Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

New years are new beginnings. The traditional approach is to begin fresh with the given set of a dozen new months ahead. Usually, on this occasion, people get entangled with many ‘to-do lists’, ‘revised resolutions’, rework on failed commitments etc.  

This year, I decided to be different, so I have made a “Not to-do list”. Through this column, I am sharing the items in this list. 

  1. Will not over-emphasise my past
  2. Will never compare myself with others
  3. Will not take emotion-driven decisions

Will not over-emphasise my past

Well, friends, “Past is gone with the wind”, and there is no undo button in life. I have seen people glued to their past so firmly that it denies them the ability to celebrate their present. 

Life has to be joyful, and all our past mistakes are the drivers of destiny. We choose to either focus on the ‘joy’ element of life or continuously keep revisiting the perceived mistakes. “Joy” versus “past deliberations” are mutually exclusive, and one cannot accomplish both simultaneously. Those who live in their past and ignore their future get submerged in a cloud of negativity and sorrow. Hence, I have decided not to over-emphasise my past. 

Some argue that every happening of the past may not necessarily be sad for everyone. I agree, but I intend to develop a fruitful habit by convincing myself to ignore the past and be futuristic. 

Will never compare myself with others

We all know that comparison kills joy. It is human nature to measure our achievements on a yardstick of someone else’s success. Here are a few illustrations demonstrating the ill impact of comparison.

* It took me five significant years to achieve my doctorate, but that fellow got it in just three years. Sorrow seeps in.

* I could not buy a new car in the past five years; my neighbour bought his third car in the same period. Frustration spreads like poison.

* I could not go for a short picnic while my friends travelled worldwide. Disappointment triggers. 

If I have to benchmark any aspect of my life, I will do it with my present circumstances. It would be fun to draw a bigger line for myself than to keep staring in disgust at the lines drawn by someone else. 

Will not take emotion-driven decisions

Our emotions define us as human beings. The ability to keep those emotions under tight control defines our social success. Excess engagement with unproductive emotions drains our energy. The world has been observing a steep rise in mental health disorders. Honestly, being mentally unwell is the next pandemic for our earth. Observing austerity measures while dealing with our emotions and responses makes a lot of sense.   

Many times, people compromise on long-term gains for short-term emotional urges. There could be umpteen such incidents in each one of our lives. All emotions are not destructive. Neither all decisions based on an emotional assessment of circumstances are incorrect. All I mean to convey is, “Think twice before taking an emotional call”. Who knows, there may be a better way out of that imbroglio!


Friends, I am sorry for those readers who may have expected something new through my column. You may have wanted to get absolutely different and pathbreaking ideas to start your new year with a bang. If you feel this way, let me share a secret: Most successes are achieved not by doing different things but by doing everyday things differently and perfectly! Why not strive to be fferent this year – in execution!

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India