't do much but put a magnifying glass in between and the same light will burn an object within a minute or so. The same water that comes from your tap won't do any good by just falling on the ground. Route it through a power washer and it can remove the toughest dirt on the floor. Extreme high pressured water can cut through a slab of steel like butter! I think these examples are enough for you to make you understand the importance of laser focus but what does it take to achieve this? I'm not there yet but I know the path for sure. You need to cut down ruthlessly all that comes in the way of achieving the desired goal you decided in the earlier step. It could be invitations from friends/ parents/ relatives/ colleagues, unwanted shopping trips, binge-watching, Whatsapp (this should be No. 1 in the list actually), all social media. You need to come up with your distraction list. For me, even sticking to one dress code was important in order to reduce one daily decision to make. Now I pull any shirt and any pant and I'm ready in 30 seconds. My wardrobe is all white shirts and all jean pants! I found that necessary thing to do. Not saying it will be good for you but just giving out as an example of an extreme measure. 

Committed

Now, after going through the above steps, all you need to do is stay on course. Every day, you watch this one thing like your life depends on it. You'll need to do tiny corrections to stay on the path for your goal. You might need to do little course correction for a time being, take a financial hit or a left turn to avoid certain situations but ultimately you'll be following your north-star.

Personal Example

The above advice won't make a dent unless it is backed by personal experience. In this context, I will repeat the same example that I expressed in the $1000 hourly rate blog. All my life I always had a fancy of being able to compose my own music. I also had several other interests like movie making, food blogging, live concerts, writing etc. From the day I became selfish and decided to work on music composing, put a laser focus on it by cutting down several distractions and committed to working towards it -

In just 3 years, I was able to produce 5 of my original songs produced all by myself, wrote lyrics for one and produced music video for the same. All of this after I started at the age of 52 with a full time IT job and family obligations.

With these principles, if I can do this at this age, what can you do my younger friends? Just by being young, you have far more energy than me, age is on your side, you're born in a world with much better amenities than us. What will you achieve in the next 5 years by implementing this? 

Only time will tell! See you in 2024!!

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