Lessons from the Hardest Year of My Life

Mental Health

  • Point at myself and laugh for no reason.
  • Imagine an alien is in front of me. It has the EXACT same problems as me. What advice would I give it?
  • Talk to landmarks like trees: “I bet so many humans that pass you aren’t smiling. So I’ll make you a deal, tree. I’ll start smiling and you’ll have better sights to see! Win win!”
  • Can I view the rejected application as an opportunity to find a better-suited job?
  • Can I view the failed friendship as a gift of time to find a closer relationship?
  • Can I view the technical error as a chance to practice patience while redoing work?
  • Repetitive tasks. Ex: drawing circles, jumping jacks, naming colours I see around me.
  • Square breathing
  • All these tips



Helping Others

  1. Show I care. Tell others my intention is to help.
  2. Let them talk as much as possible. Ask open-ended questions. Leave silence to think. Ask for examples. Say back what they said.
  3. Ask them what they need. Don’t tell them what they should do.
  • Ask: “What makes you feel cared for?”
  • Ask: “What gives you energy?”
  • Ask: “What would your perfect day look like?”


  • “What’s the most surprising thing you learned about this week?”
  • “What’s something [adjective] you do that most others don’t?”
  • “What’s a big challenge you’ve faced that shapes who you are today?”
  • “If you could display one statistic/lesson about [topic] on everyone’s computer screen, what would you put?”

Building Good Relationships

  1. “What takes up most of your time these days?”
  2. “What are the main goals you’re working on?”
  3. “Which influences are you learning from?” Ex: Books, podcasts, people, etc.
  4. “What are your main worries right now?”
  5. “What’s been making you happy these days?”

Handling Conflicts

  1. Asking: “What could possibly have made them do that?”Dale Carnegie
  2. Being grateful: “Thank god I’m not them” :D


Life Lessons

A Good Life

Good Habits

  • Remember that I’ll do [current action] for the last time someday. Maybe even today.
  • Remember I might look back on this current moment wistfully. Because I’ll likely have more problems as I get older and closer to death.
  • Ex: I can search the most vulnerable issues on Reddit. I’ll find dozens of others with the same issue. Ex: “site:reddit.com I worry I make others sad” → post
  • Ex: It’s easy to ask for advice by making the question about them. “Could I ask you for advice on how to deal with anxiety?” → “How do you deal with anxiety?”



  1. Write the problem
  2. Write what I considered
  3. Write the decision I made
  4. Later, write its outcome.
  • Ex: Abraham Lincoln had severe mental health issues, but was resilient in depression.
  • Ex: Oprah Winfrey grew up poor but is now giving back after she’s rich.
  • Ex: Marie Curie and Napoleon overcame sexism/racism to achieve one of a kind success.
  • Ex: …



  1. Ask: “WHY am I feeling guilty?” Curiosity dissipates negativity.
  2. If I made a mistake, tell them that I feel remorse and ASK how to do better.
  3. All the other tips here



Cofounder at The Plastic Shift. Learning how to create a sustainable planet. Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/madhav-malhotra/

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