TTT #25 & #26: "Journey Before Destination" with Ali Abdaal

Career Jun 13, 2020

We all have certain fragmented events that we deem necessary in our path to success. These determine the course of our lives, ranging from getting into a college to acing post-graduation. And despite how miserable we might feel while trying to achieve them, we substitute their outcomes as sources of happiness. Ali Abdaal, doctor and YouTuber, goes into this commonly held notion and refutes it. He believes in enjoying the journey before the destination and unfolding the beauty and challenge offered by the process.

If we just do stuff that we enjoy, it doesn’t become work and it’s fun. And the you are happy and you are also achieving something.

Life, he believes, is not about titles or achievements or what we can add to our CVs. It is about how to make each day worthwhile and productive while equating it to our idea of fun.

Studying and Motivation Tactics

  • Actively recalling information and testing ourselves in a spaced-out manner.
  • Eliminating the pre-conceived notion of something being hard before even trying it, simply based on the conversation surrounding it.
  • Rethink if we do not have time for a particular task. We feel we do not have time because we choose to spend it in a way that squanders it. Ali does not promote investing our energy into something that drains us. But instead of wasting the ample time we do on a daily basis, if we happen to be in a fairly privileged position, we could do fun things productively.
  • Put ourselves out there. Frankly, nobody cares about us the way we think because everyone is too busy caring about themselves and what we think of that. Ali talks about this ‘spotlight effect’ as he delves into overcoming the fear of being judged.

His Idea of Reading

It’s crazy to think how a single book that might relate to lessons, experiences, and research assimilated throughout one’s life is available to us for just a few dollars. And for practically no cost, we are getting access to multiple perspectives as well as opportunities to broaden our mindsets. However, despite reading being such an insightful source of information, so many of us struggle to take it up.

For those just beginning to read, Ali suggests taking up something breezy and fun, even if it is a paranormal romance.

The more you read what enjoy, the more you start enjoying reading itself.

And once we have started separating the idea of reading being a chore, we can drive ourselves to read more technical areas and diversifying the content we consume.

One advice he gives to those who are already in touch with reading is the documentation of the same. It could be in the form of a blog or even a simple three-liner review. But putting in the time to do this helps absorb and refine what we have gotten from a book.

Ali mentions a piece of advice he read online a while back. Find three hobbies: one that gets your creative juices flowing, one that ensures that money pours in, and one that keeps you fit. Life, of course, is goal-oriented, but it is equally about how we achieve those goals. And if the journey before the destination is just drawn-out anguish, why would we choose it over a path that we can enjoy?

Books Suggested

1. 'The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Harris.

2. ‘Make It Stick’ by Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel, and Peter C Brown.

3. ‘Show Your Work!’ By Austin Kleon


Ritika Singhal

Along with Zubair Junjunia

Senior year student passionate about social justice and inclusive reform | she/her