IT-related websites have recently been flooded with reactions to the suicide of Aaron Swartz. Swartz was a brilliant programmer who had made a lot of contributions to his field. He was a co-owner of Reddit, a popular social news website. He was also an Internet activist. Sadly, he was found to have hanged himself in his apartment on January 11. Why did it happen? There was no suicide note, but the consensus was that he was depressed due to the legal battle he was going through which had him facing a potential prison term of up to 35 years. The case stemmed from charges brought against him for downloading four million academic journal articles without permission (more details here). I’m not going to comment on the legal stuff. My focus here is on why he made such an unfortunate decision.
We are still early in 2013, so it’s a good time to think about how to get the most out of this year. While there are several ways to do that, I’d like to focus on just one suggestion here: take a new challenge. Taking a new challenge is a good way to expand your personal capacity. It helps you grow and achieve your full potential – just doing what you usually do won’t help you grow. But what challenge should you take? Here are some ideas. 1. Start a side business. I’m a big proponent of having side projects, and building a side business is a great project to embark on. It’s a good idea because you don’t need to leave your day job; you can keep your day job while building a small business in your spare time. Later, after your business has grown, you can consider quitting your job.
In my previous post, I asked you to share the lessons you learned in 2012. Many of you participated, and the insights were wonderful. Thanks! Now, I’d like to share what I’ve learned. :) To be honest, 2012 was a transitional year for me. Outwardly, I didn’t achieve much, but I gained many insights on the inside that I believe can shape my life for years to come. While there are others, here are two essential lessons I learned in 2012: 1. Clarify your WHY. A few months ago, I read Start With Why by Simon Sinek. The book discusses the importance of having a clear cause (which the author calls WHY). I have always had a cause in my mind, but reading the book sharpened it and renewed my commitment to it.