On 11 April 2021, I was scrolling Twitter, as usual. In the DMs, my friend Sathya (@Aurasky_) had sent me a video in which he talks to an intelligent 14-year-old about visuals and habits. The young man’s name was Prabhsimrat Gill and it turns out he’s written a book.
I wanted to learn more about his story so I reached out to Prabhsimrat. I was quickly convinced: he’s the next person I’m interviewing.
As with Jamie, the previous author, a video call was scheduled within 24 hours and the next day I was interviewing Prabhsimrat via Google Meet (with the permission of his parents, if anyone’s wondering …).
Talking to this well-educated, well-spoken young man was a delight. His English skills are impressive for someone who learned English as a second language. I’ve taught English to a couple of hundred kids in the last few years but no one got close to his level. Maybe it was the teacher?
Anyway, he says he reads a lot. He’s read Think and Grow Rich, The Power of Habit, Man’s Search for Meaning and other must-reads that I’ve honestly not yet read myself. That’s how he learned. And it shows. At his age, he knows more about life than most people double his age. Trust me, I’m double his age. Many of my peers wouldn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.
A wonderful purpose
From a young age, Prabhsimrat has been talking to his mom about life, purpose and self-development.
When he was 12, he figured he wanted to inspire other people and become a public speaker. Helping other people find their purpose was his purpose.
“Life is like a coin. You can spend it in any way you wish, but you can only spend it once.”Lillian Dickinson via Explore the New You
Of course, public speaking at his age was a bit difficult and other priorities stood in his way. The next best thing was writing. While his friends were buying the newest video games and playing all the time, Prabhsimrat was researching 21st century skills. That’s how he came up with the idea of starting a blog.
In July 2019, he published his first post. He went on to publish a few more posts in the following months until it became a weekly habit.
After publishing weekly blog posts for a couple of months in 2020, he was ready for the next big challenge. Enter “Explore the New You”, his first book. Prabhsimrat was 14 when he published it, making him the world record holder for the youngest non-fiction self-published author.
Word after word after word
On 10 October 2020, Prabhsimrat set himself an audacious goal. He decided to write and publish a book before 1 December. That’s about 52 days or a bit more than 7 weeks.
He wrote 2.000 to 3.000 words per day on average and even more on the weekends. “One Saturday, I wrote up to 12.000 words,” he remembers. He didn’t use anything but Microsoft Word and Grammarly.
How can someone write this much?
There are two important elements to his prolific writing.
- He had been writing blog posts for forty-something weeks. Even though he didn’t copy any content from his blog, the ideas were already in his head. It saved him a lot of research.
- He only had two priorities: School and writing. He wrote early in the morning, attended classes from home, then wrote some more in the afternoon.
Nevertheless, it’s a remarkable accomplishment. In only 15 days, he was ready with the first manuscript. After another 15 days of editing and revising the manuscript with his mom, he sent it to an editor for a final check. Three days before his initial deadline, Explore the New You was published on Amazon.
The power of focus
One thing this conversation and his book made clear to me is the power of focus. When your goals are clear, you can achieve almost anything.
Prabhsimrat wanted to write a book. So he wrote a book and didn’t divide his time between multiple projects.
“We are just one click away from knowing what is happening in other people’s lives, but we often don’t realize that we are only one click away from connecting with ourselves as well by turning off the phone, laptop, and iPad for some time.”Prabhsimrat Gill – Explore the New You
Isn’t there a lesson here for all of us?
What’s holding us back from writing that book or exploring that new hobby? Your job? Your kids? Your busy schedule?
They are all but excuses. What’s holding you back is your fear, bad planning and lack of focus.
I’m sorry to be so hard on you but while you’re now busy finding more excuses, he’s writing his next book. (This applies to me too).
Give and take
When you talk to Prabhsimrat and read his book, it’s hard to believe he’s only 14 years old. Prabhsimrat is incredibly well-read for his age.
He’s distilled ideas from books like Atomic Habits and Ikigai into his own worldview. He’s crafted his own productivity system based on self-belief, habits and purpose.
Imagine if you’d published a book at his age. How proud would you be? Wouldn’t you just love to brag about it? I mean, I would.
But not Prabhsimrat. When it comes to giving advice or sharing his secret, he’s very humble.
“There is no secret,” he says, “Just write, no matter how silly or bad it is.”
“Don’t judge. Let it flow. Edit later.”
He knows there’s room for improvement too. He considers his main working point to be making his ideas more vivid. He would love to chat with his favourite authors about writing more beautiful sentences and using adjectives to make it all come alive.
Do you have any tips? You can reach him via Twitter @PrabhsimratG.
A bright future ahead
One thing Prabhsimrat thinks he could have done better with his first book experience is the preparation. He started without a plan. He just wrote and wrote and wrote some more for two weeks.
For his second book he created an outline first. Having an idea about the chapters guides him to do more research, tell better stories and give even more helpful advice.
As we approached the end of the conversation, I was ready to say goodbye when Prabhsimrat asked to switch roles.
“How can I become a paid writer and find clients?” he asked.
I told him not to worry. By the time he’s eighteen, people will be standing in line to hire him.